Ball & Chain

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“If you’re tired of struggling with the things that weigh you down, ask God to show you how to unlock the chains that bind you.”

TB

Weighted

Many of us walk around with the weight of our past sins, experiences, and hurts as if a ball and chain were tied to our ankle. Weighed down we struggle in life, dragging on, unable to move freely. Because we’re carrying a weight that we cannot hold, we are unable to see the freedom that Christ provides, unleashing us from all that burdens us. If you feel weighed down, it’s time to ask for help.

Root Cause

Wherever your ball and chain lies, there is a root cause for the weight. Friends, how many of us live life or limit life, based on comments or situations from our past? Maybe your first boss told you that you wouldn’t amount to much and those words began to dictate your future. Perhaps a parent’s neglect left you to believe that you had to work insane amounts of hours to be worthy of love. My point is, that weight has a root cause.

Keys

If you’re ready to let that ball and chain go, it’s time to ask your Father in Heaven for the keys. Ask Him to reveal the ball and chains of your life. Sit with Him to uncover the root cause of those struggles. Allow Him to teach you how to forgive those people, the situations, and yourself for what transpired. Grow in the Word so that you may understand how to mature from offense and hurt. When we go to God for these structural breakdowns, He will honor our request with revelation, healing, and mercy, giving us the keys to freedom. All we have to do is ask, seek, and follow.

Today’s Question

What is weighing you down, preventing you from God’s will for your life?

Enjoy the reading

Ezekiel 30

1 This is another message that came to me from the LORD : 2 “Son of man, prophesy and give this message from the Sovereign LORD : “Weep and wail for that day, 3 for the terrible day is almost here— the day of the LORD ! It is a day of clouds and gloom, a day of despair for the nations. 4 A sword will come against Egypt, and those who are slaughtered will cover the ground. Its wealth will be carried away and its foundations destroyed. The land of Ethiopia will be ravished. 5 Ethiopia, Libya, Lydia, all Arabia, and all their other allies will be destroyed in that war. 6 “For this is what the LORD says: All of Egypt’s allies will fall, and the pride of her power will end. From Migdol to Aswan they will be slaughtered by the sword, says the Sovereign LORD . 7 Egypt will be desolate, surrounded by desolate nations, and its cities will be in ruins, surrounded by other ruined cities. 8 And the people of Egypt will know that I am the LORD when I have set Egypt on fire and destroyed all their allies. 9 At that time I will send swift messengers in ships to terrify the complacent Ethiopians. Great panic will come upon them on that day of Egypt’s certain destruction. Watch for it! It is sure to come! 10 “For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: By the power of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, I will destroy the hordes of Egypt. 11 He and his armies—the most ruthless of all— will be sent to demolish the land. They will make war against Egypt until slaughtered Egyptians cover the ground. 12 I will dry up the Nile River and sell the land to wicked men. I will destroy the land of Egypt and everything in it by the hands of foreigners. I, the LORD, have spoken! 13 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will smash the idols of Egypt and the images at Memphis. There will be no rulers left in Egypt; terror will sweep the land. 14 I will destroy southern Egypt, set fire to Zoan, and bring judgment against Thebes. 15 I will pour out my fury on Pelusium, the strongest fortress of Egypt, and I will stamp out the hordes of Thebes. 16 Yes, I will set fire to all Egypt! Pelusium will be racked with pain; Thebes will be torn apart; Memphis will live in constant terror. 17 The young men of Heliopolis and Bubastis will die in battle, and the women will be taken away as slaves. 18 When I come to break the proud strength of Egypt, it will be a dark day for Tahpanhes, too. A dark cloud will cover Tahpanhes, and its daughters will be led away as captives. 19 And so I will greatly punish Egypt, and they will know that I am the LORD .” 20 On April 29, during the eleventh year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity, this message came to me from the LORD : 21 “Son of man, I have broken the arm of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. His arm has not been put in a cast so that it may heal. Neither has it been bound up with a splint to make it strong enough to hold a sword. 22 Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am the enemy of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt! I will break both of his arms—the good arm along with the broken one—and I will make his sword clatter to the ground. 23 I will scatter the Egyptians to many lands throughout the world. 24 I will strengthen the arms of Babylon’s king and put my sword in his hand. But I will break the arms of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and he will lie there mortally wounded, groaning in pain. 25 I will strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon, while the arms of Pharaoh fall useless to his sides. And when I put my sword in the hand of Babylon’s king and he brings it against the land of Egypt, Egypt will know that I am the LORD . 26 I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations, dispersing them throughout the earth. Then they will know that I am the LORD .”

Provision

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Slow down and talk with God to see that ultimately it is He who provides for you.”

TB

Unsatiable

Building a life without Christ is like trying to fill a black hole– you simply can’t. Sure, you can make a lot of money, have tons of lovers, drink and imbibe every carnal activity out there, but there will always be a void. You can indulge in every pleasurable thing, constantly having to increase the dosage because you build up a tolerance, but all that happens is that you prolong the inevitable– emptiness. You could be the most perfect secular human being and will still come up short. Why? Because without Christ, we have nothing.

Provider

Context is vitally important for man to understand our place in this life. The world teaches us that by our own will, things can be done. Friends, that is not so! The fundamental truth is that God created us. By His design a connection to Him is integral to our wellbeing. But instead, many of us try and fill the divine purpose of Christ with busyness, distraction, gluttony, lust, or whichever vice holds your gaze. Until you give up your worldly master, you will never truly be fulfilled. Until you stop entertaining the smoke and mirrors of the world, confusion will be your best friend. God desires peace and harmony for all of us. In order for us to attain it, we must want to seek the One who can provide all things for us– Christ.

Today’s Question

Are going to avoid the One who can fill the void?

