He not Me

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“In order to honestly pursue Christ, change your focus to ‘He’ from ‘me'”

TB

Born Again

When we are born again, we gain the Holy Spirit, our connection with Christ. And through Him we have the ability to learn and live with Christ. Should you choose to accept that responsibility, it is up to you, the individual, to build your relationship with our Father in Heaven. In the process, expect to experience trials, tribulations, and loss. It is not to punish you, but to ultimately allow you to see that is Christ’s identity that we are after and not our own.

Not Again

It’s human nature to be self-centered. As such, one of the biggest struggles is to leave our past existence behind to pursue a Christ-filled life. One of the reasons people fail to finish that race is because they become trapped with the desire to pursue their own agenda rather than Christ’s. We want to be exalted based on our ‘unique’ attributes rather than exalting our Maker. The ironic part is that none of us are truly as individualistic or as interesting as we think we are. Spend time listening to people describe themselves and you will realize our life experiences aren’t that different haha!

Then Again

Once you reconcile your place in Christ’s plan for your life, you can then again pick up the Cross and run your race. After time, you’ll realize that it becomes easier to get out of your own way because God gives you your daily revelations. By talking with Him and walking with Him, your vision aligns with His, allowing you to spot real from fake, good from evil. Then, you realize– joyfully, I might add– that pursuing Christ is a lifelong endeavor that requires focus and righteous decisions. To make this happen, we first have to kill our egos, fight the daily battle of flesh to pursue what is right, and follow Christ with all of our heart and mind.

Today’s Question

Who is in the driver’s seat; you or God?

Enjoy the reading

Jeremiah 36

1 During the fourth year that Jehoiakim son of Josiah was king in Judah, the LORD gave this message to Jeremiah: 2 “Get a scroll, and write down all my messages against Israel, Judah, and the other nations. Begin with the first message back in the days of Josiah, and write down every message, right up to the present time. 3 Perhaps the people of Judah will repent when they hear again all the terrible things I have planned for them. Then I will be able to forgive their sins and wrongdoings.” 4 So Jeremiah sent for Baruch son of Neriah, and as Jeremiah dictated all the prophecies that the LORD had given him, Baruch wrote them on a scroll. 5 Then Jeremiah said to Baruch, “I am a prisoner here and unable to go to the Temple. 6 So you go to the Temple on the next day of fasting, and read the messages from the LORD that I have had you write on this scroll. Read them so the people who are there from all over Judah will hear them. 7 Perhaps even yet they will turn from their evil ways and ask the LORD ’s forgiveness before it is too late. For the LORD has threatened them with his terrible anger.” 8 Baruch did as Jeremiah told him and read these messages from the LORD to the people at the Temple. 9 He did this on a day of sacred fasting held in late autumn, during the fifth year of the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah. People from all over Judah had come to Jerusalem to attend the services at the Temple on that day. 10 Baruch read Jeremiah’s words on the scroll to all the people. He stood in front of the Temple room of Gemariah, son of Shaphan the secretary. This room was just off the upper courtyard of the Temple, near the New Gate entrance. 11 When Micaiah son of Gemariah and grandson of Shaphan heard the messages from the LORD, 12 he went down to the secretary’s room in the palace where the administrative officials were meeting. Elishama the secretary was there, along with Delaiah son of Shemaiah, Elnathan son of Acbor, Gemariah son of Shaphan, Zedekiah son of Hananiah, and all the other officials. 13 When Micaiah told them about the messages Baruch was reading to the people, 14 the officials sent Jehudi son of Nethaniah, grandson of Shelemiah and great-grandson of Cushi, to ask Baruch to come and read the messages to them, too. So Baruch took the scroll and went to them. 15 “Sit down and read the scroll to us,” the officials said, and Baruch did as they requested. 16 When they heard all the messages, they looked at one another in alarm. “We must tell the king what we have heard,” they said to Baruch. 17 “But first, tell us how you got these messages. Did they come directly from Jeremiah?” 18 So Baruch explained, “Jeremiah dictated them, and I wrote them down in ink, word for word, on this scroll.” 19 “You and Jeremiah should both hide,” the officials told Baruch. “Don’t tell anyone where you are!” 20 Then the officials left the scroll for safekeeping in the room of Elishama the secretary and went to tell the king what had happened. 21 The king sent Jehudi to get the scroll. Jehudi brought it from Elishama’s room and read it to the king as all his officials stood by. 22 It was late autumn, and the king was in a winterized part of the palace, sitting in front of a fire to keep warm. 23 Each time Jehudi finished reading three or four columns, the king took a knife and cut off that section of the scroll. He then threw it into the fire, section by section, until the whole scroll was burned up. 24 Neither the king nor his attendants showed any signs of fear or repentance at what they heard. 25 Even when Elnathan, Delaiah, and Gemariah begged the king not to burn the scroll, he wouldn’t listen. 26 Then the king commanded his son Jerahmeel, Seraiah son of Azriel, and Shelemiah son of Abdeel to arrest Baruch and Jeremiah. But the LORD had hidden them. 27 After the king had burned the scroll on which Baruch had written Jeremiah’s words, the LORD gave Jeremiah another message. He said, 28 “Get another scroll, and write everything again just as you did on the scroll King Jehoiakim burned. 29 Then say to the king, ‘This is what the LORD says: You burned the scroll because it said the king of Babylon would destroy this land and empty it of people and animals. 30 Now this is what the LORD says about King Jehoiakim of Judah: He will have no heirs to sit on the throne of David. His dead body will be thrown out to lie unburied—exposed to the heat of the day and the frost of the night. 31 I will punish him and his family and his attendants for their sins. I will pour out on them and on all the people of Jerusalem and Judah all the disasters I promised, for they would not listen to my warnings.’” 32 So Jeremiah took another scroll and dictated again to his secretary, Baruch. He wrote everything that had been on the scroll King Jehoiakim had burned in the fire. Only this time he added much more!

