Ball & Chain

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“If you’re tired of struggling with the things that weigh you down, ask God to show you how to unlock the chains that bind you.”

TB

Weighted

Many of us walk around with the weight of our past sins, experiences, and hurts as if a ball and chain were tied to our ankle. Weighed down we struggle in life, dragging on, unable to move freely. Because we’re carrying a weight that we cannot hold, we are unable to see the freedom that Christ provides, unleashing us from all that burdens us. If you feel weighed down, it’s time to ask for help.

Root Cause

Wherever your ball and chain lies, there is a root cause for the weight. Friends, how many of us live life or limit life, based on comments or situations from our past? Maybe your first boss told you that you wouldn’t amount to much and those words began to dictate your future. Perhaps a parent’s neglect left you to believe that you had to work insane amounts of hours to be worthy of love. My point is, that weight has a root cause.

Keys

If you’re ready to let that ball and chain go, it’s time to ask your Father in Heaven for the keys. Ask Him to reveal the ball and chains of your life. Sit with Him to uncover the root cause of those struggles. Allow Him to teach you how to forgive those people, the situations, and yourself for what transpired. Grow in the Word so that you may understand how to mature from offense and hurt. When we go to God for these structural breakdowns, He will honor our request with revelation, healing, and mercy, giving us the keys to freedom. All we have to do is ask, seek, and follow.

Today’s Question

What is weighing you down, preventing you from God’s will for your life?

Enjoy the reading

Ezekiel 30

1 This is another message that came to me from the LORD : 2 “Son of man, prophesy and give this message from the Sovereign LORD : “Weep and wail for that day, 3 for the terrible day is almost here— the day of the LORD ! It is a day of clouds and gloom, a day of despair for the nations. 4 A sword will come against Egypt, and those who are slaughtered will cover the ground. Its wealth will be carried away and its foundations destroyed. The land of Ethiopia will be ravished. 5 Ethiopia, Libya, Lydia, all Arabia, and all their other allies will be destroyed in that war. 6 “For this is what the LORD says: All of Egypt’s allies will fall, and the pride of her power will end. From Migdol to Aswan they will be slaughtered by the sword, says the Sovereign LORD . 7 Egypt will be desolate, surrounded by desolate nations, and its cities will be in ruins, surrounded by other ruined cities. 8 And the people of Egypt will know that I am the LORD when I have set Egypt on fire and destroyed all their allies. 9 At that time I will send swift messengers in ships to terrify the complacent Ethiopians. Great panic will come upon them on that day of Egypt’s certain destruction. Watch for it! It is sure to come! 10 “For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: By the power of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, I will destroy the hordes of Egypt. 11 He and his armies—the most ruthless of all— will be sent to demolish the land. They will make war against Egypt until slaughtered Egyptians cover the ground. 12 I will dry up the Nile River and sell the land to wicked men. I will destroy the land of Egypt and everything in it by the hands of foreigners. I, the LORD, have spoken! 13 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will smash the idols of Egypt and the images at Memphis. There will be no rulers left in Egypt; terror will sweep the land. 14 I will destroy southern Egypt, set fire to Zoan, and bring judgment against Thebes. 15 I will pour out my fury on Pelusium, the strongest fortress of Egypt, and I will stamp out the hordes of Thebes. 16 Yes, I will set fire to all Egypt! Pelusium will be racked with pain; Thebes will be torn apart; Memphis will live in constant terror. 17 The young men of Heliopolis and Bubastis will die in battle, and the women will be taken away as slaves. 18 When I come to break the proud strength of Egypt, it will be a dark day for Tahpanhes, too. A dark cloud will cover Tahpanhes, and its daughters will be led away as captives. 19 And so I will greatly punish Egypt, and they will know that I am the LORD .” 20 On April 29, during the eleventh year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity, this message came to me from the LORD : 21 “Son of man, I have broken the arm of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. His arm has not been put in a cast so that it may heal. Neither has it been bound up with a splint to make it strong enough to hold a sword. 22 Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am the enemy of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt! I will break both of his arms—the good arm along with the broken one—and I will make his sword clatter to the ground. 23 I will scatter the Egyptians to many lands throughout the world. 24 I will strengthen the arms of Babylon’s king and put my sword in his hand. But I will break the arms of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and he will lie there mortally wounded, groaning in pain. 25 I will strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon, while the arms of Pharaoh fall useless to his sides. And when I put my sword in the hand of Babylon’s king and he brings it against the land of Egypt, Egypt will know that I am the LORD . 26 I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations, dispersing them throughout the earth. Then they will know that I am the LORD .”

Words

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Be mindful of your words and what you speak to yourself and others as our words bring life or death.”

TB

Dead Language

We are what we speak. If we spew junk, we participate in junk. Good cannot grow from dead thinking and speaking. Negative thoughts and words bring about negative deeds and actions. If you struggle with your tongue, go to God and He will teach you a new language.

Living Word

Notice how God speaks to you, it’s with encouragement and grace. He does not belittle or harp on our faults. He gently picks us up, dusts us off, and graciously cheers us on so that we go on to do good. If God isn’t throwing salt in our wounds by negative speech, it’s time for us to speak gently to one another.

Today’s Question

Are you talking about life or death?

