“It’s better to stab someone in the front than the back, because at least you’re being honest.”~TB
Adam and Eve covering up their bodies after eating the forbidden fruit says a lot about the world today. The issue wasn’t their nakedness. The issue was that they believed they were capable of hiding anything from God. Ironically we do the same thing time and time again. We’re all trying to ‘hide’ our flaws, appear to be smarter, richer, prettier, etc. just to appeal to one another. As I grow older, I find myself walking away from the guise of being ‘better than I am’ and accepting the way God made me, flaws and all. I’ve also found honesty allows me to come before God with all that I am so that I may receive the best answers to my questions, rather than covering them up with manure.
Wolf and Sheep
God has more respect for the person being an adamant heathen than the fake spiritual man. If you are publicly screaming “Praise God”, but are privately devouring your neighbor, well, God knows. He knows the light and the dark, after all it is all His creation. So if we stand to have any sort of relationship with Him, we must stop being wolves and return to His flock as sheep. If being a sheep offends you, then I encourage you to reflect on the choices, perceptions, and decisions you make as they are all influenced by something or someone. Personally, I’d rather be a sheep for God than a mindless slave to man.
Are you being honest or is it a cover up?
1“But now, listen to me, Jacob my servant, Israel my chosen one.
2The LORD who made you and helps you says: Do not be afraid, O Jacob, my servant, O dear Israel, my chosen one.
3For I will pour out water to quench your thirst and to irrigate your parched fields. And I will pour out my Spirit on your descendants, and my blessing on your children.
4They will thrive like watered grass, like willows on a riverbank.
5Some will proudly claim, ‘I belong to the LORD .’ Others will say, ‘I am a descendant of Jacob.’ Some will write the LORD ’s name on their hands and will take the name of Israel as their own.”
6This is what the LORD says—Israel’s King and Redeemer, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies: “I am the First and the Last; there is no other God.
7Who is like me? Let him step forward and prove to you his power. Let him do as I have done since ancient times when I established a people and explained its future.
8Do not tremble; do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim my purposes for you long ago? You are my witnesses—is there any other God? No! There is no other Rock—not one!”
9How foolish are those who manufacture idols. These prized objects are really worthless. The people who worship idols don’t know this, so they are all put to shame.
10Who but a fool would make his own god— an idol that cannot help him one bit?
11All who worship idols will be disgraced along with all these craftsmen—mere humans— who claim they can make a god. They may all stand together, but they will stand in terror and shame.
12The blacksmith stands at his forge to make a sharp tool, pounding and shaping it with all his might. His work makes him hungry and weak. It makes him thirsty and faint.
13Then the wood-carver measures a block of wood and draws a pattern on it. He works with chisel and plane and carves it into a human figure. He gives it human beauty and puts it in a little shrine.
14He cuts down cedars; he selects the cypress and the oak; he plants the pine in the forest to be nourished by the rain.
15Then he uses part of the wood to make a fire. With it he warms himself and bakes his bread. Then—yes, it’s true—he takes the rest of it and makes himself a god to worship! He makes an idol and bows down in front of it!
16He burns part of the tree to roast his meat and to keep himself warm. He says, “Ah, that fire feels good.”
17Then he takes what’s left and makes his god: a carved idol! He falls down in front of it, worshiping and praying to it. “Rescue me!” he says. “You are my god!”
18Such stupidity and ignorance! Their eyes are closed, and they cannot see. Their minds are shut, and they cannot think.
19The person who made the idol never stops to reflect, “Why, it’s just a block of wood! I burned half of it for heat and used it to bake my bread and roast my meat. How can the rest of it be a god? Should I bow down to worship a piece of wood?”
20The poor, deluded fool feeds on ashes. He trusts something that can’t help him at all. Yet he cannot bring himself to ask, “Is this idol that I’m holding in my hand a lie?”
21“Pay attention, O Jacob, for you are my servant, O Israel. I, the LORD, made you, and I will not forget you.
22I have swept away your sins like a cloud. I have scattered your offenses like the morning mist. Oh, return to me, for I have paid the price to set you free.”
23Sing, O heavens, for the LORD has done this wondrous thing. Shout for joy, O depths of the earth! Break into song, O mountains and forests and every tree! For the LORD has redeemed Jacob and is glorified in Israel.
24This is what the LORD says— your Redeemer and Creator: “I am the LORD, who made all things. I alone stretched out the heavens. Who was with me when I made the earth?
25I expose the false prophets as liars and make fools of fortune-tellers. I cause the wise to give bad advice, thus proving them to be fools.
26But I carry out the predictions of my prophets! By them I say to Jerusalem, ‘People will live here again,’ and to the towns of Judah, ‘You will be rebuilt; I will restore all your ruins!’
27When I speak to the rivers and say, ‘Dry up!’ they will be dry.
28When I say of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd,’ he will certainly do as I say. He will command, ‘Rebuild Jerusalem’; he will say, ‘Restore the Temple.’”