The Guilt/Gratitude Connection

 

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“When guilt rears its ugly head, gratitude is the best strategy to defeat it.”~TB

The Shame Game

I have an annoying tendency to downplay my talents and strengths while drilling down on my areas of improvement. More interesting, I know a lot of people who do that too, which makes me wonder why? I could be “killing it” in different areas of my life, but if I’m not paying attention, my inner video of “greatest shame hits” plays, attempting to eclipse the victories that have occurred. When we lean into those shameful periods and feelings, we fall trap into negative cyclical thinking that ultimately steers us back to the very behaviors we’d like to avoid. An untethered mind is a dangerous place. We all have different inner voices, ideas, and thoughts that can uplift or deter us, which is why it’s so important to know who and what you’re listening to.

Attitude of Gratitude

So instead of focusing on your past transgressions (we all have them) look at the gifts and grace that God provides you with gratitude. We’ve all been spared the wrath that we each justly deserve and there are so many minor miracles that we all tend to forget about, but they occur each and every day. If you find yourself in a new position, be grateful and reflect on the situations you’ve experienced that prepare you for this new road. The opposition deceives you when you believe that being down and out is the only way of life. Gratitude defeats the nefarious schemes of shame and the opposition. It allows us to see ourselves as God sees us. God’s Will is mighty and wondrous, but it is up to us to individually and consistently put down our cup of shame and pick up the peace of gratitude.

Today’s Question

Are you listening to the lies of shame or embracing God’s mercy with gratitude?

Enjoy the reading

Jeremiah 35

1 This is the message the LORD gave Jeremiah when Jehoiakim son of Josiah was king of Judah: 
2 “Go to the settlement where the families of the Recabites live, and invite them to the LORD ’s Temple. Take them into one of the inner rooms, and offer them some wine.” 
3 So I went to see Jaazaniah son of Jeremiah and grandson of Habazziniah and all his brothers and sons—representing all the Recabite families. 
4 I took them to the Temple, and we went into the room assigned to the sons of Hanan son of Igdaliah, a man of God. This room was located next to the one used by the Temple officials, directly above the room of Maaseiah son of Shallum, the Temple gatekeeper. 
5 I set cups and jugs of wine before them and invited them to have a drink, 
6 but they refused. “No,” they said, “we don’t drink wine, because our ancestor Jehonadab son of Recab gave us this command: ‘You and your descendants must never drink wine. 
7 And do not build houses or plant crops or vineyards, but always live in tents. If you follow these commands, you will live long, good lives in the land.’ 
8 So we have obeyed him in all these things. We have never had a drink of wine to this day, nor have our wives, our sons, or our daughters. 
9 We haven’t built houses or owned vineyards or farms or planted crops. 
10 We have lived in tents and have fully obeyed all the commands of Jehonadab, our ancestor. 
11 But when King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon attacked this country, we were afraid of the Babylonian and Syrian armies. So we decided to move to Jerusalem. That is why we are here.” 
12 Then the LORD gave this message to Jeremiah: 
13 “This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: Go and say to the people in Judah and Jerusalem, ‘Come and learn a lesson about how to obey me. 
14 The Recabites do not drink wine to this day because their ancestor Jehonadab told them not to. But I have spoken to you again and again, and you refuse to obey me. 
15 Time after time I sent you prophets, who told you, “Turn from your wicked ways, and start doing things right. Stop worshiping other gods so that you might live in peace here in the land I have given to you and your ancestors.” But you would not listen to me or obey me. 
16 The descendants of Jehonadab son of Recab have obeyed their ancestor completely, but you have refused to listen to me.’ 
17 “Therefore, this is what the LORD God of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘Because you refuse to listen or answer when I call, I will send upon Judah and Jerusalem all the disasters I have threatened.’” 
18 Then Jeremiah turned to the Recabites and said, “This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘You have obeyed your ancestor Jehonadab in every respect, following all his instructions.’ 
19 Therefore, this is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘Jehonadab son of Recab will always have descendants who serve me.’”

Monkey See, Monkey Do

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“If there is anyone truly worth imitating, it’s God Himself.”~TB

Sloppy Imitations

By design, we humans are wired to seek out our Teacher– our Father in Heaven. Unfortunately, most have decided to go with the false teachers of this world for the fool’s gold that they peddle. One of the most detrimental things that we’ve done as a society is to brainwash ourselves through marketing, media, influencers, etc. I suspect down the line, there will be studies that support this argument. When you look to these false teachers, leaders, and the like, you’re ability to spot the truth dulls as the flashy fleshly desires of evil call to you like a shiny object to a monkey. Because of your attraction to superficial things, the Truth is boring and lame while sin is desirable.

The Real McCoy 

God never changes. He does not fail, He does not lie and His teachings remain the same from the time they first were instructed to this very day. What does change, what does fail, are evil and humanity, because both are fundamentally flawed. Human culture changes depending on what’s trending or deemed socially accepted. When leaders cower to the pressures of dumb, evil beings, people fall in line because, “if pastor so and so, or preacher this and that, said so, it must be true!”. Friends, we cannot imitate each other so blindly because you and I are a bunch of flesh bag idiots who are easily lead astray. Instead, follow God, hold each other accountable, and resist the temptation to entertain evil.

Today’s Question

Are you following the crowd to Hell or walking the narrow path alongside our Father in Heaven?