Enjoy the reading

Ezekiel 29

1 On January 7, during the tenth year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity, this message came to me from the LORD : 2 “Son of man, turn and face Egypt and prophesy against Pharaoh the king and all the people of Egypt. 3 Give them this message from the Sovereign LORD : “I am your enemy, O Pharaoh, king of Egypt— you great monster, lurking in the streams of the Nile. For you have said, ‘The Nile River is mine; I made it for myself.’ 4 I will put hooks in your jaws and drag you out on the land with fish sticking to your scales. 5 I will leave you and all your fish stranded in the wilderness to die. You will lie unburied on the open ground, for I have given you as food to the wild animals and birds. 6 All the people of Egypt will know that I am the LORD, for to Israel you were just a staff made of reeds. 7 When Israel leaned on you, you splintered and broke and stabbed her in the armpit. When she put her weight on you, you collapsed, and her legs gave way. 8 “Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will bring an army against you, O Egypt, and destroy both people and animals. 9 The land of Egypt will become a desolate wasteland, and the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD . “Because you said, ‘The Nile River is mine; I made it,’ 10 I am now the enemy of both you and your river. I will make the land of Egypt a totally desolate wasteland, from Migdol to Aswan, as far south as the border of Ethiopia. 11 For forty years not a soul will pass that way, neither people nor animals. It will be completely uninhabited. 12 I will make Egypt desolate, and it will be surrounded by other desolate nations. Its cities will be empty and desolate for forty years, surrounded by other ruined cities. I will scatter the Egyptians to distant lands. 13 “But this is what the Sovereign LORD also says: At the end of the forty years I will bring the Egyptians home again from the nations to which they have been scattered. 14 I will restore the prosperity of Egypt and bring its people back to the land of Pathros in southern Egypt from which they came. But Egypt will remain an unimportant, minor kingdom. 15 It will be the lowliest of all the nations, never again great enough to rise above its neighbors. 16 “Then Israel will no longer be tempted to trust in Egypt for help. Egypt’s shattered condition will remind Israel of how sinful she was to trust Egypt in earlier days. Then Israel will know that I am the Sovereign LORD .” 17 On April 26, the first day of the new year, during the twenty-seventh year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity, this message came to me from the LORD : 18 “Son of man, the army of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon fought so hard against Tyre that the warriors’ heads were rubbed bare and their shoulders were raw and blistered. Yet Nebuchadnezzar and his army won no plunder to compensate them for all their work. 19 Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will give the land of Egypt to Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. He will carry off its wealth, plundering everything it has so he can pay his army. 20 Yes, I have given him the land of Egypt as a reward for his work, says the Sovereign LORD, because he was working for me when he destroyed Tyre. 21 “And the day will come when I will cause the ancient glory of Israel to revive, and then, Ezekiel, your words will be respected. Then they will know that I am the LORD .”

Right Standing

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Remember that accepting Christ’s salvation means that you’re in right standing with God.”

TB

Wrong

Discouragement is a very real tactic from the opposition. If left unchecked, he can make even the most righteous person feel like a sack of coal. However, in those tough moments, remember that salvation is a gift, never earned, and that God loves you in all ways.

Right

Fortunately for us, salvation isn’t contingent on perfect behavior. But to truly experience and understand what it means, we have to do our homework. While Christ is for us, we still live in the natural world which requires careful study and meditation on the Word. Knowledge is power and what great power to be called His!

Today’s Question

Are you being deceived about where you stand with Christ?

Enjoy the reading

Ezekiel 25

1 Then this message came to me from the LORD : 2 “Son of man, turn and face the land of Ammon and prophesy against its people. 3 Give the Ammonites this message from the Sovereign LORD : Hear the word of the Sovereign LORD ! Because you cheered when my Temple was defiled, mocked Israel in her desolation, and laughed at Judah as she went away into exile, 4 I will allow nomads from the eastern deserts to overrun your country. They will set up their camps among you and pitch their tents on your land. They will harvest all your fruit and drink the milk from your livestock. 5 And I will turn the city of Rabbah into a pasture for camels, and all the land of the Ammonites into a resting place for sheep and goats. Then you will know that I am the LORD . 6 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Because you clapped and danced and cheered with glee at the destruction of my people, 7 I will raise my fist of judgment against you. I will give you as plunder to many nations. I will cut you off from being a nation and destroy you completely. Then you will know that I am the LORD . 8 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Because the people of Moab have said that Judah is just like all the other nations, 9 I will open up their eastern flank and wipe out their glorious frontier towns—Beth-jeshimoth, Baal-meon, and Kiriathaim. 10 And I will hand Moab over to nomads from the eastern deserts, just as I handed over Ammon. Yes, the Ammonites will no longer be counted among the nations. 11 In the same way, I will bring my judgment down on the Moabites. Then they will know that I am the LORD . 12 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: The people of Edom have sinned greatly by avenging themselves against the people of Judah. 13 Therefore, says the Sovereign LORD, I will raise my fist of judgment against Edom. I will wipe out its people and animals with the sword. I will make a wasteland of everything from Teman to Dedan. 14 I will accomplish this by the hand of my people of Israel. They will carry out my vengeance with anger, and Edom will know that this vengeance is from me. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken! 15 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: The people of Philistia have acted against Judah out of bitter revenge and long-standing contempt. 16 Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will raise my fist of judgment against the land of the Philistines. I will wipe out the Kerethites and utterly destroy the people who live by the sea. 17 I will execute terrible vengeance against them to punish them for what they have done. And when I have inflicted my revenge, they will know that I am the LORD .”

Fundamentals

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“If you take time to learn the fundamentals of Christ and His teaches, the wisdom He bestows to you for your efforts will guide you throw the highs and lows of life.”