“God does not treat us like puppets or slaves, so let’s not do that to each other.”~TB
Since when did following Christ mean that we are meant to be doormats? As followers of Christ, we are meant to strive for a higher standard, but that also means asserting boundaries and holding each other accountable when people get into ‘Pharaoh’ mode. It’s one thing to turn the other cheek when you are wronged. It’s an entirely different story when you allow other people to enslave your time, mind and resources because you think you’re being Christ-like. If you think bowing down to others and allowing poor treatment is an act of humility, I strongly encourage you to read the Bible more carefully.
When you allow others to continually take advantage of you, you are going down a slippery slope. There is a stark difference between forgiving offenses and tolerating abusive behavior. In our lives, we will endure hardship, setbacks, and other uncomfortable scenarios. But, that is not the same as tolerating bad behavior, whether it comes from your boss, your spouse, your landlord or anyone else. If we truly want to be Christ-like, we have to hold one another to a higher standard. That means shedding light on evil deeds, slave mentalities, and the like. The next time you’re dealing with a ‘Pharaoh’, remember that God loves you and does not require you to put up with inappropriate treatment. Forgive, yes. In addition, remember Christ’s standards.
Are you accepting bad behavior?
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1In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah’s reign, King Sennacherib of Assyria came to attack the fortified towns of Judah and conquered them.
2Then the king of Assyria sent his chief of staff from Lachish with a huge army to confront King Hezekiah in Jerusalem. The Assyrians took up a position beside the aqueduct that feeds water into the upper pool, near the road leading to the field where cloth is washed.
3These are the officials who went out to meet with them: Eliakim son of Hilkiah, the palace administrator; Shebna the court secretary; and Joah son of Asaph, the royal historian.
4Then the Assyrian king’s chief of staff told them to give this message to Hezekiah: “This is what the great king of Assyria says: What are you trusting in that makes you so confident?
5Do you think that mere words can substitute for military skill and strength? Who are you counting on, that you have rebelled against me?
6On Egypt? If you lean on Egypt, it will be like a reed that splinters beneath your weight and pierces your hand. Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, is completely unreliable!
7“But perhaps you will say to me, ‘We are trusting in the LORD our God!’ But isn’t he the one who was insulted by Hezekiah? Didn’t Hezekiah tear down his shrines and altars and make everyone in Judah and Jerusalem worship only at the altar here in Jerusalem?
8“I’ll tell you what! Strike a bargain with my master, the king of Assyria. I will give you 2,000 horses if you can find that many men to ride on them!
9With your tiny army, how can you think of challenging even the weakest contingent of my master’s troops, even with the help of Egypt’s chariots and charioteers?
10What’s more, do you think we have invaded your land without the LORD ’s direction? The LORD himself told us, ‘Attack this land and destroy it!’”
11Then Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah said to the Assyrian chief of staff, “Please speak to us in Aramaic, for we understand it well. Don’t speak in Hebrew, for the people on the wall will hear.”
12But Sennacherib’s chief of staff replied, “Do you think my master sent this message only to you and your master? He wants all the people to hear it, for when we put this city under siege, they will suffer along with you. They will be so hungry and thirsty that they will eat their own dung and drink their own urine.”
13Then the chief of staff stood and shouted in Hebrew to the people on the wall, “Listen to this message from the great king of Assyria!
14This is what the king says: Don’t let Hezekiah deceive you. He will never be able to rescue you.
15Don’t let him fool you into trusting in the LORD by saying, ‘The LORD will surely rescue us. This city will never fall into the hands of the Assyrian king!’
16“Don’t listen to Hezekiah! These are the terms the king of Assyria is offering: Make peace with me—open the gates and come out. Then each of you can continue eating from your own grapevine and fig tree and drinking from your own well.
17Then I will arrange to take you to another land like this one—a land of grain and new wine, bread and vineyards.
18“Don’t let Hezekiah mislead you by saying, ‘The LORD will rescue us!’ Have the gods of any other nations ever saved their people from the king of Assyria?
19What happened to the gods of Hamath and Arpad? And what about the gods of Sepharvaim? Did any god rescue Samaria from my power?
20What god of any nation has ever been able to save its people from my power? So what makes you think that the LORD can rescue Jerusalem from me?”
21But the people were silent and did not utter a word because Hezekiah had commanded them, “Do not answer him.”
22Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah, the palace administrator; Shebna the court secretary; and Joah son of Asaph, the royal historian, went back to Hezekiah. They tore their clothes in despair, and they went in to see the king and told him what the Assyrian chief of staff had said.
“When the Hand of God changes your life, going back is futile and useless.”~TB
When a radical change has occurred in your life, finding your footing can be tough. It’s like a chasm or opening where new opportunities— good or bad— can take root. Patterns and habits from your previous existence no longer bring you the same joy as they once did. But, sometimes knowing where to go next brings more questions than answers and it can be stressful. If you look at the story of Lot’s wife, it can be tough to understand why she was turned into a pillar of salt. All she did was look back, what’s the harm in that? But, if you look at it metaphorically, it’s easier to comprehend. When we begin a new life in Christ, the old stuff cannot remain. It’s kind of like shedding skin if you think about it. The discipline lies in having the courage and faith to move forward without craving the life you once led.
