Ruled

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“If you think following Christ is all about how you feel about it, well, I’ve got some beachfront property in Iowa to sell you.”

TB

Feelings

God’s love and laws do not change just because we’re not feeling it. No, not every day on this earth will be all sunshine and daisies. There will be plenty of times where you will not feel like picking up the cross and following God to the best of your ability. But for those who’ve put in the discipline to know the Truth, they know that you can override how you feel to be who God called you to be. In reality, feelings are a God-given gift. That said, when you begin to exalt the gift over the gift-giver, then begins the erroneous belief that we are meant to be ruled by our emotions.

Playbook

When you actively interact with Christ and study the playbook, known as the Bible, you know full well that so many prominent people had to embark on endeavors they didn’t necessarily feel like doing. Friends, it’s all about the discipline in focusing on Christ’s teachings rather than our fleshly emotions. Just like a seasoned athlete who knows how to perform even though they are dead tired, by walking daily with the Lord, you learn how to endure without having your flesh get in the way.

Today’s Question

Are your feelings deterring you from getting to know God?

Enjoy the reading

Zechariah 6

1 Then I looked up again and saw four chariots coming from between two bronze mountains. 2 The first chariot was pulled by red horses, the second by black horses, 3 the third by white horses, and the fourth by powerful dappled-gray horses. 4 “And what are these, my lord?” I asked the angel who was talking with me. 5 The angel replied, “These are the four spirits of heaven who stand before the Lord of all the earth. They are going out to do his work. 6 The chariot with black horses is going north, the chariot with white horses is going west, and the chariot with dappled-gray horses is going south.” 7 The powerful horses were eager to set out to patrol the earth. And the LORD said, “Go and patrol the earth!” So they left at once on their patrol. 8 Then the LORD summoned me and said, “Look, those who went north have vented the anger of my Spirit there in the land of the north.” 9 Then I received another message from the LORD : 10 “Heldai, Tobijah, and Jedaiah will bring gifts of silver and gold from the Jews exiled in Babylon. As soon as they arrive, meet them at the home of Josiah son of Zephaniah. 11 Accept their gifts, and make a crown from the silver and gold. Then put the crown on the head of Jeshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest. 12 Tell him, ‘This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: Here is the man called the Branch. He will branch out from where he is and build the Temple of the LORD . 13 Yes, he will build the Temple of the LORD . Then he will receive royal honor and will rule as king from his throne. He will also serve as priest from his throne, and there will be perfect harmony between his two roles.’ 14 “The crown will be a memorial in the Temple of the LORD to honor those who gave it—Heldai, Tobijah, Jedaiah, and Josiah son of Zephaniah.” 15 People will come from distant lands to rebuild the Temple of the LORD . And when this happens, you will know that my messages have been from the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. All this will happen if you carefully obey what the LORD your God says.

Gripes

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Take your gripes and complaints to the Lord so that you may see the True value and beauty of Christ.”

TB

Amazing

When you confirm within your heart that God is real and you accept the gift of salvation, it’s an amazing and beautiful moment. God has put His mark on you and you begin to see the profound sacrifice that He freely gave so that we could have a direct connection to Him.

Deflating

While we experience the reality of Christ, we also experience the reality of why we need Him. This means as followers of Christ there is the reality of suffering. When your eyes are opened, it’s easier to see the corruption, lies, and waywardness on this planet we call Earth. At times it can feel unbearable and it’s easy to give in to the negativity and gripe. But, in those moments, share so that you aren’t going at it alone.

Context

In the eyes of man, it is too easy to become jaded while trying to discipline your flesh. After all, we see our neighbors, peers, supervisors, and world leaders carry out the most heinous injustices. In this day and age, it’s a regular occurrence. But friends, rather be dismayed, rejoice in the Truth that everything God has shown and shared with us is coming to pass. So, the next time you need encouragement share your burdens with Him so that He may give you clarity.

Today’s Question

Are you disposing of your gripes or are they restricting your view of the bigger picture?

