God is the ultimate foundation to build your life upon. There is nothing else that is as indestructible. When you use other things, the foundation cracks because this is nothing as reliable as God’s promise to us.
If you’re tired of bottoming out due to flimsy foundations, ask God to become the focal point in your life. With Him, even the most chaotic of days are weathered because of His everlasting support and foundation.
What is your foundation?
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1 The LORD said to Moses, 2 “Command the people of Israel to bring you pure oil of pressed olives for the light, to keep the lamps burning continually. 3 This is the lampstand that stands in the Tabernacle, in front of the inner curtain that shields the Ark of the Covenant. Aaron must keep the lamps burning in the LORD ’s presence all night. This is a permanent law for you, and it must be observed from generation to generation. 4 Aaron and the priests must tend the lamps on the pure gold lampstand continually in the LORD ’s presence. 5 “You must bake twelve flat loaves of bread from choice flour, using four quarts of flour for each loaf. 6 Place the bread before the LORD on the pure gold table, and arrange the loaves in two stacks, with six loaves in each stack. 7 Put some pure frankincense near each stack to serve as a representative offering, a special gift presented to the LORD . 8 Every Sabbath day this bread must be laid out before the LORD as a gift from the Israelites; it is an ongoing expression of the eternal covenant. 9 The loaves of bread will belong to Aaron and his descendants, who must eat them in a sacred place, for they are most holy. It is the permanent right of the priests to claim this portion of the special gifts presented to the LORD .” 10 One day a man who had an Israelite mother and an Egyptian father came out of his tent and got into a fight with one of the Israelite men. 11 During the fight, this son of an Israelite woman blasphemed the Name of the LORD with a curse. So the man was brought to Moses for judgment. His mother was Shelomith, the daughter of Dibri of the tribe of Dan. 12 They kept the man in custody until the LORD ’s will in the matter should become clear to them. 13 Then the LORD said to Moses, 14 “Take the blasphemer outside the camp, and tell all those who heard the curse to lay their hands on his head. Then let the entire community stone him to death. 15 Say to the people of Israel: Those who curse their God will be punished for their sin. 16 Anyone who blasphemes the Name of the LORD must be stoned to death by the whole community of Israel. Any native-born Israelite or foreigner among you who blasphemes the Name of the LORD must be put to death. 17 “Anyone who takes another person’s life must be put to death. 18 “Anyone who kills another person’s animal must pay for it in full—a live animal for the animal that was killed. 19 “Anyone who injures another person must be dealt with according to the injury inflicted— 20 a fracture for a fracture, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. Whatever anyone does to injure another person must be paid back in kind. 21 “Whoever kills an animal must pay for it in full, but whoever kills another person must be put to death. 22 “This same standard applies both to native-born Israelites and to the foreigners living among you. I am the LORD your God.” 23 After Moses gave all these instructions to the Israelites, they took the blasphemer outside the camp and stoned him to death. The Israelites did just as the LORD had commanded Moses.
“Don’t get so caught up in blaming your neighbor that you waste the energy you need to increase your spiritual maturity.”
It’s not hard to find fault in the people you do life with. There are bad drivers, annoying bosses, nagging spouses, spoiled kids, the list goes on and on. If you’re looking for a reason to be frustrated or angry, it does not take long to find a reason. However, when we exert our energy and focus on who and what is wrong in our lives, we forget to focus on the one who is right. More to the point, we stop to realize our responsibility to ourselves.
Friends, life is not perfect, and neither are you. By focusing outward, we stop reflecting inward on how we can pick up our daily cross to walk with Christ. Instead of obsessing and pointing the finger at your neighbor, look in the mirror and ask God how you can improve yourself. We all have areas of improvement. When you aspire to move in God’s direction, you’ll find that you focus on being a better neighbor, lessening your time or need for finger-pointing
Are you focused on improving with God, or complaining about your neighbor?