I’ll be honest, when you change into who God has called you to be, you will lose your previous identity and sometimes that means the people you once did life with. It can be an isolating and strange experience if you don’t reach out when necessary. The one thing I’ve learned is that a blank canvas scares many people. After all, our society paints a supposed blueprint for this thing called “life” so when a plan gets blown up, having the imagination and fortitude to start something new can be terrifying. It’s probably why many turn back to old behavior, because it’s comforting or familiar. But, what if the unknown held something better? If we can reconcile the fears we hold in our minds and rely on the vision that God provides, moving forward doesn’t seem all that scary. The trick is to hold onto faith when doing so.
Are you stuck in your past?
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1In that day, everyone in the land of Judah will sing this song: Our city is strong! We are surrounded by the walls of God’s salvation.
2Open the gates to all who are righteous; allow the faithful to enter.
3You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!
4Trust in the LORD always, for the LORD GOD is the eternal Rock.
5He humbles the proud and brings down the arrogant city. He brings it down to the dust.
6The poor and oppressed trample it underfoot, and the needy walk all over it.
7But for those who are righteous, the way is not steep and rough. You are a God who does what is right, and you smooth out the path ahead of them.
8LORD, we show our trust in you by obeying your laws; our heart’s desire is to glorify your name.
9In the night I search for you; in the morning I earnestly seek you. For only when you come to judge the earth will people learn what is right.
10Your kindness to the wicked does not make them do good. Although others do right, the wicked keep doing wrong and take no notice of the LORD ’s majesty.
11O LORD, they pay no attention to your upraised fist. Show them your eagerness to defend your people. Then they will be ashamed. Let your fire consume your enemies.
12LORD, you will grant us peace; all we have accomplished is really from you.
13O LORD our God, others have ruled us, but you alone are the one we worship.
14Those we served before are dead and gone. Their departed spirits will never return! You attacked them and destroyed them, and they are long forgotten.
15O LORD, you have made our nation great; yes, you have made us great. You have extended our borders, and we give you the glory!
16LORD, in distress we searched for you. We prayed beneath the burden of your discipline.
17Just as a pregnant woman writhes and cries out in pain as she gives birth, so were we in your presence, LORD .
18We, too, writhe in agony, but nothing comes of our suffering. We have not given salvation to the earth, nor brought life into the world.
19But those who die in the LORD will live; their bodies will rise again! Those who sleep in the earth will rise up and sing for joy! For your life-giving light will fall like dew on your people in the place of the dead!
20Go home, my people, and lock your doors! Hide yourselves for a little while until the LORD ’s anger has passed.
21Look! The LORD is coming from heaven to punish the people of the earth for their sins. The earth will no longer hide those who have been killed. They will be brought out for all to see.
“Your ability to see things from Christ’s ultimately depends on your vantage point.”~TB
We are all given senses and common sense to understand how to navigate the ways of this world. We are also given the choice to be in relationship with our Father in Heaven so that he can give us the Biblical compass to lead lives that bring honor to Him. Using Christ’s compass sharpens our senses, giving us the ability to see things from a Christ-like perspective. Alternatively, using your own vantage point will give you a finite and inaccurate understanding of a flawed world. But friends, just because we are broken does not mean that God’s perspective is. Understand this distinction.
Man’s viewpoint is flawed and judgmental as we are unable to fully understand or practice mercy, grace and forgiveness in our own right. To the undisciplined and untrained, behaviors like submission and forgiveness seem foolish. That is because the ego and flesh tells us that our understanding of right and wrong is correct! From a legalistic standpoint, everything is black and white. In this mindset, it’s ok to judge and condemn your neighbors, family, and friends when they screw up or offend. It’s ok to rob and enslave the naive because they ‘should’ know better and technically you did not break the law. But don’t be fooled, the wicked may seem successful, but according to who’s vantage point?
Friend’s God’s ways are infinite and never fully understood by man. We lack the ability! Fortunately, what is true and what we can rely on is that this life is not as unpredictable as we like to believe. Look at all of the stories in the Bible. If you read them enough, you will see the behaviors and patterns from old have the same themes of your own. Just adopt God’s vantage point, and you will see that His people do the same good, dumb, shameful, repentant deeds since Adam and Eve. These are the same stories, just different people and different times. So in whatever you do, take His vantage point so that you can see the world and its people as God sees you.
How does the view look from where’ you’re sitting?
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1Nevertheless, that time of darkness and despair will not go on forever. The land of Zebulun and Naphtali will be humbled, but there will be a time in the future when Galilee of the Gentiles, which lies along the road that runs between the Jordan and the sea, will be filled with glory.
2The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine.
3You will enlarge the nation of Israel, and its people will rejoice. They will rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest and like warriors dividing the plunder.
4For you will break the yoke of their slavery and lift the heavy burden from their shoulders. You will break the oppressor’s rod, just as you did when you destroyed the army of Midian.
5The boots of the warrior and the uniforms bloodstained by war will all be burned. They will be fuel for the fire.
6For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!
