Land Mines

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Each day has their own land mines. Walk in peace, grace, and mercy to avoid stepping on them.”~TB

Hairpin Trigger

Have you ever experienced a seemingly benign day that turned into all out warfare? Like stepping on a land mine, one false moves blows up the scene, causing all types of trouble. Perhaps you’re getting home from a long day in the office only to be met with a series of anger inducing texts. These things don’t happen by accident. In fact, more often than not, they are strategically placed land mines aimed at getting you to lose focus on God and to engage in friendly fire with your loved ones.

Consider the Source

An unexamined life can be incredibly messy as the opposition is strategic about placing land mines in our day to day lives. When we do not reflect on what makes us tick, we leave ourselves vulnerable to unnecessary traps and attacks. This can come in the form of an offense from a spouse, friend, brother or sister, or anyone you do life with. Before you step on the land mine, consider the source. If certain things set you off, be aware that they will be used against you. The great thing about knowing your pitfalls is that when the devil throws them your way, you already know what they look like. So instead of being lured in like a lamb to the slaughter, let the attacks float on by.

Enjoy the Silence

Land mines will never go away, but that does not mean we have to step on it. If someone is being used to goad you into frustration, fear, anxiety, or any other unpleasant emotion, do not engage. Instead, ignore the offense, and double down on mercy and kindness. Rather than looking at land mines as a means for discord, use them to sharpen your arsenal of Christ-like behavior. You can brush up on these techniques by reading the Bible and talking with our Father in Heaven. His Word will always light the path. When war is met with Biblical love, only God can be the winner.

Today’s Question

Are you ready to walk past your land mines and give up the unnecessary explosions?

Enjoy the reading

Isaiah 50

1 This is what the LORD says: “Was your mother sent away because I divorced her? Did I sell you as slaves to my creditors? No, you were sold because of your sins. And your mother, too, was taken because of your sins.
2 Why was no one there when I came? Why didn’t anyone answer when I called? Is it because I have no power to rescue? No, that is not the reason! For I can speak to the sea and make it dry up! I can turn rivers into deserts covered with dying fish.
3 I dress the skies in darkness, covering them with clothes of mourning.”
4 The Sovereign LORD has given me his words of wisdom, so that I know how to comfort the weary. Morning by morning he wakens me and opens my understanding to his will.
5 The Sovereign LORD has spoken to me, and I have listened. I have not rebelled or turned away.
6 I offered my back to those who beat me and my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard. I did not hide my face from mockery and spitting.
7 Because the Sovereign LORD helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore, I have set my face like a stone, determined to do his will. And I know that I will not be put to shame.
8 He who gives me justice is near. Who will dare to bring charges against me now? Where are my accusers? Let them appear!
9 See, the Sovereign LORD is on my side! Who will declare me guilty? All my enemies will be destroyed like old clothes that have been eaten by moths!
10 Who among you fears the LORD and obeys his servant? If you are walking in darkness, without a ray of light, trust in the LORD and rely on your God.
11 But watch out, you who live in your own light and warm yourselves by your own fires. This is the reward you will receive from me: You will soon fall down in great torment.

Disturbing the Peace

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“The devil is like an annoying noisy upstairs neighbor. Don’t let him take your peace.”~TB

One Note

It is incredibly important for you to remember that the devil is a one hit wonder. His song entices you to take your eyes off the prize that is Christ. He’ll go about it in different ways, but rest assured, it’s the same song, different pitch. Think of him like the frustrating neighbor who cranks up the music because they know it bothers you. Their actions may be annoying, but the secret, rather, the truth is in how you deal with the situation. He can’t do anything to you that can truly affect you. You can however, do his bidding by being the weakest link.

Weakest Link

Everyone at one point or another has been the weakest link in any relationship.  If you’re the weakest link, it can transpire in a few ways. You cause arguments on arbitrary issues. You’re too legalistic or litigious without balancing your judgement with mercy and grace. You refuse to apologize when you’re wrong. Even worse, you get mad at the person you’ve wronged! To stop being the weakest link, we all have to reflect on our behavior with honesty and humility. Ask yourself, if you love the person that you’re fighting with, is winning the argument that big of a deal? What do you stand to gain if you win the battle but lose the relationship? In those instances, only the devil wins, which is the point!

Ask Him

If you indeed find yourself in the weakest link seat, have a chat with God. There’s a good chance that our issues are ones that we’ve been dealing with for a long time. When you lean on God, you learn to put the sword down and stop fighting. When speaking with God, He will tell you that you’re quarrel isn’t with man, it’s with the opposition. However, you must acknowledge your weak link behavior and that takes some work. No one likes to admit that our number 2’s stink. But they do! So when you embrace humility and recognize that the goal isn’t to be right or to stir discord within your family, friends, or community, you stop being the devil’s plaything. Just ask and you shall receive.