Enjoy the reading

Ezekiel 28

1 Then this message came to me from the LORD : 2 “Son of man, give the prince of Tyre this message from the Sovereign LORD : “In your great pride you claim, ‘I am a god! I sit on a divine throne in the heart of the sea.’ But you are only a man and not a god, though you boast that you are a god. 3 You regard yourself as wiser than Daniel and think no secret is hidden from you. 4 With your wisdom and understanding you have amassed great wealth— gold and silver for your treasuries. 5 Yes, your wisdom has made you very rich, and your riches have made you very proud. 6 “Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Because you think you are as wise as a god, 7 I will now bring against you a foreign army, the terror of the nations. They will draw their swords against your marvelous wisdom and defile your splendor! 8 They will bring you down to the pit, and you will die in the heart of the sea, pierced with many wounds. 9 Will you then boast, ‘I am a god!’ to those who kill you? To them you will be no god but merely a man! 10 You will die like an outcast at the hands of foreigners. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken!” 11 Then this further message came to me from the LORD : 12 “Son of man, sing this funeral song for the king of Tyre. Give him this message from the Sovereign LORD : “You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and exquisite in beauty. 13 You were in Eden, the garden of God. Your clothing was adorned with every precious stone — red carnelian, pale-green peridot, white moonstone, blue-green beryl, onyx, green jasper, blue lapis lazuli, turquoise, and emerald— all beautifully crafted for you and set in the finest gold. They were given to you on the day you were created. 14 I ordained and anointed you as the mighty angelic guardian. You had access to the holy mountain of God and walked among the stones of fire. 15 “You were blameless in all you did from the day you were created until the day evil was found in you. 16 Your rich commerce led you to violence, and you sinned. So I banished you in disgrace from the mountain of God. I expelled you, O mighty guardian, from your place among the stones of fire. 17 Your heart was filled with pride because of all your beauty. Your wisdom was corrupted by your love of splendor. So I threw you to the ground and exposed you to the curious gaze of kings. 18 You defiled your sanctuaries with your many sins and your dishonest trade. So I brought fire out from within you, and it consumed you. I reduced you to ashes on the ground in the sight of all who were watching. 19 All who knew you are appalled at your fate. You have come to a terrible end, and you will exist no more.” 20 Then another message came to me from the LORD : 21 “Son of man, turn and face the city of Sidon and prophesy against it. 22 Give the people of Sidon this message from the Sovereign LORD : “I am your enemy, O Sidon, and I will reveal my glory by what I do to you. When I bring judgment against you and reveal my holiness among you, everyone watching will know that I am the LORD . 23 I will send a plague against you, and blood will be spilled in your streets. The attack will come from every direction, and your people will lie slaughtered within your walls. Then everyone will know that I am the LORD . 24 No longer will Israel’s scornful neighbors prick and tear at her like briers and thorns. For then they will know that I am the Sovereign LORD . 25 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: The people of Israel will again live in their own land, the land I gave my servant Jacob. For I will gather them from the distant lands where I have scattered them. I will reveal to the nations of the world my holiness among my people. 26 They will live safely in Israel and build homes and plant vineyards. And when I punish the neighboring nations that treated them with contempt, they will know that I am the LORD their God.”

Storm Chasers

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“When we fail to reconcile God’s truth, we try and control our lives by chasing storms.”

TB

Control

Think about the obstacles in your life. Think about the frustrations or trials you face. Chances are, there is a theme to what troubles you, and that theme is control. When we struggle with things– anger, greed, pain, lust, laziness, and the like, we are trying to control something that requires a power that we will never possess. It could be anger, it could be lust, it could be greed, it could be a host of things. We struggle with the same things because we fail to relinquish our weaknesses to Christ we are doomed to keep repeating the same trials, like our very own groundhog day. To get out of the storm chasing business, we must first acknowledge how we got there in the first place.

Tear Down

We’ve all experienced hurt, heartache, shame, regret, or some unfortunate event(s). Sometimes our experiences trick us into thinking we are in charge of protecting ourselves. As such, we act as storm chasers, running into the chaos. In order to stay out of the chaos, we have to know that the storm does not need chasing. The Bible says resist the devil, not fight him. How do we do this? We stop chasing the storm by tearing down the walls we’ve built to protect ourselves. We walk in love not in anger or fear, choosing the path that Christ chose. When we stop chasing the storm and allow God into all aspects of our lives, we will know His peace.

Today’s Quote

Are you chasing a storm that should be given to God?

