“People who jump ship from Christ at the first sign of trouble fail to fully activate their faith”~TB
It’s amazing what we as people tolerate in our lives. We tolerate crappy bosses, toxic relationships, corrupt governments, gossipy friends, etc. We engage in fruitless and backward relationships that literally do not make sense. We imbibe and ingest things that aren’t beneficial while being potentially lethal. But, when it comes to our faith if it’s not perfect, or something “bad” comes down the pipeline, then we’re quick to abandon it. In our flawed thinking, faith and God has to mean a perfect, pain-free life or it just doesn’t work for us. Think about it, it’s ok to practice bad behavior, work at a place that treats you poorly and underpays, but if life isn’t going according to “your plan”, well this God thing is phooey. Rootless faith, faith that’s not rooted in anything, is what the opposition banks on because he knows at the slightest sign of discomfort, people will turn back to their old ways. The ironic part is that the storms or uncomfortable times are where we really get to know God and see His plan in our lives.
During natural disasters, there are plans and protocols in place to help those affected remain safe. In times of spiritual trouble, the Bible is exactly that. I’m not just talking about doctrine. There are a bunch of stories that talk about men and women enduring wild situations who chose to rely on God’s wisdom to see them through. Regular people, just like you and me were used to do miraculous things because they hunkered down and trusted God. Instead of running at the first sign of trouble, dive deep into the Word. Sure, the Israelites got to see the Red Sea part. Though we may not be able to see such signs today, we have the advantage of having the Living Word at our fingertips! Those guys lived those moments, but we get to read about them and use them to navigate our own “Red Seas”. That’s pretty cool when you think about it. Friends, don’t let go of faith when trouble hits. That’s the devil’s whole strategy (because it’s highly effective). Double down, seek the Lord and He will be with you always in all ways.
Are you jumping ship and missing the true destination all because of a few waves?
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1Then the LORD said to me, “Even if Moses and Samuel stood before me pleading for these people, I wouldn’t help them. Away with them! Get them out of my sight!
2And if they say to you, ‘But where can we go?’ tell them, ‘This is what the LORD says: “‘Those who are destined for death, to death; those who are destined for war, to war; those who are destined for famine, to famine; those who are destined for captivity, to captivity.’
3“I will send four kinds of destroyers against them,” says the LORD . “I will send the sword to kill, the dogs to drag away, the vultures to devour, and the wild animals to finish up what is left.
4Because of the wicked things Manasseh son of Hezekiah, king of Judah, did in Jerusalem, I will make my people an object of horror to all the kingdoms of the earth.
5“Who will feel sorry for you, Jerusalem? Who will weep for you? Who will even bother to ask how you are?
6You have abandoned me and turned your back on me,” says the LORD . “Therefore, I will raise my fist to destroy you. I am tired of always giving you another chance.
7I will winnow you like grain at the gates of your cities and take away the children you hold dear. I will destroy my own people, because they refuse to change their evil ways.
8There will be more widows than the grains of sand on the seashore. At noontime I will bring a destroyer against the mothers of young men. I will cause anguish and terror to come upon them suddenly.
9The mother of seven grows faint and gasps for breath; her sun has gone down while it is still day. She sits childless now, disgraced and humiliated. And I will hand over those who are left to be killed by the enemy. I, the LORD, have spoken!”
10Then I said, “What sorrow is mine, my mother. Oh, that I had died at birth! I am hated everywhere I go. I am neither a lender who threatens to foreclose nor a borrower who refuses to pay— yet they all curse me.”
11The LORD replied, “I will take care of you, Jeremiah. Your enemies will ask you to plead on their behalf in times of trouble and distress.
12Can a man break a bar of iron from the north, or a bar of bronze?
13At no cost to them, I will hand over your wealth and treasures as plunder to your enemies, for sin runs rampant in your land.
14I will tell your enemies to take you as captives to a foreign land. For my anger blazes like a fire that will burn forever. ”
15Then I said, “ LORD, you know what’s happening to me. Please step in and help me. Punish my persecutors! Please give me time; don’t let me die young. It’s for your sake that I am suffering.
16When I discovered your words, I devoured them. They are my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, O LORD God of Heaven’s Armies.
17I never joined the people in their merry feasts. I sat alone because your hand was on me. I was filled with indignation at their sins.
18Why then does my suffering continue? Why is my wound so incurable? Your help seems as uncertain as a seasonal brook, like a spring that has gone dry.”
19This is how the LORD responds: “If you return to me, I will restore you so you can continue to serve me. If you speak good words rather than worthless ones, you will be my spokesman. You must influence them; do not let them influence you!
20They will fight against you like an attacking army, but I will make you as secure as a fortified wall of bronze. They will not conquer you, for I am with you to protect and rescue you. I, the LORD, have spoken!
21Yes, I will certainly keep you safe from these wicked men. I will rescue you from their cruel hands.”
