Preventative Maintenance

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Walking with God is like having a spiritual diagnostics machine telling you where you need maintenance before major issues occur within yourself.”~TB

Routine Care

I talk to God a lot. He doesn’t seem to mind the billion questions that I have on a recurring basis. My family will tell you, I can talk and theorize a lot, so having a listening ear that doesn’t get exasperated with me is nice. I love talking to God more importantly because of the answers I receive. There are many things that God tells both you and I because He ultimately knows what’s best for us. The Holy Spirit reminds me of a diagnostic tool that is able to assess and alert us for routine care. This involves reading our Bible so that we know the Truth and the devil cannot entrap us in a lie. Another way is being good neighbors, so that we do not cause each other to stumble. Most importantly, developing the self-discipline by adhering to the Holy Spirit, which may include eating right, exercising, and not ingesting mental garbage. Your mind, body, and soul are all connected, so what you do to one will affect the others. When you don’t do the routine care, the major issues come up and are pricier and take more time to repair.

Check Engine Light

If you don’t have oil in your car, your engine will blow. That’s not because your car is being mean, it simply means that oil is necessary for the engine to operate functionally. Our relationship to God is quite similar. God doesn’t enforce rules or set boundaries because He’s trying to enslave or control us. No, just like a busted engine, a damaged human spirit causes all kinds of problems. Take it from someone who observes people like a doctorate dissertation. When we’re willfully broken, we’ll be the first to claim all is well, but if you look a little deeper, our spirits are quite damaged. Fortunately for us, the Holy Mechanic that is God does not price gouge us when we blow our spiritual engines. All we have to do is to turn back from our foolishness and restart out routine maintenance. So the next time your check engine light is on, have a talk with the Holy Mechanic, I hear He gives great deals on repairs.

Today’s Question

Do you practice routine care or are you routinely spiritually broken?

Enjoy the reading

Isaiah 38

1 About that time Hezekiah became deathly ill, and the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to visit him. He gave the king this message: “This is what the LORD says: ‘Set your affairs in order, for you are going to die. You will not recover from this illness.’”
2 When Hezekiah heard this, he turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD,
3 “Remember, O LORD, how I have always been faithful to you and have served you single-mindedly, always doing what pleases you.” Then he broke down and wept bitterly.
4Then this message came to Isaiah from the LORD :
5 “Go back to Hezekiah and tell him, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of your ancestor David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears. I will add fifteen years to your life,
6 and I will rescue you and this city from the king of Assyria. Yes, I will defend this city.
7 “‘And this is the sign from the LORD to prove that he will do as he promised:
8 I will cause the sun’s shadow to move ten steps backward on the sundial of Ahaz!’” So the shadow on the sundial moved backward ten steps.
9 When King Hezekiah was well again, he wrote this poem:
10 I said, “In the prime of my life, must I now enter the place of the dead? Am I to be robbed of the rest of my years?”
11I said, “Never again will I see the LORD GOD while still in the land of the living. Never again will I see my friends or be with those who live in this world.
12 My life has been blown away like a shepherd’s tent in a storm. It has been cut short, as when a weaver cuts cloth from a loom. Suddenly, my life was over.
13 I waited patiently all night, but I was torn apart as though by lions. Suddenly, my life was over.
14Delirious, I chattered like a swallow or a crane, and then I moaned like a mourning dove. My eyes grew tired of looking to heaven for help. I am in trouble, Lord. Help me!”
15 But what could I say? For he himself sent this sickness. Now I will walk humbly throughout my years because of this anguish I have felt.
16 Lord, your discipline is good, for it leads to life and health. You restore my health and allow me to live!
17 Yes, this anguish was good for me, for you have rescued me from death and forgiven all my sins.
18 For the dead cannot praise you; they cannot raise their voices in praise. Those who go down to the grave can no longer hope in your faithfulness.
19 Only the living can praise you as I do today. Each generation tells of your faithfulness to the next.
20 Think of it—the LORD is ready to heal me! I will sing his praises with instruments every day of my life in the Temple of the LORD .
21 Isaiah had said to Hezekiah’s servants, “Make an ointment from figs and spread it over the boil, and Hezekiah will recover.”
22 And Hezekiah had asked, “What sign will prove that I will go to the Temple of the LORD ?”

