Absent

invisible man wearing black bowler, surreal concept of absence of identity

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“The best thing you can do to improve your relationship with Christ is to just show up and be present.”

TB

Vanity

It’s easy to want to be associated with God for the perceived prestige and brownie points that society gives. However, a vanity relationship is no relationship at all. Friends, don’t be fooled into complacency by knowing God in name only.

Humility

If you truly desire to know God, don’t be absent, show up. This happens when we bring ourselves before Him so that we may know Him. God is not looking for cookie cutter people. More to the point, we can’t hide who we are from Him, so be present.

Today’s Question

Are you the absent piece in your relationship with God?

Enjoy the reading

Leviticus 28

1 A year after Israel’s departure from Egypt, the LORD spoke to Moses in the Tabernacle in the wilderness of Sinai. On the first day of the second month of that year he said, 2 “From the whole community of Israel, record the names of all the warriors by their clans and families. List all the men 3 twenty years old or older who are able to go to war. You and Aaron must register the troops, 4 and you will be assisted by one family leader from each tribe. 5 “These are the tribes and the names of the leaders who will assist you: Tribe Leader Reuben Elizur son of Shedeur 6 Simeon Shelumiel son of Zurishaddai 7 Judah Nahshon son of Amminadab 8 Issachar Nethanel son of Zuar 9 Zebulun Eliab son of Helon 10 Ephraim son of Joseph Elishama son of Ammihud Manasseh son of Joseph Gamaliel son of Pedahzur 11 Benjamin Abidan son of Gideoni 12 Dan Ahiezer son of Ammishaddai 13 Asher Pagiel son of Ocran 14 Gad Eliasaph son of Deuel 15 Naphtali Ahira son of Enan 16 These are the chosen leaders of the community, the leaders of their ancestral tribes, the heads of the clans of Israel.” 17 So Moses and Aaron called together these chosen leaders, 18 and they assembled the whole community of Israel on that very day. All the people were registered according to their ancestry by their clans and families. The men of Israel who were twenty years old or older were listed one by one, 19 just as the LORD had commanded Moses. So Moses recorded their names in the wilderness of Sinai. 20 This is the number of men twenty years old or older who were able to go to war, as their names were listed in the records of their clans and families : 2122 Simeon 59,300 2324 Gad 45,650 2526 Judah 74,600 2728 Issachar 54,400 2930 Zebulun 57,400 3132 Ephraim son of Joseph 40,500 3334 Manasseh son of Joseph 32,200 3536 Benjamin 35,400 3738 Dan 62,700 3940 Asher 41,500 4142 Naphtali 53,400 4344 These were the men registered by Moses and Aaron and the twelve leaders of Israel, all listed according to their ancestral descent. 45 They were registered by families—all the men of Israel who were twenty years old or older and able to go to war. 46 The total number was 603,550. 47 But this total did not include the Levites. 48 For the LORD had said to Moses, 49 “Do not include the tribe of Levi in the registration; do not count them with the rest of the Israelites. 50 Put the Levites in charge of the Tabernacle of the Covenant, along with all its furnishings and equipment. They must carry the Tabernacle and all its furnishings as you travel, and they must take care of it and camp around it. 51 Whenever it is time for the Tabernacle to move, the Levites will take it down. And when it is time to stop, they will set it up again. But any unauthorized person who goes too near the Tabernacle must be put to death. 52 Each tribe of Israel will camp in a designated area with its own family banner. 53 But the Levites will camp around the Tabernacle of the Covenant to protect the community of Israel from the LORD ’s anger. The Levites are responsible to stand guard around the Tabernacle.” 54 So the Israelites did everything just as the LORD had commanded Moses.

Lifelong Learner

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Discipline yourself to become a lifelong learner as it takes a lifetime to even begin to appreciate and know God.”

TB

Lessons

When we place God at the center of our lives, we begin to see the infinite lessons He has to teach us. This is especially true in the fact that we must contend with a fallen world. So, focus your attention on Christ to root out the distractions of this world. As you humbly accept the fact that there are many lessons, they become easier for you to learn.

Learn

To learn from God requires us to give Him the rightful respect and attention He deserves. God will never force you to pay attention to learn, which is why many fail from the start. The great thing about learning from God is that it never stops. He will never run out of things to teach us. As our spiritual maturity increases, so does the desire to hear from God.

