“Be mindful of your words and what you speak to yourself and others as our words bring life or death.”
We are what we speak. If we spew junk, we participate in junk. Good cannot grow from dead thinking and speaking. Negative thoughts and words bring about negative deeds and actions. If you struggle with your tongue, go to God and He will teach you a new language.
Notice how God speaks to you, it’s with encouragement and grace. He does not belittle or harp on our faults. He gently picks us up, dusts us off, and graciously cheers us on so that we go on to do good. If God isn’t throwing salt in our wounds by negative speech, it’s time for us to speak gently to one another.
Are you talking about life or death?
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1 Then this message came to me from the LORD : 2 “Son of man, give the prince of Tyre this message from the Sovereign LORD : “In your great pride you claim, ‘I am a god! I sit on a divine throne in the heart of the sea.’ But you are only a man and not a god, though you boast that you are a god. 3 You regard yourself as wiser than Daniel and think no secret is hidden from you. 4 With your wisdom and understanding you have amassed great wealth— gold and silver for your treasuries. 5 Yes, your wisdom has made you very rich, and your riches have made you very proud. 6 “Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Because you think you are as wise as a god, 7 I will now bring against you a foreign army, the terror of the nations. They will draw their swords against your marvelous wisdom and defile your splendor! 8 They will bring you down to the pit, and you will die in the heart of the sea, pierced with many wounds. 9 Will you then boast, ‘I am a god!’ to those who kill you? To them you will be no god but merely a man! 10 You will die like an outcast at the hands of foreigners. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken!” 11 Then this further message came to me from the LORD : 12 “Son of man, sing this funeral song for the king of Tyre. Give him this message from the Sovereign LORD : “You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and exquisite in beauty. 13 You were in Eden, the garden of God. Your clothing was adorned with every precious stone — red carnelian, pale-green peridot, white moonstone, blue-green beryl, onyx, green jasper, blue lapis lazuli, turquoise, and emerald— all beautifully crafted for you and set in the finest gold. They were given to you on the day you were created. 14 I ordained and anointed you as the mighty angelic guardian. You had access to the holy mountain of God and walked among the stones of fire. 15 “You were blameless in all you did from the day you were created until the day evil was found in you. 16 Your rich commerce led you to violence, and you sinned. So I banished you in disgrace from the mountain of God. I expelled you, O mighty guardian, from your place among the stones of fire. 17 Your heart was filled with pride because of all your beauty. Your wisdom was corrupted by your love of splendor. So I threw you to the ground and exposed you to the curious gaze of kings. 18 You defiled your sanctuaries with your many sins and your dishonest trade. So I brought fire out from within you, and it consumed you. I reduced you to ashes on the ground in the sight of all who were watching. 19 All who knew you are appalled at your fate. You have come to a terrible end, and you will exist no more.” 20 Then another message came to me from the LORD : 21 “Son of man, turn and face the city of Sidon and prophesy against it. 22 Give the people of Sidon this message from the Sovereign LORD : “I am your enemy, O Sidon, and I will reveal my glory by what I do to you. When I bring judgment against you and reveal my holiness among you, everyone watching will know that I am the LORD . 23 I will send a plague against you, and blood will be spilled in your streets. The attack will come from every direction, and your people will lie slaughtered within your walls. Then everyone will know that I am the LORD . 24 No longer will Israel’s scornful neighbors prick and tear at her like briers and thorns. For then they will know that I am the Sovereign LORD . 25 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: The people of Israel will again live in their own land, the land I gave my servant Jacob. For I will gather them from the distant lands where I have scattered them. I will reveal to the nations of the world my holiness among my people. 26 They will live safely in Israel and build homes and plant vineyards. And when I punish the neighboring nations that treated them with contempt, they will know that I am the LORD their God.”
“When we fail to reconcile God’s truth, we try and control our lives by chasing storms.”
Think about the obstacles in your life. Think about the frustrations or trials you face. Chances are, there is a theme to what troubles you, and that theme is control. When we struggle with things– anger, greed, pain, lust, laziness, and the like, we are trying to control something that requires a power that we will never possess. It could be anger, it could be lust, it could be greed, it could be a host of things. We struggle with the same things because we fail to relinquish our weaknesses to Christ we are doomed to keep repeating the same trials, like our very own groundhog day. To get out of the storm chasing business, we must first acknowledge how we got there in the first place.
We’ve all experienced hurt, heartache, shame, regret, or some unfortunate event(s). Sometimes our experiences trick us into thinking we are in charge of protecting ourselves. As such, we act as storm chasers, running into the chaos. In order to stay out of the chaos, we have to know that the storm does not need chasing. The Bible says resist the devil, not fight him. How do we do this? We stop chasing the storm by tearing down the walls we’ve built to protect ourselves. We walk in love not in anger or fear, choosing the path that Christ chose. When we stop chasing the storm and allow God into all aspects of our lives, we will know His peace.
Are you chasing a storm that should be given to God?
