Far Better Than Worse

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“With God, doing life with your brothers and sisters in Christ is far better than worse.”

TB

Real Talk

Love is a verb and it’s a hard one. Especially when it comes to loving those closest to you. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve imagined jumping ship to greener pastures. But, as I reflect on the amazing people that God has placed in my corner to do life with, I can say it is far better than worse. I didn’t always feel this way. And sometimes, I still scratch my head when it comes to those I love as they likely scratch their head at me. I’m sure we all do. But, when we allow Christ’s loving example to guide how we love others, it does make those trying times a bit easier.

Hard Work

God-inspired love takes an honest, hardworking, and consistent approach to even do a halfway decent job of it. It forces us to be present. It calls us to forgive as God freely forgives us. It causes us to swallow our pride and let transgressors off the hook. It causes us to put down our lectures and let God be God to teach us what we need to learn. Christ-like love is tough from a human perspective, which is why we have to use God’s filter rather than our own. So the next time you feel like you may want to excommunicate a loved one, remember how Christ loves you and see how you can mirror that love. Using Christ’s template, you will come to find that love is far better than worse.

Today’s Question

Who are you modeling your love after?

Enjoy the reading

Jeremiah 52

1 Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eleven years. His mother was Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah from Libnah. 2 But Zedekiah did what was evil in the LORD ’s sight, just as Jehoiakim had done. 3 These things happened because of the LORD ’s anger against the people of Jerusalem and Judah, until he finally banished them from his presence and sent them into exile. Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon. 4 So on January 15, during the ninth year of Zedekiah’s reign, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon led his entire army against Jerusalem. They surrounded the city and built siege ramps against its walls. 5 Jerusalem was kept under siege until the eleventh year of King Zedekiah’s reign. 6 By July 18 in the eleventh year of Zedekiah’s reign, the famine in the city had become very severe, and the last of the food was entirely gone. 7 Then a section of the city wall was broken down, and all the soldiers fled. Since the city was surrounded by the Babylonians, they waited for nightfall. Then they slipped through the gate between the two walls behind the king’s garden and headed toward the Jordan Valley. 8 But the Babylonian troops chased King Zedekiah and overtook him on the plains of Jericho, for his men had all deserted him and scattered. 9 They captured the king and took him to the king of Babylon at Riblah in the land of Hamath. There the king of Babylon pronounced judgment upon Zedekiah. 10 The king of Babylon made Zedekiah watch as he slaughtered his sons. He also slaughtered all the officials of Judah at Riblah. 11 Then he gouged out Zedekiah’s eyes and bound him in bronze chains, and the king of Babylon led him away to Babylon. Zedekiah remained there in prison until the day of his death. 12 On August 17 of that year, which was the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard and an official of the Babylonian king, arrived in Jerusalem. 13 He burned down the Temple of the LORD, the royal palace, and all the houses of Jerusalem. He destroyed all the important buildings in the city. 14 Then he supervised the entire Babylonian army as they tore down the walls of Jerusalem on every side. 15 Then Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, took as exiles some of the poorest of the people, the rest of the people who remained in the city, the defectors who had declared their allegiance to the king of Babylon, and the rest of the craftsmen. 16 But Nebuzaradan allowed some of the poorest people to stay behind to care for the vineyards and fields. 17 The Babylonians broke up the bronze pillars in front of the LORD ’s Temple, the bronze water carts, and the great bronze basin called the Sea, and they carried all the bronze away to Babylon. 18 They also took all the ash buckets, shovels, lamp snuffers, basins, dishes, and all the other bronze articles used for making sacrifices at the Temple. 19 The captain of the guard also took the small bowls, incense burners, basins, pots, lampstands, ladles, bowls used for liquid offerings, and all the other articles made of pure gold or silver. 20 The weight of the bronze from the two pillars, the Sea with the twelve bronze oxen beneath it, and the water carts was too great to be measured. These things had been made for the LORD ’s Temple in the days of King Solomon. 21 Each of the pillars was 27 feet tall and 18 feet in circumference. They were hollow, with walls 3 inches thick. 22 The bronze capital on top of each pillar was 7 feet high and was decorated with a network of bronze pomegranates all the way around. 23 There were 96 pomegranates on the sides, and a total of 100 pomegranates on the network around the top. 24 Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, took with him as prisoners Seraiah the high priest, Zephaniah the priest of the second rank, and the three chief gatekeepers. 25 And from among the people still hiding in the city, he took an officer who had been in charge of the Judean army; seven of the king’s personal advisers; the army commander’s chief secretary, who was in charge of recruitment; and sixty other citizens. 26 Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, took them all to the king of Babylon at Riblah. 27 And there at Riblah, in the land of Hamath, the king of Babylon had them all put to death. So the people of Judah were sent into exile from their land. 28 The number of captives taken to Babylon in the seventh year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign was 3,023. 29 Then in Nebuchadnezzar’s eighteenth year he took 832 more. 30 In Nebuchadnezzar’s twenty-third year he sent Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, who took 745 more—a total of 4,600 captives in all. 31 In the thirty-seventh year of the exile of King Jehoiachin of Judah, Evil-merodach ascended to the Babylonian throne. He was kind to Jehoiachin and released him from prison on March 31 of that year. 32 He spoke kindly to Jehoiachin and gave him a higher place than all the other exiled kings in Babylon. 33 He supplied Jehoiachin with new clothes to replace his prison garb and allowed him to dine in the king’s presence for the rest of his life. 34 So the Babylonian king gave him a regular food allowance as long as he lived. This continued until the day of his death.