Today’s Question

Are you a lifelong learner or has your pride hindered your ability to listen?

Enjoy the reading

Genesis 26

1 A severe famine now struck the land, as had happened before in Abraham’s time. So Isaac moved to Gerar, where Abimelech, king of the Philistines, lived. 2 The LORD appeared to Isaac and said, “Do not go down to Egypt, but do as I tell you. 3 Live here as a foreigner in this land, and I will be with you and bless you. I hereby confirm that I will give all these lands to you and your descendants, just as I solemnly promised Abraham, your father. 4 I will cause your descendants to become as numerous as the stars of the sky, and I will give them all these lands. And through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed. 5 I will do this because Abraham listened to me and obeyed all my requirements, commands, decrees, and instructions.” 6 So Isaac stayed in Gerar. 7 When the men who lived there asked Isaac about his wife, Rebekah, he said, “She is my sister.” He was afraid to say, “She is my wife.” He thought, “They will kill me to get her, because she is so beautiful.” 8 But some time later, Abimelech, king of the Philistines, looked out his window and saw Isaac caressing Rebekah. 9 Immediately, Abimelech called for Isaac and exclaimed, “She is obviously your wife! Why did you say, ‘She is my sister’?” “Because I was afraid someone would kill me to get her from me,” Isaac replied. 10 “How could you do this to us?” Abimelech exclaimed. “One of my people might easily have taken your wife and slept with her, and you would have made us guilty of great sin.” 11 Then Abimelech issued a public proclamation: “Anyone who touches this man or his wife will be put to death!” 12 When Isaac planted his crops that year, he harvested a hundred times more grain than he planted, for the LORD blessed him. 13 He became a very rich man, and his wealth continued to grow. 14 He acquired so many flocks of sheep and goats, herds of cattle, and servants that the Philistines became jealous of him. 15 So the Philistines filled up all of Isaac’s wells with dirt. These were the wells that had been dug by the servants of his father, Abraham. 16 Finally, Abimelech ordered Isaac to leave the country. “Go somewhere else,” he said, “for you have become too powerful for us.” 17 So Isaac moved away to the Gerar Valley, where he set up their tents and settled down. 18 He reopened the wells his father had dug, which the Philistines had filled in after Abraham’s death. Isaac also restored the names Abraham had given them. 19 Isaac’s servants also dug in the Gerar Valley and discovered a well of fresh water. 20 But then the shepherds from Gerar came and claimed the spring. “This is our water,” they said, and they argued over it with Isaac’s herdsmen. So Isaac named the well Esek (which means “argument”). 21 Isaac’s men then dug another well, but again there was a dispute over it. So Isaac named it Sitnah (which means “hostility”). 22 Abandoning that one, Isaac moved on and dug another well. This time there was no dispute over it, so Isaac named the place Rehoboth (which means “open space”), for he said, “At last the LORD has created enough space for us to prosper in this land.” 23 From there Isaac moved to Beersheba, 24 where the LORD appeared to him on the night of his arrival. “I am the God of your father, Abraham,” he said. “Do not be afraid, for I am with you and will bless you. I will multiply your descendants, and they will become a great nation. I will do this because of my promise to Abraham, my servant.” 25 Then Isaac built an altar there and worshiped the LORD . He set up his camp at that place, and his servants dug another well. 26 One day King Abimelech came from Gerar with his adviser, Ahuzzath, and also Phicol, his army commander. 27 “Why have you come here?” Isaac asked. “You obviously hate me, since you kicked me off your land.” 28 They replied, “We can plainly see that the LORD is with you. So we want to enter into a sworn treaty with you. Let’s make a covenant. 29 Swear that you will not harm us, just as we have never troubled you. We have always treated you well, and we sent you away from us in peace. And now look how the LORD has blessed you!” 30 So Isaac prepared a covenant feast to celebrate the treaty, and they ate and drank together. 31 Early the next morning, they each took a solemn oath not to interfere with each other. Then Isaac sent them home again, and they left him in peace. 32 That very day Isaac’s servants came and told him about a new well they had dug. “We’ve found water!” they exclaimed. 33 So Isaac named the well Shibah (which means “oath”). And to this day the town that grew up there is called Beersheba (which means “well of the oath”). 34 At the age of forty, Esau married two Hittite wives: Judith, the daughter of Beeri, and Basemath, the daughter of Elon. 35 But Esau’s wives made life miserable for Isaac and Rebekah.

