Fray

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Don’t be discouraged, God is here, even in the fray.”

TB

Land of Confusion

When you look out in the world, there is so much chaos, destruction, and confusion, so much so that it can be disheartening. Friends, don’t lose heart as the world works as intended.

Land of Clarity

The Living Word gives clarity into what we’re seeing today. In fact, there is nothing new under the sun, just the time period. If clarity is what you’re looking for, then go to God.

Today’s Question

Are you ready to stop living in the confusion?

Enjoy the reading

Numbers 9

1 A year after Israel’s departure from Egypt, the LORD spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai. In the first month of that year he said, 2 “Tell the Israelites to celebrate the Passover at the prescribed time, 3 at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month. Be sure to follow all my decrees and regulations concerning this celebration.” 4 So Moses told the people to celebrate the Passover 5 in the wilderness of Sinai as twilight fell on the fourteenth day of the month. And they celebrated the festival there, just as the LORD had commanded Moses. 6 But some of the men had been ceremonially defiled by touching a dead body, so they could not celebrate the Passover that day. They came to Moses and Aaron that day 7 and said, “We have become ceremonially unclean by touching a dead body. But why should we be prevented from presenting the LORD ’s offering at the proper time with the rest of the Israelites?” 8 Moses answered, “Wait here until I have received instructions for you from the LORD .” 9 This was the LORD ’s reply to Moses. 10 “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel: If any of the people now or in future generations are ceremonially unclean at Passover time because of touching a dead body, or if they are on a journey and cannot be present at the ceremony, they may still celebrate the LORD ’s Passover. 11 They must offer the Passover sacrifice one month later, at twilight on the fourteenth day of the second month. They must eat the Passover lamb at that time with bitter salad greens and bread made without yeast. 12 They must not leave any of the lamb until the next morning, and they must not break any of its bones. They must follow all the normal regulations concerning the Passover. 13 “But those who neglect to celebrate the Passover at the regular time, even though they are ceremonially clean and not away on a trip, will be cut off from the community of Israel. If they fail to present the LORD ’s offering at the proper time, they will suffer the consequences of their guilt. 14 And if foreigners living among you want to celebrate the Passover to the LORD, they must follow these same decrees and regulations. The same laws apply both to native-born Israelites and to the foreigners living among you.” 15 On the day the Tabernacle was set up, the cloud covered it. But from evening until morning the cloud over the Tabernacle looked like a pillar of fire. 16 This was the regular pattern—at night the cloud that covered the Tabernacle had the appearance of fire. 17 Whenever the cloud lifted from over the sacred tent, the people of Israel would break camp and follow it. And wherever the cloud settled, the people of Israel would set up camp. 18 In this way, they traveled and camped at the LORD ’s command wherever he told them to go. Then they remained in their camp as long as the cloud stayed over the Tabernacle. 19 If the cloud remained over the Tabernacle for a long time, the Israelites stayed and performed their duty to the LORD . 20 Sometimes the cloud would stay over the Tabernacle for only a few days, so the people would stay for only a few days, as the LORD commanded. Then at the LORD ’s command they would break camp and move on. 21 Sometimes the cloud stayed only overnight and lifted the next morning. But day or night, when the cloud lifted, the people broke camp and moved on. 22 Whether the cloud stayed above the Tabernacle for two days, a month, or a year, the people of Israel stayed in camp and did not move on. But as soon as it lifted, they broke camp and moved on. 23 So they camped or traveled at the LORD ’s command, and they did whatever the LORD told them through Moses.

Consulted

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Imagine where you’d be if you consulted God first.”

TB

Purpose

We are designed to have a purpose. Whether or not we answer God’s call, we are consciously or unconsciously fulfilling some purpose. When we fail to consult God as to what He wants us to do, we consult an imperfect alternative that leads us astray and into more problems that we then need to consult God to step in to fix. Our Father in Heaven is the ultimate consultant. He’s there to give you a vision and the tools and people who can assist and encourage you on the path to righteousness.

Honestly

Why do we stray from the path? We human beings are sheep. The best and brightest even fall under this category. Of course, there is nothing wrong with being part of God’s flock. The trouble lies when you believe another flock is superior or even on par with our Heavenly Shepherd. Friends, we were made to be lead. That’s not good or bad, it’s just true. So consult God so that you are in the flock of salvation rather than the flock of destruction.

Today’s Question

Are you consulting God?

