Rubberneck

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Not everything deserves your attention.”

TB

Counterproductive

We live in a world that champions everything but what Christ teaches. Funnily enough, the Bible literally states that this occurred then, as it wholly occurs now. But for many of us, like a horrific car accident, we turn and rubberneck, focusing on the futility of the flesh rather than focusing on Christ. So what do you do? Friends, we must put our relationship with Christ front and center of everything else so that we don’t spend our lifetimes on fruitless endeavors.

Avert Your Gaze

If your attention is placed on a sin fallen world; if you cherish what goes against the Truth, then it’s time to look in another direction. Don’t take my word for it, do your homework. Everything has checks and balances, and the fake cannot stand up against the Truth. If you truly want to know Who and what deserves your attention, then ask God. So stop rubbernecking and obsessing over a fallen world and see what Christ is trying to show you.

Today’s Question

What are you focusing on that blocks your growth in Christ?

Enjoy the reading

Daniel 10

1 In the third year of the reign of King Cyrus of Persia, Daniel (also known as Belteshazzar) had another vision. He understood that the vision concerned events certain to happen in the future—times of war and great hardship. 2 When this vision came to me, I, Daniel, had been in mourning for three whole weeks. 3 All that time I had eaten no rich food. No meat or wine crossed my lips, and I used no fragrant lotions until those three weeks had passed. 4 On April 23, as I was standing on the bank of the great Tigris River, 5 I looked up and saw a man dressed in linen clothing, with a belt of pure gold around his waist. 6 His body looked like a precious gem. His face flashed like lightning, and his eyes flamed like torches. His arms and feet shone like polished bronze, and his voice roared like a vast multitude of people. 7 Only I, Daniel, saw this vision. The men with me saw nothing, but they were suddenly terrified and ran away to hide. 8 So I was left there all alone to see this amazing vision. My strength left me, my face grew deathly pale, and I felt very weak. 9 Then I heard the man speak, and when I heard the sound of his voice, I fainted and lay there with my face to the ground. 10 Just then a hand touched me and lifted me, still trembling, to my hands and knees. 11 And the man said to me, “Daniel, you are very precious to God, so listen carefully to what I have to say to you. Stand up, for I have been sent to you.” When he said this to me, I stood up, still trembling. 12 Then he said, “Don’t be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer. 13 But for twenty-one days the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia blocked my way. Then Michael, one of the archangels, came to help me, and I left him there with the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia. 14 Now I am here to explain what will happen to your people in the future, for this vision concerns a time yet to come.” 15 While he was speaking to me, I looked down at the ground, unable to say a word. 16 Then the one who looked like a man touched my lips, and I opened my mouth and began to speak. I said to the one standing in front of me, “I am filled with anguish because of the vision I have seen, my lord, and I am very weak. 17 How can someone like me, your servant, talk to you, my lord? My strength is gone, and I can hardly breathe.” 18 Then the one who looked like a man touched me again, and I felt my strength returning. 19 “Don’t be afraid,” he said, “for you are very precious to God. Peace! Be encouraged! Be strong!” As he spoke these words to me, I suddenly felt stronger and said to him, “Please speak to me, my lord, for you have strengthened me.” 20 He replied, “Do you know why I have come? Soon I must return to fight against the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia, and after that the spirit prince of the kingdom of Greece will come. 21 Meanwhile, I will tell you what is written in the Book of Truth. (No one helps me against these spirit princes except Michael, your spirit prince.

Mighty

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Trust that God is mightier than your troubles.”

TB

People, Places, & Things

There is no peace in life when people, places, or things rule over you. If your faith is rooted in man or manmade things, when they falter– as they always do– your faith shatters. Friends, let’s not place our faith in the temporary things that we can see.

In Christ

In Christ only, the Truth is revealed. By understanding the core components of this world and the Living Word, we can see the Hand of God in our daily lives. God does not falter, nor does He abandon His children. Expand your faith and cling to Him.

Today’s Question

How mighty is your faith?