Come to Him

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Wherever you are, whatever you feel, be honest and come to God with it, and He will listen.”~TB

Vent

One of the annoying myths that I’d like to dispel about the archetypal Christian facade is that when talking to God, you have to bury your feelings and behave in a certain manner. Friends that is not so! God knows your heart before you even decide to consult Him, so bring all of you to the table so that you can reap the benefit. In my life, I conversations with Him that range from joy, elation, to frustration and anger. And guess what, He still loves me, warts and all. And, He loves you too. More to the point, when you bring your honest self to God, you then can receive the answers, comfort, and healing we all so desperately need.

 

Reflection

I keep a journey that is basically me going through my life with God. It’s a very honest account of my life and my relationship with God, which helps me reflect and grow. I’ll admit, there are times where I will try and minimize how I feel about certain situations in my life. The problem with that is, if you don’t deal or acknowledge what ails you, if you’re not careful, you will start looking for alternate and fake solutions that push you away from the ultimate answer, which is Christ. I take comfort in the fact that Our Father in Heaven loves us as we are, listens to us, and is with all of us no matter how great or how terrible we are. So if you really want to experience the true Peace of Christ, come to Him with all that you are and He will delight in your humility.

Today’s Question

Are you keeping it real with God?

Enjoy the reading

Isaiah 34

1 Come here and listen, O nations of the earth. Let the world and everything in it hear my words.
2 For the LORD is enraged against the nations. His fury is against all their armies. He will completely destroy them, dooming them to slaughter.
3 Their dead will be left unburied, and the stench of rotting bodies will fill the land. The mountains will flow with their blood.
4 The heavens above will melt away and disappear like a rolled-up scroll. The stars will fall from the sky like withered leaves from a grapevine, or shriveled figs from a fig tree.
5 And when my sword has finished its work in the heavens, it will fall upon Edom, the nation I have marked for destruction.
6 The sword of the LORD is drenched with blood and covered with fat— with the blood of lambs and goats, with the fat of rams prepared for sacrifice. Yes, the LORD will offer a sacrifice in the city of Bozrah. He will make a mighty slaughter in Edom.
7 Even men as strong as wild oxen will die— the young men alongside the veterans. The land will be soaked with blood and the soil enriched with fat.
8 For it is the day of the LORD ’s revenge, the year when Edom will be paid back for all it did to Israel.
9 The streams of Edom will be filled with burning pitch, and the ground will be covered with fire.
10 This judgment on Edom will never end; the smoke of its burning will rise forever. The land will lie deserted from generation to generation. No one will live there anymore.
11 It will be haunted by the desert owl and the screech owl, the great owl and the raven. For God will measure that land carefully; he will measure it for chaos and destruction.
12 It will be called the Land of Nothing, and all its nobles will soon be gone.
13 Thorns will overrun its palaces; nettles and thistles will grow in its forts. The ruins will become a haunt for jackals and a home for owls.
14 Desert animals will mingle there with hyenas, their howls filling the night. Wild goats will bleat at one another among the ruins, and night creatures will come there to rest.
15 There the owl will make her nest and lay her eggs. She will hatch her young and cover them with her wings. And the buzzards will come, each one with its mate.
16Search the book of the LORD, and see what he will do. Not one of these birds and animals will be missing, and none will lack a mate, for the LORD has promised this. His Spirit will make it all come true.
17 He has surveyed and divided the land and deeded it over to those creatures. They will possess it forever, from generation to generation.

Comfort Zone

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Thank God for tough times because it’s in those moments where we learn most about compassion.”~TB

Natural

Displaying empathy isn’t something that comes naturally to me. I have a great deal of it (I cried during the Back Draft fire simulation at Universal Studios because the thought of people in there was heartbreaking for me) internally, but it usually comes out as practical or logical advice to the issue rather than a listening ear. Fortunately for me, I had great examples of empathetic and loving people to model growing up. And even more fortunately, I’ve gone through some dark times where God’s compassion and mercy got me to the other side. These days, I’m so grateful for every harsh moment in my life, because in those tough times, my level of compassion for others— particularly those I don’t inherently relate to— has increased. I’ll give you an example.

