“People who jump ship from Christ at the first sign of trouble fail to fully activate their faith”~TB
It’s amazing what we as people tolerate in our lives. We tolerate crappy bosses, toxic relationships, corrupt governments, gossipy friends, etc. We engage in fruitless and backward relationships that literally do not make sense. We imbibe and ingest things that aren’t beneficial while being potentially lethal. But, when it comes to our faith if it’s not perfect, or something “bad” comes down the pipeline, then we’re quick to abandon it. In our flawed thinking, faith and God has to mean a perfect, pain-free life or it just doesn’t work for us. Think about it, it’s ok to practice bad behavior, work at a place that treats you poorly and underpays, but if life isn’t going according to “your plan”, well this God thing is phooey. Rootless faith, faith that’s not rooted in anything, is what the opposition banks on because he knows at the slightest sign of discomfort, people will turn back to their old ways. The ironic part is that the storms or uncomfortable times are where we really get to know God and see His plan in our lives.
During natural disasters, there are plans and protocols in place to help those affected remain safe. In times of spiritual trouble, the Bible is exactly that. I’m not just talking about doctrine. There are a bunch of stories that talk about men and women enduring wild situations who chose to rely on God’s wisdom to see them through. Regular people, just like you and me were used to do miraculous things because they hunkered down and trusted God. Instead of running at the first sign of trouble, dive deep into the Word. Sure, the Israelites got to see the Red Sea part. Though we may not be able to see such signs today, we have the advantage of having the Living Word at our fingertips! Those guys lived those moments, but we get to read about them and use them to navigate our own “Red Seas”. That’s pretty cool when you think about it. Friends, don’t let go of faith when trouble hits. That’s the devil’s whole strategy (because it’s highly effective). Double down, seek the Lord and He will be with you always in all ways.
Are you jumping ship and missing the true destination all because of a few waves?
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1Then the LORD said to me, “Even if Moses and Samuel stood before me pleading for these people, I wouldn’t help them. Away with them! Get them out of my sight!
2And if they say to you, ‘But where can we go?’ tell them, ‘This is what the LORD says: “‘Those who are destined for death, to death; those who are destined for war, to war; those who are destined for famine, to famine; those who are destined for captivity, to captivity.’
3“I will send four kinds of destroyers against them,” says the LORD . “I will send the sword to kill, the dogs to drag away, the vultures to devour, and the wild animals to finish up what is left.
4Because of the wicked things Manasseh son of Hezekiah, king of Judah, did in Jerusalem, I will make my people an object of horror to all the kingdoms of the earth.
5“Who will feel sorry for you, Jerusalem? Who will weep for you? Who will even bother to ask how you are?
6You have abandoned me and turned your back on me,” says the LORD . “Therefore, I will raise my fist to destroy you. I am tired of always giving you another chance.
7I will winnow you like grain at the gates of your cities and take away the children you hold dear. I will destroy my own people, because they refuse to change their evil ways.
8There will be more widows than the grains of sand on the seashore. At noontime I will bring a destroyer against the mothers of young men. I will cause anguish and terror to come upon them suddenly.
9The mother of seven grows faint and gasps for breath; her sun has gone down while it is still day. She sits childless now, disgraced and humiliated. And I will hand over those who are left to be killed by the enemy. I, the LORD, have spoken!”
10Then I said, “What sorrow is mine, my mother. Oh, that I had died at birth! I am hated everywhere I go. I am neither a lender who threatens to foreclose nor a borrower who refuses to pay— yet they all curse me.”
11The LORD replied, “I will take care of you, Jeremiah. Your enemies will ask you to plead on their behalf in times of trouble and distress.
12Can a man break a bar of iron from the north, or a bar of bronze?
13At no cost to them, I will hand over your wealth and treasures as plunder to your enemies, for sin runs rampant in your land.