Enjoy the reading

Daniel 3

1 King Nebuchadnezzar made a gold statue ninety feet tall and nine feet wide and set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. 2 Then he sent messages to the high officers, officials, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates, and all the provincial officials to come to the dedication of the statue he had set up. 3 So all these officials came and stood before the statue King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. 4 Then a herald shouted out, “People of all races and nations and languages, listen to the king’s command! 5 When you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes, and other musical instruments, bow to the ground to worship King Nebuchadnezzar’s gold statue. 6 Anyone who refuses to obey will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace.” 7 So at the sound of the musical instruments, all the people, whatever their race or nation or language, bowed to the ground and worshiped the gold statue that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. 8 But some of the astrologers went to the king and informed on the Jews. 9 They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “Long live the king! 10 You issued a decree requiring all the people to bow down and worship the gold statue when they hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes, and other musical instruments. 11 That decree also states that those who refuse to obey must be thrown into a blazing furnace. 12 But there are some Jews—Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego—whom you have put in charge of the province of Babylon. They pay no attention to you, Your Majesty. They refuse to serve your gods and do not worship the gold statue you have set up.” 13 Then Nebuchadnezzar flew into a rage and ordered that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought before him. When they were brought in, 14 Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you refuse to serve my gods or to worship the gold statue I have set up? 15 I will give you one more chance to bow down and worship the statue I have made when you hear the sound of the musical instruments. But if you refuse, you will be thrown immediately into the blazing furnace. And then what god will be able to rescue you from my power?” 16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. 18 But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.” 19 Nebuchadnezzar was so furious with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego that his face became distorted with rage. He commanded that the furnace be heated seven times hotter than usual. 20 Then he ordered some of the strongest men of his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. 21 So they tied them up and threw them into the furnace, fully dressed in their pants, turbans, robes, and other garments. 22 And because the king, in his anger, had demanded such a hot fire in the furnace, the flames killed the soldiers as they threw the three men in. 23 So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, securely tied, fell into the roaring flames. 24 But suddenly, Nebuchadnezzar jumped up in amazement and exclaimed to his advisers, “Didn’t we tie up three men and throw them into the furnace?” “Yes, Your Majesty, we certainly did,” they replied. 25 “Look!” Nebuchadnezzar shouted. “I see four men, unbound, walking around in the fire unharmed! And the fourth looks like a god !” 26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came as close as he could to the door of the flaming furnace and shouted: “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!” So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stepped out of the fire. 27 Then the high officers, officials, governors, and advisers crowded around them and saw that the fire had not touched them. Not a hair on their heads was singed, and their clothing was not scorched. They didn’t even smell of smoke! 28 Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise to the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego! He sent his angel to rescue his servants who trusted in him. They defied the king’s command and were willing to die rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. 29 Therefore, I make this decree: If any people, whatever their race or nation or language, speak a word against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, they will be torn limb from limb, and their houses will be turned into heaps of rubble. There is no other god who can rescue like this!” 30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to even higher positions in the province of Babylon.

Dose

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“It’s better to receive an uncomfortable dose of truth from a friend than to idly walk down the path of destruction as a peer cheers you on.”

TB

Fake

People of this world struggle to define and maintain a relationship with Christ because they’d rather be hypnotized by the songs of the opposition. They excitedly play the destructive tunes of sin because the sound is pleasing to the ear. Those same people find offense to wise council.

Taste

The truth begins when we accept the nutrients that Christ provides. At the start, it’s not as outwardly attractive as the sin-fallen world, but its benefits are everlasting. When wise council provides you with a wholesome dose of truth, be grateful that they loved you enough to share their wisdom with you.

Today’s Question

What’s better a brother who corrects your misdeeds or a brother that encourages your bad behavior?

Enjoy the reading

Ezekiel 45

1 “When you divide the land among the tribes of Israel, you must set aside a section for the LORD as his holy portion. This piece of land will be 8 miles long and 6 miles wide. The entire area will be holy. 2 A section of this land, measuring 875 feet by 875 feet, will be set aside for the Temple. An additional strip of land 87 feet wide is to be left empty all around it. 3 Within the larger sacred area, measure out a portion of land 8 miles long and 3 miles wide. Within it the sanctuary of the Most Holy Place will be located. 4 This area will be holy, set aside for the priests who minister to the LORD in the sanctuary. They will use it for their homes, and my Temple will be located within it. 5 The strip of sacred land next to it, also 8 miles long and 3 miles wide, will be a living area for the Levites who work at the Temple. It will be their possession and a place for their towns. 6 “Adjacent to the larger sacred area will be a section of land 8 miles long and 1 miles wide. This will be set aside for a city where anyone in Israel can live. 7 “Two special sections of land will be set apart for the prince. One section will share a border with the east side of the sacred lands and city, and the second section will share a border on the west side. Then the far eastern and western borders of the prince’s lands will line up with the eastern and western boundaries of the tribal areas. 8 These sections of land will be the prince’s allotment. Then my princes will no longer oppress and rob my people; they will assign the rest of the land to the people, giving an allotment to each tribe. 9 “For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Enough, you princes of Israel! Stop your violence and oppression and do what is just and right. Quit robbing and cheating my people out of their land. Stop expelling them from their homes, says the Sovereign LORD . 10 Use only honest weights and scales and honest measures, both dry and liquid. 11 The homer will be your standard unit for measuring volume. The ephah and the bath will each measure one-tenth of a homer. 12 The standard unit for weight will be the silver shekel. One shekel will consist of twenty gerahs, and sixty shekels will be equal to one mina. 13 “You must give this tax to the prince: one bushel of wheat or barley for every 60 you harvest, 14 one percent of your olive oil, 15 and one sheep or goat for every 200 in your flocks in Israel. These will be the grain offerings, burnt offerings, and peace offerings that will make atonement for the people who bring them, says the Sovereign LORD . 16 All the people of Israel must join in bringing these offerings to the prince. 17 The prince will be required to provide offerings that are given at the religious festivals, the new moon celebrations, the Sabbath days, and all other similar occasions. He will provide the sin offerings, burnt offerings, grain offerings, liquid offerings, and peace offerings to purify the people of Israel, making them right with the LORD . 18 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: In early spring, on the first day of each new year, sacrifice a young bull with no defects to purify the Temple. 19 The priest will take blood from this sin offering and put it on the doorposts of the Temple, the four corners of the upper ledge of the altar, and the gateposts at the entrance to the inner courtyard. 20 Do this also on the seventh day of the new year for anyone who has sinned through error or ignorance. In this way, you will purify the Temple. 21 “On the fourteenth day of the first month, you must celebrate the Passover. This festival will last for seven days. The bread you eat during that time must be made without yeast. 22 On the day of Passover the prince will provide a young bull as a sin offering for himself and the people of Israel. 23 On each of the seven days of the feast he will prepare a burnt offering to the LORD, consisting of seven young bulls and seven rams without defects. A male goat will also be given each day for a sin offering. 24 The prince will provide a basket of flour as a grain offering and a gallon of olive oil with each young bull and ram. 25 “During the seven days of the Festival of Shelters, which occurs every year in early autumn, the prince will provide these same sacrifices for the sin offering, the burnt offering, and the grain offering, along with the required olive oil.