Enjoy the reading

Ezekiel 26

1 On February 3, during the twelfth year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity, this message came to me from the LORD : 2 “Son of man, Tyre has rejoiced over the fall of Jerusalem, saying, ‘Ha! She who was the gateway to the rich trade routes to the east has been broken, and I am the heir! Because she has been made desolate, I will become wealthy!’ 3 “Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am your enemy, O Tyre, and I will bring many nations against you, like the waves of the sea crashing against your shoreline. 4 They will destroy the walls of Tyre and tear down its towers. I will scrape away its soil and make it a bare rock! 5 It will be just a rock in the sea, a place for fishermen to spread their nets, for I have spoken, says the Sovereign LORD . Tyre will become the prey of many nations, 6 and its mainland villages will be destroyed by the sword. Then they will know that I am the LORD . 7 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: From the north I will bring King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon against Tyre. He is king of kings and brings his horses, chariots, charioteers, and great army. 8 First he will destroy your mainland villages. Then he will attack you by building a siege wall, constructing a ramp, and raising a roof of shields against you. 9 He will pound your walls with battering rams and demolish your towers with sledgehammers. 10 The hooves of his horses will choke the city with dust, and the noise of the charioteers and chariot wheels will shake your walls as they storm through your broken gates. 11 His horsemen will trample through every street in the city. They will butcher your people, and your strong pillars will topple. 12 “They will plunder all your riches and merchandise and break down your walls. They will destroy your lovely homes and dump your stones and timbers and even your dust into the sea. 13 I will stop the music of your songs. No more will the sound of harps be heard among your people. 14 I will make your island a bare rock, a place for fishermen to spread their nets. You will never be rebuilt, for I, the LORD, have spoken. Yes, the Sovereign LORD has spoken! 15 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says to Tyre: The whole coastline will tremble at the sound of your fall, as the screams of the wounded echo in the continuing slaughter. 16 All the seaport rulers will step down from their thrones and take off their royal robes and beautiful clothing. They will sit on the ground trembling with horror at your destruction. 17 Then they will wail for you, singing this funeral song: “O famous island city, once ruler of the sea, how you have been destroyed! Your people, with their naval power, once spread fear around the world. 18 Now the coastlands tremble at your fall. The islands are dismayed as you disappear. 19 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will make Tyre an uninhabited ruin, like many others. I will bury you beneath the terrible waves of enemy attack. Great seas will swallow you. 20 I will send you to the pit to join those who descended there long ago. Your city will lie in ruins, buried beneath the earth, like those in the pit who have entered the world of the dead. You will have no place of respect here in the land of the living. 21 I will bring you to a terrible end, and you will exist no more. You will be looked for, but you will never again be found. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken!”

Colored Glasses

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Whatever you are ruled by will be the hue of your lenses.”

TB

The Moment

The moment you realize that we are designed to seek approval, connection, and support, the easier it will be for you to see the truth. Those are gifts directly given to us by God so that we can know Him on a deeper, foundational level. But, of course, we’re human, prone to living by our flesh, perverting the traits God has given to us so freely. Friends, we can truly live without being in a relationship with God. Even though that’s true, we humans with our egos, struck out to fulfill God-centered needs through fleshly practices. So what does that look like?

Corrupted Sight

When we fail to reconcile our reality for God’s Truth, we see the world and people through various colors based on whatever hurt we’ve experienced. When you have unchecked rejection in your heart, you see the world in the color of rejection. If you struggle with lust you will see the world in that same way. When you struggle with anger, fear, and the like, your world will be colored by that affliction. As such, you cannot see nor hear God when your colored glasses shade His Truth.

Toss ’em

If you’re tired of living in fear, rejection, lust, anger, whatever your case is, it’s time to toss your colored glasses. In order to see the world as God intended, you have to remove your ‘colors’ and see things for what they truly are. As you grow in Christ you will begin to reflect in your previous stage of life, understanding what ruled you at the time. You begin to see how your distorted way of thinking came to be because of the unchecked footholds in your life. When you take off your colored glasses, forgiveness is easier to understand; Christlike love is more easily attainable, and things like mercy and grace become common practice, rather than impossible standards that only God can achieve. While we are human and very imperfect, we can make the choice each and every day to take up our cross, and put down the colored glasses that hinder us from becoming who God made us to be.

Today’s Question

Do you know what color glasses you’re wearing and its impact on your life?

Enjoy the reading

Ezekiel 24

1 On January 15, during the ninth year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity, this message came to me from the LORD : 2 “Son of man, write down today’s date, because on this very day the king of Babylon is beginning his attack against Jerusalem. 3 Then give these rebels an illustration with this message from the Sovereign LORD : “Put a pot on the fire, and pour in some water. 4 Fill it with choice pieces of meat— the rump and the shoulder and all the most tender cuts. 5 Use only the best sheep from the flock, and heap fuel on the fire beneath the pot. Bring the pot to a boil, and cook the bones along with the meat. 6 “Now this is what the Sovereign LORD says: What sorrow awaits Jerusalem, the city of murderers! She is a cooking pot whose corruption can’t be cleaned out. Take the meat out in random order, for no piece is better than another. 7 For the blood of her murders is splashed on the rocks. It isn’t even spilled on the ground, where the dust could cover it! 8 So I will splash her blood on a rock for all to see, an expression of my anger and vengeance against her. 9 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: What sorrow awaits Jerusalem, the city of murderers! I myself will pile up the fuel beneath her. 10 Yes, heap on the wood! Let the fire roar to make the pot boil. Cook the meat with many spices, and afterward burn the bones. 11 Now set the empty pot on the coals. Heat it red hot! Burn away the filth and corruption. 12 But it’s hopeless; the corruption can’t be cleaned out. So throw it into the fire. 13 Your impurity is your lewdness and the corruption of your idolatry. I tried to cleanse you, but you refused. So now you will remain in your filth until my fury against you has been satisfied. 14 “I, the LORD, have spoken! The time has come, and I won’t hold back. I will not change my mind, and I will have no pity on you. You will be judged on the basis of all your wicked actions, says the Sovereign LORD .” 15 Then this message came to me from the LORD : 16 “Son of man, with one blow I will take away your dearest treasure. Yet you must not show any sorrow at her death. Do not weep; let there be no tears. 17 Groan silently, but let there be no wailing at her grave. Do not uncover your head or take off your sandals. Do not perform the usual rituals of mourning or accept any food brought to you by consoling friends.” 18 So I proclaimed this to the people the next morning, and in the evening my wife died. The next morning I did everything I had been told to do. 19 Then the people asked, “What does all this mean? What are you trying to tell us?” 20 So I said to them, “A message came to me from the LORD, 21 and I was told to give this message to the people of Israel. This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will defile my Temple, the source of your security and pride, the place your heart delights in. Your sons and daughters whom you left behind in Judah will be slaughtered by the sword. 22 Then you will do as Ezekiel has done. You will not mourn in public or console yourselves by eating the food brought by friends. 23 Your heads will remain covered, and your sandals will not be taken off. You will not mourn or weep, but you will waste away because of your sins. You will groan among yourselves for all the evil you have done. 24 Ezekiel is an example for you; you will do just as he has done. And when that time comes, you will know that I am the Sovereign LORD .” 25 Then the LORD said to me, “Son of man, on the day I take away their stronghold—their joy and glory, their heart’s desire, their dearest treasure—I will also take away their sons and daughters. 26 And on that day a survivor from Jerusalem will come to you in Babylon and tell you what has happened. 27 And when he arrives, your voice will suddenly return so you can talk to him, and you will be a symbol for these people. Then they will know that I am the LORD .”