Today’s Question

Are you ready to stop being the devil’s pawn or do you enjoy disturbing the peace?

Enjoy the reading

Isaiah 45

1 This is what the LORD says to Cyrus, his anointed one, whose right hand he will empower. Before him, mighty kings will be paralyzed with fear. Their fortress gates will be opened, never to shut again.
2 This is what the LORD says: “I will go before you, Cyrus, and level the mountains. I will smash down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron.
3 And I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness— secret riches. I will do this so you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name.
4 “And why have I called you for this work? Why did I call you by name when you did not know me? It is for the sake of Jacob my servant, Israel my chosen one.
5 I am the LORD ; there is no other God. I have equipped you for battle, though you don’t even know me,
6 so all the world from east to west will know there is no other God. I am the LORD, and there is no other.
7 I create the light and make the darkness. I send good times and bad times. I, the LORD, am the one who does these things.
8 “Open up, O heavens, and pour out your righteousness. Let the earth open wide so salvation and righteousness can sprout up together. I, the LORD, created them.
9 “What sorrow awaits those who argue with their Creator. Does a clay pot argue with its maker? Does the clay dispute with the one who shapes it, saying, ‘Stop, you’re doing it wrong!’ Does the pot exclaim, ‘How clumsy can you be?’
10How terrible it would be if a newborn baby said to its father, ‘Why was I born?’ or if it said to its mother, ‘Why did you make me this way?’”
11This is what the LORD says— the Holy One of Israel and your Creator: “Do you question what I do for my children? Do you give me orders about the work of my hands?
12 I am the one who made the earth and created people to live on it. With my hands I stretched out the heavens. All the stars are at my command.
13 I will raise up Cyrus to fulfill my righteous purpose, and I will guide his actions. He will restore my city and free my captive people— without seeking a reward! I, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken!”
14 This is what the LORD says: “You will rule the Egyptians, the Ethiopians, and the Sabeans. They will come to you with all their merchandise, and it will all be yours. They will follow you as prisoners in chains. They will fall to their knees in front of you and say, ‘God is with you, and he is the only God. There is no other.’”
15 Truly, O God of Israel, our Savior, you work in mysterious ways.
16 All craftsmen who make idols will be humiliated. They will all be disgraced together.
17 But the LORD will save the people of Israel with eternal salvation. Throughout everlasting ages, they will never again be humiliated and disgraced.
18 For the LORD is God, and he created the heavens and earth and put everything in place. He made the world to be lived in, not to be a place of empty chaos. “I am the LORD,” he says, “and there is no other.
19I publicly proclaim bold promises. I do not whisper obscurities in some dark corner. I would not have told the people of Israel to seek me if I could not be found. I, the LORD, speak only what is true and declare only what is right.
20“Gather together and come, you fugitives from surrounding nations. What fools they are who carry around their wooden idols and pray to gods that cannot save!
21 Consult together, argue your case. Get together and decide what to say. Who made these things known so long ago? What idol ever told you they would happen? Was it not I, the LORD ? For there is no other God but me, a righteous God and Savior. There is none but me.
22 Let all the world look to me for salvation! For I am God; there is no other.
23 I have sworn by my own name; I have spoken the truth, and I will never go back on my word: Every knee will bend to me, and every tongue will declare allegiance to me. ”
24 The people will declare, “The LORD is the source of all my righteousness and strength.” And all who were angry with him will come to him and be ashamed.
25 In the LORD all the generations of Israel will be justified, and in him they will boast.

Enemy

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Your brother is not your enemy, but the devil’s strategy is to make it appear like so.

If, Then

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 not

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.

Today’s Question

Do you love your brother or are you an enemy of the truth?

Enjoy the reading

Isaiah 42

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.
3 He chases them away and goes on safely, though he is walking over unfamiliar ground.
4 Who 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.”
5 The lands beyond the sea watch in fear. Remote lands tremble and mobilize for war.
6 The idol makers encourage one another, saying to each other, “Be strong!”
7 The 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,
9 I 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.
10 Don’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.
13 For 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.
14 Though 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.’
15 You will be a new threshing instrument with many sharp teeth. You will tear your enemies apart, making chaff of mountains.
16 You 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.
18 I 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.
20 I 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.
23 Yes, 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.
24 But 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!
27 I was the first to tell Zion, ‘Look! Help is on the way!’ I will send Jerusalem a messenger with good news.
28 Not one of your idols told you this. Not one gave any answer when I asked.
29 See, they are all foolish, worthless things. All your idols are as empty as the wind.

