“Don’t look at your neighbor’s harvest for evidence of God’s Sovereignty.”~TB
There are 24 hours, 1,440 minutes, and 86,400 seconds in each day. Considering that we spend only a mere fractionof that time around other people, it’s impossible to know all of the deeds and seeds being sown by anyone. Not even your child, your spouse, your sister, your brother, your best friend, anyone. Therefore, we cannot act as judge, jury, and executioner when it comes to other people’s lives. More importantly, we cannot base our understanding or relationship with God on the lives of anyone else but our own.
Everyone sows seeds, good or evil. Everyone also reaps a harvest based on the seeds sown. If you get a bad crop, it’s time to reflect on your seeds. Fortunately for us, we can all do our gardening research found in the Bible and time with God to learn how to sow good seeds. Don’t mind someone else’s garden or harvest, but rather tend to your own. Whatever they receive is between them and God and as onlookers, it is impossible to discern a harvest that which you did not plant. Instead, pray for your brother’s and sister’s and let God do the rest.
Are you foolish enough to look at someone’s harvest, believing that God is asleep at the wheel or are you smart enough to know that you know nothing about it at all?
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1Oh, that you would burst from the heavens and come down! How the mountains would quake in your presence!
2As fire causes wood to burn and water to boil, your coming would make the nations tremble. Then your enemies would learn the reason for your fame!
3When you came down long ago, you did awesome deeds beyond our highest expectations. And oh, how the mountains quaked!
4For since the world began, no ear has heard and no eye has seen a God like you, who works for those who wait for him!
5You welcome those who gladly do good, who follow godly ways. But you have been very angry with us, for we are not godly. We are constant sinners; how can people like us be saved?
6We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind.
7Yet no one calls on your name or pleads with you for mercy. Therefore, you have turned away from us and turned us over to our sins.
8And yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter. We all are formed by your hand.
9Don’t be so angry with us, LORD . Please don’t remember our sins forever. Look at us, we pray, and see that we are all your people.
10Your holy cities are destroyed. Zion is a wilderness; yes, Jerusalem is a desolate ruin.
11The holy and beautiful Temple where our ancestors praised you has been burned down, and all the things of beauty are destroyed.
12After all this, LORD, must you still refuse to help us? Will you continue to be silent and punish us?
“Darkness cannot remain when you turn on the Light.”~TB
Fear of the unknown. Many of us have trouble understanding what we cannot see or what we do not know. When we are unaware of the Truth of Christ, we fall prey to fearing the lies and falsehoods of the world and opposition. Like a strange figure in the dark, we are afraid of what could be instead of basking in the light of what is. Just like that strange blob in the darkness, when you flip on the light switch, you realize that it’s a coat on a hanger or some other innocuous object. If you’re like me, you laugh that you were afraid of the initial fear because in reality, there was nothing to fear at all! There are so many ‘afraid of the dark’ situation that we will face in this world. So, instead of bowing down to the fear, turn on the Light that is God.
When you know Who made you and you are in relationship with Him, you understand your purpose and the path becomes lit up and clear. Knowing Christ is like the ultimate luminous source because His Truth exposes the darkness and lies. We read the Bible not out of blind obedience, but because of the Truth and Light it provides for every day of our lives. When the lights are on, you don’t fall prey to the shadows because you see things for what they are instead of fearing what they could be. Of course temptation will remain, but you will see clearly what path and choices you make. So the next time you’re struggling with fear, turn on the Light that is Christ. Cling to His Truth and purpose for your life so that He may light your way and expose the nonsense of the dark.
Are you stalled by the fear of dark shadows or are you walking in the Light of Christ?
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1“Arise, Jerusalem! Let your light shine for all to see. For the glory of the LORD rises to shine on you.
2Darkness as black as night covers all the nations of the earth, but the glory of the LORD rises and appears over you.
3All nations will come to your light; mighty kings will come to see your radiance.
4“Look and see, for everyone is coming home! Your sons are coming from distant lands; your little daughters will be carried home.
5Your eyes will shine, and your heart will thrill with joy, for merchants from around the world will come to you. They will bring you the wealth of many lands.
6Vast caravans of camels will converge on you, the camels of Midian and Ephah. The people of Sheba will bring gold and frankincense and will come worshiping the LORD .
7The flocks of Kedar will be given to you, and the rams of Nebaioth will be brought for my altars. I will accept their offerings, and I will make my Temple glorious.
8“And what do I see flying like clouds to Israel, like doves to their nests?