Sway

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Be leery of people and environments that hate the truth.”

TB

If

The world thrives on lies, positioning nonsense as a person’s ” truth”. People who wish to find proof for their foolish and wicked ways will always create spaces where the truth is relative. Friends, just because we fail to believe in what is True, does not change the outcome. In a world that loves to split hairs, it’s important to understand what is True and its implications. As people continue to move away from God, the evidence of lawlessness becomes more apparent in everyday life.

Then

If we choose not to acknowledge God, then He has no choice but to not acknowledge us. But make no mistake, there are ramifications of a wayward world. When we give up the sovereignty of Christ, we also give up His protection and are left to combat a fallen world alone. So when you spend your time with people in places that have abandoned Christ, do not be surprised when you get more than you bargained for. Don’t allow wicked people to sway you into giving up what is True.

Today’s Question

Did you walk away from God because of the lies of your peers?

Enjoy the reading

Ezekiel 44

 Then the man brought me back to the east gateway in the outer wall of the Temple area, but it was closed. 2 And the LORD said to me, “This gate must remain closed; it will never again be opened. No one will ever open it and pass through, for the LORD, the God of Israel, has entered here. Therefore, it must always remain shut. 3 Only the prince himself may sit inside this gateway to feast in the LORD ’s presence. But he may come and go only through the entry room of the gateway.” 4 Then the man brought me through the north gateway to the front of the Temple. I looked and saw that the glory of the LORD filled the Temple of the LORD, and I fell face down on the ground. 5 And the LORD said to me, “Son of man, take careful notice. Use your eyes and ears, and listen to everything I tell you about the regulations concerning the LORD ’s Temple. Take careful note of the procedures for using the Temple’s entrances and exits. 6 And give these rebels, the people of Israel, this message from the Sovereign LORD : O people of Israel, enough of your detestable sins! 7 You have brought uncircumcised foreigners into my sanctuary—people who have no heart for God. In this way, you defiled my Temple even as you offered me my food, the fat and blood of sacrifices. In addition to all your other detestable sins, you have broken my covenant. 8 Instead of safeguarding my sacred rituals, you have hired foreigners to take charge of my sanctuary. 9 “So this is what the Sovereign LORD says: No foreigners, including those who live among the people of Israel, will enter my sanctuary if they have not been circumcised and have not surrendered themselves to the LORD . 10 And the men of the tribe of Levi who abandoned me when Israel strayed away from me to worship idols must bear the consequences of their unfaithfulness. 11 They may still be Temple guards and gatekeepers, and they may slaughter the animals brought for burnt offerings and be present to help the people. 12 But they encouraged my people to worship idols, causing Israel to fall into deep sin. So I have taken a solemn oath that they must bear the consequences for their sins, says the Sovereign LORD . 13 They may not approach me to minister as priests. They may not touch any of my holy things or the holy offerings, for they must bear the shame of all the detestable sins they have committed. 14 They are to serve as the Temple caretakers, taking charge of the maintenance work and performing general duties. 15 “However, the Levitical priests of the family of Zadok continued to minister faithfully in the Temple when Israel abandoned me for idols. These men will serve as my ministers. They will stand in my presence and offer the fat and blood of the sacrifices, says the Sovereign LORD . 16 They alone will enter my sanctuary and approach my table to serve me. They will fulfill all my requirements. 17 “When they enter the gateway to the inner courtyard, they must wear only linen clothing. They must wear no wool while on duty in the inner courtyard or in the Temple itself. 18 They must wear linen turbans and linen undergarments. They must not wear anything that would cause them to perspire. 19 When they return to the outer courtyard where the people are, they must take off the clothes they wear while ministering to me. They must leave them in the sacred rooms and put on other clothes so they do not endanger anyone by transmitting holiness to them through this clothing. 20 “They must neither shave their heads nor let their hair grow too long. Instead, they must trim it regularly. 21 The priests must not drink wine before entering the inner courtyard. 22 They may choose their wives only from among the virgins of Israel or the widows of the priests. They may not marry other widows or divorced women. 23 They will teach my people the difference between what is holy and what is common, what is ceremonially clean and unclean. 24 “They will serve as judges to resolve any disagreements among my people. Their decisions must be based on my regulations. And the priests themselves must obey my instructions and decrees at all the sacred festivals, and see to it that the Sabbaths are set apart as holy days. 25 “A priest must not defile himself by being in the presence of a dead person unless it is his father, mother, child, brother, or unmarried sister. In such cases it is permitted. 26 Even then, he can return to his Temple duties only after being ceremonially cleansed and then waiting for seven days. 27 The first day he returns to work and enters the inner courtyard and the sanctuary, he must offer a sin offering for himself, says the Sovereign LORD . 28 “The priests will not have any property or possession of land, for I alone am their special possession. 29 Their food will come from the gifts and sacrifices brought to the Temple by the people—the grain offerings, the sin offerings, and the guilt offerings. Whatever anyone sets apart for the LORD will belong to the priests. 30 The first of the ripe fruits and all the gifts brought to the LORD will go to the priests. The first batch of dough must also be given to the priests so the LORD will bless your homes. 31 The priests may not eat meat from any bird or animal that dies a natural death or that dies after being attacked by another animal.

