Heal

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“If you truly want to heal, learn how to forgive”

TB

Mutual

Forgiveness is such a strange concept. This is partially because as humans we have to contend with our egos and our warped sense of justice and fairness. We forgive up until a point, a threshold that we deem is appropriate to practice unforgiveness. The irony is that forgiveness begets a wonderful, biblical, peace that cannot be duplicated in anything else. When we forgive, those wounds of yesterday heal in ways that only God can make possible.

Like

When we forgive as God forgives us, it’s like a glimpse in understanding the immense love that God has for us. Because our minds are so limited, it is hard to quantify or put into context how much God loves us. When we forgive others, especially when we believe they do not deserve it, we in turn are producing the same Christ-inspired love that God bestows on us. It is in those moments we understand and accept God’s love because we share that love with others.

Today’s Question

If God does not have a forgiveness meter, should we?

Enjoy the reading

Ezekiel 10

1 In my vision I saw what appeared to be a throne of blue lapis lazuli above the crystal surface over the heads of the cherubim. 2 Then the LORD spoke to the man in linen clothing and said, “Go between the whirling wheels beneath the cherubim, and take a handful of burning coals and scatter them over the city.” He did this as I watched. 3 The cherubim were standing at the south end of the Temple when the man went in, and the cloud of glory filled the inner courtyard. 4 Then the glory of the LORD rose up from above the cherubim and went over to the entrance of the Temple. The Temple was filled with this cloud of glory, and the courtyard glowed brightly with the glory of the LORD . 5 The moving wings of the cherubim sounded like the voice of God Almighty and could be heard even in the outer courtyard. 6 The LORD said to the man in linen clothing, “Go between the cherubim and take some burning coals from between the wheels.” So the man went in and stood beside one of the wheels. 7 Then one of the cherubim reached out his hand and took some live coals from the fire burning among them. He put the coals into the hands of the man in linen clothing, and the man took them and went out. 8 (All the cherubim had what looked like human hands under their wings.) 9 I looked, and each of the four cherubim had a wheel beside him, and the wheels sparkled like beryl. 10 All four wheels looked alike and were made the same; each wheel had a second wheel turning crosswise within it. 11 The cherubim could move in any of the four directions they faced, without turning as they moved. They went straight in the direction they faced, never turning aside. 12 Both the cherubim and the wheels were covered with eyes. The cherubim had eyes all over their bodies, including their hands, their backs, and their wings. 13 I heard someone refer to the wheels as “the whirling wheels.” 14 Each of the four cherubim had four faces: the first was the face of an ox, the second was a human face, the third was the face of a lion, and the fourth was the face of an eagle. 15 Then the cherubim rose upward. These were the same living beings I had seen beside the Kebar River. 16 When the cherubim moved, the wheels moved with them. When they lifted their wings to fly, the wheels stayed beside them. 17 When the cherubim stopped, the wheels stopped. When they flew upward, the wheels rose up, for the spirit of the living beings was in the wheels. 18 Then the glory of the LORD moved out from the entrance of the Temple and hovered above the cherubim. 19 And as I watched, the cherubim flew with their wheels to the east gate of the LORD ’s Temple. And the glory of the God of Israel hovered above them. 20 These were the same living beings I had seen beneath the God of Israel when I was by the Kebar River. I knew they were cherubim, 21 for each had four faces and four wings and what looked like human hands under their wings. 22 And their faces were just like the faces of the beings I had seen at the Kebar, and they traveled straight ahead, just as the others had.

One Thing

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Thank God that He does not see us as just one thing.”

~TB

Continuous

Life is a continuous journey that has different acts, seasons, treasons, and reasons, come what may. To that end, I’ve lived long enough to know that we all have various roles in our own stories. There are times where we are the protagonist– the good guy. There are times where we are the antagonist– the bad guy. Hopefully, at some point, you get the memo from God to learn how to find the happy ending to your story–salvation. Even though we wear many different hats in our lives, and the road changes often, we are never just good or bad. Sometimes we win, and sometimes, well… thank God for mercy and grace! My point is, we cannot judge each other as just one thing, one moment in time, or one character. Even further, when you trap a person into one thing, you are trapping yourself to the same fate.

Constant

Because God’s love for us is constant, we can rest assured that as we change, He still loves us no matter which character we are portraying. This means that when we’re on point or when we’re in the gutter, His love remains. In 30 years, I cannot say that I am the same person I was 20 years ago, well, even 2 years ago! I’ve played the protagonist very well, and I’ve had some minor antagonist roles as well. I thank God that He has given me wonderful examples so that my antagonist roles were shorter than they could’ve been. And because I’ve had the grace of being more than one thing, it’s my responsibility to share that grace with you. We all are loved by God in whatever part of the story we’re in. For those who understand this, we must work hard not to judge those who do not. And remember, just because you’re the ‘good guy’, it does not give you license to judge or condemn the ‘bad guy’ because, in life, everyone played every role at least once.