Jump Ship

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“People who jump ship from Christ at the first sign of trouble fail to fully activate their faith”~TB

Tolerance

It’s amazing what we as people tolerate in our lives. We tolerate crappy bosses, toxic relationships, corrupt governments, gossipy friends, etc.  We engage in fruitless and backward relationships that literally do not make sense. We imbibe and ingest things that aren’t beneficial while being potentially lethal.  But, when it comes to our faith if it’s not perfect, or something “bad” comes down the pipeline, then we’re quick to abandon it. In our flawed thinking, faith and God has to mean a perfect, pain-free life or it just doesn’t work for us.  Think about it, it’s ok to practice bad behavior, work at a place that treats you poorly and underpays, but if life isn’t going according to “your plan”, well this God thing is phooey. Rootless faith, faith that’s not rooted in anything, is what the opposition banks on because he knows at the slightest sign of discomfort, people will turn back to their old ways. The ironic part is that the storms or uncomfortable times are where we really get to know God and see His plan in our lives.

Hunker Down

During natural disasters, there are plans and protocols in place to help those affected remain safe. In times of spiritual trouble, the Bible is exactly that. I’m not just talking about doctrine. There are a bunch of stories that talk about men and women enduring wild situations who chose to rely on God’s wisdom to see them through. Regular people, just like you and me were used to do miraculous things because they hunkered down and trusted God. Instead of running at the first sign of trouble, dive deep into the Word. Sure, the Israelites got to see the Red Sea part. Though we may not be able to see such signs today, we have the advantage of having the Living Word at our fingertips! Those guys lived those moments, but we get to read about them and use them to navigate our own “Red Seas”. That’s pretty cool when you think about it. Friends, don’t let go of faith when trouble hits. That’s the devil’s whole strategy (because it’s highly effective). Double down, seek the Lord and He will be with you always in all ways.

Today’s Question

Are you jumping ship and missing the true destination all because of a few waves?

Enjoy the reading

Jeremiah 15

1 Then the LORD said to me, “Even if Moses and Samuel stood before me pleading for these people, I wouldn’t help them. Away with them! Get them out of my sight! 
2 And if they say to you, ‘But where can we go?’ tell them, ‘This is what the LORD says: “‘Those who are destined for death, to death; those who are destined for war, to war; those who are destined for famine, to famine; those who are destined for captivity, to captivity.’ 
3 “I will send four kinds of destroyers against them,” says the LORD . “I will send the sword to kill, the dogs to drag away, the vultures to devour, and the wild animals to finish up what is left. 
4 Because of the wicked things Manasseh son of Hezekiah, king of Judah, did in Jerusalem, I will make my people an object of horror to all the kingdoms of the earth. 
5 “Who will feel sorry for you, Jerusalem? Who will weep for you? Who will even bother to ask how you are? 
6 You have abandoned me and turned your back on me,” says the LORD . “Therefore, I will raise my fist to destroy you. I am tired of always giving you another chance. 
7 I will winnow you like grain at the gates of your cities and take away the children you hold dear. I will destroy my own people, because they refuse to change their evil ways. 
8 There will be more widows than the grains of sand on the seashore. At noontime I will bring a destroyer against the mothers of young men. I will cause anguish and terror to come upon them suddenly. 
9 The mother of seven grows faint and gasps for breath; her sun has gone down while it is still day. She sits childless now, disgraced and humiliated. And I will hand over those who are left to be killed by the enemy. I, the LORD, have spoken!” 
10 Then I said, “What sorrow is mine, my mother. Oh, that I had died at birth! I am hated everywhere I go. I am neither a lender who threatens to foreclose nor a borrower who refuses to pay— yet they all curse me.” 
11 The LORD replied, “I will take care of you, Jeremiah. Your enemies will ask you to plead on their behalf in times of trouble and distress. 
12 Can a man break a bar of iron from the north, or a bar of bronze? 
13 At no cost to them, I will hand over your wealth and treasures as plunder to your enemies, for sin runs rampant in your land. 
14 I will tell your enemies to take you as captives to a foreign land. For my anger blazes like a fire that will burn forever. ” 
15 Then I said, “ LORD, you know what’s happening to me. Please step in and help me. Punish my persecutors! Please give me time; don’t let me die young. It’s for your sake that I am suffering. 
16 When I discovered your words, I devoured them. They are my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, O LORD God of Heaven’s Armies. 
17 I never joined the people in their merry feasts. I sat alone because your hand was on me. I was filled with indignation at their sins. 
18 Why then does my suffering continue? Why is my wound so incurable? Your help seems as uncertain as a seasonal brook, like a spring that has gone dry.” 
19 This is how the LORD responds: “If you return to me, I will restore you so you can continue to serve me. If you speak good words rather than worthless ones, you will be my spokesman. You must influence them; do not let them influence you! 
20 They will fight against you like an attacking army, but I will make you as secure as a fortified wall of bronze. They will not conquer you, for I am with you to protect and rescue you. I, the LORD, have spoken! 
21 Yes, I will certainly keep you safe from these wicked men. I will rescue you from their cruel hands.”