Tools

 

window-4553721_1920.jpgHi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Tools are only as good as you use them.”~TB

Possession

It’s human nature to think that just because you have the tools in your possession, you’re solid. Some of us spend a lifetime collecting the world’s best and shiniest tools only to let them sit and gather dust. It doesn’t necessarily matter if you ever use them, having them is what counts. We put these tools on display so that our peers can see how “prepared” and amazing we are, yet when it comes down to it, we’ve probably never even read the instruction manual to most of it. Oh man, with that kind of thinking, it’s no wonder why we struggle as a collective to discern the truth from the fake, good from evil, and so on. Yes, having the tools is a step in the right direction, but how effective can they be if you don’t ever use them?

Effective

I could have a state of the art gym in my house. However, if I don’t actually use it, how effective is just having the stuff around? The same concept can be applied to us and the Bible. Ask yourself, how much are you actually reading it? How often are you applying its wisdom to your life? If we spend more time binge-watching our favorite shows or zoning out to our preferred method of escapism, can we really blame the tools? Friends, it’s time that we put our tools to the test and use them to our advantage. The Living Word has a host of benefits that will serve you well all through your life. That said, you can only find that out if you use it.

Today’s Question

Are you collecting God’s tools or are you using them?

Enjoy the reading

Jeremiah 27

1 This message came to Jeremiah from the LORD early in the reign of Zedekiah son of Josiah, king of Judah. 
2 This is what the LORD said to me: “Make a yoke, and fasten it on your neck with leather straps. 
3 Then send messages to the kings of Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre, and Sidon through their ambassadors who have come to see King Zedekiah in Jerusalem. 
4 Give them this message for their masters: ‘This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: 
5 With my great strength and powerful arm I made the earth and all its people and every animal. I can give these things of mine to anyone I choose. 
6 Now I will give your countries to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, who is my servant. I have put everything, even the wild animals, under his control. 
7 All the nations will serve him, his son, and his grandson until his time is up. Then many nations and great kings will conquer and rule over Babylon. 
8 So you must submit to Babylon’s king and serve him; put your neck under Babylon’s yoke! I will punish any nation that refuses to be his slave, says the LORD . I will send war, famine, and disease upon that nation until Babylon has conquered it. 
9 “‘Do not listen to your false prophets, fortune-tellers, interpreters of dreams, mediums, and sorcerers who say, “The king of Babylon will not conquer you.” 
10 They are all liars, and their lies will lead to your being driven out of your land. I will drive you out and send you far away to die. 
11 But the people of any nation that submits to the king of Babylon will be allowed to stay in their own country to farm the land as usual. I, the LORD, have spoken!’” 
12 Then I repeated this same message to King Zedekiah of Judah. “If you want to live, submit to the yoke of the king of Babylon and his people. 
13 Why do you insist on dying—you and your people? Why should you choose war, famine, and disease, which the LORD will bring against every nation that refuses to submit to Babylon’s king? 
14 Do not listen to the false prophets who keep telling you, ‘The king of Babylon will not conquer you.’ They are liars. 
15 This is what the LORD says: ‘I have not sent these prophets! They are telling you lies in my name, so I will drive you from this land. You will all die—you and all these prophets, too.’” 
16 Then I spoke to the priests and the people and said, “This is what the LORD says: ‘Do not listen to your prophets who claim that soon the gold articles taken from my Temple will be returned from Babylon. It is all a lie! 
17 Do not listen to them. Surrender to the king of Babylon, and you will live. Why should this whole city be destroyed? 
18 If they really are prophets and speak the LORD ’s messages, let them pray to the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. Let them pray that the articles remaining in the LORD ’s Temple and in the king’s palace and in the palaces of Jerusalem will not be carried away to Babylon!’ 
19 “For the LORD of Heaven’s Armies has spoken about the pillars in front of the Temple, the great bronze basin called the Sea, the water carts, and all the other ceremonial articles. 
20 King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon left them here when he exiled Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, to Babylon, along with all the other nobles of Judah and Jerusalem. 
21 Yes, this is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says about the precious things still in the Temple, in the palace of Judah’s king, and in Jerusalem: 
22 ‘They will all be carried away to Babylon and will stay there until I send for them,’ says the LORD . ‘Then I will bring them back to Jerusalem again.’”