Enjoy the reading

Haggai 1

1 On August 29 of the second year of King Darius’s reign, the LORD gave a message through the prophet Haggai to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Jeshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest. 2 “This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: The people are saying, ‘The time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the LORD .’” 3 Then the LORD sent this message through the prophet Haggai: 4 “Why are you living in luxurious houses while my house lies in ruins? 5 This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: Look at what’s happening to you! 6 You have planted much but harvest little. You eat but are not satisfied. You drink but are still thirsty. You put on clothes but cannot keep warm. Your wages disappear as though you were putting them in pockets filled with holes! 7 “This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: Look at what’s happening to you! 8 Now go up into the hills, bring down timber, and rebuild my house. Then I will take pleasure in it and be honored, says the LORD . 9 You hoped for rich harvests, but they were poor. And when you brought your harvest home, I blew it away. Why? Because my house lies in ruins, says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, while all of you are busy building your own fine houses. 10 It’s because of you that the heavens withhold the dew and the earth produces no crops. 11 I have called for a drought on your fields and hills—a drought to wither the grain and grapes and olive trees and all your other crops, a drought to starve you and your livestock and to ruin everything you have worked so hard to get.” 12 Then Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the whole remnant of God’s people began to obey the message from the LORD their God. When they heard the words of the prophet Haggai, whom the LORD their God had sent, the people feared the LORD . 13 Then Haggai, the LORD ’s messenger, gave the people this message from the LORD : “I am with you, says the LORD !” 14 So the LORD sparked the enthusiasm of Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the enthusiasm of Jeshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the enthusiasm of the whole remnant of God’s people. They began to work on the house of their God, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, 15 on September 21 of the second year of King Darius’s reign. Zephaniah 3Haggai 2  Parallel Compare

Perspective

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Thank God for the unknown situations He spares us from on a daily basis.”

TB

On the Surface

Because we only see our world from our viewpoints, it’s easy to believe that we know what’s best for us. It’s also easy to forget that out of all of the things that can happen to us, God miraculously blesses us with another day.

Behind the Scenes

God is a faithful father to His children in that He provides what we need on any given day. Are there situations and moments that we would like to get out of sooner than later? Yes. However, everything we encounter is a moment we can draw closer to Him.

Today’s Question

Are you keeping things in perspective?

Enjoy the reading

Amos 8

1 Then the Sovereign LORD showed me another vision. In it I saw a basket filled with ripe fruit. 2 “What do you see, Amos?” he asked. I replied, “A basket full of ripe fruit.” Then the LORD said, “Like this fruit, Israel is ripe for punishment! I will not delay their punishment again. 3 In that day the singing in the Temple will turn to wailing. Dead bodies will be scattered everywhere. They will be carried out of the city in silence. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken!” 4 Listen to this, you who rob the poor and trample down the needy! 5 You can’t wait for the Sabbath day to be over and the religious festivals to end so you can get back to cheating the helpless. You measure out grain with dishonest measures and cheat the buyer with dishonest scales. 6 And you mix the grain you sell with chaff swept from the floor. Then you enslave poor people for one piece of silver or a pair of sandals. 7 Now the LORD has sworn this oath by his own name, the Pride of Israel : “I will never forget the wicked things you have done! 8 The earth will tremble for your deeds, and everyone will mourn. The ground will rise like the Nile River at floodtime; it will heave up, then sink again. 9 “In that day,” says the Sovereign LORD, “I will make the sun go down at noon and darken the earth while it is still day. 10 I will turn your celebrations into times of mourning and your singing into weeping. You will wear funeral clothes and shave your heads to show your sorrow— as if your only son had died. How very bitter that day will be! 11 “The time is surely coming,” says the Sovereign LORD, “when I will send a famine on the land— not a famine of bread or water but of hearing the words of the LORD . 12 People will stagger from sea to sea and wander from border to border searching for the word of the LORD, but they will not find it. 13 Beautiful girls and strong young men will grow faint in that day, thirsting for the LORD ’s word. 14 And those who swear by the shameful idols of Samaria— who take oaths in the name of the god of Dan and make vows in the name of the god of Beersheba — they will all fall down, never to rise again.”

Turbulence

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“True peace overrides the impact of turbulence.”

TB

Forcast

Manmade peace is situational. It relies on our circumstances working out in our favor. As soon as we hit stormy weather, relying on what we see will not be enough. In those moments if we only have our understanding, the turbulence of life will seem unbearable. But peace, true peace is not born out of our circumstances but out of who we put our faith in.

