Remaining stuck, replaying past scenes of your life will do nothing in your present and future life. Yes, honest and intentional reflection can help us grow wiser, and avoid past mistakes. However, if stewing on what you’ve done stalls you from what you’re doing now, it’s a problem. Remember that when God forgives us, He wipes the slate clean. So, if He can let it go, so can we.
God wants us to move forward and closer to Him. The enemy, however, does not. So if forgiveness and progression are things of Christ, we can safely assume that stewing and staying stuck are fruits of the opposition. To protect your mind and actions from the lies of the evil one, stay rooted in the Word. Learn what God has to say on the matter so that you may not be led astray.
Are you being fooled into staying stuck?
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1 Return, O Israel, to the LORD your God, for your sins have brought you down. 2 Bring your confessions, and return to the LORD . Say to him, “Forgive all our sins and graciously receive us, so that we may offer you our praises. 3 Assyria cannot save us, nor can our warhorses. Never again will we say to the idols we have made, ‘You are our gods.’ No, in you alone do the orphans find mercy.” 4 The LORD says, “Then I will heal you of your faithlessness; my love will know no bounds, for my anger will be gone forever. 5 I will be to Israel like a refreshing dew from heaven. Israel will blossom like the lily; it will send roots deep into the soil like the cedars in Lebanon. 6 Its branches will spread out like beautiful olive trees, as fragrant as the cedars of Lebanon. 7 My people will again live under my shade. They will flourish like grain and blossom like grapevines. They will be as fragrant as the wines of Lebanon. 8 “O Israel, stay away from idols! I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you. I am like a tree that is always green; all your fruit comes from me.” 9 Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those with discernment listen carefully. The paths of the LORD are true and right, and righteous people live by walking in them. But in those paths sinners stumble and fall.
“Stay in the Word to avoid the traps and snares of the world.”
The Bible isn’t something we read to feel superior to nonbelievers. No, it’s literally a how-to guide full of amazing information and insights as to how the world works. The Living Word is applicable to all areas of your life because it espouses Truth that never changes. If you look at the state of the world now, it certainly looks very similar to times in the Bible (read Hosea and Ezekiel, among others). Friends, culture, and society may change, but God does not. God gave us the Bible to use as a tool to aid in navigating our lives in a sin-fallen world.
In the world
When you don’t know what’s in the Bible, the lies and deceit of the world are indiscernible. Without the truth, it is difficult to spot the real from the fake, the truth from the lies. Just look at the world today. Our society thinks that adopting a nice facade is the same thing as being good. For example, if your boss is charming, but cheats you out of an honest wage, are they nice? It is all pretend! The world toils in confusion as many people spout lofty words while operating evil schemes. Worldly people have smiles on their faces while they seek to cause you harm. It’s important to understand this distinction.
If you want to learn how to navigate a fallen world, read the Bible. It teaches us how to deal with corruption, lust, greed, people, you name it, it’s in there. To access the wealth of knowledge we must read it daily. Why? There is a lot of wickedness trying to pass for good in today’s society. If you don’t know how to spot the difference, you are in a world of trouble. Friends, God is not the author of confusion, the enemy is. If you seek to understand and accept the Truth, the Bible will show you everything you need to know.
Are your eyes opened by the Truth or are you trapped in the world?