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1 On February 3, during the twelfth year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity, this message came to me from the LORD : 2 “Son of man, Tyre has rejoiced over the fall of Jerusalem, saying, ‘Ha! She who was the gateway to the rich trade routes to the east has been broken, and I am the heir! Because she has been made desolate, I will become wealthy!’ 3 “Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am your enemy, O Tyre, and I will bring many nations against you, like the waves of the sea crashing against your shoreline. 4 They will destroy the walls of Tyre and tear down its towers. I will scrape away its soil and make it a bare rock! 5 It will be just a rock in the sea, a place for fishermen to spread their nets, for I have spoken, says the Sovereign LORD . Tyre will become the prey of many nations, 6 and its mainland villages will be destroyed by the sword. Then they will know that I am the LORD . 7 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: From the north I will bring King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon against Tyre. He is king of kings and brings his horses, chariots, charioteers, and great army. 8 First he will destroy your mainland villages. Then he will attack you by building a siege wall, constructing a ramp, and raising a roof of shields against you. 9 He will pound your walls with battering rams and demolish your towers with sledgehammers. 10 The hooves of his horses will choke the city with dust, and the noise of the charioteers and chariot wheels will shake your walls as they storm through your broken gates. 11 His horsemen will trample through every street in the city. They will butcher your people, and your strong pillars will topple. 12 “They will plunder all your riches and merchandise and break down your walls. They will destroy your lovely homes and dump your stones and timbers and even your dust into the sea. 13 I will stop the music of your songs. No more will the sound of harps be heard among your people. 14 I will make your island a bare rock, a place for fishermen to spread their nets. You will never be rebuilt, for I, the LORD, have spoken. Yes, the Sovereign LORD has spoken! 15 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says to Tyre: The whole coastline will tremble at the sound of your fall, as the screams of the wounded echo in the continuing slaughter. 16 All the seaport rulers will step down from their thrones and take off their royal robes and beautiful clothing. They will sit on the ground trembling with horror at your destruction. 17 Then they will wail for you, singing this funeral song: “O famous island city, once ruler of the sea, how you have been destroyed! Your people, with their naval power, once spread fear around the world. 18 Now the coastlands tremble at your fall. The islands are dismayed as you disappear. 19 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will make Tyre an uninhabited ruin, like many others. I will bury you beneath the terrible waves of enemy attack. Great seas will swallow you. 20 I will send you to the pit to join those who descended there long ago. Your city will lie in ruins, buried beneath the earth, like those in the pit who have entered the world of the dead. You will have no place of respect here in the land of the living. 21 I will bring you to a terrible end, and you will exist no more. You will be looked for, but you will never again be found. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken!”
“Whatever you are ruled by will be the hue of your lenses.”
The moment you realize that we are designed to seek approval, connection, and support, the easier it will be for you to see the truth. Those are gifts directly given to us by God so that we can know Him on a deeper, foundational level. But, of course, we’re human, prone to living by our flesh, perverting the traits God has given to us so freely. Friends, we can truly live without being in a relationship with God. Even though that’s true, we humans with our egos, struck out to fulfill God-centered needs through fleshly practices. So what does that look like?
When we fail to reconcile our reality for God’s Truth, we see the world and people through various colors based on whatever hurt we’ve experienced. When you have unchecked rejection in your heart, you see the world in the color of rejection. If you struggle with lust you will see the world in that same way. When you struggle with anger, fear, and the like, your world will be colored by that affliction. As such, you cannot see nor hear God when your colored glasses shade His Truth.
If you’re tired of living in fear, rejection, lust, anger, whatever your case is, it’s time to toss your colored glasses. In order to see the world as God intended, you have to remove your ‘colors’ and see things for what they truly are. As you grow in Christ you will begin to reflect in your previous stage of life, understanding what ruled you at the time. You begin to see how your distorted way of thinking came to be because of the unchecked footholds in your life. When you take off your colored glasses, forgiveness is easier to understand; Christlike love is more easily attainable, and things like mercy and grace become common practice, rather than impossible standards that only God can achieve. While we are human and very imperfect, we can make the choice each and every day to take up our cross, and put down the colored glasses that hinder us from becoming who God made us to be.
Do you know what color glasses you’re wearing and its impact on your life?
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1 On January 15, during the ninth year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity, this message came to me from the LORD : 2 “Son of man, write down today’s date, because on this very day the king of Babylon is beginning his attack against Jerusalem. 3 Then give these rebels an illustration with this message from the Sovereign LORD : “Put a pot on the fire, and pour in some water. 4 Fill it with choice pieces of meat— the rump and the shoulder and all the most tender cuts. 5 Use only the best sheep from the flock, and heap fuel on the fire beneath the pot. Bring the pot to a boil, and cook the bones along with the meat. 6 “Now this is what the Sovereign LORD says: What sorrow awaits Jerusalem, the city of murderers! She is a cooking pot whose corruption can’t be cleaned out. Take the meat out in random order, for no piece is better than another. 7 For the blood of her murders is splashed on the rocks. It isn’t even spilled on the ground, where the dust could cover it! 8 So I will splash her blood on a rock for all to see, an expression of my anger and vengeance against her. 9 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: What sorrow awaits Jerusalem, the city of murderers! I myself will pile up the fuel beneath her. 10 Yes, heap on the wood! Let the fire roar to make the pot boil. Cook the meat with many spices, and afterward burn the bones. 11 Now set the empty pot on the coals. Heat it red hot! Burn away the filth and corruption. 12 But it’s hopeless; the corruption can’t be cleaned out. So throw it into the fire. 13 Your impurity is your lewdness and the corruption of your idolatry. I tried to cleanse you, but you refused. So now you will remain in your filth until my fury against you has been satisfied. 14 “I, the LORD, have spoken! The time has come, and I won’t hold back. I will not change my mind, and I will have no pity on you. You will be judged on the basis of all your wicked actions, says the Sovereign LORD .” 15 Then this message came to me from the LORD : 16 “Son of man, with one blow I will take away your dearest treasure. Yet you must not show any sorrow at her death. Do not weep; let there be no tears. 17 Groan silently, but let there be no wailing at her grave. Do not uncover your head or take off your sandals. Do not perform the usual rituals of mourning or accept any food brought to you by consoling friends.” 18 So I proclaimed this to the people the next morning, and in the evening my wife died. The next morning I did everything I had been told to do. 19 Then the people asked, “What does all this mean? What are you trying to tell us?” 20 So I said to them, “A message came to me from the LORD, 21 and I was told to give this message to the people of Israel. This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will defile my Temple, the source of your security and pride, the place your heart delights in. Your sons and daughters whom you left behind in Judah will be slaughtered by the sword. 22 Then you will do as Ezekiel has done. You will not mourn in public or console yourselves by eating the food brought by friends. 23 Your heads will remain covered, and your sandals will not be taken off. You will not mourn or weep, but you will waste away because of your sins. You will groan among yourselves for all the evil you have done. 24 Ezekiel is an example for you; you will do just as he has done. And when that time comes, you will know that I am the Sovereign LORD .” 25 Then the LORD said to me, “Son of man, on the day I take away their stronghold—their joy and glory, their heart’s desire, their dearest treasure—I will also take away their sons and daughters. 26 And on that day a survivor from Jerusalem will come to you in Babylon and tell you what has happened. 27 And when he arrives, your voice will suddenly return so you can talk to him, and you will be a symbol for these people. Then they will know that I am the LORD .”