Today’s Question

Are you giving your brothers and sisters the chance to play different roles, or is your judgment better than God’s?

Enjoy the reading

Jeremiah 38

1 Now Shephatiah son of Mattan, Gedaliah son of Pashhur, Jehucal son of Shelemiah, and Pashhur son of Malkijah heard what Jeremiah had been telling the people. He had been saying, 2 “This is what the LORD says: ‘Everyone who stays in Jerusalem will die from war, famine, or disease, but those who surrender to the Babylonians will live. Their reward will be life. They will live!’ 3 The LORD also says: ‘The city of Jerusalem will certainly be handed over to the army of the king of Babylon, who will capture it.’” 4 So these officials went to the king and said, “Sir, this man must die! That kind of talk will undermine the morale of the few fighting men we have left, as well as that of all the people. This man is a traitor!” 5 King Zedekiah agreed. “All right,” he said. “Do as you like. I can’t stop you.” 6 So the officials took Jeremiah from his cell and lowered him by ropes into an empty cistern in the prison yard. It belonged to Malkijah, a member of the royal family. There was no water in the cistern, but there was a thick layer of mud at the bottom, and Jeremiah sank down into it. 7 But Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, an important court official, heard that Jeremiah was in the cistern. At that time the king was holding court at the Benjamin Gate, 8 so Ebed-melech rushed from the palace to speak with him. 9 “My lord the king,” he said, “these men have done a very evil thing in putting Jeremiah the prophet into the cistern. He will soon die of hunger, for almost all the bread in the city is gone.” 10 So the king told Ebed-melech, “Take thirty of my men with you, and pull Jeremiah out of the cistern before he dies.” 11 So Ebed-melech took the men with him and went to a room in the palace beneath the treasury, where he found some old rags and discarded clothing. He carried these to the cistern and lowered them to Jeremiah on a rope. 12 Ebed-melech called down to Jeremiah, “Put these rags under your armpits to protect you from the ropes.” Then when Jeremiah was ready, 13 they pulled him out. So Jeremiah was returned to the courtyard of the guard—the palace prison—where he remained. 14 One day King Zedekiah sent for Jeremiah and had him brought to the third entrance of the LORD ’s Temple. “I want to ask you something,” the king said. “And don’t try to hide the truth.” 15 Jeremiah said, “If I tell you the truth, you will kill me. And if I give you advice, you won’t listen to me anyway.” 16 So King Zedekiah secretly promised him, “As surely as the LORD our Creator lives, I will not kill you or hand you over to the men who want you dead.” 17 Then Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, “This is what the LORD God of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘If you surrender to the Babylonian officers, you and your family will live, and the city will not be burned down. 18 But if you refuse to surrender, you will not escape! This city will be handed over to the Babylonians, and they will burn it to the ground.’” 19 “But I am afraid to surrender,” the king said, “for the Babylonians may hand me over to the Judeans who have defected to them. And who knows what they will do to me!” 20 Jeremiah replied, “You won’t be handed over to them if you choose to obey the LORD . Your life will be spared, and all will go well for you. 21 But if you refuse to surrender, this is what the LORD has revealed to me: 22 All the women left in your palace will be brought out and given to the officers of the Babylonian army. Then the women will taunt you, saying, ‘What fine friends you have! They have betrayed and misled you. When your feet sank in the mud, they left you to your fate!’ 23 All your wives and children will be led out to the Babylonians, and you will not escape. You will be seized by the king of Babylon, and this city will be burned down.” 24 Then Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, “Don’t tell anyone you told me this, or you will die! 25 My officials may hear that I spoke to you, and they may say, ‘Tell us what you and the king were talking about. If you don’t tell us, we will kill you.’ 26 If this happens, just tell them you begged me not to send you back to Jonathan’s dungeon, for fear you would die there.” 27 Sure enough, it wasn’t long before the king’s officials came to Jeremiah and asked him why the king had called for him. But Jeremiah followed the king’s instructions, and they left without finding out the truth. No one had overheard the conversation between Jeremiah and the king. 28 And Jeremiah remained a prisoner in the courtyard of the guard until the day Jerusalem was captured.

Valid

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“The salvation of Christ is the only thing that makes us valid.”~TB

Invalid

Consulting self-help gurus, thought leaders, influencers, and peers who tout a false reality of what a valid life experience looks like has become standard practice. Thanks to our lookie-loo mentalities, there is an invalid acceptance that people crave that ultimately has nothing to do with Who made us and how we actually work. External and physical validity is superficial at best and downright depressing at worst. Because once you’ve achieved your targeted status in the world, one realizes that it actually does not fill the void you are looking to complete.

