Still Greater

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Your worst days following Christ are still far greater than your best days as a non-believer.”

TB

Honest

It is impossible for synthetic joy to trump the joy that only God can provide. As such, when we acknowledge our sinful ways, repent, and honestly accept salvation, the ways of old die. So while you may have experienced temporal joy, it loses its grip because you are not blind.

Following

There is a price to pay for picking up your cross and following God. Yes, the road is narrow and the trappings of this world no longer hold their sway. However, following God is such a fulfilling endeavor that even when you experience sorrow, you can still feel the hope and comfort of Christ.

Real

Because God’s promise is real and eternal, walking with Him holds a different meaning to those who know Him. Knowing God means you can bring news of happiness, dismay, sorrow, joy, or any other type of emotion, and He will comfort and encourage you. So even in bleak times, knowing God is far greater than not.

Today’s Question

Are you far greater today with Christ or far gone without Him?

Enjoy the reading

Genesis 46

1 So Jacob set out for Egypt with all his possessions. And when he came to Beersheba, he offered sacrifices to the God of his father, Isaac. 2 During the night God spoke to him in a vision. “Jacob! Jacob!” he called. “Here I am,” Jacob replied. 3 “I am God, the God of your father,” the voice said. “Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make your family into a great nation. 4 I will go with you down to Egypt, and I will bring you back again. You will die in Egypt, but Joseph will be with you to close your eyes.” 5 So Jacob left Beersheba, and his sons took him to Egypt. They carried him and their little ones and their wives in the wagons Pharaoh had provided for them. 6 They also took all their livestock and all the personal belongings they had acquired in the land of Canaan. So Jacob and his entire family went to Egypt— 7 sons and grandsons, daughters and granddaughters—all his descendants. 8 These are the names of the descendants of Israel—the sons of Jacob—who went to Egypt: Reuben was Jacob’s oldest son. 9 The sons of Reuben were Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi. 10 The sons of Simeon were Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jakin, Zohar, and Shaul. (Shaul’s mother was a Canaanite woman.) 11 The sons of Levi were Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. 12 The sons of Judah were Er, Onan, Shelah, Perez, and Zerah (though Er and Onan had died in the land of Canaan). The sons of Perez were Hezron and Hamul. 13 The sons of Issachar were Tola, Puah, Jashub, and Shimron. 14 The sons of Zebulun were Sered, Elon, and Jahleel. 15 These were the sons of Leah and Jacob who were born in Paddan-aram, in addition to their daughter, Dinah. The number of Jacob’s descendants (male and female) through Leah was thirty-three. 16 The sons of Gad were Zephon, Haggi, Shuni, Ezbon, Eri, Arodi, and Areli. 17 The sons of Asher were Imnah, Ishvah, Ishvi, and Beriah. Their sister was Serah. Beriah’s sons were Heber and Malkiel. 18 These were the sons of Zilpah, the servant given to Leah by her father, Laban. The number of Jacob’s descendants through Zilpah was sixteen. 19 The sons of Jacob’s wife Rachel were Joseph and Benjamin. 20 Joseph’s sons, born in the land of Egypt, were Manasseh and Ephraim. Their mother was Asenath, daughter of Potiphera, the priest of On. 21 Benjamin’s sons were Bela, Beker, Ashbel, Gera, Naaman, Ehi, Rosh, Muppim, Huppim, and Ard. 22 These were the sons of Rachel and Jacob. The number of Jacob’s descendants through Rachel was fourteen. 23 The son of Dan was Hushim. 24 The sons of Naphtali were Jahzeel, Guni, Jezer, and Shillem. 25 These were the sons of Bilhah, the servant given to Rachel by her father, Laban. The number of Jacob’s descendants through Bilhah was seven. 26 The total number of Jacob’s direct descendants who went with him to Egypt, not counting his sons’ wives, was sixty-six. 27 In addition, Joseph had two sons who were born in Egypt. So altogether, there were seventy members of Jacob’s family in the land of Egypt. 28 As they neared their destination, Jacob sent Judah ahead to meet Joseph and get directions to the region of Goshen. And when they finally arrived there, 29 Joseph prepared his chariot and traveled to Goshen to meet his father, Jacob. When Joseph arrived, he embraced his father and wept, holding him for a long time. 30 Finally, Jacob said to Joseph, “Now I am ready to die, since I have seen your face again and know you are still alive.” 31 And Joseph said to his brothers and to his father’s entire family, “I will go to Pharaoh and tell him, ‘My brothers and my father’s entire family have come to me from the land of Canaan. 32 These men are shepherds, and they raise livestock. They have brought with them their flocks and herds and everything they own.’” 33 Then he said, “When Pharaoh calls for you and asks you about your occupation, 34 you must tell him, ‘We, your servants, have raised livestock all our lives, as our ancestors have always done.’ When you tell him this, he will let you live here in the region of Goshen, for the Egyptians despise shepherds.”

Coping Mechanisms

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Your situation may not progress–not because of God– but because you haven’t changed your reaction to your trials.”~TB

Patterned Behavior

In order for us to change and grow closer to God in our walks, we must understand our behavior and the patterns we take when we deal with trials and tribulations. We all develop ways of coping through tough times. But when we look at how we respond to them, it’s more telling than the sinful behavior we participate in. The sin is a symptom of the fact that we chose to follow our flesh for comfort rather than relying on the comfort of God.

Examine

Because we are predictable, if we examine our actions, we can begin to develop new behaviors. Once you understand the underlying behavior of your actions, it’s time to repent and ask God for directions to properly pass your test. Rather than diving into anger, addiction, or any other flesh-driven alternative, you can learn to be still and choose to follow the teachings of Christ instead of the path of destruction.

Today’s Question

Are you a slave to destructive behavior because you haven’t asked God for help?

