Far Better Than Worse

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

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

TB

Real Talk

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

Hard Work

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

Today’s Question

Who are you modeling your love after?

Enjoy the reading

Jeremiah 52

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

Sharp

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Keep wise people around you because their hard-earned wisdom will serve you well.”

TB

Sharpened Iron

I chat with my dad often. Most of the time, it’s because he’s got a lot of cool information that I’ve been able to use both in my life and my business. While I may take some time to wrap my Texas-sized ego around his wise words, more often than not, after a moment or two (and quite possibly a nap) I concede that his answers are far better than my own. Every now and again, I manage to squeak out a wise word from my own experiences, but usually I’m the student, benefitting from 55 years of living. Listening to wise biblically based counsel is very important, as it helps you gain discernment that will see you through this life.

Sharp Eyes

When you have daily conversations with God and godly people, your spiritual eyesight is sharp, able to cut through the superficial nonsense of this world. Because you set your sights on above, God Himself act as your guide to navigate the waters of a sin-fallen world. Even better, if He has given you a wise elder within your family, peer group, or what have you, you have the added benefit from learning through their experiences, mistakes, triumphs, and the like. As this world gets more flesh-driven, there are fake things that pretend to be good. If you’re not looking too closely, you will fall prey to the imitations set out to devour you. It’s easy to say that evil is deceptive and that we lack insight into the motives of others and the opposition. But, with sharp eyes, a Christ-centered mind, and wise counsel, you can persevere and sidestep the tomfoolery.

Today’s Question

Are you staying sharp by knowing God and His people, or are the fake treasures of evil blinding your sight?

Enjoy the reading

Jeremiah 42

1 Then all the guerrilla leaders, including Johanan son of Kareah and Jezaniah son of Hoshaiah, and all the people, from the least to the greatest, approached 2 Jeremiah the prophet. They said, “Please pray to the LORD your God for us. As you can see, we are only a tiny remnant compared to what we were before. 3 Pray that the LORD your God will show us what to do and where to go.” 4 “All right,” Jeremiah replied. “I will pray to the LORD your God, as you have asked, and I will tell you everything he says. I will hide nothing from you.” 5 Then they said to Jeremiah, “May the LORD your God be a faithful witness against us if we refuse to obey whatever he tells us to do! 6 Whether we like it or not, we will obey the LORD our God to whom we are sending you with our plea. For if we obey him, everything will turn out well for us.” 7 Ten days later the LORD gave his reply to Jeremiah. 8 So he called for Johanan son of Kareah and the other guerrilla leaders, and for all the people, from the least to the greatest. 9 He said to them, “You sent me to the LORD, the God of Israel, with your request, and this is his reply: 10 ‘Stay here in this land. If you do, I will build you up and not tear you down; I will plant you and not uproot you. For I am sorry about all the punishment I have had to bring upon you. 11 Do not fear the king of Babylon anymore,’ says the LORD . ‘For I am with you and will save you and rescue you from his power. 12 I will be merciful to you by making him kind, so he will let you stay here in your land.’ 13 “But if you refuse to obey the LORD your God, and if you say, ‘We will not stay here; 14 instead, we will go to Egypt where we will be free from war, the call to arms, and hunger,’ 15 then hear the LORD ’s message to the remnant of Judah. This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘If you are determined to go to Egypt and live there, 16 the very war and famine you fear will catch up to you, and you will die there. 17 That is the fate awaiting every one of you who insists on going to live in Egypt. Yes, you will die from war, famine, and disease. None of you will escape the disaster I will bring upon you there.’ 18 “This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘Just as my anger and fury have been poured out on the people of Jerusalem, so they will be poured out on you when you enter Egypt. You will be an object of damnation, horror, cursing, and mockery. And you will never see your homeland again.’ 19 “Listen, you remnant of Judah. The LORD has told you: ‘Do not go to Egypt!’ Don’t forget this warning I have given you today. 20 For you were not being honest when you sent me to pray to the LORD your God for you. You said, ‘Just tell us what the LORD our God says, and we will do it!’ 21 And today I have told you exactly what he said, but you will not obey the LORD your God any better now than you have in the past. 22 So you can be sure that you will die from war, famine, and disease in Egypt, where you insist on going.”