TB

Practice and Purpose

The Bible is the ultimate playbook for you to use in this game called life. Think about sports like basketball. Elite ballplayers spend a significant amount of time studying the film of their opponents. They also spend time practicing their shots, ball handling, defense, and everything in between. Take NBA players. These guys have been playing basketball for years and years.

You would think will all of the time and practice they put in, there would be no need to watch game tape or practice. So why do they do it? Because practice and reviewing the film is the type of tool that defeats your opponent. The Bible and applying its wisdom prepares us to understand the devil’s games and how to win. Practice also helps us against the enemy when we’re tired

Foundational Strength

The devil works hard to throw us off in several areas in our lives. He’ll attack when we’re tired, when we’re distracted, when we’re stepping up in our walk with Christ, and especially when we’re successful. But don’t worry, the opposition messes greatly with the first string because he knows how influential they are in spreading the good news.

Fortunately for us, this is why we practice reading the Bible. When we’re tired, distracted, encouraging others about Christ, or stepping in our calling, this is when we must really hunker down and rely on the fundamentals. This is because God’s Truth supersedes our truths. So, when our neighbor offends us, we practice what we learned in the Bible, which is forgiveness so that it doesn’t become a foothold. When we have bills to pay, we pay them instead of buying stuff for ourselves.

Fundamentals are Key

Just like elite basketball players, we can get tired and weary, which is where the devil and temptation will rear its ugly head. When we rely on our flesh, we fail because we’re not built to weather storms such as these. Instead we have to rely on the teachings and the fundamentals of the word.

The Bible is literally the game tape of how God defeats the devil. What better resource to help us in our walks with Christ! By studying the playbook–Bible– we have foundational strength and behaviors that allow us to have victory over our trials and temptations. We gain the spiritual muscle memory to shoot the ball, scoring even when physically we can’t go on. If you want to be on the championship team, study God’s playbook, the Bible.

Today’s Question

Are you studying how to defeat the opposition?

Enjoy the reading

Ezekiel 23

1 This message came to me from the LORD : 2 “Son of man, once there were two sisters who were daughters of the same mother. 3 They became prostitutes in Egypt. Even as young girls, they allowed men to fondle their breasts. 4 The older girl was named Oholah, and her sister was Oholibah. I married them, and they bore me sons and daughters. I am speaking of Samaria and Jerusalem, for Oholah is Samaria and Oholibah is Jerusalem. 5 “Then Oholah lusted after other lovers instead of me, and she gave her love to the Assyrian officers. 6 They were all attractive young men, captains and commanders dressed in handsome blue, charioteers driving their horses. 7 And so she prostituted herself with the most desirable men of Assyria, worshiping their idols and defiling herself. 8 For when she left Egypt, she did not leave her spirit of prostitution behind. She was still as lewd as in her youth, when the Egyptians slept with her, fondled her breasts, and used her as a prostitute. 9 “And so I handed her over to her Assyrian lovers, whom she desired so much. 10 They stripped her, took away her children as their slaves, and then killed her. After she received her punishment, her reputation was known to every woman in the land. 11 “Yet even though Oholibah saw what had happened to Oholah, her sister, she followed right in her footsteps. And she was even more depraved, abandoning herself to her lust and prostitution. 12 She fawned over all the Assyrian officers—those captains and commanders in handsome uniforms, those charioteers driving their horses—all of them attractive young men. 13 I saw the way she was going, defiling herself just like her older sister. 14 “Then she carried her prostitution even further. She fell in love with pictures that were painted on a wall—pictures of Babylonian military officers, outfitted in striking red uniforms. 15 Handsome belts encircled their waists, and flowing turbans crowned their heads. They were dressed like chariot officers from the land of Babylonia. 16 When she saw these paintings, she longed to give herself to them, so she sent messengers to Babylonia to invite them to come to her. 17 So they came and committed adultery with her, defiling her in the bed of love. After being defiled, however, she rejected them in disgust. 18 “In the same way, I became disgusted with Oholibah and rejected her, just as I had rejected her sister, because she flaunted herself before them and gave herself to satisfy their lusts. 19 Yet she turned to even greater prostitution, remembering her youth when she was a prostitute in Egypt. 20 She lusted after lovers with genitals as large as a donkey’s and emissions like those of a horse. 21 And so, Oholibah, you relived your former days as a young girl in Egypt, when you first allowed your breasts to be fondled. 22 “Therefore, Oholibah, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will send your lovers against you from every direction—those very nations from which you turned away in disgust. 23 For the Babylonians will come with all the Chaldeans from Pekod and Shoa and Koa. And all the Assyrians will come with them—handsome young captains, commanders, chariot officers, and other high-ranking officers, all riding their horses. 24 They will all come against you from the north with chariots, wagons, and a great army prepared for attack. They will take up positions on every side, surrounding you with men armed with shields and helmets. And I will hand you over to them for punishment so they can do with you as they please. 25 I will turn my jealous anger against you, and they will deal harshly with you. They will cut off your nose and ears, and any survivors will then be slaughtered by the sword. Your children will be taken away as captives, and everything that is left will be burned. 26 They will strip you of your beautiful clothes and jewels. 27 In this way, I will put a stop to the lewdness and prostitution you brought from Egypt. You will never again cast longing eyes on those things or fondly remember your time in Egypt. 28 “For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will surely hand you over to your enemies, to those you loathe, those you rejected. 29 They will treat you with hatred and rob you of all you own, leaving you stark naked. The shame of your prostitution will be exposed to all the world. 30 You brought all this on yourself by prostituting yourself to other nations, defiling yourself with all their idols. 31 Because you have followed in your sister’s footsteps, I will force you to drink the same cup of terror she drank. 32 “Yes, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: “You will drink from your sister’s cup of terror, a cup that is large and deep. It is filled to the brim with scorn and derision. 33 Drunkenness and anguish will fill you, for your cup is filled to the brim with distress and desolation, the same cup your sister Samaria drank. 34 You will drain that cup of terror to the very bottom. Then you will smash it to pieces and beat your breast in anguish. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken! 35 “And because you have forgotten me and turned your back on me, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: You must bear the consequences of all your lewdness and prostitution.” 36 The LORD said to me, “Son of man, you must accuse Oholah and Oholibah of all their detestable sins. 37 They have committed both adultery and murder—adultery by worshiping idols and murder by burning as sacrifices the children they bore to me. 38 Furthermore, they have defiled my Temple and violated my Sabbath day! 39 On the very day that they sacrificed their children to their idols, they boldly came into my Temple to worship! They came in and defiled my house. 40 “You sisters sent messengers to distant lands to get men. Then when they arrived, you bathed yourselves, painted your eyelids, and put on your finest jewels for them. 41 You sat with them on a beautifully embroidered couch and put my incense and my special oil on a table that was spread before you. 42 From your room came the sound of many men carousing. They were lustful men and drunkards from the wilderness, who put bracelets on your wrists and beautiful crowns on your heads. 43 Then I said, ‘If they really want to have sex with old worn-out prostitutes like these, let them!’ 44 And that is what they did. They had sex with Oholah and Oholibah, these shameless prostitutes. 45 But righteous people will judge these sister cities for what they really are—adulterers and murderers. 46 “Now this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Bring an army against them and hand them over to be terrorized and plundered. 47 For their enemies will stone them and kill them with swords. They will butcher their sons and daughters and burn their homes. 48 In this way, I will put an end to lewdness and idolatry in the land, and my judgment will be a warning to all women not to follow your wicked example. 49 You will be fully repaid for all your prostitution—your worship of idols. Yes, you will suffer the full penalty. Then you will know that I am the Sovereign LORD .”

