Ball & Chain

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

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

TB

Weighted

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

Root Cause

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

Keys

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

Today’s Question

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

Enjoy the reading

Ezekiel 30

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

The Guilt/Gratitude Connection

 

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“When guilt rears its ugly head, gratitude is the best strategy to defeat it.”~TB

The Shame Game

I have an annoying tendency to downplay my talents and strengths while drilling down on my areas of improvement. More interesting, I know a lot of people who do that too, which makes me wonder why? I could be “killing it” in different areas of my life, but if I’m not paying attention, my inner video of “greatest shame hits” plays, attempting to eclipse the victories that have occurred. When we lean into those shameful periods and feelings, we fall trap into negative cyclical thinking that ultimately steers us back to the very behaviors we’d like to avoid. An untethered mind is a dangerous place. We all have different inner voices, ideas, and thoughts that can uplift or deter us, which is why it’s so important to know who and what you’re listening to.

Attitude of Gratitude

So instead of focusing on your past transgressions (we all have them) look at the gifts and grace that God provides you with gratitude. We’ve all been spared the wrath that we each justly deserve and there are so many minor miracles that we all tend to forget about, but they occur each and every day. If you find yourself in a new position, be grateful and reflect on the situations you’ve experienced that prepare you for this new road. The opposition deceives you when you believe that being down and out is the only way of life. Gratitude defeats the nefarious schemes of shame and the opposition. It allows us to see ourselves as God sees us. God’s Will is mighty and wondrous, but it is up to us to individually and consistently put down our cup of shame and pick up the peace of gratitude.

Today’s Question

Are you listening to the lies of shame or embracing God’s mercy with gratitude?

Enjoy the reading

Jeremiah 35

1 This is the message the LORD gave Jeremiah when Jehoiakim son of Josiah was king of Judah: 
2 “Go to the settlement where the families of the Recabites live, and invite them to the LORD ’s Temple. Take them into one of the inner rooms, and offer them some wine.” 
3 So I went to see Jaazaniah son of Jeremiah and grandson of Habazziniah and all his brothers and sons—representing all the Recabite families. 
4 I took them to the Temple, and we went into the room assigned to the sons of Hanan son of Igdaliah, a man of God. This room was located next to the one used by the Temple officials, directly above the room of Maaseiah son of Shallum, the Temple gatekeeper. 
5 I set cups and jugs of wine before them and invited them to have a drink, 
6 but they refused. “No,” they said, “we don’t drink wine, because our ancestor Jehonadab son of Recab gave us this command: ‘You and your descendants must never drink wine. 
7 And do not build houses or plant crops or vineyards, but always live in tents. If you follow these commands, you will live long, good lives in the land.’ 
8 So we have obeyed him in all these things. We have never had a drink of wine to this day, nor have our wives, our sons, or our daughters. 
9 We haven’t built houses or owned vineyards or farms or planted crops. 
10 We have lived in tents and have fully obeyed all the commands of Jehonadab, our ancestor. 
11 But when King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon attacked this country, we were afraid of the Babylonian and Syrian armies. So we decided to move to Jerusalem. That is why we are here.” 
12 Then the LORD gave this message to Jeremiah: 
13 “This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: Go and say to the people in Judah and Jerusalem, ‘Come and learn a lesson about how to obey me. 
14 The Recabites do not drink wine to this day because their ancestor Jehonadab told them not to. But I have spoken to you again and again, and you refuse to obey me. 
15 Time after time I sent you prophets, who told you, “Turn from your wicked ways, and start doing things right. Stop worshiping other gods so that you might live in peace here in the land I have given to you and your ancestors.” But you would not listen to me or obey me. 
16 The descendants of Jehonadab son of Recab have obeyed their ancestor completely, but you have refused to listen to me.’ 
17 “Therefore, this is what the LORD God of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘Because you refuse to listen or answer when I call, I will send upon Judah and Jerusalem all the disasters I have threatened.’” 
18 Then Jeremiah turned to the Recabites and said, “This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘You have obeyed your ancestor Jehonadab in every respect, following all his instructions.’ 
19 Therefore, this is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘Jehonadab son of Recab will always have descendants who serve me.’”

The Difference

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“As you grow in Christ it’s important to discern the difference between conviction and condemnation.”~TB

Conviction

Each step you take, following Christ, you will see that your old misdeeds of yesterday no longer bring you the same pleasure as they once did. Even still, as you mess up, you will feel the Holy Spirit correct you in your wrongdoing. Conviction is the tug from the Holy Spirit letting you know that you’re doing wrong. It brings you closer to God. Friends, take joy in the correction of conviction. This means that your flesh is being tamed day by day. While we will always fall short of perfection, the conviction of your sin and the condemnation that may occur after are two separate things.

Condemnation

Once you’ve confessed your transgressions to God and have turned away from your wayward behavior, that’s it. Notice how God does not harp on you about who you were yesterday, let alone a decade ago. If you feel the weight of sins that you’ve confessed and fled from creep into your life, that is not of God. Condemnation is the recurring guilt of old behaviors you left behind. Condemnation brings guilt and shame, making you feel stuck, ultimately leading you away from God. The opposition will use this to get you off your walk Consult God daily to understand what is conviction and what is condemnation.

Today’s Quote

Have you spent time with God and the Word to know the difference?