He not Me

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“In order to honestly pursue Christ, change your focus to ‘He’ from ‘me'”

TB

Born Again

When we are born again, we gain the Holy Spirit, our connection with Christ. And through Him we have the ability to learn and live with Christ. Should you choose to accept that responsibility, it is up to you, the individual, to build your relationship with our Father in Heaven. In the process, expect to experience trials, tribulations, and loss. It is not to punish you, but to ultimately allow you to see that is Christ’s identity that we are after and not our own.

Not Again

It’s human nature to be self-centered. As such, one of the biggest struggles is to leave our past existence behind to pursue a Christ-filled life. One of the reasons people fail to finish that race is because they become trapped with the desire to pursue their own agenda rather than Christ’s. We want to be exalted based on our ‘unique’ attributes rather than exalting our Maker. The ironic part is that none of us are truly as individualistic or as interesting as we think we are. Spend time listening to people describe themselves and you will realize our life experiences aren’t that different haha!

Then Again

Once you reconcile your place in Christ’s plan for your life, you can then again pick up the Cross and run your race. After time, you’ll realize that it becomes easier to get out of your own way because God gives you your daily revelations. By talking with Him and walking with Him, your vision aligns with His, allowing you to spot real from fake, good from evil. Then, you realize– joyfully, I might add– that pursuing Christ is a lifelong endeavor that requires focus and righteous decisions. To make this happen, we first have to kill our egos, fight the daily battle of flesh to pursue what is right, and follow Christ with all of our heart and mind.

Today’s Question

Who is in the driver’s seat; you or God?

Enjoy the reading

Jeremiah 36

1 During the fourth year that Jehoiakim son of Josiah was king in Judah, the LORD gave this message to Jeremiah: 2 “Get a scroll, and write down all my messages against Israel, Judah, and the other nations. Begin with the first message back in the days of Josiah, and write down every message, right up to the present time. 3 Perhaps the people of Judah will repent when they hear again all the terrible things I have planned for them. Then I will be able to forgive their sins and wrongdoings.” 4 So Jeremiah sent for Baruch son of Neriah, and as Jeremiah dictated all the prophecies that the LORD had given him, Baruch wrote them on a scroll. 5 Then Jeremiah said to Baruch, “I am a prisoner here and unable to go to the Temple. 6 So you go to the Temple on the next day of fasting, and read the messages from the LORD that I have had you write on this scroll. Read them so the people who are there from all over Judah will hear them. 7 Perhaps even yet they will turn from their evil ways and ask the LORD ’s forgiveness before it is too late. For the LORD has threatened them with his terrible anger.” 8 Baruch did as Jeremiah told him and read these messages from the LORD to the people at the Temple. 9 He did this on a day of sacred fasting held in late autumn, during the fifth year of the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah. People from all over Judah had come to Jerusalem to attend the services at the Temple on that day. 10 Baruch read Jeremiah’s words on the scroll to all the people. He stood in front of the Temple room of Gemariah, son of Shaphan the secretary. This room was just off the upper courtyard of the Temple, near the New Gate entrance. 11 When Micaiah son of Gemariah and grandson of Shaphan heard the messages from the LORD, 12 he went down to the secretary’s room in the palace where the administrative officials were meeting. Elishama the secretary was there, along with Delaiah son of Shemaiah, Elnathan son of Acbor, Gemariah son of Shaphan, Zedekiah son of Hananiah, and all the other officials. 13 When Micaiah told them about the messages Baruch was reading to the people, 14 the officials sent Jehudi son of Nethaniah, grandson of Shelemiah and great-grandson of Cushi, to ask Baruch to come and read the messages to them, too. So Baruch took the scroll and went to them. 15 “Sit down and read the scroll to us,” the officials said, and Baruch did as they requested. 16 When they heard all the messages, they looked at one another in alarm. “We must tell the king what we have heard,” they said to Baruch. 17 “But first, tell us how you got these messages. Did they come directly from Jeremiah?” 18 So Baruch explained, “Jeremiah dictated them, and I wrote them down in ink, word for word, on this scroll.” 19 “You and Jeremiah should both hide,” the officials told Baruch. “Don’t tell anyone where you are!” 20 Then the officials left the scroll for safekeeping in the room of Elishama the secretary and went to tell the king what had happened. 21 The king sent Jehudi to get the scroll. Jehudi brought it from Elishama’s room and read it to the king as all his officials stood by. 22 It was late autumn, and the king was in a winterized part of the palace, sitting in front of a fire to keep warm. 23 Each time Jehudi finished reading three or four columns, the king took a knife and cut off that section of the scroll. He then threw it into the fire, section by section, until the whole scroll was burned up. 24 Neither the king nor his attendants showed any signs of fear or repentance at what they heard. 25 Even when Elnathan, Delaiah, and Gemariah begged the king not to burn the scroll, he wouldn’t listen. 26 Then the king commanded his son Jerahmeel, Seraiah son of Azriel, and Shelemiah son of Abdeel to arrest Baruch and Jeremiah. But the LORD had hidden them. 27 After the king had burned the scroll on which Baruch had written Jeremiah’s words, the LORD gave Jeremiah another message. He said, 28 “Get another scroll, and write everything again just as you did on the scroll King Jehoiakim burned. 29 Then say to the king, ‘This is what the LORD says: You burned the scroll because it said the king of Babylon would destroy this land and empty it of people and animals. 30 Now this is what the LORD says about King Jehoiakim of Judah: He will have no heirs to sit on the throne of David. His dead body will be thrown out to lie unburied—exposed to the heat of the day and the frost of the night. 31 I will punish him and his family and his attendants for their sins. I will pour out on them and on all the people of Jerusalem and Judah all the disasters I promised, for they would not listen to my warnings.’” 32 So Jeremiah took another scroll and dictated again to his secretary, Baruch. He wrote everything that had been on the scroll King Jehoiakim had burned in the fire. Only this time he added much more!