Transactional

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Take care to develop honest relationships because a transactional lifestyle is meaningless.”~TB

Motives

In today’s surface-driven world, fake relationships and fake ideals run rampant. We seek what people can give to us or how we can use their status to achieve our agendas. Looking at people in a transactional manner is a dangerous precedent because the foundation is not real.  Consider your motives when developing relationships with people. What are you after?  Honest relationships require honest motives. If developing an authentic relationship with people and– more to the point– Christ is what you desire, you first must examine your heart.

Dig Deeper

Isn’t interesting that people can want what God can give them but not actually want God? The ironic part is that to know God is to have received something far greater than any wealth on this earth. But, to get to this fundamental truth, we have to forge an authentic and meaningful relationship with God. Christ is not here to grant us wishes, like some magic genie. No, we must talk, listen, learn, and practice the teachings of Christ so that we know the difference between what is real and what is fake. Throw off the superficial lifestyle to put on the authentic Truth that is God. By doing so, you change your heart and how you move in this world.

Today’s Question

Are you interested in knowing God or are you just looking to get things from Him?

Enjoy the reading

Jeremiah

1 The words of Jeremiah son of Hilkiah, one of the priests at Anathoth in the territory of Benjamin. 
2 The word of the LORD came to him in the thirteenth year of the reign of Josiah son of Amon king of Judah, 
3 and through the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah, down to the fifth month of the eleventh year of Zedekiah son of Josiah king of Judah, when the people of Jerusalem went into exile.

The Call of Jeremiah

4 The word of the LORD came to me, saying, 
5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” 
6 “Alas, Sovereign LORD,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.” 
7 But the LORD said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. 
8 Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the LORD. 
9 Then the LORD reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put my words in your mouth. 
10 See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.” 
11 The word of the LORD came to me: “What do you see, Jeremiah?” “I see the branch of an almond tree,” I replied. 
12 The LORD said to me, “You have seen correctly, for I am watching to see that my word is fulfilled.” 
13 The word of the LORD came to me again: “What do you see?” “I see a pot that is boiling,” I answered. “It is tilting toward us from the north.” 
14 The LORD said to me, “From the north disaster will be poured out on all who live in the land. 
15 I am about to summon all the peoples of the northern kingdoms,” declares the LORD. “Their kings will come and set up their thrones in the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem; they will come against all her surrounding walls and against all the towns of Judah. 
16 I will pronounce my judgments on my people because of their wickedness in forsaking me, in burning incense to other gods and in worshiping what their hands have made. 
17 “Get yourself ready! Stand up and say to them whatever I command you. Do not be terrified by them, or I will terrify you before them. 
18 Today I have made you a fortified city, an iron pillar and a bronze wall to stand against the whole land—against the kings of Judah, its officials, its priests and the people of the land. 
19 They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the LORD.

The Well

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“God is a never-ending well of which we can draw from. His stability and consistency will always bring us peace, joy, and contentment, quenching our thirst.”~TB

Exchange

I recently met up with an old friend of mine. We exchanged hilarious stories about our family holiday events over coffee. One of the things I enjoy about our conversations is the candor about family dynamics. While the people in our lives don’t inherently intend to emotionally drain us, sometimes they lack the foundational stability to refrain from those negative habits. More to the point, if you don’t know where to go to for emotional/spiritual stability, those exchanges can leave you feeling depleted, weary, and drained.

Dried Up

Friends, if you only rely on the emotional support of other human beings, you’re in for a long and bumpy ride. Many of us are participating in selfish, emotional vampire behaviors, taking from others and giving nothing in return. I feel for younger generations who are being brainwashed by the latest trends and societal behaviors. Most of what people are being taught is self-centered, indulgent and careless. This isn’t to be mean, it’s just an observation of a broken world doubling down on soul-sucking lifestyles. If you’re feeling depleted, listless, and in a rut, it’s time to learn where to draw your water from. Hanging out with God on a daily basis is beneficial for the renewal of your spirit.

Replenish

Consulting God on the day to day is like getting your daily water from the best well out there. It provides the water you need to go about your day with the spiritual rejuvenation that can only come from Christ. There’s plenty for everyone and the benefits are unlimited. When you lay your burdens down before God, you relieve yourself from the toxic junk of the world. By doing so, you know not to dump on other people, repeating the toxic cycle. If you’re weary, call out to Him so that He can restore you. Drink from the Holy Well so that you do not thirst for makeshift beverages of the world. We cannot change the people that we interact with only the daily. However when we get our Daily Water from God’s Well, those interactions hold less of an impact.

Today’s Question

Are you drinking from His Well or is the soda of the world more appealing?