Plaque

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Hi Peeps

Today’s Quote

“Don’t let the smalls things build up in your relationships with others.”~TB

Routine

I was tasked to transport my parent’s bird to California. My sister dropped him off and told me that his cage was clean. As I was trying to get the cage into my car this morning, the bottom dropped open and a ton of bird poop fell into my car and on the garage floor. I was livid (and sleep deprived). At 4 in the morning, the last thing I wanted to be doing was cleaning bird poop ahead of an 8 hour drive. In my rage, I recalled decades worth of previous infractions, as a means to fuel my frustration. I had every intention of letting her know how she screwed up. Isn’t it amazing that when we get mad, we immediately look for ways to fan the flame? But then I realized, this is the same sister who let me cry into her sweater when someone stole my gel pens in the 5th grade. She’s also the mother of 3 of my favorite human beings. During the drive, I called her to laugh about the incident as I knew my tiredness had gotten the better of me. It wasn’t that serious. No argument or perceived slight is. The trouble lies in when you allow slights or transgressions build up like plaque in your mouth.

Cavities

Relationships are like teeth. When you care for them with routine maintenance, they last for a long time. However, just like teeth, if you don’t care for them and you let them rot, eventually they have to be pulled or filled. Relationships of all kinds are complex, which means that eventually we all have to go to God for help with a cavity. God is like the Holy Dentist, there to drill out the relational cavities and fill in the holes with mercy, wisdom, and grace. Without God, repairing relationships is like drilling cavities without novocaine, too painful and impossible to repair otherwise. Of course, cavities within your relationships can be avoided if you brush off the offenses and use the floss of forgiveness. So practice Biblical hygiene when doing life with one another.

Today’s Quote

Are you brushing away the offenses or are you constantly in God’s dental chair?

Enjoy the reading

Isaiah 41

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.
3 He chases them away and goes on safely, though he is walking over unfamiliar ground.
4 Who 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.”
5 The lands beyond the sea watch in fear. Remote lands tremble and mobilize for war.
6 The idol makers encourage one another, saying to each other, “Be strong!”
7 The 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,
9 I 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.
10 Don’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.
13 For 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.
14 Though 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.’
15 You will be a new threshing instrument with many sharp teeth. You will tear your enemies apart, making chaff of mountains.
16 You 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.
18 I 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.
20 I 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.
23 Yes, 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.
24 But 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!
27 I was the first to tell Zion, ‘Look! Help is on the way!’ I will send Jerusalem a messenger with good news.
28 Not one of your idols told you this. Not one gave any answer when I asked.
29 See, they are all foolish, worthless things. All your idols are as empty as the wind.

Stronger Together

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Family is like a tapestry where each member is a fiber. Individually not as impressive, but woven together, quite formidable.”~TB

Work

I communicate with my parents almost every day. My dad and I will usually have talks after he gets out of school where we talk about God, opera, theories and everything else in between. I’ve had people praise how amazing my relationship with my parents is, but oh friends, it wasn’t always so. What people see from the outside is the culmination of years of work, trial and error.

There were a few years where my dad and I could not throw together a few sentences to each other without getting offended. Yeah, it wasn’t pretty. Looking back, it’s probably because we’re so similar. But, I have to thank God that we never gave up on each other, and eventually we hashed things out, cried, hugged, and moved on. These days, if we’re annoying one another, it’s probably because one of us needs a nap or needs to eat.

Tapestry

I like to think of God as a Master Artist, creating a unique and exquisite tapestry that are families. Each member is a specific thread or fiber, providing a layer of complexity and beauty to the tapestry. Sometimes those fibers snag and if you don’t allow the Master Artist to patch things up, what once was a beautiful woven creation becomes a frayed and tattered garment. Families argue, we don’t always treat each other as we should and in those moments, the opposition will whisper in your ear all of the reasons you should leave or not forgive.

Friends, remember that the devil’s job is to separate us and keep us on opposing sides. It’s easier to cause problems individually than in a unit. Divide and conquer, it’s an effective strategy. But if we can look at each other as God looks at us, we can look past the offenses, learn how to forgive and  not look for the reasons to leave, but remember the reasons worth staying. My relationship with my family will never be perfect. I’m prone to putting my foot in my mouth, ha. But, even in the tough days, I try and focus on the gorgeous tapestry that is my family and my, what an amazing creation from the Master Artist. He’s done a great work in you and your family too.

Today’s Question

Are you admiring your family tapestry or are you not able to see past the fray?