“If you take time to learn the fundamentals of Christ and His teaches, the wisdom He bestows to you for your efforts will guide you throw the highs and lows of life.”
Practice and Purpose
The Bible is the ultimate playbook for you to use in this game called life. Think about sports like basketball. Elite ballplayers spend a significant amount of time studying the film of their opponents. They also spend time practicing their shots, ball handling, defense, and everything in between. Take NBA players. These guys have been playing basketball for years and years.
You would think will all of the time and practice they put in, there would be no need to watch game tape or practice. So why do they do it? Because practice and reviewing the film is the type of tool that defeats your opponent. The Bible and applying its wisdom prepares us to understand the devil’s games and how to win. Practice also helps us against the enemy when we’re tired
The devil works hard to throw us off in several areas in our lives. He’ll attack when we’re tired, when we’re distracted, when we’re stepping up in our walk with Christ, and especially when we’re successful. But don’t worry, the opposition messes greatly with the first string because he knows how influential they are in spreading the good news.
Fortunately for us, this is why we practice reading the Bible. When we’re tired, distracted, encouraging others about Christ, or stepping in our calling, this is when we must really hunker down and rely on the fundamentals. This is because God’s Truth supersedes our truths. So, when our neighbor offends us, we practice what we learned in the Bible, which is forgiveness so that it doesn’t become a foothold. When we have bills to pay, we pay them instead of buying stuff for ourselves.
Fundamentals are Key
Just like elite basketball players, we can get tired and weary, which is where the devil and temptation will rear its ugly head. When we rely on our flesh, we fail because we’re not built to weather storms such as these. Instead we have to rely on the teachings and the fundamentals of the word.
The Bible is literally the game tape of how God defeats the devil. What better resource to help us in our walks with Christ! By studying the playbook–Bible– we have foundational strength and behaviors that allow us to have victory over our trials and temptations. We gain the spiritual muscle memory to shoot the ball, scoring even when physically we can’t go on. If you want to be on the championship team, study God’s playbook, the Bible.
Are you studying how to defeat the opposition?
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1 This message came to me from the LORD : 2 “Son of man, once there were two sisters who were daughters of the same mother. 3 They became prostitutes in Egypt. Even as young girls, they allowed men to fondle their breasts. 4 The older girl was named Oholah, and her sister was Oholibah. I married them, and they bore me sons and daughters. I am speaking of Samaria and Jerusalem, for Oholah is Samaria and Oholibah is Jerusalem. 5 “Then Oholah lusted after other lovers instead of me, and she gave her love to the Assyrian officers. 6 They were all attractive young men, captains and commanders dressed in handsome blue, charioteers driving their horses. 7 And so she prostituted herself with the most desirable men of Assyria, worshiping their idols and defiling herself. 8 For when she left Egypt, she did not leave her spirit of prostitution behind. She was still as lewd as in her youth, when the Egyptians slept with her, fondled her breasts, and used her as a prostitute. 9 “And so I handed her over to her Assyrian lovers, whom she desired so much. 10 They stripped her, took away her children as their slaves, and then killed her. After she received her punishment, her reputation was known to every woman in the land. 11 “Yet even though Oholibah saw what had happened to Oholah, her sister, she followed right in her footsteps. And she was even more depraved, abandoning herself to her lust and prostitution. 12 She fawned over all the Assyrian officers—those captains and commanders in handsome uniforms, those charioteers driving their horses—all of them attractive young men. 13 I saw the way she was going, defiling herself just like her older sister. 14 “Then she carried her prostitution even further. She fell in love with pictures that were painted on a wall—pictures of Babylonian military officers, outfitted in striking red uniforms. 15 Handsome belts encircled their waists, and flowing turbans crowned their heads. They were dressed like chariot officers from the land of Babylonia. 16 When she saw these paintings, she longed to give herself to them, so she sent messengers to Babylonia to invite them to come to her. 17 So they came and committed adultery with her, defiling her in the bed of love. After being defiled, however, she rejected them in disgust. 18 “In the same way, I became disgusted with Oholibah and rejected her, just as I had rejected her sister, because she flaunted herself before them and gave herself to satisfy their lusts. 19 Yet she turned to even greater prostitution, remembering her youth when she was a prostitute in Egypt. 20 She lusted after lovers with genitals as large as a donkey’s and emissions like those of a horse. 21 And so, Oholibah, you relived your former days as a young girl in Egypt, when you first allowed your breasts to be fondled. 22 “Therefore, Oholibah, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will send your lovers against you from every direction—those very nations from which you turned away in disgust. 23 For the Babylonians will come with all the Chaldeans from Pekod and Shoa and Koa. And all the Assyrians will come with them—handsome young captains, commanders, chariot officers, and other high-ranking officers, all riding their horses. 24 They will all come against you from the north with chariots, wagons, and a great army prepared for attack. They will take up positions on every side, surrounding you with men armed with shields and helmets. And I will hand you over to them for punishment so they can do with you as they please. 25 I will turn my jealous anger against you, and they will deal harshly with you. They will cut off your nose and ears, and any survivors will then be slaughtered by the sword. Your children will be taken away as captives, and everything that is left will be burned. 26 They will strip you of your beautiful clothes and jewels. 27 In this way, I will put a stop to the lewdness and prostitution you brought from Egypt. You will never again cast longing eyes on those things or fondly remember your time in Egypt. 28 “For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will surely hand you over to your enemies, to those you loathe, those you rejected. 29 They will treat you with hatred and rob you of all you own, leaving you stark naked. The shame of your prostitution will be exposed to all the world. 30 You brought all this on yourself by prostituting yourself to other nations, defiling yourself with all their idols. 31 Because you have followed in your sister’s footsteps, I will force you to drink the same cup of terror she drank. 