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1 Again a message came to me from the LORD : 2 “Son of man, you live among rebels who have eyes but refuse to see. They have ears but refuse to hear. For they are a rebellious people. 3 “So now, son of man, pretend you are being sent into exile. Pack the few items an exile could carry, and leave your home to go somewhere else. Do this right in front of the people so they can see you. For perhaps they will pay attention to this, even though they are such rebels. 4 Bring your baggage outside during the day so they can watch you. Then in the evening, as they are watching, leave your house as captives do when they begin a long march to distant lands. 5 Dig a hole through the wall while they are watching and go out through it. 6 As they watch, lift your pack to your shoulders and walk away into the night. Cover your face so you cannot see the land you are leaving. For I have made you a sign for the people of Israel.” 7 So I did as I was told. In broad daylight I brought my pack outside, filled with the things I might carry into exile. Then in the evening while the people looked on, I dug through the wall with my hands and went out into the night with my pack on my shoulder. 8 The next morning this message came to me from the LORD : 9 “Son of man, these rebels, the people of Israel, have asked you what all this means. 10 Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: These actions contain a message for King Zedekiah in Jerusalem and for all the people of Israel.’ 11 Explain that your actions are a sign to show what will soon happen to them, for they will be driven into exile as captives. 12 “Even Zedekiah will leave Jerusalem at night through a hole in the wall, taking only what he can carry with him. He will cover his face, and his eyes will not see the land he is leaving. 13 Then I will throw my net over him and capture him in my snare. I will bring him to Babylon, the land of the Babylonians, though he will never see it, and he will die there. 14 I will scatter his servants and warriors to the four winds and send the sword after them. 15 And when I scatter them among the nations, they will know that I am the LORD . 16 But I will spare a few of them from death by war, famine, or disease, so they can confess all their detestable sins to their captors. Then they will know that I am the LORD .” 17 Then this message came to me from the LORD : 18 “Son of man, tremble as you eat your food. Shake with fear as you drink your water. 19 Tell the people, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says concerning those living in Israel and Jerusalem: They will eat their food with trembling and sip their water in despair, for their land will be stripped bare because of their violence. 20 The cities will be destroyed and the farmland made desolate. Then you will know that I am the LORD .’” 21 Again a message came to me from the LORD : 22 “Son of man, you’ve heard that proverb they quote in Israel: ‘Time passes, and prophecies come to nothing.’ 23 Tell the people, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will put an end to this proverb, and you will soon stop quoting it.’ Now give them this new proverb to replace the old one: ‘The time has come for every prophecy to be fulfilled!’ 24 “There will be no more false visions and flattering predictions in Israel. 25 For I am the LORD ! If I say it, it will happen. There will be no more delays, you rebels of Israel. I will fulfill my threat of destruction in your own lifetime. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken!” 26 Then this message came to me from the LORD : 27 “Son of man, the people of Israel are saying, ‘He’s talking about the distant future. His visions won’t come true for a long, long time.’ 28 Therefore, tell them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: No more delay! I will now do everything I have threatened. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken!’”
“Your brother is not your enemy, but the devil’s strategy is to make it appear like so.
If we are ALL God’s children, then we must love each other as God loves us. That means loving those you don’t understand, agree with, or even like. Let that sink in for a moment. Every one of us is God’s sheep that belongs in His Holy Stable. That includes the guy that cut you off, your boss who steals your ideas, the cousin who gives backhanded compliments during holiday events. Like it or not, they are God’s people too. The only true enemy we have is the devil and he will try and pit us against each other to circumvent that truth. I struggle to remind myself that no matter the circumstance, a loving Christ-like approach is best. Pray for me as I have to regularly drive the freeway in Las Vegas. I need it.
If we do not take up the cross and reflect the light God gives us, we are no better (and probably worse) than those who do not know Him at all! Don’t be an unwitting foot soldier for the opposition. Your relationship with Christ is not some superiority badge to tout in front of the lost. When you act better than people because you ‘believe’ in God, you fail to understand the mission of Jesus and why His life covers us all. No, the worst case for Christianity is a haughty ‘christian’. Instead, give mercy and kindness to those who don’t deserve it. I can recall the many times God has shown me mercy when He surely was right to give judgment. While I am not perfect (and never will be) I try and extend that grace to those I encounter. When I fail, I try and reflect to do better. So let us remember who Created us and how He loves us, so that we may love our brothers and sisters that same way.
Do you love your brother or are you an enemy of the truth?
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1“Listen in silence before me, you lands beyond the sea. Bring your strongest arguments. Come now and speak. The court is ready for your case.