8The Lord has spoken out against Jacob; his judgment has fallen upon Israel.
9And the people of Israel and Samaria, who spoke with such pride and arrogance, will soon know it.
10They said, “We will replace the broken bricks of our ruins with finished stone, and replant the felled sycamore-fig trees with cedars.”
11But the LORD will bring Rezin’s enemies against Israel and stir up all their foes.
12The Syrians from the east and the Philistines from the west will bare their fangs and devour Israel. But even then the LORD ’s anger will not be satisfied. His fist is still poised to strike.
13For after all this punishment, the people will still not repent. They will not seek the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.
14Therefore, in a single day the LORD will destroy both the head and the tail, the noble palm branch and the lowly reed.
15The leaders of Israel are the head, and the lying prophets are the tail.
16For the leaders of the people have misled them. They have led them down the path of destruction.
17That is why the Lord takes no pleasure in the young men and shows no mercy even to the widows and orphans. For they are all wicked hypocrites, and they all speak foolishness. But even then the LORD ’s anger will not be satisfied. His fist is still poised to strike.
18This wickedness is like a brushfire. It burns not only briers and thorns but also sets the forests ablaze. Its burning sends up clouds of smoke.
19The land will be blackened by the fury of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. The people will be fuel for the fire, and no one will spare even his own brother.
20They will attack their neighbor on the right but will still be hungry. They will devour their neighbor on the left but will not be satisfied. In the end they will even eat their own children.
21Manasseh will feed on Ephraim, Ephraim will feed on Manasseh, and both will devour Judah. But even then the LORD ’s anger will not be satisfied. His fist is still poised to strike.
“The enemy will always attack you in your weakest area. The beauty of this is that you know his strategy.”~TB
The devil’s job is to get you off task, off focus, and offline so that you reject the truth and do his bidding. As such, his sneaky underhanded tactics are visceral, jarring, and strategic. He will use any deceptive practice that is the most effective in getting you to stumble. Now, this may seem discouraging. Your weaknesses and footholds will always be where he’ll hit you the hardest. It’s not his job to make your walk with Christ easy, in fact, it’s the total opposite. While you may experience attacks, setbacks, and discouragement, the devil’s unfair play makes it easy to recognize his strategy. Further, if the devil is messing with you so intensely, know it’s because you’re disrupting his plans for discord and destruction. He’ll never go after the lukewarm, so stand firm in Christ and keep moving.
Knowing how the opposition will attack you is like having his playbook to prepare against his moves. Take stock of your weaknesses, vices, and footholds. Knowing your greatest areas of opportunity is the first step in discerning how the opposition is going to attack you. When you experience opposition of any kind, take a step back, calm your feelings, and observe what is going on around you. Remember who made you and that He is available to help you always. Ask God for help in revealing the playing field and the best plan of action to rise above the opposition’s nonsense. Know that the evil one cannot take your salvation and standing with Christ. The best plan of attack is to acknowledge your weak points, ask God for help, and do the work in improving your walk with Christ. Remember, in times of trouble, double down in your faith and not your own understanding. Though you may stumble, God will not let you fall.
Are you using the playbook or are you falling prey to the oppositions dirty tactics?
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1These are more proverbs of Solomon, collected by the advisers of King Hezekiah of Judah.
2It is God’s privilege to conceal things and the king’s privilege to discover them.
3No one can comprehend the height of heaven, the depth of the earth, or all that goes on in the king’s mind!
4Remove the impurities from silver, and the sterling will be ready for the silversmith.
5Remove the wicked from the king’s court, and his reign will be made secure by justice.
6Don’t demand an audience with the king or push for a place among the great.
7It’s better to wait for an invitation to the head table than to be sent away in public disgrace. Just because you’ve seen something,
8don’t be in a hurry to go to court. For what will you do in the end if your neighbor deals you a shameful defeat?
9When arguing with your neighbor, don’t betray another person’s secret.
10Others may accuse you of gossip, and you will never regain your good reputation.
11Timely advice is lovely, like golden apples in a silver basket.
12To one who listens, valid criticism is like a gold earring or other gold jewelry.
13Trustworthy messengers refresh like snow in summer. They revive the spirit of their employer.
14A person who promises a gift but doesn’t give it is like clouds and wind that bring no rain.
15Patience can persuade a prince, and soft speech can break bones.
16Do you like honey? Don’t eat too much, or it will make you sick!
17Don’t visit your neighbors too often, or you will wear out your welcome.
18Telling lies about others is as harmful as hitting them with an ax, wounding them with a sword, or shooting them with a sharp arrow.
19Putting confidence in an unreliable person in times of trouble is like chewing with a broken tooth or walking on a lame foot.
20Singing cheerful songs to a person with a heavy heart is like taking someone’s coat in cold weather or pouring vinegar in a wound.
21If your enemies are hungry, give them food to eat. If they are thirsty, give them water to drink.
22You will heap burning coals of shame on their heads, and the LORD will reward you.
23As surely as a north wind brings rain, so a gossiping tongue causes anger!
24It’s better to live alone in the corner of an attic than with a quarrelsome wife in a lovely home.