32 “Yes, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: “You will drink from your sister’s cup of terror, a cup that is large and deep. It is filled to the brim with scorn and derision. 33 Drunkenness and anguish will fill you, for your cup is filled to the brim with distress and desolation, the same cup your sister Samaria drank. 34 You will drain that cup of terror to the very bottom. Then you will smash it to pieces and beat your breast in anguish. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken! 35 “And because you have forgotten me and turned your back on me, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: You must bear the consequences of all your lewdness and prostitution.” 36 The LORD said to me, “Son of man, you must accuse Oholah and Oholibah of all their detestable sins. 37 They have committed both adultery and murder—adultery by worshiping idols and murder by burning as sacrifices the children they bore to me. 38 Furthermore, they have defiled my Temple and violated my Sabbath day! 39 On the very day that they sacrificed their children to their idols, they boldly came into my Temple to worship! They came in and defiled my house. 40 “You sisters sent messengers to distant lands to get men. Then when they arrived, you bathed yourselves, painted your eyelids, and put on your finest jewels for them. 41 You sat with them on a beautifully embroidered couch and put my incense and my special oil on a table that was spread before you. 42 From your room came the sound of many men carousing. They were lustful men and drunkards from the wilderness, who put bracelets on your wrists and beautiful crowns on your heads. 43 Then I said, ‘If they really want to have sex with old worn-out prostitutes like these, let them!’ 44 And that is what they did. They had sex with Oholah and Oholibah, these shameless prostitutes. 45 But righteous people will judge these sister cities for what they really are—adulterers and murderers. 46 “Now this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Bring an army against them and hand them over to be terrorized and plundered. 47 For their enemies will stone them and kill them with swords. They will butcher their sons and daughters and burn their homes. 48 In this way, I will put an end to lewdness and idolatry in the land, and my judgment will be a warning to all women not to follow your wicked example. 49 You will be fully repaid for all your prostitution—your worship of idols. Yes, you will suffer the full penalty. Then you will know that I am the Sovereign LORD .”
“No matter where you are in life, if you’re with God it’s all good.”
You could be rich. You could be poor. You could be loved by all. You could be hated by everyone. You could see the world. You could see only your neighborhood. You could influential. You could be no one. You could be content. You could be miserable. Regardless of your situation, if God is not at the head of it, it means nothing.
Humans are curious and arrogant creatures. We desire to define everything against our own understanding, as God doesn’t exist. As such, we create rules and goals that we pass on pretending as if man has the final say. Once you’re done playing with plastic morals and achievements, drop your worldly possessions and desires to pursue Christ. In Him, you will have everything.
Are you tired of being led by the blind?
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1 Now this message came to me from the LORD : 2 “Son of man, are you ready to judge Jerusalem? Are you ready to judge this city of murderers? Publicly denounce her detestable sins, 3 and give her this message from the Sovereign LORD : O city of murderers, doomed and damned—city of idols, filthy and foul— 4 you are guilty because of the blood you have shed. You are defiled because of the idols you have made. Your day of destruction has come! You have reached the end of your years. I will make you an object of mockery throughout the world. 5 O infamous city, filled with confusion, you will be mocked by people far and near. 6 “Every leader in Israel who lives within your walls is bent on murder. 7 Fathers and mothers are treated with contempt. Foreigners are forced to pay for protection. Orphans and widows are wronged and oppressed among you. 8 You despise my holy things and violate my Sabbath days of rest. 9 People accuse others falsely and send them to their death. You are filled with idol worshipers and people who do obscene things. 10 Men sleep with their fathers’ wives and force themselves on women who are menstruating. 11 Within your walls live men who commit adultery with their neighbors’ wives, who defile their daughters-in-law, or who rape their own sisters. 12 There are hired murderers, loan racketeers, and extortioners everywhere. They never even think of me and my commands, says the Sovereign LORD . 13 “But now I clap my hands in indignation over your dishonest gain and bloodshed. 14 How strong and courageous will you be in my day of reckoning? I, the LORD, have spoken, and I will do what I said. 15 I will scatter you among the nations and purge you of your wickedness. 16 And when I have been dishonored among the nations because of you, you will know that I am the LORD .” 17 Then this message came to me from the LORD : 18 “Son of man, the people of Israel are the worthless slag that remains after silver is smelted. They are the dross that is left over—a useless mixture of copper, tin, iron, and lead. 19 So tell them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Because you are all worthless slag, I will bring you to my crucible in Jerusalem. 20 Just as silver, copper, iron, lead, and tin are melted down in a furnace, I will melt you down in the heat of my fury. 21 I will gather you together and blow the fire of my anger upon you, 22 and you will melt like silver in fierce heat. Then you will know that I, the LORD, have poured out my fury on you.’” 23 Again a message came to me from the LORD : 24 “Son of man, give the people of Israel this message: In the day of my indignation, you will be like a polluted land, a land without rain. 25 Your princes plot conspiracies just as lions stalk their prey. They devour innocent people, seizing treasures and extorting wealth. They make many widows in the land. 26 Your priests have violated my instructions and defiled my holy things. They make no distinction between what is holy and what is not. And they do not teach my people the difference between what is ceremonially clean and unclean. They disregard my Sabbath days so that I am dishonored among them. 27 Your leaders are like wolves who tear apart their victims. They actually destroy people’s lives for money! 28 And your prophets cover up for them by announcing false visions and making lying predictions. They say, ‘My message is from the Sovereign LORD,’ when the LORD hasn’t spoken a single word to them. 29 Even common people oppress the poor, rob the needy, and deprive foreigners of justice. 30 “I looked for someone who might rebuild the wall of righteousness that guards the land. I searched for someone to stand in the gap in the wall so I wouldn’t have to destroy the land, but I found no one. 31 So now I will pour out my fury on them, consuming them with the fire of my anger. I will heap on their heads the full penalty for all their sins. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken!”