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1 “This is the ceremony you must follow when you consecrate Aaron and his sons to serve me as priests: Take a young bull and two rams with no defects. 2 Then, using choice wheat flour and no yeast, make loaves of bread, thin cakes mixed with olive oil, and wafers spread with oil. 3 Place them all in a single basket, and present them at the entrance of the Tabernacle, along with the young bull and the two rams. 4 “Present Aaron and his sons at the entrance of the Tabernacle, and wash them with water. 5 Dress Aaron in his priestly garments—the tunic, the robe worn with the ephod, the ephod itself, and the chestpiece. Then wrap the decorative sash of the ephod around him. 6 Place the turban on his head, and fasten the sacred medallion to the turban. 7 Then anoint him by pouring the anointing oil over his head. 8 Next present his sons, and dress them in their tunics. 9 Wrap the sashes around the waists of Aaron and his sons, and put their special head coverings on them. Then the right to the priesthood will be theirs by law forever. In this way, you will ordain Aaron and his sons. 10 “Bring the young bull to the entrance of the Tabernacle, where Aaron and his sons will lay their hands on its head. 11 Then slaughter the bull in the LORD ’s presence at the entrance of the Tabernacle. 12 Put some of its blood on the horns of the altar with your finger, and pour out the rest at the base of the altar. 13 Take all the fat around the internal organs, the long lobe of the liver, and the two kidneys and the fat around them, and burn it all on the altar. 14 Then take the rest of the bull, including its hide, meat, and dung, and burn it outside the camp as a sin offering. 15 “Next Aaron and his sons must lay their hands on the head of one of the rams. 16 Then slaughter the ram, and splatter its blood against all sides of the altar. 17 Cut the ram into pieces, and wash off the internal organs and the legs. Set them alongside the head and the other pieces of the body, 18 then burn the entire animal on the altar. This is a burnt offering to the LORD ; it is a pleasing aroma, a special gift presented to the LORD . 19 “Now take the other ram, and have Aaron and his sons lay their hands on its head. 20 Then slaughter it, and apply some of its blood to the right earlobes of Aaron and his sons. Also put it on the thumbs of their right hands and the big toes of their right feet. Splatter the rest of the blood against all sides of the altar. 21 Then take some of the blood from the altar and some of the anointing oil, and sprinkle it on Aaron and his sons and on their garments. In this way, they and their garments will be set apart as holy. 22 “Since this is the ram for the ordination of Aaron and his sons, take the fat of the ram, including the fat of the broad tail, the fat around the internal organs, the long lobe of the liver, and the two kidneys and the fat around them, along with the right thigh. 23 Then take one round loaf of bread, one thin cake mixed with olive oil, and one wafer from the basket of bread without yeast that was placed in the LORD ’s presence. 24 Put all these in the hands of Aaron and his sons to be lifted up as a special offering to the LORD . 25 Afterward take the various breads from their hands, and burn them on the altar along with the burnt offering. It is a pleasing aroma to the LORD, a special gift for him. 26 Then take the breast of Aaron’s ordination ram, and lift it up in the LORD ’s presence as a special offering to him. Then keep it as your own portion. 27 “Set aside the portions of the ordination ram that belong to Aaron and his sons. This includes the breast and the thigh that were lifted up before the LORD as a special offering. 28 In the future, whenever the people of Israel lift up a peace offering, a portion of it must be set aside for Aaron and his descendants. This is their permanent right, and it is a sacred offering from the Israelites to the LORD . 29 “Aaron’s sacred garments must be preserved for his descendants who succeed him, and they will wear them when they are anointed and ordained. 30 The descendant who succeeds him as high priest will wear these clothes for seven days as he ministers in the Tabernacle and the Holy Place. 31 “Take the ram used in the ordination ceremony, and boil its meat in a sacred place. 32 Then Aaron and his sons will eat this meat, along with the bread in the basket, at the Tabernacle entrance. 33 They alone may eat the meat and bread used for their purification in the ordination ceremony. No one else may eat them, for these things are set apart and holy. 34 If any of the ordination meat or bread remains until the morning, it must be burned. It may not be eaten, for it is holy. 35 “This is how you will ordain Aaron and his sons to their offices, just as I have commanded you. The ordination ceremony will go on for seven days. 36 Each day you must sacrifice a young bull as a sin offering to purify them, making them right with the LORD . Afterward, cleanse the altar by purifying it ; make it holy by anointing it with oil. 37 Purify the altar, and consecrate it every day for seven days. After that, the altar will be absolutely holy, and whatever touches it will become holy. 38 “These are the sacrifices you are to offer regularly on the altar. Each day, offer two lambs that are a year old, 39 one in the morning and the other in the evening. 40 With one of them, offer two quarts of choice flour mixed with one quart of pure oil of pressed olives; also, offer one quart of wine as a liquid offering. 41 Offer the other lamb in the evening, along with the same offerings of flour and wine as in the morning. It will be a pleasing aroma, a special gift presented to the LORD . 42 “These burnt offerings are to be made each day from generation to generation. Offer them in the LORD ’s presence at the Tabernacle entrance; there I will meet with you and speak with you. 43 I will meet the people of Israel there, in the place made holy by my glorious presence. 44 Yes, I will consecrate the Tabernacle and the altar, and I will consecrate Aaron and his sons to serve me as priests. 45 Then I will live among the people of Israel and be their God, 46 and they will know that I am the LORD their God. I am the one who brought them out of the land of Egypt so that I could live among them. I am the LORD their God.
