Far Better Than Worse

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“With God, doing life with your brothers and sisters in Christ is far better than worse.”

TB

Real Talk

Love is a verb and it’s a hard one. Especially when it comes to loving those closest to you. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve imagined jumping ship to greener pastures. But, as I reflect on the amazing people that God has placed in my corner to do life with, I can say it is far better than worse. I didn’t always feel this way. And sometimes, I still scratch my head when it comes to those I love as they likely scratch their head at me. I’m sure we all do. But, when we allow Christ’s loving example to guide how we love others, it does make those trying times a bit easier.

Hard Work

God-inspired love takes an honest, hardworking, and consistent approach to even do a halfway decent job of it. It forces us to be present. It calls us to forgive as God freely forgives us. It causes us to swallow our pride and let transgressors off the hook. It causes us to put down our lectures and let God be God to teach us what we need to learn. Christ-like love is tough from a human perspective, which is why we have to use God’s filter rather than our own. So the next time you feel like you may want to excommunicate a loved one, remember how Christ loves you and see how you can mirror that love. Using Christ’s template, you will come to find that love is far better than worse.

Today’s Question

Who are you modeling your love after?

Enjoy the reading

Jeremiah 52

1 Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eleven years. His mother was Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah from Libnah. 2 But Zedekiah did what was evil in the LORD ’s sight, just as Jehoiakim had done. 3 These things happened because of the LORD ’s anger against the people of Jerusalem and Judah, until he finally banished them from his presence and sent them into exile. Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon. 4 So on January 15, during the ninth year of Zedekiah’s reign, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon led his entire army against Jerusalem. They surrounded the city and built siege ramps against its walls. 5 Jerusalem was kept under siege until the eleventh year of King Zedekiah’s reign. 6 By July 18 in the eleventh year of Zedekiah’s reign, the famine in the city had become very severe, and the last of the food was entirely gone. 7 Then a section of the city wall was broken down, and all the soldiers fled. Since the city was surrounded by the Babylonians, they waited for nightfall. Then they slipped through the gate between the two walls behind the king’s garden and headed toward the Jordan Valley. 8 But the Babylonian troops chased King Zedekiah and overtook him on the plains of Jericho, for his men had all deserted him and scattered. 9 They captured the king and took him to the king of Babylon at Riblah in the land of Hamath. There the king of Babylon pronounced judgment upon Zedekiah. 10 The king of Babylon made Zedekiah watch as he slaughtered his sons. He also slaughtered all the officials of Judah at Riblah. 11 Then he gouged out Zedekiah’s eyes and bound him in bronze chains, and the king of Babylon led him away to Babylon. Zedekiah remained there in prison until the day of his death. 12 On August 17 of that year, which was the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard and an official of the Babylonian king, arrived in Jerusalem. 13 He burned down the Temple of the LORD, the royal palace, and all the houses of Jerusalem. He destroyed all the important buildings in the city. 14 Then he supervised the entire Babylonian army as they tore down the walls of Jerusalem on every side. 15 Then Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, took as exiles some of the poorest of the people, the rest of the people who remained in the city, the defectors who had declared their allegiance to the king of Babylon, and the rest of the craftsmen. 16 But Nebuzaradan allowed some of the poorest people to stay behind to care for the vineyards and fields. 17 The Babylonians broke up the bronze pillars in front of the LORD ’s Temple, the bronze water carts, and the great bronze basin called the Sea, and they carried all the bronze away to Babylon. 18 They also took all the ash buckets, shovels, lamp snuffers, basins, dishes, and all the other bronze articles used for making sacrifices at the Temple. 19 The captain of the guard also took the small bowls, incense burners, basins, pots, lampstands, ladles, bowls used for liquid offerings, and all the other articles made of pure gold or silver. 20 The weight of the bronze from the two pillars, the Sea with the twelve bronze oxen beneath it, and the water carts was too great to be measured. These things had been made for the LORD ’s Temple in the days of King Solomon. 21 Each of the pillars was 27 feet tall and 18 feet in circumference. They were hollow, with walls 3 inches thick. 22 The bronze capital on top of each pillar was 7 feet high and was decorated with a network of bronze pomegranates all the way around. 23 There were 96 pomegranates on the sides, and a total of 100 pomegranates on the network around the top. 24 Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, took with him as prisoners Seraiah the high priest, Zephaniah the priest of the second rank, and the three chief gatekeepers. 25 And from among the people still hiding in the city, he took an officer who had been in charge of the Judean army; seven of the king’s personal advisers; the army commander’s chief secretary, who was in charge of recruitment; and sixty other citizens. 26 Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, took them all to the king of Babylon at Riblah. 27 And there at Riblah, in the land of Hamath, the king of Babylon had them all put to death. So the people of Judah were sent into exile from their land. 28 The number of captives taken to Babylon in the seventh year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign was 3,023. 29 Then in Nebuchadnezzar’s eighteenth year he took 832 more. 30 In Nebuchadnezzar’s twenty-third year he sent Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, who took 745 more—a total of 4,600 captives in all. 31 In the thirty-seventh year of the exile of King Jehoiachin of Judah, Evil-merodach ascended to the Babylonian throne. He was kind to Jehoiachin and released him from prison on March 31 of that year. 32 He spoke kindly to Jehoiachin and gave him a higher place than all the other exiled kings in Babylon. 33 He supplied Jehoiachin with new clothes to replace his prison garb and allowed him to dine in the king’s presence for the rest of his life. 34 So the Babylonian king gave him a regular food allowance as long as he lived. This continued until the day of his death.

Pain Points

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Don’t shy away from life’s pain points, as there are valuable lessons to be learned from your experience.”

TB

Options

Pain of any kind stinks. It’s an unpleasant, visceral experience that changes our perception. For that reason, it’s important to grieve, and to grieve well. That being said, after our period of grief, we have two options– get up off our mat and walk, or lay down and succumb to living a numbed life. In the natural world, pain seems pointless and cruel, leaving us to be fearful and and without hope. After all, why try again if some other terrible thing is lying in wait? What would be the point. Well, this is where the knowledge of Christ is crucial in our walk.