14I will tell your enemies to take you as captives to a foreign land. For my anger blazes like a fire that will burn forever. ”
15Then I said, “ LORD, you know what’s happening to me. Please step in and help me. Punish my persecutors! Please give me time; don’t let me die young. It’s for your sake that I am suffering.
16When I discovered your words, I devoured them. They are my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, O LORD God of Heaven’s Armies.
17I never joined the people in their merry feasts. I sat alone because your hand was on me. I was filled with indignation at their sins.
18Why then does my suffering continue? Why is my wound so incurable? Your help seems as uncertain as a seasonal brook, like a spring that has gone dry.”
19This is how the LORD responds: “If you return to me, I will restore you so you can continue to serve me. If you speak good words rather than worthless ones, you will be my spokesman. You must influence them; do not let them influence you!
20They will fight against you like an attacking army, but I will make you as secure as a fortified wall of bronze. They will not conquer you, for I am with you to protect and rescue you. I, the LORD, have spoken!
21Yes, I will certainly keep you safe from these wicked men. I will rescue you from their cruel hands.”
“Take care to develop honest relationships because a transactional lifestyle is meaningless.”~TB
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.
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.
Are you interested in knowing God or are you just looking to get things from Him?
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1The words of Jeremiah son of Hilkiah, one of the priests at Anathoth in the territory of Benjamin.
2The word of the LORD came to him in the thirteenth year of the reign of Josiah son of Amon king of Judah,
3and 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.
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.”
7But 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.
8Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the LORD.
9Then the LORD reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put my words in your mouth.
10See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.”
11The word of the LORD came to me: “What do you see, Jeremiah?” “I see the branch of an almond tree,” I replied.
12The LORD said to me, “You have seen correctly, for I am watching to see that my word is fulfilled.”
13The 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.”
14The LORD said to me, “From the north disaster will be poured out on all who live in the land.
15I 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.
16I 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.
18Today 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.
19They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the LORD.
“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
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.
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.
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.
Are you drinking from His Well or is the soda of the world more appealing?
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1The 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.
2He 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.
3To 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.
4They will rebuild the ancient ruins, repairing cities destroyed long ago. They will revive them, though they have been deserted for many generations.
5Foreigners will be your servants. They will feed your flocks and plow your fields and tend your vineyards.
6You 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.
7Instead 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.
9Their descendants will be recognized and honored among the nations. Everyone will realize that they are a people the LORD has blessed.”
10I 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.
11The 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.
“You will never be able to control the environment or its condition, so weatherproof yourself in God.”
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.
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.
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.
Are you ready to get out of the storm?
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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.
2Yes, 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.”
3The 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.
5My 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.
6Look 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.
8For 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.”
9Wake 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.
10Are 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?
11Those 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?
13Yet 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!
14Soon all you captives will be released! Imprisonment, starvation, and death will not be your fate!
15For 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.
16And 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.
18Not 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?
20For 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.
21But now listen to this, you afflicted ones who sit in a drunken stupor, though not from drinking wine.
22This 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.
23Instead, I will hand that cup to your tormentors, those who said, ‘We will trample you into the dust and walk on your backs.’”
“Each day has their own land mines. Walk in peace, grace, and mercy to avoid stepping on them.”~TB
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.
Are you ready to walk past your land mines and give up the unnecessary explosions?
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1This 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.
2Why 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.
3I dress the skies in darkness, covering them with clothes of mourning.”
4The 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.
5The Sovereign LORD has spoken to me, and I have listened. I have not rebelled or turned away.
6I 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.
7Because 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.
8He who gives me justice is near. Who will dare to bring charges against me now? Where are my accusers? Let them appear!
9See, 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!
10Who 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.
11But 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.
“The devil is like an annoying noisy upstairs neighbor. Don’t let him take your peace.”~TB
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.
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!
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.
Are you ready to stop being the devil’s pawn or do you enjoy disturbing the peace?
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1This 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.
2This 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.
3And 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.
5I am the LORD ; there is no other God. I have equipped you for battle, though you don’t even know me,
6so all the world from east to west will know there is no other God. I am the LORD, and there is no other.