Nearness

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“God will be as near or far as you want Him to be.”

TB

Choice

God gave each of us the free will to make the decisions for our lives. Some may choose to have a relationship with Him and some may deny His sovereignty, but the Truth remains, it’s our choice to seek God. If you want a life without God, He will allow it. If you desire to walk with Him, He will allow that also.

Distance

No matter your choice, God is true to His word. If you come before Him with a humble heart, He will welcome you into His flock. Even if you’ve wandered out into the wilderness, if you call out, He will answer. Even in the seasons where you can’t seem to find Him, He’s right there. That’s because God never leaves, we do. We leave when we follow our fleshly desires. We leave when we put ourselves above Christ. Fortunately for us, God is only one repentant call away.

Today’s Question

Did you know God’s place in your life is your choice?

Enjoy the reading

Ezekiel 21

1 Then this message came to me from the LORD : 2 “Son of man, turn and face Jerusalem and prophesy against Israel and her sanctuaries. 3 Tell her, ‘This is what the LORD says: I am your enemy, O Israel, and I am about to unsheath my sword to destroy your people—the righteous and the wicked alike. 4 Yes, I will cut off both the righteous and the wicked! I will draw my sword against everyone in the land from south to north. 5 Everyone in the world will know that I am the LORD . My sword is in my hand, and it will not return to its sheath until its work is finished.’ 6 “Son of man, groan before the people! Groan before them with bitter anguish and a broken heart. 7 When they ask why you are groaning, tell them, ‘I groan because of the terrifying news I have heard. When it comes true, the boldest heart will melt with fear; all strength will disappear. Every spirit will faint; strong knees will become as weak as water. And the Sovereign LORD says: It is coming! It’s on its way!’” 8 Then the LORD said to me, 9 “Son of man, give the people this message from the Lord: “A sword, a sword is being sharpened and polished. 10 It is sharpened for terrible slaughter and polished to flash like lightning! Now will you laugh? Those far stronger than you have fallen beneath its power! 11 Yes, the sword is now being sharpened and polished; it is being prepared for the executioner. 12 “Son of man, cry out and wail; pound your thighs in anguish, for that sword will slaughter my people and their leaders— everyone will die! 13 It will put them all to the test. What chance do they have? says the Sovereign LORD . 14 “Son of man, prophesy to them and clap your hands. Then take the sword and brandish it twice, even three times, to symbolize the great massacre, the great massacre facing them on every side. 15 Let their hearts melt with terror, for the sword glitters at every gate. It flashes like lightning and is polished for slaughter! 16 O sword, slash to the right, then slash to the left, wherever you will, wherever you want. 17 I, too, will clap my hands, and I will satisfy my fury. I, the LORD, have spoken!” 18 Then this message came to me from the LORD : 19 “Son of man, make a map and trace two routes on it for the sword of Babylon’s king to follow. Put a signpost on the road that comes out of Babylon where the road forks into two— 20 one road going to Ammon and its capital, Rabbah, and the other to Judah and fortified Jerusalem. 21 The king of Babylon now stands at the fork, uncertain whether to attack Jerusalem or Rabbah. He calls his magicians to look for omens. They cast lots by shaking arrows from the quiver. They inspect the livers of animal sacrifices. 22 The omen in his right hand says, ‘Jerusalem!’ With battering rams his soldiers will go against the gates, shouting for the kill. They will put up siege towers and build ramps against the walls. 23 The people of Jerusalem will think it is a false omen, because of their treaty with the Babylonians. But the king of Babylon will remind the people of their rebellion. Then he will attack and capture them. 24 “Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Again and again you remind me of your sin and your guilt. You don’t even try to hide it! In everything you do, your sins are obvious for all to see. So now the time of your punishment has come! 25 “O you corrupt and wicked prince of Israel, your final day of reckoning is here! 26 This is what the Sovereign LORD says: “Take off your jeweled crown, for the old order changes. Now the lowly will be exalted, and the mighty will be brought down. 27 Destruction! Destruction! I will surely destroy the kingdom. And it will not be restored until the one appears who has the right to judge it. Then I will hand it over to him. 28 “And now, son of man, prophesy concerning the Ammonites and their mockery. Give them this message from the Sovereign LORD : “A sword, a sword is drawn for your slaughter. It is polished to destroy, flashing like lightning! 29 Your prophets have given false visions, and your fortune-tellers have told lies. The sword will fall on the necks of the wicked for whom the day of final reckoning has come. 30 “Now return the sword to its sheath, for in your own country, the land of your birth, I will pass judgment upon you. 31 I will pour out my fury on you and blow on you with the fire of my anger. I will hand you over to cruel men who are skilled in destruction. 32 You will be fuel for the fire, and your blood will be spilled in your own land. You will be utterly wiped out, your memory lost to history, for I, the LORD, have spoken!”