Hard-earned Wisdom

While pain sucks, when filtering those moments through the Word of God, He will give you wisdom from those experiences. I can say this, any shred of spiritual intelligence or wisdom I may have, was hard-won from some tough times. In those messed up moments of loss, rejection, etc. I learned the true value and necessity of leaning on God. I learned to accomplish more with less. I learned the pure joy and restoration of forgiveness. Long story short, I’ve learned a lot, and I suspect I still have much to learn. My point is, after the experience is over, and you’ve picked up your mat, don’t be afraid to ask God to reveal the point of your pain. In this life, there is growth in all that we do, we first have to embrace a life-learning mindset.

Today’s Question

Are you growing from your pain or are you stuck in a neutral pity party?

Enjoy the reading

Jeremiah 41

1 But in midautumn of that year, Ishmael son of Nethaniah and grandson of Elishama, who was a member of the royal family and had been one of the king’s high officials, went to Mizpah with ten men to meet Gedaliah. While they were eating together, 2 Ishmael and his ten men suddenly jumped up, drew their swords, and killed Gedaliah, whom the king of Babylon had appointed governor. 3 Ishmael also killed all the Judeans and the Babylonian soldiers who were with Gedaliah at Mizpah. 4 The next day, before anyone had heard about Gedaliah’s murder, 5 eighty men arrived from Shechem, Shiloh, and Samaria to worship at the Temple of the LORD . They had shaved off their beards, torn their clothes, and cut themselves, and had brought along grain offerings and frankincense. 6 Ishmael left Mizpah to meet them, weeping as he went. When he reached them, he said, “Oh, come and see what has happened to Gedaliah!” 7 But as soon as they were all inside the town, Ishmael and his men killed all but ten of them and threw their bodies into a cistern. 8 The other ten had talked Ishmael into letting them go by promising to bring him their stores of wheat, barley, olive oil, and honey that they had hidden away. 9 The cistern where Ishmael dumped the bodies of the men he murdered was the large one dug by King Asa when he fortified Mizpah to protect himself against King Baasha of Israel. Ishmael son of Nethaniah filled it with corpses. 10 Then Ishmael made captives of the king’s daughters and the other people who had been left under Gedaliah’s care in Mizpah by Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard. Taking them with him, he started back toward the land of Ammon. 11 But when Johanan son of Kareah and the other guerrilla leaders heard about Ishmael’s crimes, 12 they took all their men and set out to stop him. They caught up with him at the large pool near Gibeon. 13 The people Ishmael had captured shouted for joy when they saw Johanan and the other guerrilla leaders. 14 And all the captives from Mizpah escaped and began to help Johanan. 15 Meanwhile, Ishmael and eight of his men escaped from Johanan into the land of Ammon. 16 Then Johanan son of Kareah and the other guerrilla leaders took all the people they had rescued in Gibeon—the soldiers, women, children, and court officials whom Ishmael had captured after he killed Gedaliah. 17 They took them all to the village of Geruth-kimham near Bethlehem, where they prepared to leave for Egypt. 18 They were afraid of what the Babylonians would do when they heard that Ishmael had killed Gedaliah, the governor appointed by the Babylonian king.

One Thing

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Thank God that He does not see us as just one thing.”

~TB

Continuous

Life is a continuous journey that has different acts, seasons, treasons, and reasons, come what may. To that end, I’ve lived long enough to know that we all have various roles in our own stories. There are times where we are the protagonist– the good guy. There are times where we are the antagonist– the bad guy. Hopefully, at some point, you get the memo from God to learn how to find the happy ending to your story–salvation. Even though we wear many different hats in our lives, and the road changes often, we are never just good or bad. Sometimes we win, and sometimes, well… thank God for mercy and grace! My point is, we cannot judge each other as just one thing, one moment in time, or one character. Even further, when you trap a person into one thing, you are trapping yourself to the same fate.

Constant

Because God’s love for us is constant, we can rest assured that as we change, He still loves us no matter which character we are portraying. This means that when we’re on point or when we’re in the gutter, His love remains. In 30 years, I cannot say that I am the same person I was 20 years ago, well, even 2 years ago! I’ve played the protagonist very well, and I’ve had some minor antagonist roles as well. I thank God that He has given me wonderful examples so that my antagonist roles were shorter than they could’ve been. And because I’ve had the grace of being more than one thing, it’s my responsibility to share that grace with you. We all are loved by God in whatever part of the story we’re in. For those who understand this, we must work hard not to judge those who do not. And remember, just because you’re the ‘good guy’, it does not give you license to judge or condemn the ‘bad guy’ because, in life, everyone played every role at least once.

Today’s Question

Are you giving your brothers and sisters the chance to play different roles, or is your judgment better than God’s?