Enjoy the reading

Isaiah 61

1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is upon me, for the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. 
2 He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the LORD ’s favor has come, and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies. 
3 To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory. 
4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins, repairing cities destroyed long ago. They will revive them, though they have been deserted for many generations. 
5 Foreigners will be your servants. They will feed your flocks and plow your fields and tend your vineyards. 
6 You will be called priests of the LORD, ministers of our God. You will feed on the treasures of the nations and boast in their riches. 
7 Instead of shame and dishonor, you will enjoy a double share of honor. You will possess a double portion of prosperity in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours. 
8 “For I, the LORD, love justice. I hate robbery and wrongdoing. I will faithfully reward my people for their suffering and make an everlasting covenant with them. 
9 Their descendants will be recognized and honored among the nations. Everyone will realize that they are a people the LORD has blessed.” 
10 I am overwhelmed with joy in the LORD my God! For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness. I am like a bridegroom dressed for his wedding or a bride with her jewels. 
11 The Sovereign LORD will show his justice to the nations of the world. Everyone will praise him! His righteousness will be like a garden in early spring, with plants springing up everywhere.

Weatherproof

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“You will never be able to control the environment or its condition, so weatherproof yourself in God.”

Inclement Weather

I was having a chat with someone the other day and they put a damper on my goals. I should rephrase that, I allowed their words to impact my resolve. I sulked about it for a minute before whining to God about the situation. As I was walking, I was met with this idea: does the vision change if someone else can’t see it? That stopped me dead in my tracks, and I realized that I cannot take offense to someone who cannot see what I see. None of us can. 

 Separate Seasons

Our lives will be filled with ups and downs, peaks and valleys and whatever analogy you can think of. People— well-intentioned or not— will always ‘piss in your Wheaties’ but that doesn’t mean you have to eat them. God works within us in His own way. My walk will look different than yours and everyone else’s. As such, when He puts visions, dreams, goals, and the like into our hearts and minds, it is something that only He and you can see.

Holy Raincoat

So the next time you endure opposition of any kind, remember who gave you sight. He didn’t put things on your heart without a reason. God never promised an easy life, He promised peace. Part of obtaining and maintaining that peace is knowing where it comes from and going back to the source when the weather takes a turn for the worst. If you want the Holy Raincoat, talk to Him and read His Word regularly. When you align with the Source, the storms and bad weather are inconsequential as within He is weatherproof and He lives within you.

Today’s Question

Are you ready to get out of the storm?

Enjoy today’s reading

Isaiah 51

1 “Listen to me, all who hope for deliverance— all who seek the LORD ! Consider the rock from which you were cut, the quarry from which you were mined.
2 Yes, think about Abraham, your ancestor, and Sarah, who gave birth to your nation. Abraham was only one man when I called him. But when I blessed him, he became a great nation.”
3 The LORD will comfort Israel again and have pity on her ruins. Her desert will blossom like Eden, her barren wilderness like the garden of the LORD . Joy and gladness will be found there. Songs of thanksgiving will fill the air.
4“Listen to me, my people. Hear me, Israel, for my law will be proclaimed, and my justice will become a light to the nations.
5 My mercy and justice are coming soon. My salvation is on the way. My strong arm will bring justice to the nations. All distant lands will look to me and wait in hope for my powerful arm.
6 Look up to the skies above, and gaze down on the earth below. For the skies will disappear like smoke, and the earth will wear out like a piece of clothing. The people of the earth will die like flies, but my salvation lasts forever. My righteous rule will never end!
7 “Listen to me, you who know right from wrong, you who cherish my law in your hearts. Do not be afraid of people’s scorn, nor fear their insults.
8 For the moth will devour them as it devours clothing. The worm will eat at them as it eats wool. But my righteousness will last forever. My salvation will continue from generation to generation.”
9 Wake up, wake up, O LORD ! Clothe yourself with strength! Flex your mighty right arm! Rouse yourself as in the days of old when you slew Egypt, the dragon of the Nile.
10 Are you not the same today, the one who dried up the sea, making a path of escape through the depths so that your people could cross over?
11 Those who have been ransomed by the LORD will return. They will enter Jerusalem singing, crowned with everlasting joy. Sorrow and mourning will disappear, and they will be filled with joy and gladness.
12 “I, yes I, am the one who comforts you. So why are you afraid of mere humans, who wither like the grass and disappear?
13 Yet you have forgotten the LORD, your Creator, the one who stretched out the sky like a canopy and laid the foundations of the earth. Will you remain in constant dread of human oppressors? Will you continue to fear the anger of your enemies? Where is their fury and anger now? It is gone!
14 Soon all you captives will be released! Imprisonment, starvation, and death will not be your fate!
15 For I am the LORD your God, who stirs up the sea, causing its waves to roar. My name is the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.
16 And I have put my words in your mouth and hidden you safely in my hand. I stretched out the sky like a canopy and laid the foundations of the earth. I am the one who says to Israel, ‘You are my people!’”
17Wake up, wake up, O Jerusalem! You have drunk the cup of the LORD ’s fury. You have drunk the cup of terror, tipping out its last drops.
18 Not one of your children is left alive to take your hand and guide you.
19These two calamities have fallen on you: desolation and destruction, famine and war. And who is left to sympathize with you? Who is left to comfort you?
20 For your children have fainted and lie in the streets, helpless as antelopes caught in a net. The LORD has poured out his fury; God has rebuked them.
21 But now listen to this, you afflicted ones who sit in a drunken stupor, though not from drinking wine.
22 This is what the Sovereign LORD, your God and Defender, says: “See, I have taken the terrible cup from your hands. You will drink no more of my fury.
23 Instead, I will hand that cup to your tormentors, those who said, ‘We will trample you into the dust and walk on your backs.’”

