At Some Point

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“At some point, you have to let go of the opinions of man and be who God made you to be.”

TB

Cha-Ching

There is a price to pay for walking the path of Christ. As people on this earth, we must choose our path– God or Evil. While that may seem hyperbolic, when you look at it for what it truly is, it makes your choices quite simple. Note that simple does not mean easy. Good cannot walk with evil and as such, the walk with God will filter out a lot of people, distractions, and the like. Fortunately, God will find ways to keep you busy. But, make no mistake, there is a secular loss. You will look weird. People will look down on you, all the while trying to exploit your honest efforts. Your best intentions will fall on deaf ears as their hearts and minds are hardened. Sometimes, it can be hard, challenging, and hurtful. But friends, the price you pay in the natural is eclipsed by the magnitude of calling Jesus your savior.

All In

Be all in with God and He will show you amazing things! When you operate according to the One who made you, you find it much easier to be yourself– no assembly necessary. There will be hardship, trials, and tribulations, but make no mistake, you were built to endure. Take Jeremiah for example. That dude had quite the task! He had to go to some of the most wicked folks in his time to tell them some very unpopular things! And, for his trouble, he was beaten, jailed, mocked, and other unpleasant things. But, as we are reading, what he said came to pass, and God took care of him! So I say all of this to say, we could all take a page out of Jeremiah’s book. Let’s be who God created us to be, discomfort and all.

Today’s Question

Are you being who God made you to be or is the favor of a wayward nation more important to you?

Enjoy the reading

Jeremiah 40

1 The LORD gave a message to Jeremiah after Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, had released him at Ramah. He had found Jeremiah bound in chains among all the other captives of Jerusalem and Judah who were being sent to exile in Babylon. 2 The captain of the guard called for Jeremiah and said, “The LORD your God has brought this disaster on this land, 3 just as he said he would. For these people have sinned against the LORD and disobeyed him. That is why it happened. 4 But I am going to take off your chains and let you go. If you want to come with me to Babylon, you are welcome. I will see that you are well cared for. But if you don’t want to come, you may stay here. The whole land is before you—go wherever you like. 5 If you decide to stay, then return to Gedaliah son of Ahikam and grandson of Shaphan. He has been appointed governor of Judah by the king of Babylon. Stay there with the people he rules. But it’s up to you; go wherever you like.” Then Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, gave Jeremiah some food and money and let him go. 6 So Jeremiah returned to Gedaliah son of Ahikam at Mizpah, and he lived in Judah with the few who were still left in the land. 7 The leaders of the Judean guerrilla bands in the countryside heard that the king of Babylon had appointed Gedaliah son of Ahikam as governor over the poor people who were left behind in Judah—the men, women, and children who hadn’t been exiled to Babylon. 8 So they went to see Gedaliah at Mizpah. These included: Ishmael son of Nethaniah, Johanan and Jonathan sons of Kareah, Seraiah son of Tanhumeth, the sons of Ephai the Netophathite, Jezaniah son of the Maacathite, and all their men. 9 Gedaliah vowed to them that the Babylonians meant them no harm. “Don’t be afraid to serve them. Live in the land and serve the king of Babylon, and all will go well for you,” he promised. 10 “As for me, I will stay at Mizpah to represent you before the Babylonians who come to meet with us. Settle in the towns you have taken, and live off the land. Harvest the grapes and summer fruits and olives, and store them away.” 11 When the Judeans in Moab, Ammon, Edom, and the other nearby countries heard that the king of Babylon had left a few people in Judah and that Gedaliah was the governor, 12 they began to return to Judah from the places to which they had fled. They stopped at Mizpah to meet with Gedaliah and then went into the Judean countryside to gather a great harvest of grapes and other crops. 13 Soon after this, Johanan son of Kareah and the other guerrilla leaders came to Gedaliah at Mizpah. 14 They said to him, “Did you know that Baalis, king of Ammon, has sent Ishmael son of Nethaniah to assassinate you?” But Gedaliah refused to believe them. 15 Later Johanan had a private conference with Gedaliah and volunteered to kill Ishmael secretly. “Why should we let him come and murder you?” Johanan asked. “What will happen then to the Judeans who have returned? Why should the few of us who are still left be scattered and lost?” 16 But Gedaliah said to Johanan, “I forbid you to do any such thing, for you are lying about Ishmael.”