Obedience>Perfection

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“God never asks for perfection, just obedience.”~TB

Standards

Do you ever sit back and reflect on the standards that Christ has asked of us? Love your neighbor as yourself, don’t covet, forgive others, honor thy mother and father, and so on. These standards in of themselves are not difficult. They do not require a Ph.D. nor a mathematical background to practice. More to the point, even when we do screw those up, all we have to do is repent and turn from our stupidity. Imagine that! So why is it that we as people have come so far astray from those simple commandments and deeds? We’ve adopted our own morbid standards of human perfection (depravity) and have tossed God’s to the wayside. If you don’t believe me consider this: depending on the human audience, the standards change. But, God’s standards, never change no matter the audience or time period.

Practice

So if man’s standards change– as they often do– it can’t come as a massive surprise that we feel the instability and insecurity that is plaguing our society. From social standards, workplace standards, economic standards, it’s all over the place! This means, that instead of trying to perfect any standard, it’s always best to practice obeying the standards of Christ. Because God’s word never fails, deviates, and obscures, all we have is Him — which is all we need. Think about it; when we die, we can’t take any of this with us. What Suzy said about your outfit or the way you made your quiche does not come into play at the Pearly Gates. Jim’s amazing man cave or home gym does not matter one iota. Friends, imagine if we moved in the way that Christ asked of us. It would be interesting to see what we could accomplish and the peace that would ensue. So, instead of looking to be perfect, practice obeying what Christ has written on our hearts.

Today’s Question

Are you practicing obedience or practicing stupidity?

Enjoy the reading

Jeremiah 14

1 This message came to Jeremiah from the LORD, explaining why he was holding back the rain: 
2 “Judah wilts; commerce at the city gates grinds to a halt. All the people sit on the ground in mourning, and a great cry rises from Jerusalem. 
3 The nobles send servants to get water, but all the wells are dry. The servants return with empty pitchers, confused and desperate, covering their heads in grief. 
4 The ground is parched and cracked for lack of rain. The farmers are deeply troubled; they, too, cover their heads. 
5 Even the doe abandons her newborn fawn because there is no grass in the field. 
6 The wild donkeys stand on the bare hills panting like thirsty jackals. They strain their eyes looking for grass, but there is none to be found.” 
7 The people say, “Our wickedness has caught up with us, LORD, but help us for the sake of your own reputation. We have turned away from you and sinned against you again and again. 
8 O Hope of Israel, our Savior in times of trouble, why are you like a stranger to us? Why are you like a traveler passing through the land, stopping only for the night? 
9 Are you also confused? Is our champion helpless to save us? You are right here among us, LORD . We are known as your people. Please don’t abandon us now!” 
10 So this is what the LORD says to his people: “You love to wander far from me and do not restrain yourselves. Therefore, I will no longer accept you as my people. Now I will remember all your wickedness and will punish you for your sins.” 
11 Then the LORD said to me, “Do not pray for these people anymore. 
12 When they fast, I will pay no attention. When they present their burnt offerings and grain offerings to me, I will not accept them. Instead, I will devour them with war, famine, and disease.” 
13 Then I said, “O Sovereign LORD, their prophets are telling them, ‘All is well—no war or famine will come. The LORD will surely send you peace.’” 
14 Then the LORD said, “These prophets are telling lies in my name. I did not send them or tell them to speak. I did not give them any messages. They prophesy of visions and revelations they have never seen or heard. They speak foolishness made up in their own lying hearts. 
15 Therefore, this is what the LORD says: I will punish these lying prophets, for they have spoken in my name even though I never sent them. They say that no war or famine will come, but they themselves will die by war and famine! 
16 As for the people to whom they prophesy—their bodies will be thrown out into the streets of Jerusalem, victims of famine and war. There will be no one left to bury them. Husbands, wives, sons, and daughters—all will be gone. For I will pour out their own wickedness on them. 
17 Now, Jeremiah, say this to them: “Night and day my eyes overflow with tears. I cannot stop weeping, for my virgin daughter—my precious people— has been struck down and lies mortally wounded. 
18 If I go out into the fields, I see the bodies of people slaughtered by the enemy. If I walk the city streets, I see people who have died of starvation. The prophets and priests continue with their work, but they don’t know what they’re doing.” 
19 LORD, have you completely rejected Judah? Do you really hate Jerusalem? Why have you wounded us past all hope of healing? We hoped for peace, but no peace came. We hoped for a time of healing, but found only terror. 
20 LORD, we confess our wickedness and that of our ancestors, too. We all have sinned against you. 
21 For the sake of your reputation, LORD, do not abandon us. Do not disgrace your own glorious throne. Please remember us, and do not break your covenant with us. 
22 Can any of the worthless foreign gods send us rain? Does it fall from the sky by itself? No, you are the one, O LORD our God! Only you can do such things. So we will wait for you to help us.