Land Mines

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Each day has their own land mines. Walk in peace, grace, and mercy to avoid stepping on them.”~TB

Hairpin Trigger

Have you ever experienced a seemingly benign day that turned into all out warfare? Like stepping on a land mine, one false moves blows up the scene, causing all types of trouble. Perhaps you’re getting home from a long day in the office only to be met with a series of anger inducing texts. These things don’t happen by accident. In fact, more often than not, they are strategically placed land mines aimed at getting you to lose focus on God and to engage in friendly fire with your loved ones.

Consider the Source

An unexamined life can be incredibly messy as the opposition is strategic about placing land mines in our day to day lives. When we do not reflect on what makes us tick, we leave ourselves vulnerable to unnecessary traps and attacks. This can come in the form of an offense from a spouse, friend, brother or sister, or anyone you do life with. Before you step on the land mine, consider the source. If certain things set you off, be aware that they will be used against you. The great thing about knowing your pitfalls is that when the devil throws them your way, you already know what they look like. So instead of being lured in like a lamb to the slaughter, let the attacks float on by.

Enjoy the Silence

Land mines will never go away, but that does not mean we have to step on it. If someone is being used to goad you into frustration, fear, anxiety, or any other unpleasant emotion, do not engage. Instead, ignore the offense, and double down on mercy and kindness. Rather than looking at land mines as a means for discord, use them to sharpen your arsenal of Christ-like behavior. You can brush up on these techniques by reading the Bible and talking with our Father in Heaven. His Word will always light the path. When war is met with Biblical love, only God can be the winner.

Today’s Question

Are you ready to walk past your land mines and give up the unnecessary explosions?

Enjoy the reading

Isaiah 50

1 This is what the LORD says: “Was your mother sent away because I divorced her? Did I sell you as slaves to my creditors? No, you were sold because of your sins. And your mother, too, was taken because of your sins.
2 Why was no one there when I came? Why didn’t anyone answer when I called? Is it because I have no power to rescue? No, that is not the reason! For I can speak to the sea and make it dry up! I can turn rivers into deserts covered with dying fish.
3 I dress the skies in darkness, covering them with clothes of mourning.”
4 The Sovereign LORD has given me his words of wisdom, so that I know how to comfort the weary. Morning by morning he wakens me and opens my understanding to his will.
5 The Sovereign LORD has spoken to me, and I have listened. I have not rebelled or turned away.
6 I offered my back to those who beat me and my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard. I did not hide my face from mockery and spitting.
7 Because the Sovereign LORD helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore, I have set my face like a stone, determined to do his will. And I know that I will not be put to shame.
8 He who gives me justice is near. Who will dare to bring charges against me now? Where are my accusers? Let them appear!
9 See, the Sovereign LORD is on my side! Who will declare me guilty? All my enemies will be destroyed like old clothes that have been eaten by moths!
10 Who among you fears the LORD and obeys his servant? If you are walking in darkness, without a ray of light, trust in the LORD and rely on your God.
11 But watch out, you who live in your own light and warm yourselves by your own fires. This is the reward you will receive from me: You will soon fall down in great torment.

Disturbing the Peace

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“The devil is like an annoying noisy upstairs neighbor. Don’t let him take your peace.”~TB

One Note

It is incredibly important for you to remember that the devil is a one hit wonder. His song entices you to take your eyes off the prize that is Christ. He’ll go about it in different ways, but rest assured, it’s the same song, different pitch. Think of him like the frustrating neighbor who cranks up the music because they know it bothers you. Their actions may be annoying, but the secret, rather, the truth is in how you deal with the situation. He can’t do anything to you that can truly affect you. You can however, do his bidding by being the weakest link.

Weakest Link

Everyone at one point or another has been the weakest link in any relationship.  If you’re the weakest link, it can transpire in a few ways. You cause arguments on arbitrary issues. You’re too legalistic or litigious without balancing your judgement with mercy and grace. You refuse to apologize when you’re wrong. Even worse, you get mad at the person you’ve wronged! To stop being the weakest link, we all have to reflect on our behavior with honesty and humility. Ask yourself, if you love the person that you’re fighting with, is winning the argument that big of a deal? What do you stand to gain if you win the battle but lose the relationship? In those instances, only the devil wins, which is the point!

Ask Him

If you indeed find yourself in the weakest link seat, have a chat with God. There’s a good chance that our issues are ones that we’ve been dealing with for a long time. When you lean on God, you learn to put the sword down and stop fighting. When speaking with God, He will tell you that you’re quarrel isn’t with man, it’s with the opposition. However, you must acknowledge your weak link behavior and that takes some work. No one likes to admit that our number 2’s stink. But they do! So when you embrace humility and recognize that the goal isn’t to be right or to stir discord within your family, friends, or community, you stop being the devil’s plaything. Just ask and you shall receive.