Commit

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Commit to spending time with Christ daily to learn the Truth.”

TB

Slow

A few years ago, I was “playing rudiments” on a drum pad. I was playing them pretty fast and to my untrained ear, I thought I was doing alright. My dad entered the room and encouraged me. He also suggested I slow it down. I had insisted I was better playing fast, though I complied.

When I slowed down, it was pretty obvious that I was sloppy and did not have command of the technique. I wanted to go fast because it covered up all of my mistakes. In life, we behave the same way. Admittedly, I didn’t keep up with practicing, not because of my dad, but because I wasn’t committed. That and I wanted to rush through the important things, like rudiments to get to the cool fills and rhythms that I couldn’t actually play.

Devote

Many of us are like that with Christ. We want all of the ‘cool stuff’ and prestige of Christ, but many don’t understand or care to commit to Christ Himself. When we cling on to vanity desires, we fall prey to the fake and walk away from what’s real. Friends, we must abandon our noncommittal ways.

The opposition does not position sin to be as ugly as it is. If that were the case, we’d resist and flee. So, if that’s the case, how do we spot the Truth; spend recurring time with the Lord. When you know God, and speak with Him on a regular basis, He will teach and show you things that the fake treasures of this world could never compare. That Truth is your’s, but first you must turn down the fast and sloppy techniques and choose the still and sure ways of God.

Today’s Question

Who are you committed to?

Enjoy the reading

Ezekiel 20

1 On August 14, during the seventh year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity, some of the leaders of Israel came to request a message from the LORD . They sat down in front of me to wait for his reply. 2 Then this message came to me from the LORD : 3 “Son of man, tell the leaders of Israel, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: How dare you come to ask me for a message? As surely as I live, says the Sovereign LORD, I will tell you nothing!’ 4 “Son of man, bring charges against them and condemn them. Make them realize how detestable the sins of their ancestors really were. 5 Give them this message from the Sovereign LORD : When I chose Israel—when I revealed myself to the descendants of Jacob in Egypt—I took a solemn oath that I, the LORD, would be their God. 6 I took a solemn oath that day that I would bring them out of Egypt to a land I had discovered and explored for them—a good land, a land flowing with milk and honey, the best of all lands anywhere. 7 Then I said to them, ‘Each of you, get rid of the vile images you are so obsessed with. Do not defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt, for I am the LORD your God.’ 8 “But they rebelled against me and would not listen. They did not get rid of the vile images they were obsessed with, or forsake the idols of Egypt. Then I threatened to pour out my fury on them to satisfy my anger while they were still in Egypt. 9 But I didn’t do it, for I acted to protect the honor of my name. I would not allow shame to be brought on my name among the surrounding nations who saw me reveal myself by bringing the Israelites out of Egypt. 10 So I brought them out of Egypt and led them into the wilderness. 11 There I gave them my decrees and regulations so they could find life by keeping them. 12 And I gave them my Sabbath days of rest as a sign between them and me. It was to remind them that I am the LORD, who had set them apart to be holy. 13 “But the people of Israel rebelled against me, and they refused to obey my decrees there in the wilderness. They wouldn’t obey my regulations even though obedience would have given them life. They also violated my Sabbath days. So I threatened to pour out my fury on them, and I made plans to utterly consume them in the wilderness. 14 But again I held back in order to protect the honor of my name before the nations who had seen my power in bringing Israel out of Egypt. 15 But I took a solemn oath against them in the wilderness. I swore I would not bring them into the land I had given them, a land flowing with milk and honey, the most beautiful place on earth. 16 For they had rejected my regulations, refused to follow my decrees, and violated my Sabbath days. Their hearts were given to their idols. 17 Nevertheless, I took pity on them and held back from destroying them in the wilderness. 18 “Then I warned their children not to follow in their parents’ footsteps, defiling themselves with their idols. 19 ‘I am the LORD your God,’ I told them. ‘Follow my decrees, pay attention to my regulations, 20 and keep my Sabbath days holy, for they are a sign to remind you that I am the LORD your God.’ 21 “But their children, too, rebelled against me. They refused to keep my decrees and follow my regulations, even though obedience would have given them life. And they also violated my Sabbath days. So again I threatened to pour out my fury on them in the wilderness. 22 Nevertheless, I withdrew my judgment against them to protect the honor of my name before the nations that had seen my power in bringing them out of Egypt. 23 But I took a solemn oath against them in the wilderness. I swore I would scatter them among all the nations 24 because they did not obey my regulations. They scorned my decrees by violating my Sabbath days and longing for the idols of their ancestors. 25 I gave them over to worthless decrees and regulations that would not lead to life. 26 I let them pollute themselves with the very gifts I had given them, and I allowed them to give their firstborn children as offerings to their gods—so I might devastate them and remind them that I alone am the LORD . 27 “Therefore, son of man, give the people of Israel this message from the Sovereign LORD : Your ancestors continued to blaspheme and betray me, 28 for when I brought them into the land I had promised them, they offered sacrifices on every high hill and under every green tree they saw! They roused my fury as they offered up sacrifices to their gods. They brought their perfumes and incense and poured out their liquid offerings to them. 29 I said to them, ‘What is this high place where you are going?’ (This kind of pagan shrine has been called Bamah—‘high place’—ever since.) 30 “Therefore, give the people of Israel this message from the Sovereign LORD : Do you plan to pollute yourselves just as your ancestors did? Do you intend to keep prostituting yourselves by worshiping vile images? 31 For when you offer gifts to them and give your little children to be burned as sacrifices, you continue to pollute yourselves with idols to this day. Should I allow you to ask for a message from me, O people of Israel? As surely as I live, says the Sovereign LORD, I will tell you nothing. 32 “You say, ‘We want to be like the nations all around us, who serve idols of wood and stone.’ But what you have in mind will never happen. 33 As surely as I live, says the Sovereign LORD, I will rule over you with an iron fist in great anger and with awesome power. 34 And in anger I will reach out with my strong hand and powerful arm, and I will bring you back from the lands where you are scattered. 35 I will bring you into the wilderness of the nations, and there I will judge you face to face. 36 I will judge you there just as I did your ancestors in the wilderness after bringing them out of Egypt, says the Sovereign LORD . 37 I will examine you carefully and hold you to the terms of the covenant. 38 I will purge you of all those who rebel and revolt against me. I will bring them out of the countries where they are in exile, but they will never enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the LORD . 39 “As for you, O people of Israel, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Go right ahead and worship your idols, but sooner or later you will obey me and will stop bringing shame on my holy name by worshiping idols. 40 For on my holy mountain, the great mountain of Israel, says the Sovereign LORD, the people of Israel will someday worship me, and I will accept them. There I will require that you bring me all your offerings and choice gifts and sacrifices. 41 When I bring you home from exile, you will be like a pleasing sacrifice to me. And I will display my holiness through you as all the nations watch. 42 Then when I have brought you home to the land I promised with a solemn oath to give to your ancestors, you will know that I am the LORD . 43 You will look back on all the ways you defiled yourselves and will hate yourselves because of the evil you have done. 44 You will know that I am the LORD, O people of Israel, when I have honored my name by treating you mercifully in spite of your wickedness. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken!” 45 Then this message came to me from the LORD : 46 “Son of man, turn and face the south and speak out against it; prophesy against the brushlands of the Negev. 47 Tell the southern wilderness, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Hear the word of the LORD ! I will set you on fire, and every tree, both green and dry, will be burned. The terrible flames will not be quenched and will scorch everything from south to north. 48 And everyone in the world will see that I, the LORD, have set this fire. It will not be put out.’” 49 Then I said, “O Sovereign LORD, they are saying of me, ‘He only talks in riddles!’”

