Prune

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

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

TB

Plants

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

Cut

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

Time

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

Process

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

Growth

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

Today’s Question

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

Enjoy the reading

Jeremiah 49

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

Now What

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Now that we’re here it’s time to repent and ask for direction from God.”

TB

Pay Attention

The chickens have come home to roost and the credit we were extended is now due. It’s harvest time for us all and whatever we’ve sown, we are reaping. However you feel about your portion, well, that’s between you and God. But I will say this, as we are finishing up Jeremiah, there are very real and clear parallels between God’s people then and now. Back then, many chose to ignore wise words and look what happened. Right now, many are oblivious to God and look what’s happening.

Repent

No matter what your harvest brings, we all have room in our lives to repent, turn around, and ask God for directions. For too long we’ve coasted on the grace we did not deserve. We’ve allowed foxes into the hen houses, staying quiet because we were unaffected. But now, we’re all affected and there are consequences. Still, God is merciful, which means we must account for our waywardness and ask for forgiveness. We must remember our Father in Heaven and become the people He created us to be. If not, well, finish Jeremiah and see what became of those who ignored him.

Today’s Question

Now what will you do now that the party is over?

Enjoy the reading

Jeremiah 46

1 The following messages were given to Jeremiah the prophet from the LORD concerning foreign nations. 2 This message concerning Egypt was given in the fourth year of the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah, the king of Judah, on the occasion of the battle of Carchemish when Pharaoh Neco, king of Egypt, and his army were defeated beside the Euphrates River by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. 3 “Prepare your shields, and advance into battle! 4 Harness the horses, and mount the stallions. Take your positions. Put on your helmets. Sharpen your spears, and prepare your armor. 5 But what do I see? The Egyptian army flees in terror. The bravest of its fighting men run without a backward glance. They are terrorized at every turn,” says the LORD . 6 “The swiftest runners cannot flee; the mightiest warriors cannot escape. By the Euphrates River to the north, they stumble and fall. 7 “Who is this, rising like the Nile at floodtime, overflowing all the land? 8 It is the Egyptian army, overflowing all the land, boasting that it will cover the earth like a flood, destroying cities and their people. 9 Charge, you horses and chariots; attack, you mighty warriors of Egypt! Come, all you allies from Ethiopia, Libya, and Lydia who are skilled with the shield and bow! 10 For this is the day of the Lord, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, a day of vengeance on his enemies. The sword will devour until it is satisfied, yes, until it is drunk with your blood! The Lord, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, will receive a sacrifice today in the north country beside the Euphrates River. 11 “Go up to Gilead to get medicine, O virgin daughter of Egypt! But your many treatments will bring you no healing. 12 The nations have heard of your shame. The earth is filled with your cries of despair. Your mightiest warriors will run into each other and fall down together.” 13 Then the LORD gave the prophet Jeremiah this message about King Nebuchadnezzar’s plans to attack Egypt. 14 “Shout it out in Egypt! Publish it in the cities of Migdol, Memphis, and Tahpanhes! Mobilize for battle, for the sword will devour everyone around you. 15 Why have your warriors fallen? They cannot stand, for the LORD has knocked them down. 16 They stumble and fall over each other and say among themselves, ‘Come, let’s go back to our people, to the land of our birth. Let’s get away from the sword of the enemy!’ 17 There they will say, ‘Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, is a loudmouth who missed his opportunity!’ 18 “As surely as I live,” says the King, whose name is the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, “one is coming against Egypt who is as tall as Mount Tabor, or as Mount Carmel by the sea! 19 Pack up! Get ready to leave for exile, you citizens of Egypt! The city of Memphis will be destroyed, without a single inhabitant. 20 Egypt is as sleek as a beautiful heifer, but a horsefly from the north is on its way! 21 Egypt’s mercenaries have become like fattened calves. They, too, will turn and run, for it is a day of great disaster for Egypt, a time of great punishment. 22 Egypt flees, silent as a serpent gliding away. The invading army marches in; they come against her with axes like woodsmen. 23 They will cut down her people like trees,” says the LORD, “for they are more numerous than locusts. 24 Egypt will be humiliated; she will be handed over to people from the north.” 25 The LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: “I will punish Amon, the god of Thebes, and all the other gods of Egypt. I will punish its rulers and Pharaoh, too, and all who trust in him. 26 I will hand them over to those who want them killed—to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and his army. But afterward the land will recover from the ravages of war. I, the LORD, have spoken! 27 “But do not be afraid, Jacob, my servant; do not be dismayed, Israel. For I will bring you home again from distant lands, and your children will return from their exile. Israel will return to a life of peace and quiet, and no one will terrorize them. 28 Do not be afraid, Jacob, my servant, for I am with you,” says the LORD . “I will completely destroy the nations to which I have exiled you, but I will not completely destroy you. I will discipline you, but with justice; I cannot let you go unpunished.”