Enjoy the reading

Isaiah 39

1 Soon after this, Merodach-baladan son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent Hezekiah his best wishes and a gift. He had heard that Hezekiah had been very sick and that he had recovered.
2 Hezekiah was delighted with the Babylonian envoys and showed them everything in his treasure-houses—the silver, the gold, the spices, and the aromatic oils. He also took them to see his armory and showed them everything in his royal treasuries! There was nothing in his palace or kingdom that Hezekiah did not show them.
3 Then Isaiah the prophet went to King Hezekiah and asked him, “What did those men want? Where were they from?” Hezekiah replied, “They came from the distant land of Babylon.”
4 “What did they see in your palace?” asked Isaiah. “They saw everything,” Hezekiah replied. “I showed them everything I own—all my royal treasuries.”
5 Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Listen to this message from the LORD of Heaven’s Armies:
6 ‘The time is coming when everything in your palace—all the treasures stored up by your ancestors until now—will be carried off to Babylon. Nothing will be left,’ says the LORD .
7 ‘Some of your very own sons will be taken away into exile. They will become eunuchs who will serve in the palace of Babylon’s king.’”
8 Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “This message you have given me from the LORD is good.” For the king was thinking, “At least there will be peace and security during my lifetime.”

 

Standard

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“God does not treat us like puppets or slaves, so let’s not do that to each other.”~TB

Not That

Since when did following Christ mean that we are meant to be doormats? As followers of Christ, we are meant to strive for a higher standard, but that also means asserting boundaries and holding each other accountable when people get into ‘Pharaoh’ mode. It’s one thing to turn the other cheek when you are wronged. It’s an entirely different story when you allow other people to enslave your time, mind and resources because you think you’re being Christ-like. If you think bowing down to others and allowing poor treatment is an act of humility, I strongly encourage you to read the Bible more carefully.

Slippery Slope

When you allow others to continually take advantage of you, you are going down a slippery slope. There is a stark difference between forgiving offenses and tolerating abusive behavior. In our lives, we will endure hardship, setbacks, and other uncomfortable scenarios. But, that is not the same as tolerating bad behavior, whether it comes from your boss, your spouse, your landlord or anyone else. If we truly want to be Christ-like, we have to hold one another to a higher standard. That means shedding light on evil deeds, slave mentalities, and the like. The next time you’re dealing with a ‘Pharaoh’, remember that God loves you and does not require you to put up with inappropriate treatment. Forgive, yes. In addition, remember Christ’s standards.

Today’s Question

Are you accepting bad behavior?

Enjoy the reading

Isaiah 36

1 In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah’s reign, King Sennacherib of Assyria came to attack the fortified towns of Judah and conquered them.
2 Then the king of Assyria sent his chief of staff from Lachish with a huge army to confront King Hezekiah in Jerusalem. The Assyrians took up a position beside the aqueduct that feeds water into the upper pool, near the road leading to the field where cloth is washed.
3 These are the officials who went out to meet with them: Eliakim son of Hilkiah, the palace administrator; Shebna the court secretary; and Joah son of Asaph, the royal historian.
4 Then the Assyrian king’s chief of staff told them to give this message to Hezekiah: “This is what the great king of Assyria says: What are you trusting in that makes you so confident?
5 Do you think that mere words can substitute for military skill and strength? Who are you counting on, that you have rebelled against me?
6 On Egypt? If you lean on Egypt, it will be like a reed that splinters beneath your weight and pierces your hand. Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, is completely unreliable!
7 “But perhaps you will say to me, ‘We are trusting in the LORD our God!’ But isn’t he the one who was insulted by Hezekiah? Didn’t Hezekiah tear down his shrines and altars and make everyone in Judah and Jerusalem worship only at the altar here in Jerusalem?
8 “I’ll tell you what! Strike a bargain with my master, the king of Assyria. I will give you 2,000 horses if you can find that many men to ride on them!
9 With your tiny army, how can you think of challenging even the weakest contingent of my master’s troops, even with the help of Egypt’s chariots and charioteers?
10 What’s more, do you think we have invaded your land without the LORD ’s direction? The LORD himself told us, ‘Attack this land and destroy it!’”
11 Then Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah said to the Assyrian chief of staff, “Please speak to us in Aramaic, for we understand it well. Don’t speak in Hebrew, for the people on the wall will hear.”
12 But Sennacherib’s chief of staff replied, “Do you think my master sent this message only to you and your master? He wants all the people to hear it, for when we put this city under siege, they will suffer along with you. They will be so hungry and thirsty that they will eat their own dung and drink their own urine.”
13 Then the chief of staff stood and shouted in Hebrew to the people on the wall, “Listen to this message from the great king of Assyria!
14 This is what the king says: Don’t let Hezekiah deceive you. He will never be able to rescue you.
15 Don’t let him fool you into trusting in the LORD by saying, ‘The LORD will surely rescue us. This city will never fall into the hands of the Assyrian king!’
16 “Don’t listen to Hezekiah! These are the terms the king of Assyria is offering: Make peace with me—open the gates and come out. Then each of you can continue eating from your own grapevine and fig tree and drinking from your own well.
17 Then I will arrange to take you to another land like this one—a land of grain and new wine, bread and vineyards.
18 “Don’t let Hezekiah mislead you by saying, ‘The LORD will rescue us!’ Have the gods of any other nations ever saved their people from the king of Assyria?
19 What happened to the gods of Hamath and Arpad? And what about the gods of Sepharvaim? Did any god rescue Samaria from my power?
20 What god of any nation has ever been able to save its people from my power? So what makes you think that the LORD can rescue Jerusalem from me?”
21 But the people were silent and did not utter a word because Hezekiah had commanded them, “Do not answer him.”
22 Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah, the palace administrator; Shebna the court secretary; and Joah son of Asaph, the royal historian, went back to Hezekiah. They tore their clothes in despair, and they went in to see the king and told him what the Assyrian chief of staff had said.