Enjoy the reading

Jeremiah 33

1 While Jeremiah was still confined in the courtyard of the guard, the LORD gave him this second message: 
2 “This is what the LORD says—the LORD who made the earth, who formed and established it, whose name is the LORD : 
3 Ask me and I will tell you remarkable secrets you do not know about things to come. 
4 For this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: You have torn down the houses of this city and even the king’s palace to get materials to strengthen the walls against the siege ramps and swords of the enemy. 
5 You expect to fight the Babylonians, but the men of this city are already as good as dead, for I have determined to destroy them in my terrible anger. I have abandoned them because of all their wickedness. 
6 “Nevertheless, the time will come when I will heal Jerusalem’s wounds and give it prosperity and true peace. 
7 I will restore the fortunes of Judah and Israel and rebuild their towns. 
8 I will cleanse them of their sins against me and forgive all their sins of rebellion. 
9 Then this city will bring me joy, glory, and honor before all the nations of the earth! The people of the world will see all the good I do for my people, and they will tremble with awe at the peace and prosperity I provide for them. 
10 “This is what the LORD says: You have said, ‘This is a desolate land where people and animals have all disappeared.’ Yet in the empty streets of Jerusalem and Judah’s other towns, there will be heard once more 
11 the sounds of joy and laughter. The joyful voices of bridegrooms and brides will be heard again, along with the joyous songs of people bringing thanksgiving offerings to the LORD . They will sing, ‘Give thanks to the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, for the LORD is good. His faithful love endures forever!’ For I will restore the prosperity of this land to what it was in the past, says the LORD . 
12 “This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: This land—though it is now desolate and has no people and animals—will once more have pastures where shepherds can lead their flocks. 
13 Once again shepherds will count their flocks in the towns of the hill country, the foothills of Judah, the Negev, the land of Benjamin, the vicinity of Jerusalem, and all the towns of Judah. I, the LORD, have spoken! 
14 “The day will come, says the LORD, when I will do for Israel and Judah all the good things I have promised them. 
15 “In those days and at that time I will raise up a righteous descendant from King David’s line. He will do what is just and right throughout the land. 
16 In that day Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this will be its name: ‘The LORD Is Our Righteousness.’ 
17 For this is what the LORD says: David will have a descendant sitting on the throne of Israel forever. 
18 And there will always be Levitical priests to offer burnt offerings and grain offerings and sacrifices to me.” 
19 Then this message came to Jeremiah from the LORD : 
20 “This is what the LORD says: If you can break my covenant with the day and the night so that one does not follow the other, 
21 only then will my covenant with my servant David be broken. Only then will he no longer have a descendant to reign on his throne. The same is true for my covenant with the Levitical priests who minister before me. 
22 And as the stars of the sky cannot be counted and the sand on the seashore cannot be measured, so I will multiply the descendants of my servant David and the Levites who minister before me.” 
23 The LORD gave another message to Jeremiah. He said, 
24 “Have you noticed what people are saying?—‘The LORD chose Judah and Israel and then abandoned them!’ They are sneering and saying that Israel is not worthy to be counted as a nation. 
25 But this is what the LORD says: I would no more reject my people than I would change my laws that govern night and day, earth and sky. 
26 I will never abandon the descendants of Jacob or David, my servant, or change the plan that David’s descendants will rule the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Instead, I will restore them to their land and have mercy on them.”

Slow Down

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Slow down and be present in your lives so that the opposition does not trip you up in your haste.”~TB

Settle

We’re a busy on the go bunch of people, and despite the high praise of multi-tasking and multi-focus, when our attention is split, we run the risk of being prey for the devil. When you’re too fast, you miss the obvious signs and inconsistencies that evil inserts to get us to focus on fear and forget our tasks. Like a banana peel on the ground to trip on because we are going to fast, we stop to evaluate the lies from the truth. You may sign away your land because you didn’t read the terms of the agreement, you may rush into a relationship because you did not evaluate the character of the other person. You may do immoral things because of fear of your employer. Going at warped speed can cause unnecessary pitfalls and disasters because our eyes are not on the prize, which is Christ.

Break it Down

When my dad is teaching new music to the kids in his class, he is known to break up the parts, teach each phrase one at a time until his students get this. He did this with my siblings and me back in the day. It used to drive me nuts because I was impatient (still am).  The benefit of slowing things down and breaking down the lessons was that you learn each piece, lessening the chance of learning bad habits and mistakes. Slowing it down and breaking the Biblical lessons we learn from God and the Bible have the same effect. When we know the Truth, it’s easier to spot the inconsistencies and blatant lies from the opposition. We know real from fake, true from false, but it takes a careful, studied, and watchful eye. So in all that you do, apply the lessons learned from Christ. To be the most successful you first must slow down and see the world and its experiences for what they truly are.

Today’s Question

Are you slowing down and keeping calm, or are you blazing through hitting every pothole on the way?

Enjoy the reading

Jeremiah 24

1 After King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon exiled Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, to Babylon along with the officials of Judah and all the craftsmen and artisans, the LORD gave me this vision. I saw two baskets of figs placed in front of the LORD ’s Temple in Jerusalem. 
2 One basket was filled with fresh, ripe figs, while the other was filled with bad figs that were too rotten to eat. 
3 Then the LORD said to me, “What do you see, Jeremiah?” I replied, “Figs, some very good and some very bad, too rotten to eat.” 
4 Then the LORD gave me this message: 
5 “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: The good figs represent the exiles I sent from Judah to the land of the Babylonians. 
6 I will watch over and care for them, and I will bring them back here again. I will build them up and not tear them down. I will plant them and not uproot them. 
7 I will give them hearts that recognize me as the LORD . They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me wholeheartedly. 
8 “But the bad figs,” the LORD said, “represent King Zedekiah of Judah, his officials, all the people left in Jerusalem, and those who live in Egypt. I will treat them like bad figs, too rotten to eat. 
9 I will make them an object of horror and a symbol of evil to every nation on earth. They will be disgraced and mocked, taunted and cursed, wherever I scatter them. 
10 And I will send war, famine, and disease until they have vanished from the land of Israel, which I gave to them and their ancestors.”