Act of

Sometime last year, I was at a Starbucks getting some work done. A lady around my age was sitting with a toddler and a car seat. She was very much focused on the phone and kept scolding the child for not sitting still. I remember at the time, I was irritated by her callousness. Clearly frustrated she walked outside with the child and car seat in tow and sat at one of the tables. Soon after, this woman began to cry as her child was happily playing and none the wiser. In that moment, I felt the need to hand her some napkins, which is odd for me because I’m not one to get involved in emotional distress. As I handed her the napkins, I saw a surprised but grateful look on her face and I could hear a voice saying to give her a hug. On a side note, I’m not a hugger, especially when it comes to strangers.

Kindness

I ask the woman if I could give her a hug and she says yes. At this point, she’s bawling, explaining she missed an important job interview because her daycare fell through. Though I’ve never been in her shoes, I could relate to her feelings of frustration and helplessness. Even more out of character for me, I asked if I could pray for her and she said yes. After, I went back inside, perplexed at my behavior, but grateful to have been some kind of comfort to a person in need. As she left, she waved at me with a smile, and I just remember feeling a weird connection and sense of gratitude from the exchange.

Community

I’m not sharing this to get a pat on the back or claim some kind of super Christian status. No, I’m just a very human, human being, who more often than not puts her foot in her mouth. I say all of this to say that when you experience the compassion and comfort that God provides, especially in trying times, you can’t help but share that with your neighbor, even when it calls you to get out of your comfort zone. I started that encounter judging this woman on a quick moment in time that I did not understand. How arrogant! But God used the situation to provide kindness to one of His own. My point is, we will all have moments in life to share the gifts of mercy, grace, and compassion that Christ gives to us every single moment of every day. It’s not only helpful for the person in need, it’s as equally vital to you too. These moments allow us to truly understand what the Body of Christ is and how we all are instrumental to one another.

Today’s Question

Are you sharing the compassion and kindness that God gives you?

Enjoy the reading

Isaiah 33

1 What sorrow awaits you Assyrians, who have destroyed others but have never been destroyed yourselves. You betray others, but you have never been betrayed. When you are done destroying, you will be destroyed. When you are done betraying, you will be betrayed.
2 But LORD, be merciful to us, for we have waited for you. Be our strong arm each day and our salvation in times of trouble.
3 The enemy runs at the sound of your voice. When you stand up, the nations flee!
4 Just as caterpillars and locusts strip the fields and vines, so the fallen army of Assyria will be stripped!
5 Though the LORD is very great and lives in heaven, he will make Jerusalem his home of justice and righteousness.
6 In that day he will be your sure foundation, providing a rich store of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge. The fear of the LORD will be your treasure.
7 But now your brave warriors weep in public. Your ambassadors of peace cry in bitter disappointment.
8 Your roads are deserted; no one travels them anymore. The Assyrians have broken their peace treaty and care nothing for the promises they made before witnesses. They have no respect for anyone.
9 The land of Israel wilts in mourning. Lebanon withers with shame. The plain of Sharon is now a wilderness. Bashan and Carmel have been plundered.
10But the LORD says: “Now I will stand up. Now I will show my power and might.
11 You Assyrians produce nothing but dry grass and stubble. Your own breath will turn to fire and consume you.
12 Your people will be burned up completely, like thornbushes cut down and tossed in a fire.
13 Listen to what I have done, you nations far away! And you that are near, acknowledge my might!”
14 The sinners in Jerusalem shake with fear. Terror seizes the godless. “Who can live with this devouring fire?” they cry. “Who can survive this all-consuming fire?”
15 Those who are honest and fair, who refuse to profit by fraud, who stay far away from bribes, who refuse to listen to those who plot murder, who shut their eyes to all enticement to do wrong—
16 these are the ones who will dwell on high. The rocks of the mountains will be their fortress. Food will be supplied to them, and they will have water in abundance.
17 Your eyes will see the king in all his splendor, and you will see a land that stretches into the distance.
18 You will think back to this time of terror, asking, “Where are the Assyrian officers who counted our towers? Where are the bookkeepers who recorded the plunder taken from our fallen city?”
19 You will no longer see these fierce, violent people with their strange, unknown language.
20 Instead, you will see Zion as a place of holy festivals. You will see Jerusalem, a city quiet and secure. It will be like a tent whose ropes are taut and whose stakes are firmly fixed.
21 The LORD will be our Mighty One. He will be like a wide river of protection that no enemy can cross, that no enemy ship can sail upon.
22 For the LORD is our judge, our lawgiver, and our king. He will care for us and save us.
23 The enemies’ sails hang loose on broken masts with useless tackle. Their treasure will be divided by the people of God. Even the lame will take their share!
24 The people of Israel will no longer say, “We are sick and helpless,” for the LORD will forgive their sins