9They are ships from the ends of the earth, from lands that trust in me, led by the great ships of Tarshish. They are bringing the people of Israel home from far away, carrying their silver and gold. They will honor the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has filled you with splendor.
10“Foreigners will come to rebuild your towns, and their kings will serve you. For though I have destroyed you in my anger, I will now have mercy on you through my grace.
11Your gates will stay open day and night to receive the wealth of many lands. The kings of the world will be led as captives in a victory procession.
12For the nations that refuse to serve you will be destroyed.
13“The glory of Lebanon will be yours— the forests of cypress, fir, and pine— to beautify my sanctuary. My Temple will be glorious!
14The descendants of your tormentors will come and bow before you. Those who despised you will kiss your feet. They will call you the City of the LORD, and Zion of the Holy One of Israel.
15“Though you were once despised and hated, with no one traveling through you, I will make you beautiful forever, a joy to all generations.
16Powerful kings and mighty nations will satisfy your every need, as though you were a child nursing at the breast of a queen. You will know at last that I, the LORD, am your Savior and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Israel.
17I will exchange your bronze for gold, your iron for silver, your wood for bronze, and your stones for iron. I will make peace your leader and righteousness your ruler.
18Violence will disappear from your land; the desolation and destruction of war will end. Salvation will surround you like city walls, and praise will be on the lips of all who enter there.
19“No longer will you need the sun to shine by day, nor the moon to give its light by night, for the LORD your God will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.
20Your sun will never set; your moon will not go down. For the LORD will be your everlasting light. Your days of mourning will come to an end.
21All your people will be righteous. They will possess their land forever, for I will plant them there with my own hands in order to bring myself glory.
22The smallest family will become a thousand people, and the tiniest group will become a mighty nation. At the right time, I, the LORD, will make it happen.”
“In all the you do, resolve to keep Christ at the top of your life.”~TB
Put to Bed
It’s the New Year and with the beginning of the calendar comes a lot of reflection, refocus, and resolutions. One of the best things about reflecting with God is that you can see where you’ve been, where you are, and where you are going in your walk. No, perfection will never happen, but hopefully, obedience is on the rise. So in the coming year, resolve to put to bed any foolishness of the past. As Christ makes a new work in us, our tom-foolery of yesterday can no long remain in our new positions.
As God promotes you with wisdom, kindness, and the daily bread to sustain your faith, promote yourselves but placing Him above all else in your life. When we position God at the top as the center of our existence, we then can see life in 2020 (a little New Year pun, ha!), as He un-blurs His plan for your life. Look at life’s opportunities as learning lessons from above, that will prune, refine, and elevate you into your calling. A new chapter brings new ideas, new challenges, and new joys. Remember that God equips us for it all, so live in His victory this year and on.
Are you walking with Christ to see His Resolution?
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1Listen! The LORD ’s arm is not too weak to save you, nor is his ear too deaf to hear you call.
2It’s your sins that have cut you off from God. Because of your sins, he has turned away and will not listen anymore.
3Your hands are the hands of murderers, and your fingers are filthy with sin. Your lips are full of lies, and your mouth spews corruption.
4No one cares about being fair and honest. The people’s lawsuits are based on lies. They conceive evil deeds and then give birth to sin.
5They hatch deadly snakes and weave spiders’ webs. Whoever eats their eggs will die; whoever cracks them will hatch a viper.
6Their webs can’t be made into clothing, and nothing they do is productive. All their activity is filled with sin, and violence is their trademark.
7Their feet run to do evil, and they rush to commit murder. They think only about sinning. Misery and destruction always follow them.
8They don’t know where to find peace or what it means to be just and good. They have mapped out crooked roads, and no one who follows them knows a moment’s peace.
9So there is no justice among us, and we know nothing about right living. We look for light but find only darkness. We look for bright skies but walk in gloom.
10We grope like the blind along a wall, feeling our way like people without eyes. Even at brightest noontime, we stumble as though it were dark. Among the living, we are like the dead.
11We growl like hungry bears; we moan like mournful doves. We look for justice, but it never comes. We look for rescue, but it is far away from us.
12For our sins are piled up before God and testify against us. Yes, we know what sinners we are.
13We know we have rebelled and have denied the LORD . We have turned our backs on our God. We know how unfair and oppressive we have been, carefully planning our deceitful lies.
14Our courts oppose the righteous, and justice is nowhere to be found. Truth stumbles in the streets, and honesty has been outlawed.
