“There is nothing more loving, merciful, and just than a person who is willing to tell you God’s honest truth.”~TB
I once had a client who was dangling a promising contract over my head, but instead of honoring it, they would tease out assignments. They paid well and on time, but the deal was exploitative and I hated it. I called my mom and dad to talk about it. Furious about the change in terms I vowed to drop the client. My mother calmly and gently brought up the point that I was not in the position to drop clients. I had financial responsibilities and did not have the extra resources to be choosey about who I worked with. It was a tough thing to hear. My ego was not happy to ingest this news, but I am so grateful and thankful that she had enough love and mercy to tell me the Truth rather than stoking the fire to my already outrageous ego. More to the point, it empowered me to work harder so that I would not have to be in that position again. Thanks, Mom!
Friends, we have to drop our egos if we want a chance to know our Father in Heaven. This means listening to wise counsel, being brave enough to speak the Truth no matter the consequence, and being merciful when giving a hard word. We are called the Body of Christ, which means we’re in this together! If someone has broccoli in their teeth, tell them! If your brother is walking into a fire pit, shout to let him know. We’ve tricked ourselves into believing that honesty is mean. But I ask you this, what is meaner: telling someone their behavior is detrimental or letting them self-destruct in ignorance? It’s not nice to prolong someone’s suffering because you don’t want to be inconvenienced by speaking the truth. God blesses the merciful and friends, honesty– in the right context– is merciful. So let’s hold each other to righteous and just mercy so that we help each other when we stumble rather than become onlookers to the fallen.
Are you practicing just mercy or are you just standing by watching?
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1This message for all the people of Judah came to Jeremiah from the LORD during the fourth year of Jehoiakim’s reign over Judah. This was the year when King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon began his reign.
2Jeremiah the prophet said to all the people in Judah and Jerusalem,
3“For the past twenty-three years—from the thirteenth year of the reign of Josiah son of Amon, king of Judah, until now—the LORD has been giving me his messages. I have faithfully passed them on to you, but you have not listened.
4“Again and again the LORD has sent you his servants, the prophets, but you have not listened or even paid attention.
5Each time the message was this: ‘Turn from the evil road you are traveling and from the evil things you are doing. Only then will I let you live in this land that the LORD gave to you and your ancestors forever.
6Do not provoke my anger by worshiping idols you made with your own hands. Then I will not harm you.’
7“But you would not listen to me,” says the LORD . “You made me furious by worshiping idols you made with your own hands, bringing on yourselves all the disasters you now suffer.
8And now the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: Because you have not listened to me,
9I will gather together all the armies of the north under King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, whom I have appointed as my deputy. I will bring them all against this land and its people and against the surrounding nations. I will completely destroy you and make you an object of horror and contempt and a ruin forever.
10I will take away your happy singing and laughter. The joyful voices of bridegrooms and brides will no longer be heard. Your millstones will fall silent, and the lights in your homes will go out.
11This entire land will become a desolate wasteland. Israel and her neighboring lands will serve the king of Babylon for seventy years.
12“Then, after the seventy years of captivity are over, I will punish the king of Babylon and his people for their sins,” says the LORD . “I will make the country of the Babylonians a wasteland forever.
13I will bring upon them all the terrors I have promised in this book—all the penalties announced by Jeremiah against the nations.
14Many nations and great kings will enslave the Babylonians, just as they enslaved my people. I will punish them in proportion to the suffering they cause my people.”
15This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, said to me: “Take from my hand this cup filled to the brim with my anger, and make all the nations to whom I send you drink from it.
16When they drink from it, they will stagger, crazed by the warfare I will send against them.”
17So I took the cup of anger from the LORD and made all the nations drink from it—every nation to which the LORD sent me.
18I went to Jerusalem and the other towns of Judah, and their kings and officials drank from the cup. From that day until this, they have been a desolate ruin, an object of horror, contempt, and cursing.
19I gave the cup to Pharaoh, king of Egypt, his attendants, his officials, and all his people,
20along with all the foreigners living in that land. I also gave it to all the kings of the land of Uz and the kings of the Philistine cities of Ashkelon, Gaza, Ekron, and what remains of Ashdod.