2“Who has stirred up this king from the east, rightly calling him to God’s service? Who gives this man victory over many nations and permits him to trample their kings underfoot? With his sword, he reduces armies to dust. With his bow, he scatters them like chaff before the wind.
3He chases them away and goes on safely, though he is walking over unfamiliar ground.
4Who has done such mighty deeds, summoning each new generation from the beginning of time? It is I, the LORD, the First and the Last. I alone am he.”
5The lands beyond the sea watch in fear. Remote lands tremble and mobilize for war.
6The idol makers encourage one another, saying to each other, “Be strong!”
7The carver encourages the goldsmith, and the molder helps at the anvil. “Good,” they say. “It’s coming along fine.” Carefully they join the parts together, then fasten the thing in place so it won’t fall over.
8“But as for you, Israel my servant, Jacob my chosen one, descended from Abraham my friend,
9I have called you back from the ends of the earth, saying, ‘You are my servant.’ For I have chosen you and will not throw you away.
10Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.
11“See, all your angry enemies lie there, confused and humiliated. Anyone who opposes you will die and come to nothing.
12You will look in vain for those who tried to conquer you. Those who attack you will come to nothing.
13For I hold you by your right hand— I, the LORD your God. And I say to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.
14Though you are a lowly worm, O Jacob, don’t be afraid, people of Israel, for I will help you. I am the LORD, your Redeemer. I am the Holy One of Israel.’
15You will be a new threshing instrument with many sharp teeth. You will tear your enemies apart, making chaff of mountains.
16You will toss them into the air, and the wind will blow them all away; a whirlwind will scatter them. Then you will rejoice in the LORD . You will glory in the Holy One of Israel.
17“When the poor and needy search for water and there is none, and their tongues are parched from thirst, then I, the LORD, will answer them. I, the God of Israel, will never abandon them.
18I will open up rivers for them on the high plateaus. I will give them fountains of water in the valleys. I will fill the desert with pools of water. Rivers fed by springs will flow across the parched ground.
19I will plant trees in the barren desert— cedar, acacia, myrtle, olive, cypress, fir, and pine.
20I am doing this so all who see this miracle will understand what it means— that it is the LORD who has done this, the Holy One of Israel who created it.
21“Present the case for your idols,” says the LORD . “Let them show what they can do,” says the King of Israel.
22“Let them try to tell us what happened long ago so that we may consider the evidence. Or let them tell us what the future holds, so we can know what’s going to happen.
23Yes, tell us what will occur in the days ahead. Then we will know you are gods. In fact, do anything—good or bad! Do something that will amaze and frighten us.
24But no! You are less than nothing and can do nothing at all. Those who choose you pollute themselves.
25“But I have stirred up a leader who will approach from the north. From the east he will call on my name. I will give him victory over kings and princes. He will trample them as a potter treads on clay.
26“Who told you from the beginning that this would happen? Who predicted this, making you admit that he was right? No one said a word!
27I was the first to tell Zion, ‘Look! Help is on the way!’ I will send Jerusalem a messenger with good news.
28Not one of your idols told you this. Not one gave any answer when I asked.
29See, they are all foolish, worthless things. All your idols are as empty as the wind.
“There will be days where you’re exhausted and confused. Press on.”~TB
Nothing great is ever easy. The life of a Christian is not without its challenges. When you’re weary, tired, and feeling defeated, don’t give up! If you stumble and fall, get up. Though your trials are not without merit, take comfort that your fate is not of the Apostle Paul.
When you’re struggling, remember who made you. Remember who redeems you. Remember who already won the battle. You’re not pressing on for His sake, but for yours! Don’t be dismayed, don’t let the opposition trick you into submission. Take a nap, arm yourself in the Truth and press on.
Are you pressed or are you pressing on?
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1I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the LORD .”
2And now here we are, standing inside your gates, O Jerusalem.
3Jerusalem is a well-built city; its seamless walls cannot be breached.