Enjoy the reading

Jeremiah 38

1 Now Shephatiah son of Mattan, Gedaliah son of Pashhur, Jehucal son of Shelemiah, and Pashhur son of Malkijah heard what Jeremiah had been telling the people. He had been saying, 2 “This is what the LORD says: ‘Everyone who stays in Jerusalem will die from war, famine, or disease, but those who surrender to the Babylonians will live. Their reward will be life. They will live!’ 3 The LORD also says: ‘The city of Jerusalem will certainly be handed over to the army of the king of Babylon, who will capture it.’” 4 So these officials went to the king and said, “Sir, this man must die! That kind of talk will undermine the morale of the few fighting men we have left, as well as that of all the people. This man is a traitor!” 5 King Zedekiah agreed. “All right,” he said. “Do as you like. I can’t stop you.” 6 So the officials took Jeremiah from his cell and lowered him by ropes into an empty cistern in the prison yard. It belonged to Malkijah, a member of the royal family. There was no water in the cistern, but there was a thick layer of mud at the bottom, and Jeremiah sank down into it. 7 But Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, an important court official, heard that Jeremiah was in the cistern. At that time the king was holding court at the Benjamin Gate, 8 so Ebed-melech rushed from the palace to speak with him. 9 “My lord the king,” he said, “these men have done a very evil thing in putting Jeremiah the prophet into the cistern. He will soon die of hunger, for almost all the bread in the city is gone.” 10 So the king told Ebed-melech, “Take thirty of my men with you, and pull Jeremiah out of the cistern before he dies.” 11 So Ebed-melech took the men with him and went to a room in the palace beneath the treasury, where he found some old rags and discarded clothing. He carried these to the cistern and lowered them to Jeremiah on a rope. 12 Ebed-melech called down to Jeremiah, “Put these rags under your armpits to protect you from the ropes.” Then when Jeremiah was ready, 13 they pulled him out. So Jeremiah was returned to the courtyard of the guard—the palace prison—where he remained. 14 One day King Zedekiah sent for Jeremiah and had him brought to the third entrance of the LORD ’s Temple. “I want to ask you something,” the king said. “And don’t try to hide the truth.” 15 Jeremiah said, “If I tell you the truth, you will kill me. And if I give you advice, you won’t listen to me anyway.” 16 So King Zedekiah secretly promised him, “As surely as the LORD our Creator lives, I will not kill you or hand you over to the men who want you dead.” 17 Then Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, “This is what the LORD God of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘If you surrender to the Babylonian officers, you and your family will live, and the city will not be burned down. 18 But if you refuse to surrender, you will not escape! This city will be handed over to the Babylonians, and they will burn it to the ground.’” 19 “But I am afraid to surrender,” the king said, “for the Babylonians may hand me over to the Judeans who have defected to them. And who knows what they will do to me!” 20 Jeremiah replied, “You won’t be handed over to them if you choose to obey the LORD . Your life will be spared, and all will go well for you. 21 But if you refuse to surrender, this is what the LORD has revealed to me: 22 All the women left in your palace will be brought out and given to the officers of the Babylonian army. Then the women will taunt you, saying, ‘What fine friends you have! They have betrayed and misled you. When your feet sank in the mud, they left you to your fate!’ 23 All your wives and children will be led out to the Babylonians, and you will not escape. You will be seized by the king of Babylon, and this city will be burned down.” 24 Then Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, “Don’t tell anyone you told me this, or you will die! 25 My officials may hear that I spoke to you, and they may say, ‘Tell us what you and the king were talking about. If you don’t tell us, we will kill you.’ 26 If this happens, just tell them you begged me not to send you back to Jonathan’s dungeon, for fear you would die there.” 27 Sure enough, it wasn’t long before the king’s officials came to Jeremiah and asked him why the king had called for him. But Jeremiah followed the king’s instructions, and they left without finding out the truth. No one had overheard the conversation between Jeremiah and the king. 28 And Jeremiah remained a prisoner in the courtyard of the guard until the day Jerusalem was captured.

Offering

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“You’re either giving a Cain or an Abel offering; there is no in-between.”~TB

Honest Reflection

I have assisted my dad with this blog for almost 4 years. At first, I started as the editor/poster, adding the role of ‘writer’ along the way. In the beginning, it was my job to suss out the errors and formatting– general editor stuff. Occasionally, my father or mother would politely ask me to check my work. Back then, I thought what I was doing was the stuff of legends. was assisting my father (and God), sacrificing my precious time for their pursuits. So naturally, as a foolish young person, I didn’t really take their feedback seriously and kept on my way. It was until a couple of weeks ago when I was formatting the blog posts for my dad’s upcoming books, that I had discovered not only was there a ton of errors the work was amazingly shoddy given my abilities.

Change with Humility

As I read the older blogs, the sting of conviction hit my gut as my mind recalled all of the editing conversations I had had with my dad years ago. See, he wasn’t forceful or persistent with the comments and yet, I would shove the notes aside as if my work was precise and perfect. Oh, youth! I was foolish to believe that I was helping my father and God when in reality it was they who were helping (and still are) me. As I laughed and repented for my foolishness, I was immediately reminded of the story of Cain and Abel.  In the story of Cain and Abel, Abel did his best with his offering, and Cain perceived that his offering was great when it was not. But unlike the arrogance that blinds humans, God sees all and knows all.

Perception is not Reality

The jealousy that Cain felt towards Abel had nothing to do with his brother, but really it was Cain’s unwillingness to take responsibility for the crap that he himself presented to God. At that moment I realized, my work– or rather offering to God– was that of a Cain offering. In my arrogance, I believed that what I was doing was phenomenal, but really it was shoddy and unacceptable. Friends, we either give our best offering to God– an Abel offering. Or, we give our ‘meh’ offering to God– a Cain offering. Deep within our hearts, we know when we give which, so do not fool yourself into thinking God cannot spot the difference. Instead of devouring our brothers and sisters because of our lazy, corrupt thinking, spend your days working honestly as if God is standing next to you so that your daily offerings are deemed acceptable to the Lord.

Today’s Question

Are you giving an honest offering or are you honestly fooling yourself?