Valid

A connection with Christ is the only real antidote in this strange world. Knowing God on a deeper, everyday level brings a sense of true peace, contentment, and understanding that is second to none. With this, you stop looking to the outside and seek the internal answers that only He can give. When you build that relationship, you understand the sacrifice of salvation and the authenticity of the one who paid that price. It brings a wholeness knowing that you are loved and valid based on that act alone and

Today’s Question

Do you prefer the fool’s gold of public opinion to the priceless validity of Christ?

Enjoy the reading

Jeremiah 10

1 Hear the word that the LORD speaks to you, O Israel! 
2 This is what the LORD says: “Do not act like the other nations, who try to read their future in the stars. Do not be afraid of their predictions, even though other nations are terrified by them. 
3 Their ways are futile and foolish. They cut down a tree, and a craftsman carves an idol. 
4 They decorate it with gold and silver and then fasten it securely with hammer and nails so it won’t fall over. 
5 Their gods are like helpless scarecrows in a cucumber field! They cannot speak, and they need to be carried because they cannot walk. Do not be afraid of such gods, for they can neither harm you nor do you any good.” 
6 LORD, there is no one like you! For you are great, and your name is full of power. 
7 Who would not fear you, O King of nations? That title belongs to you alone! Among all the wise people of the earth and in all the kingdoms of the world, there is no one like you. 
8 People who worship idols are stupid and foolish. The things they worship are made of wood! 
9 They bring beaten sheets of silver from Tarshish and gold from Uphaz, and they give these materials to skillful craftsmen who make their idols. Then they dress these gods in royal blue and purple robes made by expert tailors. 
10 But the LORD is the only true God. He is the living God and the everlasting King! The whole earth trembles at his anger. The nations cannot stand up to his wrath. 
11 Say this to those who worship other gods: “Your so-called gods, who did not make the heavens and earth, will vanish from the earth and from under the heavens.” 
12 But the LORD made the earth by his power, and he preserves it by his wisdom. With his own understanding he stretched out the heavens. 
13 When he speaks in the thunder, the heavens roar with rain. He causes the clouds to rise over the earth. He sends the lightning with the rain and releases the wind from his storehouses. 
14 The whole human race is foolish and has no knowledge! The craftsmen are disgraced by the idols they make, for their carefully shaped works are a fraud. These idols have no breath or power. 
15 Idols are worthless; they are ridiculous lies! On the day of reckoning they will all be destroyed. 
16 But the God of Israel is no idol! He is the Creator of everything that exists, including Israel, his own special possession. The LORD of Heaven’s Armies is his name! 
17 Pack your bags and prepare to leave; the siege is about to begin. 
18 For this is what the LORD says: “Suddenly, I will fling out all you who live in this land. I will pour great troubles upon you, and at last you will feel my anger.” 
19 My wound is severe, and my grief is great. My sickness is incurable, but I must bear it. 
20 My home is gone, and no one is left to help me rebuild it. My children have been taken away, and I will never see them again. 
21 The shepherds of my people have lost their senses. They no longer seek wisdom from the LORD . Therefore, they fail completely, and their flocks are scattered. 
22 Listen! Hear the terrifying roar of great armies as they roll down from the north. The towns of Judah will be destroyed and become a haunt for jackals. 
23 I know, LORD, that our lives are not our own. We are not able to plan our own course. 
24 So correct me, LORD, but please be gentle. Do not correct me in anger, for I would die. 
25 Pour out your wrath on the nations that refuse to acknowledge you— on the peoples that do not call upon your name. For they have devoured your people Israel ; they have devoured and consumed them, making the land a desolate wilderness.

Tee Hee Hee

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“In case of emergencies (or in everyday life), tap into the Holy Humor of God.”~TB

The Divine Chuckle

God has to have the greatest sense of humor of all time. Just look at us, we are a funny bunch. I’m sure He looks down at us, and has a good chuckle from time to time. And if you learn how, you too can get in on the joke. The older I get, the more I’m convinced that when we endure trying times, in those moments we are able to experience the the kindness and humor of God. If you take a step back and look, you can begin to see God in His kindness and mercy, rather than the Old Testament look we tend to view Him as. Take the holidays and family, for example. Many of us in the Western part of the world are wrapping up the holiday season, which means time spent with your family– for better or worse.

 

Lighten Up

Family can bring the greatest sense of joy. They can also provide the greatest amount of strife as those closest to us know (consciously or otherwise) how to get under our skin. Family functions will always have a sort of dysfunction because we’re all flesh-bag beings who are severely imperfect, and no amount of strategically choreographed photos can change that. Be that as it may, the art of seeing the humor in discord serves two purposes. 1.) You learn not to pick up the sword and you can disarm a brewing battle. 2.) It’s a fun way to take the sting out of the situation. Like the gauge of a pressure cooker, Holy laughter alleviates the boiling pot of tension in family gatherings, safely dismantling a lethal weapon, repurposing it into a fun endeavor.