21Then I gave the cup to the nations of Edom, Moab, and Ammon,
22and the kings of Tyre and Sidon, and the kings of the regions across the sea.
23I gave it to Dedan, Tema, and Buz, and to the people who live in distant places.
24I gave it to the kings of Arabia, the kings of the nomadic tribes of the desert,
25and to the kings of Zimri, Elam, and Media.
26And I gave it to the kings of the northern countries, far and near, one after the other—all the kingdoms of the world. And finally, the king of Babylon himself drank from the cup of the LORD ’s anger.
27Then the LORD said to me, “Now tell them, ‘This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: Drink from this cup of my anger. Get drunk and vomit; fall to rise no more, for I am sending terrible wars against you.’
28And if they refuse to accept the cup, tell them, ‘The LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: You have no choice but to drink from it.
29I have begun to punish Jerusalem, the city that bears my name. Now should I let you go unpunished? No, you will not escape disaster. I will call for war against all the nations of the earth. I, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken!’
30“Now prophesy all these things, and say to them, “‘The LORD will roar against his own land from his holy dwelling in heaven. He will shout like those who tread grapes; he will shout against everyone on earth.
31His cry of judgment will reach the ends of the earth, for the LORD will bring his case against all the nations. He will judge all the people of the earth, slaughtering the wicked with the sword. I, the LORD, have spoken!’”
32This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: “Look! Disaster will fall upon nation after nation! A great whirlwind of fury is rising from the most distant corners of the earth!”
33In that day those the LORD has slaughtered will fill the earth from one end to the other. No one will mourn for them or gather up their bodies to bury them. They will be scattered on the ground like manure.
34Weep and moan, you evil shepherds! Roll in the dust, you leaders of the flock! The time of your slaughter has arrived; you will fall and shatter like a fragile vase.
35You will find no place to hide; there will be no way to escape.
36Listen to the frantic cries of the shepherds. The leaders of the flock are wailing in despair, for the LORD is ruining their pastures.
37Peaceful meadows will be turned into a wasteland by the LORD ’s fierce anger.
38He has left his den like a strong lion seeking its prey, and their land will be made desolate by the sword of the enemy and the LORD ’s fierce anger.
“Don’t be fooled by the guise of self-reliance because only God can allow our seeds to grow.”~TB
In the eyes of man, we applaud the idea that we can achieve anything based on our own merit. With our two hands, grit, and determination, we have everything we need. To the world, success happens by yourself on your own accord. Friends, while we have to play an active role in our lives, the belief that we don’t need anyone or anything is a fallacy. It conveniently leaves out our Maker and how His hand dictates the events that play out in our lives.
When you know who actually runs the show, you recognize how needy and dependent you actually are. In life, we need Christ to show us the way, to approve of our plans so that we build our lives on the firm foundation of God. Being and believing that you are indeed God-Made allows you to receive His instructions. It also encourages you to engage with the Body of Christ– the people around you– as you know it takes a village to succeed. So rather than relying on your flesh, rely on the One who first called you His so you can truly see what you are made of.
When the time comes to give your account, who do you want to vouch for you; yourself or Christ?
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1The LORD gave another message to Jeremiah. He said,
2“Go to the entrance of the LORD ’s Temple, and give this message to the people: ‘O Judah, listen to this message from the LORD ! Listen to it, all of you who worship here!
3This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: “‘Even now, if you quit your evil ways, I will let you stay in your own land.
4But don’t be fooled by those who promise you safety simply because the LORD ’s Temple is here. They chant, “The LORD ’s Temple is here! The LORD ’s Temple is here!”
5But I will be merciful only if you stop your evil thoughts and deeds and start treating each other with justice;
6only if you stop exploiting foreigners, orphans, and widows; only if you stop your murdering; and only if you stop harming yourselves by worshiping idols.
7Then I will let you stay in this land that I gave to your ancestors to keep forever.
8“‘Don’t be fooled into thinking that you will never suffer because the Temple is here. It’s a lie!
9Do you really think you can steal, murder, commit adultery, lie, and burn incense to Baal and all those other new gods of yours,
10and then come here and stand before me in my Temple and chant, “We are safe!”—only to go right back to all those evils again?
11Don’t you yourselves admit that this Temple, which bears my name, has become a den of thieves? Surely I see all the evil going on there. I, the LORD, have spoken!