All Terrain

God does not promise an easy life or a life without stormy weather. His promise of salvation, however, allows us to live in peace in all circumstances. Friends, we must remember that we are playing out a scenario that already has an ending. Bumps along the journey do not change the outcome. So trust in God to live in his True peace.

Today’s Question

How are you handling the turbulence; with God or without?

Enjoy the reading

Hosea 8

1 “Sound the alarm! The enemy descends like an eagle on the people of the LORD, for they have broken my covenant and revolted against my law. 2 Now Israel pleads with me, ‘Help us, for you are our God!’ 3 But it is too late. The people of Israel have rejected what is good, and now their enemies will chase after them. 4 The people have appointed kings without my consent, and princes without my approval. By making idols for themselves from their silver and gold, they have brought about their own destruction. 5 “O Samaria, I reject this calf— this idol you have made. My fury burns against you. How long will you be incapable of innocence? 6 This calf you worship, O Israel, was crafted by your own hands! It is not God! Therefore, it must be smashed to bits. 7 “They have planted the wind and will harvest the whirlwind. The stalks of grain wither and produce nothing to eat. And even if there is any grain, foreigners will eat it. 8 The people of Israel have been swallowed up; they lie among the nations like an old discarded pot. 9 Like a wild donkey looking for a mate, they have gone up to Assyria. The people of Israel have sold themselves— sold themselves to many lovers. 10 But though they have sold themselves to many allies, I will now gather them together for judgment. Then they will writhe under the burden of the great king. 11 “Israel has built many altars to take away sin, but these very altars became places for sinning! 12 Even though I gave them all my laws, they act as if those laws don’t apply to them. 13 The people love to offer sacrifices to me, feasting on the meat, but I do not accept their sacrifices. I will hold my people accountable for their sins, and I will punish them. They will return to Egypt. 14 Israel has forgotten its Maker and built great palaces, and Judah has fortified its cities. Therefore, I will send down fire on their cities and will burn up their fortresses.”

Words

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Be mindful of your words and what you speak to yourself and others as our words bring life or death.”

TB

Dead Language

We are what we speak. If we spew junk, we participate in junk. Good cannot grow from dead thinking and speaking. Negative thoughts and words bring about negative deeds and actions. If you struggle with your tongue, go to God and He will teach you a new language.

Living Word

Notice how God speaks to you, it’s with encouragement and grace. He does not belittle or harp on our faults. He gently picks us up, dusts us off, and graciously cheers us on so that we go on to do good. If God isn’t throwing salt in our wounds by negative speech, it’s time for us to speak gently to one another.

Today’s Question

Are you talking about life or death?

Enjoy the reading

Ezekiel 28

1 Then this message came to me from the LORD : 2 “Son of man, give the prince of Tyre this message from the Sovereign LORD : “In your great pride you claim, ‘I am a god! I sit on a divine throne in the heart of the sea.’ But you are only a man and not a god, though you boast that you are a god. 3 You regard yourself as wiser than Daniel and think no secret is hidden from you. 4 With your wisdom and understanding you have amassed great wealth— gold and silver for your treasuries. 5 Yes, your wisdom has made you very rich, and your riches have made you very proud. 6 “Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Because you think you are as wise as a god, 7 I will now bring against you a foreign army, the terror of the nations. They will draw their swords against your marvelous wisdom and defile your splendor! 8 They will bring you down to the pit, and you will die in the heart of the sea, pierced with many wounds. 9 Will you then boast, ‘I am a god!’ to those who kill you? To them you will be no god but merely a man! 10 You will die like an outcast at the hands of foreigners. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken!” 11 Then this further message came to me from the LORD : 12 “Son of man, sing this funeral song for the king of Tyre. Give him this message from the Sovereign LORD : “You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and exquisite in beauty. 13 You were in Eden, the garden of God. Your clothing was adorned with every precious stone — red carnelian, pale-green peridot, white moonstone, blue-green beryl, onyx, green jasper, blue lapis lazuli, turquoise, and emerald— all beautifully crafted for you and set in the finest gold. They were given to you on the day you were created. 14 I ordained and anointed you as the mighty angelic guardian. You had access to the holy mountain of God and walked among the stones of fire. 15 “You were blameless in all you did from the day you were created until the day evil was found in you. 16 Your rich commerce led you to violence, and you sinned. So I banished you in disgrace from the mountain of God. I expelled you, O mighty guardian, from your place among the stones of fire. 17 Your heart was filled with pride because of all your beauty. Your wisdom was corrupted by your love of splendor. So I threw you to the ground and exposed you to the curious gaze of kings. 18 You defiled your sanctuaries with your many sins and your dishonest trade. So I brought fire out from within you, and it consumed you. I reduced you to ashes on the ground in the sight of all who were watching. 19 All who knew you are appalled at your fate. You have come to a terrible end, and you will exist no more.” 20 Then another message came to me from the LORD : 21 “Son of man, turn and face the city of Sidon and prophesy against it. 22 Give the people of Sidon this message from the Sovereign LORD : “I am your enemy, O Sidon, and I will reveal my glory by what I do to you. When I bring judgment against you and reveal my holiness among you, everyone watching will know that I am the LORD . 23 I will send a plague against you, and blood will be spilled in your streets. The attack will come from every direction, and your people will lie slaughtered within your walls. Then everyone will know that I am the LORD . 24 No longer will Israel’s scornful neighbors prick and tear at her like briers and thorns. For then they will know that I am the Sovereign LORD . 25 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: The people of Israel will again live in their own land, the land I gave my servant Jacob. For I will gather them from the distant lands where I have scattered them. I will reveal to the nations of the world my holiness among my people. 26 They will live safely in Israel and build homes and plant vineyards. And when I punish the neighboring nations that treated them with contempt, they will know that I am the LORD their God.”