“Do not let your growth in Christ wither over superficial nonsense.”
There will be times where you’re so caught up in being offended by your neighbor that you forget the favor that God has so graciously provided you. Friends, don’t allow the fake tricks of the enemy to cause you to stunt your blessings.
Just because there is cause for offense does not mean you should fall into its snare. More to the point, if you grow upset over the bad things that happen to you, you fail to acknowledge the great things that came from the hand of God. So when in doubt, count your blessings.
Are the things of today that bother you minimizing the grace that God has given you?
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1 “If someone steals an ox or sheep and then kills or sells it, the thief must pay back five oxen for each ox stolen, and four sheep for each sheep stolen. 2 “If a thief is caught in the act of breaking into a house and is struck and killed in the process, the person who killed the thief is not guilty of murder. 3 But if it happens in daylight, the one who killed the thief is guilty of murder. “A thief who is caught must pay in full for everything he stole. If he cannot pay, he must be sold as a slave to pay for his theft. 4 If someone steals an ox or a donkey or a sheep and it is found in the thief’s possession, then the thief must pay double the value of the stolen animal. 5 “If an animal is grazing in a field or vineyard and the owner lets it stray into someone else’s field to graze, then the animal’s owner must pay compensation from the best of his own grain or grapes. 6 “If you are burning thornbushes and the fire gets out of control and spreads into another person’s field, destroying the sheaves or the uncut grain or the whole crop, the one who started the fire must pay for the lost crop. 7 “Suppose someone leaves money or goods with a neighbor for safekeeping, and they are stolen from the neighbor’s house. If the thief is caught, the compensation is double the value of what was stolen. 8 But if the thief is not caught, the neighbor must appear before God, who will determine if he stole the property. 9 “Suppose there is a dispute between two people who both claim to own a particular ox, donkey, sheep, article of clothing, or any lost property. Both parties must come before God, and the person whom God declares guilty must pay double compensation to the other. 10 “Now suppose someone leaves a donkey, ox, sheep, or any other animal with a neighbor for safekeeping, but it dies or is injured or is taken away, and no one sees what happened. 11 The neighbor must then take an oath in the presence of the LORD . If the LORD confirms that the neighbor did not steal the property, the owner must accept the verdict, and no payment will be required. 12 But if the animal was indeed stolen, the guilty person must pay compensation to the owner. 13 If it was torn to pieces by a wild animal, the remains of the carcass must be shown as evidence, and no compensation will be required. 14 “If someone borrows an animal from a neighbor and it is injured or dies when the owner is absent, the person who borrowed it must pay full compensation. 15 But if the owner was present, no compensation is required. And no compensation is required if the animal was rented, for this loss is covered by the rental fee. 16 “If a man seduces a virgin who is not engaged to anyone and has sex with her, he must pay the customary bride price and marry her. 17 But if her father refuses to let him marry her, the man must still pay him an amount equal to the bride price of a virgin. 18 “You must not allow a sorceress to live. 19 “Anyone who has sexual relations with an animal must certainly be put to death. 20 “Anyone who sacrifices to any god other than the LORD must be destroyed. 21 “You must not mistreat or oppress foreigners in any way. Remember, you yourselves were once foreigners in the land of Egypt. 22 “You must not exploit a widow or an orphan. 23 If you exploit them in any way and they cry out to me, then I will certainly hear their cry. 24 My anger will blaze against you, and I will kill you with the sword. Then your wives will be widows and your children fatherless. 25 “If you lend money to any of my people who are in need, do not charge interest as a money lender would. 26 If you take your neighbor’s cloak as security for a loan, you must return it before sunset. 27 This coat may be the only blanket your neighbor has. How can a person sleep without it? If you do not return it and your neighbor cries out to me for help, then I will hear, for I am merciful. 28 “You must not dishonor God or curse any of your rulers. 29 “You must not hold anything back when you give me offerings from your crops and your wine. “You must give me your firstborn sons. 30 “You must also give me the firstborn of your cattle, sheep, and goats. But leave the newborn animal with its mother for seven days; then give it to me on the eighth day. 31 “You must be my holy people. Therefore, do not eat any animal that has been torn up and killed by wild animals. Throw it to the dogs.