Needy

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Cultivate your relationship with God so that you get what you need from Him, rather than bleeding dry the people around you.”~TB

Inherent

We human beings are inherently needy, which is by design. We need God and when we seek Him, we find those needs met. The problem that many of us face is that we continually look to other people, places, or things to fulfill needs that only God can meet. This results in messed up relationships, poor substance choices, destructive habits, you name it, we’re doing it. Even worse, if you look at our society, we’re perpetuating and championing this broken system.

Fill

Instead of relying on the people around you, fill your need by going to the everlasting well that is Christ. Christ sustains us and never runs out or dries up. His Word is perfect, rejuvenating and full of the spiritual vitamins that heal our wounds and makes us whole once again. But first, we have to start by activating the relationship. God will never force His will on you, you must decide that you need him. And when that happens, your neediness finds its rightful place.

Today’s Question

Are you spiritually needy or are you relying on unfit sources?

Enjoy the reading

Jeremiah 23

1 “What sorrow awaits the leaders of my people—the shepherds of my sheep—for they have destroyed and scattered the very ones they were expected to care for,” says the LORD . 
2 Therefore, this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says to these shepherds: “Instead of caring for my flock and leading them to safety, you have deserted them and driven them to destruction. Now I will pour out judgment on you for the evil you have done to them. 
3 But I will gather together the remnant of my flock from the countries where I have driven them. I will bring them back to their own sheepfold, and they will be fruitful and increase in number. 
4 Then I will appoint responsible shepherds who will care for them, and they will never be afraid again. Not a single one will be lost or missing. I, the LORD, have spoken! 
5 “For the time is coming,” says the LORD, “when I will raise up a righteous descendant from King David’s line. He will be a King who rules with wisdom. He will do what is just and right throughout the land. 
6 And this will be his name: ‘The LORD Is Our Righteousness.’ In that day Judah will be saved, and Israel will live in safety. 
7 “In that day,” says the LORD, “when people are taking an oath, they will no longer say, ‘As surely as the LORD lives, who rescued the people of Israel from the land of Egypt.’ 
8 Instead, they will say, ‘As surely as the LORD lives, who brought the people of Israel back to their own land from the land of the north and from all the countries to which he had exiled them.’ Then they will live in their own land.” 
9 My heart is broken because of the false prophets, and my bones tremble. I stagger like a drunkard, like someone overcome by wine, because of the holy words the LORD has spoken against them. 
10 For the land is full of adultery, and it lies under a curse. The land itself is in mourning— its wilderness pastures are dried up. For they all do evil and abuse what power they have. 
11 “Even the priests and prophets are ungodly, wicked men. I have seen their despicable acts right here in my own Temple,” says the LORD . 
12 “Therefore, the paths they take will become slippery. They will be chased through the dark, and there they will fall. For I will bring disaster upon them at the time fixed for their punishment. I, the LORD, have spoken! 
13 “I saw that the prophets of Samaria were terribly evil, for they prophesied in the name of Baal and led my people of Israel into sin. 
14 But now I see that the prophets of Jerusalem are even worse! They commit adultery and love dishonesty. They encourage those who are doing evil so that no one turns away from their sins. These prophets are as wicked as the people of Sodom and Gomorrah once were.” 
15 Therefore, this is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says concerning the prophets: “I will feed them with bitterness and give them poison to drink. For it is because of Jerusalem’s prophets that wickedness has filled this land.” 
16 This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says to his people: “Do not listen to these prophets when they prophesy to you, filling you with futile hopes. They are making up everything they say. They do not speak for the LORD ! 
17 They keep saying to those who despise my word, ‘Don’t worry! The LORD says you will have peace!’ And to those who stubbornly follow their own desires, they say, ‘No harm will come your way!’ 
18 “Have any of these prophets been in the LORD ’s presence to hear what he is really saying? Has even one of them cared enough to listen? 
19 Look! The LORD ’s anger bursts out like a storm, a whirlwind that swirls down on the heads of the wicked. 
20 The anger of the LORD will not diminish until it has finished all he has planned. In the days to come you will understand all this very clearly. 
21 “I have not sent these prophets, yet they run around claiming to speak for me. I have given them no message, yet they go on prophesying. 
22 If they had stood before me and listened to me, they would have spoken my words, and they would have turned my people from their evil ways and deeds. 
23 Am I a God who is only close at hand?” says the LORD . “No, I am far away at the same time. 
24 Can anyone hide from me in a secret place? Am I not everywhere in all the heavens and earth?” says the LORD . 
25 “I have heard these prophets say, ‘Listen to the dream I had from God last night.’ And then they proceed to tell lies in my name. 
26 How long will this go on? If they are prophets, they are prophets of deceit, inventing everything they say. 
27 By telling these false dreams, they are trying to get my people to forget me, just as their ancestors did by worshiping the idols of Baal. 
28 “Let these false prophets tell their dreams, but let my true messengers faithfully proclaim my every word. There is a difference between straw and grain! 
29 Does not my word burn like fire?” says the LORD . “Is it not like a mighty hammer that smashes a rock to pieces? 
30 “Therefore,” says the LORD, “I am against these prophets who steal messages from each other and claim they are from me. 
31 I am against these smooth-tongued prophets who say, ‘This prophecy is from the LORD !’ 
32 I am against these false prophets. Their imaginary dreams are flagrant lies that lead my people into sin. I did not send or appoint them, and they have no message at all for my people. I, the LORD, have spoken! 
33 “Suppose one of the people or one of the prophets or priests asks you, ‘What prophecy has the LORD burdened you with now?’ You must reply, ‘You are the burden! The LORD says he will abandon you!’ 
34 “If any prophet, priest, or anyone else says, ‘I have a prophecy from the LORD,’ I will punish that person along with his entire family. 
35 You should keep asking each other, ‘What is the LORD ’s answer?’ or ‘What is the LORD saying?’ 
36 But stop using this phrase, ‘prophecy from the LORD .’ For people are using it to give authority to their own ideas, turning upside down the words of our God, the living God, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. 
37 “This is what you should say to the prophets: ‘What is the LORD ’s answer?’ or ‘What is the LORD saying?’ 
38 But suppose they respond, ‘This is a prophecy from the LORD !’ Then you should say, ‘This is what the LORD says: Because you have used this phrase, “prophecy from the LORD,” even though I warned you not to use it, 
39 I will forget you completely. I will expel you from my presence, along with this city that I gave to you and your ancestors. 
40 And I will make you an object of ridicule, and your name will be infamous throughout the ages.’”