12“‘Go now to the place at Shiloh where I once put the Tabernacle that bore my name. See what I did there because of all the wickedness of my people, the Israelites.
13While you were doing these wicked things, says the LORD, I spoke to you about it repeatedly, but you would not listen. I called out to you, but you refused to answer.
14So just as I destroyed Shiloh, I will now destroy this Temple that bears my name, this Temple that you trust in for help, this place that I gave to you and your ancestors.
15And I will send you out of my sight into exile, just as I did your relatives, the people of Israel. ’
16“Pray no more for these people, Jeremiah. Do not weep or pray for them, and don’t beg me to help them, for I will not listen to you.
17Don’t you see what they are doing throughout the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem?
18No wonder I am so angry! Watch how the children gather wood and the fathers build sacrificial fires. See how the women knead dough and make cakes to offer to the Queen of Heaven. And they pour out liquid offerings to their other idol gods!
19Am I the one they are hurting?” asks the LORD . “Most of all, they hurt themselves, to their own shame.”
20So this is what the Sovereign LORD says: “I will pour out my terrible fury on this place. Its people, animals, trees, and crops will be consumed by the unquenchable fire of my anger.”
21This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: “Take your burnt offerings and your other sacrifices and eat them yourselves!
22When I led your ancestors out of Egypt, it was not burnt offerings and sacrifices I wanted from them.
23This is what I told them: ‘Obey me, and I will be your God, and you will be my people. Do everything as I say, and all will be well!’
24“But my people would not listen to me. They kept doing whatever they wanted, following the stubborn desires of their evil hearts. They went backward instead of forward.
25From the day your ancestors left Egypt until now, I have continued to send my servants, the prophets—day in and day out.
26But my people have not listened to me or even tried to hear. They have been stubborn and sinful—even worse than their ancestors.
27“Tell them all this, but do not expect them to listen. Shout out your warnings, but do not expect them to respond.
28Say to them, ‘This is the nation whose people will not obey the LORD their God and who refuse to be taught. Truth has vanished from among them; it is no longer heard on their lips.
29Shave your head in mourning, and weep alone on the mountains. For the LORD has rejected and forsaken this generation that has provoked his fury.’
30“The people of Judah have sinned before my very eyes,” says the LORD . “They have set up their abominable idols right in the Temple that bears my name, defiling it.
31They have built pagan shrines at Topheth, the garbage dump in the valley of Ben-Hinnom, and there they burn their sons and daughters in the fire. I have never commanded such a horrible deed; it never even crossed my mind to command such a thing!
32So beware, for the time is coming,” says the LORD, “when that garbage dump will no longer be called Topheth or the valley of Ben-Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter. They will bury the bodies in Topheth until there is no more room for them.
33The bodies of my people will be food for the vultures and wild animals, and no one will be left to scare them away.
34I will put an end to the happy singing and laughter in the streets of Jerusalem. The joyful voices of bridegrooms and brides will no longer be heard in the towns of Judah. The land will lie in complete desolation.
“We are all God’s agents, dispatched to exemplify His name on various missions.”~TB
Spoiler alert: you don’t have to go out of the country to a foreign land to go on missions for Christ. In fact, chances are you can do more for you neighbor in God’s name than you can to someone who may not be able to fully understand your language. That’s not a dig at those doing great works in other nations. It is a gentle reminder that we all have a duty to help the poor, the widowed, and the downtrodden which you can easily find in your backyard. Like agents on a secret mission, listen to your Holy Commander for your next assignment. That could be feeding the less fortunate, uplifting a family member or neighbor, the list is long and God knows who to select for the cause. If you are looking for a way to get in on the fun that is serving Christ through serving others, all you have to do is look at the Word for guidance.
Spoiler alert #2: you don’t have to shove the Word down the throat of those you serve on your Mission. Look at your dossier– The Word– and read it carefully to understand its instructions. A lot of us get caught up in our egos and go off script with our “help” causing more harm than good. God calls us to be examplesnot enforcers, and there is a difference. Your Mission is torpedoed when you go off script and blow your cover. When working for God, all you have to do is be a light, shining kindness, love, mercy, and humility when carrying out your mission. We are not dispatched to judge because that job is solely reserved for the One who can. So instead of beating the Bible across the faces of “heathens”, try meeting a need. If you are truly looking to show people who God is, love them as He loves you; which means keep the self-righteousness and judgment at home.