Ouch!

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Imagine how clearly we could hear God if we let the wounds of yesterday heal.”

TB

One Time

Think back to a time when something painful occurred in your life. It could be a cruel thing a peer or family member said. It could be a life event that changed your worldview. It could be a financial situation that altered how your perceived money. Whatever it is, think about it for a moment. Think about how it changed your view of the world, your view of yourself, and most importantly, your behavior. Now, think about how many times that moment (or several) actually happened over the course of your life. If you sum up the total painful moments and measured them against the years of your life, chances are, it’s quite short in comparison.

So, why am I talking about this? Well, I came to the realization that we (myself totally included) allow a fraction of our life and experiences dictate our whole journey. Meaning, when don’t allow God to reconcile our trials, we don’t heal. Further, when we don’t heal, we are not capable of seeing how God truly sees us, how He sees the world, and how He’s planned amazing things for all of our lives . And, when we don’t have the right sight, we are play toys for the devil. That last line sounds hyperbolic, I know, but hear me out.

Running Scared

The devil has done a phenomenal job of getting us to stew in our fears. Think about it. How we go about our days. How we go about our jobs. How we go about raising the next generation. Everything! Unchecked painful moments get us to take our eyes off of God and then we start looking to ourselves for protection, resources, fake love, you name it. We start creating bogus rules, bogus leaders, bogus laws, bogus love, bogus families, bogus everything.

The problem is because God is the source, the creator, when we don’t consult Him, we consult ourselves and our neighbors. Friends, we don’t see far enough, know enough, love enough, forgive enough to be in charge of really anything. But do you know who benefits when we toil in our unbelief and flesh-driven ways? The devil. Friends, God does not want us fearful, down and out, enslaved, or miserable. But the only way we can know what His plans are for our lives is that we must first come to Him.

Healing Foundation

You may have been through traumatic, painful, and challenging moments in your life, but God does not want you to stay there. We are not able to withstand life and this world on our own. We have to give everything to Christ so that He can show us the way. We do this by allowing Him into our hearts, our minds, and our souls.

Accepting Christ means that you also accept His guidance, love, and wisdom and trust me, it’s way easier to navigate the world with God at the helm. When you give God your burdens, He cleans your wounds, making you a new work in His image. That is something that on our own, we simply cannot do. At best we have cheap generic band aids that require constant maintenance. God’s solution is far better. If you truly desire to leave the fear-based existence behind, give it all to God and watch Him awaken a new sight within you.

Today’s Question

Are you living in fear or are you living in the freedom of Christ?