For Better or Worse

This life is full of hills and valleys, highs and lows. If you can’t find the humor or absurdity in situations, friends it’s going to be a long and arduous venture. So the next time Uncle Frank (no offense to the Franks of the world) makes an insensitive comment or your cousin asks to borrow a couple bucks from you, have a laugh with God, and let the moments float on by as punch lines of your Holy Comedy Routine. The more you learn to chuckle and roll with the punches, the less opportunities are available for the opposition to sow seeds of discord. Remember, when in doubt, have a chuckle with God and laugh it out.

Today’s Question

Are you able to see God’s Humor or are you the butt of the joke?

Enjoy the reading

Isaiah 58

1 “Shout with the voice of a trumpet blast. Shout aloud! Don’t be timid. Tell my people Israel of their sins! 
2 Yet they act so pious! They come to the Temple every day and seem delighted to learn all about me. They act like a righteous nation that would never abandon the laws of its God. They ask me to take action on their behalf, pretending they want to be near me. 
3 ‘We have fasted before you!’ they say. ‘Why aren’t you impressed? We have been very hard on ourselves, and you don’t even notice it!’ “I will tell you why!” I respond. “It’s because you are fasting to please yourselves. Even while you fast, you keep oppressing your workers. 
4 What good is fasting when you keep on fighting and quarreling? This kind of fasting will never get you anywhere with me. 
5 You humble yourselves by going through the motions of penance, bowing your heads like reeds bending in the wind. You dress in burlap and cover yourselves with ashes. Is this what you call fasting? Do you really think this will please the LORD ? 
6 “No, this is the kind of fasting I want: Free those who are wrongly imprisoned; lighten the burden of those who work for you. Let the oppressed go free, and remove the chains that bind people. 
7 Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help. 
8 “Then your salvation will come like the dawn, and your wounds will quickly heal. Your godliness will lead you forward, and the glory of the LORD will protect you from behind. 
9 Then when you call, the LORD will answer. ‘Yes, I am here,’ he will quickly reply. “Remove the heavy yoke of oppression. Stop pointing your finger and spreading vicious rumors! 
10 Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon. 
11 The LORD will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring. 
12 Some of you will rebuild the deserted ruins of your cities. Then you will be known as a rebuilder of walls and a restorer of homes. 
13 “Keep the Sabbath day holy. Don’t pursue your own interests on that day, but enjoy the Sabbath and speak of it with delight as the LORD ’s holy day. Honor the Sabbath in everything you do on that day, and don’t follow your own desires or talk idly. 
14 Then the LORD will be your delight. I will give you great honor and satisfy you with the inheritance I promised to your ancestor Jacob. I, the LORD, have spoken!”

Comfort Zone

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Thank God for tough times because it’s in those moments where we learn most about compassion.”~TB

Natural

Displaying empathy isn’t something that comes naturally to me. I have a great deal of it (I cried during the Back Draft fire simulation at Universal Studios because the thought of people in there was heartbreaking for me) internally, but it usually comes out as practical or logical advice to the issue rather than a listening ear. Fortunately for me, I had great examples of empathetic and loving people to model growing up. And even more fortunately, I’ve gone through some dark times where God’s compassion and mercy got me to the other side. These days, I’m so grateful for every harsh moment in my life, because in those tough times, my level of compassion for others— particularly those I don’t inherently relate to— has increased. I’ll give you an example.

Act of

Sometime last year, I was at a Starbucks getting some work done. A lady around my age was sitting with a toddler and a car seat. She was very much focused on the phone and kept scolding the child for not sitting still. I remember at the time, I was irritated by her callousness. Clearly frustrated she walked outside with the child and car seat in tow and sat at one of the tables. Soon after, this woman began to cry as her child was happily playing and none the wiser. In that moment, I felt the need to hand her some napkins, which is odd for me because I’m not one to get involved in emotional distress. As I handed her the napkins, I saw a surprised but grateful look on her face and I could hear a voice saying to give her a hug. On a side note, I’m not a hugger, especially when it comes to strangers.

Kindness

I ask the woman if I could give her a hug and she says yes. At this point, she’s bawling, explaining she missed an important job interview because her daycare fell through. Though I’ve never been in her shoes, I could relate to her feelings of frustration and helplessness. Even more out of character for me, I asked if I could pray for her and she said yes. After, I went back inside, perplexed at my behavior, but grateful to have been some kind of comfort to a person in need. As she left, she waved at me with a smile, and I just remember feeling a weird connection and sense of gratitude from the exchange.

Community

I’m not sharing this to get a pat on the back or claim some kind of super Christian status. No, I’m just a very human, human being, who more often than not puts her foot in her mouth. I say all of this to say that when you experience the compassion and comfort that God provides, especially in trying times, you can’t help but share that with your neighbor, even when it calls you to get out of your comfort zone. I started that encounter judging this woman on a quick moment in time that I did not understand. How arrogant! But God used the situation to provide kindness to one of His own. My point is, we will all have moments in life to share the gifts of mercy, grace, and compassion that Christ gives to us every single moment of every day. It’s not only helpful for the person in need, it’s as equally vital to you too. These moments allow us to truly understand what the Body of Christ is and how we all are instrumental to one another.