“Develop an honest reverence and love for the Lord so that when you’re faced with the Truth, you learn to follow it gladly.”
The truth doesn’t change, no matter how we feel about it. More, importantly, just because you feel like your ways are better than the truth doesn’t make it so. Friends, because we are driven by our flesh, we will always feel some type of opposition towards Christ’s teachings. Like fleeting hearts, unruly feelings can steer you towards behaviors and choices that you know are wrong. If we ever aspire to walk the narrow path, we need to love God.
When you walk with God, devoting the time and energy to know Him, you gain a love unlike any other. As such, you develop reverence for Christ’s teachings and commandments. This love is crucial because when we stray (as we always will) we can defer back to the love we have for our Father in Heaven rather than our feelings. Sin will always be a challenge, but when we love God more than ourselves, we gain the discipline to run our race.
Are you developing a relationship with God so that you may learn to check your feelings?
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1 Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian, heard about everything God had done for Moses and his people, the Israelites. He heard especially about how the LORD had rescued them from Egypt. 2 Earlier, Moses had sent his wife, Zipporah, and his two sons back to Jethro, who had taken them in. 3 (Moses’ first son was named Gershom, for Moses had said when the boy was born, “I have been a foreigner in a foreign land.” 4 His second son was named Eliezer, for Moses had said, “The God of my ancestors was my helper; he rescued me from the sword of Pharaoh.”) 5 Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, now came to visit Moses in the wilderness. He brought Moses’ wife and two sons with him, and they arrived while Moses and the people were camped near the mountain of God. 6 Jethro had sent a message to Moses, saying, “I, Jethro, your father-in-law, am coming to see you with your wife and your two sons.” 7 So Moses went out to meet his father-in-law. He bowed low and kissed him. They asked about each other’s welfare and then went into Moses’ tent. 8 Moses told his father-in-law everything the LORD had done to Pharaoh and Egypt on behalf of Israel. He also told about all the hardships they had experienced along the way and how the LORD had rescued his people from all their troubles. 9 Jethro was delighted when he heard about all the good things the LORD had done for Israel as he rescued them from the hand of the Egyptians. 10 “Praise the LORD,” Jethro said, “for he has rescued you from the Egyptians and from Pharaoh. Yes, he has rescued Israel from the powerful hand of Egypt! 11 I know now that the LORD is greater than all other gods, because he rescued his people from the oppression of the proud Egyptians.” 12 Then Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, brought a burnt offering and sacrifices to God. Aaron and all the elders of Israel came out and joined him in a sacrificial meal in God’s presence. 13 The next day, Moses took his seat to hear the people’s disputes against each other. They waited before him from morning till evening. 14 When Moses’ father-in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he asked, “What are you really accomplishing here? Why are you trying to do all this alone while everyone stands around you from morning till evening?” 15 Moses replied, “Because the people come to me to get a ruling from God. 16 When a dispute arises, they come to me, and I am the one who settles the case between the quarreling parties. I inform the people of God’s decrees and give them his instructions.” 17 “This is not good!” Moses’ father-in-law exclaimed. 18 “You’re going to wear yourself out—and the people, too. This job is too heavy a burden for you to handle all by yourself. 19 Now listen to me, and let me give you a word of advice, and may God be with you. You should continue to be the people’s representative before God, bringing their disputes to him. 20 Teach them God’s decrees, and give them his instructions. Show them how to conduct their lives. 21 But select from all the people some capable, honest men who fear God and hate bribes. Appoint them as leaders over groups of one thousand, one hundred, fifty, and ten. 22 They should always be available to solve the people’s common disputes, but have them bring the major cases to you. Let the leaders decide the smaller matters themselves. They will help you carry the load, making the task easier for you. 23 If you follow this advice, and if God commands you to do so, then you will be able to endure the pressures, and all these people will go home in peace.” 24 Moses listened to his father-in-law’s advice and followed his suggestions. 25 He chose capable men from all over Israel and appointed them as leaders over the people. He put them in charge of groups of one thousand, one hundred, fifty, and ten. 26 These men were always available to solve the people’s common disputes. They brought the major cases to Moses, but they took care of the smaller matters themselves. 27 Soon after this, Moses said good-bye to his father-in-law, who returned to his own land.
“Be careful where you plant yourself, like seedlings we can grow quickly in the soil of good or evil.”