Needy

lifebelt-4148444_1920.jpg

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Cultivate your relationship with God so that you get what you need from Him, rather than bleeding dry the people around you.”~TB

Inherent

We human beings are inherently needy, which is by design. We need God and when we seek Him, we find those needs met. The problem that many of us face is that we continually look to other people, places, or things to fulfill needs that only God can meet. This results in messed up relationships, poor substance choices, destructive habits, you name it, we’re doing it. Even worse, if you look at our society, we’re perpetuating and championing this broken system.

Fill

Instead of relying on the people around you, fill your need by going to the everlasting well that is Christ. Christ sustains us and never runs out or dries up. His Word is perfect, rejuvenating and full of the spiritual vitamins that heal our wounds and makes us whole once again. But first, we have to start by activating the relationship. God will never force His will on you, you must decide that you need him. And when that happens, your neediness finds its rightful place.

Today’s Question

Are you spiritually needy or are you relying on unfit sources?

Enjoy the reading

Jeremiah 23

1 “What sorrow awaits the leaders of my people—the shepherds of my sheep—for they have destroyed and scattered the very ones they were expected to care for,” says the LORD . 
2 Therefore, this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says to these shepherds: “Instead of caring for my flock and leading them to safety, you have deserted them and driven them to destruction. Now I will pour out judgment on you for the evil you have done to them. 
3 But I will gather together the remnant of my flock from the countries where I have driven them. I will bring them back to their own sheepfold, and they will be fruitful and increase in number. 
4 Then I will appoint responsible shepherds who will care for them, and they will never be afraid again. Not a single one will be lost or missing. I, the LORD, have spoken! 
5 “For the time is coming,” says the LORD, “when I will raise up a righteous descendant from King David’s line. He will be a King who rules with wisdom. He will do what is just and right throughout the land. 
6 And this will be his name: ‘The LORD Is Our Righteousness.’ In that day Judah will be saved, and Israel will live in safety. 
7 “In that day,” says the LORD, “when people are taking an oath, they will no longer say, ‘As surely as the LORD lives, who rescued the people of Israel from the land of Egypt.’ 
8 Instead, they will say, ‘As surely as the LORD lives, who brought the people of Israel back to their own land from the land of the north and from all the countries to which he had exiled them.’ Then they will live in their own land.” 
9 My heart is broken because of the false prophets, and my bones tremble. I stagger like a drunkard, like someone overcome by wine, because of the holy words the LORD has spoken against them. 
10 For the land is full of adultery, and it lies under a curse. The land itself is in mourning— its wilderness pastures are dried up. For they all do evil and abuse what power they have. 
11 “Even the priests and prophets are ungodly, wicked men. I have seen their despicable acts right here in my own Temple,” says the LORD . 
12 “Therefore, the paths they take will become slippery. They will be chased through the dark, and there they will fall. For I will bring disaster upon them at the time fixed for their punishment. I, the LORD, have spoken! 
13 “I saw that the prophets of Samaria were terribly evil, for they prophesied in the name of Baal and led my people of Israel into sin. 
14 But now I see that the prophets of Jerusalem are even worse! They commit adultery and love dishonesty. They encourage those who are doing evil so that no one turns away from their sins. These prophets are as wicked as the people of Sodom and Gomorrah once were.” 
