“Whatever you ‘lose’ on your walk with God, you will receive way more in return.”~TB
Walking with Christ, you will lose things. Friends that you thought would be around forever, activities that gave you temporary pleasure, and a mindset that led you astray. In the beginning, this loss, this “sacrifice” seems punitive and unfair. The people and the activities that once orbited your life no longer hold the same influence or joy. In this stage, it can feel more like a punishment than a blessing, but in time, you will see the change in tide that will lead you to better things.
A relationship with Christ is the key to the self-imposed shackles that we place on ourselves. It’s funny, because some people will say that following God is restricting, but in reality, it’s actually quite liberating. You’re free to think objectively, not bowing down to the pressures of modern society. You know not to through away your hard-earned money on vanity and fruitless endeavors. You learn to love your neighbor as God loves you because you’ve experienced the Hand of God on your life. There is a freedom in Christ that is unlike any other, and if you take the time to study, listen, and learn it is way more than any man-made gift on this earth.
Are you way more interested in the truth or society’s shackles?
Enjoy the Reading
1What sorrow awaits those who look to Egypt for help, trusting their horses, chariots, and charioteers and depending on the strength of human armies instead of looking to the LORD, the Holy One of Israel.
2In his wisdom, the LORD will send great disaster; he will not change his mind. He will rise against the wicked and against their helpers.
3For these Egyptians are mere humans, not God! Their horses are puny flesh, not mighty spirits! When the LORD raises his fist against them, those who help will stumble, and those being helped will fall. They will all fall down and die together.
4But this is what the LORD has told me: “When a strong young lion stands growling over a sheep it has killed, it is not frightened by the shouts and noise of a whole crowd of shepherds. In the same way, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will come down and fight on Mount Zion.
5The LORD of Heaven’s Armies will hover over Jerusalem and protect it like a bird protecting its nest. He will defend and save the city; he will pass over it and rescue it.”
6Though you are such wicked rebels, my people, come and return to the LORD .
7I know the glorious day will come when each of you will throw away the gold idols and silver images your sinful hands have made.
8“The Assyrians will be destroyed, but not by the swords of men. The sword of God will strike them, and they will panic and flee. The strong young Assyrians will be taken away as captives.
9Even the strongest will quake with terror, and princes will flee when they see your battle flags,” says the LORD, whose fire burns in Zion, whose flame blazes from Jerusalem
“In order to have a real relationship with God, you must first be real with yourself.”~TB
Our society has done a great job getting people to pretend to be something they are not. Many spend time chasing things and people that don’t actually align with who they are, what they value, and the list goes on. So, if you can’t even be real for your sake, how will you maintain a real relationship with God? He knows you, but do you know you?
God calls us for our own unique position and purpose. It takes certain characteristics and personalities to fill specific jobs. We are made according to our purpose. Of course, if I’m being you and you’re being me, how well can we fulfill our roles? Drop the act, stop being who you think you ought to be and be who God made you to be. It’s much easier than putting up a facade. More importantly, it’s how you grow deeper with your connection to Christ.
When you keep it real with God, the shame of what you ‘lack’ lessens because you know where to fill your cup. If you’re looking to the world to replenish your needs, you will always come up short and lacking. Knowing Christ’s identity and His purpose goes a long way in growing your maturity. When you’re young and dumb, the flashy glitter of the world is worth throwing away your authentic self for a pat on the back and a path to Hell. As you spiritually grow, you will value the realness of God and the unique qualities He has bestowed upon you.
Are you keeping it real or are you really faking it?
Enjoy the reading
1Isaiah son of Amoz received this message concerning the destruction of Babylon:
2“Raise a signal flag on a bare hilltop. Call up an army against Babylon. Wave your hand to encourage them as they march into the palaces of the high and mighty.
3I, the LORD, have dedicated these soldiers for this task. Yes, I have called mighty warriors to express my anger, and they will rejoice when I am exalted.”
4Hear the noise on the mountains! Listen, as the vast armies march! It is the noise and shouting of many nations. The LORD of Heaven’s Armies has called this army together.
5They come from distant countries, from beyond the farthest horizons. They are the LORD ’s weapons to carry out his anger. With them he will destroy the whole land.
6Scream in terror, for the day of the LORD has arrived— the time for the Almighty to destroy.
7Every arm is paralyzed with fear. Every heart melts,
8and people are terrified. Pangs of anguish grip them, like those of a woman in labor. They look helplessly at one another, their faces aflame with fear.
9For see, the day of the LORD is coming— the terrible day of his fury and fierce anger. The land will be made desolate, and all the sinners destroyed with it.
10The heavens will be black above them; the stars will give no light. The sun will be dark when it rises, and the moon will provide no light.
11“I, the LORD, will punish the world for its evil and the wicked for their sin. I will crush the arrogance of the proud and humble the pride of the mighty.
12I will make people scarcer than gold— more rare than the fine gold of Ophir.
13For I will shake the heavens. The earth will move from its place when the LORD of Heaven’s Armies displays his wrath in the day of his fierce anger.”
14Everyone in Babylon will run about like a hunted gazelle, like sheep without a shepherd. They will try to find their own people and flee to their own land.
15Anyone who is captured will be cut down— run through with a sword.
16Their little children will be dashed to death before their eyes. Their homes will be sacked, and their wives will be raped.
17“Look, I will stir up the Medes against Babylon. They cannot be tempted by silver or bribed with gold.