Who Are You

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Be grateful that God shows mercy far greater than what we extend to each other.”

TB

Reality Check

Before you dismiss your brothers and sisters, remember Who is kind enough NOT to immediately dismiss you. Like the parable about the man who owed money. His debtor forgives him for a massive amount of debt. And yet, when that same man had the opportunity to do the same for another, and on a far lesser scale, who chose to punish him. Friends, it’s time for a reality check. Who has not been forgiven a greater debt than the debt you’re hanging over another?

Mercy Me

When you truly understand the debt that has been paid for your own soul thanks to God, you begin to reevaluate the perceived debts from others. Who among us is mightier than Christ to hold others accountable? Who is dumb enough to use the title of Christ and yet believe they are better than others? I say this in truth and love, don’t be foolish. Do the internal work to learn how God loves us so that you can begin to love others in the way that He does to you.

Today’s Question

Who are you compared to Christ; and do you believe yourself to be superior?

Enjoy the reading

Genesis 15

1 Some time later, the LORD spoke to Abram in a vision and said to him, “Do not be afraid, Abram, for I will protect you, and your reward will be great.” 2 But Abram replied, “O Sovereign LORD, what good are all your blessings when I don’t even have a son? Since you’ve given me no children, Eliezer of Damascus, a servant in my household, will inherit all my wealth. 3 You have given me no descendants of my own, so one of my servants will be my heir.” 4 Then the LORD said to him, “No, your servant will not be your heir, for you will have a son of your own who will be your heir.” 5 Then the LORD took Abram outside and said to him, “Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That’s how many descendants you will have!” 6 And Abram believed the LORD, and the LORD counted him as righteous because of his faith. 7 Then the LORD told him, “I am the LORD who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land as your possession.” 8 But Abram replied, “O Sovereign LORD, how can I be sure that I will actually possess it?” 9 The LORD told him, “Bring me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” 10 So Abram presented all these to him and killed them. Then he cut each animal down the middle and laid the halves side by side; he did not, however, cut the birds in half. 11 Some vultures swooped down to eat the carcasses, but Abram chased them away. 12 As the sun was going down, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a terrifying darkness came down over him. 13 Then the LORD said to Abram, “You can be sure that your descendants will be strangers in a foreign land, where they will be oppressed as slaves for 400 years. 14 But I will punish the nation that enslaves them, and in the end they will come away with great wealth. 15 (As for you, you will die in peace and be buried at a ripe old age.) 16 After four generations your descendants will return here to this land, for the sins of the Amorites do not yet warrant their destruction.” 17 After the sun went down and darkness fell, Abram saw a smoking firepot and a flaming torch pass between the halves of the carcasses. 18 So the LORD made a covenant with Abram that day and said, “I have given this land to your descendants, all the way from the border of Egypt to the great Euphrates River— 19 the land now occupied by the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, 20 Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, 21 Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites, and Jebusites.”

In Name Only

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Make sure you don’t know Christ in name only.”

TB

Superficial

Christianity is not some club of superiority in spite of the fact that many use a superficial association to judge others from their pedestal. When you know God in name only, it shows in your actions and minds. Like the Sadducees and Pharisees, they knew the theology but could not recognize Christ when He was among them!

Profound

To know God is to have reverence and humility towards the simply complex love that He administers to us daily. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the legalistic bindings of rules. But to forgive mercifully and endlessly as Christ does, well, that is a lifelong endeavor. Friends, when we live by Christ, we go on to know Him well.

Today’s Question

Are you comfortable knowing God only in name when it’s time for Him to call yours?