Heal

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“If you truly want to heal, learn how to forgive”

TB

Mutual

Forgiveness is such a strange concept. This is partially because as humans we have to contend with our egos and our warped sense of justice and fairness. We forgive up until a point, a threshold that we deem is appropriate to practice unforgiveness. The irony is that forgiveness begets a wonderful, biblical, peace that cannot be duplicated in anything else. When we forgive, those wounds of yesterday heal in ways that only God can make possible.

Like

When we forgive as God forgives us, it’s like a glimpse in understanding the immense love that God has for us. Because our minds are so limited, it is hard to quantify or put into context how much God loves us. When we forgive others, especially when we believe they do not deserve it, we in turn are producing the same Christ-inspired love that God bestows on us. It is in those moments we understand and accept God’s love because we share that love with others.

Today’s Question

If God does not have a forgiveness meter, should we?

Enjoy the reading

Ezekiel 10

1 In my vision I saw what appeared to be a throne of blue lapis lazuli above the crystal surface over the heads of the cherubim. 2 Then the LORD spoke to the man in linen clothing and said, “Go between the whirling wheels beneath the cherubim, and take a handful of burning coals and scatter them over the city.” He did this as I watched. 3 The cherubim were standing at the south end of the Temple when the man went in, and the cloud of glory filled the inner courtyard. 4 Then the glory of the LORD rose up from above the cherubim and went over to the entrance of the Temple. The Temple was filled with this cloud of glory, and the courtyard glowed brightly with the glory of the LORD . 5 The moving wings of the cherubim sounded like the voice of God Almighty and could be heard even in the outer courtyard. 6 The LORD said to the man in linen clothing, “Go between the cherubim and take some burning coals from between the wheels.” So the man went in and stood beside one of the wheels. 7 Then one of the cherubim reached out his hand and took some live coals from the fire burning among them. He put the coals into the hands of the man in linen clothing, and the man took them and went out. 8 (All the cherubim had what looked like human hands under their wings.) 9 I looked, and each of the four cherubim had a wheel beside him, and the wheels sparkled like beryl. 10 All four wheels looked alike and were made the same; each wheel had a second wheel turning crosswise within it. 11 The cherubim could move in any of the four directions they faced, without turning as they moved. They went straight in the direction they faced, never turning aside. 12 Both the cherubim and the wheels were covered with eyes. The cherubim had eyes all over their bodies, including their hands, their backs, and their wings. 13 I heard someone refer to the wheels as “the whirling wheels.” 14 Each of the four cherubim had four faces: the first was the face of an ox, the second was a human face, the third was the face of a lion, and the fourth was the face of an eagle. 15 Then the cherubim rose upward. These were the same living beings I had seen beside the Kebar River. 16 When the cherubim moved, the wheels moved with them. When they lifted their wings to fly, the wheels stayed beside them. 17 When the cherubim stopped, the wheels stopped. When they flew upward, the wheels rose up, for the spirit of the living beings was in the wheels. 18 Then the glory of the LORD moved out from the entrance of the Temple and hovered above the cherubim. 19 And as I watched, the cherubim flew with their wheels to the east gate of the LORD ’s Temple. And the glory of the God of Israel hovered above them. 20 These were the same living beings I had seen beneath the God of Israel when I was by the Kebar River. I knew they were cherubim, 21 for each had four faces and four wings and what looked like human hands under their wings. 22 And their faces were just like the faces of the beings I had seen at the Kebar, and they traveled straight ahead, just as the others had.

Labor

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Building a relationship with God is a worthy labor that pays more dividends than all of the stocks combined.”

TB

Order

When God is the priority in your life, your path becomes clearer as you work to get your affairs in order. Because He knows all and you’ve done the work to connect with the Holy Spirit, your footsteps are directed to the objectives God has for you.

Choice

Building that relationship is a labor because we all have a choice. We must deny our flesh-driven desires, turn our eyes above, and work to know our maker. Friends, that is a daily labor as we are painfully human and require consistent and continuous effort to do what is right. Thank God for forgiveness and everlasting love.