Today’s Question

Are you ready to stop being the devil’s pawn or do you enjoy disturbing the peace?

Enjoy the reading

Isaiah 45

1 This is what the LORD says to Cyrus, his anointed one, whose right hand he will empower. Before him, mighty kings will be paralyzed with fear. Their fortress gates will be opened, never to shut again.
2 This is what the LORD says: “I will go before you, Cyrus, and level the mountains. I will smash down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron.
3 And I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness— secret riches. I will do this so you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name.
4 “And why have I called you for this work? Why did I call you by name when you did not know me? It is for the sake of Jacob my servant, Israel my chosen one.
5 I am the LORD ; there is no other God. I have equipped you for battle, though you don’t even know me,
6 so all the world from east to west will know there is no other God. I am the LORD, and there is no other.
7 I create the light and make the darkness. I send good times and bad times. I, the LORD, am the one who does these things.
8 “Open up, O heavens, and pour out your righteousness. Let the earth open wide so salvation and righteousness can sprout up together. I, the LORD, created them.
9 “What sorrow awaits those who argue with their Creator. Does a clay pot argue with its maker? Does the clay dispute with the one who shapes it, saying, ‘Stop, you’re doing it wrong!’ Does the pot exclaim, ‘How clumsy can you be?’
10How terrible it would be if a newborn baby said to its father, ‘Why was I born?’ or if it said to its mother, ‘Why did you make me this way?’”
11This is what the LORD says— the Holy One of Israel and your Creator: “Do you question what I do for my children? Do you give me orders about the work of my hands?
12 I am the one who made the earth and created people to live on it. With my hands I stretched out the heavens. All the stars are at my command.
13 I will raise up Cyrus to fulfill my righteous purpose, and I will guide his actions. He will restore my city and free my captive people— without seeking a reward! I, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken!”
14 This is what the LORD says: “You will rule the Egyptians, the Ethiopians, and the Sabeans. They will come to you with all their merchandise, and it will all be yours. They will follow you as prisoners in chains. They will fall to their knees in front of you and say, ‘God is with you, and he is the only God. There is no other.’”
15 Truly, O God of Israel, our Savior, you work in mysterious ways.
16 All craftsmen who make idols will be humiliated. They will all be disgraced together.
17 But the LORD will save the people of Israel with eternal salvation. Throughout everlasting ages, they will never again be humiliated and disgraced.
18 For the LORD is God, and he created the heavens and earth and put everything in place. He made the world to be lived in, not to be a place of empty chaos. “I am the LORD,” he says, “and there is no other.
19I publicly proclaim bold promises. I do not whisper obscurities in some dark corner. I would not have told the people of Israel to seek me if I could not be found. I, the LORD, speak only what is true and declare only what is right.
20“Gather together and come, you fugitives from surrounding nations. What fools they are who carry around their wooden idols and pray to gods that cannot save!
21 Consult together, argue your case. Get together and decide what to say. Who made these things known so long ago? What idol ever told you they would happen? Was it not I, the LORD ? For there is no other God but me, a righteous God and Savior. There is none but me.
22 Let all the world look to me for salvation! For I am God; there is no other.
23 I have sworn by my own name; I have spoken the truth, and I will never go back on my word: Every knee will bend to me, and every tongue will declare allegiance to me. ”
24 The people will declare, “The LORD is the source of all my righteousness and strength.” And all who were angry with him will come to him and be ashamed.
25 In the LORD all the generations of Israel will be justified, and in him they will boast.

Plaque

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Hi Peeps

Today’s Quote

“Don’t let the smalls things build up in your relationships with others.”~TB

Routine

I was tasked to transport my parent’s bird to California. My sister dropped him off and told me that his cage was clean. As I was trying to get the cage into my car this morning, the bottom dropped open and a ton of bird poop fell into my car and on the garage floor. I was livid (and sleep deprived). At 4 in the morning, the last thing I wanted to be doing was cleaning bird poop ahead of an 8 hour drive. In my rage, I recalled decades worth of previous infractions, as a means to fuel my frustration. I had every intention of letting her know how she screwed up. Isn’t it amazing that when we get mad, we immediately look for ways to fan the flame? But then I realized, this is the same sister who let me cry into her sweater when someone stole my gel pens in the 5th grade. She’s also the mother of 3 of my favorite human beings. During the drive, I called her to laugh about the incident as I knew my tiredness had gotten the better of me. It wasn’t that serious. No argument or perceived slight is. The trouble lies in when you allow slights or transgressions build up like plaque in your mouth.

Cavities

Relationships are like teeth. When you care for them with routine maintenance, they last for a long time. However, just like teeth, if you don’t care for them and you let them rot, eventually they have to be pulled or filled. Relationships of all kinds are complex, which means that eventually we all have to go to God for help with a cavity. God is like the Holy Dentist, there to drill out the relational cavities and fill in the holes with mercy, wisdom, and grace. Without God, repairing relationships is like drilling cavities without novocaine, too painful and impossible to repair otherwise. Of course, cavities within your relationships can be avoided if you brush off the offenses and use the floss of forgiveness. So practice Biblical hygiene when doing life with one another.