Enjoy the reading

Genesis 9

1 Then God blessed Noah and his sons and told them, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth. 2 All the animals of the earth, all the birds of the sky, all the small animals that scurry along the ground, and all the fish in the sea will look on you with fear and terror. I have placed them in your power. 3 I have given them to you for food, just as I have given you grain and vegetables. 4 But you must never eat any meat that still has the lifeblood in it. 5 “And I will require the blood of anyone who takes another person’s life. If a wild animal kills a person, it must die. And anyone who murders a fellow human must die. 6 If anyone takes a human life, that person’s life will also be taken by human hands. For God made human beings in his own image. 7 Now be fruitful and multiply, and repopulate the earth.” 8 Then God told Noah and his sons, 9 “I hereby confirm my covenant with you and your descendants, 10 and with all the animals that were on the boat with you—the birds, the livestock, and all the wild animals—every living creature on earth. 11 Yes, I am confirming my covenant with you. Never again will floodwaters kill all living creatures; never again will a flood destroy the earth.” 12 Then God said, “I am giving you a sign of my covenant with you and with all living creatures, for all generations to come. 13 I have placed my rainbow in the clouds. It is the sign of my covenant with you and with all the earth. 14 When I send clouds over the earth, the rainbow will appear in the clouds, 15 and I will remember my covenant with you and with all living creatures. Never again will the floodwaters destroy all life. 16 When I see the rainbow in the clouds, I will remember the eternal covenant between God and every living creature on earth.” 17 Then God said to Noah, “Yes, this rainbow is the sign of the covenant I am confirming with all the creatures on earth.” 18 The sons of Noah who came out of the boat with their father were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. (Ham is the father of Canaan.) 19 From these three sons of Noah came all the people who now populate the earth. 20 After the flood, Noah began to cultivate the ground, and he planted a vineyard. 21 One day he drank some wine he had made, and he became drunk and lay naked inside his tent. 22 Ham, the father of Canaan, saw that his father was naked and went outside and told his brothers. 23 Then Shem and Japheth took a robe, held it over their shoulders, and backed into the tent to cover their father. As they did this, they looked the other way so they would not see him naked. 24 When Noah woke up from his stupor, he learned what Ham, his youngest son, had done. 25 Then he cursed Canaan, the son of Ham: “May Canaan be cursed! May he be the lowest of servants to his relatives.” 26 Then Noah said, “May the LORD, the God of Shem, be blessed, and may Canaan be his servant! 27 May God expand the territory of Japheth! May Japheth share the prosperity of Shem, and may Canaan be his servant.” 28 Noah lived another 350 years after the great flood. 29 He lived 950 years, and then he died.

Power Of

Hi Peeps

Today’s Quote

“Let us not forget the unmistakable power of prayer.”

TB

Potent

One of the biggest misnomers about following Christ is the lack of direct connection. Many believe that God is far away and out of our reach. Friends, that’s not so! When we pray, which is essentially a conversation with Him, we are able to draw close, establishing a direct connection.

Direct Line

When we go to God for things, be it, wisdom, guidance, help, etc. we’re going to the Source. Praying isn’t something we do as a last resort, but rather it is the first action that we can take to know what God has planned for us. Prayer requires faith and obedience. So when we honestly seek Him through prayer, we build the most valuable relationship we can ever have.

Today’s Question

Do you know the power of prayer?

Enjoy the reading

Malachi 4

1 The LORD of Heaven’s Armies says, “The day of judgment is coming, burning like a furnace. On that day the arrogant and the wicked will be burned up like straw. They will be consumed—roots, branches, and all. 2 “But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture. 3 On the day when I act, you will tread upon the wicked as if they were dust under your feet,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. 4 “Remember to obey the Law of Moses, my servant—all the decrees and regulations that I gave him on Mount Sinai for all Israel. 5 “Look, I am sending you the prophet Elijah before the great and dreadful day of the LORD arrives. 6 His preaching will turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and the hearts of children to their fathers. Otherwise I will come and strike the land with a curse.”

House Call

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“If you’re coloring outside the lines and your brother or sister is merciful enough to correct, be wise to listen as they are trying to spare you from the consequences of unrepentant behavior.”

TB

Distorted

When you’ve been carrying on in darkness, your vision begins to become blurred from right and wrong. Before long, you’re justifying your bad behavior to yourself because the actions suit your current needs. Friends, take heed to keep yourselves away from the distortion of evil deeds. Like a spider’s web, they trap you in for destruction.

Correction

No one with honest intent enjoys having to correct someone. It’s never easy to address someone else’s misdeeds. That said, if we truly are one body, we must help each other, especially if we see slipping through the cracks. Of course, words and presentation matter, so if you must talk with your brother or sister, do it with kindness and humility.