Truth

To know God is to know Truth and the world goes against that truth. The world will lead you on a carnal path destined for destruction. Spending time with God allows you to discern the real from the fake; Good from evil. Learn to find joy in walking with Christ as He delights in those who seek Him.

Today’s Question

Are you doing the labor to know God?

Enjoy the reading

Ezekiel 9

1 Then the LORD thundered, “Bring on the men appointed to punish the city! Tell them to bring their weapons with them!” 2 Six men soon appeared from the upper gate that faces north, each carrying a deadly weapon in his hand. With them was a man dressed in linen, who carried a writer’s case at his side. They all went into the Temple courtyard and stood beside the bronze altar. 3 Then the glory of the God of Israel rose up from between the cherubim, where it had rested, and moved to the entrance of the Temple. And the LORD called to the man dressed in linen who was carrying the writer’s case. 4 He said to him, “Walk through the streets of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of all who weep and sigh because of the detestable sins being committed in their city.” 5 Then I heard the LORD say to the other men, “Follow him through the city and kill everyone whose forehead is not marked. Show no mercy; have no pity! 6 Kill them all—old and young, girls and women and little children. But do not touch anyone with the mark. Begin right here at the Temple.” So they began by killing the seventy leaders. 7 “Defile the Temple!” the LORD commanded. “Fill its courtyards with corpses. Go!” So they went and began killing throughout the city. 8 While they were out killing, I was all alone. I fell face down on the ground and cried out, “O Sovereign LORD ! Will your fury against Jerusalem wipe out everyone left in Israel?” 9 Then he said to me, “The sins of the people of Israel and Judah are very, very great. The entire land is full of murder; the city is filled with injustice. They are saying, ‘The LORD doesn’t see it! The LORD has abandoned the land!’ 10 So I will not spare them or have any pity on them. I will fully repay them for all they have done.” 11 Then the man in linen clothing, who carried the writer’s case, reported back and said, “I have done as you commanded.”

Compassion

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Hug your brothers and sisters during their times of struggle as love covers a multitude of sins.”

TB

Listen

I was talking to someone today who had retaliated against someone who transgressed against them. My first reaction was to tell them that while I understood where they were coming from, they were wrong in how they handled the situation. But after I got off the phone, I realized I missed the bigger picture.

Understand

I realized that person is generally a God-fearing and good-natured person. It’s not typical of their character to do something malicious. Then I thought about what that person had to experience in order for them to behave that way. Friends we must understand when people lash out or behave in troubling ways. There is usually a great deal of hurt attached.

Love

I quickly called them back and apologized for my rebuke. Instead, I acknowledged their struggle offered compassionate and understanding to why they reacted so poorly. By meeting them in their need instead of condemning them, we were able to get to the heart of the matter so that they could heal from the experience and move on.

United

Why is it that when people make mistakes we react harshly? I can tell you from experience, that when I go before God and confess my sins, His response is always in love, kindness, and compassion. Surely He out of everyone has the right to strike me down because of my shortcomings. Instead, like a Father comforting a daughter who’s fallen off her bike, God’s forgiveness is merciful and encouraging.

Cover

Love covers a multitude of sins. When we forgive others as God forgives us, we give them the space and grace they need to heal. God doesn’t beat us down when we’re broken. To that same effect, we cannot do so to our brothers and sisters. I know from experience the hardship and heartache that occurs when people that you love are only able to see you for your mistakes. Instead, let’s practice the Christ-like love so that we can help one another heal and grow from our sins.

Today’s Question

Are you offering Christ-like love or strong legalistic rebukes?

Enjoy the reading

Ezekiel 6

1 Again a message came to me from the LORD : 2 “Son of man, turn and face the mountains of Israel and prophesy against them. 3 Proclaim this message from the Sovereign LORD against the mountains of Israel. This is what the Sovereign LORD says to the mountains and hills and to the ravines and valleys: I am about to bring war upon you, and I will smash your pagan shrines. 4 All your altars will be demolished, and your places of worship will be destroyed. I will kill your people in front of your idols. 5 I will lay your corpses in front of your idols and scatter your bones around your altars. 6 Wherever you live there will be desolation, and I will destroy your pagan shrines. Your altars will be demolished, your idols will be smashed, your places of worship will be torn down, and all the religious objects you have made will be destroyed. 7 The place will be littered with corpses, and you will know that I alone am the LORD . 8 “But I will let a few of my people escape destruction, and they will be scattered among the nations of the world. 9 Then when they are exiled among the nations, they will remember me. They will recognize how hurt I am by their unfaithful hearts and lustful eyes that long for their idols. Then at last they will hate themselves for all their detestable sins. 10 They will know that I alone am the LORD and that I was serious when I said I would bring this calamity on them. 11 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Clap your hands in horror, and stamp your feet. Cry out because of all the detestable sins the people of Israel have committed. Now they are going to die from war and famine and disease. 12 Disease will strike down those who are far away in exile. War will destroy those who are nearby. And anyone who survives will be killed by famine. So at last I will spend my fury on them. 13 They will know that I am the LORD when their dead lie scattered among their idols and altars on every hill and mountain and under every green tree and every great shade tree—the places where they offered sacrifices to their idols. 14 I will crush them and make their cities desolate from the wilderness in the south to Riblah in the north. Then they will know that I am the LORD .”

Ouch!

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Imagine how clearly we could hear God if we let the wounds of yesterday heal.”