Enjoy the reading

Ezekiel 42

1 Then the man led me out of the Temple courtyard by way of the north gateway. We entered the outer courtyard and came to a group of rooms against the north wall of the inner courtyard. 2 This structure, whose entrance opened toward the north, was 175 feet long and 87 feet wide. 3 One block of rooms overlooked the 35-foot width of the inner courtyard. Another block of rooms looked out onto the pavement of the outer courtyard. The two blocks were built three levels high and stood across from each other. 4 Between the two blocks of rooms ran a walkway 17 feet wide. It extended the entire 175 feet of the complex, and all the doors faced north. 5 Each of the two upper levels of rooms was narrower than the one beneath it because the upper levels had to allow space for walkways in front of them. 6 Since there were three levels and they did not have supporting columns as in the courtyards, each of the upper levels was set back from the level beneath it. 7 There was an outer wall that separated the rooms from the outer courtyard; it was 87 feet long. 8 This wall added length to the outer block of rooms, which extended for only 87 feet, while the inner block—the rooms toward the Temple—extended for 175 feet. 9 There was an eastern entrance from the outer courtyard to these rooms. 10 On the south side of the Temple there were two blocks of rooms just south of the inner courtyard between the Temple and the outer courtyard. These rooms were arranged just like the rooms on the north. 11 There was a walkway between the two blocks of rooms just like the complex on the north side of the Temple. This complex of rooms was the same length and width as the other one, and it had the same entrances and doors. The dimensions of each were identical. 12 So there was an entrance in the wall facing the doors of the inner block of rooms, and another on the east at the end of the interior walkway. 13 Then the man told me, “These rooms that overlook the Temple from the north and south are holy. Here the priests who offer sacrifices to the LORD will eat the most holy offerings. And because these rooms are holy, they will be used to store the sacred offerings—the grain offerings, sin offerings, and guilt offerings. 14 When the priests leave the sanctuary, they must not go directly to the outer courtyard. They must first take off the clothes they wore while ministering, because these clothes are holy. They must put on other clothes before entering the parts of the building complex open to the public.” 15 When the man had finished measuring the inside of the Temple area, he led me out through the east gateway to measure the entire perimeter. 16 He measured the east side with his measuring rod, and it was 875 feet long. 17 Then he measured the north side, and it was also 875 feet. 18 The south side was also 875 feet, 19 and the west side was also 875 feet. 20 So the area was 875 feet on each side with a wall all around it to separate what was holy from what was common.

Hamster Wheel

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Spring to action and focus on God’s plan for you, because focusing on the devil’s distractions is much like being a hamster on a wheel.”

TB

Steadfast

We only have so much time to learn, comprehend, and carry out our plans and assignments. While God is faithful and merciful on deadlines, focus and prioritization are key to completing the objective. By staying wrapped in the word, we eat the good fruit and steer clear of the bad. However, there will be and are times where we find ourselves trapped in the distraction of the opposition.

Fruitless

Though we know what we must do, it’s important to understand how the devil keeps us from fulfilling our destinies. One such tactic is getting us off our path. When we believe or entertain the lies of the enemy, we begin to focus on matters that literally have nothing to do with our goals. Like hamsters on the wheel, we end up mindlessly chasing things, people, trends, money, and the like who have nothing to do with our purpose. If you’re tired of running aimlessly, turn your sights to God to get off of the wheel.

Fruitful

So how do we get off the wheel? We start by forgiving offenses, encouraging our brothers and sisters, reading the Word, and picking up our cross, and walking with Christ. Friends, it’s very easy to get caught up in the busyness of our own plans. Like the hamster on the wheel, we can aimlessly chase for nothing, while wasting time failing to learn the whole Truth. Look to God for a fruitful direction, walk in patience, humility, and forgiveness so that you can continue in progress. By identifying the trap of the hamster wheel, you can avoid the distraction and walk your walk with Christ.

Today’s Question

Are you a hamster or a child of God?