Offering

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“You’re either giving a Cain or an Abel offering; there is no in-between.”~TB

Honest Reflection

I have assisted my dad with this blog for almost 4 years. At first, I started as the editor/poster, adding the role of ‘writer’ along the way. In the beginning, it was my job to suss out the errors and formatting– general editor stuff. Occasionally, my father or mother would politely ask me to check my work. Back then, I thought what I was doing was the stuff of legends. was assisting my father (and God), sacrificing my precious time for their pursuits. So naturally, as a foolish young person, I didn’t really take their feedback seriously and kept on my way. It was until a couple of weeks ago when I was formatting the blog posts for my dad’s upcoming books, that I had discovered not only was there a ton of errors the work was amazingly shoddy given my abilities.

Change with Humility

As I read the older blogs, the sting of conviction hit my gut as my mind recalled all of the editing conversations I had had with my dad years ago. See, he wasn’t forceful or persistent with the comments and yet, I would shove the notes aside as if my work was precise and perfect. Oh, youth! I was foolish to believe that I was helping my father and God when in reality it was they who were helping (and still are) me. As I laughed and repented for my foolishness, I was immediately reminded of the story of Cain and Abel.  In the story of Cain and Abel, Abel did his best with his offering, and Cain perceived that his offering was great when it was not. But unlike the arrogance that blinds humans, God sees all and knows all.

Perception is not Reality

The jealousy that Cain felt towards Abel had nothing to do with his brother, but really it was Cain’s unwillingness to take responsibility for the crap that he himself presented to God. At that moment I realized, my work– or rather offering to God– was that of a Cain offering. In my arrogance, I believed that what I was doing was phenomenal, but really it was shoddy and unacceptable. Friends, we either give our best offering to God– an Abel offering. Or, we give our ‘meh’ offering to God– a Cain offering. Deep within our hearts, we know when we give which, so do not fool yourself into thinking God cannot spot the difference. Instead of devouring our brothers and sisters because of our lazy, corrupt thinking, spend your days working honestly as if God is standing next to you so that your daily offerings are deemed acceptable to the Lord.

Today’s Question

Are you giving an honest offering or are you honestly fooling yourself?

Enjoy the reading

Jeremiah 34

1 King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came with all the armies from the kingdoms he ruled, and he fought against Jerusalem and the towns of Judah. At that time this message came to Jeremiah from the LORD : 
2 “Go to King Zedekiah of Judah, and tell him, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: I am about to hand this city over to the king of Babylon, and he will burn it down. 
3 You will not escape his grasp but will be captured and taken to meet the king of Babylon face to face. Then you will be exiled to Babylon. 
4 “‘But listen to this promise from the LORD, O Zedekiah, king of Judah. This is what the LORD says: You will not be killed in war 
5 but will die peacefully. People will burn incense in your memory, just as they did for your ancestors, the kings who preceded you. They will mourn for you, crying, “Alas, our master is dead!” This I have decreed, says the LORD .’” 
6 So Jeremiah the prophet delivered the message to King Zedekiah of Judah. 
7 At this time the Babylonian army was besieging Jerusalem, Lachish, and Azekah—the only fortified cities of Judah not yet captured. 
8 This message came to Jeremiah from the LORD after King Zedekiah made a covenant with the people, proclaiming freedom for the slaves. 
9 He had ordered all the people to free their Hebrew slaves—both men and women. No one was to keep a fellow Judean in bondage. 
10 The officials and all the people had obeyed the king’s command, 
11 but later they changed their minds. They took back the men and women they had freed, forcing them to be slaves again. 
12 So the LORD gave them this message through Jeremiah: 
13 “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: I made a covenant with your ancestors long ago when I rescued them from their slavery in Egypt. 
14 I told them that every Hebrew slave must be freed after serving six years. But your ancestors paid no attention to me. 
15 Recently you repented and did what was right, following my command. You freed your slaves and made a solemn covenant with me in the Temple that bears my name. 
16 But now you have shrugged off your oath and defiled my name by taking back the men and women you had freed, forcing them to be slaves once again. 
17 “Therefore, this is what the LORD says: Since you have not obeyed me by setting your countrymen free, I will set you free to be destroyed by war, disease, and famine. You will be an object of horror to all the nations of the earth. 
18 Because you have broken the terms of our covenant, I will cut you apart just as you cut apart the calf when you walked between its halves to solemnize your vows. 
19 Yes, I will cut you apart, whether you are officials of Judah or Jerusalem, court officials, priests, or common people—for you have broken your oath. 
20 I will give you to your enemies, and they will kill you. Your bodies will be food for the vultures and wild animals. 
21 “I will hand over King Zedekiah of Judah and his officials to the army of the king of Babylon. And although they have left Jerusalem for a while, 
22 I will call the Babylonian armies back again. They will fight against this city and will capture it and burn it down. I will see to it that all the towns of Judah are destroyed, with no one living there.”