First Person

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“In order to build an authentic relationship with God, you must live a first person life.”~TB

Unreliable

I recently purchased a patio set that required some work to put it together. To give myself an understanding of what to expect, I read the reviews of people who had purchased the set. To my dismay, most said the process was hard, arduous, and not worth the effect. This made me avoid the project, dreading the idea of taking on such a difficult task. Yesterday, I finally got down to business, and not only did it take me about an hour, it was pretty straightforward and easy! Even more ironic, I enjoy putting things together, so why I allowed the opinions of others impede on my task is beyond me. As I sat on my newly built furniture, I laughed at myself because it had taken me an extra week to finish an easy and enjoyable project. I couldn’t help but see the correlation between how we pursue or don’t pursue a relationship with Christ based on the opinions of others.

In Real Time

When we live our lives based on the opinions and experiences of others, we fall prey to not truly living at all! The same can be said about knowing God. Just because you perceive that your buddy Joe is a Christian, that doesn’t mean he has all of the answers about God’s will for your life. That’s between you and God, not Joe. More to the point, most of us rely on faulty stories from other people that discourage us from knowing Him, only to find out that building that vital relationship was nothing like the bill of goods you were sold! Friends, walking with God is a first-person adventure. Your mother, brother, sister, daughter, son, pastor, teacher, or preacher cannot walk that walk for you. Even the wisest person is still unreliable in terms of perfectly exemplifying the behavior of Christ. So you must get to know him, otherwise you can fall prey to the false testimony of those who do now know Him.

Today’s Question

Are you actively walking with God, or are you getting advice from an unreliable source?

Enjoy the reading

Jeremiah 37

1 Zedekiah son of Josiah succeeded Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim as the king of Judah. He was appointed by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. 2 But neither King Zedekiah nor his attendants nor the people who were left in the land listened to what the LORD said through Jeremiah. 3 Nevertheless, King Zedekiah sent Jehucal son of Shelemiah, and Zephaniah the priest, son of Maaseiah, to ask Jeremiah, “Please pray to the LORD our God for us.” 4 Jeremiah had not yet been imprisoned, so he could come and go among the people as he pleased. 5 At this time the army of Pharaoh Hophra of Egypt appeared at the southern border of Judah. When the Babylonian army heard about it, they withdrew from their siege of Jerusalem. 6 Then the LORD gave this message to Jeremiah: 7 “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: The king of Judah sent you to ask me what is going to happen. Tell him, ‘Pharaoh’s army is about to return to Egypt, though he came here to help you. 8 Then the Babylonians will come back and capture this city and burn it to the ground.’ 9 “This is what the LORD says: Do not fool yourselves into thinking that the Babylonians are gone for good. They aren’t! 10 Even if you were to destroy the entire Babylonian army, leaving only a handful of wounded survivors, they would still stagger from their tents and burn this city to the ground!” 11 When the Babylonian army left Jerusalem because of Pharaoh’s approaching army, 12 Jeremiah started to leave the city on his way to the territory of Benjamin, to claim his share of the property among his relatives there. 13 But as he was walking through the Benjamin Gate, a sentry arrested him and said, “You are defecting to the Babylonians!” The sentry making the arrest was Irijah son of Shelemiah, grandson of Hananiah. 14 “That’s not true!” Jeremiah protested. “I had no intention of doing any such thing.” But Irijah wouldn’t listen, and he took Jeremiah before the officials. 15 They were furious with Jeremiah and had him flogged and imprisoned in the house of Jonathan the secretary. Jonathan’s house had been converted into a prison. 16 Jeremiah was put into a dungeon cell, where he remained for many days. 17 Later King Zedekiah secretly requested that Jeremiah come to the palace, where the king asked him, “Do you have any messages from the LORD ?” “Yes, I do!” said Jeremiah. “You will be defeated by the king of Babylon.” 18 Then Jeremiah asked the king, “What crime have I committed? What have I done against you, your attendants, or the people that I should be imprisoned like this? 19 Where are your prophets now who told you the king of Babylon would not attack you or this land? 20 Listen, my lord the king, I beg you. Don’t send me back to the dungeon in the house of Jonathan the secretary, for I will die there.” 21 So King Zedekiah commanded that Jeremiah not be returned to the dungeon. Instead, he was imprisoned in the courtyard of the guard in the royal palace. The king also commanded that Jeremiah be given a loaf of fresh bread every day as long as there was any left in the city. So Jeremiah was put in the palace prison.

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!

Resources

wallet-1013789_1920.jpg

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Resources are meant to be used to grow with Christ, not to replace Him.”~TB

Just Stuff

A major balancing act in the Christian walk is utilizing and appreciating the resources that God gives us without allowing them to take on a god-like persona. If we’re honest, I’m sure we all have had moments where we want God’s ‘stuff’ more than we want Him. I don’t know about you, but for me, that’s a tough pill to swallow because the truth of the matter, money, cars, fame, notoriety are really just stuff. More to the point, wanting stuff more than we want God is quite sad and a major indictment on what we value as a collective. As someone who has experience with first-world niceties, I can say for certain, the best manmade things do not hold a candle to being in the presence of the Lord.