TB

One Time

Think back to a time when something painful occurred in your life. It could be a cruel thing a peer or family member said. It could be a life event that changed your worldview. It could be a financial situation that altered how your perceived money. Whatever it is, think about it for a moment. Think about how it changed your view of the world, your view of yourself, and most importantly, your behavior. Now, think about how many times that moment (or several) actually happened over the course of your life. If you sum up the total painful moments and measured them against the years of your life, chances are, it’s quite short in comparison.

So, why am I talking about this? Well, I came to the realization that we (myself totally included) allow a fraction of our life and experiences dictate our whole journey. Meaning, when don’t allow God to reconcile our trials, we don’t heal. Further, when we don’t heal, we are not capable of seeing how God truly sees us, how He sees the world, and how He’s planned amazing things for all of our lives . And, when we don’t have the right sight, we are play toys for the devil. That last line sounds hyperbolic, I know, but hear me out.

Running Scared

The devil has done a phenomenal job of getting us to stew in our fears. Think about it. How we go about our days. How we go about our jobs. How we go about raising the next generation. Everything! Unchecked painful moments get us to take our eyes off of God and then we start looking to ourselves for protection, resources, fake love, you name it. We start creating bogus rules, bogus leaders, bogus laws, bogus love, bogus families, bogus everything.

The problem is because God is the source, the creator, when we don’t consult Him, we consult ourselves and our neighbors. Friends, we don’t see far enough, know enough, love enough, forgive enough to be in charge of really anything. But do you know who benefits when we toil in our unbelief and flesh-driven ways? The devil. Friends, God does not want us fearful, down and out, enslaved, or miserable. But the only way we can know what His plans are for our lives is that we must first come to Him.

Healing Foundation

You may have been through traumatic, painful, and challenging moments in your life, but God does not want you to stay there. We are not able to withstand life and this world on our own. We have to give everything to Christ so that He can show us the way. We do this by allowing Him into our hearts, our minds, and our souls.

Accepting Christ means that you also accept His guidance, love, and wisdom and trust me, it’s way easier to navigate the world with God at the helm. When you give God your burdens, He cleans your wounds, making you a new work in His image. That is something that on our own, we simply cannot do. At best we have cheap generic band aids that require constant maintenance. God’s solution is far better. If you truly desire to leave the fear-based existence behind, give it all to God and watch Him awaken a new sight within you.

Today’s Question

Are you living in fear or are you living in the freedom of Christ?

Enjoy the reading

Ezekiel 5

 “Son of man, take a sharp sword and use it as a razor to shave your head and beard. Use a scale to weigh the hair into three equal parts. 2 Place a third of it at the center of your map of Jerusalem. After acting out the siege, burn it there. Scatter another third across your map and chop it with a sword. Scatter the last third to the wind, for I will scatter my people with the sword. 3 Keep just a bit of the hair and tie it up in your robe. 4 Then take some of these hairs out and throw them into the fire, burning them up. A fire will then spread from this remnant and destroy all of Israel. 5 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: This is an illustration of what will happen to Jerusalem. I placed her at the center of the nations, 6 but she has rebelled against my regulations and decrees and has been even more wicked than the surrounding nations. She has refused to obey the regulations and decrees I gave her to follow. 7 “Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: You people have behaved worse than your neighbors and have refused to obey my decrees and regulations. You have not even lived up to the standards of the nations around you. 8 Therefore, I myself, the Sovereign LORD, am now your enemy. I will punish you publicly while all the nations watch. 9 Because of your detestable idols, I will punish you like I have never punished anyone before or ever will again. 10 Parents will eat their own children, and children will eat their parents. I will punish you and scatter to the winds the few who survive. 11 “As surely as I live, says the Sovereign LORD, I will cut you off completely. I will show you no pity at all because you have defiled my Temple with your vile images and detestable sins. 12 A third of your people will die in the city from disease and famine. A third of them will be slaughtered by the enemy outside the city walls. And I will scatter a third to the winds, chasing them with my sword. 13 Then at last my anger will be spent, and I will be satisfied. And when my fury against them has subsided, all Israel will know that I, the LORD, have spoken to them in my jealous anger. 14 “So I will turn you into a ruin, a mockery in the eyes of the surrounding nations and to all who pass by. 15 You will become an object of mockery and taunting and horror. You will be a warning to all the nations around you. They will see what happens when the LORD punishes a nation in anger and rebukes it, says the LORD . 16 “I will shower you with the deadly arrows of famine to destroy you. The famine will become more and more severe until every crumb of food is gone. 17 And along with the famine, wild animals will attack you and rob you of your children. Disease and war will stalk your land, and I will bring the sword of the enemy against you. I, the LORD, have spoken!”

Till

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Resolve your concerns with God because each day brings its own soil to till.”

TB

Effort

Last week, my 13-year old nephew approached me with a ‘business opportunity’. He was looking to build a dollhouse for his sister and needed some venture capital. During his pitch, he brought out design sketches, complete with measurements, timeframes, build costs, materials, and where to purchase them. The kid left no stone unturned. I sat as he spoke, with a smile on my face, he did his homework and sold me on his vision, so I funded his project. As we went online to purchase materials, I couldn’t help but be reminded how of God blesses our moves when we come before him honestly and openly. That said, in order for us to prepare a proposal for God that He can sign off on, we first must do the work.