Are you carrying out God’s Mission or your own?
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1This is what the LORD says: “Be just and fair to all. Do what is right and good, for I am coming soon to rescue you and to display my righteousness among you.
2Blessed are all those who are careful to do this. Blessed are those who honor my Sabbath days of rest and keep themselves from doing wrong.
3“Don’t let foreigners who commit themselves to the LORD say, ‘The LORD will never let me be part of his people.’ And don’t let the eunuchs say, ‘I’m a dried-up tree with no children and no future.’
4For this is what the LORD says: I will bless those eunuchs who keep my Sabbath days holy and who choose to do what pleases me and commit their lives to me.
5I will give them—within the walls of my house— a memorial and a name far greater than sons and daughters could give. For the name I give them is an everlasting one. It will never disappear!
6“I will also bless the foreigners who commit themselves to the LORD, who serve him and love his name, who worship him and do not desecrate the Sabbath day of rest, and who hold fast to my covenant.
7I will bring them to my holy mountain of Jerusalem and will fill them with joy in my house of prayer. I will accept their burnt offerings and sacrifices, because my Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations.
8For the Sovereign LORD, who brings back the outcasts of Israel, says: I will bring others, too, besides my people Israel.”
9Come, wild animals of the field! Come, wild animals of the forest! Come and devour my people!
10For the leaders of my people— the LORD ’s watchmen, his shepherds— are blind and ignorant. They are like silent watchdogs that give no warning when danger comes. They love to lie around, sleeping and dreaming.
11Like greedy dogs, they are never satisfied. They are ignorant shepherds, all following their own path and intent on personal gain.
12“Come,” they say, “let’s get some wine and have a party. Let’s all get drunk. Then tomorrow we’ll do it again and have an even bigger party!”
“The Body of Christ means that we are all in this together.”~TB
Church is God’s people, not merely a place you go to on Sunday to check off your sanctified box. Church is everyday, doing life with you brother, sister, family, neighbor and so on. It means stepping in to help the widowed, the poor, the downtrodden, and the like. It means mirroring the ways of Jesus to the best of our ability. Unfortunately, somewhere down the line, many of us missed the memo on the lessons that Christ actually conveyed.
If you’re idea of Christianity is looking like an Instagram filter on Sundays while judging the members of your church based on a vanity metric system, you need to recalibrate. Our roles as children of God is to spread His message, and not our personal agendas. We must check out egos at the door and see what is needed and not just what we want. There is much more gained in giving than receiving. In all that you do, remember what Jesus did to guide your way.
Are you stepping up or stepping on your brothers and sisters?
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1Bel and Nebo, the gods of Babylon, bow as they are lowered to the ground. They are being hauled away on ox carts. The poor beasts stagger under the weight.
2Both the idols and their owners are bowed down. The gods cannot protect the people, and the people cannot protect the gods. They go off into captivity together.
3“Listen to me, descendants of Jacob, all you who remain in Israel. I have cared for you since you were born. Yes, I carried you before you were born.
4I will be your God throughout your lifetime— until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you.
5“To whom will you compare me? Who is my equal?
6Some people pour out their silver and gold and hire a craftsman to make a god from it. Then they bow down and worship it!
7They carry it around on their shoulders, and when they set it down, it stays there. It can’t even move! And when someone prays to it, there is no answer. It can’t rescue anyone from trouble.
8“Do not forget this! Keep it in mind! Remember this, you guilty ones.
9Remember the things I have done in the past. For I alone am God! I am God, and there is none like me.
10Only I can tell you the future before it even happens. Everything I plan will come to pass, for I do whatever I wish.
11I will call a swift bird of prey from the east— a leader from a distant land to come and do my bidding. I have said what I would do, and I will do it.
12“Listen to me, you stubborn people who are so far from doing right.
13For I am ready to set things right, not in the distant future, but right now! I am ready to save Jerusalem and show my glory to Israel.