15Yes, truth is gone, and anyone who renounces evil is attacked. The LORD looked and was displeased to find there was no justice.
16He was amazed to see that no one intervened to help the oppressed. So he himself stepped in to save them with his strong arm, and his justice sustained him.
17He put on righteousness as his body armor and placed the helmet of salvation on his head. He clothed himself with a robe of vengeance and wrapped himself in a cloak of divine passion.
18He will repay his enemies for their evil deeds. His fury will fall on his foes. He will pay them back even to the ends of the earth.
19In the west, people will respect the name of the LORD ; in the east, they will glorify him. For he will come like a raging flood tide driven by the breath of the LORD .
20“The Redeemer will come to Jerusalem to buy back those in Israel who have turned from their sins,” says the LORD .
21“And this is my covenant with them,” says the LORD . “My Spirit will not leave them, and neither will these words I have given you. They will be on your lips and on the lips of your children and your children’s children forever. I, the LORD, have spoken!
“In case of emergencies (or in everyday life), tap into the Holy Humor of God.”~TB
The Divine Chuckle
God has to have the greatest sense of humor of all time. Just look at us, we are a funny bunch. I’m sure He looks down at us, and has a good chuckle from time to time. And if you learn how, you too can get in on the joke. The older I get, the more I’m convinced that when we endure trying times, in those moments we are able to experience the the kindness and humor of God. If you take a step back and look, you can begin to see God in His kindness and mercy, rather than the Old Testament look we tend to view Him as. Take the holidays and family, for example. Many of us in the Western part of the world are wrapping up the holiday season, which means time spent with your family– for better or worse.
Family can bring the greatest sense of joy. They can also provide the greatest amount of strife as those closest to us know (consciously or otherwise) how to get under our skin. Family functions will always have a sort of dysfunction because we’re all flesh-bag beings who are severely imperfect, and no amount of strategically choreographed photos can change that. Be that as it may, the art of seeing the humor in discord serves two purposes. 1.) You learn not to pick up the sword and you can disarm a brewing battle. 2.) It’s a fun way to take the sting out of the situation. Like the gauge of a pressure cooker, Holy laughter alleviates the boiling pot of tension in family gatherings, safely dismantling a lethal weapon, repurposing it into a fun endeavor.
For Better or Worse
This life is full of hills and valleys, highs and lows. If you can’t find the humor or absurdity in situations, friends it’s going to be a long and arduous venture. So the next time Uncle Frank (no offense to the Franks of the world) makes an insensitive comment or your cousin asks to borrow a couple bucks from you, have a laugh with God, and let the moments float on by as punch lines of your Holy Comedy Routine. The more you learn to chuckle and roll with the punches, the less opportunities are available for the opposition to sow seeds of discord. Remember, when in doubt, have a chuckle with God and laugh it out.
Are you able to see God’s Humor or are you the butt of the joke?
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1“Shout with the voice of a trumpet blast. Shout aloud! Don’t be timid. Tell my people Israel of their sins!
2Yet they act so pious! They come to the Temple every day and seem delighted to learn all about me. They act like a righteous nation that would never abandon the laws of its God. They ask me to take action on their behalf, pretending they want to be near me.
3‘We have fasted before you!’ they say. ‘Why aren’t you impressed? We have been very hard on ourselves, and you don’t even notice it!’ “I will tell you why!” I respond. “It’s because you are fasting to please yourselves. Even while you fast, you keep oppressing your workers.
4What good is fasting when you keep on fighting and quarreling? This kind of fasting will never get you anywhere with me.
5You humble yourselves by going through the motions of penance, bowing your heads like reeds bending in the wind. You dress in burlap and cover yourselves with ashes. Is this what you call fasting? Do you really think this will please the LORD ?
6“No, this is the kind of fasting I want: Free those who are wrongly imprisoned; lighten the burden of those who work for you. Let the oppressed go free, and remove the chains that bind people.
7Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help.
8“Then your salvation will come like the dawn, and your wounds will quickly heal. Your godliness will lead you forward, and the glory of the LORD will protect you from behind.
9Then when you call, the LORD will answer. ‘Yes, I am here,’ he will quickly reply. “Remove the heavy yoke of oppression. Stop pointing your finger and spreading vicious rumors!
10Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon.
11The LORD will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.
12Some of you will rebuild the deserted ruins of your cities. Then you will be known as a rebuilder of walls and a restorer of homes.
13“Keep the Sabbath day holy. Don’t pursue your own interests on that day, but enjoy the Sabbath and speak of it with delight as the LORD ’s holy day. Honor the Sabbath in everything you do on that day, and don’t follow your own desires or talk idly.