We are like seedlings, and our growth is our lifespan. You’re basically a plant that is allowed to grow in whatever environment you choose. We don’t start out in Good soil, that is something we must accept and decide. Because God is fair and just, He will allow you to replant yourself in the Good Soil. If you choose to plant yourself in evil soil, well, that’s an option too. But ultimately, it’s your choice to decide who you want to be your gardener.
When you choose the devil to be your gardener– which requires you to turn away from Christ (which is your right)– your growth is wicked and invasive. And your offering come harvest time will be rejected. When you choose God to be your gardener, there will be a lot of pruning, but you will find yourself to be an acceptable offering come harvest time. Friends, choose your gardener wisely because harvest season is always among us.
Did you plant yourself in the Good soil so that God finds you acceptable?
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1 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Return to Pharaoh and make your demands again. I have made him and his officials stubborn so I can display my miraculous signs among them. 2 I’ve also done it so you can tell your children and grandchildren about how I made a mockery of the Egyptians and about the signs I displayed among them—and so you will know that I am the LORD .” 3 So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, “This is what the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, says: How long will you refuse to submit to me? Let my people go, so they can worship me. 4 If you refuse, watch out! For tomorrow I will bring a swarm of locusts on your country. 5 They will cover the land so that you won’t be able to see the ground. They will devour what little is left of your crops after the hailstorm, including all the trees growing in the fields. 6 They will overrun your palaces and the homes of your officials and all the houses in Egypt. Never in the history of Egypt have your ancestors seen a plague like this one!” And with that, Moses turned and left Pharaoh. 7 Pharaoh’s officials now came to Pharaoh and appealed to him. “How long will you let this man hold us hostage? Let the men go to worship the LORD their God! Don’t you realize that Egypt lies in ruins?” 8 So Moses and Aaron were brought back to Pharaoh. “All right,” he told them, “go and worship the LORD your God. But who exactly will be going with you?” 9 Moses replied, “We will all go—young and old, our sons and daughters, and our flocks and herds. We must all join together in celebrating a festival to the LORD .” 10 Pharaoh retorted, “The LORD will certainly need to be with you if I let you take your little ones! I can see through your evil plan. 11 Never! Only the men may go and worship the LORD, since that is what you requested.” And Pharaoh threw them out of the palace. 12 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Raise your hand over the land of Egypt to bring on the locusts. Let them cover the land and devour every plant that survived the hailstorm.” 13 So Moses raised his staff over Egypt, and the LORD caused an east wind to blow over the land all that day and through the night. When morning arrived, the east wind had brought the locusts. 14 And the locusts swarmed over the whole land of Egypt, settling in dense swarms from one end of the country to the other. It was the worst locust plague in Egyptian history, and there has never been another one like it. 15 For the locusts covered the whole country and darkened the land. They devoured every plant in the fields and all the fruit on the trees that had survived the hailstorm. Not a single leaf was left on the trees and plants throughout the land of Egypt. 16 Pharaoh quickly summoned Moses and Aaron. “I have sinned against the LORD your God and against you,” he confessed. 17 “Forgive my sin, just this once, and plead with the LORD your God to take away this death from me.” 18 So Moses left Pharaoh’s court and pleaded with the LORD . 19 The LORD responded by shifting the wind, and the strong west wind blew the locusts into the Red Sea. Not a single locust remained in all the land of Egypt. 20 But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart again, so he refused to let the people go. 21 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Lift your hand toward heaven, and the land of Egypt will be covered with a darkness so thick you can feel it.” 22 So Moses lifted his hand to the sky, and a deep darkness covered the entire land of Egypt for three days. 23 During all that time the people could not see each other, and no one moved. But there was light as usual where the people of Israel lived. 24 Finally, Pharaoh called for Moses. “Go and worship the LORD,” he said. “But leave your flocks and herds here. You may even take your little ones with you.” 25 “No,” Moses said, “you must provide us with animals for sacrifices and burnt offerings to the LORD our God. 26 All our livestock must go with us, too; not a hoof can be left behind. We must choose our sacrifices for the LORD our God from among these animals. And we won’t know how we are to worship the LORD until we get there.” 27 But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart once more, and he would not let them go. 28 “Get out of here!” Pharaoh shouted at Moses. “I’m warning you. Never come back to see me again! The day you see my face, you will die!” 29 “Very well,” Moses replied. “I will never see your face again.”
“It’s best to err on the air of humility vs. the air of superiority so that God can show you the Truth.”
When we look at situations with the superiority of our intelligence, the legalistic view of perceived morality blinds us. In short, our perceived offenses blind us to the miraculous deeds that God performs each and every day.