15 Therefore, this is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says concerning the prophets: “I will feed them with bitterness and give them poison to drink. For it is because of Jerusalem’s prophets that wickedness has filled this land.” 
16 This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says to his people: “Do not listen to these prophets when they prophesy to you, filling you with futile hopes. They are making up everything they say. They do not speak for the LORD ! 
17 They keep saying to those who despise my word, ‘Don’t worry! The LORD says you will have peace!’ And to those who stubbornly follow their own desires, they say, ‘No harm will come your way!’ 
18 “Have any of these prophets been in the LORD ’s presence to hear what he is really saying? Has even one of them cared enough to listen? 
19 Look! The LORD ’s anger bursts out like a storm, a whirlwind that swirls down on the heads of the wicked. 
20 The anger of the LORD will not diminish until it has finished all he has planned. In the days to come you will understand all this very clearly. 
21 “I have not sent these prophets, yet they run around claiming to speak for me. I have given them no message, yet they go on prophesying. 
22 If they had stood before me and listened to me, they would have spoken my words, and they would have turned my people from their evil ways and deeds. 
23 Am I a God who is only close at hand?” says the LORD . “No, I am far away at the same time. 
24 Can anyone hide from me in a secret place? Am I not everywhere in all the heavens and earth?” says the LORD . 
25 “I have heard these prophets say, ‘Listen to the dream I had from God last night.’ And then they proceed to tell lies in my name. 
26 How long will this go on? If they are prophets, they are prophets of deceit, inventing everything they say. 
27 By telling these false dreams, they are trying to get my people to forget me, just as their ancestors did by worshiping the idols of Baal. 
28 “Let these false prophets tell their dreams, but let my true messengers faithfully proclaim my every word. There is a difference between straw and grain! 
29 Does not my word burn like fire?” says the LORD . “Is it not like a mighty hammer that smashes a rock to pieces? 
30 “Therefore,” says the LORD, “I am against these prophets who steal messages from each other and claim they are from me. 
31 I am against these smooth-tongued prophets who say, ‘This prophecy is from the LORD !’ 
32 I am against these false prophets. Their imaginary dreams are flagrant lies that lead my people into sin. I did not send or appoint them, and they have no message at all for my people. I, the LORD, have spoken! 
33 “Suppose one of the people or one of the prophets or priests asks you, ‘What prophecy has the LORD burdened you with now?’ You must reply, ‘You are the burden! The LORD says he will abandon you!’ 
34 “If any prophet, priest, or anyone else says, ‘I have a prophecy from the LORD,’ I will punish that person along with his entire family. 
35 You should keep asking each other, ‘What is the LORD ’s answer?’ or ‘What is the LORD saying?’ 
36 But stop using this phrase, ‘prophecy from the LORD .’ For people are using it to give authority to their own ideas, turning upside down the words of our God, the living God, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. 
37 “This is what you should say to the prophets: ‘What is the LORD ’s answer?’ or ‘What is the LORD saying?’ 
38 But suppose they respond, ‘This is a prophecy from the LORD !’ Then you should say, ‘This is what the LORD says: Because you have used this phrase, “prophecy from the LORD,” even though I warned you not to use it, 
39 I will forget you completely. I will expel you from my presence, along with this city that I gave to you and your ancestors. 
40 And I will make you an object of ridicule, and your name will be infamous throughout the ages.’”