Terms of Service

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“How wonderful it is that God’s salvation does not have any fine print attached to it.”~TB

Human Deception

I’m someone that reads the fine print. Not because I’m detailed oriented, but because I don’t want to sign my life away to some tech company that has cleverly embedded som nonsense clause in their user agreement. That may sound paranoid, but the fine print is ingrained in a lot of things we do as people. And if I’m being honest, it’s shady.

Practice Honesty

Imagine if Jesus died for our sins with asterisk (*) attached to it. Imagine if the fine print read “this agreement is valid for those who are left handed.” Or “Agreement is void if you eat a red onion.”? Or what if it called for perfection? My point is, I’m so glad that Christ is way more forgiving, honest, and loving than we are to each other.

Today’s Question

What would the world look like if we treated one another the way God treats us?

Enjoy the reading

Isaiah 30

1 “What sorrow awaits my rebellious children,” says the LORD . “You make plans that are contrary to mine. You make alliances not directed by my Spirit, thus piling up your sins.
2 For without consulting me, you have gone down to Egypt for help. You have put your trust in Pharaoh’s protection. You have tried to hide in his shade.
3 But by trusting Pharaoh, you will be humiliated, and by depending on him, you will be disgraced.
4 For though his power extends to Zoan and his officials have arrived in Hanes,
5 all who trust in him will be ashamed. He will not help you. Instead, he will disgrace you.”
6This message came to me concerning the animals in the Negev: The caravan moves slowly across the terrible desert to Egypt— donkeys weighed down with riches and camels loaded with treasure— all to pay for Egypt’s protection. They travel through the wilderness, a place of lionesses and lions, a place where vipers and poisonous snakes live. All this, and Egypt will give you nothing in return.
7 Egypt’s promises are worthless! Therefore, I call her Rahab— the Harmless Dragon.
8 Now go and write down these words. Write them in a book. They will stand until the end of time as a witness
9 that these people are stubborn rebels who refuse to pay attention to the LORD ’s instructions.
10They tell the seers, “Stop seeing visions!” They tell the prophets, “Don’t tell us what is right. Tell us nice things. Tell us lies.
11 Forget all this gloom. Get off your narrow path. Stop telling us about your ‘Holy One of Israel.’”
12 This is the reply of the Holy One of Israel: “Because you despise what I tell you and trust instead in oppression and lies,
13 calamity will come upon you suddenly— like a bulging wall that bursts and falls. In an instant it will collapse and come crashing down.
14 You will be smashed like a piece of pottery— shattered so completely that there won’t be a piece big enough to carry coals from a fireplace or a little water from the well.”
15 This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: “Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength. But you would have none of it.
16 You said, ‘No, we will get our help from Egypt. They will give us swift horses for riding into battle.’ But the only swiftness you are going to see is the swiftness of your enemies chasing you!
17 One of them will chase a thousand of you. Five of them will make all of you flee. You will be left like a lonely flagpole on a hill or a tattered banner on a distant mountaintop.”
18 So the LORD must wait for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion. For the LORD is a faithful God. Blessed are those who wait for his help.
19 O people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. He will be gracious if you ask for help. He will surely respond to the sound of your cries.
20 Though the Lord gave you adversity for food and suffering for drink, he will still be with you to teach you. You will see your teacher with your own eyes.
21 Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, “This is the way you should go,” whether to the right or to the left.
22 Then you will destroy all your silver idols and your precious gold images. You will throw them out like filthy rags, saying to them, “Good riddance!”
23 Then the LORD will bless you with rain at planting time. There will be wonderful harvests and plenty of pastureland for your livestock.
24 The oxen and donkeys that till the ground will eat good grain, its chaff blown away by the wind.
25 In that day, when your enemies are slaughtered and the towers fall, there will be streams of water flowing down every mountain and hill.
26 The moon will be as bright as the sun, and the sun will be seven times brighter—like the light of seven days in one! So it will be when the LORD begins to heal his people and cure the wounds he gave them.
27 Look! The LORD is coming from far away, burning with anger, surrounded by thick, rising smoke. His lips are filled with fury; his words consume like fire.
28 His hot breath pours out like a flood up to the neck of his enemies. He will sift out the proud nations for destruction. He will bridle them and lead them away to ruin.
29 But the people of God will sing a song of joy, like the songs at the holy festivals. You will be filled with joy, as when a flutist leads a group of pilgrims to Jerusalem, the mountain of the LORD — to the Rock of Israel.
30 And the LORD will make his majestic voice heard. He will display the strength of his mighty arm. It will descend with devouring flames, with cloudbursts, thunderstorms, and huge hailstones.
31 At the LORD ’s command, the Assyrians will be shattered. He will strike them down with his royal scepter.
32 And as the LORD strikes them with his rod of punishment, his people will celebrate with tambourines and harps. Lifting his mighty arm, he will fight the Assyrians.
33 Topheth—the place of burning— has long been ready for the Assyrian king; the pyre is piled high with wood. The breath of the LORD, like fire from a volcano, will set it ablaze.