Enjoy the reading

Ezekiel 36

1 “Son of man, prophesy to Israel’s mountains. Give them this message: O mountains of Israel, hear the word of the LORD ! 2 This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Your enemies have taunted you, saying, ‘Aha! Now the ancient heights belong to us!’ 3 Therefore, son of man, give the mountains of Israel this message from the Sovereign LORD : Your enemies have attacked you from all directions, making you the property of many nations and the object of much mocking and slander. 4 Therefore, O mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Sovereign LORD . He speaks to the hills and mountains, ravines and valleys, and to ruined wastes and long-deserted cities that have been destroyed and mocked by the surrounding nations. 5 This is what the Sovereign LORD says: My jealous anger burns against these nations, especially Edom, because they have shown utter contempt for me by gleefully taking my land for themselves as plunder. 6 “Therefore, prophesy to the hills and mountains, the ravines and valleys of Israel. This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am furious that you have suffered shame before the surrounding nations. 7 Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I have taken a solemn oath that those nations will soon have their own shame to endure. 8 “But the mountains of Israel will produce heavy crops of fruit for my people—for they will be coming home again soon! 9 See, I care about you, and I will pay attention to you. Your ground will be plowed and your crops planted. 10 I will greatly increase the population of Israel, and the ruined cities will be rebuilt and filled with people. 11 I will increase not only the people, but also your animals. O mountains of Israel, I will bring people to live on you once again. I will make you even more prosperous than you were before. Then you will know that I am the LORD . 12 I will cause my people to walk on you once again, and you will be their territory. You will never again rob them of their children. 13 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: The other nations taunt you, saying, ‘Israel is a land that devours its own people and robs them of their children!’ 14 But you will never again devour your people or rob them of their children, says the Sovereign LORD . 15 I will not let you hear those other nations insult you, and you will no longer be mocked by them. You will not be a land that causes its nation to fall, says the Sovereign LORD .” 16 Then this further message came to me from the LORD : 17 “Son of man, when the people of Israel were living in their own land, they defiled it by the evil way they lived. To me their conduct was as unclean as a woman’s menstrual cloth. 18 They polluted the land with murder and the worship of idols, so I poured out my fury on them. 19 I scattered them to many lands to punish them for the evil way they had lived. 20 But when they were scattered among the nations, they brought shame on my holy name. For the nations said, ‘These are the people of the LORD, but he couldn’t keep them safe in his own land!’ 21 Then I was concerned for my holy name, on which my people brought shame among the nations. 22 “Therefore, give the people of Israel this message from the Sovereign LORD : I am bringing you back, but not because you deserve it. I am doing it to protect my holy name, on which you brought shame while you were scattered among the nations. 23 I will show how holy my great name is—the name on which you brought shame among the nations. And when I reveal my holiness through you before their very eyes, says the Sovereign LORD, then the nations will know that I am the LORD . 24 For I will gather you up from all the nations and bring you home again to your land. 25 “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. Your filth will be washed away, and you will no longer worship idols. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations. 28 “And you will live in Israel, the land I gave your ancestors long ago. You will be my people, and I will be your God. 29 I will cleanse you of your filthy behavior. I will give you good crops of grain, and I will send no more famines on the land. 30 I will give you great harvests from your fruit trees and fields, and never again will the surrounding nations be able to scoff at your land for its famines. 31 Then you will remember your past sins and despise yourselves for all the detestable things you did. 32 But remember, says the Sovereign LORD, I am not doing this because you deserve it. O my people of Israel, you should be utterly ashamed of all you have done! 33 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: When I cleanse you from your sins, I will repopulate your cities, and the ruins will be rebuilt. 34 The fields that used to lie empty and desolate in plain view of everyone will again be farmed. 35 And when I bring you back, people will say, ‘This former wasteland is now like the Garden of Eden! The abandoned and ruined cities now have strong walls and are filled with people!’ 36 Then the surrounding nations that survive will know that I, the LORD, have rebuilt the ruins and replanted the wasteland. For I, the LORD, have spoken, and I will do what I say. 37 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am ready to hear Israel’s prayers and to increase their numbers like a flock. 38 They will be as numerous as the sacred flocks that fill Jerusalem’s streets at the time of her festivals. The ruined cities will be crowded with people once more, and everyone will know that I am the LORD .”

Right Standing

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Remember that accepting Christ’s salvation means that you’re in right standing with God.”

TB

Wrong

Discouragement is a very real tactic from the opposition. If left unchecked, he can make even the most righteous person feel like a sack of coal. However, in those tough moments, remember that salvation is a gift, never earned, and that God loves you in all ways.

Right

Fortunately for us, salvation isn’t contingent on perfect behavior. But to truly experience and understand what it means, we have to do our homework. While Christ is for us, we still live in the natural world which requires careful study and meditation on the Word. Knowledge is power and what great power to be called His!

Today’s Question

Are you being deceived about where you stand with Christ?

Enjoy the reading

Ezekiel 25

1 Then this message came to me from the LORD : 2 “Son of man, turn and face the land of Ammon and prophesy against its people. 3 Give the Ammonites this message from the Sovereign LORD : Hear the word of the Sovereign LORD ! Because you cheered when my Temple was defiled, mocked Israel in her desolation, and laughed at Judah as she went away into exile, 4 I will allow nomads from the eastern deserts to overrun your country. They will set up their camps among you and pitch their tents on your land. They will harvest all your fruit and drink the milk from your livestock. 5 And I will turn the city of Rabbah into a pasture for camels, and all the land of the Ammonites into a resting place for sheep and goats. Then you will know that I am the LORD . 6 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Because you clapped and danced and cheered with glee at the destruction of my people, 7 I will raise my fist of judgment against you. I will give you as plunder to many nations. I will cut you off from being a nation and destroy you completely. Then you will know that I am the LORD . 8 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Because the people of Moab have said that Judah is just like all the other nations, 9 I will open up their eastern flank and wipe out their glorious frontier towns—Beth-jeshimoth, Baal-meon, and Kiriathaim. 10 And I will hand Moab over to nomads from the eastern deserts, just as I handed over Ammon. Yes, the Ammonites will no longer be counted among the nations. 11 In the same way, I will bring my judgment down on the Moabites. Then they will know that I am the LORD . 12 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: The people of Edom have sinned greatly by avenging themselves against the people of Judah. 13 Therefore, says the Sovereign LORD, I will raise my fist of judgment against Edom. I will wipe out its people and animals with the sword. I will make a wasteland of everything from Teman to Dedan. 14 I will accomplish this by the hand of my people of Israel. They will carry out my vengeance with anger, and Edom will know that this vengeance is from me. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken! 15 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: The people of Philistia have acted against Judah out of bitter revenge and long-standing contempt. 16 Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will raise my fist of judgment against the land of the Philistines. I will wipe out the Kerethites and utterly destroy the people who live by the sea. 17 I will execute terrible vengeance against them to punish them for what they have done. And when I have inflicted my revenge, they will know that I am the LORD .”