Way More

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Whatever you ‘lose’ on your walk with God, you will receive way more in return.”~TB

Sacrifice

Walking with Christ, you will lose things. Friends that you thought would be around forever, activities that gave you temporary pleasure, and a mindset that led you astray. In the beginning, this loss, this “sacrifice” seems punitive and unfair. The people and the activities that once orbited your life no longer hold the same influence or joy. In this stage, it can feel more like a punishment than a blessing, but in time, you will see the change in tide that will lead you to better things.

Blessings

A relationship with Christ is the key to the self-imposed shackles that we place on ourselves. It’s funny, because some people will say that following God is restricting, but in reality, it’s actually quite liberating. You’re free to think objectively, not bowing down to the pressures of modern society. You know not to through away your hard-earned money on vanity and fruitless endeavors. You learn to love your neighbor as God loves you because you’ve experienced the Hand of God on your life. There is a freedom in Christ that is unlike any other, and if you take the time to study, listen, and learn it is way more than any man-made gift on this earth.

Today’s Question

Are you way more interested in the truth or society’s shackles?

Enjoy the Reading

Isaiah 31

1 What sorrow awaits those who look to Egypt for help, trusting their horses, chariots, and charioteers and depending on the strength of human armies instead of looking to the LORD, the Holy One of Israel.
2 In his wisdom, the LORD will send great disaster; he will not change his mind. He will rise against the wicked and against their helpers.
3 For these Egyptians are mere humans, not God! Their horses are puny flesh, not mighty spirits! When the LORD raises his fist against them, those who help will stumble, and those being helped will fall. They will all fall down and die together.
4But this is what the LORD has told me: “When a strong young lion stands growling over a sheep it has killed, it is not frightened by the shouts and noise of a whole crowd of shepherds. In the same way, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will come down and fight on Mount Zion.
5 The LORD of Heaven’s Armies will hover over Jerusalem and protect it like a bird protecting its nest. He will defend and save the city; he will pass over it and rescue it.”
6 Though you are such wicked rebels, my people, come and return to the LORD .
7 I know the glorious day will come when each of you will throw away the gold idols and silver images your sinful hands have made.
8 “The Assyrians will be destroyed, but not by the swords of men. The sword of God will strike them, and they will panic and flee. The strong young Assyrians will be taken away as captives.
9 Even the strongest will quake with terror, and princes will flee when they see your battle flags,” says the LORD, whose fire burns in Zion, whose flame blazes from Jerusalem

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.

 

 

Truth

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“If being nice means you have to subjugate the truth, then you’re not being nice; you’re lying.”~TB

False Equivalence 

Being  “nice” is such a weird concept to me. It’s not “nice” to disagree even if you’re position is correct. It’s not “nice” to offend even if what you say is true. We use it as a means to not be honest. But friends, the truth is the truth, whether we want to hear it or not. And people with ulterior motives will shove “nice” down your throat to get you from seeing the truth and to accept their lies. “Nice” is circumstantial, but the Truth never changes. I’ll give you an example

Truth Saves

5 or so years ago, when I first began freelancing, I was shucking and jiving, not doing what I needed to in order to run a successful business. I was hiding under the guise of fear and anxiety to avoid the truth: I wasn’t doing the work to make it happen. Fortunately, my mom— who’s great at seeing through my BS— sent me a compelling email calling me out on my nonsense. At first, my feelings were hurt, but then, I called a former boss and in 3 days, I had a job. Imagine that.