 

Authority

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Hi Peeps

Today’s Quote

“Don’t live by the judgments of man, only God can see you as you truly are.”~TB

Influence

Every single human being has insecurities, blind spots, and a slew of fallible qualities that make us terrible judges of character. For this reason, you cannot place your value in the hands of others. When we give people the authority to dictate how we see ourselves, chaos and imbalance ensues. That’s because humans are flawed and are unable to judge one another with the grace and unconditional love that can only come from our Father in Heaven. Even with the best intentions, we will fail each other, and we will fall short of each other’s expectations. So when a human condemns your character on circumstantial  evidence, do your best to let it go, because holding on to the judgment of others hinders your personal and spiritual growth.

Crippled

When you care about how you are viewed by others, you are essentially making your peers your god. This cripples you from being who God truly called you to be. You’re so busy worrying about offending, being uncool, or being seen as weird or different, that you don’t know who you are. Fortunately, this happens to all of us, but you don’t have to let it be a lifelong sentence. To really understand your true identity, develop your relationship with Christ. When you engage with Him regularly, He will show you who you really are— His. God’s opinion of you is infinitely more perfect and accurate than even your own parents. Because His opinion and judgment of you never waivers, you can stand firm on His promise and will for your life.

Today’s Question

Whose authority are you submitting to?

Isaiah 5

1 Now I will sing for the one I love a song about his vineyard: My beloved had a vineyard on a rich and fertile hill.
2 He plowed the land, cleared its stones, and planted it with the best vines. In the middle he built a watchtower and carved a winepress in the nearby rocks. Then he waited for a harvest of sweet grapes, but the grapes that grew were bitter.
3 Now, you people of Jerusalem and Judah, you judge between me and my vineyard.
4 What more could I have done for my vineyard that I have not already done? When I expected sweet grapes, why did my vineyard give me bitter grapes?
5 Now let me tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will tear down its hedges and let it be destroyed. I will break down its walls and let the animals trample it.
6 I will make it a wild place where the vines are not pruned and the ground is not hoed, a place overgrown with briers and thorns. I will command the clouds to drop no rain on it.
7 The nation of Israel is the vineyard of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. The people of Judah are his pleasant garden. He expected a crop of justice, but instead he found oppression. He expected to find righteousness, but instead he heard cries of violence.
8 What sorrow for you who buy up house after house and field after field, until everyone is evicted and you live alone in the land.
9 But I have heard the LORD of Heaven’s Armies swear a solemn oath: “Many houses will stand deserted; even beautiful mansions will be empty.
10 Ten acres of vineyard will not produce even six gallons of wine. Ten baskets of seed will yield only one basket of grain.”
11 What sorrow for those who get up early in the morning looking for a drink of alcohol and spend long evenings drinking wine to make themselves flaming drunk.
12 They furnish wine and lovely music at their grand parties— lyre and harp, tambourine and flute— but they never think about the LORD or notice what he is doing.
13 So my people will go into exile far away because they do not know me. Those who are great and honored will starve, and the common people will die of thirst.
14 The grave is licking its lips in anticipation, opening its mouth wide. The great and the lowly and all the drunken mob will be swallowed up.
15Humanity will be destroyed, and people brought down; even the arrogant will lower their eyes in humiliation.
16 But the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will be exalted by his justice. The holiness of God will be displayed by his righteousness.
17 In that day lambs will find good pastures, and fattened sheep and young goats will feed among the ruins.
18 What sorrow for those who drag their sins behind them with ropes made of lies, who drag wickedness behind them like a cart!
19 They even mock God and say, “Hurry up and do something! We want to see what you can do. Let the Holy One of Israel carry out his plan, for we want to know what it is.”
20 What sorrow for those who say that evil is good and good is evil, that dark is light and light is dark, that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter.
21What sorrow for those who are wise in their own eyes and think themselves so clever.
22What sorrow for those who are heroes at drinking wine and boast about all the alcohol they can hold.
23 They take bribes to let the wicked go free, and they punish the innocent.
24 Therefore, just as fire licks up stubble and dry grass shrivels in the flame, so their roots will rot and their flowers wither. For they have rejected the law of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies; they have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.
25 That is why the LORD ’s anger burns against his people, and why he has raised his fist to crush them. The mountains tremble, and the corpses of his people litter the streets like garbage. But even then the LORD ’s anger is not satisfied. His fist is still poised to strike!
26 He will send a signal to distant nations far away and whistle to those at the ends of the earth. They will come racing toward Jerusalem.
27 They will not get tired or stumble. They will not stop for rest or sleep. Not a belt will be loose, not a sandal strap broken.
28 Their arrows will be sharp and their bows ready for battle. Sparks will fly from their horses’ hooves, and the wheels of their chariots will spin like a whirlwind.
29 They will roar like lions, like the strongest of lions. Growling, they will pounce on their victims and carry them off, and no one will be there to rescue them.
30 They will roar over their victims on that day of destruction like the roaring of the sea. If someone looks across the land, only darkness and distress will be seen; even the light will be darkened by clouds.