Enjoy the reading

Ezekiel 5

 “Son of man, take a sharp sword and use it as a razor to shave your head and beard. Use a scale to weigh the hair into three equal parts. 2 Place a third of it at the center of your map of Jerusalem. After acting out the siege, burn it there. Scatter another third across your map and chop it with a sword. Scatter the last third to the wind, for I will scatter my people with the sword. 3 Keep just a bit of the hair and tie it up in your robe. 4 Then take some of these hairs out and throw them into the fire, burning them up. A fire will then spread from this remnant and destroy all of Israel. 5 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: This is an illustration of what will happen to Jerusalem. I placed her at the center of the nations, 6 but she has rebelled against my regulations and decrees and has been even more wicked than the surrounding nations. She has refused to obey the regulations and decrees I gave her to follow. 7 “Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: You people have behaved worse than your neighbors and have refused to obey my decrees and regulations. You have not even lived up to the standards of the nations around you. 8 Therefore, I myself, the Sovereign LORD, am now your enemy. I will punish you publicly while all the nations watch. 9 Because of your detestable idols, I will punish you like I have never punished anyone before or ever will again. 10 Parents will eat their own children, and children will eat their parents. I will punish you and scatter to the winds the few who survive. 11 “As surely as I live, says the Sovereign LORD, I will cut you off completely. I will show you no pity at all because you have defiled my Temple with your vile images and detestable sins. 12 A third of your people will die in the city from disease and famine. A third of them will be slaughtered by the enemy outside the city walls. And I will scatter a third to the winds, chasing them with my sword. 13 Then at last my anger will be spent, and I will be satisfied. And when my fury against them has subsided, all Israel will know that I, the LORD, have spoken to them in my jealous anger. 14 “So I will turn you into a ruin, a mockery in the eyes of the surrounding nations and to all who pass by. 15 You will become an object of mockery and taunting and horror. You will be a warning to all the nations around you. They will see what happens when the LORD punishes a nation in anger and rebukes it, says the LORD . 16 “I will shower you with the deadly arrows of famine to destroy you. The famine will become more and more severe until every crumb of food is gone. 17 And along with the famine, wild animals will attack you and rob you of your children. Disease and war will stalk your land, and I will bring the sword of the enemy against you. I, the LORD, have spoken!”

Off-Topic

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

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

Attention

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

Focus

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

Today’s Question

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

Enjoy the reading

Jeremiah 12

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

 

Avoid

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Do not avoid uncomfortable situations or moments. Instead, walk boldly in the truth that God is with you in all things.”~TB

Unpleasant

The world teaches us to avoid unpleasant experiences. Human logic dictates that if the moment induces discomfort, it must be a bad thing, therefore we remove the “yucky stuff” from our lives. What an amazingly ironic and counterproductive paradigm! The problem with that ideology is that it eliminates the most vital and necessary aspect of our spiritual growth. Through the unpleasant times, we get to grow closer and know God in a more personal and one-on-one manner. In fact, it’s those uncomfortable and painful moments where we grow the most. That is if we take them as they are and not as we perceive them to be.

Kiln

When I was a kid in elementary school, we’d have the opportunity to participate in an art class. Some of the projects included working with clay, making different sorts of things. I loved it. Being able to mold and shape things– essentially making something out of nothing– is something I love. My favorite part was seeing my work after it was fired in the kiln. For those that don’t know, a kiln is a heating chamber that transforms materials in high temperatures. When the clay is heated properly, it is then ready to be turned into a vessel. If you’ve ever worked clay, you’ve seen firsthand how a slippery and malleable substance is transformed into a sturdy and utilitarian product. God is the Kiln to our clay.

Good Burn

In order to be the vessel that God has called you to be, you must learn to reexamine your mind about the kiln process. Trials and tribulations are the firey elements that shore up your vessel. Without them, you remain mushy and unsustainable. When you avoid the molding and kiln of God, your ability to rise to the calling on your life is impossible. Don’t avoid the process,  but trust that all things in your life are used to strengthen your relationship with God. Let the Bible mold you and your time with God be the fire that hardens the clay. In doing so, we see as God intended us to see. When that happens, we walk in the way that God called us to.

Today’s Question

Are you going through the kiln or do you want to remain mushy and broken?