“Talking and walking are two different things.”~TB
It’s one thing to know the truth. Hearing about the amazing works of Christ, how He brings us together to realize and share the Good News, it’s awesome! But faith is an amalgamation of both belief and deed. To put it bluntly, you can say you believe and follow Christ, but if you’re not acting on it, what good is your word?
If you are looking to find healing, your belief has to be activated by your behavior. Sight alone does not change a situation, you have to activate your behavior. I can say I want to run a marathon, but if I’m not out there putting in the work, that dream is dead. Friends, we must all how ourselves accountable to the words and deeds we do or don’t do. Christ can fill the need, but we have to act on it.
Does your talk outshine your walk?
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1The LORD gave another message to Jeremiah. He said,
2“Remind the people of Judah and Jerusalem about the terms of my covenant with them.
3Say to them, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: Cursed is anyone who does not obey the terms of my covenant!
4For I said to your ancestors when I brought them out of the iron-smelting furnace of Egypt, “If you obey me and do whatever I command you, then you will be my people, and I will be your God.”
5I said this so I could keep my promise to your ancestors to give you a land flowing with milk and honey—the land you live in today.’” Then I replied, “Amen, LORD ! May it be so.”
6Then the LORD said, “Broadcast this message in the streets of Jerusalem. Go from town to town throughout the land and say, ‘Remember the ancient covenant, and do everything it requires.
7For I solemnly warned your ancestors when I brought them out of Egypt, “Obey me!” I have repeated this warning over and over to this day,
8but your ancestors did not listen or even pay attention. Instead, they stubbornly followed their own evil desires. And because they refused to obey, I brought upon them all the curses described in this covenant.’”
9Again the LORD spoke to me and said, “I have discovered a conspiracy against me among the people of Judah and Jerusalem.
10They have returned to the sins of their ancestors. They have refused to listen to me and are worshiping other gods. Israel and Judah have both broken the covenant I made with their ancestors.
11Therefore, this is what the LORD says: I am going to bring calamity upon them, and they will not escape. Though they beg for mercy, I will not listen to their cries.
12Then the people of Judah and Jerusalem will pray to their idols and burn incense before them. But the idols will not save them when disaster strikes!
13Look now, people of Judah; you have as many gods as you have towns. You have as many altars of shame—altars for burning incense to your god Baal—as there are streets in Jerusalem.
14“Pray no more for these people, Jeremiah. Do not weep or pray for them, for I will not listen to them when they cry out to me in distress.
15“What right do my beloved people have to come to my Temple, when they have done so many immoral things? Can their vows and sacrifices prevent their destruction? They actually rejoice in doing evil!
16I, the LORD, once called them a thriving olive tree, beautiful to see and full of good fruit. But now I have sent the fury of their enemies to burn them with fire, leaving them charred and broken.
17“I, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, who planted this olive tree, have ordered it destroyed. For the people of Israel and Judah have done evil, arousing my anger by burning incense to Baal.”
18Then the LORD told me about the plots my enemies were making against me.
19I was like a lamb being led to the slaughter. I had no idea that they were planning to kill me! “Let’s destroy this man and all his words,” they said. “Let’s cut him down, so his name will be forgotten forever.”
20O LORD of Heaven’s Armies, you make righteous judgments, and you examine the deepest thoughts and secrets. Let me see your vengeance against them, for I have committed my cause to you.
21This is what the LORD says about the men of Anathoth who wanted me dead. They had said, “We will kill you if you do not stop prophesying in the LORD ’s name.”
22So this is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says about them: “I will punish them! Their young men will die in battle, and their boys and girls will starve to death.
23Not one of these plotters from Anathoth will survive, for I will bring disaster upon them when their time of punishment comes.”
“Find a way to channel your efforts and energy into what God would like for you to do and stay focused happily in a harmonious way.” ~ Jon Barnes
Find the hilarious things in life to laugh at while you work, so that you stay focused to keep working on your projects. Expect and know that everyone will not always like what you are doing. If God has not given you a project to work on for Him, you should be concerned about what you are doing with your time. Peacefully ask God what you should be doing and do the work.
Quietly and patiently be a part of the good solutions to problems and let people enjoy the benefit of having you around. Remember the job, message, and story that God givens you to share, relate, and respond to people, problems, and events. Give people access to God’s ways. These examples contain clues of happiness, success, and solutions to follow you around the world.
Use your instinct to follow God’s incentives, instructions, and intuition because God can see your motives from your heart. The Spirit will guide your heart, mind, and body. He will give you extra courage, support, clues, and cues to get the good work done. By exercising your faith, your fate is in good hands with God. If you do poor work and remain disobedient, you will harmoniously reap what you have sown.
Will you let God patiently map out your plans, work, exercises, activities, provisions, and family’s lifestyle in a harmonious way or will you become disobedient and naturally sabotage your future blessings?