Today’s Question

Are you sharing the compassion and kindness that God gives you?

Enjoy the reading

Isaiah 33

1 What sorrow awaits you Assyrians, who have destroyed others but have never been destroyed yourselves. You betray others, but you have never been betrayed. When you are done destroying, you will be destroyed. When you are done betraying, you will be betrayed.
2 But LORD, be merciful to us, for we have waited for you. Be our strong arm each day and our salvation in times of trouble.
3 The enemy runs at the sound of your voice. When you stand up, the nations flee!
4 Just as caterpillars and locusts strip the fields and vines, so the fallen army of Assyria will be stripped!
5 Though the LORD is very great and lives in heaven, he will make Jerusalem his home of justice and righteousness.
6 In that day he will be your sure foundation, providing a rich store of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge. The fear of the LORD will be your treasure.
7 But now your brave warriors weep in public. Your ambassadors of peace cry in bitter disappointment.
8 Your roads are deserted; no one travels them anymore. The Assyrians have broken their peace treaty and care nothing for the promises they made before witnesses. They have no respect for anyone.
9 The land of Israel wilts in mourning. Lebanon withers with shame. The plain of Sharon is now a wilderness. Bashan and Carmel have been plundered.
10But the LORD says: “Now I will stand up. Now I will show my power and might.
11 You Assyrians produce nothing but dry grass and stubble. Your own breath will turn to fire and consume you.
12 Your people will be burned up completely, like thornbushes cut down and tossed in a fire.
13 Listen to what I have done, you nations far away! And you that are near, acknowledge my might!”
14 The sinners in Jerusalem shake with fear. Terror seizes the godless. “Who can live with this devouring fire?” they cry. “Who can survive this all-consuming fire?”
15 Those who are honest and fair, who refuse to profit by fraud, who stay far away from bribes, who refuse to listen to those who plot murder, who shut their eyes to all enticement to do wrong—
16 these are the ones who will dwell on high. The rocks of the mountains will be their fortress. Food will be supplied to them, and they will have water in abundance.
17 Your eyes will see the king in all his splendor, and you will see a land that stretches into the distance.
18 You will think back to this time of terror, asking, “Where are the Assyrian officers who counted our towers? Where are the bookkeepers who recorded the plunder taken from our fallen city?”
19 You will no longer see these fierce, violent people with their strange, unknown language.
20 Instead, you will see Zion as a place of holy festivals. You will see Jerusalem, a city quiet and secure. It will be like a tent whose ropes are taut and whose stakes are firmly fixed.
21 The LORD will be our Mighty One. He will be like a wide river of protection that no enemy can cross, that no enemy ship can sail upon.
22 For the LORD is our judge, our lawgiver, and our king. He will care for us and save us.
23 The enemies’ sails hang loose on broken masts with useless tackle. Their treasure will be divided by the people of God. Even the lame will take their share!
24 The people of Israel will no longer say, “We are sick and helpless,” for the LORD will forgive their sins

Gatekeepers

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Every person has the opportunity to receive Christ, so stop acting like a gatekeeper with your religious fanfare and man-made judgments on who is or isn’t worthy.”~TB

Truth Is

The truth is, none of us are worthy of the gift of salvation. Our deeds, our lives, our thoughts– none of it comes close to righteousness. This is precisely the reason why we need God. He doesn’t need us. Sure, He’ll use us to help one another, but trust me when I say, we are inconsequential when it comes to the mightiness and methods of God. When you walk in this truth, mercy, grace, and kindness are easily given as you know that these are gifts that God Himself gives to us freely and infinitely. Practice the love that God gives us to one another.

Stop

Just because you’ve accepted Christ does not mean you now have the authority to judge who can or cannot be a child of God. Or do you not know the stories of the Sadducees and Pharisees? God’s kids– just like your kids– come in different sizes and shapes. Our personalities were never meant to be “duplicated”. So stop perpetuating this “Stock Christian Mentality”. There is no certain physical look of a Christian, which is why we must look at deeds and rely on the Holy Spirit for discernment. Even still, that is for God to decide. Mind your own relationship with Christ and allow others to develop theirs.

Out of Bounds

If you look at people with an air of superiority or judgment in their walk, you’re out of bounds and are heaping judgment on yourself. Were you not a babe in Christ? Did you not have to crawl before you learned to walk? Did God not feed you milk before meat? If God is merciful to you and your foolishness, why can’t you do the same for others? Grace is an action that must be practiced because we all are dumb flesh bags destined to fall. It is only because of God’s Grace and His personal sacrifice that we are able to be reborn. Don’t get too high and mighty in your walk, unless you truly want to know what judgment is.