Who Wins?

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“As you move through your trials, remember who benefits from your setbacks. Surely it is not you nor God.” –

TB

Deflated

It’s safe to say that in one way or another, we’ve all experienced some troubling times as of late. Like you, I’ve felt deflated, defeated, discouraged, and a host of emotions that have been hard to shake. But one thing I’ve realized is that God does not benefit from our dismay and sorrow, but you know who does? The opposition.

Journey

Living a Christ-like existence is a lifelong journey. There are many highs as well as lows. The devil will always try and discourage us when we’re onto something miraculous. Think about it, why go after a lost soul when you can attack a person on a mission for Christ! It’s difficult to cling to the truth in times of dire straits, but when we rest in the Word of God, we win the already declared victory that evil pretends does not exist. We win by putting our faith and deeds in God.

Today’s Question

Are you enjoying the victory or mourning a false loss peddled by the devil?

Enjoy the reading

Lamentations 5

1 LORD, remember what has happened to us. See how we have been disgraced! 2 Our inheritance has been turned over to strangers, our homes to foreigners. 3 We are orphaned and fatherless. Our mothers are widowed. 4 We have to pay for water to drink, and even firewood is expensive. 5 Those who pursue us are at our heels; we are exhausted but are given no rest. 6 We submitted to Egypt and Assyria to get enough food to survive. 7 Our ancestors sinned, but they have died— and we are suffering the punishment they deserved! 8 Slaves have now become our masters; there is no one left to rescue us. 9 We hunt for food at the risk of our lives, for violence rules the countryside. 10 The famine has blackened our skin as though baked in an oven. 11 Our enemies rape the women in Jerusalem and the young girls in all the towns of Judah. 12 Our princes are being hanged by their thumbs, and our elders are treated with contempt. 13 Young men are led away to work at millstones, and boys stagger under heavy loads of wood. 14 The elders no longer sit in the city gates; the young men no longer dance and sing. 15 Joy has left our hearts; our dancing has turned to mourning. 16 The garlands have fallen from our heads. Weep for us because we have sinned. 17 Our hearts are sick and weary, and our eyes grow dim with tears. 18 For Jerusalem is empty and desolate, a place haunted by jackals. 19 But LORD, you remain the same forever! Your throne continues from generation to generation. 20 Why do you continue to forget us? Why have you abandoned us for so long? 21 Restore us, O LORD, and bring us back to you again! Give us back the joys we once had! 22 Or have you utterly rejected us? Are you angry with us still?

Encouragement

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Take time to encourage one another so that we may all run the race well.”

TB

Progress

My father and I share the same trait of continued progression. Something can always be improved on and learning is continuous and ever-evolving. While this isn’t inherently a bad thing, if you stay in the weeds for too long, all you begin to see are the incomplete items on your progress list, failing to appreciate all that you have accomplished. This myopic look can bring discouragement and a false narrative that can cause us to stumble. For this reason, we must stop and encourage each other for the good work that we are doing.

Build Up

This morning, as I was having my usual conversation with my dad, it dawned on me to encourage him as he often encourages me. Sometimes we get so desensitized to the good works of our family, friends, and peers that we fail to recognize their efforts. An encouraging word is like a cool glass of water to a parched runner. We all need the occasional ‘great job’ every now and then. So friends, when you have the chance, let’s build up our brothers and sisters in Christ. When you see great work that honors our Father in Heaven, stop and take the time to say something. That’s also part of sharing the Good News.

Today’s Question

Are we encouraging each other as Christ encourages us?