Honor in Telling the Truth

My mom could’ve been  “nice” and just let me wallow in my stupidity. After all, that would’ve been the safest route. However, she told me a much needed truth: I needed to get off my rear and make some money to take care of myself. People who truly love you will tell you the truth, no matter the consequence. God is the same way. His Truth never changes and depending on the level of stupidity we’re into, sometimes His Truth doesn’t feel all that nice. But considering His Truth is the only Truth, I for one would rather sacrifice my pride to live in the  Truth today rather than feel “nice” and suffer the consequences tomorrow. Truth is, the choice is ours to make.

Today’s Question

Are you interested in the Truth?

Enjoy the reading

Isaiah 25

1 O LORD, I will honor and praise your name, for you are my God. You do such wonderful things! You planned them long ago, and now you have accomplished them.
2You turn mighty cities into heaps of ruins. Cities with strong walls are turned to rubble. Beautiful palaces in distant lands disappear and will never be rebuilt.
3 Therefore, strong nations will declare your glory; ruthless nations will fear you.
4 But you are a tower of refuge to the poor, O LORD, a tower of refuge to the needy in distress. You are a refuge from the storm and a shelter from the heat. For the oppressive acts of ruthless people are like a storm beating against a wall,
5 or like the relentless heat of the desert. But you silence the roar of foreign nations. As the shade of a cloud cools relentless heat, so the boastful songs of ruthless people are stilled.
6 In Jerusalem, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will spread a wonderful feast for all the people of the world. It will be a delicious banquet with clear, well-aged wine and choice meat.
7There he will remove the cloud of gloom, the shadow of death that hangs over the earth.
8He will swallow up death forever! The Sovereign LORD will wipe away all tears. He will remove forever all insults and mockery against his land and people. The LORD has spoken!
9 In that day the people will proclaim, “This is our God! We trusted in him, and he saved us! This is the LORD, in whom we trusted. Let us rejoice in the salvation he brings!”
10 For the LORD ’s hand of blessing will rest on Jerusalem. But Moab will be crushed. It will be like straw trampled down and left to rot.
11 God will push down Moab’s people as a swimmer pushes down water with his hands. He will end their pride and all their evil works.
12 The high walls of Moab will be demolished. They will be brought down to the ground, down into the dust.

 

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.

 

Divine Delay

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“There are times where plans are delayed because we forgot something and God is giving us a chance to make it up.”~TB

Forgetting Something?

My dog, Abbey, absolutely loves going on walks. Whenever I open the drawer where her leash is kept, she runs straight for the door, anticipating an outing. There are times where I get to the parking lot stairs and realize that I’ve forgotten my phone or wallet, and we have to walk back to my door. If we have to turn around before going out, Abbey will anchor herself to the floor refusing to move, because she thinks we’re no longer going for the walk. After a few tugs, I’ll get her to come along, I’ll retrieve whatever I’ve forgotten and then we’re off to go on the walk. Then as if it’s a surprise, she becomes excited again that we’re going for the walk after all! Every single time this happens ( it happens a lot, I’m really forgetful.) the same behavior occurs and the other day, it made me realize there are times where I will do that with God too. How many times have you refused to change course because you thought your plans were being dashed? If we don’t reflect on our behaviors and circumstances, we can miss the tools and skills we need to progress to the next stage. If you’ve stalled, seek God to find our why. There is most certainly a purpose.