25Good news from far away is like cold water to the thirsty.
26If the godly give in to the wicked, it’s like polluting a fountain or muddying a spring.
27It’s not good to eat too much honey, and it’s not good to seek honors for yourself.
28A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls.
“Don’t be alarmed when rocky moments occur in your walk with Christ. It’s not the opposition’s job to make it comfortable.”~TB
God’s workers are in the direct line of fire, standing against the plans of the opposition. For that reason, expect to receive different types of attacks. The devil is no dummy as he focuses his energy on trying to disrupt those who are doing the Lord’s work. His attacks are strategic in that he will hit you in your weakest area. By the sheer nature of your holy employment, expect distractions, disruptions, and derailment. Even though you may experience this level of spiritual warfare, do not forget who to go to when you are weary and could use some assistance.
If the ‘on the job’ injuries become more than you can handle, tap into your holy insurance policy which you can find in the Word. Biblical reading shows you the various battles that God’s faithful people endured. It also shows you how to stand firm and fight these battles. Friends, we are in precarious times and the battlefield is in the mind. We are no longer fighting with bloodshed, but with mindset. Use God’s word and His resources to help reinforce your mindset. When you know that the devil is fighting a losing battle it’s easier to see the playing field for what it truly is.
Are you using your holy insurance to combat the evil one’s attacks?
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1Better a dry crust eaten in peace than a house filled with feasting—and conflict.
2A wise servant will rule over the master’s disgraceful son and will share the inheritance of the master’s children.
3Fire tests the purity of silver and gold, but the LORD tests the heart.
4Wrongdoers eagerly listen to gossip; liars pay close attention to slander.
5Those who mock the poor insult their Maker; those who rejoice at the misfortune of others will be punished.
6Grandchildren are the crowning glory of the aged; parents are the pride of their children.
7Eloquent words are not fitting for a fool; even less are lies fitting for a ruler.
8A bribe is like a lucky charm; whoever gives one will prosper!
9Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends.
10A single rebuke does more for a person of understanding than a hundred lashes on the back of a fool.
11Evil people are eager for rebellion, but they will be severely punished.
12It is safer to meet a bear robbed of her cubs than to confront a fool caught in foolishness.
13If you repay good with evil, evil will never leave your house.
14Starting a quarrel is like opening a floodgate, so stop before a dispute breaks out.
15Acquitting the guilty and condemning the innocent— both are detestable to the LORD .
16It is senseless to pay to educate a fool, since he has no heart for learning.
17A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.
18It’s poor judgment to guarantee another person’s debt or put up security for a friend.
19Anyone who loves to quarrel loves sin; anyone who trusts in high walls invites disaster.
20The crooked heart will not prosper; the lying tongue tumbles into trouble.
21It is painful to be the parent of a fool; there is no joy for the father of a rebel.
22A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.
23The wicked take secret bribes to pervert the course of justice.
24Sensible people keep their eyes glued on wisdom, but a fool’s eyes wander to the ends of the earth.
25Foolish children bring grief to their father and bitterness to the one who gave them birth.
26It is wrong to punish the godly for being good or to flog leaders for being honest.
27A truly wise person uses few words; a person with understanding is even-tempered.
28Even fools are thought wise when they keep silent; with their mouths shut, they seem intelligent.
“Rejoice in the fact that we get to serve a loving and merciful God.”~TB
A “have to” mindset is where you look at life’s tasks with a tedious and duty-bound attitude. In your mind, things just happen to you and you simply react. This lens makes the viewer see things in such a twisted light, it’s no wonder why people struggle to build a relationship with God! Spending time with God is not a chore nor an obligation. Friends, no one is holding a gun to your head. If something in your life sucks, change it. If you cannot see the joy in choosing to follow Christ, check your mindset, or quit pretending. No joy can come from a forced relationship. If you don’t want to know God, then don’t. Just stop pretending like you’re doing Him a favor with your bogus actions.
When you understand all that our Father in Heaven has done, is doing, and will do in your life, you can’t help but have a change in perspective. You’re “have to” mindset shifts into a “get to” viewpoint because you know the price that was paid for you. What once seemed like a chain weighing you down is now a joyous and love-filled activity. Know that God loves you and seeks to have a restorative and everlasting relationship with you. His love is unfailing and unyielding, so be glad you get to experience it. Take the time to cultivate an honest and personal relationship. His wisdom brings joy, peace, and contentment. How wonderful it is to get to know Him!
Are you leading a “get to” or “have to” kind of life?
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1Listen as Wisdom calls out! Hear as understanding raises her voice!
2On the hilltop along the road, she takes her stand at the crossroads.
3By the gates at the entrance to the town, on the road leading in, she cries aloud,
4“I call to you, to all of you! I raise my voice to all people.
5You simple people, use good judgment. You foolish people, show some understanding.
6Listen to me! For I have important things to tell you. Everything I say is right,
7for I speak the truth and detest every kind of deception.
8My advice is wholesome. There is nothing devious or crooked in it.
9My words are plain to anyone with understanding, clear to those with knowledge.
