“Let go of unsettled debts if you desire God to let go of yours.”
God loves us so much that He picked up our tabs, settling outstanding debts that we could never payback. What a gift to receive! The best way to receive such a gift is to pay it forward.
As the Lord’s Prayer says, we are to forgive those as we are forgiven ourselves. Friends who among us has any right to hold a grudge when God does not? Let it go and be debt-free.
What’s holding you back from settling old debt?
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1 The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. 2 I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. 3 I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.” 4 So Abram departed as the LORD had instructed, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he left Haran. 5 He took his wife, Sarai, his nephew Lot, and all his wealth—his livestock and all the people he had taken into his household at Haran—and headed for the land of Canaan. When they arrived in Canaan, 6 Abram traveled through the land as far as Shechem. There he set up camp beside the oak of Moreh. At that time, the area was inhabited by Canaanites. 7 Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, “I will give this land to your descendants. ” And Abram built an altar there and dedicated it to the LORD, who had appeared to him. 8 After that, Abram traveled south and set up camp in the hill country, with Bethel to the west and Ai to the east. There he built another altar and dedicated it to the LORD, and he worshiped the LORD . 9 Then Abram continued traveling south by stages toward the Negev. 10 At that time a severe famine struck the land of Canaan, forcing Abram to go down to Egypt, where he lived as a foreigner. 11 As he was approaching the border of Egypt, Abram said to his wife, Sarai, “Look, you are a very beautiful woman. 12 When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife. Let’s kill him; then we can have her!’ 13 So please tell them you are my sister. Then they will spare my life and treat me well because of their interest in you.” 14 And sure enough, when Abram arrived in Egypt, everyone noticed Sarai’s beauty. 15 When the palace officials saw her, they sang her praises to Pharaoh, their king, and Sarai was taken into his palace. 16 Then Pharaoh gave Abram many gifts because of her—sheep, goats, cattle, male and female donkeys, male and female servants, and camels. 17 But the LORD sent terrible plagues upon Pharaoh and his household because of Sarai, Abram’s wife. 18 So Pharaoh summoned Abram and accused him sharply. “What have you done to me?” he demanded. “Why didn’t you tell me she was your wife? 19 Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ and allow me to take her as my wife? Now then, here is your wife. Take her and get out of here!” 20 Pharaoh ordered some of his men to escort them, and he sent Abram out of the country, along with his wife and all his possessions.
“If you’re coloring outside the lines and your brother or sister is merciful enough to correct, be wise to listen as they are trying to spare you from the consequences of unrepentant behavior.”
When you’ve been carrying on in darkness, your vision begins to become blurred from right and wrong. Before long, you’re justifying your bad behavior to yourself because the actions suit your current needs. Friends, take heed to keep yourselves away from the distortion of evil deeds. Like a spider’s web, they trap you in for destruction.
No one with honest intent enjoys having to correct someone. It’s never easy to address someone else’s misdeeds. That said, if we truly are one body, we must help each other, especially if we see slipping through the cracks. Of course, words and presentation matter, so if you must talk with your brother or sister, do it with kindness and humility.
Correction is not always easy to take, and we all have moments where we’d like to tell the messenger where they can take their message. That said, God uses all of us for various things. So if God has permitted someone to do a house call and lovingly correct you. Take heed because they are trying to spare you from the wrath that accompanies unrepentance.
What house call would you prefer, the loving correction of a neighbor, or the Wrath for your disobedience?
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1 Then the angel showed me Jeshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD . The Accuser, Satan, was there at the angel’s right hand, making accusations against Jeshua. 2 And the LORD said to Satan, “I, the LORD, reject your accusations, Satan. Yes, the LORD, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebukes you. This man is like a burning stick that has been snatched from the fire.” 3 Jeshua’s clothing was filthy as he stood there before the angel. 4 So the angel said to the others standing there, “Take off his filthy clothes.” And turning to Jeshua he said, “See, I have taken away your sins, and now I am giving you these fine new clothes.” 5 Then I said, “They should also place a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean priestly turban on his head and dressed him in new clothes while the angel of the LORD stood by. 6 Then the angel of the LORD spoke very solemnly to Jeshua and said, 7 “This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: If you follow my ways and carefully serve me, then you will be given authority over my Temple and its courtyards. I will let you walk among these others standing here. 8 “Listen to me, O Jeshua the high priest, and all you other priests. You are symbols of things to come. Soon I am going to bring my servant, the Branch. 9 Now look at the jewel I have set before Jeshua, a single stone with seven facets. I will engrave an inscription on it, says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, and I will remove the sins of this land in a single day. 10 “And on that day, says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, each of you will invite your neighbor to sit with you peacefully under your own grapevine and fig tree.”
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.
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.
If God does not have a forgiveness meter, should we?
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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.
“Thank God that He does not see us as just one thing.”
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.
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.
Are you giving your brothers and sisters the chance to play different roles, or is your judgment better than God’s?
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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.
“The salvation of Christ is the only thing that makes us valid.”~TB
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.
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
Do you prefer the fool’s gold of public opinion to the priceless validity of Christ?
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1Hear the word that the LORD speaks to you, O Israel!