 

 

Intent

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“In matters of communication, intent matters as does grace and mercy.”~TB

When Help Goes Wrong

A few weeks ago, I was making a pot roast for my parents. Man, do I make a mean pot roast. My trick is to allow the roast to slow cook for at least 8 hours. I find that the meat just falls apart yet it retains its juices. One morning, I prepped the dish, and decided to use the day to take care of some tasks. When I got home, I went to check on the pot roast only to find that the meat had already been cut into pieces and it had been slow cooking for only 6 hours! I was livid. Turns out my dad thought he was doing me a solid by chopping up the meat. In his mind, he was helping. In my mind, he butchered (pun intended) my perfected process.

Stop Drop & Roll

My first instinct was to read him the riot act, driving home the point of my process and how the dish was simply ruined (dramatic, I know, but if you love to cook you get it) the meal. But when I saw his face after I informed him of the mistake (and perhaps I had my mean face on) I stopped for a minute and chilled out. I realized that his intention was to help me, not to ruin the dish. This moment did not call for a fire and brimstone approach. Instead of focusing on the mistake, I decided to focus on the intent. How cool is it to have someone want to help out? I simply let it go and then we sat down to play some epic dominoes. God delivered the domino victories to me that day. Justice was served.

 

Intent Matters

It seems like today, we hustle and bustle through life, quickly judging and assessing yet sometimes failing to look at the bigger picture. Relationships are complex in nature and if we fail to recognize the true intent of the people in our lives, we can get things wrong. Sure, an action may have caused an unintended outcome, but that’s what mercy is for. After all God forgives our actions— both good intent and bad. The point is to evaluate a situation on a case by case scenario. In the example above, I had to look at all sides of the equation, not just how I felt in the moment. Had I chosen anger, my dad could have gotten defensive and then we would have had an argument on our hands. Instead, we had the opportunity to laugh at it, play some dominoes and life went on as usual. So the next time someone in your life accidentally offends you, don’t forget to look at their intent with mercy and grace. Remember the mercy and grace that Christ extends to us every second of every day.

Today’s Question

Do you consider intent or are you intent on being continually offended?