Remain in Him

These days, everything I have is a resource to remain in Christ. My money, time, love, etc. are poured into building my relationships with my family, spending time with God, sharing His Truth with others, and things of the like. That’s not to say I’m perfect, oh, I’m far from it. Over time, I’ve come to learn to hang out with God more, glean His insights, which helps me to make better decisions.  He has shown and taught me how wonderful it is to walk with Him and the resources He gives me are to grow stronger in Him. Friends, we have to evaluate how we look at things. Most of the time, we want ‘stuff’ just to impress others. The things of this world are temporary. We cannot take them with us when we go. But, the relationship we forge with Christ is everlasting, so enjoy the resources, but make sure they point back to Him.

Today’s Question

Do you want God’s resources or God Himself?

Enjoy the reading

Jeremiah 22

1 This is what the LORD said to me: “Go over and speak directly to the king of Judah. Say to him, 
2 ‘Listen to this message from the LORD, you king of Judah, sitting on David’s throne. Let your attendants and your people listen, too. 
3 This is what the LORD says: Be fair-minded and just. Do what is right! Help those who have been robbed; rescue them from their oppressors. Quit your evil deeds! Do not mistreat foreigners, orphans, and widows. Stop murdering the innocent! 
4 If you obey me, there will always be a descendant of David sitting on the throne here in Jerusalem. The king will ride through the palace gates in chariots and on horses, with his parade of attendants and subjects. 
5 But if you refuse to pay attention to this warning, I swear by my own name, says the LORD, that this palace will become a pile of rubble.’” 
6 Now this is what the LORD says concerning Judah’s royal palace: “I love you as much as fruitful Gilead and the green forests of Lebanon. But I will turn you into a desert, with no one living within your walls. 
7 I will call for wreckers, who will bring out their tools to dismantle you. They will tear out all your fine cedar beams and throw them on the fire. 
8 “People from many nations will pass by the ruins of this city and say to one another, ‘Why did the LORD destroy such a great city?’ 
9 And the answer will be, ‘Because they violated their covenant with the LORD their God by worshiping other gods.’” 
10 Do not weep for the dead king or mourn his loss. Instead, weep for the captive king being led away! For he will never return to see his native land again. 
11 For this is what the LORD says about Jehoahaz, who succeeded his father, King Josiah, and was taken away as a captive: “He will never return. 
12 He will die in a distant land and will never again see his own country.” 
13 And the LORD says, “What sorrow awaits Jehoiakim, who builds his palace with forced labor. He builds injustice into its walls, for he makes his neighbors work for nothing. He does not pay them for their labor. 
14 He says, ‘I will build a magnificent palace with huge rooms and many windows. I will panel it throughout with fragrant cedar and paint it a lovely red.’ 
15 But a beautiful cedar palace does not make a great king! Your father, Josiah, also had plenty to eat and drink. But he was just and right in all his dealings. That is why God blessed him. 
16 He gave justice and help to the poor and needy, and everything went well for him. Isn’t that what it means to know me?” says the LORD . 
17 “But you! You have eyes only for greed and dishonesty! You murder the innocent, oppress the poor, and reign ruthlessly.” 
18 Therefore, this is what the LORD says about Jehoiakim, son of King Josiah: “The people will not mourn for him, crying to one another, ‘Alas, my brother! Alas, my sister!’ His subjects will not mourn for him, crying, ‘Alas, our master is dead! Alas, his splendor is gone!’ 
19 He will be buried like a dead donkey— dragged out of Jerusalem and dumped outside the gates! 
20 Weep for your allies in Lebanon. Shout for them in Bashan. Search for them in the regions east of the river. See, they are all destroyed. Not one is left to help you. 
21 I warned you when you were prosperous, but you replied, ‘Don’t bother me.’ You have been that way since childhood— you simply will not obey me! 
22 And now the wind will blow away your allies. All your friends will be taken away as captives. Surely then you will see your wickedness and be ashamed. 
23 It may be nice to live in a beautiful palace paneled with wood from the cedars of Lebanon, but soon you will groan with pangs of anguish— anguish like that of a woman in labor. 
24 “As surely as I live,” says the LORD, “I will abandon you, Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah. Even if you were the signet ring on my right hand, I would pull you off. 
25 I will hand you over to those who seek to kill you, those you so desperately fear—to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and the mighty Babylonian army. 
26 I will expel you and your mother from this land, and you will die in a foreign country, not in your native land. 
27 You will never again return to the land you yearn for. 
28 “Why is this man Jehoiachin like a discarded, broken jar? Why are he and his children to be exiled to a foreign land? 
29 O earth, earth, earth! Listen to this message from the LORD ! 
30 This is what the LORD says: ‘Let the record show that this man Jehoiachin was childless. He is a failure, for none of his children will succeed him on the throne of David to rule over Judah.’