14Then the LORD will be your delight. I will give you great honor and satisfy you with the inheritance I promised to your ancestor Jacob. I, the LORD, have spoken!”
“Imagine what our relationship with God would be if we only followed His directions.”~TB
In theory, God’s Will, laws, and ways are not difficult to understand. That said, it’s amazing how fickle, fleshly, and wayward we can be. God will give us simple, easy to follow instructions, but like Red Riding Hood, something catches our eye and we stray from the path. Then when we are at the mercy of our choices and the opposition, we cry out to God to put us back on the straight and narrow. And when He does, many of us often fall back into the same pattern, never maturing in Christ. When you reflect on this, it’s hard not to think about how odd and foolish we can be.
As flesh-driven creatures, obedience to Christ and His ways is tough! We have to humbly submit ourselves to His plans and designs for our lives. The struggle lies in allowing Christ behind the wheel instead of driving ourselves. The ironic part is that walking in step with Christ yields fruit way sweeter than anything we can cultivate on our own. However, to actualize this, we must reign in our behavior, thoughts, and minds, following the instruction of God rather than our own directions. When that happens God can then use us to our full potential.
Where could you be if you followed the directions of Christ?
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1Good people pass away; the godly often die before their time. But no one seems to care or wonder why. No one seems to understand that God is protecting them from the evil to come.
2For those who follow godly paths will rest in peace when they die.
3“But you—come here, you witches’ children, you offspring of adulterers and prostitutes!
4Whom do you mock, making faces and sticking out your tongues? You children of sinners and liars!
5You worship your idols with great passion beneath the oaks and under every green tree. You sacrifice your children down in the valleys, among the jagged rocks in the cliffs.
6Your gods are the smooth stones in the valleys. You worship them with liquid offerings and grain offerings. They, not I, are your inheritance. Do you think all this makes me happy?
7You have committed adultery on every high mountain. There you have worshiped idols and have been unfaithful to me.
8You have put pagan symbols on your doorposts and behind your doors. You have left me and climbed into bed with these detestable gods. You have committed yourselves to them. You love to look at their naked bodies.
9You have gone to Molech with olive oil and many perfumes, sending your agents far and wide, even to the world of the dead.
10You grew weary in your search, but you never gave up. Desire gave you renewed strength, and you did not grow weary.
11“Are you afraid of these idols? Do they terrify you? Is that why you have lied to me and forgotten me and my words? Is it because of my long silence that you no longer fear me?
12Now I will expose your so-called good deeds. None of them will help you.
13Let’s see if your idols can save you when you cry to them for help. Why, a puff of wind can knock them down! If you just breathe on them, they fall over! But whoever trusts in me will inherit the land and possess my holy mountain.”
14God says, “Rebuild the road! Clear away the rocks and stones so my people can return from captivity.”
15The high and lofty one who lives in eternity, the Holy One, says this: “I live in the high and holy place with those whose spirits are contrite and humble. I restore the crushed spirit of the humble and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts.
16For I will not fight against you forever; I will not always be angry. If I were, all people would pass away— all the souls I have made.
17I was angry, so I punished these greedy people. I withdrew from them, but they kept going on their own stubborn way.
18I have seen what they do, but I will heal them anyway! I will lead them. I will comfort those who mourn,
19bringing words of praise to their lips. May they have abundant peace, both near and far,” says the LORD, who heals them.
20“But those who still reject me are like the restless sea, which is never still but continually churns up mud and dirt.
“When you walk with God daily, He gives you your daily bread.”~TB
What if there was a pill that you could take once a day that would change the way you looked at life, people, and the challenges that each day brings? We’d all probably be in line for a lifetime supply. Think about it, if there was something that could radically change our lives for the better, wouldn’t we all do what was necessary to obtain it? Funny thing is, there is someone who can do all that and more and I’m not just being hyperbolic. Maintaining an authentic relationship with Christ is the key to living this life victoriously. Problem is, without faith or vision, we cannot achieve it.
Once a Day
If there’s one thing my dad always points back to it’s the Lord’s Prayer. It’s a great starting point no matter where you are in your walk with God. While there is so much information to distill from it, the daily bread part sticks out to me in that God gives us the resources each day to walk through life triumphantly. I go one daily walks with my dog where I will have a dialogue with God. For an hour or so, I vent, praise, complain, exhort and all the above to Him. Then, I listen and download my daily bread. Chewing on God’s word daily gives us the tools and ability to navigate a backwards world filled with misguided situations. I find that my days are more peaceful when I go on these walks.