Reflection

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Quiet reflection with God breeds thoughtful answers to the issues in your life.”~TB

Jumbled

One of the biggest struggles we face as humans in society is quieting the external noise to understand what is going on internally. The world as we know it is designed to put us in conflict with our natural state. Think about it, with so much external distraction and noise, your internal system functions like a jumbled cassette tape. It’s tough to sort through the chaos of our internal state unless we quiet the noise from outside. However, many of us are engaged in chaotic states because we are too scared of the quiet. Slowing down and taking stock of one’s life brings up some uncomfortable insights and the ugly “g-word”–growth.

Ask Anyway

If the chaos has grown too much and it’s time to get to the heart of the Truth, have a talk with God (which also happens to be the title of a neat Stevie Wonder song.) Honest answers come from an honest reflection and conversation with our Father in Heaven. It doesn’t have to be some dramatic or formal process, just ask a few simple questions and ask for direction. To get the most out of this reflection and quiet time with God honesty and humility are key. It requires us to set aside our foolish and flesh-minded thinking.  Basically, we have to turn our backs on what ails us to receive the Holy antidote that is God’s wisdom. It’s a one-on-one conversation that only you and He can have. No preacher, teacher nor profit can do this for you, so steal away to a quiet place to reflect and chat with the one who calls you His.

Today’s Question

Are you practicing quiet reflection or are you running amok?

Enjoy the reading

Jeremiah 19

1 This is what the LORD said to me: “Go and buy a clay jar. Then ask some of the leaders of the people and of the priests to follow you. 
2 Go out through the Gate of Broken Pots to the garbage dump in the valley of Ben-Hinnom, and give them this message. 
3 Say to them, ‘Listen to this message from the LORD, you kings of Judah and citizens of Jerusalem! This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: I will bring a terrible disaster on this place, and the ears of those who hear about it will ring! 
4 “‘For Israel has forsaken me and turned this valley into a place of wickedness. The people burn incense to foreign gods—idols never before acknowledged by this generation, by their ancestors, or by the kings of Judah. And they have filled this place with the blood of innocent children. 
5 They have built pagan shrines to Baal, and there they burn their sons as sacrifices to Baal. I have never commanded such a horrible deed; it never even crossed my mind to command such a thing! 
6 So beware, for the time is coming, says the LORD, when this garbage dump will no longer be called Topheth or the valley of Ben-Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter. 
7 “‘For I will upset the careful plans of Judah and Jerusalem. I will allow the people to be slaughtered by invading armies, and I will leave their dead bodies as food for the vultures and wild animals. 
8 I will reduce Jerusalem to ruins, making it a monument to their stupidity. All who pass by will be astonished and will gasp at the destruction they see there. 
9 I will see to it that your enemies lay siege to the city until all the food is gone. Then those trapped inside will eat their own sons and daughters and friends. They will be driven to utter despair.’ 
10 “As these men watch you, Jeremiah, smash the jar you brought. 
11 Then say to them, ‘This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: As this jar lies shattered, so I will shatter the people of Judah and Jerusalem beyond all hope of repair. They will bury the bodies here in Topheth, the garbage dump, until there is no more room for them. 
12 This is what I will do to this place and its people, says the LORD . I will cause this city to become defiled like Topheth. 
13 Yes, all the houses in Jerusalem, including the palace of Judah’s kings, will become like Topheth—all the houses where you burned incense on the rooftops to your star gods, and where liquid offerings were poured out to your idols.’” 
14 Then Jeremiah returned from Topheth, the garbage dump where he had delivered this message, and he stopped in front of the Temple of the LORD . He said to the people there, 
15 “This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘I will bring disaster upon this city and its surrounding towns as I promised, because you have stubbornly refused to listen to me.’”

 

 

Obedience>Perfection

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“God never asks for perfection, just obedience.”~TB

Standards

Do you ever sit back and reflect on the standards that Christ has asked of us? Love your neighbor as yourself, don’t covet, forgive others, honor thy mother and father, and so on. These standards in of themselves are not difficult. They do not require a Ph.D. nor a mathematical background to practice. More to the point, even when we do screw those up, all we have to do is repent and turn from our stupidity. Imagine that! So why is it that we as people have come so far astray from those simple commandments and deeds? We’ve adopted our own morbid standards of human perfection (depravity) and have tossed God’s to the wayside. If you don’t believe me consider this: depending on the human audience, the standards change. But, God’s standards, never change no matter the audience or time period.

Practice

So if man’s standards change– as they often do– it can’t come as a massive surprise that we feel the instability and insecurity that is plaguing our society. From social standards, workplace standards, economic standards, it’s all over the place! This means, that instead of trying to perfect any standard, it’s always best to practice obeying the standards of Christ. Because God’s word never fails, deviates, and obscures, all we have is Him — which is all we need. Think about it; when we die, we can’t take any of this with us. What Suzy said about your outfit or the way you made your quiche does not come into play at the Pearly Gates. Jim’s amazing man cave or home gym does not matter one iota. Friends, imagine if we moved in the way that Christ asked of us. It would be interesting to see what we could accomplish and the peace that would ensue. So, instead of looking to be perfect, practice obeying what Christ has written on our hearts.

