Prune

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Don’t be afraid of the pruning process as God is taking away the unnecessary in order for His good crops to flourish.”

TB

Plants

About 2 months ago, I decided to get into gardening. I figured since I couldn’t roam freely outside as I normally do, have a nice little set up on my patio would be a good alternative. In my arsenal, I purchased two jasmine vines. I love jasmine because the smell is so gorgeous and calming. So to have some at my house was great! The first 2 weeks, the plants seemed to be doing well. But then, the flowers starting wilting, the vines hardened, all signs pointed to loss of life.

Cut

If you’ve ever cared for plants, watching them struggle is quite a blow to the ego. So, to be proactive, I did my research, to try and see how I could fix the plants. I did a few things to try and revive the plants. One being changing out the soil and making sure it was properly drained. Two being diligent in my watering process. Three, I had to prune the vines, pulling off the dead flowers, removing the dead vines. Of course, pruning seems like an obvious answer, but pruning does not produce immediate results, it takes time.

Time

I’ll admit, after a few weeks of watching my plants struggle, I had designs to toss them and start anew. Problem is, I can’t find jasmine plants anywhere. However, yesterday, as I went out to my patio to inspect my plants, I saw several new vines growing on each plant. This morning, the same thing! You can imagine after what felt like a period of failure and futility, seeing the progress on these plants was such a wonderful feeling. The plants weren’t dead, they just needed time to grow back. As I looked at my plants this morning, I couldn’t help but think about God’s pruning process and what that looks like in our lives.

Process

As we accept Christ into our lives, there are stages that we all enter. The onboarding period is this miraculous and divine experience. We feel like awe and joy of what it means to be saved. Then comes the death of our wayward behavior/lifestyle. This is tough because people tend to identify with their behaviors as if it’s who they are. Then, God removes all of the unnecessary, people, places, things, behaviors, etc. Pruning is painful and it often makes us feel as though we have nothing left or that we’re being punished. But, that is not so!

Growth

The pruning process will take us to our breaking points, because it can feel punitive. Walking with God causes us to evaluate how we spend our time and with whom we are doing life with. This means that we have to walk away from the things that stunt our growth. But, when we accept the righteous path, in time we see the miraculous fruit that only God can cultivate in our lives. As I look at the new growth on my plants, I have to laugh at myself. A few days ago, I was ready to toss them out, and now they are growing splendidly. How foolish! Friends, don’t give up in the pruning process because when you feel like it’s time to throw it away, new growth is right around the corner.

Today’s Question

Are you allowing the pruning process to produce God’s fruit in your life?