Enjoy the reading

Jeremiah 8

1 “In that day,” says the LORD, “the enemy will break open the graves of the kings and officials of Judah, and the graves of the priests, prophets, and common people of Jerusalem. 
2 They will spread out their bones on the ground before the sun, moon, and stars—the gods my people have loved, served, and worshiped. Their bones will not be gathered up again or buried but will be scattered on the ground like manure. 
3 And the people of this evil nation who survive will wish to die rather than live where I will send them. I, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken! 
4 “Jeremiah, say to the people, ‘This is what the LORD says: “‘When people fall down, don’t they get up again? When they discover they’re on the wrong road, don’t they turn back? 
5 Then why do these people stay on their self-destructive path? Why do the people of Jerusalem refuse to turn back? They cling tightly to their lies and will not turn around. 
6 I listen to their conversations and don’t hear a word of truth. Is anyone sorry for doing wrong? Does anyone say, “What a terrible thing I have done”? No! All are running down the path of sin as swiftly as a horse galloping into battle! 
7 Even the stork that flies across the sky knows the time of her migration, as do the turtledove, the swallow, and the crane. They all return at the proper time each year. But not my people! They do not know the LORD ’s laws. 
8 “‘How can you say, “We are wise because we have the word of the LORD,” when your teachers have twisted it by writing lies? 
9 These wise teachers will fall into the trap of their own foolishness, for they have rejected the word of the LORD . Are they so wise after all? 
10 I will give their wives to others and their farms to strangers. From the least to the greatest, their lives are ruled by greed. Yes, even my prophets and priests are like that. They are all frauds. 
11 They offer superficial treatments for my people’s mortal wound. They give assurances of peace when there is no peace. 
12 Are they ashamed of these disgusting actions? Not at all—they don’t even know how to blush! Therefore, they will lie among the slaughtered. They will be brought down when I punish them, says the LORD . 
13 I will surely consume them. There will be no more harvests of figs and grapes. Their fruit trees will all die. Whatever I gave them will soon be gone. I, the LORD, have spoken!’ 
14 “Then the people will say, ‘Why should we wait here to die? Come, let’s go to the fortified towns and die there. For the LORD our God has decreed our destruction and has given us a cup of poison to drink because we sinned against the LORD . 
15 We hoped for peace, but no peace came. We hoped for a time of healing, but found only terror.’ 
16 “The snorting of the enemies’ warhorses can be heard all the way from the land of Dan in the north! The neighing of their stallions makes the whole land tremble. They are coming to devour the land and everything in it— cities and people alike. 
17 I will send these enemy troops among you like poisonous snakes you cannot charm. They will bite you, and you will die. I, the LORD, have spoken!” 
18 My grief is beyond healing; my heart is broken. 
19 Listen to the weeping of my people; it can be heard all across the land. “Has the LORD abandoned Jerusalem? ” the people ask. “Is her King no longer there?” “Oh, why have they provoked my anger with their carved idols and their worthless foreign gods?” says the LORD . 
20 “The harvest is finished, and the summer is gone,” the people cry, “yet we are not saved!” 
21 I hurt with the hurt of my people. I mourn and am overcome with grief. 
22 Is there no medicine in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why is there no healing for the wounds of my people?

Take the Picture

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Each day has its own highs and lows so you might as well enjoy the ride.”~TB

Landlocked

I’ve been in the same place/space for over 3 months, which is about the longest time I’ve been in one spot since September 2018 when I made the wild/impromptu plan to travel the US. It was a wacky year of sorts filled with interesting people, places, and adventures. There were amazing wins and amazing losses but through it, all God never left me and I came out unharmed! I took a bunch of pictures to document my travels (which I used a couple for this post) and as I look back at them– recalling different events at various places– the only thing I’d change would be to worry less and take more pictures.

Moments in Time

Compared to eternity, life is ridiculously short. Unfortunately, many of us are so worried/focused on one thing or another, we fail to enjoy the life that God gave us. The good news is that God promises peace and not perfection, so if you’re willing to walk in faith, you can experience it. Looking back at these photos, I laugh, because if I had known what I do now, I would’ve chilled out quite a bit. But, that’s how life works, we have to make the best of what we have, practice Christ-like behaviors to one another, and enjoy the moments in time that are afforded to us. I don’t 100% know what tomorrow brings, but I do know that if we trust in God’s peace rather than our own we can learn to take the picture today instead of lamenting about tomorrow

Today’s Question

Are you experiencing God’s peace today or your anxiety about tomorrow?