Work

It’s impossible to be motivated 100% of the time. If you’re expecting some fanfare or ‘ah ha’ moment that gets you into gear to till the soil of your life, you will never break ground. More to the point, you’re also competing against time. Life does not stop when you’re tired, weary, confused, numb, angry, unsure, anxious, and so on. Even in the best days, the idea of “ready” is essentially a myth. There is no button that we push that says to our brain, “I’m ready to step up to the plate”. Nope, the unglamorous truth is that you put one foot in front of the other, making progress with each step. For this reason, we have to reconcile our day to day with God if we even stand a chance to receive the daily grace it takes to conquer the day.

Source

The amazing thing is that God is not only the investor of our lives, He’s also the builder, planner, contractor, He’s everything. So when He puts the plan into motion, you must go to Him from start to finish of the project. So how do we do this? We start by turning our backs away from foolishness. If you’re looking, reading, drinking, eating, or touching things you ought not to, let it go. Friends, God will not bless or enable our foolishness. I can attest to that, ha. But more to the point, the junk that our wayward beings crave does not hold a candle to the righteous gifts that only God can bestow. So, start by doing the work. Don’t wait to get motivated. Begin with the Word, and let Him lead your project. All you have to do is break ground.

Today’s Question

Are you looking for Holy Capital for a heathen project?

Enjoy the reading

Lamentations 3

1 I am the one who has seen the afflictions that come from the rod of the LORD ’s anger. 2 He has led me into darkness, shutting out all light. 3 He has turned his hand against me again and again, all day long. 4 He has made my skin and flesh grow old. He has broken my bones. 5 He has besieged and surrounded me with anguish and distress. 6 He has buried me in a dark place, like those long dead. 7 He has walled me in, and I cannot escape. He has bound me in heavy chains. 8 And though I cry and shout, he has shut out my prayers. 9 He has blocked my way with a high stone wall; he has made my road crooked. 10 He has hidden like a bear or a lion, waiting to attack me. 11 He has dragged me off the path and torn me in pieces, leaving me helpless and devastated. 12 He has drawn his bow and made me the target for his arrows. 13 He shot his arrows deep into my heart. 14 My own people laugh at me. All day long they sing their mocking songs. 15 He has filled me with bitterness and given me a bitter cup of sorrow to drink. 16 He has made me chew on gravel. He has rolled me in the dust. 17 Peace has been stripped away, and I have forgotten what prosperity is. 18 I cry out, “My splendor is gone! Everything I had hoped for from the LORD is lost!” 19 The thought of my suffering and homelessness is bitter beyond words. 20 I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss. 21 Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: 22 The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease. 23 Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. 24 I say to myself, “The LORD is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!” 25 The LORD is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him. 26 So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the LORD . 27 And it is good for people to submit at an early age to the yoke of his discipline: 28 Let them sit alone in silence beneath the LORD ’s demands. 29 Let them lie face down in the dust, for there may be hope at last. 30 Let them turn the other cheek to those who strike them and accept the insults of their enemies. 31 For no one is abandoned by the Lord forever. 32 Though he brings grief, he also shows compassion because of the greatness of his unfailing love. 33 For he does not enjoy hurting people or causing them sorrow. 34 If people crush underfoot all the prisoners of the land, 35 if they deprive others of their rights in defiance of the Most High, 36 if they twist justice in the courts— doesn’t the Lord see all these things? 37 Who can command things to happen without the Lord’s permission? 38 Does not the Most High send both calamity and good? 39 Then why should we, mere humans, complain when we are punished for our sins? 40 Instead, let us test and examine our ways. Let us turn back to the LORD . 41 Let us lift our hearts and hands to God in heaven and say, 42 “We have sinned and rebelled, and you have not forgiven us. 43 “You have engulfed us with your anger, chased us down, and slaughtered us without mercy. 44 You have hidden yourself in a cloud so our prayers cannot reach you. 45 You have discarded us as refuse and garbage among the nations. 46 “All our enemies have spoken out against us. 47 We are filled with fear, for we are trapped, devastated, and ruined.” 48 Tears stream from my eyes because of the destruction of my people! 49 My tears flow endlessly; they will not stop 50 until the LORD looks down from heaven and sees. 51 My heart is breaking over the fate of all the women of Jerusalem. 52 My enemies, whom I have never harmed, hunted me down like a bird. 53 They threw me into a pit and dropped stones on me. 54 The water rose over my head, and I cried out, “This is the end!” 55 But I called on your name, LORD, from deep within the pit. 56 You heard me when I cried, “Listen to my pleading! Hear my cry for help!” 57 Yes, you came when I called; you told me, “Do not fear.” 58 Lord, you are my lawyer! Plead my case! For you have redeemed my life. 59 You have seen the wrong they have done to me, LORD . Be my judge, and prove me right. 60 You have seen the vengeful plots my enemies have laid against me. 61 LORD, you have heard the vile names they call me. You know all about the plans they have made. 62 My enemies whisper and mutter as they plot against me all day long. 63 Look at them! Whether they sit or stand, I am the object of their mocking songs. 64 Pay them back, LORD, for all the evil they have done. 65 Give them hard and stubborn hearts, and then let your curse fall on them! 66 Chase them down in your anger, destroying them beneath the LORD ’s heavens. Lamentations 2Lamentations 4  Parallel Compare

Far Better Than Worse

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“With God, doing life with your brothers and sisters in Christ is far better than worse.”