10Choose my instruction rather than silver, and knowledge rather than pure gold.
11For wisdom is far more valuable than rubies. Nothing you desire can compare with it.
12“I, Wisdom, live together with good judgment. I know where to discover knowledge and discernment.
13All who fear the LORD will hate evil. Therefore, I hate pride and arrogance, corruption and perverse speech.
14Common sense and success belong to me. Insight and strength are mine.
15Because of me, kings reign, and rulers make just decrees.
16Rulers lead with my help, and nobles make righteous judgments.
17“I love all who love me. Those who search will surely find me.
18I have riches and honor, as well as enduring wealth and justice.
19My gifts are better than gold, even the purest gold, my wages better than sterling silver!
20I walk in righteousness, in paths of justice.
21Those who love me inherit wealth. I will fill their treasuries.
22“The LORD formed me from the beginning, before he created anything else.
23I was appointed in ages past, at the very first, before the earth began.
24I was born before the oceans were created, before the springs bubbled forth their waters.
25Before the mountains were formed, before the hills, I was born—
26before he had made the earth and fields and the first handfuls of soil.
27I was there when he established the heavens, when he drew the horizon on the oceans.
28I was there when he set the clouds above, when he established springs deep in the earth.
29I was there when he set the limits of the seas, so they would not spread beyond their boundaries. And when he marked off the earth’s foundations,
30I was the architect at his side. I was his constant delight, rejoicing always in his presence.
31And how happy I was with the world he created; how I rejoiced with the human family!
32“And so, my children, listen to me, for all who follow my ways are joyful.
33Listen to my instruction and be wise. Don’t ignore it.
34Joyful are those who listen to me, watching for me daily at my gates, waiting for me outside my home!
35For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the LORD .
36But those who miss me injure themselves. All who hate me love death.”
“We become trapped into our own laziness of lying, cheating, stealing, and wasting time because we hate doing what is right in the sight of God.”~Jon Barnes
Many of us want to tiptoe through our problems and fears by saying we hate reading, working with people, doing something new, following directions, cleaning, exercising, eating right, and the list goes on and on and on.Verbalizing our excuses only helps us to mask and hide our solutions to execute better habits and behaviors.We refuse to change into what God wants for us.Stop following the crowd!
Tap into your help by listening to God and humbling yourself.When God blesses us, we tend to get prideful, nonresponsive, and lazy, as if we have arrived to enter into the “Gates of Heaven”.Then, our pride turns into spiritual gangrene that sets in to stop us from walking into our destiny.Being unprepared, lazy, and not finishing our jobs are clear signs of disorganization, neglect, dirtiness, and overweight attitudes of prideful time mismanagement, which leads to an obese lifestyle of overindulging.
Stay on top of your game by staying honest to your mission, working through your little problems, and mastering the lifestyle God wants you to live.The closer you get to God’s standards, the more disciplined you become, full of love, patience, and kindness, with clear clean words, work, and faith.
Did you go to the gym with God this morning or are you trapped under your pride and laziness?
Enjoy The Reading
For the choir director: A psalm of David, the servant of the Lord.
1 Sin whispers to the wicked, deep within their hearts.[a] They have no fear of God at all. 2 In their blind conceit, they cannot see how wicked they really are. 3 Everything they say is crooked and deceitful. They refuse to act wisely or do good. 4 They lie awake at night, hatching sinful plots. Their actions are never good. They make no attempt to turn from evil.
5 Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. 6 Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the ocean depths. You care for people and animals alike, O Lord. 7 How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings. 8 You feed them from the abundance of your own house, letting them drink from your river of delights. 9 For you are the fountain of life, the light by which we see.
10 Pour out your unfailing love on those who love you; give justice to those with honest hearts. 11 Don’t let the proud trample me or the wicked push me around. 12 Look! Those who do evil have fallen! They are thrown down, never to rise again.
“It is never easy to hear about death, murder, overdose, abuse, ignorance, mayhem and evil that befalls many people.” Jon Barnes
Why are we still dealing with not implementing and using the good solutions doing the right things for ourselves and families?It is a challenge just to follow the rules and regulations to make things fair for everyone. I get it.However, it is easy to follow simple steps of organized kindness, educated movements, and musical movements in the direction of hope and justice.
There is no reason to fake who you are, so just be good and do the easy steps of improving your life with God.The reality of positive change comes quickly and the fruit of your love is explosive.It may seem like evil is winning the battle, but that is just not the case.Death is the conclusion of all evil and wicked people will meet their maker soon enough.God has an easy solution about justice in His Own Time, soon for all of us.
Notice the route and path of wicked people and go in the opposite direction to follow God.That is the only alternative.Bless God for giving us a mind to do good, prepare, and work out our faith in Him.It is refreshing to hear and see the results of the good work and stories I read about people all around the world.Be thankful for the ease of how God operates and cares for us all.Count our challenges as all joy, with a smile of thanksgiving.
Is it that easy for you to become negative, mad, and out of control, as you always assume the worst in your situations and challenges?