Jeremiah 44

1 This is the message Jeremiah received concerning the Judeans living in northern Egypt in the cities of Migdol, Tahpanhes, and Memphis, and in southern Egypt as well: 2 “This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: You saw the calamity I brought on Jerusalem and all the towns of Judah. They now lie deserted and in ruins. 3 They provoked my anger with all their wickedness. They burned incense and worshiped other gods—gods that neither they nor you nor any of your ancestors had ever even known. 4 “Again and again I sent my servants, the prophets, to plead with them, ‘Don’t do these horrible things that I hate so much.’ 5 But my people would not listen or turn back from their wicked ways. They kept on burning incense to these gods. 6 And so my fury boiled over and fell like fire on the towns of Judah and into the streets of Jerusalem, and they are still a desolate ruin today. 7 “And now the LORD God of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, asks you: Why are you destroying yourselves? For not one of you will survive—not a man, woman, or child among you who has come here from Judah, not even the babies in your arms. 8 Why provoke my anger by burning incense to the idols you have made here in Egypt? You will only destroy yourselves and make yourselves an object of cursing and mockery for all the nations of the earth. 9 Have you forgotten the sins of your ancestors, the sins of the kings and queens of Judah, and the sins you and your wives committed in Judah and Jerusalem? 10 To this very hour you have shown no remorse or reverence. No one has chosen to follow my word and the decrees I gave to you and your ancestors before you. 11 “Therefore, this is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: I am determined to destroy every one of you! 12 I will take this remnant of Judah—those who were determined to come here and live in Egypt—and I will consume them. They will fall here in Egypt, killed by war and famine. All will die, from the least to the greatest. They will be an object of damnation, horror, cursing, and mockery. 13 I will punish them in Egypt just as I punished them in Jerusalem, by war, famine, and disease. 14 Of that remnant who fled to Egypt, hoping someday to return to Judah, there will be no survivors. Even though they long to return home, only a handful will do so.” 15 Then all the women present and all the men who knew that their wives had burned incense to idols—a great crowd of all the Judeans living in northern Egypt and southern Egypt —answered Jeremiah, 16 “We will not listen to your messages from the LORD ! 17 We will do whatever we want. We will burn incense and pour out liquid offerings to the Queen of Heaven just as much as we like—just as we, and our ancestors, and our kings and officials have always done in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. For in those days we had plenty to eat, and we were well off and had no troubles! 18 But ever since we quit burning incense to the Queen of Heaven and stopped worshiping her with liquid offerings, we have been in great trouble and have been dying from war and famine.” 19 “Besides,” the women added, “do you suppose that we were burning incense and pouring out liquid offerings to the Queen of Heaven, and making cakes marked with her image, without our husbands knowing it and helping us? Of course not!” 20 Then Jeremiah said to all of them, men and women alike, who had given him that answer, 21 “Do you think the LORD did not know that you and your ancestors, your kings and officials, and all the people were burning incense to idols in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 22 It was because the LORD could no longer bear all the disgusting things you were doing that he made your land an object of cursing—a desolate ruin without inhabitants—as it is today. 23 All these terrible things happened to you because you have burned incense to idols and sinned against the LORD . You have refused to obey him and have not followed his instructions, his decrees, and his laws.” 24 Then Jeremiah said to them all, including the women, “Listen to this message from the LORD, all you citizens of Judah who live in Egypt. 25 This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘You and your wives have said, “We will keep our promises to burn incense and pour out liquid offerings to the Queen of Heaven,” and you have proved by your actions that you meant it. So go ahead and carry out your promises and vows to her!’ 26 “But listen to this message from the LORD, all you Judeans now living in Egypt: ‘I have sworn by my great name,’ says the LORD, ‘that my name will no longer be spoken by any of the Judeans in the land of Egypt. None of you may invoke my name or use this oath: “As surely as the Sovereign LORD lives.” 27 For I will watch over you to bring you disaster and not good. Everyone from Judah who is now living in Egypt will suffer war and famine until all of you are dead. 28 Only a small number will escape death and return to Judah from Egypt. Then all those who came to Egypt will find out whose words are true—mine or theirs! 29 “‘And this is the proof I give you,’ says the LORD, ‘that all I have threatened will happen to you and that I will punish you here.’ 30 This is what the LORD says: ‘I will turn Pharaoh Hophra, king of Egypt, over to his enemies who want to kill him, just as I turned King Zedekiah of Judah over to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.’”

Enjoy the reading

Uncalled Interference

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quotes

“Let your brothers and sisters endure their trials as they are a necessary byproduct of growing in Christ.”~TB

Well-Intentioned

I love my family with great fierceness– for better or worse. It’s a joy to see them do well and it’s heartbreaking when they suffer– especially to false accusations. I’ve been known to jump on land mines for the people I love. Though my intentions are well-meaning, every single one of us has to go through the fire at some point and blocking someone else’s spiritual assignment –good-intentioned or otherwise– benefits no one.

Growth Through Struggle

Having experience with unfair persecution, I can say that those uncomfortable times did way more good than harm. Through the muck and the mess, I learned that I had to rely on God because He was with me in the fiery storms. When I look back at those radical moments, I realize that though the experiences were unpleasant, never was I harmed. So, if God walks with me, I’d be a fool to not trust that He’s walking with all of you as well. More to the point, when those we love endure suffering for what is right, we should be pleased that they too get the opportunity to grow in Christ.

It’s All Joy

These days I am more mindful about the Hand of Christ and I am present and careful to watch Him at work. I pray for His Will to be done rather than jump the gun with my hair-brained schemes. Instead of interfering, I encourage and listen. Friends that is all we can do, because the heavy lifting is God’s plan. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather that my brothers and sisters have God’s help than mine, because well, it’s should be obvious, ha! So the next time you see those in your life go through hard times, remember how your struggles brought you closer to God and that they too are given the opportunity and honor to know God in that same way.

Today’s Question

Are you letting your interfering ways block the spiritual growth of others?