Following Christ is not about ‘repent or go to hell’ semantics. Yes, salvation is a gift, but God provides a host of benefits if you choose to listen to His wisdom. Restoration and healing occur when you walk with God because you begin to understand things like forgiveness, mercy, and kindness in a different light. If there is one thing I’d encourage people to do, it would be to forge a relationship with Christ, not out of fear or blind obedience but as a connection between a parent and a child. When you know Christ, you can see Him in a more authentic manner, rather than the tropes we rely on. If you truly want to radically change your days, get your daily bread by talking with Christ each day.
Where do you get your daily bread?
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1“Sing, O childless woman, you who have never given birth! Break into loud and joyful song, O Jerusalem, you who have never been in labor. For the desolate woman now has more children than the woman who lives with her husband,” says the LORD .
2“Enlarge your house; build an addition. Spread out your home, and spare no expense!
3For you will soon be bursting at the seams. Your descendants will occupy other nations and resettle the ruined cities.
4“Fear not; you will no longer live in shame. Don’t be afraid; there is no more disgrace for you. You will no longer remember the shame of your youth and the sorrows of widowhood.
5For your Creator will be your husband; the LORD of Heaven’s Armies is his name! He is your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, the God of all the earth.
6For the LORD has called you back from your grief— as though you were a young wife abandoned by her husband,” says your God.
7“For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with great compassion I will take you back.
8In a burst of anger I turned my face away for a little while. But with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,” says the LORD, your Redeemer.
9“Just as I swore in the time of Noah that I would never again let a flood cover the earth, so now I swear that I will never again be angry and punish you.
10For the mountains may move and the hills disappear, but even then my faithful love for you will remain. My covenant of blessing will never be broken,” says the LORD, who has mercy on you.
11“O storm-battered city, troubled and desolate! I will rebuild you with precious jewels and make your foundations from lapis lazuli.
12I will make your towers of sparkling rubies, your gates of shining gems, and your walls of precious stones.
13I will teach all your children, and they will enjoy great peace.
14You will be secure under a government that is just and fair. Your enemies will stay far away. You will live in peace, and terror will not come near.
15If any nation comes to fight you, it is not because I sent them. Whoever attacks you will go down in defeat.
16“I have created the blacksmith who fans the coals beneath the forge and makes the weapons of destruction. And I have created the armies that destroy.
17But in that coming day no weapon turned against you will succeed. You will silence every voice raised up to accuse you. These benefits are enjoyed by the servants of the LORD ; their vindication will come from me. I, the LORD, have spoken!
“If God is not at the forefront of your life, you will malfunction”~TB
It’s amazing to me to see how many of us live apart from God. The truth is, we are all creations made by His design. If you don’t believe that, take a look around and see how broken this world is. People all around are ruled by their flesh, the world and the opposition. That’s not a judgment, just an observation. While many believe that something is missing, few seek the true fix, which is a relationship with God. Salvation is a wonderful gift given to us, but that is not the only reason to put God first in your life.
God is the Manufacturer, salvation is the warranty, and we are the product. Think of it this way, the appliances we buy come with instructions on how to best use them. When an appliance is broken and it is under warranty, you take it back to the manufacturer to be fixed or replaced. Though the warranty is there as a safety measure, the instructions on how to keep the appliance functioning well is just as important. Let’s put that back into perspective with God. God manufactured us. Salvation —the warranty—spares us from judgment. The instructions— The Bible and our walk— keep us in tune by operating as we were designed.
When we accept God into our lives, our warranty is extended and never expires. That said, following the instructions and using proper care keeps us from having to go back in for repairs. The Living Word is a valuable resource that can enrich our lives when we refer to it daily. Walking and talking with God daily allows us to directly download the Heavenly updates so that our hardware works at intended. This has to be a daily occurrence because we all have so much to learn and the world is forever throwing virus-like downloads that corrupt our original design. If you’re tired of not functioning properly and the world’s cheap fixes aren’t cutting it, dust off that warranty and call the Holy Manufacturer for some much needed upgrades.
Are you following the Holy Manufacturer’s instructions or do you believe you are self-manufactured?
Who has believed our message? To whom has the LORD revealed his powerful arm?
2My servant grew up in the LORD ’s presence like a tender green shoot, like a root in dry ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him.
3He was despised and rejected— a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care.
4Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins!
5But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.