Enjoy the reading

Malachi 1

1 This is the message that the LORD gave to Israel through the prophet Malachi. 2 “I have always loved you,” says the LORD . But you retort, “Really? How have you loved us?” And the LORD replies, “This is how I showed my love for you: I loved your ancestor Jacob, 3 but I rejected his brother, Esau, and devastated his hill country. I turned Esau’s inheritance into a desert for jackals.” 4 Esau’s descendants in Edom may say, “We have been shattered, but we will rebuild the ruins.” But the LORD of Heaven’s Armies replies, “They may try to rebuild, but I will demolish them again. Their country will be known as ‘The Land of Wickedness,’ and their people will be called ‘The People with Whom the LORD Is Forever Angry.’ 5 When you see the destruction for yourselves, you will say, ‘Truly, the LORD ’s greatness reaches far beyond Israel’s borders!’” 6 The LORD of Heaven’s Armies says to the priests: “A son honors his father, and a servant respects his master. If I am your father and master, where are the honor and respect I deserve? You have shown contempt for my name! “But you ask, ‘How have we ever shown contempt for your name?’ 7 “You have shown contempt by offering defiled sacrifices on my altar. “Then you ask, ‘How have we defiled the sacrifices? ’ “You defile them by saying the altar of the LORD deserves no respect. 8 When you give blind animals as sacrifices, isn’t that wrong? And isn’t it wrong to offer animals that are crippled and diseased? Try giving gifts like that to your governor, and see how pleased he is!” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. 9 “Go ahead, beg God to be merciful to you! But when you bring that kind of offering, why should he show you any favor at all?” asks the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. 10 “How I wish one of you would shut the Temple doors so that these worthless sacrifices could not be offered! I am not pleased with you,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, “and I will not accept your offerings. 11 But my name is honored by people of other nations from morning till night. All around the world they offer sweet incense and pure offerings in honor of my name. For my name is great among the nations,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. 12 “But you dishonor my name with your actions. By bringing contemptible food, you are saying it’s all right to defile the Lord’s table. 13 You say, ‘It’s too hard to serve the LORD,’ and you turn up your noses at my commands,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. “Think of it! Animals that are stolen and crippled and sick are being presented as offerings! Should I accept from you such offerings as these?” asks the LORD . 14 “Cursed is the cheat who promises to give a fine ram from his flock but then sacrifices a defective one to the Lord. For I am a great king,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, “and my name is feared among the nations!

Jurisdiction

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“When you love your brothers and sisters as God loves you, there is no need for you to have jurisdiction over what they do with their lives.”

TB

Cut Short

As we grow closer with God, one of the biggest challenges we must overcome is being puffed up by religious knowledge and foolishly thinking that we have a say in the lives of those we care about. Imagine if God only loved us when we behaved? Surely none of us would make the mark. So, if God doesn’t love you only when you’re on the right path, how can you do the same to your brothers and sisters?

Long Live

Because we only see a fragment of what God sees, there is literally no way for any of us to know how He will use people and situations for the greater good. As such, we cannot play backseat quarterback to those around us. Let’s say you are right about something. So what? There is no special prize for knowing something your peers do not. Instead of condemnation, choose love, and in that way, we can extend grace to each other as God does with us.

Today’s Question

Are you foolish enough to play God?

Enjoy the reading

Habakkuk 2

1 I will climb up to my watchtower and stand at my guardpost. There I will wait to see what the LORD says and how he will answer my complaint. 2 Then the LORD said to me, “Write my answer plainly on tablets, so that a runner can carry the correct message to others. 3 This vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed. 4 “Look at the proud! They trust in themselves, and their lives are crooked. But the righteous will live by their faithfulness to God. 5 Wealth is treacherous, and the arrogant are never at rest. They open their mouths as wide as the grave, and like death, they are never satisfied. In their greed they have gathered up many nations and swallowed many peoples. 6 “But soon their captives will taunt them. They will mock them, saying, ‘What sorrow awaits you thieves! Now you will get what you deserve! You’ve become rich by extortion, but how much longer can this go on?’ 7 Suddenly, your debtors will take action. They will turn on you and take all you have, while you stand trembling and helpless. 8 Because you have plundered many nations, now all the survivors will plunder you. You committed murder throughout the countryside and filled the towns with violence. 9 “What sorrow awaits you who build big houses with money gained dishonestly! You believe your wealth will buy security, putting your family’s nest beyond the reach of danger. 10 But by the murders you committed, you have shamed your name and forfeited your lives. 11 The very stones in the walls cry out against you, and the beams in the ceilings echo the complaint. 12 “What sorrow awaits you who build cities with money gained through murder and corruption! 13 Has not the LORD of Heaven’s Armies promised that the wealth of nations will turn to ashes? They work so hard, but all in vain! 14 For as the waters fill the sea, the earth will be filled with an awareness of the glory of the LORD . 15 “What sorrow awaits you who make your neighbors drunk! You force your cup on them so you can gloat over their shameful nakedness. 16 But soon it will be your turn to be disgraced. Come, drink and be exposed! Drink from the cup of the LORD ’s judgment, and all your glory will be turned to shame. 17 You cut down the forests of Lebanon. Now you will be cut down. You destroyed the wild animals, so now their terror will be yours. You committed murder throughout the countryside and filled the towns with violence. 18 “What good is an idol carved by man, or a cast image that deceives you? How foolish to trust in your own creation— a god that can’t even talk! 19 What sorrow awaits you who say to wooden idols, ‘Wake up and save us!’ To speechless stone images you say, ‘Rise up and teach us!’ Can an idol tell you what to do? They may be overlaid with gold and silver, but they are lifeless inside. 20 But the LORD is in his holy Temple. Let all the earth be silent before him.”