Enjoy the reading

Isaiah 66

1 This is what the LORD says: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Could you build me a temple as good as that? Could you build me such a resting place? 
2 My hands have made both heaven and earth; they and everything in them are mine. I, the LORD, have spoken! “I will bless those who have humble and contrite hearts, who tremble at my word. 
3 But those who choose their own ways— delighting in their detestable sins— will not have their offerings accepted. When such people sacrifice a bull, it is no more acceptable than a human sacrifice. When they sacrifice a lamb, it’s as though they had sacrificed a dog! When they bring an offering of grain, they might as well offer the blood of a pig. When they burn frankincense, it’s as if they had blessed an idol. 
4 I will send them great trouble— all the things they feared. For when I called, they did not answer. When I spoke, they did not listen. They deliberately sinned before my very eyes and chose to do what they know I despise.” 
5 Hear this message from the LORD, all you who tremble at his words: “Your own people hate you and throw you out for being loyal to my name. ‘Let the LORD be honored!’ they scoff. ‘Be joyful in him!’ But they will be put to shame. 
6 What is all the commotion in the city? What is that terrible noise from the Temple? It is the voice of the LORD taking vengeance against his enemies. 
7 “Before the birth pains even begin, Jerusalem gives birth to a son. 
8 Who has ever seen anything as strange as this? Who ever heard of such a thing? Has a nation ever been born in a single day? Has a country ever come forth in a mere moment? But by the time Jerusalem’s birth pains begin, her children will be born. 
9 Would I ever bring this nation to the point of birth and then not deliver it?” asks the LORD . “No! I would never keep this nation from being born,” says your God. 
10 “Rejoice with Jerusalem! Be glad with her, all you who love her and all you who mourn for her. 
11 Drink deeply of her glory even as an infant drinks at its mother’s comforting breasts.” 
12 This is what the LORD says: “I will give Jerusalem a river of peace and prosperity. The wealth of the nations will flow to her. Her children will be nursed at her breasts, carried in her arms, and held on her lap. 
13 I will comfort you there in Jerusalem as a mother comforts her child.” 
14 When you see these things, your heart will rejoice. You will flourish like the grass! Everyone will see the LORD ’s hand of blessing on his servants— and his anger against his enemies. 
15 See, the LORD is coming with fire, and his swift chariots roar like a whirlwind. He will bring punishment with the fury of his anger and the flaming fire of his hot rebuke. 
16 The LORD will punish the world by fire and by his sword. He will judge the earth, and many will be killed by him. 
17 “Those who ‘consecrate’ and ‘purify’ themselves in a sacred garden with its idol in the center—feasting on pork and rats and other detestable meats—will come to a terrible end,” says the LORD . 
18 “I can see what they are doing, and I know what they are thinking. So I will gather all nations and peoples together, and they will see my glory. 
19 I will perform a sign among them. And I will send those who survive to be messengers to the nations—to Tarshish, to the Libyans and Lydians (who are famous as archers), to Tubal and Greece, and to all the lands beyond the sea that have not heard of my fame or seen my glory. There they will declare my glory to the nations. 
20 They will bring the remnant of your people back from every nation. They will bring them to my holy mountain in Jerusalem as an offering to the LORD . They will ride on horses, in chariots and wagons, and on mules and camels,” says the LORD . 
21 “And I will appoint some of them to be my priests and Levites. I, the LORD, have spoken! 
22 “As surely as my new heavens and earth will remain, so will you always be my people, with a name that will never disappear,” says the LORD . 
23 “All humanity will come to worship me from week to week and from month to month. 
24 And as they go out, they will see the dead bodies of those who have rebelled against me. For the worms that devour them will never die, and the fire that burns them will never go out. All who pass by will view them with utter horror.”

 

Intent

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“In matters of communication, intent matters as does grace and mercy.”~TB

When Help Goes Wrong

A few weeks ago, I was making a pot roast for my parents. Man, do I make a mean pot roast. My trick is to allow the roast to slow cook for at least 8 hours. I find that the meat just falls apart yet it retains its juices. One morning, I prepped the dish, and decided to use the day to take care of some tasks. When I got home, I went to check on the pot roast only to find that the meat had already been cut into pieces and it had been slow cooking for only 6 hours! I was livid. Turns out my dad thought he was doing me a solid by chopping up the meat. In his mind, he was helping. In my mind, he butchered (pun intended) my perfected process.