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The Good Shepherd and His Sheep
10 “I tell you the truth, anyone who sneaks over the wall of a sheepfold, rather than going through the gate, must surely be a thief and a robber! 2 But the one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.4 After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice.5 They won’t follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don’t know his voice.”
6 Those who heard Jesus use this illustration didn’t understand what he meant,7 so he explained it to them: “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep.8 All who came before me were thieves and robbers. But the true sheep did not listen to them.9 Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures.10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.
11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep.12 A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock.13 The hired hand runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t really care about the sheep.
14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me,15 just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep.16 I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd.
17 “The Father loves me because I sacrifice my life so I may take it back again.18 No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded.”
19 When he said these things, the people were again divided in their opinions about him.20 Some said, “He’s demon possessed and out of his mind. Why listen to a man like that?”21 Others said, “This doesn’t sound like a man possessed by a demon! Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”
Jesus Claims to Be the Son of God
22 It was now winter, and Jesus was in Jerusalem at the time of Hanukkah, the Festival of Dedication. 23 He was in the Temple, walking through the section known as Solomon’s Colonnade.24 The people surrounded him and asked, “How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”
25 Jesus replied, “I have already told you, and you don’t believe me. The proof is the work I do in my Father’s name.26 But you don’t believe me because you are not my sheep.27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me,29 for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand.30 The Father and I are one.”
31 Once again the people picked up stones to kill him.32 Jesus said, “At my Father’s direction I have done many good works. For which one are you going to stone me?”
33 They replied, “We’re stoning you not for any good work, but for blasphemy! You, a mere man, claim to be God.”
34 Jesus replied, “It is written in your own Scriptures that God said to certain leaders of the people, ‘I say, you are gods!’35 And you know that the Scriptures cannot be altered. So if those people who received God’s message were called ‘gods,’36 why do you call it blasphemy when I say, ‘I am the Son of God’? After all, the Father set me apart and sent me into the world.37 Don’t believe me unless I carry out my Father’s work.38 But if I do his work, believe in the evidence of the miraculous works I have done, even if you don’t believe me. Then you will know and understand that the Father is in me, and I am in the Father.”
39 Once again they tried to arrest him, but he got away and left them.40 He went beyond the Jordan River near the place where John was first baptizing and stayed there awhile.41 And many followed him. “John didn’t perform miraculous signs,” they remarked to one another, “but everything he said about this man has come true.”42 And many who were there believed in Jesus.
“When you believe that God’s ideas are better than your’s, then you’ve arrived.”~Jon Barnes
God gave us free will, which means that we are free to carry out our own plans. Thing is, between the flesh, the world, and the opposition, we don’t always make the best decisions. If you’re tired of hitting your head against the wall, doing things that don’t give you peace or contentment, try letting God be your GPS.
Allowing God to direct your steps is like being in the driver’s seat of a self-operating vehicle. You first have to have the faith that God knows better than you. Then you have to let His will be done in lieu of your own. Friends, as a control freak, I completely understand how difficult that is.
God’s plan is way cooler, way better, way more Devine than anything we could ever cook up. It’s mustering up the faith and stillness to allow His Plan to work that is the hard part. When we understand that we must ignore our foolish plans and adopt His, God can work wonders in our lives.
Which ideas are you listening to?
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1Listen to me, all you in distant lands! Pay attention, you who are far away! The LORD called me before my birth; from within the womb he called me by name.
2He made my words of judgment as sharp as a sword. He has hidden me in the shadow of his hand. I am like a sharp arrow in his quiver.
3He said to me, “You are my servant, Israel, and you will bring me glory.”
4I replied, “But my work seems so useless! I have spent my strength for nothing and to no purpose. Yet I leave it all in the LORD ’s hand; I will trust God for my reward.”
5And now the LORD speaks— the one who formed me in my mother’s womb to be his servant, who commissioned me to bring Israel back to him. The LORD has honored me, and my God has given me strength.
6He says, “You will do more than restore the people of Israel to me. I will make you a light to the Gentiles, and you will bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.”
7The LORD, the Redeemer and Holy One of Israel, says to the one who is despised and rejected by the nations, to the one who is the servant of rulers: “Kings will stand at attention when you pass by. Princes will also bow low because of the LORD, the faithful one, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.”
8This is what the LORD says: “At just the right time, I will respond to you. On the day of salvation I will help you. I will protect you and give you to the people as my covenant with them. Through you I will reestablish the land of Israel and assign it to its own people again.
9I will say to the prisoners, ‘Come out in freedom,’ and to those in darkness, ‘Come into the light.’ They will be my sheep, grazing in green pastures and on hills that were previously bare.
10They will neither hunger nor thirst. The searing sun will not reach them anymore. For the LORD in his mercy will lead them; he will lead them beside cool waters.
11And I will make my mountains into level paths for them. The highways will be raised above the valleys.