4All the tribes of Israel—the LORD ’s people— make their pilgrimage here. They come to give thanks to the name of the LORD, as the law requires of Israel.
5Here stand the thrones where judgment is given, the thrones of the dynasty of David.
6Pray for peace in Jerusalem. May all who love this city prosper.
7O Jerusalem, may there be peace within your walls and prosperity in your palaces.
8For the sake of my family and friends, I will say, “May you have peace.”
9For the sake of the house of the LORD our God, I will seek what is best for you, O Jerusalem.
“It is important to study and learn the tricks of the enemy so you know exactly who you’re dealing with and how to avoid the traps.”~TB
If you look at any successful professional athlete, one thing is abundantly clear, they study their opponent. They learn how the opposing team plays, their best moves, and most importantly, their weaknesses. Friends, to create a solid defense against the devil, you must understand who you’re dealing with. This isn’t to scare you, but for you to gain confidence in your game of life. Faith grows by trust and action. To get the best defense, study the Word. Evil’s greatest weakness is the Truth, God is on the throne and a fallen angel is powerless to overturn an already won championship. When your defense is Biblically based, you’re able to sidestep the nonsense to shoot the J.
When your defense is based on the Truth, your offense looks bright because you’re shining in the light of salvation. Trust that God’s playbook contains the right offensive plays for you to score in your game of life. If you let Him, He’ll even teach you how to play with others. Armed with the Truth, you can assist your teammates, helping them score their Holy jump shot because you know this is a team effort and that everyone has the talent to give. Playing as a unit, the opposition cannot steal your ball because your plays are Biblically based. The devil cannot even compete and his team is easily swept by God’s Holy unit. How wonderful it is to be on the undefeated team!
Are you playing on the right team or is it time for a trade?
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1O God, whom I praise, don’t stand silent and aloof
2while the wicked slander me and tell lies about me.
3They surround me with hateful words and fight against me for no reason.
4I love them, but they try to destroy me with accusations even as I am praying for them!
5They repay evil for good, and hatred for my love.
6They say, “Get an evil person to turn against him. Send an accuser to bring him to trial.
7When his case comes up for judgment, let him be pronounced guilty. Count his prayers as sins.
8Let his years be few; let someone else take his position.
9May his children become fatherless, and his wife a widow.
10May his children wander as beggars and be driven from their ruined homes.
11May creditors seize his entire estate, and strangers take all he has earned.
12Let no one be kind to him; let no one pity his fatherless children.
13May all his offspring die. May his family name be blotted out in the next generation.
14May the LORD never forget the sins of his fathers; may his mother’s sins never be erased from the record.
15May the LORD always remember these sins, and may his name disappear from human memory.
16For he refused all kindness to others; he persecuted the poor and needy, and he hounded the brokenhearted to death.
17He loved to curse others; now you curse him. He never blessed others; now don’t you bless him.
18Cursing is as natural to him as his clothing, or the water he drinks, or the rich food he eats.
19Now may his curses return and cling to him like clothing; may they be tied around him like a belt.”
20May those curses become the LORD ’s punishment for my accusers who speak evil of me.
21But deal well with me, O Sovereign LORD, for the sake of your own reputation! Rescue me because you are so faithful and good.
22For I am poor and needy, and my heart is full of pain.
23I am fading like a shadow at dusk; I am brushed off like a locust.
24My knees are weak from fasting, and I am skin and bones.
25I am a joke to people everywhere; when they see me, they shake their heads in scorn.
26Help me, O LORD my God! Save me because of your unfailing love.
27Let them see that this is your doing, that you yourself have done it, LORD .
28Then let them curse me if they like, but you will bless me! When they attack me, they will be disgraced! But I, your servant, will go right on rejoicing!
29May my accusers be clothed with disgrace; may their humiliation cover them like a cloak.
30But I will give repeated thanks to the LORD, praising him to everyone.
31For he stands beside the needy, ready to save them from those who condemn them.