Enjoy the reading

Jeremiah 34

1 King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came with all the armies from the kingdoms he ruled, and he fought against Jerusalem and the towns of Judah. At that time this message came to Jeremiah from the LORD : 
2 “Go to King Zedekiah of Judah, and tell him, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: I am about to hand this city over to the king of Babylon, and he will burn it down. 
3 You will not escape his grasp but will be captured and taken to meet the king of Babylon face to face. Then you will be exiled to Babylon. 
4 “‘But listen to this promise from the LORD, O Zedekiah, king of Judah. This is what the LORD says: You will not be killed in war 
5 but will die peacefully. People will burn incense in your memory, just as they did for your ancestors, the kings who preceded you. They will mourn for you, crying, “Alas, our master is dead!” This I have decreed, says the LORD .’” 
6 So Jeremiah the prophet delivered the message to King Zedekiah of Judah. 
7 At this time the Babylonian army was besieging Jerusalem, Lachish, and Azekah—the only fortified cities of Judah not yet captured. 
8 This message came to Jeremiah from the LORD after King Zedekiah made a covenant with the people, proclaiming freedom for the slaves. 
9 He had ordered all the people to free their Hebrew slaves—both men and women. No one was to keep a fellow Judean in bondage. 
10 The officials and all the people had obeyed the king’s command, 
11 but later they changed their minds. They took back the men and women they had freed, forcing them to be slaves again. 
12 So the LORD gave them this message through Jeremiah: 
13 “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: I made a covenant with your ancestors long ago when I rescued them from their slavery in Egypt. 
14 I told them that every Hebrew slave must be freed after serving six years. But your ancestors paid no attention to me. 
15 Recently you repented and did what was right, following my command. You freed your slaves and made a solemn covenant with me in the Temple that bears my name. 
16 But now you have shrugged off your oath and defiled my name by taking back the men and women you had freed, forcing them to be slaves once again. 
17 “Therefore, this is what the LORD says: Since you have not obeyed me by setting your countrymen free, I will set you free to be destroyed by war, disease, and famine. You will be an object of horror to all the nations of the earth. 
18 Because you have broken the terms of our covenant, I will cut you apart just as you cut apart the calf when you walked between its halves to solemnize your vows. 
19 Yes, I will cut you apart, whether you are officials of Judah or Jerusalem, court officials, priests, or common people—for you have broken your oath. 
20 I will give you to your enemies, and they will kill you. Your bodies will be food for the vultures and wild animals. 
21 “I will hand over King Zedekiah of Judah and his officials to the army of the king of Babylon. And although they have left Jerusalem for a while, 
22 I will call the Babylonian armies back again. They will fight against this city and will capture it and burn it down. I will see to it that all the towns of Judah are destroyed, with no one living there.”

 

Uncalled Interference

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quotes

“Let your brothers and sisters endure their trials as they are a necessary byproduct of growing in Christ.”~TB

Well-Intentioned

I love my family with great fierceness– for better or worse. It’s a joy to see them do well and it’s heartbreaking when they suffer– especially to false accusations. I’ve been known to jump on land mines for the people I love. Though my intentions are well-meaning, every single one of us has to go through the fire at some point and blocking someone else’s spiritual assignment –good-intentioned or otherwise– benefits no one.

Growth Through Struggle

Having experience with unfair persecution, I can say that those uncomfortable times did way more good than harm. Through the muck and the mess, I learned that I had to rely on God because He was with me in the fiery storms. When I look back at those radical moments, I realize that though the experiences were unpleasant, never was I harmed. So, if God walks with me, I’d be a fool to not trust that He’s walking with all of you as well. More to the point, when those we love endure suffering for what is right, we should be pleased that they too get the opportunity to grow in Christ.

It’s All Joy

These days I am more mindful about the Hand of Christ and I am present and careful to watch Him at work. I pray for His Will to be done rather than jump the gun with my hair-brained schemes. Instead of interfering, I encourage and listen. Friends that is all we can do, because the heavy lifting is God’s plan. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather that my brothers and sisters have God’s help than mine, because well, it’s should be obvious, ha! So the next time you see those in your life go through hard times, remember how your struggles brought you closer to God and that they too are given the opportunity and honor to know God in that same way.

Today’s Question

Are you letting your interfering ways block the spiritual growth of others?

Enjoy the reading

Jeremiah 20

1 Now Pashhur son of Immer, the priest in charge of the Temple of the LORD, heard what Jeremiah was prophesying. 
2 So he arrested Jeremiah the prophet and had him whipped and put in stocks at the Benjamin Gate of the LORD ’s Temple. 
3 The next day, when Pashhur finally released him, Jeremiah said, “Pashhur, the LORD has changed your name. From now on you are to be called ‘The Man Who Lives in Terror.’ 
4 For this is what the LORD says: ‘I will send terror upon you and all your friends, and you will watch as they are slaughtered by the swords of the enemy. I will hand the people of Judah over to the king of Babylon. He will take them captive to Babylon or run them through with the sword. 
5 And I will let your enemies plunder Jerusalem. All the famed treasures of the city—the precious jewels and gold and silver of your kings—will be carried off to Babylon. 
6 As for you, Pashhur, you and all your household will go as captives to Babylon. There you will die and be buried, you and all your friends to whom you prophesied that everything would be all right.’” 
7 O LORD, you misled me, and I allowed myself to be misled. You are stronger than I am, and you overpowered me. Now I am mocked every day; everyone laughs at me. 
8 When I speak, the words burst out. “Violence and destruction!” I shout. So these messages from the LORD have made me a household joke. 
9 But if I say I’ll never mention the LORD or speak in his name, his word burns in my heart like a fire. It’s like a fire in my bones! I am worn out trying to hold it in! I can’t do it! 
10 I have heard the many rumors about me. They call me “The Man Who Lives in Terror.” They threaten, “If you say anything, we will report it.” Even my old friends are watching me, waiting for a fatal slip. “He will trap himself,” they say, “and then we will get our revenge on him.” 
11 But the LORD stands beside me like a great warrior. Before him my persecutors will stumble. They cannot defeat me. They will fail and be thoroughly humiliated. Their dishonor will never be forgotten. 
12 O LORD of Heaven’s Armies, you test those who are righteous, and you examine the deepest thoughts and secrets. Let me see your vengeance against them, for I have committed my cause to you. 
13 Sing to the LORD ! Praise the LORD ! For though I was poor and needy, he rescued me from my oppressors. 
14 Yet I curse the day I was born! May no one celebrate the day of my birth. 
15 I curse the messenger who told my father, “Good news—you have a son!” 
16 Let him be destroyed like the cities of old that the LORD overthrew without mercy. Terrify him all day long with battle shouts, 
17 because he did not kill me at birth. Oh, that I had died in my mother’s womb, that her body had been my grave! 
18 Why was I ever born? My entire life has been filled with trouble, sorrow, and shame.

