“The devil is like an annoying noisy upstairs neighbor. Don’t let him take your peace.”~TB
It is incredibly important for you to remember that the devil is a one hit wonder. His song entices you to take your eyes off the prize that is Christ. He’ll go about it in different ways, but rest assured, it’s the same song, different pitch. Think of him like the frustrating neighbor who cranks up the music because they know it bothers you. Their actions may be annoying, but the secret, rather, the truth is in how you deal with the situation. He can’t do anything to you that can truly affect you. You can however, do his bidding by being the weakest link.
Everyone at one point or another has been the weakest link in any relationship. If you’re the weakest link, it can transpire in a few ways. You cause arguments on arbitrary issues. You’re too legalistic or litigious without balancing your judgement with mercy and grace. You refuse to apologize when you’re wrong. Even worse, you get mad at the person you’ve wronged! To stop being the weakest link, we all have to reflect on our behavior with honesty and humility. Ask yourself, if you love the person that you’re fighting with, is winning the argument that big of a deal? What do you stand to gain if you win the battle but lose the relationship? In those instances, only the devil wins, which is the point!
If you indeed find yourself in the weakest link seat, have a chat with God. There’s a good chance that our issues are ones that we’ve been dealing with for a long time. When you lean on God, you learn to put the sword down and stop fighting. When speaking with God, He will tell you that you’re quarrel isn’t with man, it’s with the opposition. However, you must acknowledge your weak link behavior and that takes some work. No one likes to admit that our number 2’s stink. But they do! So when you embrace humility and recognize that the goal isn’t to be right or to stir discord within your family, friends, or community, you stop being the devil’s plaything. Just ask and you shall receive.
Are you ready to stop being the devil’s pawn or do you enjoy disturbing the peace?
Enjoy the reading
1This is what the LORD says to Cyrus, his anointed one, whose right hand he will empower. Before him, mighty kings will be paralyzed with fear. Their fortress gates will be opened, never to shut again.
2This is what the LORD says: “I will go before you, Cyrus, and level the mountains. I will smash down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron.
3And I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness— secret riches. I will do this so you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name.
4“And why have I called you for this work? Why did I call you by name when you did not know me? It is for the sake of Jacob my servant, Israel my chosen one.
5I am the LORD ; there is no other God. I have equipped you for battle, though you don’t even know me,
6so all the world from east to west will know there is no other God. I am the LORD, and there is no other.
7I create the light and make the darkness. I send good times and bad times. I, the LORD, am the one who does these things.
8“Open up, O heavens, and pour out your righteousness. Let the earth open wide so salvation and righteousness can sprout up together. I, the LORD, created them.
9“What sorrow awaits those who argue with their Creator. Does a clay pot argue with its maker? Does the clay dispute with the one who shapes it, saying, ‘Stop, you’re doing it wrong!’ Does the pot exclaim, ‘How clumsy can you be?’
10How terrible it would be if a newborn baby said to its father, ‘Why was I born?’ or if it said to its mother, ‘Why did you make me this way?’”
11This is what the LORD says— the Holy One of Israel and your Creator: “Do you question what I do for my children? Do you give me orders about the work of my hands?
12I am the one who made the earth and created people to live on it. With my hands I stretched out the heavens. All the stars are at my command.
13I will raise up Cyrus to fulfill my righteous purpose, and I will guide his actions. He will restore my city and free my captive people— without seeking a reward! I, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken!”
14This is what the LORD says: “You will rule the Egyptians, the Ethiopians, and the Sabeans. They will come to you with all their merchandise, and it will all be yours. They will follow you as prisoners in chains. They will fall to their knees in front of you and say, ‘God is with you, and he is the only God. There is no other.’”
15Truly, O God of Israel, our Savior, you work in mysterious ways.
16All craftsmen who make idols will be humiliated. They will all be disgraced together.
17But the LORD will save the people of Israel with eternal salvation. Throughout everlasting ages, they will never again be humiliated and disgraced.
18For the LORD is God, and he created the heavens and earth and put everything in place. He made the world to be lived in, not to be a place of empty chaos. “I am the LORD,” he says, “and there is no other.