Today’s Question

Are you practicing obedience or practicing stupidity?

Enjoy the reading

Jeremiah 14

1 This message came to Jeremiah from the LORD, explaining why he was holding back the rain: 
2 “Judah wilts; commerce at the city gates grinds to a halt. All the people sit on the ground in mourning, and a great cry rises from Jerusalem. 
3 The nobles send servants to get water, but all the wells are dry. The servants return with empty pitchers, confused and desperate, covering their heads in grief. 
4 The ground is parched and cracked for lack of rain. The farmers are deeply troubled; they, too, cover their heads. 
5 Even the doe abandons her newborn fawn because there is no grass in the field. 
6 The wild donkeys stand on the bare hills panting like thirsty jackals. They strain their eyes looking for grass, but there is none to be found.” 
7 The people say, “Our wickedness has caught up with us, LORD, but help us for the sake of your own reputation. We have turned away from you and sinned against you again and again. 
8 O Hope of Israel, our Savior in times of trouble, why are you like a stranger to us? Why are you like a traveler passing through the land, stopping only for the night? 
9 Are you also confused? Is our champion helpless to save us? You are right here among us, LORD . We are known as your people. Please don’t abandon us now!” 
10 So this is what the LORD says to his people: “You love to wander far from me and do not restrain yourselves. Therefore, I will no longer accept you as my people. Now I will remember all your wickedness and will punish you for your sins.” 
11 Then the LORD said to me, “Do not pray for these people anymore. 
12 When they fast, I will pay no attention. When they present their burnt offerings and grain offerings to me, I will not accept them. Instead, I will devour them with war, famine, and disease.” 
13 Then I said, “O Sovereign LORD, their prophets are telling them, ‘All is well—no war or famine will come. The LORD will surely send you peace.’” 
14 Then the LORD said, “These prophets are telling lies in my name. I did not send them or tell them to speak. I did not give them any messages. They prophesy of visions and revelations they have never seen or heard. They speak foolishness made up in their own lying hearts. 
15 Therefore, this is what the LORD says: I will punish these lying prophets, for they have spoken in my name even though I never sent them. They say that no war or famine will come, but they themselves will die by war and famine! 
16 As for the people to whom they prophesy—their bodies will be thrown out into the streets of Jerusalem, victims of famine and war. There will be no one left to bury them. Husbands, wives, sons, and daughters—all will be gone. For I will pour out their own wickedness on them. 
17 Now, Jeremiah, say this to them: “Night and day my eyes overflow with tears. I cannot stop weeping, for my virgin daughter—my precious people— has been struck down and lies mortally wounded. 
18 If I go out into the fields, I see the bodies of people slaughtered by the enemy. If I walk the city streets, I see people who have died of starvation. The prophets and priests continue with their work, but they don’t know what they’re doing.” 
19 LORD, have you completely rejected Judah? Do you really hate Jerusalem? Why have you wounded us past all hope of healing? We hoped for peace, but no peace came. We hoped for a time of healing, but found only terror. 
20 LORD, we confess our wickedness and that of our ancestors, too. We all have sinned against you. 
21 For the sake of your reputation, LORD, do not abandon us. Do not disgrace your own glorious throne. Please remember us, and do not break your covenant with us. 
22 Can any of the worthless foreign gods send us rain? Does it fall from the sky by itself? No, you are the one, O LORD our God! Only you can do such things. So we will wait for you to help us.

 

Off-Topic

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Learn the topics and teachings of Christ so that you may not spend your life off-topic.”~TB

Attention

You ever notice how many distracting things there are in this world? Between all of the apps, gadgets, gossip, social posturing, and the like, left unchecked, a whole lifetime can be wasted on things that do not matter. How odd! There is only so much time in a given day and before you know it, it’s gone as quickly as it arrived.  If humans are so busy being plugged into the nonsense, it’s not hard to understand why people struggle to know who Christ actually is. More to the point, the opposition will leverage such distractions to keep people from being on topic. If you want to pursue a life of Christ, you must first learn what topics really matter so that you can discern truth from fake reality.

Focus

Take a moment to evaluate how and with whom you spend your time. Ask yourself if these things mirror the topics that God has placed in your heart. If you feel too distracted in your mind to know what those topics are, seek out the Word of God so that you can understand what this life is actually all about. When you know which topics are of Christ and which ones are not, it becomes easier to make the right decisions for your mind and time. Let’s not be mindless bots on a planet that seeks to distract and numb us from our calling. Instead, let’s be about Christ’s topics and how they can give us the peace and focus we seek.

Today’s Question

Are you good at wasting away instead of being on topic?