 

And Then

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“No matter where you go or what you’ll go through, you will always be there.”~TB

Fixed

Everyone at some point in their life has had a deep-seated “if only” mindset and the world supports that type of thinking. “If only I had more money or if only I had that car/job/spouse/house, and then everything would be perfect and I wouldn’t have anything to worry about,” etc. We often erroneously believe that once a situation changes, then poof we magically change right along with it. This idea of and then is very misleading because it does not take Spoiler alert: no matter what circumstance you are in, the only thing that is always a constant is you. 

Pliable 

So even if you received all of your heart’s desires, things may change externally, but internally, the same things remain. Therefore, we must ask God to changes our hearts and minds; and we must change our behaviors to realize God’s peace and contentment. True peace and contentment are counterintuitive to the world’s standards. The world teaches us that we are to consume, consume, consume. However, those who know God understand it’s He who sets all things in motion. For us to get out of our and then mindsets, we have to understand the present presence of God’s peace. When we focus on Christ, we count all circumstances as joy and then our priorities are aligned with His.

Today’s Question

Are you letting “and then” stall your growth in Christ?

Enjoy the reading

Jeremiah 17

1 “The sin of Judah is inscribed with an iron chisel— engraved with a diamond point on their stony hearts and on the corners of their altars. 
2 Even their children go to worship at their pagan altars and Asherah poles, beneath every green tree and on every high hill. 
3 So I will hand over my holy mountain— along with all your wealth and treasures and your pagan shrines— as plunder to your enemies, for sin runs rampant in your land. 
4 The wonderful possession I have reserved for you will slip from your hands. I will tell your enemies to take you as captives to a foreign land. For my anger blazes like a fire that will burn forever.” 
5 This is what the LORD says: “Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans, who rely on human strength and turn their hearts away from the LORD . 
6 They are like stunted shrubs in the desert, with no hope for the future. They will live in the barren wilderness, in an uninhabited salty land. 
7 “But blessed are those who trust in the LORD and have made the LORD their hope and confidence. 
8 They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit. 
9 “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? 
10 But I, the LORD, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve.” 
11 Like a partridge that hatches eggs she has not laid, so are those who get their wealth by unjust means. At midlife they will lose their riches; in the end, they will become poor old fools. 
12 But we worship at your throne— eternal, high, and glorious! 
13 O LORD, the hope of Israel, all who turn away from you will be disgraced. They will be buried in the dust of the earth, for they have abandoned the LORD, the fountain of living water. 
14 O LORD, if you heal me, I will be truly healed; if you save me, I will be truly saved. My praises are for you alone! 
15 People scoff at me and say, “What is this ‘message from the LORD ’ you talk about? Why don’t your predictions come true?” 
16 LORD, I have not abandoned my job as a shepherd for your people. I have not urged you to send disaster. You have heard everything I’ve said. 
17 LORD, don’t terrorize me! You alone are my hope in the day of disaster. 
18 Bring shame and dismay on all who persecute me, but don’t let me experience shame and dismay. Bring a day of terror on them. Yes, bring double destruction upon them! 
19 This is what the LORD said to me: “Go and stand in the gates of Jerusalem, first in the gate where the king goes in and out, and then in each of the other gates. 
20 Say to all the people, ‘Listen to this message from the LORD, you kings of Judah and all you people of Judah and everyone living in Jerusalem. 
21 This is what the LORD says: Listen to my warning! Stop carrying on your trade at Jerusalem’s gates on the Sabbath day. 
22 Do not do your work on the Sabbath, but make it a holy day. I gave this command to your ancestors, 
23 but they did not listen or obey. They stubbornly refused to pay attention or accept my discipline. 
24 “‘But if you obey me, says the LORD, and do not carry on your trade at the gates or work on the Sabbath day, and if you keep it holy, 
25 then kings and their officials will go in and out of these gates forever. There will always be a descendant of David sitting on the throne here in Jerusalem. Kings and their officials will always ride in and out among the people of Judah in chariots and on horses, and this city will remain forever. 
26 And from all around Jerusalem, from the towns of Judah and Benjamin, from the western foothills and the hill country and the Negev, the people will come with their burnt offerings and sacrifices. They will bring their grain offerings, frankincense, and thanksgiving offerings to the LORD ’s Temple. 
27 “‘But if you do not listen to me and refuse to keep the Sabbath holy, and if on the Sabbath day you bring loads of merchandise through the gates of Jerusalem just as on other days, then I will set fire to these gates. The fire will spread to the palaces, and no one will be able to put out the roaring flames.’”

 

Procrastination Station

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Imagine how peaceful we could be if we just did the work.”~TB

Chaos Created

Admittedly, I am the consummate procrastinator. As a creative individual, part of my ‘secret sauce’ is the adrenaline of the last-minute deadline that shoots my imaginative process into high gear. I’ve had incredible success with this model. I’ve also had incredible failures too. More to the point, when you procrastinate in all areas of your life, you’re playing with unnecessary fire. As they say, live by the sword, die by the sword.

Misfires

If you procrastinate long enough or if you’re prone to not doing legitimate work of any kind, you will experience a lot of loss or missed opportunities. One of the not so great things about these experiences is that if you have many that result in a similar ending, you begin to falsely perceive a feedback loop of failure. Even worse, without realizing it, many of us act out this feedback loop subconsciously, resulting in anxiety and a doomsday outlook on certain aspects of life or just life in general.