Enjoy the reading

Jeremiah 20

1 Now Pashhur son of Immer, the priest in charge of the Temple of the LORD, heard what Jeremiah was prophesying. 
2 So he arrested Jeremiah the prophet and had him whipped and put in stocks at the Benjamin Gate of the LORD ’s Temple. 
3 The next day, when Pashhur finally released him, Jeremiah said, “Pashhur, the LORD has changed your name. From now on you are to be called ‘The Man Who Lives in Terror.’ 
4 For this is what the LORD says: ‘I will send terror upon you and all your friends, and you will watch as they are slaughtered by the swords of the enemy. I will hand the people of Judah over to the king of Babylon. He will take them captive to Babylon or run them through with the sword. 
5 And I will let your enemies plunder Jerusalem. All the famed treasures of the city—the precious jewels and gold and silver of your kings—will be carried off to Babylon. 
6 As for you, Pashhur, you and all your household will go as captives to Babylon. There you will die and be buried, you and all your friends to whom you prophesied that everything would be all right.’” 
7 O LORD, you misled me, and I allowed myself to be misled. You are stronger than I am, and you overpowered me. Now I am mocked every day; everyone laughs at me. 
8 When I speak, the words burst out. “Violence and destruction!” I shout. So these messages from the LORD have made me a household joke. 
9 But if I say I’ll never mention the LORD or speak in his name, his word burns in my heart like a fire. It’s like a fire in my bones! I am worn out trying to hold it in! I can’t do it! 
10 I have heard the many rumors about me. They call me “The Man Who Lives in Terror.” They threaten, “If you say anything, we will report it.” Even my old friends are watching me, waiting for a fatal slip. “He will trap himself,” they say, “and then we will get our revenge on him.” 
11 But the LORD stands beside me like a great warrior. Before him my persecutors will stumble. They cannot defeat me. They will fail and be thoroughly humiliated. Their dishonor will never be forgotten. 
12 O LORD of Heaven’s Armies, you test those who are righteous, and you examine the deepest thoughts and secrets. Let me see your vengeance against them, for I have committed my cause to you. 
13 Sing to the LORD ! Praise the LORD ! For though I was poor and needy, he rescued me from my oppressors. 
14 Yet I curse the day I was born! May no one celebrate the day of my birth. 
15 I curse the messenger who told my father, “Good news—you have a son!” 
16 Let him be destroyed like the cities of old that the LORD overthrew without mercy. Terrify him all day long with battle shouts, 
17 because he did not kill me at birth. Oh, that I had died in my mother’s womb, that her body had been my grave! 
18 Why was I ever born? My entire life has been filled with trouble, sorrow, and shame.

 

Marathon

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Building a firm foundation in Christ is a marathon, not a sprint.”~TB

Short-term

A marathon cannot be run after a few test practices. Similarly, a relationship with Christ cannot be achieved after one run glance at the Word. We cannot put short-term efforts into knowing our Father in Heaven. No, it takes a lifetime of seeking, listening, failing, repenting, trying, and the like to uncover a semblance of understanding who Christ is. Friends, this is a lifelong endeavor of which we must forego the short-term comfort of ignorance to embrace the long-term impacts of salvation. Do your training accordingly.

Long-term

When you put in the work each day to learn the Truth of Christ, you build an endurance to run the race He has set before you. The shortcuts are less appealing and the long-term goal of receiving the gift that only He can give becomes the priority. We cannot know the winning effects of knowing God without doing our daily training with Him. More to the point, we have to encourage and give hope to our teammates so that they may be inspired and not deterred from training for their race. Though each day brings its own challenge, consider the long-term advantages of running with Christ than against.

Today’s Question

Are you putting in the work, or are you waiting until the last minute to cram a lifetime of training?