But, when you lean into God’s understanding, forsaking your own line of sight, it is then where you can see the Hand of God doing things you could never even imagine! So instead of passing judgment, treat people as He treats you.
Are you missing the spectacular miracles of God because you think you know better than Him?
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1 At one time all the people of the world spoke the same language and used the same words. 2 As the people migrated to the east, they found a plain in the land of Babylonia and settled there. 3 They began saying to each other, “Let’s make bricks and harden them with fire.” (In this region bricks were used instead of stone, and tar was used for mortar.) 4 Then they said, “Come, let’s build a great city for ourselves with a tower that reaches into the sky. This will make us famous and keep us from being scattered all over the world.” 5 But the LORD came down to look at the city and the tower the people were building. 6 “Look!” he said. “The people are united, and they all speak the same language. After this, nothing they set out to do will be impossible for them! 7 Come, let’s go down and confuse the people with different languages. Then they won’t be able to understand each other.” 8 In that way, the LORD scattered them all over the world, and they stopped building the city. 9 That is why the city was called Babel, because that is where the LORD confused the people with different languages. In this way he scattered them all over the world. 10 This is the account of Shem’s family. Two years after the great flood, when Shem was 100 years old, he became the father of Arphaxad. 11 After the birth of Arphaxad, Shem lived another 500 years and had other sons and daughters. 12 When Arphaxad was 35 years old, he became the father of Shelah. 13 After the birth of Shelah, Arphaxad lived another 403 years and had other sons and daughters. 14 When Shelah was 30 years old, he became the father of Eber. 15 After the birth of Eber, Shelah lived another 403 years and had other sons and daughters. 16 When Eber was 34 years old, he became the father of Peleg. 17 After the birth of Peleg, Eber lived another 430 years and had other sons and daughters. 18 When Peleg was 30 years old, he became the father of Reu. 19 After the birth of Reu, Peleg lived another 209 years and had other sons and daughters. 20 When Reu was 32 years old, he became the father of Serug. 21 After the birth of Serug, Reu lived another 207 years and had other sons and daughters. 22 When Serug was 30 years old, he became the father of Nahor. 23 After the birth of Nahor, Serug lived another 200 years and had other sons and daughters. 24 When Nahor was 29 years old, he became the father of Terah. 25 After the birth of Terah, Nahor lived another 119 years and had other sons and daughters. 26 After Terah was 70 years old, he became the father of Abram, Nahor, and Haran. 27 This is the account of Terah’s family. Terah was the father of Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran was the father of Lot. 28 But Haran died in Ur of the Chaldeans, the land of his birth, while his father, Terah, was still living. 29 Meanwhile, Abram and Nahor both married. The name of Abram’s wife was Sarai, and the name of Nahor’s wife was Milcah. (Milcah and her sister Iscah were daughters of Nahor’s brother Haran.) 30 But Sarai was unable to become pregnant and had no children. 31 One day Terah took his son Abram, his daughter-in-law Sarai (his son Abram’s wife), and his grandson Lot (his son Haran’s child) and moved away from Ur of the Chaldeans. He was headed for the land of Canaan, but they stopped at Haran and settled there. 32 Terah lived for 205 years and died while still in Haran.
Unbridled pride comes in many forms, and if you’re not consciously aware of your choices and how you arrive at them, your pride will take you for quite the ride. This ride is subtle and slow-brewing, but over time, you’ll come to know its effects. But know this, unchecked pride causes disobedience. So what does pride look like?
When we think of pride, we often associate it with being boastful or arrogant. But, pride has a flipside. Refusing to ask for help, that’s pride. Fear of failure is also pride. Consider this, the only thing we truly lose in failure is our pride. And, if that’s all we lose, what joy! So if God calls you to do some, don’t let your fear-based pride hinder you.
Are the shapes of pride causing you to fear growth in Christ?