“Don’t allow past moments to hinder your future.”~TB
Painful experiences can be used in two ways. It can either leave you feeling like you burned your hand on a stove, avoiding future situations. Or, you realize that the burn has healed and that not every similar moment or situation will provide the same experience. When you don’t allow God into your traumatic experiences, phantom pain resides along with visceral playbacks of the experience. Of course, the opposition wants you to remain there, but friends, you can move passed those hurtful moments.
When you let God into your hurtful situations, the level of healing you can receive will make you see how much you can handle. It’s not that your pain wasn’t real or that your experience doesn’t matter, but through God’s love you can’t help but bask in the Truth of salvation. Knowing how much God loves you is the key to healing and moving on. The lies of the world will keep you in bondage, but God can and will clean and bandage your pain, so that they heal. So let go of the visceral moments in your mind so that you can be who you are made to be.
What visceral moments are on replay in your mind?
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1Don’t let the excitement of youth cause you to forget your Creator. Honor him in your youth before you grow old and say, “Life is not pleasant anymore.”
2Remember him before the light of the sun, moon, and stars is dim to your old eyes, and rain clouds continually darken your sky.
3Remember him before your legs—the guards of your house—start to tremble; and before your shoulders—the strong men—stoop. Remember him before your teeth—your few remaining servants—stop grinding; and before your eyes—the women looking through the windows—see dimly.
4Remember him before the door to life’s opportunities is closed and the sound of work fades. Now you rise at the first chirping of the birds, but then all their sounds will grow faint.
5Remember him before you become fearful of falling and worry about danger in the streets; before your hair turns white like an almond tree in bloom, and you drag along without energy like a dying grasshopper, and the caperberry no longer inspires sexual desire. Remember him before you near the grave, your everlasting home, when the mourners will weep at your funeral.
6Yes, remember your Creator now while you are young, before the silver cord of life snaps and the golden bowl is broken. Don’t wait until the water jar is smashed at the spring and the pulley is broken at the well.
7For then the dust will return to the earth, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.
8“Everything is meaningless,” says the Teacher, “completely meaningless.”
9Keep this in mind: The Teacher was considered wise, and he taught the people everything he knew. He listened carefully to many proverbs, studying and classifying them.
10The Teacher sought to find just the right words to express truths clearly.
11The words of the wise are like cattle prods—painful but helpful. Their collected sayings are like a nail-studded stick with which a shepherd drives the sheep.
12But, my child, let me give you some further advice: Be careful, for writing books is endless, and much study wears you out.
13That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty.
14God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad.
“Study hard for the tests in your life unless you want to be in God’s summer school.”~TB
Ever notice how the same issues keep coming back like a revolving door? Well, it’s because you’re still struggling with the same trials, refusing to graduate on to the next level. God will never level up a person who’s failing their tests. So, instead of moving on, you’ll be lovingly placed in summer school, where you will experience the same problems in different contexts. Friends, humility in understanding that we’re all flawed goes a long way in overcoming your footholds.
If the chapter you’re on is causing you trouble, reach out to the Almighty tutor so that He can teach you how to pass. Remember that these tests are open book and you can use the Bible on each and every one of them. Of course, this requires you to continually study and crack open the Book in the first place! Pride makes the school of life hard and until you can come from a place of humility and meekness, some tests will keep you held back from where God wants you to go. Don’t get held back, ask the Tutor for help and study from the resources He provides.
Do you want to stay in summer school forever?
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1Again, I observed all the oppression that takes place under the sun. I saw the tears of the oppressed, with no one to comfort them. The oppressors have great power, and their victims are helpless.
2So I concluded that the dead are better off than the living.
3But most fortunate of all are those who are not yet born. For they have not seen all the evil that is done under the sun.
4Then I observed that most people are motivated to success because they envy their neighbors. But this, too, is meaningless—like chasing the wind.
5“Fools fold their idle hands, leading them to ruin.”
6And yet, “Better to have one handful with quietness than two handfuls with hard work and chasing the wind.”
7I observed yet another example of something meaningless under the sun.
8This is the case of a man who is all alone, without a child or a brother, yet who works hard to gain as much wealth as he can. But then he asks himself, “Who am I working for? Why am I giving up so much pleasure now?” It is all so meaningless and depressing.
9Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.
10If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.
11Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone?
12A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.