Delay is not Denial

I’ll be honest, I’m not the biggest fan of Christian colloquialisms— often because the people using them are trying to circumvent honest or good behavior (a different story for a different day). But, I will say that God will delay a change in course if we haven’t done the work to make it to the next step. For example, you can’t just run a marathon if you haven’t even trained to complete a 5k. God gives each of us a dream, purpose, or goal. And with those wonderful plans comes the responsibility of tilling your soil to fulfill that purpose. Many times we fail to actualize God’s plans for us because we either allow people to discourage such “crazy ideas” or we didn’t condition ourselves to prepare for the road less traveled. I’m thankful that He gives us a lifetime to answer our specific call. So the next time things aren’t going according to plan, look for the lessons or tools you may have forgotten along the way. Don’t worry, you haven’t been left behind, just delayed. God hasn’t forgotten the vision He planted in you, He’s just giving you time to catch up.

Today’s Question

Are you learning during your delay or are you missing the point?

Enjoy the reading

Isaiah 21

1 This message came to me concerning Babylon—the desert by the sea : Disaster is roaring down on you from the desert, like a whirlwind sweeping in from the Negev.
2 I see a terrifying vision: I see the betrayer betraying, the destroyer destroying. Go ahead, you Elamites and Medes, attack and lay siege. I will make an end to all the groaning Babylon caused.
3 My stomach aches and burns with pain. Sharp pangs of anguish are upon me, like those of a woman in labor. I grow faint when I hear what God is planning; I am too afraid to look.
4 My mind reels and my heart races. I longed for evening to come, but now I am terrified of the dark.
5 Look! They are preparing a great feast. They are spreading rugs for people to sit on. Everyone is eating and drinking. But quick! Grab your shields and prepare for battle. You are being attacked!
6Meanwhile, the Lord said to me, “Put a watchman on the city wall. Let him shout out what he sees.
7 He should look for chariots drawn by pairs of horses, and for riders on donkeys and camels. Let the watchman be fully alert.”
8 Then the watchman called out, “Day after day I have stood on the watchtower, my lord. Night after night I have remained at my post.
9 Now at last—look! Here comes a man in a chariot with a pair of horses!” Then the watchman said, “Babylon is fallen, fallen! All the idols of Babylon lie broken on the ground!”
10 O my people, threshed and winnowed, I have told you everything the LORD of Heaven’s Armies has said, everything the God of Israel has told me.
11This message came to me concerning Edom : Someone from Edom keeps calling to me, “Watchman, how much longer until morning? When will the night be over?”
12 The watchman replies, “Morning is coming, but night will soon return. If you wish to ask again, then come back and ask.”
13 This message came to me concerning Arabia: O caravans from Dedan, hide in the deserts of Arabia.
14O people of Tema, bring water to these thirsty people, food to these weary refugees.
15They have fled from the sword, from the drawn sword, from the bent bow and the terrors of battle.
16 The Lord said to me, “Within a year, counting each day, all the glory of Kedar will come to an end.
17 Only a few of its courageous archers will survive. I, the LORD, the God of Israel, have spoken!”

All Things Considered

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Take a balanced and Biblical approach when examining the stages of your life.”~TB

Experience

We all perceive our life experience based on our level of faith, emotional maturity, and memory. How you look at certain moments depends on where your mind is and how much influence Christ has on your perspective. I’ll give you an example. My dad took me and my siblings everywhere with him. He was a teacher at our schools and we helped out at his music studio after school or were taking music lessons. On weekends we’d either play or help out on gigs. Or, we’d be doing yard work or something labor-intensive. He ran a tight ship, kept us close, and told many stories about life. Many would call my upbringing strict (however, if you knew how my brain worked, you’d keep me on a tight leash too). Sure, I wasn’t a fan of shoveling wood chips, but looking back on my childhood, my dad instilled the tools and foundation of faith that help me succeed to this day. In addition to the above, my dad was/is a total goof-ball, taking my siblings and I on elevator rides, climbing trees, etc. He also would buy every single book I requested (It would be a list at least 20 books deep) at every book fair. His love for God and sitting us down on Sundays to read the Bible and have discussions was probably the only reason I ever entertained getting to know God. I can change a tire, lay down tile, paint a house, and a whole bunch of other skills. I also would not have a business-oriented mindset had he not included us in his business dealings. My point in saying this is that life’s experience depends on how you look at it and it’s impossible to look at one scenario to get a complete picture.