Circumstantial Evidence

Our brains work to form correlations so that we can come to certain conclusions more quickly based on past experiences. It’s a survival mechanism. The problem is if you’re falsely wired the incorrect information, it makes getting the correct information more difficult, but, not impossible. Many of us tend to discredit what God does in our lives because He’s not physically present turning water into wine right before us. But, imagine if you quieted the noise, looked within and forged that relationship. You’d see God in a more honest and relational way but in order to get to that place, you have to drop the preconceived notions and behaviors and do the work.

Today’s Question

Where would your relationship with God be if you worked as hard as you procrastinated?

Enjoy the reading

Jeremiah 16

1 The LORD gave me another message. He said, 
2 “Do not get married or have children in this place. 
3 For this is what the LORD says about the children born here in this city and about their mothers and fathers: 
4 They will die from terrible diseases. No one will mourn for them or bury them, and they will lie scattered on the ground like manure. They will die from war and famine, and their bodies will be food for the vultures and wild animals.” 
5 This is what the LORD says: “Do not go to funerals to mourn and show sympathy for these people, for I have removed my protection and peace from them. I have taken away my unfailing love and my mercy. 
6 Both the great and the lowly will die in this land. No one will bury them or mourn for them. Their friends will not cut themselves in sorrow or shave their heads in sadness. 
7 No one will offer a meal to comfort those who mourn for the dead—not even at the death of a mother or father. No one will send a cup of wine to console them. 
8 “And do not go to their feasts and parties. Do not eat and drink with them at all. 
9 For this is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: In your own lifetime, before your very eyes, I will put an end to the happy singing and laughter in this land. The joyful voices of bridegrooms and brides will no longer be heard. 
10 “When you tell the people all these things, they will ask, ‘Why has the LORD decreed such terrible things against us? What have we done to deserve such treatment? What is our sin against the LORD our God?’ 
11 “Then you will give them the LORD ’s reply: ‘It is because your ancestors were unfaithful to me. They worshiped other gods and served them. They abandoned me and did not obey my word. 
12 And you are even worse than your ancestors! You stubbornly follow your own evil desires and refuse to listen to me. 
13 So I will throw you out of this land and send you into a foreign land where you and your ancestors have never been. There you can worship idols day and night—and I will grant you no favors!’ 
14 “But the time is coming,” says the LORD, “when people who are taking an oath will no longer say, ‘As surely as the LORD lives, who rescued the people of Israel from the land of Egypt.’ 
15 Instead, they will say, ‘As surely as the LORD lives, who brought the people of Israel back to their own land from the land of the north and from all the countries to which he had exiled them.’ For I will bring them back to this land that I gave their ancestors. 
16 “But now I am sending for many fishermen who will catch them,” says the LORD . “I am sending for hunters who will hunt them down in the mountains, hills, and caves. 
17 I am watching them closely, and I see every sin. They cannot hope to hide from me. 
18 I will double their punishment for all their sins, because they have defiled my land with lifeless images of their detestable gods and have filled my territory with their evil deeds.” 
19 LORD, you are my strength and fortress, my refuge in the day of trouble! Nations from around the world will come to you and say, “Our ancestors left us a foolish heritage, for they worshiped worthless idols. 
20 Can people make their own gods? These are not real gods at all!” 
21 The LORD says, “Now I will show them my power; now I will show them my might. At last they will know and understand that I am the LORD .

 

In the Den

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“While in the lion’s den, be patient and productive so that you can learn the lessons and tools God can teach you in your time of waiting.”~TB

Neutral

Waiting sucks. Especially when you’re at a time where you are waiting for something that despite your best efforts is being dragged out with no end in sight. During periods like these, I’m reminded of Daniel in the lion’s den. Even though the lions could not physically harm him, I’m willing to bet that being stuck in that situation was probably less than ideal. But still, he put his faith in God.

Harmless

Just like those lions, our times of waiting will not be the end of us. It’s human nature to want to hone in and focus on the obstacles we cannot change. However, when we obsess over what we cannot do, we miss out on what we can. Instead of watching the pot, ask God how to best utilize the time that you have to continue His purpose for your life. Rejoice that whatever is causing your frustration is not the end and that in time, the wait will be over.

Today’s Question

How are you handling the wait?