12See, my people will return from far away, from lands to the north and west, and from as far south as Egypt. ”
13Sing for joy, O heavens! Rejoice, O earth! Burst into song, O mountains! For the LORD has comforted his people and will have compassion on them in their suffering.
14Yet Jerusalem says, “The LORD has deserted us; the Lord has forgotten us.”
15“Never! Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for the child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you!
16See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands. Always in my mind is a picture of Jerusalem’s walls in ruins.
17Soon your descendants will come back, and all who are trying to destroy you will go away.
18Look around you and see, for all your children will come back to you. As surely as I live,” says the LORD, “they will be like jewels or bridal ornaments for you to display.
19“Even the most desolate parts of your abandoned land will soon be crowded with your people. Your enemies who enslaved you will be far away.
20The generations born in exile will return and say, ‘We need more room! It’s crowded here!’
21Then you will think to yourself, ‘Who has given me all these descendants? For most of my children were killed, and the rest were carried away into exile. I was left here all alone. Where did all these people come from? Who bore these children? Who raised them for me?’”
22This is what the Sovereign LORD says: “See, I will give a signal to the godless nations. They will carry your little sons back to you in their arms; they will bring your daughters on their shoulders.
23Kings and queens will serve you and care for all your needs. They will bow to the earth before you and lick the dust from your feet. Then you will know that I am the LORD . Those who trust in me will never be put to shame.”
24Who can snatch the plunder of war from the hands of a warrior? Who can demand that a tyrant let his captives go?
25But the LORD says, “The captives of warriors will be released, and the plunder of tyrants will be retrieved. For I will fight those who fight you, and I will save your children.
26I will feed your enemies with their own flesh. They will be drunk with rivers of their own blood. All the world will know that I, the LORD, am your Savior and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Israel. ”
“God’s blueprint for our lives is far better than our own.”~TB
Pursuing plans without consulting God is like building a house that’s not up to code. You’ll end up with a crooked foundation, busted plumbing, or worse trying to combine a faulty blueprint with someone else’s blueprint. More to the point, when we try and show our “handy work” to God, we end up offended that He doesn’t co-sign our convoluted workmanship.
Up to Code
When you’re tired of failing inspections, it’s time to go to God, the Holy Home Inspector. If you ask Him for an assessment on your blueprint, He will show you all of the ways of which your does not measure up. Instead of trying to make corrections on a faulty home, ask God for His blueprint for your life. His plans will result in a lifelong, sustainable dwelling.
Are you ready to accept your true blueprint or does shoddy workmanship cut it?
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1“Look at my servant, whom I strengthen. He is my chosen one, who pleases me. I have put my Spirit upon him. He will bring justice to the nations.
2He will not shout or raise his voice in public.
3He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle. He will bring justice to all who have been wronged.
4He will not falter or lose heart until justice prevails throughout the earth. Even distant lands beyond the sea will wait for his instruction. ”
5God, the LORD, created the heavens and stretched them out. He created the earth and everything in it. He gives breath to everyone, life to everyone who walks the earth. And it is he who says,
6“I, the LORD, have called you to demonstrate my righteousness. I will take you by the hand and guard you, and I will give you to my people, Israel, as a symbol of my covenant with them. And you will be a light to guide the nations.
7You will open the eyes of the blind. You will free the captives from prison, releasing those who sit in dark dungeons.
8“I am the LORD ; that is my name! I will not give my glory to anyone else, nor share my praise with carved idols.
9Everything I prophesied has come true, and now I will prophesy again. I will tell you the future before it happens.”
10Sing a new song to the LORD ! Sing his praises from the ends of the earth! Sing, all you who sail the seas, all you who live in distant coastlands.
11Join in the chorus, you desert towns; let the villages of Kedar rejoice! Let the people of Sela sing for joy; shout praises from the mountaintops!
12Let the whole world glorify the LORD ; let it sing his praise.
13The LORD will march forth like a mighty hero; he will come out like a warrior, full of fury. He will shout his battle cry and crush all his enemies.
14He will say, “I have long been silent; yes, I have restrained myself. But now, like a woman in labor, I will cry and groan and pant.
15I will level the mountains and hills and blight all their greenery. I will turn the rivers into dry land and will dry up all the pools.
16I will lead blind Israel down a new path, guiding them along an unfamiliar way. I will brighten the darkness before them and smooth out the road ahead of them. Yes, I will indeed do these things; I will not forsake them.
17But those who trust in idols, who say, ‘You are our gods,’ will be turned away in shame.
18“Listen, you who are deaf! Look and see, you blind!
19Who is as blind as my own people, my servant? Who is as deaf as my messenger? Who is as blind as my chosen people, the servant of the LORD ?
20You see and recognize what is right but refuse to act on it. You hear with your ears, but you don’t really listen.”
21Because he is righteous, the LORD has exalted his glorious law.
22But his own people have been robbed and plundered, enslaved, imprisoned, and trapped. They are fair game for anyone and have no one to protect them, no one to take them back home.