Cover Up

0D690569-5EAF-4B9E-BAE8-645352DE6563

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“It’s better to stab someone in the front than the back, because at least you’re being honest.”~TB

Make Believe

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.

Today’s Question

Are you being honest or is it a cover up?

Isaiah 44

1 “But now, listen to me, Jacob my servant, Israel my chosen one.
2 The LORD who made you and helps you says: Do not be afraid, O Jacob, my servant, O dear Israel, my chosen one.
3 For 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.
4 They will thrive like watered grass, like willows on a riverbank.
5 Some 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.”
6 This 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.
7 Who 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.
8 Do 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!”
9 How 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.
10 Who but a fool would make his own god— an idol that cannot help him one bit?
11 All 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.
12 The 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.
14 He cuts down cedars; he selects the cypress and the oak; he plants the pine in the forest to be nourished by the rain.
15 Then 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!
16 He 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!”
18 Such stupidity and ignorance! Their eyes are closed, and they cannot see. Their minds are shut, and they cannot think.
19 The 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?”
20 The 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.
22 I 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.”
23 Sing, 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.
24 This 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?
25 I 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.
26 But 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!’
27 When I speak to the rivers and say, ‘Dry up!’ they will be dry.
28 When 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.’”

Standard

5D20C50B-63AF-4B9E-BE53-BFA3F8E3EDB8

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“God does not treat us like puppets or slaves, so let’s not do that to each other.”~TB

Not That

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.

Slippery Slope

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.

Today’s Question

Are you accepting bad behavior?

Enjoy the reading

Isaiah 36

1 In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah’s reign, King Sennacherib of Assyria came to attack the fortified towns of Judah and conquered them.
2 Then 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.
3 These 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.
4 Then 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?
5 Do you think that mere words can substitute for military skill and strength? Who are you counting on, that you have rebelled against me?
6 On 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!
9 With 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?
10 What’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!’”
11 Then 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.”
12 But 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.”
13 Then 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!
14 This is what the king says: Don’t let Hezekiah deceive you. He will never be able to rescue you.
15 Don’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.
17 Then 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?
19 What happened to the gods of Hamath and Arpad? And what about the gods of Sepharvaim? Did any god rescue Samaria from my power?
20 What 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?”
21 But the people were silent and did not utter a word because Hezekiah had commanded them, “Do not answer him.”
22 Then 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.

Pillar of Salt

EAE6C439-9DC0-4277-B291-8E00E7F2CF93

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“When the Hand of God changes your life, going back is futile and useless.”~TB

Opening

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.

 

 

Forward

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.

Today’s Question

Are you stuck in your past?

Enjoy the reading

Isaiah 26

1 In 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.
3 You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!
4 Trust in the LORD always, for the LORD GOD is the eternal Rock.
5 He humbles the proud and brings down the arrogant city. He brings it down to the dust.
6 The 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.
8 LORD, we show our trust in you by obeying your laws; our heart’s desire is to glorify your name.
9 In 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.
10 Your 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.
11 O 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.
12 LORD, you will grant us peace; all we have accomplished is really from you.
13 O 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.
15 O LORD, you have made our nation great; yes, you have made us great. You have extended our borders, and we give you the glory!
16 LORD, in distress we searched for you. We prayed beneath the burden of your discipline.
17 Just as a pregnant woman writhes and cries out in pain as she gives birth, so were we in your presence, LORD .
18 We, too, writhe in agony, but nothing comes of our suffering. We have not given salvation to the earth, nor brought life into the world.
19 But 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!
20 Go home, my people, and lock your doors! Hide yourselves for a little while until the LORD ’s anger has passed.
21 Look! 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.

Vantage Point

5BFAA404-AE6A-4031-B991-9C147346DEB4

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Your ability to see things from Christ’s ultimately depends on your vantage point.”~TB

Senses

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

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?

Holy Perspective

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.

 

Today’s Question

How does the view look from where’ you’re sitting?