 

Cake

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“You can have your cake and eat it too, just don’t be foolish enough to disregard the terms and conditions.”~TB

Self

It’s human nature to be selfish and we live in a world that supports that kind of mentality. Everyone wants to gorge themselves on the cake, but no one wants to take responsibility for the calories. More specifically, everyone wants to be their best version of a heathen, but no one wants to acknowledge their connection to God. So they ignore Him and those who warn them of their waywardness. If you think trivializing God changes your fate, welp, you can’t say you weren’t warned.

Indulgent

Discipline breeds results and nothing worth achieving comes easy. Seeking the Lord requires you to spit out the ‘cake’ that the world serves you. Sure, it’ll be tough in the beginning, but the relationship that discipline brings tastes sweeter than any confectionary delight. Indulge in God and He will take delight in you. Ignore God and don’t expect Him to vouch for you. You can’t have it both ways; you either know God or you won’t. But don’t lie to yourself come judgment day about the discipline you never enacted because you’d rather eat cake.

Today’s Question

Are you developing discipline or are you on the road to being disciplined?

Jeremiah 31

1 “In that day,” says the LORD, “I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they will be my people. 
2 This is what the LORD says: “Those who survive the coming destruction will find blessings even in the barren land, for I will give rest to the people of Israel.” 
3 Long ago the LORD said to Israel: “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself. 
4 I will rebuild you, my virgin Israel. You will again be happy and dance merrily with your tambourines. 
5 Again you will plant your vineyards on the mountains of Samaria and eat from your own gardens there. 
6 The day will come when watchmen will shout from the hill country of Ephraim, ‘Come, let us go up to Jerusalem to worship the LORD our God.’” 
7 Now this is what the LORD says: “Sing with joy for Israel. Shout for the greatest of nations! Shout out with praise and joy: ‘Save your people, O LORD, the remnant of Israel!’ 
8 For I will bring them from the north and from the distant corners of the earth. I will not forget the blind and lame, the expectant mothers and women in labor. A great company will return! 
9 Tears of joy will stream down their faces, and I will lead them home with great care. They will walk beside quiet streams and on smooth paths where they will not stumble. For I am Israel’s father, and Ephraim is my oldest child. 
10 “Listen to this message from the LORD, you nations of the world; proclaim it in distant coastlands: The LORD, who scattered his people, will gather them and watch over them as a shepherd does his flock. 
11 For the LORD has redeemed Israel from those too strong for them. 
12 They will come home and sing songs of joy on the heights of Jerusalem. They will be radiant because of the LORD ’s good gifts— the abundant crops of grain, new wine, and olive oil, and the healthy flocks and herds. Their life will be like a watered garden, and all their sorrows will be gone. 
13 The young women will dance for joy, and the men—old and young—will join in the celebration. I will turn their mourning into joy. I will comfort them and exchange their sorrow for rejoicing. 
14 The priests will enjoy abundance, and my people will feast on my good gifts. I, the LORD, have spoken!” 
15 This is what the LORD says: “A cry is heard in Ramah— deep anguish and bitter weeping. Rachel weeps for her children, refusing to be comforted— for her children are gone.” 
16 But now this is what the LORD says: “Do not weep any longer, for I will reward you,” says the LORD . “Your children will come back to you from the distant land of the enemy. 
17 There is hope for your future,” says the LORD . “Your children will come again to their own land. 
18 I have heard Israel saying, ‘You disciplined me severely, like a calf that needs training for the yoke. Turn me again to you and restore me, for you alone are the LORD my God. 