Authenticity

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“If being authentic requires you to physically change yourself, that’s not authenticity”~TB

As You Are

We live in a time where people scream authenticity yet their behaviors and desires say anything but. Their bodies, minds, and spirit are chemically, physically, and mentally altered by man-made foolishness. Society–backed by money-hungry companies– spend millions of dollars to create a fake utopian illusion that distorts love and teaches people they are not good enough as they are. Instead, you need to spend money to be considered acceptable. Do you know who already considers you beautiful and acceptable? God. He made you and already paid the ultimate price for you. No marketing department of any corporation will ever invest that much on you.

Open Your Eyes

If being the ‘real’ you requires you to change your appearance, how real are you? There is another name for that; idolatry. Friends, be wary of people, products, and businesses that profit off of your insecurity. God created you as you are intended. Open your eyes and see that the very people shouting ‘freedom, self-expression, and choice’ are trapping you into their distorted version of reality. If freedom means conforming to a society built by a fallen world, that is not freedom. If practicing ‘self-love’ involves discarding the teachings of the Bible, truly that is not love at all! Watch yourselves on this slippery slope. Stop being enticed into self-worship, seeking validation from other confused people. If it’s authenticity and love that you seek, turn your eyes to God.

Today’s Question

Are you an authentic Child of God or has this sin-fallen world taught you to be your own god?

Enjoy the reading

Psalm 100

1 Shout with joy to the LORD, all the earth! 
2 Worship the LORD with gladness. Come before him, singing with joy. 
3 Acknowledge that the LORD is God! He made us, and we are his. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture. 
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. 
5 For the LORD is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.

Validation

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Stop looking to man for validation. Only God’s validation brings salvation, all else brings destruction”~TB

Approval

As humans, we are flawed, flesh-driven creatures, prone to activities that are detestable in the eyes of God. For this reason, we cannot look to one another for approval. When you look to your peers for validation, you’re literally practicing idol worship. When you avert your gaze from God and turn towards man, we eventually fall into the snare of their evil desires. Think about it, when you crave the validation of man, you are more susceptible to fall prey to their carnal practices. Slowly but surely, they begin soliciting you with corrupt activities. Because you begin to fear losing that validation, you are willing to compromise the Truth for a lie in order to keep your empty status. How foolish!

Disapproval

Even with everything you know, why do you still seek the validation of heathens? You shamelessly follow their evil ways, accepting and contributing to their immoral practices. And for what, a seat at the table that is on the fast track to hell? Are you that foolish to believe that temporary popularity is far better than validation in eternity? Turn your eyes to the Lord before you go to your final resting place. Come judgment day you will see whose validation truly matters.

Today’s Question

Are you willing to sacrifice your salvation just for the temporary validation of a sin-fallen world?

Enjoy the reading

Psalm 86

1 Bend down, O LORD, and hear my prayer; answer me, for I need your help. 
2 Protect me, for I am devoted to you. Save me, for I serve you and trust you. You are my God. 
3 Be merciful to me, O Lord, for I am calling on you constantly. 
4 Give me happiness, O Lord, for I give myself to you. 
5O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help. 
6 Listen closely to my prayer, O LORD ; hear my urgent cry. 
7 I will call to you whenever I’m in trouble, and you will answer me. 
8 No pagan god is like you, O Lord. None can do what you do! 
9 All the nations you made will come and bow before you, Lord; they will praise your holy name. 
10 For you are great and perform wonderful deeds. You alone are God. 
11 Teach me your ways, O LORD, that I may live according to your truth! Grant me purity of heart, so that I may honor you.
12 With all my heart I will praise you, O Lord my God. I will give glory to your name forever, 
13 for your love for me is very great. You have rescued me from the depths of death. 
14 O God, insolent people rise up against me; a violent gang is trying to kill me. You mean nothing to them. 
15 But you, O Lord, are a God of compassion and mercy, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness. 
16 Look down and have mercy on me. Give your strength to your servant; save me, the son of your servant.
17 Send me a sign of your favor. Then those who hate me will be put to shame, for you, O LORD, help and comfort me.