Today’s Question

Are you a light pointing to God or are you a gatekeeper with an impending judgment?

Enjoy the reading

Psalm 99

1 The LORD is king! Let the nations tremble! He sits on his throne between the cherubim. Let the whole earth quake! 
2 The LORD sits in majesty in Jerusalem, exalted above all the nations. 
3 Let them praise your great and awesome name. Your name is holy! 
4 Mighty King, lover of justice, you have established fairness. You have acted with justice and righteousness throughout Israel. 
5 Exalt the LORD our God! Bow low before his feet, for he is holy! 
6 Moses and Aaron were among his priests; Samuel also called on his name. They cried to the LORD for help, and he answered them. 
7 He spoke to Israel from the pillar of cloud, and they followed the laws and decrees he gave them. 
8 O LORD our God, you answered them. You were a forgiving God to them, but you punished them when they went wrong. 
9 Exalt the LORD our God, and worship at his holy mountain in Jerusalem, for the LORD our God is holy!

Hurts

silhouette-67202_1920.jpgHi Peeps,
Today’s Quote
Keep being kind Peeps, even when it hurts, because one act of kindness can make you hold back the tears of joy, after touching someone’s life so much at the right time.”  ~ Jon Barnes

Many

Many people are in need of truth, hope, charity, and love because greedy people are squeezing the life out of our society.  People scrambling to find and work two part-time jobs are finding it difficult to make ends meet.  Everyone can’t be millionaires. So why set up the poor to fail, by being overworked and underpaid with no health care and benefits?

Systemic

The challenges poor people face are too many to mention and I don’t have the answers.  But God gives us instructions on how to reach out to everyone, to do fair business, trade, and services.  However, there are those who will use every opportunity to make a buck and not share the wealth in a realistic fashion.  let’s try giving people a hand up.

Problems

Teaching people how to work through their problems and giving them fair jobs and wages is how we are Biblically commanded to oversee companies.  However, part-time jobs that strategically short change workers into a cycle of poverty are plaguing many working adults. It is not fair and no one seems to care!
Today’s Question
Do you pay people what they are worth or do you pick their pockets, expecting God to look the other way?
Enjoy The Reading
 

Psalm 52 

For the choir director: A psalm[a] of David, regarding the time Doeg the Edomite said to Saul, “David has gone to see Ahimelech.”

Why do you boast about your crimes, great warrior?
    Don’t you realize God’s justice continues forever?
All day long you plot destruction.
    Your tongue cuts like a sharp razor;
    you’re an expert at telling lies.
You love evil more than good
    and lies more than truth. Interlude
You love to destroy others with your words,
    you liar!
But God will strike you down once and for all.
    He will pull you from your home
    and uproot you from the land of the living. Interlude
The righteous will see it and be amazed.
    They will laugh and say,
“Look what happens to mighty warriors
    who do not trust in God.
They trust their wealth instead
    and grow more and more bold in their wickedness.”
But I am like an olive tree, thriving in the house of God.
    I will always trust in God’s unfailing love.
I will praise you forever, O God,
    for what you have done.
I will trust in your good name
    in the presence of your faithful people.

Love,

Jonathan

Making

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Hi Peeps,
Today’s Quote
“I learned to make myself read until I learned to enjoy it, which is one of the many miracles God has given me as a tool to fight the devil with.”  ~  Jon Barnes

The Making

Making yourself responsible for your own actions is a tough job.  Many people become masters at lying to themselves and others about everything.  Making excuses and ignoring symptoms of spiritual laziness, sickness, and disobedience is the path of destruction, evil, and contempt.  You know better.

Making of A

Being honest about your wicked heart is the first step in true repentance and stability with daily prayer, reading, and walking with God.  Amazing lessons are learned in being humble, faithful, and diligent with God’s love.  Taking advantage of God’s love is not true faith or true love, like people who fornicate or commit adultery.  The making of a disciple requires real honesty. 

Disciple

True disciples do not hide the truth of love in Christ.  Simple acts of kindness, faith, love, charity, humility, long-suffering, and the likes are fruits of the Spirit that follows every Christian all day and all of the time.  It’s not a button you just turn on for show or convenience.  
Today’s Question
Does your life look like who you are in God or are you a fraud?
 