13It is better to be a poor but wise youth than an old and foolish king who refuses all advice.
14Such a youth could rise from poverty and succeed. He might even become king, though he has been in prison.
15But then everyone rushes to the side of yet another youth who replaces him.
16Endless crowds stand around him, but then another generation grows up and rejects him, too. So it is all meaningless—like chasing the wind.
“So you’re spiritually mature, great! Now, step aside and let others pass theirs instead of trying to do the work for them.”~TB
The longer you spend with God, the more you understand how complex yet simple His love and teachings are. Like a game of chess, it takes a lifetime to study God’s ways. Even still, the wisest of us all will never truly and fully understand the miraculousness that is God. Depending on where you are on the spectrum, God will use you for His purpose, but friends, do your job and nothing more, as we all learn at a different pace.
Everyone goes through trials and tests at their own pace. Some learn faster than others. And some need to retake certain tests before they ace the exam. No person’s journey is superior to another’s, no matter how quickly they learn. If you are a quick learner, be a help and not a hindrance.
Helping others is part of the journey that is being a Christ-follower. This means encouraging the downtrodden, aiding those enduring hard times, and giving mercy to one another. It’s great to help, but when helping turns into servitude, you’re doing too much.
Yes, it’s natural to want to step in so that loved ones do not endure pain. However, everyone needs to go through their own tests so that they can learn the lessons and grow closer to God in the process. When you overstep in “helping” you’re actually hinder the person’s growth and maturity. Assist when necessary and let others develop accordingly.
Is your help a hindrance?
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1Don’t envy evil people or desire their company.
2For their hearts plot violence, and their words always stir up trouble.
3A house is built by wisdom and becomes strong through good sense.
4Through knowledge its rooms are filled with all sorts of precious riches and valuables.
5The wise are mightier than the strong, and those with knowledge grow stronger and stronger.
6So don’t go to war without wise guidance; victory depends on having many advisers.
7Wisdom is too lofty for fools. Among leaders at the city gate, they have nothing to say.
8A person who plans evil will get a reputation as a troublemaker.
9The schemes of a fool are sinful; everyone detests a mocker.
10If you fail under pressure, your strength is too small.
11Rescue those who are unjustly sentenced to die; save them as they stagger to their death.
12Don’t excuse yourself by saying, “Look, we didn’t know.” For God understands all hearts, and he sees you. He who guards your soul knows you knew. He will repay all people as their actions deserve.
13My child, eat honey, for it is good, and the honeycomb is sweet to the taste.
14In the same way, wisdom is sweet to your soul. If you find it, you will have a bright future, and your hopes will not be cut short.
15Don’t wait in ambush at the home of the godly, and don’t raid the house where the godly live.
16The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again. But one disaster is enough to overthrow the wicked.
17Don’t rejoice when your enemies fall; don’t be happy when they stumble.
18For the LORD will be displeased with you and will turn his anger away from them.
19Don’t fret because of evildoers; don’t envy the wicked.
20For evil people have no future; the light of the wicked will be snuffed out.
21My child, fear the LORD and the king. Don’t associate with rebels,
22for disaster will hit them suddenly. Who knows what punishment will come from the LORD and the king?
23Here are some further sayings of the wise: It is wrong to show favoritism when passing judgment.
24A judge who says to the wicked, “You are innocent,” will be cursed by many people and denounced by the nations.
25But it will go well for those who convict the guilty; rich blessings will be showered on them.
26An honest answer is like a kiss of friendship.
27Do your planning and prepare your fields before building your house.
28Don’t testify against your neighbors without cause; don’t lie about them.
29And don’t say, “Now I can pay them back for what they’ve done to me! I’ll get even with them!”
30I walked by the field of a lazy person, the vineyard of one with no common sense.
31I saw that it was overgrown with nettles. It was covered with weeds, and its walls were broken down.
32Then, as I looked and thought about it, I learned this lesson:
33A little extra sleep, a little more slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest—
34then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit; scarcity will attack you like an armed robber.