2This 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.
3Their ways are futile and foolish. They cut down a tree, and a craftsman carves an idol.
4They decorate it with gold and silver and then fasten it securely with hammer and nails so it won’t fall over.
5Their 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.”
6LORD, there is no one like you! For you are great, and your name is full of power.
7Who 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.
8People who worship idols are stupid and foolish. The things they worship are made of wood!
9They 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.
10But 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.
11Say 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.”
12But the LORD made the earth by his power, and he preserves it by his wisdom. With his own understanding he stretched out the heavens.
13When 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.
14The 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.
15Idols are worthless; they are ridiculous lies! On the day of reckoning they will all be destroyed.
16But 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!
17Pack your bags and prepare to leave; the siege is about to begin.
18For 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.”
19My wound is severe, and my grief is great. My sickness is incurable, but I must bear it.
20My 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.
21The 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.
22Listen! 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.
23I know, LORD, that our lives are not our own. We are not able to plan our own course.
24So correct me, LORD, but please be gentle. Do not correct me in anger, for I would die.
25Pour 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.
“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.
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.
Are you able to see God’s Humor or are you the butt of the joke?
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1“Shout with the voice of a trumpet blast. Shout aloud! Don’t be timid. Tell my people Israel of their sins!
2Yet 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.
4What good is fasting when you keep on fighting and quarreling? This kind of fasting will never get you anywhere with me.
5You 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.
7Share 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.
9Then 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!
10Feed 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.
11The 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.
12Some 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.
14Then 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!”
“Thank God for tough times because it’s in those moments where we learn most about compassion.”~TB
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.
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.
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.
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.
Are you sharing the compassion and kindness that God gives you?
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1What 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.
2But LORD, be merciful to us, for we have waited for you. Be our strong arm each day and our salvation in times of trouble.
3The enemy runs at the sound of your voice. When you stand up, the nations flee!
4Just as caterpillars and locusts strip the fields and vines, so the fallen army of Assyria will be stripped!
5Though the LORD is very great and lives in heaven, he will make Jerusalem his home of justice and righteousness.
6In 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.
7But now your brave warriors weep in public. Your ambassadors of peace cry in bitter disappointment.
8Your 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.
9The 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.
11You Assyrians produce nothing but dry grass and stubble. Your own breath will turn to fire and consume you.
12Your people will be burned up completely, like thornbushes cut down and tossed in a fire.
13Listen to what I have done, you nations far away! And you that are near, acknowledge my might!”
14The 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?”
15Those 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—
16these 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.
17Your eyes will see the king in all his splendor, and you will see a land that stretches into the distance.
18You 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?”
19You will no longer see these fierce, violent people with their strange, unknown language.
20Instead, 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.
21The 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.
22For the LORD is our judge, our lawgiver, and our king. He will care for us and save us.
23The 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!
24The people of Israel will no longer say, “We are sick and helpless,” for the LORD will forgive their sins
“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
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.
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.
Are you a light pointing to God or are you a gatekeeper with an impending judgment?
Enjoy the reading
1The LORD is king! Let the nations tremble! He sits on his throne between the cherubim. Let the whole earth quake!
2The LORD sits in majesty in Jerusalem, exalted above all the nations.
3Let them praise your great and awesome name. Your name is holy!
4Mighty King, lover of justice, you have established fairness. You have acted with justice and righteousness throughout Israel.
5Exalt the LORD our God! Bow low before his feet, for he is holy!
6Moses and Aaron were among his priests; Samuel also called on his name. They cried to the LORD for help, and he answered them.
7He spoke to Israel from the pillar of cloud, and they followed the laws and decrees he gave them.
8O LORD our God, you answered them. You were a forgiving God to them, but you punished them when they went wrong.
9Exalt the LORD our God, and worship at his holy mountain in Jerusalem, for the LORD our God is holy!
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 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?
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.
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!
Do you pay people what they are worth or do you pick their pockets, expecting God to look the other way?
Enjoy The Reading
For the choir director: A psalm[a] of David, regarding the time Doeg the Edomite said to Saul, “David has gone to see Ahimelech.”
1 Why do you boast about your crimes, great warrior? Don’t you realize God’s justice continues forever? 2 All day long you plot destruction. Your tongue cuts like a sharp razor; you’re an expert at telling lies. 3 You love evil more than good and lies more than truth. Interlude
4 You love to destroy others with your words, you liar! 5 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
6 The righteous will see it and be amazed. They will laugh and say, 7 “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.”
8 But I am like an olive tree, thriving in the house of God. I will always trust in God’s unfailing love. 9 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.
“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
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.
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.
Does your life look like who you are in God or are you a fraud?
Enjoy The Reading
3 After this, Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth.2 He said:
3 “May the day of my birth perish, and the night that said, ‘A boy is conceived!’ 4 That day—may it turn to darkness; may God above not care about it; may no light shine on it. 5 May gloom and utter darkness claim it once more; may a cloud settle over it; may blackness overwhelm it. 6 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. 7 May that night be barren; may no shout of joy be heard in it. 8 May those who curse days[a] curse that day, those who are ready to rouse Leviathan. 9 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.”