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1 “Listen, you priests—this command is for you! 2 Listen to me and make up your minds to honor my name,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, “or I will bring a terrible curse against you. I will curse even the blessings you receive. Indeed, I have already cursed them, because you have not taken my warning to heart. 3 I will punish your descendants and splatter your faces with the manure from your festival sacrifices, and I will throw you on the manure pile. 4 Then at last you will know it was I who sent you this warning so that my covenant with the Levites can continue,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. 5 “The purpose of my covenant with the Levites was to bring life and peace, and that is what I gave them. This required reverence from them, and they greatly revered me and stood in awe of my name. 6 They passed on to the people the truth of the instructions they received from me. They did not lie or cheat; they walked with me, living good and righteous lives, and they turned many from lives of sin. 7 “The words of a priest’s lips should preserve knowledge of God, and people should go to him for instruction, for the priest is the messenger of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. 8 But you priests have left God’s paths. Your instructions have caused many to stumble into sin. You have corrupted the covenant I made with the Levites,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. 9 “So I have made you despised and humiliated in the eyes of all the people. For you have not obeyed me but have shown favoritism in the way you carry out my instructions.” 10 Are we not all children of the same Father? Are we not all created by the same God? Then why do we betray each other, violating the covenant of our ancestors? 11 Judah has been unfaithful, and a detestable thing has been done in Israel and in Jerusalem. The men of Judah have defiled the LORD ’s beloved sanctuary by marrying women who worship idols. 12 May the LORD cut off from the nation of Israel every last man who has done this and yet brings an offering to the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. 13 Here is another thing you do. You cover the LORD ’s altar with tears, weeping and groaning because he pays no attention to your offerings and doesn’t accept them with pleasure. 14 You cry out, “Why doesn’t the LORD accept my worship?” I’ll tell you why! Because the LORD witnessed the vows you and your wife made when you were young. But you have been unfaithful to her, though she remained your faithful partner, the wife of your marriage vows. 15 Didn’t the LORD make you one with your wife? In body and spirit you are his. And what does he want? Godly children from your union. So guard your heart; remain loyal to the wife of your youth. 16 “For I hate divorce!” says the LORD, the God of Israel. “To divorce your wife is to overwhelm her with cruelty, ” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. “So guard your heart; do not be unfaithful to your wife.” 17 You have wearied the LORD with your words. “How have we wearied him?” you ask. You have wearied him by saying that all who do evil are good in the LORD ’s sight, and he is pleased with them. You have wearied him by asking, “Where is the God of justice?”
Do not be swayed by the foolish and temporal opinions of people. They do not know enough to even glean an inkling of God’s plans. The opposition will craftily use us to deter one another from our callings. For that reason, be quick to listen and slow to speak, because God’s vision and plans supersede our understanding.
Just because you feel unqualified does not mean that God doesn’t lift up His children. Like the people before you, He has a knack for using the least likely. Why? What better way to show might than to exalt the underdog? So whatever your task, whatever your objective, do it with the confidence that God has the final say, not man.
Are you doing what you’re supposed to or has the influence of fools got you down?
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1 Then the LORD spoke to Jonah a second time: 2 “Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh, and deliver the message I have given you.” 3 This time Jonah obeyed the LORD ’s command and went to Nineveh, a city so large that it took three days to see it all. 4 On the day Jonah entered the city, he shouted to the crowds: “Forty days from now Nineveh will be destroyed!” 5 The people of Nineveh believed God’s message, and from the greatest to the least, they declared a fast and put on burlap to show their sorrow. 6 When the king of Nineveh heard what Jonah was saying, he stepped down from his throne and took off his royal robes. He dressed himself in burlap and sat on a heap of ashes. 7 Then the king and his nobles sent this decree throughout the city: “No one, not even the animals from your herds and flocks, may eat or drink anything at all. 8 People and animals alike must wear garments of mourning, and everyone must pray earnestly to God. They must turn from their evil ways and stop all their violence. 9 Who can tell? Perhaps even yet God will change his mind and hold back his fierce anger from destroying us.” 10 When God saw what they had done and how they had put a stop to their evil ways, he changed his mind and did not carry out the destruction he had threatened.
“Evil behaviors and deeds grow best in the darkness and away from the light.”
There’s a reason why when we’re doing things we ought not to be doing, we do them secretly. Like a bacteria growing in darkness, sin is best cultivated behind the scenes. There is can grow and infiltrate all aspects of our lives. Soon enough, these misdeeds are impacting our day to day, causing chaos without us fully understanding what is going on.
The only way to defeat the darkness is to bring out your actions into the light. Accountability is vital for us to grow, mature, and avoid the snares of a habitual lifestyle in darkness. If you truly want peace and light ask God to keep you accountable. Read the word and see how those in Bible dealt with darkness and the results of their actions. Sin can’t grow in the light, so turn to Him.
What’s keeping you in the dark?