Follow Directions

prairie-1246633_1920.jpg

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Imagine what our relationship with God would be if we only followed His directions.”~TB

Astray

In theory, God’s Will, laws, and ways are not difficult to understand. That said, it’s amazing how fickle, fleshly, and wayward we can be. God will give us simple, easy to follow instructions, but like Red Riding Hood, something catches our eye and we stray from the path. Then when we are at the mercy of our choices and the opposition, we cry out to God to put us back on the straight and narrow. And when He does, many of us often fall back into the same pattern, never maturing in Christ. When you reflect on this, it’s hard not to think about how odd and foolish we can be.

Reign In

As flesh-driven creatures, obedience to Christ and His ways is tough! We have to humbly submit ourselves to His plans and designs for our lives. The struggle lies in allowing Christ behind the wheel instead of driving ourselves. The ironic part is that walking in step with Christ yields fruit way sweeter than anything we can cultivate on our own. However, to actualize this, we must reign in our behavior, thoughts, and minds, following the instruction of God rather than our own directions. When that happens God can then use us to our full potential.

Today’s Question

Where could you be if you followed the directions of Christ? 

Enjoy the reading

Isaiah 57

1 Good people pass away; the godly often die before their time. But no one seems to care or wonder why. No one seems to understand that God is protecting them from the evil to come. 
2 For those who follow godly paths will rest in peace when they die. 
3 “But you—come here, you witches’ children, you offspring of adulterers and prostitutes! 
4 Whom do you mock, making faces and sticking out your tongues? You children of sinners and liars! 
5 You worship your idols with great passion beneath the oaks and under every green tree. You sacrifice your children down in the valleys, among the jagged rocks in the cliffs. 
6 Your gods are the smooth stones in the valleys. You worship them with liquid offerings and grain offerings. They, not I, are your inheritance. Do you think all this makes me happy? 
7 You have committed adultery on every high mountain. There you have worshiped idols and have been unfaithful to me. 
8 You have put pagan symbols on your doorposts and behind your doors. You have left me and climbed into bed with these detestable gods. You have committed yourselves to them. You love to look at their naked bodies. 
9 You have gone to Molech with olive oil and many perfumes, sending your agents far and wide, even to the world of the dead. 
10 You grew weary in your search, but you never gave up. Desire gave you renewed strength, and you did not grow weary. 
11 “Are you afraid of these idols? Do they terrify you? Is that why you have lied to me and forgotten me and my words? Is it because of my long silence that you no longer fear me? 
12 Now I will expose your so-called good deeds. None of them will help you. 
13 Let’s see if your idols can save you when you cry to them for help. Why, a puff of wind can knock them down! If you just breathe on them, they fall over! But whoever trusts in me will inherit the land and possess my holy mountain.” 
14 God says, “Rebuild the road! Clear away the rocks and stones so my people can return from captivity.” 
15 The high and lofty one who lives in eternity, the Holy One, says this: “I live in the high and holy place with those whose spirits are contrite and humble. I restore the crushed spirit of the humble and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts. 
16 For I will not fight against you forever; I will not always be angry. If I were, all people would pass away— all the souls I have made. 
17 I was angry, so I punished these greedy people. I withdrew from them, but they kept going on their own stubborn way. 
18 I have seen what they do, but I will heal them anyway! I will lead them. I will comfort those who mourn, 
19 bringing words of praise to their lips. May they have abundant peace, both near and far,” says the LORD, who heals them. 
20 “But those who still reject me are like the restless sea, which is never still but continually churns up mud and dirt. 
21 There is no peace for the wicked,” says my God.