Enjoy the reading

Jeremiah 49

1 This message was given concerning the Ammonites. This is what the LORD says: “Are there no descendants of Israel to inherit the land of Gad? Why are you, who worship Molech, living in its towns? 2 In the days to come,” says the LORD, “I will sound the battle cry against your city of Rabbah. It will become a desolate heap of ruins, and the neighboring towns will be burned. Then Israel will take back the land you took from her,” says the LORD . 3 “Cry out, O Heshbon, for the town of Ai is destroyed. Weep, O people of Rabbah! Put on your clothes of mourning. Weep and wail, hiding in the hedges, for your god Molech, with his priests and officials, will be hauled off to distant lands. 4 You are proud of your fertile valleys, but they will soon be ruined. You trusted in your wealth, you rebellious daughter, and thought no one could ever harm you. 5 But look! I will bring terror upon you,” says the Lord, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. “Your neighbors will chase you from your land, and no one will help your exiles as they flee. 6 But I will restore the fortunes of the Ammonites in days to come. I, the LORD, have spoken.” 7 This message was given concerning Edom. This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: “Is there no wisdom in Teman? Is no one left to give wise counsel? 8 Turn and flee! Hide in deep caves, you people of Dedan! For when I bring disaster on Edom, I will punish you, too! 9 Those who harvest grapes always leave a few for the poor. If thieves came at night, they would not take everything. 10 But I will strip bare the land of Edom, and there will be no place left to hide. Its children, its brothers, and its neighbors will all be destroyed, and Edom itself will be no more. 11 But I will protect the orphans who remain among you. Your widows, too, can depend on me for help.” 12 And this is what the LORD says: “If the innocent must suffer, how much more must you! You will not go unpunished! You must drink this cup of judgment! 13 For I have sworn by my own name,” says the LORD, “that Bozrah will become an object of horror and a heap of ruins; it will be mocked and cursed. All its towns and villages will be desolate forever.” 14 I have heard a message from the LORD that an ambassador was sent to the nations to say, “Form a coalition against Edom, and prepare for battle!” 15 The LORD says to Edom, “I will cut you down to size among the nations. You will be despised by all. 16 You have been deceived by the fear you inspire in others and by your own pride. You live in a rock fortress and control the mountain heights. But even if you make your nest among the peaks with the eagles, I will bring you crashing down,” says the LORD . 17 “Edom will be an object of horror. All who pass by will be appalled and will gasp at the destruction they see there. 18 It will be like the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring towns,” says the LORD . “No one will live there; no one will inhabit it. 19 I will come like a lion from the thickets of the Jordan, leaping on the sheep in the pasture. I will chase Edom from its land, and I will appoint the leader of my choice. For who is like me, and who can challenge me? What ruler can oppose my will?” 20 Listen to the LORD ’s plans against Edom and the people of Teman. Even the little children will be dragged off like sheep, and their homes will be destroyed. 21 The earth will shake with the noise of Edom’s fall, and its cry of despair will be heard all the way to the Red Sea. 22 Look! The enemy swoops down like an eagle, spreading his wings over Bozrah. Even the mightiest warriors will be in anguish like a woman in labor. 23 This message was given concerning Damascus. This is what the LORD says: “The towns of Hamath and Arpad are struck with fear, for they have heard the news of their destruction. Their hearts are troubled like a wild sea in a raging storm. 24 Damascus has become feeble, and all her people turn to flee. Fear, anguish, and pain have gripped her as they grip a woman in labor. 25 That famous city, a city of joy, will be forsaken! 26 Her young men will fall in the streets and die. Her soldiers will all be killed,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. 27 “And I will set fire to the walls of Damascus that will burn up the palaces of Ben-hadad.” 28 This message was given concerning Kedar and the kingdoms of Hazor, which were attacked by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. This is what the LORD says: “Advance against Kedar! Destroy the warriors from the East! 29 Their flocks and tents will be captured, and their household goods and camels will be taken away. Everywhere shouts of panic will be heard: ‘We are terrorized at every turn!’ 30 Run for your lives,” says the LORD . “Hide yourselves in deep caves, you people of Hazor, for King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon has plotted against you and is preparing to destroy you. 31 “Go up and attack that complacent nation,” says the LORD . “Its people live alone in the desert without walls or gates. 32 Their camels and other livestock will all be yours. I will scatter to the winds these people who live in remote places. I will bring calamity upon them from every direction,” says the LORD . 33 “Hazor will be inhabited by jackals, and it will be desolate forever. No one will live there; no one will inhabit it.” 34 This message concerning Elam came to the prophet Jeremiah from the LORD at the beginning of the reign of King Zedekiah of Judah. 35 This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: “I will destroy the archers of Elam— the best of their forces. 36 I will bring enemies from all directions, and I will scatter the people of Elam to the four winds. They will be exiled to countries around the world. 37 I myself will go with Elam’s enemies to shatter it. In my fierce anger, I will bring great disaster upon the people of Elam,” says the LORD . “Their enemies will chase them with the sword until I have destroyed them completely. 38 I will set my throne in Elam,” says the LORD, “and I will destroy its king and officials. 39 But I will restore the fortunes of Elam in days to come. I, the LORD, have spoken!”

Appearances

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“It’s far better to look like a fool in the eyes of man and be approved by God than to be approved by man and look foolish to God.”

TB

Reality

Your world is shaped by what you consume. Spend a lot of time with superficial and surface-level, your reality is as such. When you spend a lot of time with God, the world opens up, because He is showing you Truths that you cannot receive anywhere else. To the world, following God is foolish, but don’t be beguiled by the appearances of a fallen world.

Smoke and Mirrors

When it comes to the imitations of the world, nothing is what it appears to be. Just because something seems wonderful and amazing on the outside, does not make it so. More often than not, the treasures and rewards that God gives His people are wrapped up in unglamorous and humble deeds. Friends, our reputations, appearances, and social standing in this life are merely a drop in the bucket of time compared to eternity. Be absolutely sure about whom you choose to follow.

Today’s Question

Is your manmade appearance more important than your relationship with God?