Enjoy the reading

Isaiah 9

1 Nevertheless, 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.
2 The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine.
3 You 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.
4 For 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.
6 For 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.
7 His 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!
8 The Lord has spoken out against Jacob; his judgment has fallen upon Israel.
9 And the people of Israel and Samaria, who spoke with such pride and arrogance, will soon know it.
10 They said, “We will replace the broken bricks of our ruins with finished stone, and replant the felled sycamore-fig trees with cedars.”
11 But the LORD will bring Rezin’s enemies against Israel and stir up all their foes.
12 The 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.
13 For after all this punishment, the people will still not repent. They will not seek the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.
14 Therefore, 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.
16 For the leaders of the people have misled them. They have led them down the path of destruction.
17 That 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.
19 The 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.
20 They 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.
21 Manasseh 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.

Strategy

checkmate-1511866_1920.jpg

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“The enemy will always attack you in your weakest area. The beauty of this is that you know his strategy.”~TB

Deception

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.

Cheat Sheet

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.

Today’s Question

Are you using the playbook or are you falling prey to the oppositions dirty tactics?

Enjoy the reading

Proverbs 25

1 These are more proverbs of Solomon, collected by the advisers of King Hezekiah of Judah. 
2 It is God’s privilege to conceal things and the king’s privilege to discover them. 
3 No 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. 
5 Remove the wicked from the king’s court, and his reign will be made secure by justice. 
6 Don’t demand an audience with the king or push for a place among the great. 
7 It’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, 
8 don’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? 
9 When arguing with your neighbor, don’t betray another person’s secret. 
10 Others may accuse you of gossip, and you will never regain your good reputation. 
11Timely advice is lovely, like golden apples in a silver basket. 
12 To 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. 
14 A person who promises a gift but doesn’t give it is like clouds and wind that bring no rain. 
15 Patience can persuade a prince, and soft speech can break bones. 
16 Do you like honey? Don’t eat too much, or it will make you sick! 
17 Don’t visit your neighbors too often, or you will wear out your welcome. 
18 Telling lies about others is as harmful as hitting them with an ax, wounding them with a sword, or shooting them with a sharp arrow. 
19 Putting confidence in an unreliable person in times of trouble is like chewing with a broken tooth or walking on a lame foot. 
20 Singing cheerful songs to a person with a heavy heart is like taking someone’s coat in cold weather or pouring vinegar in a wound. 
21 If your enemies are hungry, give them food to eat. If they are thirsty, give them water to drink. 
22 You will heap burning coals of shame on their heads, and the LORD will reward you. 
23 As surely as a north wind brings rain, so a gossiping tongue causes anger! 
24 It’s better to live alone in the corner of an attic than with a quarrelsome wife in a lovely home. 
25 Good news from far away is like cold water to the thirsty. 
26 If the godly give in to the wicked, it’s like polluting a fountain or muddying a spring. 
27 It’s not good to eat too much honey, and it’s not good to seek honors for yourself.
28 A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls.

Derail

train-crash-396263_1280.jpg

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“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

Occupational Hazard

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.

 

Holy Insurance

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.

Today’s Question

Are you using your holy insurance to combat the evil one’s attacks?

Enjoy the reading

Proverbs 17

1 Better a dry crust eaten in peace than a house filled with feasting—and conflict. 
2 A wise servant will rule over the master’s disgraceful son and will share the inheritance of the master’s children. 
3 Fire tests the purity of silver and gold, but the LORD tests the heart. 
4 Wrongdoers 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. 
7 Eloquent words are not fitting for a fool; even less are lies fitting for a ruler. 
8 A bribe is like a lucky charm; whoever gives one will prosper!
9 Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends. 
10 A single rebuke does more for a person of understanding than a hundred lashes on the back of a fool. 
11 Evil people are eager for rebellion, but they will be severely punished. 
12 It is safer to meet a bear robbed of her cubs than to confront a fool caught in foolishness. 
13 If you repay good with evil, evil will never leave your house. 
14 Starting 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 . 
16 It is senseless to pay to educate a fool, since he has no heart for learning. 
17 A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need. 
18 It’s poor judgment to guarantee another person’s debt or put up security for a friend. 
19 Anyone who loves to quarrel loves sin; anyone who trusts in high walls invites disaster. 
20 The crooked heart will not prosper; the lying tongue tumbles into trouble. 
21 It 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. 
23 The wicked take secret bribes to pervert the course of justice. 
24 Sensible people keep their eyes glued on wisdom, but a fool’s eyes wander to the ends of the earth. 
25 Foolish children bring grief to their father and bitterness to the one who gave them birth. 
26 It is wrong to punish the godly for being good or to flog leaders for being honest. 
27 A 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.