Enjoy The Reading
2 Kings 25
25 So on January 15,[a] during the ninth year of Zedekiah’s reign, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon led his entire army against Jerusalem. They surrounded the city and built siege ramps against its walls.2 Jerusalem was kept under siege until the eleventh year of King Zedekiah’s reign.
3 By July 18 in the eleventh year of Zedekiah’s reign,[b] the famine in the city had become very severe, and the last of the food was entirely gone.4 Then a section of the city wall was broken down. Since the city was surrounded by the Babylonians,[c] the soldiers waited for nightfall and escaped[d] through the gate between the two walls behind the king’s garden. Then they headed toward the Jordan Valley.[e]
5 But the Babylonian[f] troops chased the king and overtook him on the plains of Jericho, for his men had all deserted him and scattered.6 They captured the king and took him to the king of Babylon at Riblah, where they pronounced judgment upon Zedekiah.7 They made Zedekiah watch as they slaughtered his sons. Then they gouged out Zedekiah’s eyes, bound him in bronze chains, and led him away to Babylon.
The Temple Destroyed
8 On August 14 of that year,[g] which was the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard and an official of the Babylonian king, arrived in Jerusalem.9 He burned down the Temple of the Lord, the royal palace, and all the houses of Jerusalem. He destroyed all the important buildings[h] in the city.10 Then he supervised the entire Babylonian army as they tore down the walls of Jerusalem on every side.11 Then Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, took as exiles the rest of the people who remained in the city, the defectors who had declared their allegiance to the king of Babylon, and the rest of the population.12 But the captain of the guard allowed some of the poorest people to stay behind to care for the vineyards and fields.
13 The Babylonians broke up the bronze pillars in front of the Lord’s Temple, the bronze water carts, and the great bronze basin called the Sea, and they carried all the bronze away to Babylon.14 They also took all the ash buckets, shovels, lamp snuffers, ladles, and all the other bronze articles used for making sacrifices at the Temple.15 The captain of the guard also took the incense burners and basins, and all the other articles made of pure gold or silver.
16 The weight of the bronze from the two pillars, the Sea, and the water carts was too great to be measured. These things had been made for the Lord’s Temple in the days of Solomon.17 Each of the pillars was 27 feet[i] tall. The bronze capital on top of each pillar was 7 1⁄2 feet[j]high and was decorated with a network of bronze pomegranates all the way around.
18 Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, took with him as prisoners Seraiah the high priest, Zephaniah the priest of the second rank, and the three chief gatekeepers.19 And from among the people still hiding in the city, he took an officer who had been in charge of the Judean army; five of the king’s personal advisers; the army commander’s chief secretary, who was in charge of recruitment; and sixty other citizens.20 Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, took them all to the king of Babylon at Riblah.21 And there at Riblah, in the land of Hamath, the king of Babylon had them all put to death. So the people of Judah were sent into exile from their land.
Gedaliah Governs in Judah
22 Then King Nebuchadnezzar appointed Gedaliah son of Ahikam and grandson of Shaphan as governor over the people he had left in Judah.23 When all the army commanders and their men learned that the king of Babylon had appointed Gedaliah as governor, they went to see him at Mizpah. These included Ishmael son of Nethaniah, Johanan son of Kareah, Seraiah son of Tanhumeth the Netophathite, Jezaniah[k] son of the Maacathite, and all their men.
24 Gedaliah vowed to them that the Babylonian officials meant them no harm. “Don’t be afraid of them. Live in the land and serve the king of Babylon, and all will go well for you,” he promised.
25 But in midautumn of that year,[l] Ishmael son of Nethaniah and grandson of Elishama, who was a member of the royal family, went to Mizpah with ten men and killed Gedaliah. He also killed all the Judeans and Babylonians who were with him at Mizpah.
26 Then all the people of Judah, from the least to the greatest, as well as the army commanders, fled in panic to Egypt, for they were afraid of what the Babylonians would do to them.
Hope for Israel’s Royal Line
27 In the thirty-seventh year of the exile of King Jehoiachin of Judah, Evil-merodach ascended to the Babylonian throne. He was kind to[m] Jehoiachin and released him[n] from prison on April 2 of that year.[o]28 He spoke kindly to Jehoiachin and gave him a higher place than all the other exiled kings in Babylon.29 He supplied Jehoiachin with new clothes to replace his prison garb and allowed him to dine in the king’s presence for the rest of his life.30 So the king gave him a regular food allowance as long as he lived.
“Forward thinking, living, and loving good works come with the price tag of past experience, knowledge, and belief that God created all things to support us and our seeds; and we were planted to multiply and be harvested at an appointed time.” ~ Jon Barnes
God’s love story about us is a source of light that quickly flickers and expands within a small amount of time, compared to eternity. Our present experience with Him is a compass that points right or left into your soul’s new destiny of infinity. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the light of the direction of Heaven and the opposite choice is obviously Hell. You are playing and paying for your choices right now, based on your knowledge of God’s History and Actions of faith in His Love. Do all the good you can do to follow God and not mankind.