Today’s Quote

Are you brushing away the offenses or are you constantly in God’s dental chair?

Enjoy the reading

Isaiah 41

1 “Listen in silence before me, you lands beyond the sea. Bring your strongest arguments. Come now and speak. The court is ready for your case.
2 “Who has stirred up this king from the east, rightly calling him to God’s service? Who gives this man victory over many nations and permits him to trample their kings underfoot? With his sword, he reduces armies to dust. With his bow, he scatters them like chaff before the wind.
3 He chases them away and goes on safely, though he is walking over unfamiliar ground.
4 Who has done such mighty deeds, summoning each new generation from the beginning of time? It is I, the LORD, the First and the Last. I alone am he.”
5 The lands beyond the sea watch in fear. Remote lands tremble and mobilize for war.
6 The idol makers encourage one another, saying to each other, “Be strong!”
7 The carver encourages the goldsmith, and the molder helps at the anvil. “Good,” they say. “It’s coming along fine.” Carefully they join the parts together, then fasten the thing in place so it won’t fall over.
8 “But as for you, Israel my servant, Jacob my chosen one, descended from Abraham my friend,
9 I have called you back from the ends of the earth, saying, ‘You are my servant.’ For I have chosen you and will not throw you away.
10 Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.
11 “See, all your angry enemies lie there, confused and humiliated. Anyone who opposes you will die and come to nothing.
12You will look in vain for those who tried to conquer you. Those who attack you will come to nothing.
13 For I hold you by your right hand— I, the LORD your God. And I say to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.
14 Though you are a lowly worm, O Jacob, don’t be afraid, people of Israel, for I will help you. I am the LORD, your Redeemer. I am the Holy One of Israel.’
15 You will be a new threshing instrument with many sharp teeth. You will tear your enemies apart, making chaff of mountains.
16 You will toss them into the air, and the wind will blow them all away; a whirlwind will scatter them. Then you will rejoice in the LORD . You will glory in the Holy One of Israel.
17 “When the poor and needy search for water and there is none, and their tongues are parched from thirst, then I, the LORD, will answer them. I, the God of Israel, will never abandon them.
18 I will open up rivers for them on the high plateaus. I will give them fountains of water in the valleys. I will fill the desert with pools of water. Rivers fed by springs will flow across the parched ground.
19I will plant trees in the barren desert— cedar, acacia, myrtle, olive, cypress, fir, and pine.
20 I am doing this so all who see this miracle will understand what it means— that it is the LORD who has done this, the Holy One of Israel who created it.
21 “Present the case for your idols,” says the LORD . “Let them show what they can do,” says the King of Israel.
22 “Let them try to tell us what happened long ago so that we may consider the evidence. Or let them tell us what the future holds, so we can know what’s going to happen.
23 Yes, tell us what will occur in the days ahead. Then we will know you are gods. In fact, do anything—good or bad! Do something that will amaze and frighten us.
24 But no! You are less than nothing and can do nothing at all. Those who choose you pollute themselves.
25“But I have stirred up a leader who will approach from the north. From the east he will call on my name. I will give him victory over kings and princes. He will trample them as a potter treads on clay.
26 “Who told you from the beginning that this would happen? Who predicted this, making you admit that he was right? No one said a word!
27 I was the first to tell Zion, ‘Look! Help is on the way!’ I will send Jerusalem a messenger with good news.
28 Not one of your idols told you this. Not one gave any answer when I asked.
29 See, they are all foolish, worthless things. All your idols are as empty as the wind.

Process

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Don’t create a massive process to process forgiveness, love, and acceptance.”~TB

Quickly

When you regularly walk with God, you will notice how quickly He is to forgive us when we screw up. He doesn’t read a list of past offenses, He simply acknowledges your repentance and moves on. We know this, yet we still hold the offenses of our peers to a higher standard. How arrogant and how foolish! God doesn’t beat us up because He knows that in order for you to grow, you must be given the space and grace to do so. When you look at a person, in the same way, failing to acknowledge their growth or change, well, that says more about you than the other person.

Move On

I admit, there are times where I get annoyed with my dad when he advises me to move on from offenses. In my frustration, I’d rather wallow in my “rightness” rather than extend the same space and grace that God gives me on a daily basis. I humbly laugh at my misguided nature and continually ask God to improve my resilience in that area. I’ve come to realize that my dad is not trying to diminish/erase my experience, but rather, he’s encouraging me to love people as God loves me. I share this with you to say, whatever the offense, whatever the reason, right or wrong, move on. God gives credit where credit is due, and we all reap what we sow, good or bad. So let God do the judging.

Today’s Question

Are you letting a convoluted process hinder your walk with Christ?