6All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on him the sins of us all.
7He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth.
8Unjustly condemned, he was led away. No one cared that he died without descendants, that his life was cut short in midstream. But he was struck down for the rebellion of my people.
9He had done no wrong and had never deceived anyone. But he was buried like a criminal; he was put in a rich man’s grave.
10But it was the LORD ’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief. Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have many descendants. He will enjoy a long life, and the LORD ’s good plan will prosper in his hands.
11When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins.
12I will give him the honors of a victorious soldier, because he exposed himself to death. He was counted among the rebels. He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels.
“In order to hear God, we first have to evict all of the noise that is in our minds.”~TB
At Some Point
Are you aware of what you think about on a daily basis? Better yet, how do you talk to yourself internally? How you think and what you say to yourself ultimately confirms who and what you believe in. The negative junk that clogs our minds comes from two places: the opposition and some poor souls who poured their negativity onto you. The good news, it’s all lies. Even better news, you have the power to control and filter what you think and what you say to yourself. At some point, you have to take captive your thoughts and let the past hurts fade away.
Listening and following God daily is the ultimate way to evict the junky thoughts that fill your mind. This is because His Truth supersedes whatever anyone else says about you. Remember, He made you.So who better to believe, the One who created you or the one who was cast out of heaven? When you make it your mission to talk to God each and every day, notice the internal communication you receive. His words are kind, loving and true. In order to hear them loud and clear, evict the crap, the negative feedback loops and the like so that you may know your true self in Him
Are you ready to serve your negative thoughts their eviction papers?
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1Wake up, wake up, O Zion! Clothe yourself with strength. Put on your beautiful clothes, O holy city of Jerusalem, for unclean and godless people will enter your gates no longer.
2Rise from the dust, O Jerusalem. Sit in a place of honor. Remove the chains of slavery from your neck, O captive daughter of Zion.
3For this is what the LORD says: “When I sold you into exile, I received no payment. Now I can redeem you without having to pay for you.”
4This is what the Sovereign LORD says: “Long ago my people chose to live in Egypt. Now they are oppressed by Assyria.
5What is this?” asks the LORD . “Why are my people enslaved again? Those who rule them shout in exultation. My name is blasphemed all day long.
6But I will reveal my name to my people, and they will come to know its power. Then at last they will recognize that I am the one who speaks to them.”
7How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger who brings good news, the good news of peace and salvation, the news that the God of Israel reigns!
8The watchmen shout and sing with joy, for before their very eyes they see the LORD returning to Jerusalem.
9Let the ruins of Jerusalem break into joyful song, for the LORD has comforted his people. He has redeemed Jerusalem.
10The LORD has demonstrated his holy power before the eyes of all the nations. All the ends of the earth will see the victory of our God.
11Get out! Get out and leave your captivity, where everything you touch is unclean. Get out of there and purify yourselves, you who carry home the sacred objects of the LORD .
12You will not leave in a hurry, running for your lives. For the LORD will go ahead of you; yes, the God of Israel will protect you from behind.
13See, my servant will prosper; he will be highly exalted.
14But many were amazed when they saw him. His face was so disfigured he seemed hardly human, and from his appearance, one would scarcely know he was a man.
15And he will startle many nations. Kings will stand speechless in his presence. For they will see what they had not been told; they will understand what they had not heard about.
“Walking with God is like having a spiritual diagnostics machine telling you where you need maintenance before major issues occur within yourself.”~TB
I talk to God a lot. He doesn’t seem to mind the billion questions that I have on a recurring basis. My family will tell you, I can talk and theorize a lot, so having a listening ear that doesn’t get exasperated with me is nice. I love talking to God more importantly because of the answers I receive. There are many things that God tells both you and I because He ultimately knows what’s best for us. The Holy Spirit reminds me of a diagnostic tool that is able to assess and alert us for routine care. This involves reading our Bible so that we know the Truth and the devil cannot entrap us in a lie. Another way is being good neighbors, so that we do not cause each other to stumble. Most importantly, developing the self-discipline by adhering to the Holy Spirit, which may include eating right, exercising, and not ingesting mental garbage. Your mind, body, and soul are all connected, so what you do to one will affect the others. When you don’t do the routine care, the major issues come up and are pricier and take more time to repair.