Lighthouse

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“To avoid crashing from the darkness of this world, use the Truth of Christ to be the lighthouse bringing you safely home

TB

Destruction

There is so much noise and distraction in the world. Many of us have to fight to stay focused on our walks with God. If we’re not careful, we can get swept up in the sweet-sounding destruction of the opposition.

Safety

To avoid the pitfalls and snares, quiet your surroundings to focus on the Truth of Christ. Within the Word, you’ll find the light leading you to safety and the wisdom to keep you grounded. Like a lighthouse guiding ships home, follow Him to get to the destination

Today’s Question

Are you following the right directions?

Enjoy the reading

Ezekiel 18

1 Then another message came to me from the LORD : 2 “Why do you quote this proverb concerning the land of Israel: ‘The parents have eaten sour grapes, but their children’s mouths pucker at the taste’? 3 As surely as I live, says the Sovereign LORD, you will not quote this proverb anymore in Israel. 4 For all people are mine to judge—both parents and children alike. And this is my rule: The person who sins is the one who will die. 5 “Suppose a certain man is righteous and does what is just and right. 6 He does not feast in the mountains before Israel’s idols or worship them. He does not commit adultery or have intercourse with a woman during her menstrual period. 7 He is a merciful creditor, not keeping the items given as security by poor debtors. He does not rob the poor but instead gives food to the hungry and provides clothes for the needy. 8 He grants loans without interest, stays away from injustice, is honest and fair when judging others, 9 and faithfully obeys my decrees and regulations. Anyone who does these things is just and will surely live, says the Sovereign LORD . 10 “But suppose that man has a son who grows up to be a robber or murderer and refuses to do what is right. 11 And that son does all the evil things his father would never do—he worships idols on the mountains, commits adultery, 12 oppresses the poor and helpless, steals from debtors by refusing to let them redeem their security, worships idols, commits detestable sins, 13 and lends money at excessive interest. Should such a sinful person live? No! He must die and must take full blame. 14 “But suppose that sinful son, in turn, has a son who sees his father’s wickedness and decides against that kind of life. 15 This son refuses to worship idols on the mountains and does not commit adultery. 16 He does not exploit the poor, but instead is fair to debtors and does not rob them. He gives food to the hungry and provides clothes for the needy. 17 He helps the poor, does not lend money at interest, and obeys all my regulations and decrees. Such a person will not die because of his father’s sins; he will surely live. 18 But the father will die for his many sins—for being cruel, robbing people, and doing what was clearly wrong among his people. 19 “‘What?’ you ask. ‘Doesn’t the child pay for the parent’s sins?’ No! For if the child does what is just and right and keeps my decrees, that child will surely live. 20 The person who sins is the one who will die. The child will not be punished for the parent’s sins, and the parent will not be punished for the child’s sins. Righteous people will be rewarded for their own righteous behavior, and wicked people will be punished for their own wickedness. 21 But if wicked people turn away from all their sins and begin to obey my decrees and do what is just and right, they will surely live and not die. 22 All their past sins will be forgotten, and they will live because of the righteous things they have done. 23 “Do you think that I like to see wicked people die? says the Sovereign LORD . Of course not! I want them to turn from their wicked ways and live. 24 However, if righteous people turn from their righteous behavior and start doing sinful things and act like other sinners, should they be allowed to live? No, of course not! All their righteous acts will be forgotten, and they will die for their sins. 25 “Yet you say, ‘The Lord isn’t doing what’s right!’ Listen to me, O people of Israel. Am I the one not doing what’s right, or is it you? 26 When righteous people turn from their righteous behavior and start doing sinful things, they will die for it. Yes, they will die because of their sinful deeds. 27 And if wicked people turn from their wickedness, obey the law, and do what is just and right, they will save their lives. 28 They will live because they thought it over and decided to turn from their sins. Such people will not die. 29 And yet the people of Israel keep saying, ‘The Lord isn’t doing what’s right!’ O people of Israel, it is you who are not doing what’s right, not I. 30 “Therefore, I will judge each of you, O people of Israel, according to your actions, says the Sovereign LORD . Repent, and turn from your sins. Don’t let them destroy you! 31 Put all your rebellion behind you, and find yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O people of Israel? 32 I don’t want you to die, says the Sovereign LORD . Turn back and live!