Enjoy the reading

Proverbs 21

1 The king’s heart is like a stream of water directed by the LORD ; he guides it wherever he pleases. 
2 People may be right in their own eyes, but the LORD examines their heart. 
3 The LORD is more pleased when we do what is right and just than when we offer him sacrifices. 
4 Haughty eyes, a proud heart, and evil actions are all sin. 
5 Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty. 
6 Wealth created by a lying tongue is a vanishing mist and a deadly trap. 
7 The violence of the wicked sweeps them away, because they refuse to do what is just. 
8 The guilty walk a crooked path; the innocent travel a straight road. 
9 It’s better to live alone in the corner of an attic than with a quarrelsome wife in a lovely home. 
10 Evil people desire evil; their neighbors get no mercy from them. 
11 If you punish a mocker, the simpleminded become wise; if you instruct the wise, they will be all the wiser. 
12 The Righteous One knows what is going on in the homes of the wicked; he will bring disaster on them. 
13 Those who shut their ears to the cries of the poor will be ignored in their own time of need. 
14 A secret gift calms anger; a bribe under the table pacifies fury. 
15 Justice is a joy to the godly, but it terrifies evildoers. 
16 The person who strays from common sense will end up in the company of the dead. 
17 Those who love pleasure become poor; those who love wine and luxury will never be rich.
18 The wicked are punished in place of the godly, and traitors in place of the honest. 
19 It’s better to live alone in the desert than with a quarrelsome, complaining wife. 
20 The wise have wealth and luxury, but fools spend whatever they get. 
21 Whoever pursues righteousness and unfailing love will find life, righteousness, and honor. 
22 The wise conquer the city of the strong and level the fortress in which they trust. 
23 Watch your tongue and keep your mouth shut, and you will stay out of trouble. 
24Mockers are proud and haughty; they act with boundless arrogance. 
25Despite their desires, the lazy will come to ruin, for their hands refuse to work. 
26 Some people are always greedy for more, but the godly love to give! 
27 The sacrifice of an evil person is detestable, especially when it is offered with wrong motives. 
28 A false witness will be cut off, but a credible witness will be allowed to speak. 
29 The wicked bluff their way through, but the virtuous think before they act. 
30 No human wisdom or understanding or plan can stand against the LORD . 
31 The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the LORD .

Fortify

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Fortify your mind like the walls of Jericho, so that you will rely on God’s perfect peace in all of the relationships within your life.”~TB

God First

When you’ve mastered your mind, you begin to understand how truly helpless you are without God. Friends, your foundation has to begin and end with Him. More to the point, loving God above all else is key to loving anyone at all! Experiencing God’s love informs you on how to properly love your brothers and sisters. You cannot truly love someone if you don’t know God’s love. His love is the only infinite and unyielding love there is! Mold your love after the love of Christ and watch how your relationships change. Because God freely loves and forgives, take those same principles and apply them to every relationship in your life. There will be times of mal-intent. There will be times of friendly fire. No matter the case, when God is first in your life, His Truth will reign supreme, giving you the peace and understanding of what it takes to truly love your neighbor.

Weak Walls

If you love yourself more than you love God, it will show. But, what does that look like? You love yourself more than God when you allow the influence of external factors dictate your mindset, behavior, etc., overriding your connection to Him. Your mind left undisciplined, will lead you to believe that you are the master and commander of this show. Friends, don’t fall for the lies of your ego and the opposition. The devil knows how to use a weak-minded person and he will use you to cause destruction. Because you are weak, you will gladly participate in his foolishness, as you blindly do his bidding, causing chaos amongst God’s people. Fortunately for us, all things work for Christ and even in your weak-mindedness, God uses it to His benefit. Our strength lies in our weakness because God makes up the difference when we fall short. Remember who loved you first so that you rule your mind accordingly.

Today’s Question

Are you giving your weak mind permission to wreak havoc in your life?

Enjoy the reading

Proverbs 18

1 Unfriendly people care only about themselves; they lash out at common sense. 
2 Fools have no interest in understanding; they only want to air their own opinions. 
3 Doing wrong leads to disgrace, and scandalous behavior brings contempt. 
4 Wise words are like deep waters; wisdom flows from the wise like a bubbling brook. 
5 It is not right to acquit the guilty or deny justice to the innocent. 
6 Fools’ words get them into constant quarrels; they are asking for a beating. 
7 The mouths of fools are their ruin; they trap themselves with their lips. 
8 Rumors are dainty morsels that sink deep into one’s heart. 
9 A lazy person is as bad as someone who destroys things. 
10 The name of the LORD is a strong fortress; the godly run to him and are safe. 
11 The rich think of their wealth as a strong defense; they imagine it to be a high wall of safety. 
12Haughtiness goes before destruction; humility precedes honor. 
13Spouting off before listening to the facts is both shameful and foolish. 
14The human spirit can endure a sick body, but who can bear a crushed spirit?
15 Intelligent people are always ready to learn. Their ears are open for knowledge. 
16 Giving a gift can open doors; it gives access to important people! 
17 The first to speak in court sounds right— until the cross-examination begins. 
18 Flipping a coin can end arguments; it settles disputes between powerful opponents. 
19 An offended friend is harder to win back than a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with bars. 
20 Wise words satisfy like a good meal; the right words bring satisfaction. 
21 The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences. 
22 The man who finds a wife finds a treasure, and he receives favor from the LORD . 
23 The poor plead for mercy; the rich answer with insults. 
24 There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.