Lip Service

949E5D4D-C0D5-4567-857A-3732719A41C5

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“God respects a humble honest attempt over the deceptively sweet sounds of empty promises.”~TB

Fake Goals

It’s easy to have goals. It’s a whole different ball game to create a plan to achieve said goal and then go off and execute it. We’ve all known (and have been guilty of) someone who claims to want to improve, yet fails to cultivate the discipline to follow through. Someone wants to write a book yet fails to create an outline or even begin writing at all. We do the same thing with God. Many Christians claim to want to know Him, but then the idea of having to change behaviors, change thought patterns, or regularly pick up the Bible stops them in their tracks. Discipline of any kind is tough in the beginning. But without it, change is impossible. The beauty of pursuing a relationship with God is that only one of you is flawed and the other perfect. And trust me, that unconditional thing goes a long way.

Honest Effort

God isn’t looking for perfection, He’s looking for obedience and an honest effort. So when we make mistakes, have doubts, go through humbling moments, though point is to get back up, acknowledge our shortcomings and ask God to make up the difference in our effort to walk the path of righteousness. It doesn’t matter how many times you have to get up, repent, and move on, but just like a kid trying to learn how to ride a bicycle, just keep trying. And by doing so time and time again, you begin to understand how God personally sees you and how valuable you are to Him. So the next time you feel like phoning it in, remember God’s grace and put in the effort.

Today’s Question

Does your effort match your mouth?

Enjoy the reading

Isaiah 19

1 Listen, Ethiopia —land of fluttering sails that lies at the headwaters of the Nile,
2 that sends ambassadors in swift boats down the river. Go, swift messengers! Take a message to a tall, smooth-skinned people, who are feared far and wide for their conquests and destruction, and whose land is divided by rivers.
3 All you people of the world, everyone who lives on the earth— when I raise my battle flag on the mountain, look! When I blow the ram’s horn, listen!
4 For the LORD has told me this: “I will watch quietly from my dwelling place— as quietly as the heat rises on a summer day, or as the morning dew forms during the harvest.”
5 Even before you begin your attack, while your plans are ripening like grapes, the LORD will cut off your new growth with pruning shears. He will snip off and discard your spreading branches.
6 Your mighty army will be left dead in the fields for the mountain vultures and wild animals. The vultures will tear at the corpses all summer. The wild animals will gnaw at the bones all winter.
7 At that time the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will receive gifts from this land divided by rivers, from this tall, smooth-skinned people, who are feared far and wide for their conquests and destruction. They will bring the gifts to Jerusalem, where the LORD of Heaven’s Armies dwells.

 

Different

2A0E3BFD-17C8-4C40-AF44-8D42F2D03960

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Walking with Christ does not mean your life becomes perfect. It does make you approach life differently, however.”~TB

Always Something 

A couple weeks ago, I wrapped up a road trip where I visited 31 states within 50 days. During my trip, I experienced many setbacks, car troubles, delays, theft, etc. I also got to see many wonderful aspects that each state uniquely had to offer. I’m not sharing this to brag or seem interesting (Trust me, I’m not), but the experience taught me one thing: there’s always something. In life, no matter how Christlike or not, everyone has their share of ups and downs, triumphs and failures, joy and suffering. Accepting Christ doesn’t necessarily change your circumstances. However, it does change how you see and react to life’s challenges. When you know and trust that God is in control, you focus less on the storm and more on your Maker.

Sit Back, Relax

When I was a kid and my siblings and I were traveling with my dad, I’d often ask where we were going. 100% of the time I was either met with “You’ll see when we get there,” or, “Sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride”. As a kid, this frustrated me because I wanted to know. Now, I look back and laugh, because I still ask those questions, but they’re now directed to my Father in Heaven. He too gives me similar answers. I’m still working on the patience angle, but hey, trial and error. I say all this to say, we choose how we navigate our lives. No, God doesn’t promise a ‘pain free’ life, but if you allow Him to work within you, you can begin to see life differently. And that change in perspective makes all the difference on the decisions and choices you make day to day. Life will never be perfect, but with God, you can learn how to enjoy the ride.

Today’s Question

Are you different?