“God will be as near or far as you want Him to be.”
God gave each of us the free will to make the decisions for our lives. Some may choose to have a relationship with Him and some may deny His sovereignty, but the Truth remains, it’s our choice to seek God. If you want a life without God, He will allow it. If you desire to walk with Him, He will allow that also.
No matter your choice, God is true to His word. If you come before Him with a humble heart, He will welcome you into His flock. Even if you’ve wandered out into the wilderness, if you call out, He will answer. Even in the seasons where you can’t seem to find Him, He’s right there. That’s because God never leaves, we do. We leave when we follow our fleshly desires. We leave when we put ourselves above Christ. Fortunately for us, God is only one repentant call away.
Did you know God’s place in your life is your choice?
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1 Then this message came to me from the LORD : 2 “Son of man, turn and face Jerusalem and prophesy against Israel and her sanctuaries. 3 Tell her, ‘This is what the LORD says: I am your enemy, O Israel, and I am about to unsheath my sword to destroy your people—the righteous and the wicked alike. 4 Yes, I will cut off both the righteous and the wicked! I will draw my sword against everyone in the land from south to north. 5 Everyone in the world will know that I am the LORD . My sword is in my hand, and it will not return to its sheath until its work is finished.’ 6 “Son of man, groan before the people! Groan before them with bitter anguish and a broken heart. 7 When they ask why you are groaning, tell them, ‘I groan because of the terrifying news I have heard. When it comes true, the boldest heart will melt with fear; all strength will disappear. Every spirit will faint; strong knees will become as weak as water. And the Sovereign LORD says: It is coming! It’s on its way!’” 8 Then the LORD said to me, 9 “Son of man, give the people this message from the Lord: “A sword, a sword is being sharpened and polished. 10 It is sharpened for terrible slaughter and polished to flash like lightning! Now will you laugh? Those far stronger than you have fallen beneath its power! 11 Yes, the sword is now being sharpened and polished; it is being prepared for the executioner. 12 “Son of man, cry out and wail; pound your thighs in anguish, for that sword will slaughter my people and their leaders— everyone will die! 13 It will put them all to the test. What chance do they have? says the Sovereign LORD . 14 “Son of man, prophesy to them and clap your hands. Then take the sword and brandish it twice, even three times, to symbolize the great massacre, the great massacre facing them on every side. 15 Let their hearts melt with terror, for the sword glitters at every gate. It flashes like lightning and is polished for slaughter! 16 O sword, slash to the right, then slash to the left, wherever you will, wherever you want. 17 I, too, will clap my hands, and I will satisfy my fury. I, the LORD, have spoken!” 18 Then this message came to me from the LORD : 19 “Son of man, make a map and trace two routes on it for the sword of Babylon’s king to follow. Put a signpost on the road that comes out of Babylon where the road forks into two— 20 one road going to Ammon and its capital, Rabbah, and the other to Judah and fortified Jerusalem. 21 The king of Babylon now stands at the fork, uncertain whether to attack Jerusalem or Rabbah. He calls his magicians to look for omens. They cast lots by shaking arrows from the quiver. They inspect the livers of animal sacrifices. 22 The omen in his right hand says, ‘Jerusalem!’ With battering rams his soldiers will go against the gates, shouting for the kill. They will put up siege towers and build ramps against the walls. 23 The people of Jerusalem will think it is a false omen, because of their treaty with the Babylonians. But the king of Babylon will remind the people of their rebellion. Then he will attack and capture them. 24 “Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Again and again you remind me of your sin and your guilt. You don’t even try to hide it! In everything you do, your sins are obvious for all to see. So now the time of your punishment has come! 25 “O you corrupt and wicked prince of Israel, your final day of reckoning is here! 26 This is what the Sovereign LORD says: “Take off your jeweled crown, for the old order changes. Now the lowly will be exalted, and the mighty will be brought down. 27 Destruction! Destruction! I will surely destroy the kingdom. And it will not be restored until the one appears who has the right to judge it. Then I will hand it over to him. 28 “And now, son of man, prophesy concerning the Ammonites and their mockery. Give them this message from the Sovereign LORD : “A sword, a sword is drawn for your slaughter. It is polished to destroy, flashing like lightning! 29 Your prophets have given false visions, and your fortune-tellers have told lies. The sword will fall on the necks of the wicked for whom the day of final reckoning has come. 30 “Now return the sword to its sheath, for in your own country, the land of your birth, I will pass judgment upon you. 31 I will pour out my fury on you and blow on you with the fire of my anger. I will hand you over to cruel men who are skilled in destruction. 32 You will be fuel for the fire, and your blood will be spilled in your own land. You will be utterly wiped out, your memory lost to history, for I, the LORD, have spoken!”
“Commit to spending time with Christ daily to learn the Truth.”
A few years ago, I was “playing rudiments” on a drum pad. I was playing them pretty fast and to my untrained ear, I thought I was doing alright. My dad entered the room and encouraged me. He also suggested I slow it down. I had insisted I was better playing fast, though I complied.
When I slowed down, it was pretty obvious that I was sloppy and did not have command of the technique. I wanted to go fast because it covered up all of my mistakes. In life, we behave the same way. Admittedly, I didn’t keep up with practicing, not because of my dad, but because I wasn’t committed. That and I wanted to rush through the important things, like rudiments to get to the cool fills and rhythms that I couldn’t actually play.
Many of us are like that with Christ. We want all of the ‘cool stuff’ and prestige of Christ, but many don’t understand or care to commit to Christ Himself. When we cling on to vanity desires, we fall prey to the fake and walk away from what’s real. Friends, we must abandon our noncommittal ways.