Depending On

We now live in a time where family dynamics are heavily scrutinized and the world tells us that parents who set boundaries and standards are stifling their kids. If I had a dollar for how many stories I’ve heard from people about their parents and how it impacted their lives, well, I wouldn’t have to work. If you look at life or your family based on the world’s standards, it’s going to look ugly. That’s because for some odd reason, society has taught us to expect its version of familial perfection without the nuance of God, grace, mercy or forgiveness. One of the greatest aspects of the Old Testament is the many examples of family dynamics. You’ve got siblings selling their brother into slavery. You’ve got a brother stealing a birthright. You’ve got women fighting over a baby. I mean the stories are far and wide. What these stories tell us is that families are not perfect and every family has some sort of dysfunction. More to the point, even when we do drop the ball, we aren’t the sum total of our mistakes. God calls us to set our egos aside and to love and forgive everyone— family included.  Maybe your family experience was terrible or less than ideal. Truth is, we cannot get from people what only God can give us. If you let him, God will reconcile your experience, but you have to look at all things considered from Christ’s perspective.

Today’s Question

All things considered, are you grateful for the life God gave you?

Enjoy the reading

Isaiah 19

1 This message came to me concerning Egypt: Look! The LORD is advancing against Egypt, riding on a swift cloud. The idols of Egypt tremble. The hearts of the Egyptians melt with fear.
2 “I will make Egyptian fight against Egyptian— brother against brother, neighbor against neighbor, city against city, province against province.
3 The Egyptians will lose heart, and I will confuse their plans. They will plead with their idols for wisdom and call on spirits, mediums, and those who consult the spirits of the dead.
4 I will hand Egypt over to a hard, cruel master. A fierce king will rule them,” says the Lord, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.
5 The waters of the Nile will fail to rise and flood the fields. The riverbed will be parched and dry.
6 The canals of the Nile will dry up, and the streams of Egypt will stink with rotting reeds and rushes.
7 All the greenery along the riverbank and all the crops along the river will dry up and blow away.
8The fishermen will lament for lack of work. Those who cast hooks into the Nile will groan, and those who use nets will lose heart.
9There will be no flax for the harvesters, no thread for the weavers.
10 They will be in despair, and all the workers will be sick at heart.
11 What fools are the officials of Zoan! Their best counsel to the king of Egypt is stupid and wrong. Will they still boast to Pharaoh of their wisdom? Will they dare brag about all their wise ancestors?
12 Where are your wise counselors, Pharaoh? Let them tell you what God plans, what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies is going to do to Egypt.
13The officials of Zoan are fools, and the officials of Memphis are deluded. The leaders of the people have led Egypt astray.
14 The LORD has sent a spirit of foolishness on them, so all their suggestions are wrong. They cause Egypt to stagger like a drunk in his vomit.
15 There is nothing Egypt can do. All are helpless— the head and the tail, the noble palm branch and the lowly reed.
16 In that day the Egyptians will be as weak as women. They will cower in fear beneath the upraised fist of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.
17 Just to speak the name of Israel will terrorize them, for the LORD of Heaven’s Armies has laid out his plans against them.
18 In that day five of Egypt’s cities will follow the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. They will even begin to speak Hebrew, the language of Canaan. One of these cities will be Heliopolis, the City of the Sun.
19 In that day there will be an altar to the LORD in the heart of Egypt, and there will be a monument to the LORD at its border.
20 It will be a sign and a witness that the LORD of Heaven’s Armies is worshiped in the land of Egypt. When the people cry to the LORD for help against those who oppress them, he will send them a savior who will rescue them.
21 The LORD will make himself known to the Egyptians. Yes, they will know the LORD and will give their sacrifices and offerings to him. They will make a vow to the LORD and will keep it.
22 The LORD will strike Egypt, and then he will bring healing. For the Egyptians will turn to the LORD, and he will listen to their pleas and heal them.
23 In that day Egypt and Assyria will be connected by a highway. The Egyptians and Assyrians will move freely between their lands, and they will both worship God.
24 In that day Israel will be the third, along with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth.
25 For the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will say, “Blessed be Egypt, my people. Blessed be Assyria, the land I have made. Blessed be Israel, my special possession!”