23Who will hear these lessons from the past and see the ruin that awaits you in the future?
24Who allowed Israel to be robbed and hurt? It was the LORD, against whom we sinned, for the people would not walk in his path, nor would they obey his law.
25Therefore, he poured out his fury on them and destroyed them in battle. They were enveloped in flames, but they still refused to understand. They were consumed by fire, but they did not learn their lesson
“Thank God that His plans far supersede our own.”~TB
I had planned to move to Eugene OR after my travels. I loved the location, the river, and the coffee shops that were literally everywhere. I felt for sureit was the place for me to be. In spite of my best efforts, I could not find a place in my desired location before my move in date. I even came close to finding a home that was right next to a friend I had made during my visit earlier this year. Even though in my mind, it was perfect scenario, it didn’t pan out. Instead, after some convincing from my parents, they encouraged me to move back to Las Vegas.
In my limited vision, all I could see was that my plans were dashed and that Vegas was not the place for me. But what I’ve come to know is that being back in Las Vegas is exactly where I’m supposed to be. For starters, my family is here. Having dinners with my nephews is something I would not trade for the world. Secondly, sunlight. I need daily walks in sunlight or I feel like a zombie. In Eugene, it rains more than it doesn’t. I would’ve eventually been so miserable. My point in saying all of this is, had my original plans worked out, I would’ve suffered. But instead, I have many things to be thankful for in a city I didn’t want to be in. I laugh and thank God for His infinite vision as opposed to my shortsighted plans. It also makes me reflect on how many perceived failures we all put on our backs because things didn’t work out as we had hoped. So, the next time you think about the ways your plans haven’t worked, remember that God’s plans and timing take into account the things we do not understand.
Whose plans are better; God’s or yours?
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1Look, a righteous king is coming! And honest princes will rule under him.
2Each one will be like a shelter from the wind and a refuge from the storm, like streams of water in the desert and the shadow of a great rock in a parched land.
3Then everyone who has eyes will be able to see the truth, and everyone who has ears will be able to hear it.
4Even the hotheads will be full of sense and understanding. Those who stammer will speak out plainly.
5In that day ungodly fools will not be heroes. Scoundrels will not be respected.
6For fools speak foolishness and make evil plans. They practice ungodliness and spread false teachings about the LORD . They deprive the hungry of food and give no water to the thirsty.
7The smooth tricks of scoundrels are evil. They plot crooked schemes. They lie to convict the poor, even when the cause of the poor is just.
8But generous people plan to do what is generous, and they stand firm in their generosity.
9Listen, you women who lie around in ease. Listen to me, you who are so smug.
10In a short time—just a little more than a year— you careless ones will suddenly begin to care. For your fruit crops will fail, and the harvest will never take place.
11Tremble, you women of ease; throw off your complacency. Strip off your pretty clothes, and put on burlap to show your grief.
12Beat your breasts in sorrow for your bountiful farms and your fruitful grapevines.
13For your land will be overgrown with thorns and briers. Your joyful homes and happy towns will be gone.
14The palace and the city will be deserted, and busy towns will be empty. Wild donkeys will frolic and flocks will graze in the empty forts and watchtowers
15until at last the Spirit is poured out on us from heaven. Then the wilderness will become a fertile field, and the fertile field will yield bountiful crops.
16Justice will rule in the wilderness and righteousness in the fertile field.
17And this righteousness will bring peace. Yes, it will bring quietness and confidence forever.
18My people will live in safety, quietly at home. They will be at rest.
19Even if the forest should be destroyed and the city torn down,
20the LORD will greatly bless his people. Wherever they plant seed, bountiful crops will spring up. Their cattle and donkeys will graze freely.
“There are times where plans are delayed because we forgot something and God is giving us a chance to make it up.”~TB
My dog, Abbey, absolutely loves going on walks. Whenever I open the drawer where her leash is kept, she runs straight for the door, anticipating an outing. There are times where I get to the parking lot stairs and realize that I’ve forgotten my phone or wallet, and we have to walk back to my door. If we have to turn around before going out, Abbey will anchor herself to the floor refusing to move, because she thinks we’re no longer going for the walk. After a few tugs, I’ll get her to come along, I’ll retrieve whatever I’ve forgotten and then we’re off to go on the walk. Then as if it’s a surprise, she becomes excited again that we’re going for the walk after all! Every single time this happens ( it happens a lot, I’m really forgetful.) the same behavior occurs and the other day, it made me realize there are times where I will do that with God too. How many times have you refused to change course because you thought your plans were being dashed? If we don’t reflect on our behaviors and circumstances, we can miss the tools and skills we need to progress to the next stage. If you’ve stalled, seek God to find our why. There is most certainly a purpose.