Stop Drop & Roll

My first instinct was to read him the riot act, driving home the point of my process and how the dish was simply ruined (dramatic, I know, but if you love to cook you get it) the meal. But when I saw his face after I informed him of the mistake (and perhaps I had my mean face on) I stopped for a minute and chilled out. I realized that his intention was to help me, not to ruin the dish. This moment did not call for a fire and brimstone approach. Instead of focusing on the mistake, I decided to focus on the intent. How cool is it to have someone want to help out? I simply let it go and then we sat down to play some epic dominoes. God delivered the domino victories to me that day. Justice was served.

 

Intent Matters

It seems like today, we hustle and bustle through life, quickly judging and assessing yet sometimes failing to look at the bigger picture. Relationships are complex in nature and if we fail to recognize the true intent of the people in our lives, we can get things wrong. Sure, an action may have caused an unintended outcome, but that’s what mercy is for. After all God forgives our actions— both good intent and bad. The point is to evaluate a situation on a case by case scenario. In the example above, I had to look at all sides of the equation, not just how I felt in the moment. Had I chosen anger, my dad could have gotten defensive and then we would have had an argument on our hands. Instead, we had the opportunity to laugh at it, play some dominoes and life went on as usual. So the next time someone in your life accidentally offends you, don’t forget to look at their intent with mercy and grace. Remember the mercy and grace that Christ extends to us every second of every day.

Today’s Question

Do you consider intent or are you intent on being continually offended?

Enjoy the reading

Isaiah 24

1 Look! The LORD is about to destroy the earth and make it a vast wasteland. He devastates the surface of the earth and scatters the people.
2 Priests and laypeople, servants and masters, maids and mistresses, buyers and sellers, lenders and borrowers, bankers and debtors—none will be spared.
3 The earth will be completely emptied and looted. The LORD has spoken!
4 The earth mourns and dries up, and the land wastes away and withers. Even the greatest people on earth waste away.
5 The earth suffers for the sins of its people, for they have twisted God’s instructions, violated his laws, and broken his everlasting covenant.
6Therefore, a curse consumes the earth. Its people must pay the price for their sin. They are destroyed by fire, and only a few are left alive.
7 The grapevines waste away, and there is no new wine. All the merrymakers sigh and mourn.
8 The cheerful sound of tambourines is stilled; the happy cries of celebration are heard no more. The melodious chords of the harp are silent.
9 Gone are the joys of wine and song; alcoholic drink turns bitter in the mouth.
10 The city writhes in chaos; every home is locked to keep out intruders.
11 Mobs gather in the streets, crying out for wine. Joy has turned to gloom. Gladness has been banished from the land.
12 The city is left in ruins, its gates battered down.
13 Throughout the earth the story is the same— only a remnant is left, like the stray olives left on the tree or the few grapes left on the vine after harvest.
14 But all who are left shout and sing for joy. Those in the west praise the LORD ’s majesty.
15 In eastern lands, give glory to the LORD . In the lands beyond the sea, praise the name of the LORD, the God of Israel.
16 We hear songs of praise from the ends of the earth, songs that give glory to the Righteous One! But my heart is heavy with grief. Weep for me, for I wither away. Deceit still prevails, and treachery is everywhere.
17Terror and traps and snares will be your lot, you people of the earth.
18 Those who flee in terror will fall into a trap, and those who escape the trap will be caught in a snare. Destruction falls like rain from the heavens; the foundations of the earth shake.
19 The earth has broken up. It has utterly collapsed; it is violently shaken.
20The earth staggers like a drunk. It trembles like a tent in a storm. It falls and will not rise again, for the guilt of its rebellion is very heavy.
21 In that day the LORD will punish the gods in the heavens and the proud rulers of the nations on earth.
22 They will be rounded up and put in prison. They will be shut up in prison and will finally be punished.
23 Then the glory of the moon will wane, and the brightness of the sun will fade, for the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will rule on Mount Zion. He will rule in great glory in Jerusalem, in the sight of all the leaders of his people.