Path

Correction is not always easy to take, and we all have moments where we’d like to tell the messenger where they can take their message. That said, God uses all of us for various things. So if God has permitted someone to do a house call and lovingly correct you. Take heed because they are trying to spare you from the wrath that accompanies unrepentance.

Today’s Question

What house call would you prefer, the loving correction of a neighbor, or the Wrath for your disobedience?

Enjoy the reading

Zechariah 3

1 Then the angel showed me Jeshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD . The Accuser, Satan, was there at the angel’s right hand, making accusations against Jeshua. 2 And the LORD said to Satan, “I, the LORD, reject your accusations, Satan. Yes, the LORD, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebukes you. This man is like a burning stick that has been snatched from the fire.” 3 Jeshua’s clothing was filthy as he stood there before the angel. 4 So the angel said to the others standing there, “Take off his filthy clothes.” And turning to Jeshua he said, “See, I have taken away your sins, and now I am giving you these fine new clothes.” 5 Then I said, “They should also place a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean priestly turban on his head and dressed him in new clothes while the angel of the LORD stood by. 6 Then the angel of the LORD spoke very solemnly to Jeshua and said, 7 “This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: If you follow my ways and carefully serve me, then you will be given authority over my Temple and its courtyards. I will let you walk among these others standing here. 8 “Listen to me, O Jeshua the high priest, and all you other priests. You are symbols of things to come. Soon I am going to bring my servant, the Branch. 9 Now look at the jewel I have set before Jeshua, a single stone with seven facets. I will engrave an inscription on it, says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, and I will remove the sins of this land in a single day. 10 “And on that day, says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, each of you will invite your neighbor to sit with you peacefully under your own grapevine and fig tree.”

Fruit

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Judge your own fruit to know if you are following God’s will or your own.”

TB

Rotten

When we enact our own will or produce things out of our own doing, it shows. Sure, we may make progress, but there is always a cost. If you’re run down, robbing Peter to pay Paul, or operating outside of the lines, chances are, you’re flying solo.

Good

God’s will offers us peace, wisdom, love, and grace. It may not be as flashy as our own crooked desires, but it is everlasting, strategic, and it produces good fruit. By following God, we learn how to be continually renewed in the spirit and now by our flesh.

Today’s Question

What fruit are you producing?

Enjoy the reading

Amos 1

1 This message was given to Amos, a shepherd from the town of Tekoa in Judah. He received this message in visions two years before the earthquake, when Uzziah was king of Judah and Jeroboam II, the son of Jehoash, was king of Israel. 2 This is what he saw and heard: “The LORD ’s voice will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem! The lush pastures of the shepherds will dry up; the grass on Mount Carmel will wither and die.” 3 This is what the LORD says: “The people of Damascus have sinned again and again, and I will not let them go unpunished! They beat down my people in Gilead as grain is threshed with iron sledges. 4 So I will send down fire on King Hazael’s palace, and the fortresses of King Ben-hadad will be destroyed. 5 I will break down the gates of Damascus and slaughter the people in the valley of Aven. I will destroy the ruler in Beth-eden, and the people of Aram will go as captives to Kir,” says the LORD . 6 This is what the LORD says: “The people of Gaza have sinned again and again, and I will not let them go unpunished! They sent whole villages into exile, selling them as slaves to Edom. 7 So I will send down fire on the walls of Gaza, and all its fortresses will be destroyed. 8 I will slaughter the people of Ashdod and destroy the king of Ashkelon. Then I will turn to attack Ekron, and the few Philistines still left will be killed,” says the Sovereign LORD . 9 This is what the LORD says: “The people of Tyre have sinned again and again, and I will not let them go unpunished! They broke their treaty of brotherhood with Israel, selling whole villages as slaves to Edom. 10 So I will send down fire on the walls of Tyre, and all its fortresses will be destroyed.” 11 This is what the LORD says: “The people of Edom have sinned again and again, and I will not let them go unpunished! They chased down their relatives, the Israelites, with swords, showing them no mercy. In their rage, they slashed them continually and were unrelenting in their anger. 12 So I will send down fire on Teman, and the fortresses of Bozrah will be destroyed.” 13 This is what the LORD says: “The people of Ammon have sinned again and again, and I will not let them go unpunished! When they attacked Gilead to extend their borders, they ripped open pregnant women with their swords. 14 So I will send down fire on the walls of Rabbah, and all its fortresses will be destroyed. The battle will come upon them with shouts, like a whirlwind in a mighty storm. 15 And their king and his princes will go into exile together,” says the LORD .