God answers our sincere questions about life, love, and purpose as we actively pursue and discover His ways, lessons and lifestyle. The past is used as a measurement of success and not a dagger to create a mess of misunderstanding, confusion, and anger. Properly use History in the right context to spread hope, love, and healing. Nothing is hidden from God and all time and ages ticks like a clock before His Eyes, like the Present.
Evil is a rat, spinning and running in a cage to nowhere, doing the opposite of what God has designed for mankind. Wickedness is like a Google search to kill, steal, and destroy your mind. Being stuck in the past, living in the same mistake of mass destruction, does not allow time for you to learn, give, and take God’s loving instructions. Stop beating people up with their past mistakes and point to God’s Grace with Future Now Mentality. Jesus paid the price for your future outlook on God and paved the way for you and me to move out of hell into Heaven.
Can you perceive time as being still to understand God’s test and drill or will you keep moving like a dumb rat, not knowing who you are or where you are at?
Enjoy Today’s Reading
Jesus Sentenced to Death
19 Then Pilate had Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip.2 The soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and they put a purple robe on him.3 “Hail! King of the Jews!” they mocked, as they slapped him across the face.
4 Pilate went outside again and said to the people, “I am going to bring him out to you now, but understand clearly that I find him not guilty.”5 Then Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said, “Look, here is the man!”
6 When they saw him, the leading priests and Temple guards began shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”
“Take him yourselves and crucify him,” Pilate said. “I find him not guilty.”
7 The Jewish leaders replied, “By our law he ought to die because he called himself the Son of God.”
8 When Pilate heard this, he was more frightened than ever.9 He took Jesus back into the headquarters[a] again and asked him, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave no answer.10 “Why don’t you talk to me?” Pilate demanded. “Don’t you realize that I have the power to release you or crucify you?”
11 Then Jesus said, “You would have no power over me at all unless it were given to you from above. So the one who handed me over to you has the greater sin.”
12 Then Pilate tried to release him, but the Jewish leaders shouted, “If you release this man, you are no ‘friend of Caesar.’[b] Anyone who declares himself a king is a rebel against Caesar.”
13 When they said this, Pilate brought Jesus out to them again. Then Pilate sat down on the judgment seat on the platform that is called the Stone Pavement (in Hebrew, Gabbatha).14 It was now about noon on the day of preparation for the Passover. And Pilate said to the people,[c] “Look, here is your king!”
15 “Away with him,” they yelled. “Away with him! Crucify him!”
“What? Crucify your king?” Pilate asked.
“We have no king but Caesar,” the leading priests shouted back.
16 Then Pilate turned Jesus over to them to be crucified.
So they took Jesus away.17 Carrying the cross by himself, he went to the place called Place of the Skull (in Hebrew, Golgotha).18 There they nailed him to the cross. Two others were crucified with him, one on either side, with Jesus between them.19 And Pilate posted a sign on the cross that read, “Jesus of Nazareth,[d] the King of the Jews.”20 The place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek, so that many people could read it.
21 Then the leading priests objected and said to Pilate, “Change it from ‘The King of the Jews’ to ‘He said, I am King of the Jews.’”
22 Pilate replied, “No, what I have written, I have written.”
23 When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they divided his clothes among the four of them. They also took his robe, but it was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom.24 So they said, “Rather than tearing it apart, let’s throw dice[e] for it.” This fulfilled the Scripture that says, “They divided my garments among themselves and threw dice for my clothing.”[f] So that is what they did.
25 Standing near the cross were Jesus’ mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary (the wife of Clopas), and Mary Magdalene.26 When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.”27 And he said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on this disciple took her into his home.
The Death of Jesus
28 Jesus knew that his mission was now finished, and to fulfill Scripture he said, “I am thirsty.”[g]29 A jar of sour wine was sitting there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put it on a hyssop branch, and held it up to his lips.30 When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
31 It was the day of preparation, and the Jewish leaders didn’t want the bodies hanging there the next day, which was the Sabbath (and a very special Sabbath, because it was Passover week). So they asked Pilate to hasten their deaths by ordering that their legs be broken. Then their bodies could be taken down.32 So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the two men crucified with Jesus.33 But when they came to Jesus, they saw that he was already dead, so they didn’t break his legs.34 One of the soldiers, however, pierced his side with a spear, and immediately blood and water flowed out.35 (This report is from an eyewitness giving an accurate account. He speaks the truth so that you also may continue to believe.[h])36 These things happened in fulfillment of the Scriptures that say, “Not one of his bones will be broken,”[i]37 and “They will look on the one they pierced.”[j]
The Burial of Jesus
38 Afterward Joseph of Arimathea, who had been a secret disciple of Jesus (because he feared the Jewish leaders), asked Pilate for permission to take down Jesus’ body. When Pilate gave permission, Joseph came and took the body away.39 With him came Nicodemus, the man who had come to Jesus at night. He brought about seventy-five pounds[k] of perfumed ointment made from myrrh and aloes.40 Following Jewish burial custom, they wrapped Jesus’ body with the spices in long sheets of linen cloth.41 The place of crucifixion was near a garden, where there was a new tomb, never used before.42 And so, because it was the day of preparation for the Jewish Passover[l] and since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.