Enjoy The Reading

Job 3 

Job Speaks

After this, Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth. He said:
“May the day of my birth perish,
    and the night that said, ‘A boy is conceived!’
That day—may it turn to darkness;
    may God above not care about it;
    may no light shine on it.
May gloom and utter darkness claim it once more;
    may a cloud settle over it;
    may blackness overwhelm it.
That night—may thick darkness seize it;
    may it not be included among the days of the year
    nor be entered in any of the months.
May that night be barren;
    may no shout of joy be heard in it.
May those who curse days[a] curse that day,
    those who are ready to rouse Leviathan.
May its morning stars become dark;
    may it wait for daylight in vain
    and not see the first rays of dawn,
10 for it did not shut the doors of the womb on me
    to hide trouble from my eyes.
11 “Why did I not perish at birth,
    and die as I came from the womb?
12 Why were there knees to receive me
    and breasts that I might be nursed?
13 For now I would be lying down in peace;
    I would be asleep and at rest
14 with kings and rulers of the earth,
    who built for themselves places now lying in ruins,
15 with princes who had gold,
    who filled their houses with silver.
16 Or why was I not hidden away in the ground like a stillborn child,
    like an infant who never saw the light of day?
17 There the wicked cease from turmoil,
    and there the weary are at rest.
18 Captives also enjoy their ease;
    they no longer hear the slave driver’s shout.
19 The small and the great are there,
    and the slaves are freed from their owners.
20 “Why is light given to those in misery,
    and life to the bitter of soul,
21 to those who long for death that does not come,
    who search for it more than for hidden treasure,
22 who are filled with gladness
    and rejoice when they reach the grave?
23 Why is life given to a man
    whose way is hidden,
    whom God has hedged in?
24 For sighing has become my daily food;
    my groans pour out like water.
25 What I feared has come upon me;
    what I dreaded has happened to me.
26 I have no peace, no quietness;
    I have no rest, but only turmoil.”
 
Love,
Jonathan

Haste

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Hi Peeps,
Today’s Quote
“Being quick to judge with anger can shut down necessary communication, lessons to learn, solutions to problems, and answers to prayers, because of your impatience.”  ~ Jon Barnes

Listen

Listen to what God has given you and follow what He has said.  Share your faith to help others see the practical loving side of your work and the Hand of God on your life.  Explain and show how your blessings from God has shaped your life and others around you.

Direct

This direct line of communication will help you to give soft answers to become more effective and efficient in your daily life and personal missionary work.  You don’t need a title, money, or office to become a personal missionary for God.

Acts

Your actions will label your missionary work and your true gift will label the Love of God in your life to bless others, as well.  Continue to encourage others and let God judge and do the rest.  Use the tools God has ordained you to have that points to the Bible and follow practices of direct communication in love, patience, and kindness.
Enjoy The Reading
Are you a patient missionary worker for God?
Enjoy The Reading

2 Chronicles 31

Hezekiah’s Religious Reforms

31 When the festival ended, the Israelites who attended went to all the towns of Judah, Benjamin, Ephraim, and Manasseh, and they smashed all the sacred pillars, cut down the Asherah poles, and removed the pagan shrines and altars. After this, the Israelites returned to their own towns and homes.
Hezekiah then organized the priests and Levites into divisions to offer the burnt offerings and peace offerings, and to worship and give thanks and praise to the Lord at the gates of the Temple. The king also made a personal contribution of animals for the daily morning and evening burnt offerings, the weekly Sabbath festivals, the monthly new moon festivals, and the annual festivals as prescribed in the Law of the Lord. In addition, he required the people in Jerusalem to bring a portion of their goods to the priests and Levites, so they could devote themselves fully to the Law of the Lord.
When the people of Israel heard these requirements, they responded generously by bringing the first share of their grain, new wine, olive oil, honey, and all the produce of their fields. They brought a large quantity—a tithe of all they produced.The people who had moved to Judah from Israel, and the people of Judah themselves, brought in the tithes of their cattle, sheep, and goats and a tithe of the things that had been dedicated to the Lord their God, and they piled them up in great heaps. They began piling them up in late spring, and the heaps continued to grow until early autumn.[a] When Hezekiah and his officials came and saw these huge piles, they thanked the Lord and his people Israel!
“Where did all this come from?” Hezekiah asked the priests and Levites.
10 And Azariah the high priest, from the family of Zadok, replied, “Since the people began bringing their gifts to the Lord’s Temple, we have had enough to eat and plenty to spare. The Lord has blessed his people, and all this is left over.”
11 Hezekiah ordered that storerooms be prepared in the Temple of the Lord. When this was done, 12 the people faithfully brought all the gifts, tithes, and other items dedicated for use in the Temple. Conaniah the Levite was put in charge, assisted by his brother Shimei. 13 The supervisors under them were Jehiel, Azaziah, Nahath, Asahel, Jerimoth, Jozabad, Eliel, Ismakiah, Mahath, and Benaiah. These appointments were made by King Hezekiah and Azariah, the chief official in the Temple of God.
14 Kore son of Imnah the Levite, who was the gatekeeper at the East Gate, was put in charge of distributing the voluntary offerings given to God, the gifts, and the things that had been dedicated to the Lord. 15 His faithful assistants were Eden, Miniamin, Jeshua, Shemaiah, Amariah, and Shecaniah. They distributed the gifts among the families of priests in their towns by their divisions, dividing the gifts fairly among old and young alike. 16 They distributed the gifts to all males three years old or older, regardless of their place in the genealogical records. The distribution went to all who would come to the Lord’s Temple to perform their daily duties according to their divisions. 17 They distributed gifts to the priests who were listed by their families in the genealogical records, and to the Levites twenty years old or older who were listed according to their jobs and their divisions. 18 Food allotments were also given to the families of all those listed in the genealogical records, including their little babies, wives, sons, and daughters. For they had all been faithful in purifying themselves.
19 As for the priests, the descendants of Aaron, who were living in the open villages around the towns, men were appointed by name to distribute portions to every male among the priests and to all the Levites listed in the genealogical records.
20 In this way, King Hezekiah handled the distribution throughout all Judah, doing what was pleasing and good in the sight of the Lord his God. 21 In all that he did in the service of the Temple of God and in his efforts to follow God’s laws and commands, Hezekiah sought his God wholeheartedly. As a result, he was very successful.
Love,
Jonathan