The opposition does not position sin to be as ugly as it is. If that were the case, we’d resist and flee. So, if that’s the case, how do we spot the Truth; spend recurring time with the Lord. When you know God, and speak with Him on a regular basis, He will teach and show you things that the fake treasures of this world could never compare. That Truth is your’s, but first you must turn down the fast and sloppy techniques and choose the still and sure ways of God.
Who are you committed to?
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1 On August 14, during the seventh year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity, some of the leaders of Israel came to request a message from the LORD . They sat down in front of me to wait for his reply. 2 Then this message came to me from the LORD : 3 “Son of man, tell the leaders of Israel, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: How dare you come to ask me for a message? As surely as I live, says the Sovereign LORD, I will tell you nothing!’ 4 “Son of man, bring charges against them and condemn them. Make them realize how detestable the sins of their ancestors really were. 5 Give them this message from the Sovereign LORD : When I chose Israel—when I revealed myself to the descendants of Jacob in Egypt—I took a solemn oath that I, the LORD, would be their God. 6 I took a solemn oath that day that I would bring them out of Egypt to a land I had discovered and explored for them—a good land, a land flowing with milk and honey, the best of all lands anywhere. 7 Then I said to them, ‘Each of you, get rid of the vile images you are so obsessed with. Do not defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt, for I am the LORD your God.’ 8 “But they rebelled against me and would not listen. They did not get rid of the vile images they were obsessed with, or forsake the idols of Egypt. Then I threatened to pour out my fury on them to satisfy my anger while they were still in Egypt. 9 But I didn’t do it, for I acted to protect the honor of my name. I would not allow shame to be brought on my name among the surrounding nations who saw me reveal myself by bringing the Israelites out of Egypt. 10 So I brought them out of Egypt and led them into the wilderness. 11 There I gave them my decrees and regulations so they could find life by keeping them. 12 And I gave them my Sabbath days of rest as a sign between them and me. It was to remind them that I am the LORD, who had set them apart to be holy. 13 “But the people of Israel rebelled against me, and they refused to obey my decrees there in the wilderness. They wouldn’t obey my regulations even though obedience would have given them life. They also violated my Sabbath days. So I threatened to pour out my fury on them, and I made plans to utterly consume them in the wilderness. 14 But again I held back in order to protect the honor of my name before the nations who had seen my power in bringing Israel out of Egypt. 15 But I took a solemn oath against them in the wilderness. I swore I would not bring them into the land I had given them, a land flowing with milk and honey, the most beautiful place on earth. 16 For they had rejected my regulations, refused to follow my decrees, and violated my Sabbath days. Their hearts were given to their idols. 17 Nevertheless, I took pity on them and held back from destroying them in the wilderness. 18 “Then I warned their children not to follow in their parents’ footsteps, defiling themselves with their idols. 19 ‘I am the LORD your God,’ I told them. ‘Follow my decrees, pay attention to my regulations, 20 and keep my Sabbath days holy, for they are a sign to remind you that I am the LORD your God.’ 21 “But their children, too, rebelled against me. They refused to keep my decrees and follow my regulations, even though obedience would have given them life. And they also violated my Sabbath days. So again I threatened to pour out my fury on them in the wilderness. 22 Nevertheless, I withdrew my judgment against them to protect the honor of my name before the nations that had seen my power in bringing them out of Egypt. 23 But I took a solemn oath against them in the wilderness. I swore I would scatter them among all the nations 24 because they did not obey my regulations. They scorned my decrees by violating my Sabbath days and longing for the idols of their ancestors. 25 I gave them over to worthless decrees and regulations that would not lead to life. 26 I let them pollute themselves with the very gifts I had given them, and I allowed them to give their firstborn children as offerings to their gods—so I might devastate them and remind them that I alone am the LORD . 27 “Therefore, son of man, give the people of Israel this message from the Sovereign LORD : Your ancestors continued to blaspheme and betray me, 28 for when I brought them into the land I had promised them, they offered sacrifices on every high hill and under every green tree they saw! They roused my fury as they offered up sacrifices to their gods. They brought their perfumes and incense and poured out their liquid offerings to them. 29 I said to them, ‘What is this high place where you are going?’ (This kind of pagan shrine has been called Bamah—‘high place’—ever since.) 30 “Therefore, give the people of Israel this message from the Sovereign LORD : Do you plan to pollute yourselves just as your ancestors did? Do you intend to keep prostituting yourselves by worshiping vile images? 31 For when you offer gifts to them and give your little children to be burned as sacrifices, you continue to pollute yourselves with idols to this day. Should I allow you to ask for a message from me, O people of Israel? As surely as I live, says the Sovereign LORD, I will tell you nothing. 32 “You say, ‘We want to be like the nations all around us, who serve idols of wood and stone.’ But what you have in mind will never happen. 33 As surely as I live, says the Sovereign LORD, I will rule over you with an iron fist in great anger and with awesome power. 34 And in anger I will reach out with my strong hand and powerful arm, and I will bring you back from the lands where you are scattered. 35 I will bring you into the wilderness of the nations, and there I will judge you face to face. 36 I will judge you there just as I did your ancestors in the wilderness after bringing them out of Egypt, says the Sovereign LORD . 37 I will examine you carefully and hold you to the terms of the covenant. 38 I will purge you of all those who rebel and revolt against me. I will bring them out of the countries where they are in exile, but they will never enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the LORD . 39 “As for you, O people of Israel, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Go right ahead and worship your idols, but sooner or later you will obey me and will stop bringing shame on my holy name by worshiping idols. 40 For on my holy mountain, the great mountain of Israel, says the Sovereign LORD, the people of Israel will someday worship me, and I will accept them. There I will require that you bring me all your offerings and choice gifts and sacrifices. 41 When I bring you home from exile, you will be like a pleasing sacrifice to me. And I will display my holiness through you as all the nations watch. 42 Then when I have brought you home to the land I promised with a solemn oath to give to your ancestors, you will know that I am the LORD . 43 You will look back on all the ways you defiled yourselves and will hate yourselves because of the evil you have done. 44 You will know that I am the LORD, O people of Israel, when I have honored my name by treating you mercifully in spite of your wickedness. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken!” 45 Then this message came to me from the LORD : 46 “Son of man, turn and face the south and speak out against it; prophesy against the brushlands of the Negev. 47 Tell the southern wilderness, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Hear the word of the LORD ! I will set you on fire, and every tree, both green and dry, will be burned. The terrible flames will not be quenched and will scorch everything from south to north. 48 And everyone in the world will see that I, the LORD, have set this fire. It will not be put out.’” 49 Then I said, “O Sovereign LORD, they are saying of me, ‘He only talks in riddles!’”