Aged

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Wisdom from Christ comes from application and time.”

TB

Old

Today I helped my dad stain his fence. We were using an experimental method of which he was casually staining the fence. And by casual, I mean it was less than perfect. When I asked him why, he said it was ‘good enough’ and when the fence dries, it’ll look great. And, a second coat would fix it in the end. Now, as a child, my father instilled within me the importance of great work and doing the job well. So to see him change his stance was surprising to, say the least. Perplexed, I picked up the brush and began working. After a while, I realized that the evolution of my dad’s method reminded me of the old testament and new.

New

In the beginning, we had laws and rigid practices. Just like perfect behavior, it was unattainable. When Jesus came onto the scene and died for our sins, God gave us our second chance. Now, we are required to accept salvation. We don’t have to be perfect, we just have to show up. What a profound gift! Christ gets us to the finish line, not our deeds. As I worked on the fence, I had to laugh at myself and the strange behaviors of man. We tend to get stuck in performative actions, trying to achieve perfection, whether it’s in our jobs, our looks, our family, etc. The truth is, perfection is impossible. I’ve observed that if you walk with God as you age, you begin to see His wisdom at work, allowing you to lighten up and accept his gift. When you allow God to give you the ‘second coat’ of salvation, your efforts become more humble, honest, and intentional.

Today’s Question

Are you aged in Christ-like wisdom or in man-driven pride?

Enjoy the reading

Ezekiel 15

1 Then this message came to me from the LORD : 2 “Son of man, how does a grapevine compare to a tree? Is a vine’s wood as useful as the wood of a tree? 3 Can its wood be used for making things, like pegs to hang up pots and pans? 4 No, it can only be used for fuel, and even as fuel, it burns too quickly. 5 Vines are useless both before and after being put into the fire! 6 “And this is what the Sovereign LORD says: The people of Jerusalem are like grapevines growing among the trees of the forest. Since they are useless, I have thrown them on the fire to be burned. 7 And I will see to it that if they escape from one fire, they will fall into another. When I turn against them, you will know that I am the LORD . 8 And I will make the land desolate because my people have been unfaithful to me. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken!”

In the Word

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Stay in the Word to avoid the traps and snares of the world.”

TB

How-to

The Bible isn’t something we read to feel superior to nonbelievers. No, it’s literally a how-to guide full of amazing information and insights as to how the world works. The Living Word is applicable to all areas of your life because it espouses Truth that never changes. If you look at the state of the world now, it certainly looks very similar to times in the Bible (read Hosea and Ezekiel, among others). Friends, culture, and society may change, but God does not. God gave us the Bible to use as a tool to aid in navigating our lives in a sin-fallen world.

In the world

When you don’t know what’s in the Bible, the lies and deceit of the world are indiscernible. Without the truth, it is difficult to spot the real from the fake, the truth from the lies. Just look at the world today. Our society thinks that adopting a nice facade is the same thing as being good. For example, if your boss is charming, but cheats you out of an honest wage, are they nice? It is all pretend! The world toils in confusion as many people spout lofty words while operating evil schemes. Worldly people have smiles on their faces while they seek to cause you harm. It’s important to understand this distinction.

Foundational Truth

If you want to learn how to navigate a fallen world, read the Bible. It teaches us how to deal with corruption, lust, greed, people, you name it, it’s in there. To access the wealth of knowledge we must read it daily. Why? There is a lot of wickedness trying to pass for good in today’s society. If you don’t know how to spot the difference, you are in a world of trouble. Friends, God is not the author of confusion, the enemy is. If you seek to understand and accept the Truth, the Bible will show you everything you need to know.

Today’s Question

Are your eyes opened by the Truth or are you trapped in the world?