Enjoy the reading

Isaiah 24

1 Look! The LORD is about to destroy the earth and make it a vast wasteland. He devastates the surface of the earth and scatters the people.
2 Priests and laypeople, servants and masters, maids and mistresses, buyers and sellers, lenders and borrowers, bankers and debtors—none will be spared.
3 The earth will be completely emptied and looted. The LORD has spoken!
4 The earth mourns and dries up, and the land wastes away and withers. Even the greatest people on earth waste away.
5 The earth suffers for the sins of its people, for they have twisted God’s instructions, violated his laws, and broken his everlasting covenant.
6Therefore, a curse consumes the earth. Its people must pay the price for their sin. They are destroyed by fire, and only a few are left alive.
7 The grapevines waste away, and there is no new wine. All the merrymakers sigh and mourn.
8 The cheerful sound of tambourines is stilled; the happy cries of celebration are heard no more. The melodious chords of the harp are silent.
9 Gone are the joys of wine and song; alcoholic drink turns bitter in the mouth.
10 The city writhes in chaos; every home is locked to keep out intruders.
11 Mobs gather in the streets, crying out for wine. Joy has turned to gloom. Gladness has been banished from the land.
12 The city is left in ruins, its gates battered down.
13 Throughout the earth the story is the same— only a remnant is left, like the stray olives left on the tree or the few grapes left on the vine after harvest.
14 But all who are left shout and sing for joy. Those in the west praise the LORD ’s majesty.
15 In eastern lands, give glory to the LORD . In the lands beyond the sea, praise the name of the LORD, the God of Israel.
16 We hear songs of praise from the ends of the earth, songs that give glory to the Righteous One! But my heart is heavy with grief. Weep for me, for I wither away. Deceit still prevails, and treachery is everywhere.
17Terror and traps and snares will be your lot, you people of the earth.
18 Those who flee in terror will fall into a trap, and those who escape the trap will be caught in a snare. Destruction falls like rain from the heavens; the foundations of the earth shake.
19 The earth has broken up. It has utterly collapsed; it is violently shaken.
20The earth staggers like a drunk. It trembles like a tent in a storm. It falls and will not rise again, for the guilt of its rebellion is very heavy.
21 In that day the LORD will punish the gods in the heavens and the proud rulers of the nations on earth.
22 They will be rounded up and put in prison. They will be shut up in prison and will finally be punished.
23 Then the glory of the moon will wane, and the brightness of the sun will fade, for the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will rule on Mount Zion. He will rule in great glory in Jerusalem, in the sight of all the leaders of his people.

Trash

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Sin is like digging in the trash for treats— nothing good comes from it.”~TB

Garbage Deeds

A few days ago, I forgot to take out the trash. It wasn’t old or anything, but the it contained some chicken bones and meat products, which are too much of a temptation for my dog. I figured it would be ok since there’s a lock on it, but when I arrived back home, trash was sprawled all over my kitchen floor and my dog was in the corner with her tail tucked in and a face that read ‘guilty’ all over it. Annoyed, I asked her, “Why do you go digging in the trash when I’ve bought you treats? All you have to do is behave and you get all of the treats you want”. Then, I had an epiphany. God probably says the same thing to us when we sin. We all go digging in the trash looking for forbidden treats even though God provides us good things all of the time.

Mercy at its Finest

I can’t stay mad at Abbey for long. She’s a good dog, and she’s had to put up with me for almost 7 years. Getting back to the trash, I sigh and chuckle, cleaning up the mess  as I thought about how many times God has had (And will continue) to clean up mine. It’s funny though, we all mess up, digging through the trash and then hide from God as if He doesn’t already know what we’ve been up to. Fortunately for us, He lovingly cleans up our junk, erasing it from the score board, and guess what, the “treat” is till on the table. Just like our canine friends, we’ll always find trash attractive as its in our nature, but with discipline and looking out for the divine ‘treats’ maybe we can stay out of the garbage more frequently. As for my dog, well, I’ll just stick to taking out the trash.

 

Today’s Question

Are you ready to stop digging in the trash?

Enjoy the reading

Isaiah 23

1 This message came to me concerning Tyre: Wail, you trading ships of Tarshish, for the harbor and houses of Tyre are gone! The rumors you heard in Cyprus are all true.
2Mourn in silence, you people of the coast and you merchants of Sidon. Your traders crossed the sea,
3 sailing over deep waters. They brought you grain from Egypt and harvests from along the Nile. You were the marketplace of the world.
4 But now you are put to shame, city of Sidon, for Tyre, the fortress of the sea, says, “Now I am childless; I have no sons or daughters.”
5 When Egypt hears the news about Tyre, there will be great sorrow.
6 Send word now to Tarshish! Wail, you people who live in distant lands!
7 Is this silent ruin all that is left of your once joyous city? What a long history was yours! Think of all the colonists you sent to distant places.
8Who has brought this disaster on Tyre, that great creator of kingdoms? Her traders were all princes, her merchants were nobles.
9The LORD of Heaven’s Armies has done it to destroy your pride and bring low all earth’s nobility.
10 Come, people of Tarshish, sweep over the land like the flooding Nile, for Tyre is defenseless.
11 The LORD held out his hand over the sea and shook the kingdoms of the earth. He has spoken out against Phoenicia, ordering that her fortresses be destroyed.
12He says, “Never again will you rejoice, O daughter of Sidon, for you have been crushed. Even if you flee to Cyprus, you will find no rest.”
13 Look at the land of Babylonia — the people of that land are gone! The Assyrians have handed Babylon over to the wild animals of the desert. They have built siege ramps against its walls, torn down its palaces, and turned it to a heap of rubble.
14Wail, you ships of Tarshish, for your harbor is destroyed!
15 For seventy years, the length of a king’s life, Tyre will be forgotten. But then the city will come back to life as in the song about the prostitute:
16 Take a harp and walk the streets, you forgotten harlot. Make sweet melody and sing your songs so you will be remembered again.
17 Yes, after seventy years the LORD will revive Tyre. But she will be no different than she was before. She will again be a prostitute to all kingdoms around the world.
18 But in the end her profits will be given to the LORD . Her wealth will not be hoarded but will provide good food and fine clothing for the LORD ’s priests.