Shamed

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Hi Peeps,
Today’s Quote
“Many of us are shamed into doing the right things because we see that others are doing such a great job for God and it is good that I shouldstepped up my game, because of what I learned from God, my family, friends, and enemies.” ~ Jon Barnes

Doing

It is good to improve and change from your shameful ways, after seeing how wonderfully God has blessed you and others.  This is called positive peer pleasure, which is self-inflicted, positive pressure that helps motivate all of us to improve in working for God. Rejoice with those who inspire you and continue in this manner to increase your passion and love for Your Creator, Father God.

Well

Continue in your well doing, sacrifice, and focus upon God so that each day is fresh, new, and more wonderful than the last in all circumstances.  I can say that I’m having the time of my life in every second God gives me!  Praise God with all that you are and have so that you can be rich in the Kingdom.  For me, this type of work is done in the middle of the night, when only God is watching and the overflow follows by day.

Now

Do not copy your family’s history of alcohol, drug, sex, greed, hypocrisy, and other abusive lifestyle ways!  But copy God’s Laws, Commandments, and Wonderful ways of living a clean, honest life as a habit.  Repent and enjoy the fruits of the Spirit in obedience and not the fruits of shamefulness.
Today’s Question
Are you a Hypocrite like many of God’s Children from the past and the future?

Ezra 6 

Darius Approves the Rebuilding

So King Darius issued orders that a search be made in the Babylonian archives, which were stored in the treasury. But it was at the fortress at Ecbatana in the province of Media that a scroll was found. This is what it said:
“Memorandum:
“In the first year of King Cyrus’s reign, a decree was sent out concerning the Temple of God at Jerusalem.
“Let the Temple be rebuilt on the site where Jews used to offer their sacrifices, using the original foundations. Its height will be ninety feet, and its width will be ninety feet.[a] Every three layers of specially prepared stones will be topped by a layer of timber. All expenses will be paid by the royal treasury. Furthermore, the gold and silver cups, which were taken to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar from the Temple of God in Jerusalem, must be returned to Jerusalem and put back where they belong. Let them be taken back to the Temple of God.”
So King Darius sent this message:
“Now therefore, Tattenai, governor of the province west of the Euphrates River,[b]and Shethar-bozenai, and your colleagues and other officials west of the Euphrates River—stay away from there! Do not disturb the construction of the Temple of God. Let it be rebuilt on its original site, and do not hinder the governor of Judah and the elders of the Jews in their work.
“Moreover, I hereby decree that you are to help these elders of the Jews as they rebuild this Temple of God. You must pay the full construction costs, without delay, from my taxes collected in the province west of the Euphrates River so that the work will not be interrupted.
“Give the priests in Jerusalem whatever is needed in the way of young bulls, rams, and male lambs for the burnt offerings presented to the God of heaven. And without fail, provide them with as much wheat, salt, wine, and olive oil as they need each day. 10 Then they will be able to offer acceptable sacrifices to the God of heaven and pray for the welfare of the king and his sons.
11 “Those who violate this decree in any way will have a beam pulled from their house. Then they will be lifted up and impaled on it, and their house will be reduced to a pile of rubble.[c] 12 May the God who has chosen the city of Jerusalem as the place to honor his name destroy any king or nation that violates this command and destroys this Temple.
“I, Darius, have issued this decree. Let it be obeyed with all diligence.”

The Temple’s Dedication

13 Tattenai, governor of the province west of the Euphrates River, and Shethar-bozenai and their colleagues complied at once with the command of King Darius.14 So the Jewish elders continued their work, and they were greatly encouraged by the preaching of the prophets Haggai and Zechariah son of Iddo. The Temple was finally finished, as had been commanded by the God of Israel and decreed by Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes, the kings of Persia. 15 The Temple was completed on March 12,[d] during the sixth year of King Darius’s reign.
16 The Temple of God was then dedicated with great joy by the people of Israel, the priests, the Levites, and the rest of the people who had returned from exile.17 During the dedication ceremony for the Temple of God, 100 young bulls, 200 rams, and 400 male lambs were sacrificed. And 12 male goats were presented as a sin offering for the twelve tribes of Israel. 18 Then the priests and Levites were divided into their various divisions to serve at the Temple of God in Jerusalem, as prescribed in the Book of Moses.

Celebration of Passover

19 On April 21[e] the returned exiles celebrated Passover. 20 The priests and Levites had purified themselves and were ceremonially clean. So they slaughtered the Passover lamb for all the returned exiles, for their fellow priests, and for themselves. 21 The Passover meal was eaten by the people of Israel who had returned from exile and by the others in the land who had turned from their corrupt practices to worship the Lord, the God of Israel. 22 Then they celebrated the Festival of Unleavened Bread for seven days. There was great joy throughout the land because the Lord had caused the king of Assyria[f] to be favorable to them, so that he helped them to rebuild the Temple of God, the God of Israel.
Love,
Jonathan