“Whatever you feed will grow; so feed your relationship with Christ
When you nurture your walk with Christ, spending your time, love, energy, and efforts, His wisdom and Truth is incredibly simple. His way is straight and does not deviate or cause confusion. Of course simple and easy are not the same thing. To embark on this lifelong journey and relationship, you must feed it daily. Like water to a plant or a balanced diet to a child your relationship with God will continue to grow if you nurture it.
So pouring into your relationship with God brings a host of benefits, salvation being the chief gift. On the other hand, when we feed what is evil, like junk food for the body, overconsumption leads to negative effects in your life. When we gorge on fear, we lose heart and our paths become clear as mud. When we feast on lust, hate, anger, etc. we welcome a host of negative consequences that deter us from living as Christ intended. Up is down and down is up. Thank God, He acts as our Sovereign nutritionist never giving up on any of his patients.
When we feed into what the opposition throws in our paths, it can seem difficult to leave. The fear that binds us can seem incredibly real. It’s not, but do you know who is, God. So when you find yourself binging on the wrong things, stop, take a moment to call out to our Father in Heaven. Be patient and He will schedule a consultation and with the Holy Spirit will guide you on the righteous diet you can feed on to renew your walk with God. God is here for all of us. We first have to make the decision to be nourished by His everlasting Truth.
What are you feeding?
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1 “Sing this funeral song for the princes of Israel: 2 “What is your mother? A lioness among lions! She lay down among the young lions and reared her cubs. 3 She raised one of her cubs to become a strong young lion. He learned to hunt and devour prey, and he became a man-eater. 4 Then the nations heard about him, and he was trapped in their pit. They led him away with hooks to the land of Egypt. 5 “When the lioness saw that her hopes for him were gone, she took another of her cubs and taught him to be a strong young lion. 6 He prowled among the other lions and stood out among them in his strength. He learned to hunt and devour prey, and he, too, became a man-eater. 7 He demolished fortresses and destroyed their towns and cities. Their farms were desolated, and their crops were destroyed. The land and its people trembled in fear when they heard him roar. 8 Then the armies of the nations attacked him, surrounding him from every direction. They threw a net over him and captured him in their pit. 9 With hooks, they dragged him into a cage and brought him before the king of Babylon. They held him in captivity, so his voice could never again be heard on the mountains of Israel. 10 “Your mother was like a vine planted by the water’s edge. It had lush, green foliage because of the abundant water. 11 Its branches became strong— strong enough to be a ruler’s scepter. It grew very tall, towering above all others. It stood out because of its height and its many lush branches. 12 But the vine was uprooted in fury and thrown down to the ground. The desert wind dried up its fruit and tore off its strong branches, so that it withered and was destroyed by fire. 13 Now the vine is transplanted to the wilderness, where the ground is hard and dry. 14 A fire has burst out from its branches and devoured its fruit. Its remaining limbs are not strong enough to be a ruler’s scepter. “This is a funeral song, and it will be used in a funeral.”
“To avoid crashing from the darkness of this world, use the Truth of Christ to be the lighthouse bringing you safely home
There is so much noise and distraction in the world. Many of us have to fight to stay focused on our walks with God. If we’re not careful, we can get swept up in the sweet-sounding destruction of the opposition.
To avoid the pitfalls and snares, quiet your surroundings to focus on the Truth of Christ. Within the Word, you’ll find the light leading you to safety and the wisdom to keep you grounded. Like a lighthouse guiding ships home, follow Him to get to the destination
Are you following the right directions?
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1 Then another message came to me from the LORD : 2 “Why do you quote this proverb concerning the land of Israel: ‘The parents have eaten sour grapes, but their children’s mouths pucker at the taste’? 3 As surely as I live, says the Sovereign LORD, you will not quote this proverb anymore in Israel. 4 For all people are mine to judge—both parents and children alike. And this is my rule: The person who sins is the one who will die. 5 “Suppose a certain man is righteous and does what is just and right. 6 He does not feast in the mountains before Israel’s idols or worship them. He does not commit adultery or have intercourse with a woman during her menstrual period. 7 He is a merciful creditor, not keeping the items given as security by poor debtors. He does not rob the poor but instead gives food to the hungry and provides clothes for the needy. 8 He grants loans without interest, stays away from injustice, is honest and fair when judging others, 9 and faithfully obeys my decrees and regulations. Anyone who does these things is just and will surely live, says the Sovereign LORD . 10 “But suppose that man has a son who grows up to be a robber or murderer and refuses to do what is right. 11 And that son does all the evil things his father would never do—he worships idols on the mountains, commits adultery, 12 oppresses the poor and helpless, steals from debtors by refusing to let them redeem their security, worships idols, commits detestable sins, 13 and lends money at excessive interest. Should such a sinful person live? No! He must die and must take full blame. 14 “But suppose that sinful son, in turn, has a son who sees his father’s wickedness and decides against that kind of life. 15 This son refuses to worship idols on the mountains and does not commit adultery. 16 He does not exploit the poor, but instead is fair to debtors and does not rob them. He gives food to the hungry and provides clothes for the needy. 17 He helps the poor, does not lend money at interest, and obeys all my regulations and decrees. Such a person will not die because of his father’s sins; he will surely live. 18 But the father will die for his many sins—for being cruel, robbing people, and doing what was clearly wrong among his people. 19 “‘What?’ you ask. ‘Doesn’t the child pay for the parent’s sins?’ No! For if the child does what is just and right and keeps my decrees, that child will surely live. 20 The person who sins is the one who will die. The child will not be punished for the parent’s sins, and the parent will not be punished for the child’s sins. Righteous people will be rewarded for their own righteous behavior, and wicked people will be punished for their own wickedness. 