Enjoy the reading

Jeremiah 4

1 “O Israel,” says the LORD, “if you wanted to return to me, you could. You could throw away your detestable idols and stray away no more. 
2 Then when you swear by my name, saying, ‘As surely as the LORD lives,’ you could do so with truth, justice, and righteousness. Then you would be a blessing to the nations of the world, and all people would come and praise my name.” 
3 This is what the LORD says to the people of Judah and Jerusalem: “Plow up the hard ground of your hearts! Do not waste your good seed among thorns. 
4 O people of Judah and Jerusalem, surrender your pride and power. Change your hearts before the LORD, or my anger will burn like an unquenchable fire because of all your sins. 
5 “Shout to Judah, and broadcast to Jerusalem! Tell them to sound the alarm throughout the land: ‘Run for your lives! Flee to the fortified cities!’ 
6 Raise a signal flag as a warning for Jerusalem : ‘Flee now! Do not delay!’ For I am bringing terrible destruction upon you from the north.” 
7 A lion stalks from its den, a destroyer of nations. It has left its lair and is headed your way. It’s going to devastate your land! Your towns will lie in ruins, with no one living in them anymore. 
8 So put on clothes of mourning and weep with broken hearts, for the fierce anger of the LORD is still upon us. 
9 “In that day,” says the LORD, “the king and the officials will tremble in fear. The priests will be struck with horror, and the prophets will be appalled.” 
10 Then I said, “O Sovereign LORD, the people have been deceived by what you said, for you promised peace for Jerusalem. But the sword is held at their throats!” 
11 The time is coming when the LORD will say to the people of Jerusalem, “My dear people, a burning wind is blowing in from the desert, and it’s not a gentle breeze useful for winnowing grain. 
12 It is a roaring blast sent by me! Now I will pronounce your destruction!” 
13 Our enemy rushes down on us like storm clouds! His chariots are like whirlwinds. His horses are swifter than eagles. How terrible it will be, for we are doomed! 
14 O Jerusalem, cleanse your heart that you may be saved. How long will you harbor your evil thoughts? 
15 Your destruction has been announced from Dan and the hill country of Ephraim. 
16 “Warn the surrounding nations and announce this to Jerusalem: The enemy is coming from a distant land, raising a battle cry against the towns of Judah. 
17 They surround Jerusalem like watchmen around a field, for my people have rebelled against me,” says the LORD . 
18 “Your own actions have brought this upon you. This punishment is bitter, piercing you to the heart!” 
19 My heart, my heart—I writhe in pain! My heart pounds within me! I cannot be still. For I have heard the blast of enemy trumpets and the roar of their battle cries. 
20 Waves of destruction roll over the land, until it lies in complete desolation. Suddenly my tents are destroyed; in a moment my shelters are crushed. 
21 How long must I see the battle flags and hear the trumpets of war? 
22 “My people are foolish and do not know me,” says the LORD . “They are stupid children who have no understanding. They are clever enough at doing wrong, but they have no idea how to do right!” 
23 I looked at the earth, and it was empty and formless. I looked at the heavens, and there was no light. 
24 I looked at the mountains and hills, and they trembled and shook. 
25 I looked, and all the people were gone. All the birds of the sky had flown away. 
26 I looked, and the fertile fields had become a wilderness. The towns lay in ruins, crushed by the LORD ’s fierce anger. 
27 This is what the LORD says: “The whole land will be ruined, but I will not destroy it completely. 
28 The earth will mourn and the heavens will be draped in black because of my decree against my people. I have made up my mind and will not change it.” 
29 At the noise of charioteers and archers, the people flee in terror. They hide in the bushes and run for the mountains. All the towns have been abandoned— not a person remains! 
30 What are you doing, you who have been plundered? Why do you dress up in beautiful clothing and put on gold jewelry? Why do you brighten your eyes with mascara? Your primping will do you no good! The allies who were your lovers despise you and seek to kill you. 
31 I hear a cry, like that of a woman in labor, the groans of a woman giving birth to her first child. It is beautiful Jerusalem gasping for breath and crying out, “Help! I’m being murdered!”

Dynamic

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Hi Peeps,
Today’s Quote
 
“Don’t try and change God’s message with your dynamic thoughts, speeches, wardrobe, homes, facilities, talent, and stuff. Simply state His Words of Truth, justice, mercy, and love with your actions and honest intentions.”  ~  Jon Barnes

Fearless

God is always trying to tell us what to do, but we play dumb, deaf, and ignorant to the facts, knowledge, and wisdom that is given to us.  We lie to ourselves so that we can lie to God, by shutting down all of our spiritual and natural senses of justice, fairness, honor, and love.  Our fake love is like fake news that spreads fearlessly throughout our heart, mind, body, soul, and spirit.  Being fearlessly stupid is not the dynamic goal God has intended for you.  Clean up your mess and keep God’s message clear and clean in your heart so that you use pure love from God with your spouse, family, friends, and enemies.

Industrious

Technology is just a tool, like stuff, and money. You must not replace God’s ole’ fashioned love, stories, wisdom, and power with your own industrious insight of arrogance and pride. Left unto ourselves, we all can paint a perfect picture of what we think is cool or good in our own minds, but God knows your heart and all of the problems you have not corrected with HIM.  I cannot fix your heart, but God will if you open up to listen to His Spirit more clearly.  Become more industrious in your commitment to your God and family to become a better friend to others.

Nice

There is no doubt that our love for each other will help prove to others in this world that the love of God is in our hearts because we can honestly communicate our feeling and actions of faith properly at home, church, work, and among ourselves.  By lifting each other up, washing each other’s feet, and scratching each other’s backs, you can feel the love that reciprocates God’s true intentions in your lifestyle choices. Your good works of faith can never be erased when you finish the daily race.
Today’s Question
If you are a man who does not take care of your children, how do you expect to go to heaven and should God, Your Father, treat you like you did your children?
Enjoy The Reading

John 21 

Epilogue: Jesus Appears to Seven Disciples

21 Later, Jesus appeared again to the disciples beside the Sea of Galilee. This is how it happened. 2 Several of the disciples were there—Simon Peter, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples.
3 Simon Peter said, “I’m going fishing.”
“We’ll come, too,” they all said. So they went out in the boat, but they caught nothing all night.
4 At dawn Jesus was standing on the beach, but the disciples couldn’t see who he was. 5 He called out, “Fellows, have you caught any fish?”
“No,” they replied.
6 Then he said, “Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you’ll get some!” So they did, and they couldn’t haul in the net because there were so many fish in it.
7 Then the disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, “It’s the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his tunic (for he had stripped for work), jumped into the water, and headed to shore. 8 The others stayed with the boat and pulled the loaded net to the shore, for they were only about a hundred yards from shore. 9 When they got there, they found breakfast waiting for them—fish cooking over a charcoal fire, and some bread.
10 “Bring some of the fish you’ve just caught,” Jesus said. 11 So Simon Peter went aboard and dragged the net to the shore. There were 153 large fish, and yet the net hadn’t torn.
12 “Now come and have some breakfast!” Jesus said. None of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Then Jesus served them the bread and the fish. 14 This was the third time Jesus had appeared to his disciples since he had been raised from the dead.
15 After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?[e]”
“Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.”
“Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him.
16 Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
“Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know I love you.”
“Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said.
17 A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep.
18 “I tell you the truth, when you were young, you were able to do as you liked; you dressed yourself and went wherever you wanted to go. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others[f] will dress you and take you where you don’t want to go.” 19 Jesus said this to let him know by what kind of death he would glorify God. Then Jesus told him, “Follow me.”
20 Peter turned around and saw behind them the disciple Jesus loved—the one who had leaned over to Jesus during supper and asked, “Lord, who will betray you?” 21 Peter asked Jesus, “What about him, Lord?”
22 Jesus replied, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? As for you, follow me.” 23 So the rumor spread among the community of believers that this disciple wouldn’t die. But that isn’t what Jesus said at all. He only said, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?”
24 This disciple is the one who testifies to these events and has recorded them here. And we know that his account of these things is accurate.
25 Jesus also did many other things. If they were all written down, I suppose the whole world could not contain the books that would be written.