Delay is not Denial
I’ll be honest, I’m not the biggest fan of Christian colloquialisms— often because the people using them are trying to circumvent honest or good behavior (a different story for a different day). But, I will say that God will delay a change in course if we haven’t done the work to make it to the next step. For example, you can’t just run a marathon if you haven’t even trained to complete a 5k. God gives each of us a dream, purpose, or goal. And with those wonderful plans comes the responsibility of tilling your soil to fulfill that purpose. Many times we fail to actualize God’s plans for us because we either allow people to discourage such “crazy ideas” or we didn’t condition ourselves to prepare for the road less traveled. I’m thankful that He gives us a lifetime to answer our specific call. So the next time things aren’t going according to plan, look for the lessons or tools you may have forgotten along the way. Don’t worry, you haven’t been left behind, just delayed. God hasn’t forgotten the vision He planted in you, He’s just giving you time to catch up.
Are you learning during your delay or are you missing the point?
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1This message came to me concerning Babylon—the desert by the sea : Disaster is roaring down on you from the desert, like a whirlwind sweeping in from the Negev.
2I see a terrifying vision: I see the betrayer betraying, the destroyer destroying. Go ahead, you Elamites and Medes, attack and lay siege. I will make an end to all the groaning Babylon caused.
3My stomach aches and burns with pain. Sharp pangs of anguish are upon me, like those of a woman in labor. I grow faint when I hear what God is planning; I am too afraid to look.
4My mind reels and my heart races. I longed for evening to come, but now I am terrified of the dark.
5Look! They are preparing a great feast. They are spreading rugs for people to sit on. Everyone is eating and drinking. But quick! Grab your shields and prepare for battle. You are being attacked!
6Meanwhile, the Lord said to me, “Put a watchman on the city wall. Let him shout out what he sees.
7He should look for chariots drawn by pairs of horses, and for riders on donkeys and camels. Let the watchman be fully alert.”
8Then the watchman called out, “Day after day I have stood on the watchtower, my lord. Night after night I have remained at my post.
9Now at last—look! Here comes a man in a chariot with a pair of horses!” Then the watchman said, “Babylon is fallen, fallen! All the idols of Babylon lie broken on the ground!”
10O my people, threshed and winnowed, I have told you everything the LORD of Heaven’s Armies has said, everything the God of Israel has told me.
11This message came to me concerning Edom : Someone from Edom keeps calling to me, “Watchman, how much longer until morning? When will the night be over?”
12The watchman replies, “Morning is coming, but night will soon return. If you wish to ask again, then come back and ask.”
13This message came to me concerning Arabia: O caravans from Dedan, hide in the deserts of Arabia.
14O people of Tema, bring water to these thirsty people, food to these weary refugees.
15They have fled from the sword, from the drawn sword, from the bent bow and the terrors of battle.
16The Lord said to me, “Within a year, counting each day, all the glory of Kedar will come to an end.
17Only a few of its courageous archers will survive. I, the LORD, the God of Israel, have spoken!”
“God takes impossible missions and turns them into the best options and plays for His Team.” ~ Jon Barnes
God has given us life with options to follow. You only have two options with a 50% chance of getting it right. Many will fail by making the wrong choice, even when the deck is stacked 100% in their favor, with God’s Universal DNA, fingerprints, and images all over the place. We are all made in His Image and it is our option to believe and live by God’s design, wisdom, and understanding. Execute your option playbook from the Bible.
You don’t have to follow the devil because it is optional. Your choice condemns or sets you free in God, because of your love and interest in pleasing Him. I am not the person to please. I can only be happy for you in the choice you make, one way or the other. Refuse to live in a state of sadness when others make such bad decisions for their own lives. Pray and let them choose their fate and allow your life to be a testimony of your faith with words, actions, good deeps, and honest integrity from God’s Blessings. Perhaps they will see the light and respond to God.
Nothing is impossible with God, with His Word, in His Plans for those who love and follow His Foot Steps. All options are in your favor because you are doing your part, regardless of the situation. Believing and doing what God says can only be a great thing in your life since God rewards good people even more for doing the work of faith. Nothing is impossible for God to do, with all of the options in His Hand. Why gamble on the devil, his evil plans, and wicked ways of old?
Do you feel empowered by God when you read, study, and love what He says, from doing your homework and studying your personal options in Christ?
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Mordecai Persuades Esther to Help
4 When Mordecai learned of all that had been done, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the city, wailing loudly and bitterly.2 But he went only as far as the king’s gate, because no one clothed in sackcloth was allowed to enter it.3 In every province to which the edict and order of the king came, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, weeping and wailing. Many lay in sackcloth and ashes.
4 When Esther’s eunuchs and female attendants came and told her about Mordecai, she was in great distress. She sent clothes for him to put on instead of his sackcloth, but he would not accept them.5 Then Esther summoned Hathak, one of the king’s eunuchs assigned to attend her, and ordered him to find out what was troubling Mordecai and why.