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1 The Sovereign LORD showed me a vision. I saw him preparing to send a vast swarm of locusts over the land. This was after the king’s share had been harvested from the fields and as the main crop was coming up. 2 In my vision the locusts ate every green plant in sight. Then I said, “O Sovereign LORD, please forgive us or we will not survive, for Israel is so small.” 3 So the LORD relented from this plan. “I will not do it,” he said. 4 Then the Sovereign LORD showed me another vision. I saw him preparing to punish his people with a great fire. The fire had burned up the depths of the sea and was devouring the entire land. 5 Then I said, “O Sovereign LORD, please stop or we will not survive, for Israel is so small.” 6 Then the LORD relented from this plan, too. “I will not do that either,” said the Sovereign LORD . 7 Then he showed me another vision. I saw the Lord standing beside a wall that had been built using a plumb line. He was using a plumb line to see if it was still straight. 8 And the LORD said to me, “Amos, what do you see?” I answered, “A plumb line.” And the Lord replied, “I will test my people with this plumb line. I will no longer ignore all their sins. 9 The pagan shrines of your ancestors will be ruined, and the temples of Israel will be destroyed; I will bring the dynasty of King Jeroboam to a sudden end.” 10 Then Amaziah, the priest of Bethel, sent a message to Jeroboam, king of Israel: “Amos is hatching a plot against you right here on your very doorstep! What he is saying is intolerable. 11 He is saying, ‘Jeroboam will soon be killed, and the people of Israel will be sent away into exile.’” 12 Then Amaziah sent orders to Amos: “Get out of here, you prophet! Go on back to the land of Judah, and earn your living by prophesying there! 13 Don’t bother us with your prophecies here in Bethel. This is the king’s sanctuary and the national place of worship!” 14 But Amos replied, “I’m not a professional prophet, and I was never trained to be one. I’m just a shepherd, and I take care of sycamore-fig trees. 15 But the LORD called me away from my flock and told me, ‘Go and prophesy to my people in Israel.’ 16 Now then, listen to this message from the LORD : “You say, ‘Don’t prophesy against Israel. Stop preaching against my people. ’ 17 But this is what the LORD says: ‘Your wife will become a prostitute in this city, and your sons and daughters will be killed. Your land will be divided up, and you yourself will die in a foreign land. And the people of Israel will certainly become captives in exile, far from their homeland.’”
“If God gives you something, the devil cannot take it away, unless you let him.”
The devil does not have authority over us. He does, however, have permission to pester us, but it is up to us to take the bait or ignore it. For example he may not get you fired, but he can sow seeds of discord and derision between you and your coworkers. If an untamed ego pulls you into the trap, and you make the decision to engage with said coworker, that’s not the devil, that’s you.
God has the final say in all things, which is why we should have peace in all seasons of our lives. We find ourselves in trouble when we arrogantly believe we can play God as we deploy our haphazard schemes rather than going to God for the solution. So the next time you see the opposition trying to sabotage your blessings, check yourself, consult God, and all will be well.
Have you checked yourself or are you being played by a dumb trickster?
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1 Listen to this message that the LORD has spoken against you, O people of Israel—against the entire family I rescued from Egypt: 2 “From among all the families on the earth, I have been intimate with you alone. That is why I must punish you for all your sins.” 3 Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction? 4 Does a lion ever roar in a thicket without first finding a victim? Does a young lion growl in its den without first catching its prey? 5 Does a bird ever get caught in a trap that has no bait? Does a trap spring shut when there’s nothing to catch? 6 When the ram’s horn blows a warning, shouldn’t the people be alarmed? Does disaster come to a city unless the LORD has planned it? 7 Indeed, the Sovereign LORD never does anything until he reveals his plans to his servants the prophets. 8 The lion has roared— so who isn’t frightened? The Sovereign LORD has spoken— so who can refuse to proclaim his message? 9 Announce this to the leaders of Philistia and to the great ones of Egypt: “Take your seats now on the hills around Samaria, and witness the chaos and oppression in Israel.” 10 “My people have forgotten how to do right,” says the LORD . “Their fortresses are filled with wealth taken by theft and violence. 11 Therefore,” says the Sovereign LORD, “an enemy is coming! He will surround them and shatter their defenses. Then he will plunder all their fortresses.” 12 This is what the LORD says: “A shepherd who tries to rescue a sheep from a lion’s mouth will recover only two legs or a piece of an ear. So it will be for the Israelites in Samaria lying on luxurious beds, and for the people of Damascus reclining on couches. 13 “Now listen to this, and announce it throughout all Israel, ” says the Lord, the LORD God of Heaven’s Armies. 14 “On the very day I punish Israel for its sins, I will destroy the pagan altars at Bethel. The horns of the altar will be cut off and fall to the ground. 15 And I will destroy the beautiful homes of the wealthy— their winter mansions and their summer houses, too— all their palaces filled with ivory,” says the LORD .