19 I turned away from God, but then I was sorry. I kicked myself for my stupidity! I was thoroughly ashamed of all I did in my younger days.’ 
20 “Is not Israel still my son, my darling child?” says the LORD . “I often have to punish him, but I still love him. That’s why I long for him and surely will have mercy on him. 
21 Set up road signs; put up guideposts. Mark well the path by which you came. Come back again, my virgin Israel; return to your towns here. 
22 How long will you wander, my wayward daughter? For the LORD will cause something new to happen— Israel will embrace her God. ” 
23 This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: “When I bring them back from captivity, the people of Judah and its towns will again say, ‘The LORD bless you, O righteous home, O holy mountain!’ 
24 Townspeople and farmers and shepherds alike will live together in peace and happiness. 
25 For I have given rest to the weary and joy to the sorrowing.” 
26 At this, I woke up and looked around. My sleep had been very sweet. 
27 “The day is coming,” says the LORD, “when I will greatly increase the human population and the number of animals here in Israel and Judah. 
28 In the past I deliberately uprooted and tore down this nation. I overthrew it, destroyed it, and brought disaster upon it. But in the future I will just as deliberately plant it and build it up. I, the LORD, have spoken! 
29 “The people will no longer quote this proverb: ‘The parents have eaten sour grapes, but their children’s mouths pucker at the taste.’ 
30 All people will die for their own sins—those who eat the sour grapes will be the ones whose mouths will pucker. 
31 “The day is coming,” says the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah. 
32 This covenant will not be like the one I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and brought them out of the land of Egypt. They broke that covenant, though I loved them as a husband loves his wife,” says the LORD . 
33 “But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel after those days,” says the LORD . “I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 
34 And they will not need to teach their neighbors, nor will they need to teach their relatives, saying, ‘You should know the LORD .’ For everyone, from the least to the greatest, will know me already,” says the LORD . “And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.” 
35 It is the LORD who provides the sun to light the day and the moon and stars to light the night, and who stirs the sea into roaring waves. His name is the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, and this is what he says: 
36 “I am as likely to reject my people Israel as I am to abolish the laws of nature!” 
37 This is what the LORD says: “Just as the heavens cannot be measured and the foundations of the earth cannot be explored, so I will not consider casting them away for the evil they have done. I, the LORD, have spoken! 
38 “The day is coming,” says the LORD, “when all Jerusalem will be rebuilt for me, from the Tower of Hananel to the Corner Gate. 
39 A measuring line will be stretched out over the hill of Gareb and across to Goah. 
40 And the entire area—including the graveyard and ash dump in the valley, and all the fields out to the Kidron Valley on the east as far as the Horse Gate—will be holy to the LORD . The city will never again be captured or destroyed.”

Everything But

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“It’s amazing that we’ll do everything but what God asks us to do.”~TB

Disguised Disobedience

Humans are interesting in that we overcomplicate the simplest of things, making relatively easy tasks appear to be the most challenging obstacles to overcome. If you want the honest answer as to why we do this, it’s disobedience. Of course, we all don’t want to be considered disobedient, so we romanticize it by attributing some reason beyond our control as to why we aren’t doing what we’ve been asked to do. Granted there is fear and letting go of the control ‘button’ that come into play, but if we truly want to hold ourselves accountable in our walk with Christ, it’s best to call a spade a spade; well, in this case, disobedience. I’ll explain.