“Don’t wait for some miraculous sign to do what God has called you to do.”~TB
When God first reveals the Truth, everything seems miraculous and wonderful. Because you are looking at the world with open eyes you see Him in everything and everywhere. You delight in His presence, singing promises of obedience, forever and ever. Of course, it’s easy to be a babe in Christ; you have yet to begin your walk! It’s a good thing that God’s patient is immeasurable as we humans have a tendency of making promises we cannot keep. Trials and tests have a way of making one weary and jaded, which is why you have to rest and renew your spirit through your 1 on 1 time with Christ.
Time has a way of dulling the senses and if you’re not careful, that fire you once had for Christ turns into a lukewarm complacency. Over time, you begin to look for some magical occurrence to help push you into your calling. Friends, God is still here and He is still working in your favor. Don’t take for granted what He’s done for you. If you find yourself waiting for some mystical happening, talk to Him and pray for a renewal of your faith. Even better, help your brothers and sisters who are in need. We are all one body, so when we help someone else, we, in turn, are aided in our service. Don’t wait for signs to do what you know to be the right thing.
What are you waiting for?
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1While dining with a ruler, pay attention to what is put before you.
2If you are a big eater, put a knife to your throat;
3don’t desire all the delicacies, for he might be trying to trick you.
4Don’t wear yourself out trying to get rich. Be wise enough to know when to quit.
5In the blink of an eye wealth disappears, for it will sprout wings and fly away like an eagle.
6Don’t eat with people who are stingy; don’t desire their delicacies.
7They are always thinking about how much it costs. “Eat and drink,” they say, but they don’t mean it.
8You will throw up what little you’ve eaten, and your compliments will be wasted.
9Don’t waste your breath on fools, for they will despise the wisest advice.
10Don’t cheat your neighbor by moving the ancient boundary markers; don’t take the land of defenseless orphans.
11For their Redeemer is strong; he himself will bring their charges against you.
12Commit yourself to instruction; listen carefully to words of knowledge.
13Don’t fail to discipline your children. The rod of punishment won’t kill them.
14Physical discipline may well save them from death.
15My child, if your heart is wise, my own heart will rejoice!
16Everything in me will celebrate when you speak what is right.
17Don’t envy sinners, but always continue to fear the LORD .
18You will be rewarded for this; your hope will not be disappointed.
19My child, listen and be wise: Keep your heart on the right course.
20Do not carouse with drunkards or feast with gluttons,
21for they are on their way to poverty, and too much sleep clothes them in rags.
22Listen to your father, who gave you life, and don’t despise your mother when she is old.
23Get the truth and never sell it; also get wisdom, discipline, and good judgment.
24The father of godly children has cause for joy. What a pleasure to have children who are wise.
25So give your father and mother joy! May she who gave you birth be happy.
26O my son, give me your heart. May your eyes take delight in following my ways.
27A prostitute is a dangerous trap; a promiscuous woman is as dangerous as falling into a narrow well.
28She hides and waits like a robber, eager to make more men unfaithful.
29Who has anguish? Who has sorrow? Who is always fighting? Who is always complaining? Who has unnecessary bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes?
30It is the one who spends long hours in the taverns, trying out new drinks.
31Don’t gaze at the wine, seeing how red it is, how it sparkles in the cup, how smoothly it goes down.
32For in the end it bites like a poisonous snake; it stings like a viper.
33You will see hallucinations, and you will say crazy things.
34You will stagger like a sailor tossed at sea, clinging to a swaying mast.
35And you will say, “They hit me, but I didn’t feel it. I didn’t even know it when they beat me up. When will I wake up so I can look for another drink?”
“Give people the space and grace to grow and develop in Christ”~TB
Don’t compare the development of your relationship with Christ to the relationship He has with others. Everyone grows and develops at their own pace. For this reason, you must give yourself and your brothers and sisters in Christ space and time to till their soil. People are not meant to be ingratiated 24/7 as you need quiet to hear what God has to say. If you’re too busy listening and following others, you’re ignoring the voice of your Heavenly Father. Give yourself space to hear, heal, and grow with God.
Because sin will always be a part of the human experience, grace has to be freely and quickly extended. As we still continually struggle with this concept, believe that God has your back as you walk in that grace by faith. We will undoubtedly cause offense and quarrels amongst one another. It’s ok, we’re human and Rome wasn’t built in a day. This is why walking with God is so important every second of every day. Grace cannot be earned, so forgive as God forgives us.