Dust

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Hi Peeps,
Today’s Quote,
“When God gives you small details of dust to care for, polish, and shine like diamonds, you will begin to see, know, and understand His Thoughts, based on the love, kindness, and honest work of faith you personally apply to His Will.” ~  Jon Barnes

Creation

We were created out of the dust of what God had already accomplished.  He wanted humankind to be both smart enough and dumb enough to make their own choices in life.  This non-robotic feature of thinking is only a human characteristic and fitting for people to have.  With this consciousness comes the responsibility to think, love, control, respect, and have enough common sense to obey God.

Soul

Since the body is made up of dirt, the soul is the crown jewel of creation, since it still belongs to God and it will return to God for judgment.  The devil cannot destroy your soul, only God has that control and choice, based upon who you are and love.  If you love God and keep his commandments by following Him, your soul will be happy forever.  If not, that is your choice and price to pay.

Ashes

God is the only master of destroying the world.  We cannot!  We think we can, but God says otherwise. Look at how easy the flood consumed the world in the days of Noah.  It was a non-negotiable, single event in history that has left its mark upon time itself.  Nuke bombs are like candles in the hand of God, so why fear.  Know that God’s protection is within His Will of what shall happen to mankind, so keep polishing and shining your work in faith and love.
Today’s Question
Do you feel relieved that God is in Control all of the dust in the Universe or are you scared of the devil because you work for evil one?
Enjoy The Reading
 
22 Then David said, “This will be the location for the Temple of the Lord God and the place of the altar for Israel’s burnt offerings!”

Preparations for the Temple

So David gave orders to call together the foreigners living in Israel, and he assigned them the task of preparing finished stone for building the Temple of God. David provided large amounts of iron for the nails that would be needed for the doors in the gates and for the clamps, and he gave more bronze than could be weighed. He also provided innumerable cedar logs, for the men of Tyre and Sidon had brought vast amounts of cedar to David.
David said, “My son Solomon is still young and inexperienced. And since the Temple to be built for the Lord must be a magnificent structure, famous and glorious throughout the world, I will begin making preparations for it now.” So David collected vast amounts of building materials before his death.
Then David sent for his son Solomon and instructed him to build a Temple for the Lord, the God of Israel. “My son, I wanted to build a Temple to honor the name of the Lord my God,” David told him. “But the Lord said to me, ‘You have killed many men in the battles you have fought. And since you have shed so much blood in my sight, you will not be the one to build a Temple to honor my name. But you will have a son who will be a man of peace. I will give him peace with his enemies in all the surrounding lands. His name will be Solomon,[a] and I will give peace and quiet to Israel during his reign. 10 He is the one who will build a Temple to honor my name. He will be my son, and I will be his father. And I will secure the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever.’
11 “Now, my son, may the Lord be with you and give you success as you follow his directions in building the Temple of the Lord your God. 12 And may the Lord give you wisdom and understanding, that you may obey the Law of the Lord your God as you rule over Israel.13 For you will be successful if you carefully obey the decrees and regulations that the Lordgave to Israel through Moses. Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid or lose heart!
14 “I have worked hard to provide materials for building the Temple of the Lord—nearly 4,000 tons of gold, 40,000 tons of silver,[b] and so much iron and bronze that it cannot be weighed. I have also gathered timber and stone for the walls, though you may need to add more. 15 You have a large number of skilled stonemasons and carpenters and craftsmen of every kind.16 You have expert goldsmiths and silversmiths and workers of bronze and iron. Now begin the work, and may the Lord be with you!”
17 Then David ordered all the leaders of Israel to assist Solomon in this project. 18 “The Lordyour God is with you,” he declared. “He has given you peace with the surrounding nations. He has handed them over to me, and they are now subject to the Lord and his people.19 Now seek the Lord your God with all your heart and soul. Build the sanctuary of the LordGod so that you can bring the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant and the holy vessels of God into the Temple built to honor the Lord’s name.”
Love,
Jonathan