Trust Issues

We will put our trust in everyone and everything but God, which is ironic because He is the only one that will not fail us. Just look at King Saul, Jonah, or Eli. Those guys disobeyed God (Jonah eventually turned it around but was swallowed by a whale) because they didn’t trust God’s word. There are plenty of other disobedient parties in the Bible, which is why when we study the Word, hopefully, we can learn from their mistakes. My point in saying all this is, God’s Will will be done, whether we take the simple route or the disobedient route. Interestingly enough, choosing God’s Will is the best route, but when we fail to activate our faith or succumb to fear we are not able to see the full picture as He intended.

Toss Out

So, let go of the devices, vices, and perceptions that God is calling you to give up. Ask yourself, what do you stand to lose by following God’s path for you? Conversely, ask yourself, what do you have to gain by doing so? The short answers are nothing and everything. But, we must first allow ourselves to understand that our plans and agendas suck in comparison to the plans laid out by God. Only He was the capability and capacity to see generations and how they intersect and correlate. If you think about the numerical implications of that, it’s mind-boggling! Friends, give up your everything but, pick up your cross and run the race set before you. When we trust that God is sovereign and has our best interests at heart, all other choices are fool’s gold in comparison.

Today’s Question

Are you doing everything but following God?

Enjoy the reading

Jeremiah 18

1 The LORD gave another message to Jeremiah. He said, 
2 “Go down to the potter’s shop, and I will speak to you there.” 
3 So I did as he told me and found the potter working at his wheel. 
4 But the jar he was making did not turn out as he had hoped, so he crushed it into a lump of clay again and started over. 
5 Then the LORD gave me this message: 
6 “O Israel, can I not do to you as this potter has done to his clay? As the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand. 
7 If I announce that a certain nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down, and destroyed, 
8 but then that nation renounces its evil ways, I will not destroy it as I had planned. 
9 And if I announce that I will plant and build up a certain nation or kingdom, 
10 but then that nation turns to evil and refuses to obey me, I will not bless it as I said I would. 
11 “Therefore, Jeremiah, go and warn all Judah and Jerusalem. Say to them, ‘This is what the LORD says: I am planning disaster for you instead of good. So turn from your evil ways, each of you, and do what is right.’” 
12 But the people replied, “Don’t waste your breath. We will continue to live as we want to, stubbornly following our own evil desires.” 
13 So this is what the LORD says: “Has anyone ever heard of such a thing, even among the pagan nations? My virgin daughter Israel has done something terrible! 
14 Does the snow ever disappear from the mountaintops of Lebanon? Do the cold streams flowing from those distant mountains ever run dry? 
15 But my people are not so reliable, for they have deserted me; they burn incense to worthless idols. They have stumbled off the ancient highways and walk in muddy paths. 
16 Therefore, their land will become desolate, a monument to their stupidity. All who pass by will be astonished and will shake their heads in amazement. 
17 I will scatter my people before their enemies as the east wind scatters dust. And in all their trouble I will turn my back on them and refuse to notice their distress.” 
18 Then the people said, “Come on, let’s plot a way to stop Jeremiah. We have plenty of priests and wise men and prophets. We don’t need him to teach the word and give us advice and prophecies. Let’s spread rumors about him and ignore what he says.” 
19 LORD, hear me and help me! Listen to what my enemies are saying. 
20 Should they repay evil for good? They have dug a pit to kill me, though I pleaded for them and tried to protect them from your anger. 
21 So let their children starve! Let them die by the sword! Let their wives become childless widows. Let their old men die in a plague, and let their young men be killed in battle! 
22 Let screaming be heard from their homes as warriors come suddenly upon them. For they have dug a pit for me and have hidden traps along my path. 
23 LORD, you know all about their murderous plots against me. Don’t forgive their crimes and blot out their sins. Let them die before you. Deal with them in your anger.

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 .

The Difference

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“As you grow in Christ it’s important to discern the difference between conviction and condemnation.”~TB

Conviction

Each step you take, following Christ, you will see that your old misdeeds of yesterday no longer bring you the same pleasure as they once did. Even still, as you mess up, you will feel the Holy Spirit correct you in your wrongdoing. Conviction is the tug from the Holy Spirit letting you know that you’re doing wrong. It brings you closer to God. Friends, take joy in the correction of conviction. This means that your flesh is being tamed day by day. While we will always fall short of perfection, the conviction of your sin and the condemnation that may occur after are two separate things.