Enjoy the reading

Jeremiah 12

1 LORD, you always give me justice when I bring a case before you. So let me bring you this complaint: Why are the wicked so prosperous? Why are evil people so happy? 
2 You have planted them, and they have taken root and prospered. Your name is on their lips, but you are far from their hearts. 
3 But as for me, LORD, you know my heart. You see me and test my thoughts. Drag these people away like sheep to be butchered! Set them aside to be slaughtered! 
4 How long must this land mourn? Even the grass in the fields has withered. The wild animals and birds have disappeared because of the evil in the land. For the people have said, “The LORD doesn’t see what’s ahead for us!” 
5 “If racing against mere men makes you tired, how will you race against horses? If you stumble and fall on open ground, what will you do in the thickets near the Jordan? 
6 Even your brothers, members of your own family, have turned against you. They plot and raise complaints against you. Do not trust them, no matter how pleasantly they speak. 
7 “I have abandoned my people, my special possession. I have surrendered my dearest ones to their enemies. 
8 My chosen people have roared at me like a lion of the forest, so I have treated them with contempt. 
9 My chosen people act like speckled vultures, but they themselves are surrounded by vultures. Bring on the wild animals to pick their corpses clean! 
10 “Many rulers have ravaged my vineyard, trampling down the vines and turning all its beauty into a barren wilderness. 
11 They have made it an empty wasteland; I hear its mournful cry. The whole land is desolate, and no one even cares. 
12 On all the bare hilltops, destroying armies can be seen. The sword of the LORD devours people from one end of the nation to the other. No one will escape! 
13 My people have planted wheat but are harvesting thorns. They have worn themselves out, but it has done them no good. They will harvest a crop of shame because of the fierce anger of the LORD .” 
14 Now this is what the LORD says: “I will uproot from their land all the evil nations reaching out for the possession I gave my people Israel. And I will uproot Judah from among them. 
15 But afterward I will return and have compassion on all of them. I will bring them home to their own lands again, each nation to its own possession. 
16 And if these nations truly learn the ways of my people, and if they learn to swear by my name, saying, ‘As surely as the LORD lives’ (just as they taught my people to swear by the name of Baal), then they will be given a place among my people. 
17 But any nation who refuses to obey me will be uprooted and destroyed. I, the LORD, have spoken!”

 

Deeds

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Talking and walking are two different things.”~TB

Said

It’s one thing to know the truth. Hearing about the amazing works of Christ, how He brings us together to realize and share the Good News, it’s awesome! But faith is an amalgamation of both belief and deed. To put it bluntly, you can say you believe and follow Christ, but if you’re not acting on it, what good is your word?

Done

If you are looking to find healing, your belief has to be activated by your behavior. Sight alone does not change a situation, you have to activate your behavior. I can say I want to run a marathon, but if I’m not out there putting in the work, that dream is dead. Friends, we must all how ourselves accountable to the words and deeds we do or don’t do. Christ can fill the need, but we have to act on it.

Today’s Question

Does your talk outshine your walk?

Enjoy the reading

Jeremiah 11

1 The LORD gave another message to Jeremiah. He said, 
2 “Remind the people of Judah and Jerusalem about the terms of my covenant with them. 
3 Say to them, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: Cursed is anyone who does not obey the terms of my covenant! 
4 For I said to your ancestors when I brought them out of the iron-smelting furnace of Egypt, “If you obey me and do whatever I command you, then you will be my people, and I will be your God.” 
5 I said this so I could keep my promise to your ancestors to give you a land flowing with milk and honey—the land you live in today.’” Then I replied, “Amen, LORD ! May it be so.” 
6 Then the LORD said, “Broadcast this message in the streets of Jerusalem. Go from town to town throughout the land and say, ‘Remember the ancient covenant, and do everything it requires. 
7 For I solemnly warned your ancestors when I brought them out of Egypt, “Obey me!” I have repeated this warning over and over to this day, 
8 but your ancestors did not listen or even pay attention. Instead, they stubbornly followed their own evil desires. And because they refused to obey, I brought upon them all the curses described in this covenant.’” 
9 Again the LORD spoke to me and said, “I have discovered a conspiracy against me among the people of Judah and Jerusalem. 
10 They have returned to the sins of their ancestors. They have refused to listen to me and are worshiping other gods. Israel and Judah have both broken the covenant I made with their ancestors. 
11 Therefore, this is what the LORD says: I am going to bring calamity upon them, and they will not escape. Though they beg for mercy, I will not listen to their cries. 
12 Then the people of Judah and Jerusalem will pray to their idols and burn incense before them. But the idols will not save them when disaster strikes! 
13 Look now, people of Judah; you have as many gods as you have towns. You have as many altars of shame—altars for burning incense to your god Baal—as there are streets in Jerusalem. 
14 “Pray no more for these people, Jeremiah. Do not weep or pray for them, for I will not listen to them when they cry out to me in distress. 
15 “What right do my beloved people have to come to my Temple, when they have done so many immoral things? Can their vows and sacrifices prevent their destruction? They actually rejoice in doing evil! 
16 I, the LORD, once called them a thriving olive tree, beautiful to see and full of good fruit. But now I have sent the fury of their enemies to burn them with fire, leaving them charred and broken. 
17 “I, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, who planted this olive tree, have ordered it destroyed. For the people of Israel and Judah have done evil, arousing my anger by burning incense to Baal.” 
18 Then the LORD told me about the plots my enemies were making against me. 
19 I was like a lamb being led to the slaughter. I had no idea that they were planning to kill me! “Let’s destroy this man and all his words,” they said. “Let’s cut him down, so his name will be forgotten forever.” 
20 O LORD of Heaven’s Armies, you make righteous judgments, and you examine the deepest thoughts and secrets. Let me see your vengeance against them, for I have committed my cause to you. 
21 This is what the LORD says about the men of Anathoth who wanted me dead. They had said, “We will kill you if you do not stop prophesying in the LORD ’s name.” 
22 So this is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says about them: “I will punish them! Their young men will die in battle, and their boys and girls will starve to death. 
23 Not one of these plotters from Anathoth will survive, for I will bring disaster upon them when their time of punishment comes.”

Self-assured

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Hi Peeps,
Today’s Quote
 
“You should feel relieved and confident that God will reward your good faith and work ethics by following His examples, understanding the biblical stories, sharing the Gospel, and applying your faith in your daily routines.”  ~ Jon Barnes

Unusual

When you develop a usual routine in prayer, talking with God, being obedient, and reading the bible, it becomes highly unusual for you to make silly mistakes.  When you do make a mistake, you are quick to repent, learn, and move on.  Your habits of following God’s instructions, commandments, and wisdom will be obvious for others to see and follow God’s routine.  Your leadership and discipline will help others to become self-assured in following Christ to pick up their own cross for God and not something else.