Enjoy the reading

Isaiah 16

1 Send lambs from Sela as tribute to the ruler of the land. Send them through the desert to the mountain of beautiful Zion.
2 The women of Moab are left like homeless birds at the shallow crossings of the Arnon River.
3“Help us,” they cry. “Defend us against our enemies. Protect us from their relentless attack. Do not betray us now that we have escaped.
4 Let our refugees stay among you. Hide them from our enemies until the terror is past.” When oppression and destruction have ended and enemy raiders have disappeared,
5 then God will establish one of David’s descendants as king. He will rule with mercy and truth. He will always do what is just and be eager to do what is right.
6 We have heard about proud Moab— about its pride and arrogance and rage. But all that boasting has disappeared.
7 The entire land of Moab weeps. Yes, everyone in Moab mourns for the cakes of raisins from Kir-hareseth. They are all gone now.
8 The farms of Heshbon are abandoned; the vineyards at Sibmah are deserted. The rulers of the nations have broken down Moab— that beautiful grapevine. Its tendrils spread north as far as the town of Jazer and trailed eastward into the wilderness. Its shoots reached so far west that they crossed over the Dead Sea.
9So now I weep for Jazer and the vineyards of Sibmah; my tears will flow for Heshbon and Elealeh. There are no more shouts of joy over your summer fruits and harvest.
10 Gone now is the gladness, gone the joy of harvest. There will be no singing in the vineyards, no more happy shouts, no treading of grapes in the winepresses. I have ended all their harvest joys.
11 My heart’s cry for Moab is like a lament on a harp. I am filled with anguish for Kir-hareseth.
12 The people of Moab will worship at their pagan shrines, but it will do them no good. They will cry to the gods in their temples, but no one will be able to save them.
13 The LORD has already said these things about Moab in the past.
14 But now the LORD says, “Within three years, counting each day, the glory of Moab will be ended. From its great population, only a feeble few will be left alive.”

Unplugged

 

E5DCFEF2-85C2-4C65-9BB7-DD517AE7F2C0

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Stay close to God so that you do not get unplugged from His wisdom.”~TB

Self-focused

If you’re not careful, life has a way of getting you off track in your relationship with Christ. Whether it’s just life circumstances, poor decisions, or the opposition rocking your boat, taking your eyes off of the Truth is a recipe for disaster. When we stop looking to God for the answers, we begin to make up answers that generally leave us worse off than before. Friends, don’t lean on your human made solutions to the challenges in your life. When we struggle to find God in the midst of our situations, it’s a sign that we’re not going to the source material— the Bible— to know the Truth.

Recognize

Recognize that there are patterns and cycles in life, and no matter what, our faith and reliance in God is the only key to success! The devil may poke and prod, making you feel uneasy and alone, but when you’re plugged into God, you know the difference. This is why reading the Bible daily is so important. It’s not just a task that you check off to get a pat on the head from God. No, it possesses the tools and weapons to prepare and protect you from the world and the opposition. Don’t fall for the smoke and mirrors of the evil one. Rest on the Truth of the Word to stay plugged in.

Today’s Question

Are you plugged into Christ or plugged into chaos and uncertainty?

Enjoy the reading

Song of Solomon

1 Where has your lover gone, O woman of rare beauty? Which way did he turn so we can help you find him?
2 My lover has gone down to his garden, to his spice beds, to browse in the gardens and gather the lilies.
3I am my lover’s, and my lover is mine. He browses among the lilies.
4 You are beautiful, my darling, like the lovely city of Tirzah. Yes, as beautiful as Jerusalem, as majestic as an army with billowing banners.
5 Turn your eyes away, for they overpower me. Your hair falls in waves, like a flock of goats winding down the slopes of Gilead.
6Your teeth are as white as sheep that are freshly washed. Your smile is flawless, each tooth matched with its twin.
7 Your cheeks are like rosy pomegranates behind your veil.
8 Even among sixty queens and eighty concubines and countless young women,
9 I would still choose my dove, my perfect one— the favorite of her mother, dearly loved by the one who bore her. The young women see her and praise her; even queens and royal concubines sing her praises:
10 “Who is this, arising like the dawn, as fair as the moon, as bright as the sun, as majestic as an army with billowing banners?”
11 I went down to the grove of walnut trees and out to the valley to see the new spring growth, to see whether the grapevines had budded or the pomegranates were in bloom.
12 Before I realized it, my strong desires had taken me to the chariot of a noble man.
13 Return, return to us, O maid of Shulam. Come back, come back, that we may see you again. Young Man Why do you stare at this young woman of Shulam, as she moves so gracefully between two lines of dancers?