Condemnation

Once you’ve confessed your transgressions to God and have turned away from your wayward behavior, that’s it. Notice how God does not harp on you about who you were yesterday, let alone a decade ago. If you feel the weight of sins that you’ve confessed and fled from creep into your life, that is not of God. Condemnation is the recurring guilt of old behaviors you left behind. Condemnation brings guilt and shame, making you feel stuck, ultimately leading you away from God. The opposition will use this to get you off your walk Consult God daily to understand what is conviction and what is condemnation.

Today’s Quote

Have you spent time with God and the Word to know the difference?

Enjoy the reading

Proverbs 20

1 Wine produces mockers; alcohol leads to brawls. Those led astray by drink cannot be wise. 
2 The king’s fury is like a lion’s roar; to rouse his anger is to risk your life. 
3 Avoiding a fight is a mark of honor; only fools insist on quarreling. 
4 Those too lazy to plow in the right season will have no food at the harvest. 
5 Though good advice lies deep within the heart, a person with understanding will draw it out. 
6 Many will say they are loyal friends, but who can find one who is truly reliable? 
7 The godly walk with integrity; blessed are their children who follow them. 
8 When a king sits in judgment, he weighs all the evidence, distinguishing the bad from the good.
9 Who can say, “I have cleansed my heart; I am pure and free from sin”?
10 False weights and unequal measures — the LORD detests double standards of every kind. 
11 Even children are known by the way they act, whether their conduct is pure, and whether it is right. 
12 Ears to hear and eyes to see— both are gifts from the LORD . 
13 If you love sleep, you will end in poverty. Keep your eyes open, and there will be plenty to eat! 
14The buyer haggles over the price, saying, “It’s worthless,” then brags about getting a bargain! 
15 Wise words are more valuable than much gold and many rubies. 
16 Get security from someone who guarantees a stranger’s debt. Get a deposit if he does it for foreigners. 
17 Stolen bread tastes sweet, but it turns to gravel in the mouth. 
18 Plans succeed through good counsel; don’t go to war without wise advice. 
19 A gossip goes around telling secrets, so don’t hang around with chatterers. 
20 If you insult your father or mother, your light will be snuffed out in total darkness. 
21 An inheritance obtained too early in life is not a blessing in the end. 
22 Don’t say, “I will get even for this wrong.” Wait for the LORD to handle the matter.
23 The LORD detests double standards; he is not pleased by dishonest scales. 
24 The LORD directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way? 
25 Don’t trap yourself by making a rash promise to God and only later counting the cost. 
26 A wise king scatters the wicked like wheat, then runs his threshing wheel over them. 
27 The LORD ’s light penetrates the human spirit, exposing every hidden motive.
28 Unfailing love and faithfulness protect the king; his throne is made secure through love. 
29 The glory of the young is their strength; the gray hair of experience is the splendor of the old. 
30 Physical punishment cleanses away evil; such discipline purifies the heart.

Cut Your Losses

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Cut your losses on sin, but don’t count people out just yet.”~TB

Extend

As a prideful nation, people will always be your downfall. Humans have the capacity to hurt, to steal, to kill– whatever the sin– you name it, we’re capable of it. Even still, whatever the offense, it’s best to forgive it and move on. Just to be clear, this is not to say that you must tolerate poor behavior, no, we must hold each other accountable. That said, forgiving one another as God forgives us allows us to grow and develop into people of Christ. Besides, what do you have to lose by letting go of offenses? More to the point, when you are so consumed with what has happened to you, you lose sight of your potential and what you could be doing to better yourself.

Retract

As sin-fallen people, we will never be free of sin. That doesn’t mean that we should not make every effort to improve each and every day. The first step in walking closer with God is to till your own soil. When you cut out the monitoring of the shortcomings of your brothers and sisters, you are then able to reflect on yourself and your personal relationship with Christ. In the midst of that silence, He will impart His wisdom on how you can improve and move forward in your destiny. Friends, where He is taking you requires very little baggage, so why not cut your losses and move on?