7I 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?
12I 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.
13I 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!”
14This 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.’”
15Truly, O God of Israel, our Savior, you work in mysterious ways.
16All craftsmen who make idols will be humiliated. They will all be disgraced together.
17But the LORD will save the people of Israel with eternal salvation. Throughout everlasting ages, they will never again be humiliated and disgraced.
18For 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!
21Consult 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.
22Let all the world look to me for salvation! For I am God; there is no other.
23I 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. ”
24The 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.
25In the LORD all the generations of Israel will be justified, and in him they will boast.
“Don’t let the smalls things build up in your relationships with others.”~TB
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.
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.
Are you brushing away the offenses or are you constantly in God’s dental chair?
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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.
3He chases them away and goes on safely, though he is walking over unfamiliar ground.
4Who 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.”
5The lands beyond the sea watch in fear. Remote lands tremble and mobilize for war.
6The idol makers encourage one another, saying to each other, “Be strong!”
7The 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,
9I 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.
10Don’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.
13For 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.
14Though 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.’
15You will be a new threshing instrument with many sharp teeth. You will tear your enemies apart, making chaff of mountains.
16You 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.
18I 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.
20I 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.
23Yes, 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.
24But 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!
27I was the first to tell Zion, ‘Look! Help is on the way!’ I will send Jerusalem a messenger with good news.
28Not one of your idols told you this. Not one gave any answer when I asked.
29See, they are all foolish, worthless things. All your idols are as empty as the wind.
“Don’t create a massive process to process forgiveness, love, and acceptance.”~TB
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.
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.
Are you letting a convoluted process hinder your walk with Christ?
Enjoy the reading
1The king’s heart is like a stream of water directed by the LORD ; he guides it wherever he pleases.
2People may be right in their own eyes, but the LORD examines their heart.
3The LORD is more pleased when we do what is right and just than when we offer him sacrifices.
4Haughty eyes, a proud heart, and evil actions are all sin.
5Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.
6Wealth created by a lying tongue is a vanishing mist and a deadly trap.
7The violence of the wicked sweeps them away, because they refuse to do what is just.
8The guilty walk a crooked path; the innocent travel a straight road.
9It’s better to live alone in the corner of an attic than with a quarrelsome wife in a lovely home.
10Evil people desire evil; their neighbors get no mercy from them.
11If you punish a mocker, the simpleminded become wise; if you instruct the wise, they will be all the wiser.
12The Righteous One knows what is going on in the homes of the wicked; he will bring disaster on them.
13Those who shut their ears to the cries of the poor will be ignored in their own time of need.
14A secret gift calms anger; a bribe under the table pacifies fury.
15Justice is a joy to the godly, but it terrifies evildoers.
16The person who strays from common sense will end up in the company of the dead.
17Those who love pleasure become poor; those who love wine and luxury will never be rich.
18The wicked are punished in place of the godly, and traitors in place of the honest.
19It’s better to live alone in the desert than with a quarrelsome, complaining wife.
20The wise have wealth and luxury, but fools spend whatever they get.
21Whoever pursues righteousness and unfailing love will find life, righteousness, and honor.
22The wise conquer the city of the strong and level the fortress in which they trust.
23Watch 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.
26Some people are always greedy for more, but the godly love to give!
27The sacrifice of an evil person is detestable, especially when it is offered with wrong motives.
28A false witness will be cut off, but a credible witness will be allowed to speak.
29The wicked bluff their way through, but the virtuous think before they act.
30No human wisdom or understanding or plan can stand against the LORD .
31The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the LORD .
“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
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.
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.
Are you giving your weak mind permission to wreak havoc in your life?
Enjoy the reading
1Unfriendly people care only about themselves; they lash out at common sense.
2Fools have no interest in understanding; they only want to air their own opinions.
3Doing wrong leads to disgrace, and scandalous behavior brings contempt.
4Wise words are like deep waters; wisdom flows from the wise like a bubbling brook.