Enjoy the reading

Jeremiah 48

1 This message was given concerning Moab. This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: “What sorrow awaits the city of Nebo; it will soon lie in ruins. The city of Kiriathaim will be humiliated and captured; the fortress will be humiliated and broken down. 2 No one will ever brag about Moab again, for in Heshbon there is a plot to destroy her. ‘Come,’ they say, ‘we will cut her off from being a nation.’ The town of Madmen, too, will be silenced; the sword will follow you there. 3 Listen to the cries from Horonaim, cries of devastation and great destruction. 4 All Moab is destroyed. Her little ones will cry out. 5 Her refugees weep bitterly, climbing the slope to Luhith. They cry out in terror, descending the slope to Horonaim. 6 Flee for your lives! Hide in the wilderness! 7 Because you have trusted in your wealth and skill, you will be taken captive. Your god Chemosh, with his priests and officials, will be hauled off to distant lands! 8 “All the towns will be destroyed, and no one will escape— either on the plateaus or in the valleys, for the LORD has spoken. 9 Oh, that Moab had wings so she could fly away, for her towns will be left empty, with no one living in them. 10 Cursed are those who refuse to do the LORD ’s work, who hold back their swords from shedding blood! 11 “From his earliest history, Moab has lived in peace, never going into exile. He is like wine that has been allowed to settle. He has not been poured from flask to flask, and he is now fragrant and smooth. 12 But the time is coming soon,” says the LORD, “when I will send men to pour him from his jar. They will pour him out, then shatter the jar! 13 At last Moab will be ashamed of his idol Chemosh, as the people of Israel were ashamed of their gold calf at Bethel. 14 “You used to boast, ‘We are heroes, mighty men of war.’ 15 But now Moab and his towns will be destroyed. His most promising youth are doomed to slaughter,” says the King, whose name is the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. 16 “Destruction is coming fast for Moab; calamity threatens ominously. 17 You friends of Moab, weep for him and cry! See how the strong scepter is broken, how the beautiful staff is shattered! 18 “Come down from your glory and sit in the dust, you people of Dibon, for those who destroy Moab will shatter Dibon, too. They will tear down all your towers. 19 You people of Aroer, stand beside the road and watch. Shout to those who flee from Moab, ‘What has happened there?’ 20 “And the reply comes back, ‘Moab lies in ruins, disgraced; weep and wail! Tell it by the banks of the Arnon River: Moab has been destroyed!’ 21 Judgment has been poured out on the towns of the plateau— on Holon and Jahaz and Mephaath, 22 on Dibon and Nebo and Beth-diblathaim, 23 on Kiriathaim and Beth-gamul and Beth-meon, 24 on Kerioth and Bozrah— all the towns of Moab, far and near. 25 “The strength of Moab has ended. His arm has been broken,” says the LORD . 26 “Let him stagger and fall like a drunkard, for he has rebelled against the LORD . Moab will wallow in his own vomit, ridiculed by all. 27 Did you not ridicule the people of Israel? Were they caught in the company of thieves that you should despise them as you do? 28 “You people of Moab, flee from your towns and live in the caves. Hide like doves that nest in the clefts of the rocks. 29 We have all heard of the pride of Moab, for his pride is very great. We know of his lofty pride, his arrogance, and his haughty heart. 30 I know about his insolence,” says the LORD, “but his boasts are empty— as empty as his deeds. 31 So now I wail for Moab; yes, I will mourn for Moab. My heart is broken for the men of Kir-hareseth. 32 “You people of Sibmah, rich in vineyards, I will weep for you even more than I did for Jazer. Your spreading vines once reached as far as the Dead Sea, but the destroyer has stripped you bare! He has harvested your grapes and summer fruits. 33 Joy and gladness are gone from fruitful Moab. The presses yield no wine. No one treads the grapes with shouts of joy. There is shouting, yes, but not of joy. 34 “Instead, their awful cries of terror can be heard from Heshbon clear across to Elealeh and Jahaz; from Zoar all the way to Horonaim and Eglath-shelishiyah. Even the waters of Nimrim are dried up now. 35 “I will put an end to Moab,” says the LORD, “for the people offer sacrifices at the pagan shrines and burn incense to their false gods. 36 My heart moans like a flute for Moab and Kir-hareseth, for all their wealth has disappeared. 37 The people shave their heads and beards in mourning. They slash their hands and put on clothes made of burlap. 38 There is crying and sorrow in every Moabite home and on every street. For I have smashed Moab like an old, unwanted jar. 39 How it is shattered! Hear the wailing! See the shame of Moab! It has become an object of ridicule, an example of ruin to all its neighbors.” 40 This is what the LORD says: “Look! The enemy swoops down like an eagle, spreading his wings over Moab. 41 Its cities will fall, and its strongholds will be seized. Even the mightiest warriors will be in anguish like a woman in labor. 42 Moab will no longer be a nation, for it has boasted against the LORD . 43 “Terror and traps and snares will be your lot, O Moab,” says the LORD . 44 “Those who flee in terror will fall into a trap, and those who escape the trap will step into a snare. I will see to it that you do not get away, for the time of your judgment has come,” says the LORD . 45 “The people flee as far as Heshbon but are unable to go on. For a fire comes from Heshbon, King Sihon’s ancient home, to devour the entire land with all its rebellious people. 46 “What sorrow awaits you, O people of Moab! The people of the god Chemosh are destroyed! Your sons and your daughters have been taken away as captives. 47 But I will restore the fortunes of Moab in days to come. I, the LORD, have spoken!” This is the end of Jeremiah’s prophecy concerning Moab.