Enjoy the reading

Jeremiah 3

1 “If a man divorces a woman and she goes and marries someone else, he will not take her back again, for that would surely corrupt the land. But you have prostituted yourself with many lovers, so why are you trying to come back to me?” says the LORD . 
2 “Look at the shrines on every hilltop. Is there any place you have not been defiled by your adultery with other gods? You sit like a prostitute beside the road waiting for a customer. You sit alone like a nomad in the desert. You have polluted the land with your prostitution and your wickedness. 
3 That’s why even the spring rains have failed. For you are a brazen prostitute and completely shameless. 
4 Yet you say to me, ‘Father, you have been my guide since my youth. 
5 Surely you won’t be angry forever! Surely you can forget about it!’ So you talk, but you keep on doing all the evil you can.” 
6 During the reign of King Josiah, the LORD said to me, “Have you seen what fickle Israel has done? Like a wife who commits adultery, Israel has worshiped other gods on every hill and under every green tree. 
7 I thought, ‘After she has done all this, she will return to me.’ But she did not return, and her faithless sister Judah saw this. 
8 She saw that I divorced faithless Israel because of her adultery. But that treacherous sister Judah had no fear, and now she, too, has left me and given herself to prostitution. 
9 Israel treated it all so lightly—she thought nothing of committing adultery by worshiping idols made of wood and stone. So now the land has been polluted. 
10 But despite all this, her faithless sister Judah has never sincerely returned to me. She has only pretended to be sorry. I, the LORD, have spoken!” 
11 Then the LORD said to me, “Even faithless Israel is less guilty than treacherous Judah! 
12 Therefore, go and give this message to Israel. This is what the LORD says: “O Israel, my faithless people, come home to me again, for I am merciful. I will not be angry with you forever. 
13 Only acknowledge your guilt. Admit that you rebelled against the LORD your God and committed adultery against him by worshiping idols under every green tree. Confess that you refused to listen to my voice. I, the LORD, have spoken! 
14 “Return home, you wayward children,” says the LORD, “for I am your master. I will bring you back to the land of Israel — one from this town and two from that family— from wherever you are scattered. 
15 And I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will guide you with knowledge and understanding. 
16 “And when your land is once more filled with people,” says the LORD, “you will no longer wish for ‘the good old days’ when you possessed the Ark of the LORD ’s Covenant. You will not miss those days or even remember them, and there will be no need to rebuild the Ark. 
17 In that day Jerusalem will be known as ‘The Throne of the LORD .’ All nations will come there to honor the LORD . They will no longer stubbornly follow their own evil desires. 
18 In those days the people of Judah and Israel will return together from exile in the north. They will return to the land I gave your ancestors as an inheritance forever. 
19 “I thought to myself, ‘I would love to treat you as my own children!’ I wanted nothing more than to give you this beautiful land— the finest possession in the world. I looked forward to your calling me ‘Father,’ and I wanted you never to turn from me. 
20 But you have been unfaithful to me, you people of Israel! You have been like a faithless wife who leaves her husband. I, the LORD, have spoken.” 
21 Voices are heard high on the windswept mountains, the weeping and pleading of Israel’s people. For they have chosen crooked paths and have forgotten the LORD their God. 
22 “My wayward children,” says the LORD, “come back to me, and I will heal your wayward hearts.” “Yes, we’re coming,” the people reply, “for you are the LORD our God. 
23 Our worship of idols on the hills and our religious orgies on the mountains are a delusion. Only in the LORD our God will Israel ever find salvation. 
24 From childhood we have watched as everything our ancestors worked for— their flocks and herds, their sons and daughters— was squandered on a delusion. 
25 Let us now lie down in shame and cover ourselves with dishonor, for we and our ancestors have sinned against the LORD our God. From our childhood to this day we have never obeyed him.”

  

Until

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Until the day we die, there is always something to learn from God.”~TB

Messages

I was writing another blog post just a few moments ago, trying to break down some interesting concepts until I realized that the message wasn’t meant for the blog, but was a new ‘aha’ learning moment for me specifically. I took a minute to chew on it and was filled with joy at the new piece of the puzzle that I was given. To the outside world, I know a lot,  but to tell you the truth, I’m also aware of how much I don’t know, which is why I keep pestering God with many, many questions. Fortunately, He is patient and doesn’t seem to mind answering them. Even better, being the Infinite being He is, we all can join in on His lesson plans.

Leveling Up

Remarkably, the Bible has so much to say in every season of life. The Living Word is living up to its name, ha! As we go through this world, the wise teachings and stories are parallel to our own experiences, which is why we can glean so much information from one passage in any given era of our life. For example, I’ve read 2 Corinthians many times, yet, the other day, I got something out of it that I had not seen before. It encourages me to keep seeking the Truth in all of its forms because the lessons are neverending, and my relationship with God grows deeper and more joyful each passing day. I do have trying days like anyone else, but the comfort of the Lord makes them much more tolerable.

The Revelation of Reflection

When we quiet the external noise and train our minds to focus, God can then reveal the infinite amount of information that takes more than a lifetime to understand and pontificate on. Just when I think I know all of the statistical permutations, combinations, and variations there are to understand something, God drops another nugget of understanding, giving me something else to learn. The Truth is, we live in a chaotic, backward, deceitful world that benefits when we plug our ears, eyes, minds, and hearts from God. Many of us do not go on to learn and grow with God because of the distraction created by the world we inhabit. Fortunately for us, all we have to do is ask. Then, buckle up for a lifetime journey of learning.

Today’s Question

Are you waiting until it’s too late to learn from God?