 

 

 

Reminder

0B43E516-3138-4682-BB3C-B06C6C9A445F

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“God will send you to unexpected places not to punish you, but to remind you of your purpose and who made you.”~TB

Detour

I made an unexpected trip to Tennessee about 2 weeks ago. I had plans to go to Virginia, but things happened to deter that plan. The woman that was hosting me was a kind and gregarious lady, very interested in spirits, practicing all faiths, witchcraft, and ‘healing’. Now, I’m not one to be shy about telling people when they’re wrong, but for the sake of getting along, I  politely nodded and moved on the subject. Interestingly enough, she kept prompting me to share what I believed.

Pulling a Jonah

During our chat, I was annoyed because I didn’t really feel like having this conversation. Days prior, I was in Charlotte NC on a hike and someone had smashed my driver side window and stole my wallet, laptop, guitar, and a few meaningful items that I cannot replicate. It was a very deflating experience, especially being so far from home. Needless to say, I wasn’t in the mood for sharing the Good News. But something in this woman’s eyes made me realize that she wasn’t looking for a debate, but rather the Truth. I felt the gentle nudge to do my part. So I shared it with her.

Sharing Stories

I found out that my host wasn’t always into witchcraft and multiple faiths. She was a believer that fell through hard times and walked away. During this conversation, I was reminded that we all get weary, and the opposition will always push us to the brink to get us to walk away from the Truth. I also realized that me running into this woman was not only for her benefit, but for my own. As Christ followers know, it can be tough during times and some battles can seem unfair and punitive. I say all this to say, that whenever you’re going through an intense struggle or bouts of depressing lows, in those moments, look for the reminders of who you are and who you belong to. He’s with you in all things and is there to guide you if you choose to seek Him.

Today’s Quote

Are you checking your reminders?

Enjoy the reading

Ecclesiastes 5

1 As you enter the house of God, keep your ears open and your mouth shut. It is evil to make mindless offerings to God.
2 Don’t make rash promises, and don’t be hasty in bringing matters before God. After all, God is in heaven, and you are here on earth. So let your words be few.
3 Too much activity gives you restless dreams; too many words make you a fool.
4 When you make a promise to God, don’t delay in following through, for God takes no pleasure in fools. Keep all the promises you make to him.
5 It is better to say nothing than to make a promise and not keep it.
6 Don’t let your mouth make you sin. And don’t defend yourself by telling the Temple messenger that the promise you made was a mistake. That would make God angry, and he might wipe out everything you have achieved.
7 Talk is cheap, like daydreams and other useless activities. Fear God instead.
8 Don’t be surprised if you see a poor person being oppressed by the powerful and if justice is being miscarried throughout the land. For every official is under orders from higher up, and matters of justice get lost in red tape and bureaucracy.
9 Even the king milks the land for his own profit!
10 Those who love money will never have enough. How meaningless to think that wealth brings true happiness!
11The more you have, the more people come to help you spend it. So what good is wealth—except perhaps to watch it slip through your fingers!
12 People who work hard sleep well, whether they eat little or much. But the rich seldom get a good night’s sleep.
13 There is another serious problem I have seen under the sun. Hoarding riches harms the saver.
14Money is put into risky investments that turn sour, and everything is lost. In the end, there is nothing left to pass on to one’s children.
15We all come to the end of our lives as naked and empty-handed as on the day we were born. We can’t take our riches with us.
16And this, too, is a very serious problem. People leave this world no better off than when they came. All their hard work is for nothing—like working for the wind.
17 Throughout their lives, they live under a cloud—frustrated, discouraged, and angry.
18 Even so, I have noticed one thing, at least, that is good. It is good for people to eat, drink, and enjoy their work under the sun during the short life God has given them, and to accept their lot in life.
19 And it is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life—this is indeed a gift from God.
20 God keeps such people so busy enjoying life that they take no time to brood over the past.