Monkey See, Monkey Do

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“If there is anyone truly worth imitating, it’s God Himself.”~TB

Sloppy Imitations

By design, we humans are wired to seek out our Teacher– our Father in Heaven. Unfortunately, most have decided to go with the false teachers of this world for the fool’s gold that they peddle. One of the most detrimental things that we’ve done as a society is to brainwash ourselves through marketing, media, influencers, etc. I suspect down the line, there will be studies that support this argument. When you look to these false teachers, leaders, and the like, you’re ability to spot the truth dulls as the flashy fleshly desires of evil call to you like a shiny object to a monkey. Because of your attraction to superficial things, the Truth is boring and lame while sin is desirable.

The Real McCoy 

God never changes. He does not fail, He does not lie and His teachings remain the same from the time they first were instructed to this very day. What does change, what does fail, are evil and humanity, because both are fundamentally flawed. Human culture changes depending on what’s trending or deemed socially accepted. When leaders cower to the pressures of dumb, evil beings, people fall in line because, “if pastor so and so, or preacher this and that, said so, it must be true!”. Friends, we cannot imitate each other so blindly because you and I are a bunch of flesh bag idiots who are easily lead astray. Instead, follow God, hold each other accountable, and resist the temptation to entertain evil.

Today’s Question

Are you following the crowd to Hell or walking the narrow path alongside our Father in Heaven?

Enjoy the reading

Jeremiah 33

1 While Jeremiah was still confined in the courtyard of the guard, the LORD gave him this second message: 
2 “This is what the LORD says—the LORD who made the earth, who formed and established it, whose name is the LORD : 
3 Ask me and I will tell you remarkable secrets you do not know about things to come. 
4 For this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: You have torn down the houses of this city and even the king’s palace to get materials to strengthen the walls against the siege ramps and swords of the enemy. 
5 You expect to fight the Babylonians, but the men of this city are already as good as dead, for I have determined to destroy them in my terrible anger. I have abandoned them because of all their wickedness. 
6 “Nevertheless, the time will come when I will heal Jerusalem’s wounds and give it prosperity and true peace. 
7 I will restore the fortunes of Judah and Israel and rebuild their towns. 
8 I will cleanse them of their sins against me and forgive all their sins of rebellion. 
9 Then this city will bring me joy, glory, and honor before all the nations of the earth! The people of the world will see all the good I do for my people, and they will tremble with awe at the peace and prosperity I provide for them. 
10 “This is what the LORD says: You have said, ‘This is a desolate land where people and animals have all disappeared.’ Yet in the empty streets of Jerusalem and Judah’s other towns, there will be heard once more 
11 the sounds of joy and laughter. The joyful voices of bridegrooms and brides will be heard again, along with the joyous songs of people bringing thanksgiving offerings to the LORD . They will sing, ‘Give thanks to the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, for the LORD is good. His faithful love endures forever!’ For I will restore the prosperity of this land to what it was in the past, says the LORD . 
12 “This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: This land—though it is now desolate and has no people and animals—will once more have pastures where shepherds can lead their flocks. 
13 Once again shepherds will count their flocks in the towns of the hill country, the foothills of Judah, the Negev, the land of Benjamin, the vicinity of Jerusalem, and all the towns of Judah. I, the LORD, have spoken! 
14 “The day will come, says the LORD, when I will do for Israel and Judah all the good things I have promised them. 
15 “In those days and at that time I will raise up a righteous descendant from King David’s line. He will do what is just and right throughout the land. 
16 In that day Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this will be its name: ‘The LORD Is Our Righteousness.’ 
17 For this is what the LORD says: David will have a descendant sitting on the throne of Israel forever. 
18 And there will always be Levitical priests to offer burnt offerings and grain offerings and sacrifices to me.” 
19 Then this message came to Jeremiah from the LORD : 
20 “This is what the LORD says: If you can break my covenant with the day and the night so that one does not follow the other, 
21 only then will my covenant with my servant David be broken. Only then will he no longer have a descendant to reign on his throne. The same is true for my covenant with the Levitical priests who minister before me. 
22 And as the stars of the sky cannot be counted and the sand on the seashore cannot be measured, so I will multiply the descendants of my servant David and the Levites who minister before me.” 
23 The LORD gave another message to Jeremiah. He said, 
24 “Have you noticed what people are saying?—‘The LORD chose Judah and Israel and then abandoned them!’ They are sneering and saying that Israel is not worthy to be counted as a nation. 
25 But this is what the LORD says: I would no more reject my people than I would change my laws that govern night and day, earth and sky. 
26 I will never abandon the descendants of Jacob or David, my servant, or change the plan that David’s descendants will rule the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Instead, I will restore them to their land and have mercy on them.”

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.