18The attacking armies will shoot down the young men with arrows. They will have no mercy on helpless babies and will show no compassion for children.”
19Babylon, the most glorious of kingdoms, the flower of Chaldean pride, will be devastated like Sodom and Gomorrah when God destroyed them.
20Babylon will never be inhabited again. It will remain empty for generation after generation. Nomads will refuse to camp there, and shepherds will not bed down their sheep.
21Desert animals will move into the ruined city, and the houses will be haunted by howling creatures. Owls will live among the ruins, and wild goats will go there to dance.
22Hyenas will howl in its fortresses, and jackals will make dens in its luxurious palaces. Babylon’s days are numbered; its time of destruction will soon arrive.
“If God has set you free, don’t be dumb by continuing on with your broken lifestyle.”~TB
Through salvation, you are set free from the bondage that comes from the evils of the world, the devil, and your flesh. God does this so you can live in freedom, so don’t be dumb! But, what does that mean? When you walk with Christ, you begin to see the many dumb practices society pushes onto you. With this new clarity, you have a choice to abandon your old ways and adopt better behaviors. When you stay the course, you begin to crave discipline, hard work, kindness, and humility– all of the wonderful Christ-like traits that the Holy Spirit instills in you when you accept God’s highest gift. Friends, if you’ve received Christ, chose freedom, not freedumb.
If you don’t cultivate your relationship with God, the trappings of this world will consume because you were not careful. Friends, be discerning with what you consider to be freedom. Expensive things trap you in a cycle of debt. Toxic people trap you in a cycle of anguish and trouble. Drugs and bad substances trap you in a cycle of confusion and numbness. Envying your neighbor traps you in a cycle of anger and jealousy within your heart. These things do not set you free, they enslave you. Should you choose this modern slavery, connecting with God’s teaching becomes much more difficult. Avoid the traps and turn to Him. Walking with God helps you see the battlefield as it truly is. He shows you the landmines so that you may not become a casualty.
Do you understand the difference between freedom and freedumb?
Enjoy the reading
1A wise child accepts a parent’s discipline; a mocker refuses to listen to correction.
2Wise words will win you a good meal, but treacherous people have an appetite for violence.
3Those who control their tongue will have a long life; opening your mouth can ruin everything.
4Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper.
5The godly hate lies; the wicked cause shame and disgrace.
6Godliness guards the path of the blameless, but the evil are misled by sin.
7Some who are poor pretend to be rich; others who are rich pretend to be poor.
8The rich can pay a ransom for their lives, but the poor won’t even get threatened.
9The life of the godly is full of light and joy, but the light of the wicked will be snuffed out.
10Pride leads to conflict; those who take advice are wise.
11Wealth from get-rich-quick schemes quickly disappears; wealth from hard work grows over time.
12Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.
13People who despise advice are asking for trouble; those who respect a command will succeed.
14The instruction of the wise is like a life-giving fountain; those who accept it avoid the snares of death.
15A person with good sense is respected; a treacherous person is headed for destruction.
16Wise people think before they act; fools don’t—and even brag about their foolishness.
17An unreliable messenger stumbles into trouble, but a reliable messenger brings healing.
18If you ignore criticism, you will end in poverty and disgrace; if you accept correction, you will be honored.
19It is pleasant to see dreams come true, but fools refuse to turn from evil to attain them.
20Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble.
21Trouble chases sinners, while blessings reward the righteous.
22Good people leave an inheritance to their grandchildren, but the sinner’s wealth passes to the godly.
23A poor person’s farm may produce much food, but injustice sweeps it all away.
24Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children. Those who love their children care enough to discipline them.
25The godly eat to their hearts’ content, but the belly of the wicked goes hungry.
“Understanding God’s Word is fairly simple. Applying it to your life, well, that’s a whole other animal.”~TB
In theory, love sacrifice, patience, long-suffering, and perseverance are lovely and beautiful concepts. When you speak them to one another, those words provide a false sense of accomplishment. In today’s society, people sing sweet nothings, as if spraying perfume on a stinky body, in an attempt to hide the foul smell. Words without deeds are empty. Many of you have filled your hearts and minds with empty rhetoric. Friends, listen carefully: as idiot people, we have subjugated those words, turning them into nouns when they really are verbs!
Love, sacrifice, patience, long-suffering, and perseverance requires DOING! You can’t just say the words and poof life is wonderful. You have to love when it’s hard. You have to be patient in tough times. You have to be long-suffering when the odds aren’t in your favor. You have to persevere when failure comes your way. Anyone can be an armchair quarterback. It takes humility in understanding that God can only help you with this verbs. You cannot overcome your sinful nature on your own.
Are you applying the verbs or do you stink under the perfume of fake words?
Enjoy the reading
1Beside the rivers of Babylon, we sat and wept as we thought of Jerusalem.
2We put away our harps, hanging them on the branches of poplar trees.
3For our captors demanded a song from us. Our tormentors insisted on a joyful hymn: “Sing us one of those songs of Jerusalem!”
4But how can we sing the songs of the LORD while in a pagan land?
5If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget how to play the harp.
6May my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth if I fail to remember you, if I don’t make Jerusalem my greatest joy.
7O LORD, remember what the Edomites did on the day the armies of Babylon captured Jerusalem. “Destroy it!” they yelled. “Level it to the ground!”
8O Babylon, you will be destroyed. Happy is the one who pays you back for what you have done to us.
9Happy is the one who takes your babies and smashes them against the rocks!