Sensitive

When people can see that God is doing good things in your life, they will inquire about your success to analyze the process and witness the true hand of God on your lifestyle.  There is a person for you to casually minister each day to water with Gospel moisture. Be sensitive to not overwater people, drowning them with your zeal.  They will also tell you how much of a great job you are doing with thoughtful words and deeds with God’s truth.  If they do not, it’s okay, God is the best eye-witness to your faith in Him.

Encouraging

It is a joy to hear how your work for God is enriching the lives of people all around you and I an thankful that many people share these thoughts from around the globe, in different languages, from many different cultures.  Quality with God is supreme and more superior than the quantity of stuff, money, fame, or recognition.  Be happy being you.  The blessing is self-evident, self-less, and self-assuring when we love God, our families, ourselves, and people with the Spirit of God, who is Love.
Today’s Question
How are you doing today and are you self-assured in Jesus with God’s Spirit of Love?

Enjoy The Reading

John 11

The Raising of Lazarus

11 A man named Lazarus was sick. He lived in Bethany with his sisters, Mary and Martha. 2 This is the Mary who later poured the expensive perfume on the Lord’s feet and wiped them with her hair.  Her brother, Lazarus, was sick. 3 So the two sisters sent a message to Jesus telling him, “Lord, your dear friend is very sick.”
4 But when Jesus heard about it he said, “Lazarus’s sickness will not end in death. No, it happened for the glory of God so that the Son of God will receive glory from this.” 5 So although Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, 6 he stayed where he was for the next two days. 7 Finally, he said to his disciples, “Let’s go back to Judea.”
8 But his disciples objected. “Rabbi,” they said, “only a few days ago the people in Judea were trying to stone you. Are you going there again?”
9 Jesus replied, “There are twelve hours of daylight every day. During the day people can walk safely. They can see because they have the light of this world. 10 But at night there is danger of stumbling because they have no light.” 11 Then he said, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but now I will go and wake him up.”
12 The disciples said, “Lord, if he is sleeping, he will soon get better!” 13 They thought Jesus meant Lazarus was simply sleeping, but Jesus meant Lazarus had died.
14 So he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. 15 And for your sakes, I’m glad I wasn’t there, for now you will really believe. Come, let’s go see him.”
16 Thomas, nicknamed the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let’s go, too—and die with Jesus.”
17 When Jesus arrived at Bethany, he was told that Lazarus had already been in his grave for four days. 18 Bethany was only a few miles down the road from Jerusalem, 19 and many of the people had come to console Martha and Mary in their loss. 20 When Martha got word that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him. But Mary stayed in the house. 21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask.”
23 Jesus told her, “Your brother will rise again.”
24 “Yes,” Martha said, “he will rise when everyone else rises, at the last day.”
25 Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. 26 Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?”
27 “Yes, Lord,” she told him. “I have always believed you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who has come into the world from God.” 28 Then she returned to Mary. She called Mary aside from the mourners and told her, “The Teacher is here and wants to see you.” 29 So Mary immediately went to him.
30 Jesus had stayed outside the village, at the place where Martha met him. 31 When the people who were at the house consoling Mary saw her leave so hastily, they assumed she was going to Lazarus’s grave to weep. So they followed her there. 32 When Mary arrived and saw Jesus, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
33 When Jesus saw her weeping and saw the other people wailing with her, a deep anger welled up within him, and he was deeply troubled. 34 “Where have you put him?” he asked them.
They told him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Then Jesus wept. 36 The people who were standing nearby said, “See how much he loved him!” 37 But some said, “This man healed a blind man. Couldn’t he have kept Lazarus from dying?”
38 Jesus was still angry as he arrived at the tomb, a cave with a stone rolled across its entrance. 39 “Roll the stone aside,” Jesus told them.
But Martha, the dead man’s sister, protested, “Lord, he has been dead for four days. The smell will be terrible.”
40 Jesus responded, “Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believe?” 41 So they rolled the stone aside. Then Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, thank you for hearing me. 42 You always hear me, but I said it out loud for the sake of all these people standing here, so that they will believe you sent me.” 43 Then Jesus shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 And the dead man came out, his hands and feet bound in grave clothes, his face wrapped in a head cloth. Jesus told them, “Unwrap him and let him go!”

The Plot to Kill Jesus

45 Many of the people who were with Mary believed in Jesus when they saw this happen. 46 But some went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. 47 Then the leading priests and Pharisees called the high council together. “What are we going to do?” they asked each other. “This man certainly performs many miraculous signs. 48 If we allow him to go on like this, soon everyone will believe in him. Then the Roman army will come and destroy both our Temple and our nation.”
49 Caiaphas, who was high priest at that time, said, “You don’t know what you’re talking about! 50 You don’t realize that it’s better for you that one man should die for the people than for the whole nation to be destroyed.”
51 He did not say this on his own; as high priest at that time he was led to prophesy that Jesus would die for the entire nation. 52 And not only for that nation, but to bring together and unite all the children of God scattered around the world.
53 So from that time on, the Jewish leaders began to plot Jesus’ death. 54 As a result, Jesus stopped his public ministry among the people and left Jerusalem. He went to a place near the wilderness, to the village of Ephraim, and stayed there with his disciples.
55 It was now almost time for the Jewish Passover celebration, and many people from all over the country arrived in Jerusalem several days early so they could go through the purification ceremony before Passover began. 56 They kept looking for Jesus, but as they stood around in the Temple, they said to each other, “What do you think? He won’t come for Passover, will he?” 57 Meanwhile, the leading priests and Pharisees had publicly ordered that anyone seeing Jesus must report it immediately so they could arrest him.