Heaven

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Hi Peeps,
Today’s Quote
“Treat God and people like you are in heaven right now and you will live with the Lord’s Prayer in your heart, lips, mind, body, soul, and lifestyle.” ~  Jon Barnes

Our

Our Father is in Heaven right now and our job is to practice His Will; which is being done on earth and in Heaven at the same time.  God seems pretty quick about building planets, solar systems, galaxies, and things of the unknown and unseen. I would assume that His judgment upon your life is just as swift upon death.  In reality, our lives blink like a “Twinkle Little Star Dust” in time, but our souls will live forever.

Father

Heaven and Hell seem to be active so that the Will of God is being done before, during, and after you die.  I can’t imagine that God would let the wicked rest idle waiting for judgment because hell is already operational and burning strong. Since eternity is on the other side of death, your destination awaits you as well for the same amount of time eternity is measured. Mathematically speaking, you can’t imagine how long eternity feels like in your mind’s eye.

In

Since God can do anything and is everywhere, we cannot comprehend His Time reference to eternity or His abilities.  It is beyond our scope of comprehension and reality. He gives us ideas, stories, and food for thought from His Bible, but All of God, What He Does, and Will Do cannot be expressed fully with the carnal mind of man. But, when you meditate on the Lord’s Prayer each day, you get a sense of understanding, revelation, and reality from God’s perspective.  Repentance is the product of true obedience.
Today’s Question
Do you think that God is wasting His Time on You, to burn in hell?   
Enjoy the reading

John 1 

Prologue: Christ, the Eternal Word

1 In the beginning the Word already existed.
The Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
2 He existed in the beginning with God.
3 God created everything through him,
and nothing was created except through him.
4 The Word gave life to everything that was created,
and his life brought light to everyone.
5 The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness can never extinguish it.
6 God sent a man, John the Baptist, 7 to tell about the light so that everyone might believe because of his testimony. 8 John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light. 9 The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.
10 He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. 11 He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. 12 But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. 13 They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.
14 So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.
15 John testified about him when he shouted to the crowds, “This is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘Someone is coming after me who is far greater than I am, for he existed long before me.’”
16 From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another.[f] 17 For the law was given through Moses, but God’s unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God. But the unique One, who is himself God, is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us.

The Testimony of John the Baptist

19 This was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders sent priests and Temple assistants from Jerusalem to ask John, “Who are you?” 20 He came right out and said, “I am not the Messiah.”
21 “Well then, who are you?” they asked. “Are you Elijah?”
“No,” he replied.
“Are you the Prophet we are expecting?”
“No.”
22 “Then who are you? We need an answer for those who sent us. What do you have to say about yourself?”
23 John replied in the words of the prophet Isaiah:
“I am a voice shouting in the wilderness,
‘Clear the way for the Lord’s coming!’”
24 Then the Pharisees who had been sent 25 asked him, “If you aren’t the Messiah or Elijah or the Prophet, what right do you have to baptize?”
26 John told them, “I baptize with water, but right here in the crowd is someone you do not recognize. 27 Though his ministry follows mine, I’m not even worthy to be his slave and untie the straps of his sandal.”
28 This encounter took place in Bethany, an area east of the Jordan River, where John was baptizing.

Jesus, the Lamb of God

29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30 He is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘A man is coming after me who is far greater than I am, for he existed long before me.’ 31 I did not recognize him as the Messiah, but I have been baptizing with water so that he might be revealed to Israel.”
32 Then John testified, “I saw the Holy Spirit descending like a dove from heaven and resting upon him. 33 I didn’t know he was the one, but when God sent me to baptize with water, he told me, ‘The one on whom you see the Spirit descend and rest is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I saw this happen to Jesus, so I testify that he is the Chosen One of God.”

The First Disciples

35 The following day John was again standing with two of his disciples. 36 As Jesus walked by, John looked at him and declared, “Look! There is the Lamb of God!” 37 When John’s two disciples heard this, they followed Jesus.
38 Jesus looked around and saw them following. “What do you want?” he asked them.
They replied, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?”
39 “Come and see,” he said. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon when they went with him to the place where he was staying, and they remained with him the rest of the day.
40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of these men who heard what John said and then followed Jesus. 41 Andrew went to find his brother, Simon, and told him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means “Christ”).
42 Then Andrew brought Simon to meet Jesus. Looking intently at Simon, Jesus said, “Your name is Simon, son of John—but you will be called Cephas” (which means “Peter”[n]).
43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Come, follow me.” 44 Philip was from Bethsaida, Andrew and Peter’s hometown.
45 Philip went to look for Nathanael and told him, “We have found the very person Moses and the prophets wrote about! His name is Jesus, the son of Joseph from Nazareth.”
46 “Nazareth!” exclaimed Nathanael. “Can anything good come from Nazareth?”
“Come and see for yourself,” Philip replied.
47 As they approached, Jesus said, “Now here is a genuine son of Israel—a man of complete integrity.”
48 “How do you know about me?” Nathanael asked.
Jesus replied, “I could see you under the fig tree before Philip found you.”
49 Then Nathanael exclaimed, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God—the King of Israel!”
50 Jesus asked him, “Do you believe this just because I told you I had seen you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this.” 51 Then he said, “I tell you the truth, you will all see heaven open and the angels of God going up and down on the Son of Man, the one who is the stairway between heaven and earth.