TB

Real Talk

Love is a verb and it’s a hard one. Especially when it comes to loving those closest to you. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve imagined jumping ship to greener pastures. But, as I reflect on the amazing people that God has placed in my corner to do life with, I can say it is far better than worse. I didn’t always feel this way. And sometimes, I still scratch my head when it comes to those I love as they likely scratch their head at me. I’m sure we all do. But, when we allow Christ’s loving example to guide how we love others, it does make those trying times a bit easier.

Hard Work

God-inspired love takes an honest, hardworking, and consistent approach to even do a halfway decent job of it. It forces us to be present. It calls us to forgive as God freely forgives us. It causes us to swallow our pride and let transgressors off the hook. It causes us to put down our lectures and let God be God to teach us what we need to learn. Christ-like love is tough from a human perspective, which is why we have to use God’s filter rather than our own. So the next time you feel like you may want to excommunicate a loved one, remember how Christ loves you and see how you can mirror that love. Using Christ’s template, you will come to find that love is far better than worse.

Today’s Question

Who are you modeling your love after?

Enjoy the reading

Jeremiah 52

1 Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eleven years. His mother was Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah from Libnah. 2 But Zedekiah did what was evil in the LORD ’s sight, just as Jehoiakim had done. 3 These things happened because of the LORD ’s anger against the people of Jerusalem and Judah, until he finally banished them from his presence and sent them into exile. Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon. 4 So on January 15, during the ninth year of Zedekiah’s reign, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon led his entire army against Jerusalem. They surrounded the city and built siege ramps against its walls. 5 Jerusalem was kept under siege until the eleventh year of King Zedekiah’s reign. 6 By July 18 in the eleventh year of Zedekiah’s reign, the famine in the city had become very severe, and the last of the food was entirely gone. 7 Then a section of the city wall was broken down, and all the soldiers fled. Since the city was surrounded by the Babylonians, they waited for nightfall. Then they slipped through the gate between the two walls behind the king’s garden and headed toward the Jordan Valley. 8 But the Babylonian troops chased King Zedekiah and overtook him on the plains of Jericho, for his men had all deserted him and scattered. 9 They captured the king and took him to the king of Babylon at Riblah in the land of Hamath. There the king of Babylon pronounced judgment upon Zedekiah. 10 The king of Babylon made Zedekiah watch as he slaughtered his sons. He also slaughtered all the officials of Judah at Riblah. 11 Then he gouged out Zedekiah’s eyes and bound him in bronze chains, and the king of Babylon led him away to Babylon. Zedekiah remained there in prison until the day of his death. 12 On August 17 of that year, which was the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard and an official of the Babylonian king, arrived in Jerusalem. 13 He burned down the Temple of the LORD, the royal palace, and all the houses of Jerusalem. He destroyed all the important buildings in the city. 14 Then he supervised the entire Babylonian army as they tore down the walls of Jerusalem on every side. 15 Then Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, took as exiles some of the poorest of the people, the rest of the people who remained in the city, the defectors who had declared their allegiance to the king of Babylon, and the rest of the craftsmen. 16 But Nebuzaradan allowed some of the poorest people to stay behind to care for the vineyards and fields. 17 The Babylonians broke up the bronze pillars in front of the LORD ’s Temple, the bronze water carts, and the great bronze basin called the Sea, and they carried all the bronze away to Babylon. 18 They also took all the ash buckets, shovels, lamp snuffers, basins, dishes, and all the other bronze articles used for making sacrifices at the Temple. 19 The captain of the guard also took the small bowls, incense burners, basins, pots, lampstands, ladles, bowls used for liquid offerings, and all the other articles made of pure gold or silver. 20 The weight of the bronze from the two pillars, the Sea with the twelve bronze oxen beneath it, and the water carts was too great to be measured. These things had been made for the LORD ’s Temple in the days of King Solomon. 21 Each of the pillars was 27 feet tall and 18 feet in circumference. They were hollow, with walls 3 inches thick. 22 The bronze capital on top of each pillar was 7 feet high and was decorated with a network of bronze pomegranates all the way around. 23 There were 96 pomegranates on the sides, and a total of 100 pomegranates on the network around the top. 24 Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, took with him as prisoners Seraiah the high priest, Zephaniah the priest of the second rank, and the three chief gatekeepers. 25 And from among the people still hiding in the city, he took an officer who had been in charge of the Judean army; seven of the king’s personal advisers; the army commander’s chief secretary, who was in charge of recruitment; and sixty other citizens. 26 Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, took them all to the king of Babylon at Riblah. 27 And there at Riblah, in the land of Hamath, the king of Babylon had them all put to death. So the people of Judah were sent into exile from their land. 28 The number of captives taken to Babylon in the seventh year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign was 3,023. 29 Then in Nebuchadnezzar’s eighteenth year he took 832 more. 30 In Nebuchadnezzar’s twenty-third year he sent Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, who took 745 more—a total of 4,600 captives in all. 31 In the thirty-seventh year of the exile of King Jehoiachin of Judah, Evil-merodach ascended to the Babylonian throne. He was kind to Jehoiachin and released him from prison on March 31 of that year. 32 He spoke kindly to Jehoiachin and gave him a higher place than all the other exiled kings in Babylon. 33 He supplied Jehoiachin with new clothes to replace his prison garb and allowed him to dine in the king’s presence for the rest of his life. 34 So the Babylonian king gave him a regular food allowance as long as he lived. This continued until the day of his death.