Enjoy the reading

Proverbs 20

1 Wine produces mockers; alcohol leads to brawls. Those led astray by drink cannot be wise. 
2 The king’s fury is like a lion’s roar; to rouse his anger is to risk your life. 
3 Avoiding a fight is a mark of honor; only fools insist on quarreling. 
4 Those too lazy to plow in the right season will have no food at the harvest. 
5 Though good advice lies deep within the heart, a person with understanding will draw it out. 
6 Many will say they are loyal friends, but who can find one who is truly reliable? 
7 The godly walk with integrity; blessed are their children who follow them. 
8 When a king sits in judgment, he weighs all the evidence, distinguishing the bad from the good.
9 Who can say, “I have cleansed my heart; I am pure and free from sin”?
10 False weights and unequal measures — the LORD detests double standards of every kind. 
11 Even children are known by the way they act, whether their conduct is pure, and whether it is right. 
12 Ears to hear and eyes to see— both are gifts from the LORD . 
13 If you love sleep, you will end in poverty. Keep your eyes open, and there will be plenty to eat! 
14The buyer haggles over the price, saying, “It’s worthless,” then brags about getting a bargain! 
15 Wise words are more valuable than much gold and many rubies. 
16 Get security from someone who guarantees a stranger’s debt. Get a deposit if he does it for foreigners. 
17 Stolen bread tastes sweet, but it turns to gravel in the mouth. 
18 Plans succeed through good counsel; don’t go to war without wise advice. 
19 A gossip goes around telling secrets, so don’t hang around with chatterers. 
20 If you insult your father or mother, your light will be snuffed out in total darkness. 
21 An inheritance obtained too early in life is not a blessing in the end. 
22 Don’t say, “I will get even for this wrong.” Wait for the LORD to handle the matter.
23 The LORD detests double standards; he is not pleased by dishonest scales. 
24 The LORD directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way? 
25 Don’t trap yourself by making a rash promise to God and only later counting the cost. 
26 A wise king scatters the wicked like wheat, then runs his threshing wheel over them. 
27 The LORD ’s light penetrates the human spirit, exposing every hidden motive.
28 Unfailing love and faithfulness protect the king; his throne is made secure through love. 
29 The glory of the young is their strength; the gray hair of experience is the splendor of the old. 
30 Physical punishment cleanses away evil; such discipline purifies the heart.

Credit

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Don’t give the devil more credit than he deserves.”~TB

3 Things

To understand what you’re up against, you must know your battlefield. There are three things that will constantly test you. Know what you’re up against so that you can pass your tests. Give credit where it is due, but don’t let these things rule over you.

The Devil

There is no reason to fear the devil. The enemy can only do so much to you. When you give credit to the evil one for all of the struggles in your life, you are abdicating your responsibility in the decisions that you make. You have to make the choice to act on his influence, he can’t force you to sin.

The Flesh

As sin-fallen creatures, your flesh will always desire ungodly things. Power, sex, money, these are temptations that you must control your flesh around, otherwise, you will be ruled by them. You control your flesh, not the devil. So when you screw up, credit yourself, not him. Read the Word to tame your flesh. Lean on the Holy Spirit to form a disciplined thought life. You can to actively choose to deny your flesh, don’t sleep on your authority.

The World

The world is a vile place that will chop and screw you up if you let it. Society mocks what is good, branding it as ‘lame’ or ‘uncool’. Do not fall for the illustrious ways of the world. It will seduce you into debt, jealousy, shame, violence, and destruction. The world is quite influential if you give it credit. But even still, you make the choice to buy shiny things you cannot afford. You make the decision to adhere to sinful practices in order to gain influence. You choose to deny God because you bow down to the pressure of your peers.

Today’s Question

Are you taking credit for your choices or is it always someone else’s fault?

Enjoy the reading

Proverbs 3

1 My child, never forget the things I have taught you. Store my commands in your heart. 
2 If you do this, you will live many years, and your life will be satisfying. 
3 Never let loyalty and kindness leave you! Tie them around your neck as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart. 
4 Then you will find favor with both God and people, and you will earn a good reputation. 
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. 
6 Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. 
7 Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the LORD and turn away from evil. 
8 Then you will have healing for your body and strength for your bones. 
9 Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce. 
10 Then he will fill your barns with grain, and your vats will overflow with good wine. 
11 My child, don’t reject the LORD ’s discipline, and don’t be upset when he corrects you. 
12 For the LORD corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights. 
13 Joyful is the person who finds wisdom, the one who gains understanding. 
14 For wisdom is more profitable than silver, and her wages are better than gold. 
15 Wisdom is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. 
16She offers you long life in her right hand, and riches and honor in her left.
17 She will guide you down delightful paths; all her ways are satisfying.
18 Wisdom is a tree of life to those who embrace her; happy are those who hold her tightly. 
19 By wisdom the LORD founded the earth; by understanding he created the heavens. 
20 By his knowledge the deep fountains of the earth burst forth, and the dew settles beneath the night sky.
21 My child, don’t lose sight of common sense and discernment. Hang on to them, 
22 for they will refresh your soul. They are like jewels on a necklace. 
23 They keep you safe on your way, and your feet will not stumble. 
24 You can go to bed without fear; you will lie down and sleep soundly. 
25 You need not be afraid of sudden disaster or the destruction that comes upon the wicked, 
26 for the LORD is your security. He will keep your foot from being caught in a trap. 
27 Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them. 
28 If you can help your neighbor now, don’t say, “Come back tomorrow, and then I’ll help you.” 
29 Don’t plot harm against your neighbor, for those who live nearby trust you. 
30 Don’t pick a fight without reason, when no one has done you harm. 
31 Don’t envy violent people or copy their ways. 
32 Such wicked people are detestable to the LORD, but he offers his friendship to the godly.
33 The LORD curses the house of the wicked, but he blesses the home of the upright. 
34 The LORD mocks the mockers but is gracious to the humble. 
35 The wise inherit honor, but fools are put to shame!