Check Engine Light
If you don’t have oil in your car, your engine will blow. That’s not because your car is being mean, it simply means that oil is necessary for the engine to operate functionally. Our relationship to God is quite similar. God doesn’t enforce rules or set boundaries because He’s trying to enslave or control us. No, just like a busted engine, a damaged human spirit causes all kinds of problems. Take it from someone who observes people like a doctorate dissertation. When we’re willfully broken, we’ll be the first to claim all is well, but if you look a little deeper, our spirits are quite damaged. Fortunately for us, the Holy Mechanic that is God does not price gouge us when we blow our spiritual engines. All we have to do is to turn back from our foolishness and restart out routine maintenance. So the next time your check engine light is on, have a talk with the Holy Mechanic, I hear He gives great deals on repairs.
Do you practice routine care or are you routinely spiritually broken?
Enjoy the reading
1About that time Hezekiah became deathly ill, and the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to visit him. He gave the king this message: “This is what the LORD says: ‘Set your affairs in order, for you are going to die. You will not recover from this illness.’”
2When Hezekiah heard this, he turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD,
3“Remember, O LORD, how I have always been faithful to you and have served you single-mindedly, always doing what pleases you.” Then he broke down and wept bitterly.
4Then this message came to Isaiah from the LORD :
5“Go back to Hezekiah and tell him, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of your ancestor David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears. I will add fifteen years to your life,
6and I will rescue you and this city from the king of Assyria. Yes, I will defend this city.
7“‘And this is the sign from the LORD to prove that he will do as he promised:
8I will cause the sun’s shadow to move ten steps backward on the sundial of Ahaz!’” So the shadow on the sundial moved backward ten steps.
9When King Hezekiah was well again, he wrote this poem:
10I said, “In the prime of my life, must I now enter the place of the dead? Am I to be robbed of the rest of my years?”
11I said, “Never again will I see the LORD GOD while still in the land of the living. Never again will I see my friends or be with those who live in this world.
12My life has been blown away like a shepherd’s tent in a storm. It has been cut short, as when a weaver cuts cloth from a loom. Suddenly, my life was over.
13I waited patiently all night, but I was torn apart as though by lions. Suddenly, my life was over.
14Delirious, I chattered like a swallow or a crane, and then I moaned like a mourning dove. My eyes grew tired of looking to heaven for help. I am in trouble, Lord. Help me!”
15But what could I say? For he himself sent this sickness. Now I will walk humbly throughout my years because of this anguish I have felt.
16Lord, your discipline is good, for it leads to life and health. You restore my health and allow me to live!
17Yes, this anguish was good for me, for you have rescued me from death and forgiven all my sins.
18For the dead cannot praise you; they cannot raise their voices in praise. Those who go down to the grave can no longer hope in your faithfulness.
19Only the living can praise you as I do today. Each generation tells of your faithfulness to the next.
20Think of it—the LORD is ready to heal me! I will sing his praises with instruments every day of my life in the Temple of the LORD .
21Isaiah had said to Hezekiah’s servants, “Make an ointment from figs and spread it over the boil, and Hezekiah will recover.”
22And Hezekiah had asked, “What sign will prove that I will go to the Temple of the LORD ?”
“We are all given talents to do with as we please.”~TB
God gives us all talents. Our minds, bodies, spirit— these are where our talents come from. Some people use these talents to multiply their skills to do amazing things. While others sit on their talents for one reason or another. Just like the parable in the Bible, you can invest your talents and reap more, or you can be like the guy who buried his talent. The same can be said for our relationship with Christ
Because salvation is freely given, there is not much for us to do to receive it. However, to truly reap the benefits of knowing Christ, you must develop that gift through consistent practice. Just like those who develop and multiply their talents, work is needed. Even those we consider to be naturally gifted, must put in the time to become great. To experience this with Christ, reading the Word, applying the principles, and talking with Him is vital to hear and see what He has to share with you. Work is never ‘easy’, but the work you do with Christ is divinely worth it.
Are you developing your talent or are you burying it in the ground?
Enjoy the reading
1When King Hezekiah heard their report, he tore his clothes and put on burlap and went into the Temple of the LORD .
2And he sent Eliakim the palace administrator, Shebna the court secretary, and the leading priests, all dressed in burlap, to the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz.
3They told him, “This is what King Hezekiah says: Today is a day of trouble, insults, and disgrace. It is like when a child is ready to be born, but the mother has no strength to deliver the baby.
4But perhaps the LORD your God has heard the Assyrian chief of staff, sent by the king to defy the living God, and will punish him for his words. Oh, pray for those of us who are left!”