Starve

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“In order to be free of what consumes you, you must starve it out.”

TB

Presto

Sin doesn’t just go away by praying to God to remove it from your life. No, you must do the work to actively stop the practice of immoral behavior. More to the point, just because it isn’t easy does not mean God gave you free license to live in a particular sin. Don’t be fooled into thinking that because you ‘tried’ means that you get a pass. Remember that God alone knows the true motives of our hearts.

Root Cause

Sin is a symptom of a greater issue. It’s the external evidence of an internal problem. For this reason, just merely abstaining from the act does not change the real issue. Sure, you may go for some time without the deed, but if the problem is just tamped down, eventually you will fall back into old patterns. So whether you’re struggling from lust, pride, anger, jealousy, or any other affliction, if you’re truly looking for the answer, you must come to God correctly, by asking Him to reveal what ails you.

Holy Solution

Remember that sin is the act of fulfilling a need that only God can. It will never provide you with the peace you’re truly after. Instead of asking God to remove the behavior, humbly submit to Him and ask the honest questions. Ask Him to reveal the true nature of your behavior. Ask Him to show you what ails you. Reflect on the Word to better understand the needs of God’s children. As he reveals to you what these issues are, ask for direction. By doing the deep work, God will honor your resolve by imparting the wisdom necessary to break away from sinful behaviors by strengthening your relationship with Him

Today’s Question

Are you ready to draw closer to God to change your ways?

Enjoy the reading

Hosea 3

1 Then the LORD said to me, “Go and love your wife again, even though she commits adultery with another lover. This will illustrate that the LORD still loves Israel, even though the people have turned to other gods and love to worship them. ” 2 So I bought her back for fifteen pieces of silver and five bushels of barley and a measure of wine. 3 Then I said to her, “You must live in my house for many days and stop your prostitution. During this time, you will not have sexual relations with anyone, not even with me. ” 4 This shows that Israel will go a long time without a king or prince, and without sacrifices, sacred pillars, priests, or even idols! 5 But afterward the people will return and devote themselves to the LORD their God and to David’s descendant, their king. In the last days, they will tremble in awe of the LORD and of his goodness.

Lifelong

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“In order to embark on a lifelong journey with Christ, you have to accept that growth will always be a constant endeavor.”

TB

Lessons

Whether you’ve been walking with God for 3 months or 30 years, there will always be something He can teach you. God’s lessons are infinite and everlasting, which means we will spend our lifetime learning and still not know everything. Fortunately for us, He is patient and kind, tipping the scale for His children.

Stagnate

We stop learning when we begin to (foolishly) believe we know more than everyone else. Friends, that is simply not so. Even the wisest can still be humbled by a child or even a donkey! Of course, pride is human nature, which is why we have to be vigilant in our behaviors, practicing humility by asking God to reveal our next lessons. When you stop to ask Him for new lesson plans, He will bless you with a deeper understanding drawing you closer to Him.

Today’s Question

Do you still think you’re the smartest person in the room?