Enjoy the reading

Isaiah 65

1 The LORD says, “I was ready to respond, but no one asked for help. I was ready to be found, but no one was looking for me. I said, ‘Here I am, here I am!’ to a nation that did not call on my name. 
2 All day long I opened my arms to a rebellious people. But they follow their own evil paths and their own crooked schemes. 
3 All day long they insult me to my face by worshiping idols in their sacred gardens. They burn incense on pagan altars. 
4 At night they go out among the graves, worshiping the dead. They eat the flesh of pigs and make stews with other forbidden foods. 
5 Yet they say to each other, ‘Don’t come too close or you will defile me! I am holier than you!’ These people are a stench in my nostrils, an acrid smell that never goes away. 
6 “Look, my decree is written out in front of me: I will not stand silent; I will repay them in full! Yes, I will repay them— 
7 both for their own sins and for those of their ancestors,” says the LORD . “For they also burned incense on the mountains and insulted me on the hills. I will pay them back in full! 
8 “But I will not destroy them all,” says the LORD . “For just as good grapes are found among a cluster of bad ones (and someone will say, ‘Don’t throw them all away— some of those grapes are good!’), so I will not destroy all Israel. For I still have true servants there. 
9 I will preserve a remnant of the people of Israel and of Judah to possess my land. Those I choose will inherit it, and my servants will live there. 
10 The plain of Sharon will again be filled with flocks for my people who have searched for me, and the valley of Achor will be a place to pasture herds. 
11 “But because the rest of you have forsaken the LORD and have forgotten his Temple, and because you have prepared feasts to honor the god of Fate and have offered mixed wine to the god of Destiny, 
12 now I will ‘destine’ you for the sword. All of you will bow down before the executioner. For when I called, you did not answer. When I spoke, you did not listen. You deliberately sinned—before my very eyes— and chose to do what you know I despise.” 
13 Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: “My servants will eat, but you will starve. My servants will drink, but you will be thirsty. My servants will rejoice, but you will be sad and ashamed. 
14 My servants will sing for joy, but you will cry in sorrow and despair. 
15 Your name will be a curse word among my people, for the Sovereign LORD will destroy you and will call his true servants by another name. 
16 All who invoke a blessing or take an oath will do so by the God of truth. For I will put aside my anger and forget the evil of earlier days. 
17 “Look! I am creating new heavens and a new earth, and no one will even think about the old ones anymore. 
18 Be glad; rejoice forever in my creation! And look! I will create Jerusalem as a place of happiness. Her people will be a source of joy. 
19 I will rejoice over Jerusalem and delight in my people. And the sound of weeping and crying will be heard in it no more. 
20 “No longer will babies die when only a few days old. No longer will adults die before they have lived a full life. No longer will people be considered old at one hundred! Only the cursed will die that young! 
21 In those days people will live in the houses they build and eat the fruit of their own vineyards. 
22 Unlike the past, invaders will not take their houses and confiscate their vineyards. For my people will live as long as trees, and my chosen ones will have time to enjoy their hard-won gains. 
23 They will not work in vain, and their children will not be doomed to misfortune. For they are people blessed by the LORD, and their children, too, will be blessed. 
24 I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers! 
25 The wolf and the lamb will feed together. The lion will eat hay like a cow. But the snakes will eat dust. In those days no one will be hurt or destroyed on my holy mountain. I, the LORD, have spoken!”

 

Orchestra

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“In God’s orchestra, learn to improve and play your part.”~TB

One Unit

I love orchestral music. The way the moving parts and pieces all come together to make sounds that no instrument can make on their own is fascinating to me. Individually, instruments— just like people— can be wonderful. However, when put together in one unit, great things can be accomplished. But to achieve that, we have to follow our director, God. When God is at the front and center of our lives, He will conduct the most impressive pieces, using ordinary instruments. His sheet music is infinitely more beautiful than our own. In order to fulfill our sheet music in Christ, we must learn to study, accept, and play the part that God has given us.

Every Part

In an orchestra, you have many instruments, and each section within those instruments has their roles. You have your 1st chair, 2nd chair, and so on. The 1st chairs play the leads and often most complex parts of the music. They are the 1st chair because of their ability to understand and play the difficult parts. The 2nd chair shares some of the load, and 3rd chair and on assists with harmony and the details. In God’s orchestra, you have people who play major parts, but the minor parts— just like in a musical orchestra— add the subtle nuances that make the music sound great.

Work Together

We all can’t be 1st chair in God’s orchestra, but that doesn’t mean that your part is any less valid or necessary. Maybe that one note that you play is the final long tone that ends the piece. Maybe that harmony really lifts up a section where the melody isn’t all that impressive on its own. My point is, every part and every person in God’s orchestra is vital, which is why we must show up and play to the best of our ability. Sure, looking at your sheet music on its own, your part may not seem all that great or necessary, but when you work together and play your part in God’s orchestra, only then can you see how truly vital you are.

Today’s Question

Are you ready to give up your solo and play in God’s orchestra?

Enjoy the reading

Isaiah 4

1 In that day so few men will be left that seven women will fight for each man, saying, “Let us all marry you! We will provide our own food and clothing. Only let us take your name so we won’t be mocked as old maids.”
2 But in that day, the branch of the LORD will be beautiful and glorious; the fruit of the land will be the pride and glory of all who survive in Israel.
3 All who remain in Zion will be a holy people— those who survive the destruction of Jerusalem and are recorded among the living.
4 The Lord will wash the filth from beautiful Zion and cleanse Jerusalem of its bloodstains with the hot breath of fiery judgment.
5 Then the LORD will provide shade for Mount Zion and all who assemble there. He will provide a canopy of cloud during the day and smoke and flaming fire at night, covering the glorious land.
6 It will be a shelter from daytime heat and a hiding place from storms and rain.