5After King Hezekiah’s officials delivered the king’s message to Isaiah,
6the prophet replied, “Say to your master, ‘This is what the LORD says: Do not be disturbed by this blasphemous speech against me from the Assyrian king’s messengers.
7Listen! I myself will move against him, and the king will receive a message that he is needed at home. So he will return to his land, where I will have him killed with a sword.’”
8Meanwhile, the Assyrian chief of staff left Jerusalem and went to consult the king of Assyria, who had left Lachish and was attacking Libnah.
9Soon afterward King Sennacherib received word that King Tirhakah of Ethiopia was leading an army to fight against him. Before leaving to meet the attack, he sent messengers back to Hezekiah in Jerusalem with this message:
10“This message is for King Hezekiah of Judah. Don’t let your God, in whom you trust, deceive you with promises that Jerusalem will not be captured by the king of Assyria.
11You know perfectly well what the kings of Assyria have done wherever they have gone. They have completely destroyed everyone who stood in their way! Why should you be any different?
12Have the gods of other nations rescued them—such nations as Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the people of Eden who were in Tel-assar? My predecessors destroyed them all!
13What happened to the king of Hamath and the king of Arpad? What happened to the kings of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah?”
14After Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it, he went up to the LORD ’s Temple and spread it out before the LORD .
15And Hezekiah prayed this prayer before the LORD :
16“O LORD of Heaven’s Armies, God of Israel, you are enthroned between the mighty cherubim! You alone are God of all the kingdoms of the earth. You alone created the heavens and the earth.
17Bend down, O LORD, and listen! Open your eyes, O LORD, and see! Listen to Sennacherib’s words of defiance against the living God.
18“It is true, LORD, that the kings of Assyria have destroyed all these nations.
19And they have thrown the gods of these nations into the fire and burned them. But of course the Assyrians could destroy them! They were not gods at all—only idols of wood and stone shaped by human hands.
20Now, O LORD our God, rescue us from his power; then all the kingdoms of the earth will know that you alone, O LORD, are God. ”
21Then Isaiah son of Amoz sent this message to Hezekiah: “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: Because you prayed about King Sennacherib of Assyria,
22the LORD has spoken this word against him: “The virgin daughter of Zion despises you and laughs at you. The daughter of Jerusalem shakes her head in derision as you flee.
23“Whom have you been defying and ridiculing? Against whom did you raise your voice? At whom did you look with such haughty eyes? It was the Holy One of Israel!
24By your messengers you have defied the Lord. You have said, ‘With my many chariots I have conquered the highest mountains— yes, the remotest peaks of Lebanon. I have cut down its tallest cedars and its finest cypress trees. I have reached its farthest heights and explored its deepest forests.
25I have dug wells in many foreign lands and refreshed myself with their water. With the sole of my foot, I stopped up all the rivers of Egypt!’
26“But have you not heard? I decided this long ago. Long ago I planned it, and now I am making it happen. I planned for you to crush fortified cities into heaps of rubble.
27That is why their people have so little power and are so frightened and confused. They are as weak as grass, as easily trampled as tender green shoots. They are like grass sprouting on a housetop, scorched before it can grow lush and tall.
28“But I know you well— where you stay and when you come and go. I know the way you have raged against me.
29And because of your raging against me and your arrogance, which I have heard for myself, I will put my hook in your nose and my bit in your mouth. I will make you return by the same road on which you came.”
30Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Here is the proof that what I say is true: “This year you will eat only what grows up by itself, and next year you will eat what springs up from that. But in the third year you will plant crops and harvest them; you will tend vineyards and eat their fruit.
31And you who are left in Judah, who have escaped the ravages of the siege, will put roots down in your own soil and grow up and flourish.
32For a remnant of my people will spread out from Jerusalem, a group of survivors from Mount Zion. The passionate commitment of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!
33“And this is what the LORD says about the king of Assyria: “‘His armies will not enter Jerusalem. They will not even shoot an arrow at it. They will not march outside its gates with their shields nor build banks of earth against its walls.
34The king will return to his own country by the same road on which he came. He will not enter this city,’ says the LORD .
35‘For my own honor and for the sake of my servant David, I will defend this city and protect it.’”
36That night the angel of the LORD went out to the Assyrian camp and killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers. When the surviving Assyrians woke up the next morning, they found corpses everywhere.
37Then King Sennacherib of Assyria broke camp and returned to his own land. He went home to his capital of Nineveh and stayed there.
38One day while he was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisroch, his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer killed him with their swords. They then escaped to the land of Ararat, and another son, Esarhaddon, became the next king of Assyria.