6 So Hathak went out to Mordecai in the open square of the city in front of the king’s gate.7 Mordecai told him everything that had happened to him, including the exact amount of money Haman had promised to pay into the royal treasury for the destruction of the Jews.8 He also gave him a copy of the text of the edict for their annihilation, which had been published in Susa, to show to Esther and explain it to her, and he told him to instruct her to go into the king’s presence to beg for mercy and plead with him for her people.
9 Hathak went back and reported to Esther what Mordecai had said.10 Then she instructed him to say to Mordecai,11 “All the king’s officials and the people of the royal provinces know that for any man or woman who approaches the king in the inner court without being summoned the king has but one law: that they be put to death unless the king extends the gold scepter to them and spares their lives. But thirty days have passed since I was called to go to the king.”
12 When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai,13 he sent back this answer: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape.14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”
15 Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai:16 “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.”
17 So Mordecai went away and carried out all of Esther’s instructions.
“God gives us senses, thoughts, and judgment to navigate around the complex and simple questions we all face on a daily basis.” ~ Jon Barnes
Boldly follow the answers God gives you when to move forward by stepping on the Rock of Christ that is centered in your path.You are invisible in the Hands of God and the wicked cannot touch you or your mission of integrity. Believe and know that God is in control.
Divert evil plans from intersecting your path by being proactive in God’s ways.There is no need to compromise your steps by giving the devil a GPS on your mission.Keep the wicked guessing and wondering about why, what, where, when, and how you work for God.
Don’t allow your disobedience to cause sickness, envy, strife, and sin to come into your lifestyle of hope and good choices.Directly dismiss foolishness and complete the job that is in your hands.Your self-analysis is all you need in God to see your way into and through your destiny.
Are you following the motions of your self-diagnostics into the direction of Christ or did the devil bribe you with the distraction of money, lust, greed, power, stuff, and envy?
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The People Confess Their Sins
9 On October 31[a] the people assembled again, and this time they fasted and dressed in burlap and sprinkled dust on their heads.2 Those of Israelite descent separated themselves from all foreigners as they confessed their own sins and the sins of their ancestors.3 They remained standing in place for three hours[b] while the Book of the Law of the Lord their God was read aloud to them. Then for three more hours they confessed their sins and worshiped the Lord their God.4 The Levites—Jeshua, Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani, and Kenani—stood on the stairway of the Levites and cried out to the Lord their God with loud voices.
5 Then the leaders of the Levites—Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabneiah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah—called out to the people: “Stand up and praise the Lord your God, for he lives from everlasting to everlasting!” Then they prayed:
“May your glorious name be praised! May it be exalted above all blessing and praise!
6 “You alone are the Lord. You made the skies and the heavens and all the stars. You made the earth and the seas and everything in them. You preserve them all, and the angels of heaven worship you.
7 “You are the Lord God, who chose Abram and brought him from Ur of the Chaldeans and renamed him Abraham.8 When he had proved himself faithful, you made a covenant with him to give him and his descendants the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Jebusites, and Girgashites. And you have done what you promised, for you are always true to your word.
9 “You saw the misery of our ancestors in Egypt, and you heard their cries from beside the Red Sea.[c]10 You displayed miraculous signs and wonders against Pharaoh, his officials, and all his people, for you knew how arrogantly they were treating our ancestors. You have a glorious reputation that has never been forgotten.11 You divided the sea for your people so they could walk through on dry land! And then you hurled their enemies into the depths of the sea. They sank like stones beneath the mighty waters.12 You led our ancestors by a pillar of cloud during the day and a pillar of fire at night so that they could find their way.
13 “You came down at Mount Sinai and spoke to them from heaven. You gave them regulations and instructions that were just, and decrees and commands that were good.14 You instructed them concerning your holy Sabbath. And you commanded them, through Moses your servant, to obey all your commands, decrees, and instructions.
15 “You gave them bread from heaven when they were hungry and water from the rock when they were thirsty. You commanded them to go and take possession of the land you had sworn to give them.
16 “But our ancestors were proud and stubborn, and they paid no attention to your commands.17 They refused to obey and did not remember the miracles you had done for them. Instead, they became stubborn and appointed a leader to take them back to their slavery in Egypt.[d] But you are a God of forgiveness, gracious and merciful, slow to become angry, and rich in unfailing love. You did not abandon them,18 even when they made an idol shaped like a calf and said, ‘This is your god who brought you out of Egypt!’ They committed terrible blasphemies.
19 “But in your great mercy you did not abandon them to die in the wilderness. The pillar of cloud still led them forward by day, and the pillar of fire showed them the way through the night.20 You sent your good Spirit to instruct them, and you did not stop giving them manna from heaven or water for their thirst.21 For forty years you sustained them in the wilderness, and they lacked nothing. Their clothes did not wear out, and their feet did not swell!
22 “Then you helped our ancestors conquer kingdoms and nations, and you placed your people in every corner of the land.[e] They took over the land of King Sihon of Heshbon and the land of King Og of Bashan.23 You made their descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and brought them into the land you had promised to their ancestors.