Enjoy the reading

Ezekiel 48

1 “Here is the list of the tribes of Israel and the territory each is to receive. The territory of Dan is in the extreme north. Its boundary line follows the Hethlon road to Lebo-hamath and then runs on to Hazar-enan on the border of Damascus, with Hamath to the north. Dan’s territory extends all the way across the land of Israel from east to west. 2 “Asher’s territory lies south of Dan’s and also extends from east to west. 3 Naphtali’s land lies south of Asher’s, also extending from east to west. 4 Then comes Manasseh south of Naphtali, and its territory also extends from east to west. 5 South of Manasseh is Ephraim, 6 and then Reuben, 7 and then Judah, all of whose boundaries extend from east to west. 8 “South of Judah is the land set aside for a special purpose. It will be 8 miles wide and will extend as far east and west as the tribal territories, with the Temple at the center. 9 “The area set aside for the LORD ’s Temple will be 8 miles long and 6 miles wide. 10 For the priests there will be a strip of land measuring 8 miles long by 3 miles wide, with the LORD ’s Temple at the center. 11 This area is set aside for the ordained priests, the descendants of Zadok who served me faithfully and did not go astray with the people of Israel and the rest of the Levites. 12 It will be their special portion when the land is distributed, the most sacred land of all. Next to the priests’ territory will lie the land where the other Levites will live. 13 “The land allotted to the Levites will be the same size and shape as that belonging to the priests—8 miles long and 3 miles wide. Together these portions of land will measure 8 miles long by 6 miles wide. 14 None of this special land may ever be sold or traded or used by others, for it belongs to the LORD ; it is set apart as holy. 15 “An additional strip of land 8 miles long by 1 miles wide, south of the sacred Temple area, will be allotted for public use—homes, pasturelands, and common lands, with a city at the center. 16 The city will measure 1 miles on each side—north, south, east, and west. 17 Open lands will surround the city for 150 yards in every direction. 18 Outside the city there will be a farming area that stretches 3 miles to the east and 3 miles to the west along the border of the sacred area. This farmland will produce food for the people working in the city. 19 Those who come from the various tribes to work in the city may farm it. 20 This entire area—including the sacred lands and the city—is a square that measures 8 miles on each side. 21 “The areas that remain, to the east and to the west of the sacred lands and the city, will belong to the prince. Each of these areas will be 8 miles wide, extending in opposite directions to the eastern and western borders of Israel, with the sacred lands and the sanctuary of the Temple in the center. 22 So the prince’s land will include everything between the territories allotted to Judah and Benjamin, except for the areas set aside for the sacred lands and the city. 23 “These are the territories allotted to the rest of the tribes. Benjamin’s territory lies just south of the prince’s lands, and it extends across the entire land of Israel from east to west. 24 South of Benjamin’s territory lies that of Simeon, also extending across the land from east to west. 25 Next is the territory of Issachar with the same eastern and western boundaries. 26 “Then comes the territory of Zebulun, which also extends across the land from east to west. 27 The territory of Gad is just south of Zebulun with the same borders to the east and west. 28 The southern border of Gad runs from Tamar to the waters of Meribah at Kadesh and then follows the Brook of Egypt to the Mediterranean. 29 “These are the allotments that will be set aside for each tribe’s exclusive possession. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken! 30 “These will be the exits to the city: On the north wall, which is 1 miles long, 31 there will be three gates, each one named after a tribe of Israel. The first will be named for Reuben, the second for Judah, and the third for Levi. 32 On the east wall, also 1 miles long, the gates will be named for Joseph, Benjamin, and Dan. 33 The south wall, also 1 miles long, will have gates named for Simeon, Issachar, and Zebulun. 34 And on the west wall, also 1 miles long, the gates will be named for Gad, Asher, and Naphtali. 35 “The distance around the entire city will be 6 miles. And from that day the name of the city will be ‘The LORD Is There.’ ”

Hamster Wheel

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Spring to action and focus on God’s plan for you, because focusing on the devil’s distractions is much like being a hamster on a wheel.”

TB

Steadfast

We only have so much time to learn, comprehend, and carry out our plans and assignments. While God is faithful and merciful on deadlines, focus and prioritization are key to completing the objective. By staying wrapped in the word, we eat the good fruit and steer clear of the bad. However, there will be and are times where we find ourselves trapped in the distraction of the opposition.

Fruitless

Though we know what we must do, it’s important to understand how the devil keeps us from fulfilling our destinies. One such tactic is getting us off our path. When we believe or entertain the lies of the enemy, we begin to focus on matters that literally have nothing to do with our goals. Like hamsters on the wheel, we end up mindlessly chasing things, people, trends, money, and the like who have nothing to do with our purpose. If you’re tired of running aimlessly, turn your sights to God to get off of the wheel.

Fruitful

So how do we get off the wheel? We start by forgiving offenses, encouraging our brothers and sisters, reading the Word, and picking up our cross, and walking with Christ. Friends, it’s very easy to get caught up in the busyness of our own plans. Like the hamster on the wheel, we can aimlessly chase for nothing, while wasting time failing to learn the whole Truth. Look to God for a fruitful direction, walk in patience, humility, and forgiveness so that you can continue in progress. By identifying the trap of the hamster wheel, you can avoid the distraction and walk your walk with Christ.

Today’s Question

Are you a hamster or a child of God?