19I publicly proclaim bold promises. I do not whisper obscurities in some dark corner. I would not have told the people of Israel to seek me if I could not be found. I, the LORD, speak only what is true and declare only what is right.
20“Gather together and come, you fugitives from surrounding nations. What fools they are who carry around their wooden idols and pray to gods that cannot save!
21Consult together, argue your case. Get together and decide what to say. Who made these things known so long ago? What idol ever told you they would happen? Was it not I, the LORD ? For there is no other God but me, a righteous God and Savior. There is none but me.
22Let all the world look to me for salvation! For I am God; there is no other.
23I have sworn by my own name; I have spoken the truth, and I will never go back on my word: Every knee will bend to me, and every tongue will declare allegiance to me. ”
24The people will declare, “The LORD is the source of all my righteousness and strength.” And all who were angry with him will come to him and be ashamed.
25In the LORD all the generations of Israel will be justified, and in him they will boast.
“Be glad that God doesn’t invoke the same corrupt policies as we do to one another.”~TB
Greed and thievery are cloaked in rules and regulations, trapping the innocent and the uninformed. Our society steals earnings from the vulnerable and act like it’s the cost of doing business. How corrupt! Those in charge are indifferent, hiding behind ‘policy’, knowing full well they are engaging in immoral and evil practices and those enslaved mindlessly endure such abuse. What a world. Friends, we must turn away from stealing from our neighbors and tolerating such abuses, unless slavery is what you truly crave. These policies— legalistic and immoral— are the very same things spoken in the Bible.
Image if you came before God to confess and repent your sins and he tells you that you’ve maxed out your Grace deductible and it’s off to hell you go. Fortunately for us, His Grace is infinite and there is no fine print or shady fines to trip us up. When you come before Him, you don’t have to worry about the red tape or policies of this world. He loves you as you are. There is no way to overdraft God’s love for you. Instead of following the ways of the world, adopt God’s method of love. This way you can love others as God loves you. It is there where we can begin to change the corrupt ways of this world.
If God is so merciful and lenient, why aren’t we?
1This, too, I carefully explored: Even though the actions of godly and wise people are in God’s hands, no one knows whether God will show them favor.
2The same destiny ultimately awaits everyone, whether righteous or wicked, good or bad, ceremonially clean or unclean, religious or irreligious. Good people receive the same treatment as sinners, and people who make promises to God are treated like people who don’t.
3It seems so wrong that everyone under the sun suffers the same fate. Already twisted by evil, people choose their own mad course, for they have no hope. There is nothing ahead but death anyway.
4There is hope only for the living. As they say, “It’s better to be a live dog than a dead lion!”
5The living at least know they will die, but the dead know nothing. They have no further reward, nor are they remembered.
6Whatever they did in their lifetime—loving, hating, envying—is all long gone. They no longer play a part in anything here on earth.
7So go ahead. Eat your food with joy, and drink your wine with a happy heart, for God approves of this!
8Wear fine clothes, with a splash of cologne!
9Live happily with the woman you love through all the meaningless days of life that God has given you under the sun. The wife God gives you is your reward for all your earthly toil.
10Whatever you do, do well. For when you go to the grave, there will be no work or planning or knowledge or wisdom.
11I have observed something else under the sun. The fastest runner doesn’t always win the race, and the strongest warrior doesn’t always win the battle. The wise sometimes go hungry, and the skillful are not necessarily wealthy. And those who are educated don’t always lead successful lives. It is all decided by chance, by being in the right place at the right time.
12People can never predict when hard times might come. Like fish in a net or birds in a trap, people are caught by sudden tragedy.
13Here is another bit of wisdom that has impressed me as I have watched the way our world works.
14There was a small town with only a few people, and a great king came with his army and besieged it.
15A poor, wise man knew how to save the town, and so it was rescued. But afterward no one thought to thank him.
16So even though wisdom is better than strength, those who are wise will be despised if they are poor. What they say will not be appreciated for long.
17Better to hear the quiet words of a wise person than the shouts of a foolish king.
18Better to have wisdom than weapons of war, but one sinner can destroy much that is good