Are you using and walking in your space and Grace on a daily basis?
Enjoy the reading
1Praise the LORD ! Praise the name of the LORD ! Praise him, you who serve the LORD,
2you who serve in the house of the LORD, in the courts of the house of our God.
3Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good; celebrate his lovely name with music.
4For the LORD has chosen Jacob for himself, Israel for his own special treasure.
5I know the greatness of the LORD — that our Lord is greater than any other god.
6The LORD does whatever pleases him throughout all heaven and earth, and on the seas and in their depths.
7He causes the clouds to rise over the whole earth. He sends the lightning with the rain and releases the wind from his storehouses.
8He destroyed the firstborn in each Egyptian home, both people and animals.
9He performed miraculous signs and wonders in Egypt against Pharaoh and all his people.
10He struck down great nations and slaughtered mighty kings—
11Sihon king of the Amorites, Og king of Bashan, and all the kings of Canaan.
12He gave their land as an inheritance, a special possession to his people Israel.
13Your name, O LORD, endures forever; your fame, O LORD, is known to every generation.
14For the LORD will give justice to his people and have compassion on his servants.
15The idols of the nations are merely things of silver and gold, shaped by human hands.
16They have mouths but cannot speak, and eyes but cannot see.
17They have ears but cannot hear, and mouths but cannot breathe.
18And those who make idols are just like them, as are all who trust in them.
19O Israel, praise the LORD ! O priests—descendants of Aaron—praise the LORD !
20O Levites, praise the LORD ! All you who fear the LORD, praise the LORD !
21The LORD be praised from Zion, for he lives here in Jerusalem. Praise the LORD !
“We build walls and God tears them down so that we can love, live, share, give, and learn from each other.”~ Jon Barnes
Walls create a tunnel vision of isolation, separation, and desperation so that your love cannot be exposed for others to see, feel, and experience.Open up your window, get out of the house, and spread your joy of The Lord.Hiding in a tunnel, room, house, or cave will not help others to learn and grow in their faith.Exit your self-made tunnel.
People need each other to help cross over fences, migrate, travel, and to relocate their families from evil situations into the light of love.Sometimes it is best to move away from evil people and their wicked practices so that your family can have a better opportunity to learn, love, share, give, pray, and hope for a better future.It is not wise to fence yourself into a bad situation when you can create a better one.
Create a border of protection around your family that is clear, invisible, and full of love from God, because you have taught them about the love of Christ in your heart.The quality of work, faith, and time you spend with your family will fight off drugs, alcohol, abuse, waste, laziness, and disobedience.Let the invisible Walls of God’s Love connect us to the Kingdom of God and tear down all man-made fake borders of patrol.
Are you walking through the walls of ignorance with Christ or are you trapped with satan, bound for hell?
Enjoy The Reading
For the choir director: A psalm of the descendants of Korah.
1 Listen to this, all you people! Pay attention, everyone in the world! 2 High and low, rich and poor—listen! 3 For my words are wise, and my thoughts are filled with insight. 4 I listen carefully to many proverbs and solve riddles with inspiration from a harp.
5 Why should I fear when trouble comes, when enemies surround me? 6 They trust in their wealth and boast of great riches. 7 Yet they cannot redeem themselves from death[a] by paying a ransom to God. 8 Redemption does not come so easily, for no one can ever pay enough 9 to live forever and never see the grave.
10 Those who are wise must finally die, just like the foolish and senseless, leaving all their wealth behind. 11 The grave is their eternal home, where they will stay forever. They may name their estates after themselves, 12 but their fame will not last. They will die, just like animals. 13 This is the fate of fools, though they are remembered as being wise. Interlude
14 Like sheep, they are led to the grave, where death will be their shepherd. In the morning the godly will rule over them. Their bodies will rot in the grave, far from their grand estates. 15 But as for me, God will redeem my life. He will snatch me from the power of the grave. Interlude
16 So don’t be dismayed when the wicked grow rich and their homes become ever more splendid. 17 For when they die, they take nothing with them. Their wealth will not follow them into the grave. 18 In this life they consider themselves fortunate and are applauded for their success. 19 But they will die like all before them and never again see the light of day. 20 People who boast of their wealth don’t understand; they will die, just like animals.