Enjoy the reading

Ezekiel 36

1 “Son of man, prophesy to Israel’s mountains. Give them this message: O mountains of Israel, hear the word of the LORD ! 2 This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Your enemies have taunted you, saying, ‘Aha! Now the ancient heights belong to us!’ 3 Therefore, son of man, give the mountains of Israel this message from the Sovereign LORD : Your enemies have attacked you from all directions, making you the property of many nations and the object of much mocking and slander. 4 Therefore, O mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Sovereign LORD . He speaks to the hills and mountains, ravines and valleys, and to ruined wastes and long-deserted cities that have been destroyed and mocked by the surrounding nations. 5 This is what the Sovereign LORD says: My jealous anger burns against these nations, especially Edom, because they have shown utter contempt for me by gleefully taking my land for themselves as plunder. 6 “Therefore, prophesy to the hills and mountains, the ravines and valleys of Israel. This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am furious that you have suffered shame before the surrounding nations. 7 Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I have taken a solemn oath that those nations will soon have their own shame to endure. 8 “But the mountains of Israel will produce heavy crops of fruit for my people—for they will be coming home again soon! 9 See, I care about you, and I will pay attention to you. Your ground will be plowed and your crops planted. 10 I will greatly increase the population of Israel, and the ruined cities will be rebuilt and filled with people. 11 I will increase not only the people, but also your animals. O mountains of Israel, I will bring people to live on you once again. I will make you even more prosperous than you were before. Then you will know that I am the LORD . 12 I will cause my people to walk on you once again, and you will be their territory. You will never again rob them of their children. 13 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: The other nations taunt you, saying, ‘Israel is a land that devours its own people and robs them of their children!’ 14 But you will never again devour your people or rob them of their children, says the Sovereign LORD . 15 I will not let you hear those other nations insult you, and you will no longer be mocked by them. You will not be a land that causes its nation to fall, says the Sovereign LORD .” 16 Then this further message came to me from the LORD : 17 “Son of man, when the people of Israel were living in their own land, they defiled it by the evil way they lived. To me their conduct was as unclean as a woman’s menstrual cloth. 18 They polluted the land with murder and the worship of idols, so I poured out my fury on them. 19 I scattered them to many lands to punish them for the evil way they had lived. 20 But when they were scattered among the nations, they brought shame on my holy name. For the nations said, ‘These are the people of the LORD, but he couldn’t keep them safe in his own land!’ 21 Then I was concerned for my holy name, on which my people brought shame among the nations. 22 “Therefore, give the people of Israel this message from the Sovereign LORD : I am bringing you back, but not because you deserve it. I am doing it to protect my holy name, on which you brought shame while you were scattered among the nations. 23 I will show how holy my great name is—the name on which you brought shame among the nations. And when I reveal my holiness through you before their very eyes, says the Sovereign LORD, then the nations will know that I am the LORD . 24 For I will gather you up from all the nations and bring you home again to your land. 25 “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. Your filth will be washed away, and you will no longer worship idols. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations. 28 “And you will live in Israel, the land I gave your ancestors long ago. You will be my people, and I will be your God. 29 I will cleanse you of your filthy behavior. I will give you good crops of grain, and I will send no more famines on the land. 30 I will give you great harvests from your fruit trees and fields, and never again will the surrounding nations be able to scoff at your land for its famines. 31 Then you will remember your past sins and despise yourselves for all the detestable things you did. 32 But remember, says the Sovereign LORD, I am not doing this because you deserve it. O my people of Israel, you should be utterly ashamed of all you have done! 33 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: When I cleanse you from your sins, I will repopulate your cities, and the ruins will be rebuilt. 34 The fields that used to lie empty and desolate in plain view of everyone will again be farmed. 35 And when I bring you back, people will say, ‘This former wasteland is now like the Garden of Eden! The abandoned and ruined cities now have strong walls and are filled with people!’ 36 Then the surrounding nations that survive will know that I, the LORD, have rebuilt the ruins and replanted the wasteland. For I, the LORD, have spoken, and I will do what I say. 37 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am ready to hear Israel’s prayers and to increase their numbers like a flock. 38 They will be as numerous as the sacred flocks that fill Jerusalem’s streets at the time of her festivals. The ruined cities will be crowded with people once more, and everyone will know that I am the LORD .”