Today’s Question

Are you cutting the chord to old bondages or the chord to Christ

Enjoy the Reading

Psalm 129

1 From my earliest youth my enemies have persecuted me. Let all Israel repeat this: 
2 From my earliest youth my enemies have persecuted me, but they have never defeated me. 
3 My back is covered with cuts, as if a farmer had plowed long furrows. 
4 But the LORD is good; he has cut me free from the ropes of the ungodly. 
5 May all who hate Jerusalem be turned back in shameful defeat. 
6 May they be as useless as grass on a rooftop, turning yellow when only half grown, 
7 ignored by the harvester, despised by the binder. 
8 And may those who pass by refuse to give them this blessing: “The LORD bless you; we bless you in the LORD ’s name.”

Ditch

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Ditch the fake reality of the world and cling to the Truth of Christ”~TB

Alternate Reality

When God puts you on a path, be vigilant in your thoughts and actions because the opposition will lie in wait to push you into a ditch and into a world of sinful desires. In an upside down world, evil will use people, thoughts, and anything he can to get you to give up your position in Christ. Keep yourself disciplined in the Word so that you may see the fake reality for what it is.

Throw Off

When you continually read and study the Truth, you are able to throw off the sinful traits and behaviors of the life you once lead. Though there are tests from time to time, remember that you are redeemed in Christ, and He looks at you through His eyes. When you lean on this Truth, that you are saved and made whole in Christ, the past evil deeds are less tempting because you know your inheritance is stored within your salvation.

Today’s Question

Are you safely driving on God’s highway or are you veering towards the evil ditch?

Enjoy the reading

Psalm 115

1 Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name goes all the glory for your unfailing love and faithfulness. 
2 Why let the nations say, “Where is their God?” 
3 Our God is in the heavens, and he does as he wishes. 
4Their idols are merely things of silver and gold, shaped by human hands.
5 They have mouths but cannot speak, and eyes but cannot see. 
6They have ears but cannot hear, and noses but cannot smell. 
7 They have hands but cannot feel, and feet but cannot walk, and throats but cannot make a sound. 
8 And those who make idols are just like them, as are all who trust in them. 
9 O Israel, trust the LORD ! He is your helper and your shield. 
10 O priests, descendants of Aaron, trust the LORD ! He is your helper and your shield. 
11 All you who fear the LORD, trust the LORD ! He is your helper and your shield. 
12 The LORD remembers us and will bless us. He will bless the people of Israel and bless the priests, the descendants of Aaron. 
13 He will bless those who fear the LORD, both great and lowly.
14 May the LORD richly bless both you and your children. 
15 May you be blessed by the LORD, who made heaven and earth. 
16 The heavens belong to the LORD, but he has given the earth to all humanity. 
17 The dead cannot sing praises to the LORD, for they have gone into the silence of the grave. 
18 But we can praise the LORD both now and forever! Praise the LORD !

Pharaoh

 

star-1096934_1920.jpgHi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“You become like the Pharaoh of Egypt when you enslave your peers, usurping their goods without offering them anything in return.”~TB

Chief Thief

Why did you take that which does not belong to you? Are God’s provisions not enough? Your appetite for authority and prestige has blinded you to your maliciously evil deeds. Look in the mirror and who do you see; a child of God or a modern day slave owner?

Hardened Heart

Your heart is hardened, making you blind to the wrath of justice right around the corner. You’ve failed to listen to the truth, opting to believe the lies of strangers of God. When you are the supreme ruler of your life, eventually you will surround yourself with people who are more than happy to aid in your demise. Soon you will see what happens to the emperor who succumbs to false flattery and evil deeds.

Today’s Question

Are you ready to abdicate your evil throne or does God have to smack some sense into you?

Enjoy the reading

Psalm 95

1 Come, let us sing to the LORD ! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. 
2 Let us come to him with thanksgiving. Let us sing psalms of praise to him. 
3 For the LORD is a great God, a great King above all gods.
4 He holds in his hands the depths of the earth and the mightiest mountains. 
5 The sea belongs to him, for he made it. His hands formed the dry land, too. 
6 Come, let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the LORD our maker, 
7 for he is our God. We are the people he watches over, the flock under his care. If only you would listen to his voice today! 
8 The LORD says, “Don’t harden your hearts as Israel did at Meribah, as they did at Massah in the wilderness. 
9 For there your ancestors tested and tried my patience, even though they saw everything I did. 
10 For forty years I was angry with them, and I said, ‘They are a people whose hearts turn away from me. They refuse to do what I tell them.’
11 So in my anger I took an oath: ‘They will never enter my place of rest.’”