24 “They went in and took possession of the land. You subdued whole nations before them. Even the Canaanites, who inhabited the land, were powerless! Your people could deal with these nations and their kings as they pleased.25 Our ancestors captured fortified cities and fertile land. They took over houses full of good things, with cisterns already dug and vineyards and olive groves and fruit trees in abundance. So they ate until they were full and grew fat and enjoyed themselves in all your blessings.
26 “But despite all this, they were disobedient and rebelled against you. They turned their backs on your Law, they killed your prophets who warned them to return to you, and they committed terrible blasphemies.27 So you handed them over to their enemies, who made them suffer. But in their time of trouble they cried to you, and you heard them from heaven. In your great mercy, you sent them liberators who rescued them from their enemies.
28 “But as soon as they were at peace, your people again committed evil in your sight, and once more you let their enemies conquer them. Yet whenever your people turned and cried to you again for help, you listened once more from heaven. In your wonderful mercy, you rescued them many times!
29 “You warned them to return to your Law, but they became proud and obstinate and disobeyed your commands. They did not follow your regulations, by which people will find life if only they obey. They stubbornly turned their backs on you and refused to listen.30 In your love, you were patient with them for many years. You sent your Spirit, who warned them through the prophets. But still they wouldn’t listen! So once again you allowed the peoples of the land to conquer them.31 But in your great mercy, you did not destroy them completely or abandon them forever. What a gracious and merciful God you are!
32 “And now, our God, the great and mighty and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of unfailing love, do not let all the hardships we have suffered seem insignificant to you. Great trouble has come upon us and upon our kings and leaders and priests and prophets and ancestors—all of your people—from the days when the kings of Assyria first triumphed over us until now.33 Every time you punished us you were being just. We have sinned greatly, and you gave us only what we deserved.34 Our kings, leaders, priests, and ancestors did not obey your Law or listen to the warnings in your commands and laws.35 Even while they had their own kingdom, they did not serve you, though you showered your goodness on them. You gave them a large, fertile land, but they refused to turn from their wickedness.
36 “So now today we are slaves in the land of plenty that you gave our ancestors for their enjoyment! We are slaves here in this good land.37 The lush produce of this land piles up in the hands of the kings whom you have set over us because of our sins. They have power over us and our livestock. We serve them at their pleasure, and we are in great misery.”
The People Agree to Obey
38 [f]The people responded, “In view of all this,[g] we are making a solemn promise and putting it in writing. On this sealed document are the names of our leaders and Levites and priests.”
“Following directions is a mindset and skilled trait that takes disciple, courage, faith, honesty, and obedience to God first and then to others.” ~Jon Barnes
You are charged with following the directions and guideline that God has set.Do not put your directions, ideas, and wisdom before or ahead of God’s Purpose and Plans.Disobedience comes in many forms and ways of self-destruction. Do not hide, live, or dwell among the evil, but be clear and honest in your directions and actions you take for God’s Glory and Honor.
Become changed and transformed in the fresh approach God has for your life.Yesterday is gone and today is new.Kindly leave yesterday behind and move forward with a better attitude, approach, and work ethic.Self-improvement is a good thing, so take charge of your own personal changes.
The good energy that you channel will go a long way as you deflect negative energy from draining your productivity.Positively charged thoughts and actions will destroy the negative plans from evil people before they can develop their simple plots.Your victory in Jesus is in how well you follow God’s directions and plans for your life.
Can you be quiet enough to listen and follow directions?
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1 These are the memoirs of Nehemiah son of Hacaliah.
Nehemiah’s Concern for Jerusalem
In late autumn, in the month of Kislev, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes’ reign,[a] I was at the fortress of Susa.2 Hanani, one of my brothers, came to visit me with some other men who had just arrived from Judah. I asked them about the Jews who had returned there from captivity and about how things were going in Jerusalem.
3 They said to me, “Things are not going well for those who returned to the province of Judah. They are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem has been torn down, and the gates have been destroyed by fire.”
4 When I heard this, I sat down and wept. In fact, for days I mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of heaven.5 Then I said,
“O Lord, God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps his covenant of unfailing love with those who love him and obey his commands,6 listen to my prayer! Look down and see me praying night and day for your people Israel. I confess that we have sinned against you. Yes, even my own family and I have sinned!7 We have sinned terribly by not obeying the commands, decrees, and regulations that you gave us through your servant Moses.
8 “Please remember what you told your servant Moses: ‘If you are unfaithful to me, I will scatter you among the nations.9 But if you return to me and obey my commands and live by them, then even if you are exiled to the ends of the earth,[b] I will bring you back to the place I have chosen for my name to be honored.’
10 “The people you rescued by your great power and strong hand are your servants.11 O Lord, please hear my prayer! Listen to the prayers of those of us who delight in honoring you. Please grant me success today by making the king favorable to me.[c] Put it into his heart to be kind to me.”