21 But if wicked people turn away from all their sins and begin to obey my decrees and do what is just and right, they will surely live and not die. 22 All their past sins will be forgotten, and they will live because of the righteous things they have done. 23 “Do you think that I like to see wicked people die? says the Sovereign LORD . Of course not! I want them to turn from their wicked ways and live. 24 However, if righteous people turn from their righteous behavior and start doing sinful things and act like other sinners, should they be allowed to live? No, of course not! All their righteous acts will be forgotten, and they will die for their sins. 25 “Yet you say, ‘The Lord isn’t doing what’s right!’ Listen to me, O people of Israel. Am I the one not doing what’s right, or is it you? 26 When righteous people turn from their righteous behavior and start doing sinful things, they will die for it. Yes, they will die because of their sinful deeds. 27 And if wicked people turn from their wickedness, obey the law, and do what is just and right, they will save their lives. 28 They will live because they thought it over and decided to turn from their sins. Such people will not die. 29 And yet the people of Israel keep saying, ‘The Lord isn’t doing what’s right!’ O people of Israel, it is you who are not doing what’s right, not I. 30 “Therefore, I will judge each of you, O people of Israel, according to your actions, says the Sovereign LORD . Repent, and turn from your sins. Don’t let them destroy you! 31 Put all your rebellion behind you, and find yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O people of Israel? 32 I don’t want you to die, says the Sovereign LORD . Turn back and live!
“Make no mistake, tomfoolery never goes away, however, walking with Christ teaches you how to triumph in your trials.”
Friends, just because we walk with God does not mean the opposition won’t try us. In fact, it’s generally the opposite! The devil will scheme and try to derail you from your calling. When you’re on fire for Christ, he’s going to come at you even harder. Why? Because you are advancing the Kingdom. It’s not strategic to attack lukewarm folks or nonbelievers. They are no threat to his plan. It’s important that we know the game plan of the devil because it allows us to put on the armor of Christ to remain resilient and steadfast.
When we rely on Christ to teach us how to move and operate in this crazy little world, we join a super team that will never be defeated. Through Christ and the Living Word, we can find tools and strategies to increase our faith and fortify our steps in all of the seasons in our lives. We not only have to have faith, but we have to walk the walk! Don’t allow the tom foolery of the enemy to blind you from the Truth. As you grow in spiritual maturity, be slow to jump to conclusions and know that God has the final say in all things. You can trust in His sovereignty completely.
Are you allowing tomfoolery to reign supreme in areas of your life?
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1 Then this message came to me from the LORD : 2 “Son of man, give this riddle, and tell this story to the people of Israel. 3 Give them this message from the Sovereign LORD : “A great eagle with broad wings and long feathers, covered with many-colored plumage, came to Lebanon. He seized the top of a cedar tree 4 and plucked off its highest branch. He carried it away to a city filled with merchants. He planted it in a city of traders. 5 He also took a seedling from the land and planted it in fertile soil. He placed it beside a broad river, where it could grow like a willow tree. 6 It took root there and grew into a low, spreading vine. Its branches turned up toward the eagle, and its roots grew down into the ground. It produced strong branches and put out shoots. 7 But then another great eagle came with broad wings and full plumage. So the vine now sent its roots and branches toward him for water, 8 even though it was already planted in good soil and had plenty of water so it could grow into a splendid vine and produce rich leaves and luscious fruit. 9 “So now the Sovereign LORD asks: Will this vine grow and prosper? No! I will pull it up, roots and all! I will cut off its fruit and let its leaves wither and die. I will pull it up easily without a strong arm or a large army. 10 But when the vine is transplanted, will it thrive? No, it will wither away when the east wind blows against it. It will die in the same good soil where it had grown so well.” 11 Then this message came to me from the LORD : 12 “Say to these rebels of Israel: Don’t you understand the meaning of this riddle of the eagles? The king of Babylon came to Jerusalem, took away her king and princes, and brought them to Babylon. 13 He made a treaty with a member of the royal family and forced him to take an oath of loyalty. He also exiled Israel’s most influential leaders, 14 so Israel would not become strong again and revolt. Only by keeping her treaty with Babylon could Israel survive. 15 “Nevertheless, this man of Israel’s royal family rebelled against Babylon, sending ambassadors to Egypt to request a great army and many horses. Can Israel break her sworn treaties like that and get away with it? 16 No! For as surely as I live, says the Sovereign LORD, the king of Israel will die in Babylon, the land of the king who put him in power and whose treaty he disregarded and broke. 17 Pharaoh and all his mighty army will fail to help Israel when the king of Babylon lays siege to Jerusalem again and destroys many lives. 18 For the king of Israel disregarded his treaty and broke it after swearing to obey; therefore, he will not escape. 19 “So this is what the Sovereign LORD says: As surely as I live, I will punish him for breaking my covenant and disregarding the solemn oath he made in my name. 20 I will throw my net over him and capture him in my snare. I will bring him to Babylon and put him on trial for this treason against me. 21 And all his best warriors will be killed in battle, and those who survive will be scattered to the four winds. Then you will know that I, the LORD, have spoken. 22 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will take a branch from the top of a tall cedar, and I will plant it on the top of Israel’s highest mountain. 23 It will become a majestic cedar, sending forth its branches and producing seed. Birds of every sort will nest in it, finding shelter in the shade of its branches. 24 And all the trees will know that it is I, the LORD, who cuts the tall tree down and makes the short tree grow tall. It is I who makes the green tree wither and gives the dead tree new life. I, the LORD, have spoken, and I will do what I said!”