5It is not right to acquit the guilty or deny justice to the innocent.
6Fools’ words get them into constant quarrels; they are asking for a beating.
7The mouths of fools are their ruin; they trap themselves with their lips.
8Rumors are dainty morsels that sink deep into one’s heart.
9A lazy person is as bad as someone who destroys things.
10The name of the LORD is a strong fortress; the godly run to him and are safe.
11The 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?
15Intelligent people are always ready to learn. Their ears are open for knowledge.
16Giving a gift can open doors; it gives access to important people!
17The first to speak in court sounds right— until the cross-examination begins.
18Flipping a coin can end arguments; it settles disputes between powerful opponents.
19An offended friend is harder to win back than a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with bars.
20Wise words satisfy like a good meal; the right words bring satisfaction.
21The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.
22The man who finds a wife finds a treasure, and he receives favor from the LORD .
23The poor plead for mercy; the rich answer with insults.
24There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.
“If God has set you free, don’t be dumb by continuing on with your broken lifestyle.”~TB
Through salvation, you are set free from the bondage that comes from the evils of the world, the devil, and your flesh. God does this so you can live in freedom, so don’t be dumb! But, what does that mean? When you walk with Christ, you begin to see the many dumb practices society pushes onto you. With this new clarity, you have a choice to abandon your old ways and adopt better behaviors. When you stay the course, you begin to crave discipline, hard work, kindness, and humility– all of the wonderful Christ-like traits that the Holy Spirit instills in you when you accept God’s highest gift. Friends, if you’ve received Christ, chose freedom, not freedumb.
If you don’t cultivate your relationship with God, the trappings of this world will consume because you were not careful. Friends, be discerning with what you consider to be freedom. Expensive things trap you in a cycle of debt. Toxic people trap you in a cycle of anguish and trouble. Drugs and bad substances trap you in a cycle of confusion and numbness. Envying your neighbor traps you in a cycle of anger and jealousy within your heart. These things do not set you free, they enslave you. Should you choose this modern slavery, connecting with God’s teaching becomes much more difficult. Avoid the traps and turn to Him. Walking with God helps you see the battlefield as it truly is. He shows you the landmines so that you may not become a casualty.
Do you understand the difference between freedom and freedumb?
Enjoy the reading
1A wise child accepts a parent’s discipline; a mocker refuses to listen to correction.
2Wise words will win you a good meal, but treacherous people have an appetite for violence.
3Those who control their tongue will have a long life; opening your mouth can ruin everything.
4Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper.
5The godly hate lies; the wicked cause shame and disgrace.
6Godliness guards the path of the blameless, but the evil are misled by sin.
7Some who are poor pretend to be rich; others who are rich pretend to be poor.
8The rich can pay a ransom for their lives, but the poor won’t even get threatened.
9The life of the godly is full of light and joy, but the light of the wicked will be snuffed out.
10Pride leads to conflict; those who take advice are wise.
11Wealth from get-rich-quick schemes quickly disappears; wealth from hard work grows over time.
12Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.
13People who despise advice are asking for trouble; those who respect a command will succeed.
14The instruction of the wise is like a life-giving fountain; those who accept it avoid the snares of death.
15A person with good sense is respected; a treacherous person is headed for destruction.
16Wise people think before they act; fools don’t—and even brag about their foolishness.
17An unreliable messenger stumbles into trouble, but a reliable messenger brings healing.
18If you ignore criticism, you will end in poverty and disgrace; if you accept correction, you will be honored.
19It is pleasant to see dreams come true, but fools refuse to turn from evil to attain them.
20Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble.
21Trouble chases sinners, while blessings reward the righteous.
22Good people leave an inheritance to their grandchildren, but the sinner’s wealth passes to the godly.
23A poor person’s farm may produce much food, but injustice sweeps it all away.
24Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children. Those who love their children care enough to discipline them.
25The godly eat to their hearts’ content, but the belly of the wicked goes hungry.