Enjoy the reading

Ezekiel 12

1 Again a message came to me from the LORD : 2 “Son of man, you live among rebels who have eyes but refuse to see. They have ears but refuse to hear. For they are a rebellious people. 3 “So now, son of man, pretend you are being sent into exile. Pack the few items an exile could carry, and leave your home to go somewhere else. Do this right in front of the people so they can see you. For perhaps they will pay attention to this, even though they are such rebels. 4 Bring your baggage outside during the day so they can watch you. Then in the evening, as they are watching, leave your house as captives do when they begin a long march to distant lands. 5 Dig a hole through the wall while they are watching and go out through it. 6 As they watch, lift your pack to your shoulders and walk away into the night. Cover your face so you cannot see the land you are leaving. For I have made you a sign for the people of Israel.” 7 So I did as I was told. In broad daylight I brought my pack outside, filled with the things I might carry into exile. Then in the evening while the people looked on, I dug through the wall with my hands and went out into the night with my pack on my shoulder. 8 The next morning this message came to me from the LORD : 9 “Son of man, these rebels, the people of Israel, have asked you what all this means. 10 Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: These actions contain a message for King Zedekiah in Jerusalem and for all the people of Israel.’ 11 Explain that your actions are a sign to show what will soon happen to them, for they will be driven into exile as captives. 12 “Even Zedekiah will leave Jerusalem at night through a hole in the wall, taking only what he can carry with him. He will cover his face, and his eyes will not see the land he is leaving. 13 Then I will throw my net over him and capture him in my snare. I will bring him to Babylon, the land of the Babylonians, though he will never see it, and he will die there. 14 I will scatter his servants and warriors to the four winds and send the sword after them. 15 And when I scatter them among the nations, they will know that I am the LORD . 16 But I will spare a few of them from death by war, famine, or disease, so they can confess all their detestable sins to their captors. Then they will know that I am the LORD .” 17 Then this message came to me from the LORD : 18 “Son of man, tremble as you eat your food. Shake with fear as you drink your water. 19 Tell the people, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says concerning those living in Israel and Jerusalem: They will eat their food with trembling and sip their water in despair, for their land will be stripped bare because of their violence. 20 The cities will be destroyed and the farmland made desolate. Then you will know that I am the LORD .’” 21 Again a message came to me from the LORD : 22 “Son of man, you’ve heard that proverb they quote in Israel: ‘Time passes, and prophecies come to nothing.’ 23 Tell the people, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will put an end to this proverb, and you will soon stop quoting it.’ Now give them this new proverb to replace the old one: ‘The time has come for every prophecy to be fulfilled!’ 24 “There will be no more false visions and flattering predictions in Israel. 25 For I am the LORD ! If I say it, it will happen. There will be no more delays, you rebels of Israel. I will fulfill my threat of destruction in your own lifetime. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken!” 26 Then this message came to me from the LORD : 27 “Son of man, the people of Israel are saying, ‘He’s talking about the distant future. His visions won’t come true for a long, long time.’ 28 Therefore, tell them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: No more delay! I will now do everything I have threatened. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken!’”

Effort & Might

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“God honors righteous effort over man-made might every day of the week.”

TB

Man

My dad says I’m smarter than him (I debate that to this day). Even if he’s right, his work ethic supersedes my intellect. Like the tortoise and the hare, slow and steady wins the race. Conversely, I have found that my honest attempts have garnered me far more success than my clever schemes. That’s because God blesses the righteous, not the foolish. Especially in adverse situations.

Christ

God will use anyone and anything as He sees fit. Gideon in the Book of Judges is a great example of this. He was the least of his tribe, which was the least of all tribes. And yet, through God he led the victory or the Midianites. His faith and obedience were all he needed and God did the rest. So what does this tell us? God knows our hearts, minds, and capabilities. He made us. We all have a purpose that He provided. So let’s put in the effort to honor the kingdom and He will make a path for us to make that happen.

Today’s Question

Are you ready to put in the effort?

Enjoy the reading

Ezekiel 11

1 Then the Spirit lifted me and brought me to the east gateway of the LORD ’s Temple, where I saw twenty-five prominent men of the city. Among them were Jaazaniah son of Azzur and Pelatiah son of Benaiah, who were leaders among the people. 2 The Spirit said to me, “Son of man, these are the men who are planning evil and giving wicked counsel in this city. 3 They say to the people, ‘Is it not a good time to build houses? This city is like an iron pot. We are safe inside it like meat in a pot. ’ 4 Therefore, son of man, prophesy against them loudly and clearly.” 5 Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon me, and he told me to say, “This is what the LORD says to the people of Israel: I know what you are saying, for I know every thought that comes into your minds. 6 You have murdered many in this city and filled its streets with the dead. 7 “Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: This city is an iron pot all right, but the pieces of meat are the victims of your injustice. As for you, I will soon drag you from this pot. 8 I will bring on you the sword of war you so greatly fear, says the Sovereign LORD . 9 I will drive you out of Jerusalem and hand you over to foreigners, who will carry out my judgments against you. 10 You will be slaughtered all the way to the borders of Israel. I will execute judgment on you, and you will know that I am the LORD . 11 No, this city will not be an iron pot for you, and you will not be like meat safe inside it. I will judge you even to the borders of Israel, 12 and you will know that I am the LORD . For you have refused to obey my decrees and regulations; instead, you have copied the standards of the nations around you.” 13 While I was still prophesying, Pelatiah son of Benaiah suddenly died. Then I fell face down on the ground and cried out, “O Sovereign LORD, are you going to kill everyone in Israel?” 14 Then this message came to me from the LORD : 15 “Son of man, the people still left in Jerusalem are talking about you and your relatives and all the people of Israel who are in exile. They are saying, ‘Those people are far away from the LORD, so now he has given their land to us!’ 16 “Therefore, tell the exiles, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Although I have scattered you in the countries of the world, I will be a sanctuary to you during your time in exile. 17 I, the Sovereign LORD, will gather you back from the nations where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel once again.’ 18 “When the people return to their homeland, they will remove every trace of their vile images and detestable idols. 19 And I will give them singleness of heart and put a new spirit within them. I will take away their stony, stubborn heart and give them a tender, responsive heart, 20 so they will obey my decrees and regulations. Then they will truly be my people, and I will be their God. 21 But as for those who long for vile images and detestable idols, I will repay them fully for their sins. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken!” 22 Then the cherubim lifted their wings and rose into the air with their wheels beside them, and the glory of the God of Israel hovered above them. 23 Then the glory of the LORD went up from the city and stopped above the mountain to the east. 24 Afterward the Spirit of God carried me back again to Babylonia, to the people in exile there. And so ended the vision of my visit to Jerusalem. 25 And I told the exiles everything the LORD had shown me.