 

Triggers

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“If you struggle with stumbling blocks seek Christ and wise counsel to learn how to remove them.”~TB

Life Bruises

We all have stumbling blocks, that may have come from a hurtful and traumatic experience from our past. Maybe you accidentally choked on an apple and years later the color red makes you anxious. Perhaps the snake scene in Indiana Jones scared you, so now reptiles freaks you out. These are relatively mild experiences, but if you examine your life, I’m sure you can find your own examples. Some triggers are harmless while others can cause problems in our lives or negatively impact those around us. I bring this up because whatever causes us to stumble or to fall, the devil will exploit to the maximum of his ability. His job is to take our eyes from Christ and suck the joy and purpose that God has for each and every one of us. This is where strength in numbers and honest Biblical conversations really come into play.

Talk it Out

I’ve found through the years that if I ask God pointed questions about examining the areas of improvement of my life, the revelations are astounding! Seriously, it’s like divine therapy. Add in the weekly chats with my dad where we volley ideas and concepts back and forth, I get the opportunity to learn a lot. Of course, there’s no harm in talking with a professional either. My point is that in order to improve on our weaknesses and stop being an unconscious henchmen for the opposition, self-awareness is critical.

For Instance

I’ll give you a personal example. For work, I am a freelance writer, creating content for organizations and universities. For the most part, I love my job and the flexibility and autonomy it brings. Most recently, however, I realized that some contracts present a certain sense of anxious foreboding for me and it impacts my ability to do my job well. In a moment of frustration, I asked God, “what is wrong with me?”. Funnily enough a memory of my former boss popped into my head.

My first big kid job was at Burger King in their corporate operations department. I had a micromanaging boss that enjoyed sending me performance managing emails with the HR manager cc-ed to them. Ironically, my territory was the highest performing within her portfolio, but for one reason or another, she enjoyed singling me out. It got so bad that it affected my personal life and I eventually left. That was 6 years ago.

Now, I realize that subconsciously, I get anxious working with clients who remind me of her. Through no fault of their own, I’ve been projecting my experience onto my clients, which has been hindering the joy and creating in my work. The beauty of this revelation is that I can now intentionally work on my attitude toward certain clients as I don’t want to keep repeating the cycle.

Not Just

A lot of people believe having a relationship with Christ is just about salvation and escaping the fate of hell. But really, it’s so much more. When Christ influences your life, you experience peace, joy, contentment today. The benefits of Christ don’t start when we die, they’re already here! For this reason, I encourage you to ask Him questions, talk with Him daily, and get some feedback and perspective from elders. Reflective wisdom can help you identify your triggers and remove the root-causes of problems within your life. This all can happen when you seek to know Him.

Today’s Question

Are you reaping the benefits of knowing Christ

Enjoy the reading

Isaiah 20

1 In the year when King Sargon of Assyria sent his commander in chief to capture the Philistine city of Ashdod,
2 the LORD told Isaiah son of Amoz, “Take off the burlap you have been wearing, and remove your sandals.” Isaiah did as he was told and walked around naked and barefoot.
3 Then the LORD said, “My servant Isaiah has been walking around naked and barefoot for the last three years. This is a sign—a symbol of the terrible troubles I will bring upon Egypt and Ethiopia.
4 For the king of Assyria will take away the Egyptians and Ethiopians as prisoners. He will make them walk naked and barefoot, both young and old, their buttocks bared, to the shame of Egypt.
5 Then the Philistines will be thrown into panic, for they counted on the power of Ethiopia and boasted of their allies in Egypt!
6 They will say, ‘If this can happen to Egypt, what chance do we have? We were counting on Egypt to protect us from the king of Assyria.’”