Effort & Might

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

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

TB

Man

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

Christ

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

Today’s Question

Are you ready to put in the effort?

Enjoy the reading

Ezekiel 11

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

Uncalled Interference

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quotes

“Let your brothers and sisters endure their trials as they are a necessary byproduct of growing in Christ.”~TB

Well-Intentioned

I love my family with great fierceness– for better or worse. It’s a joy to see them do well and it’s heartbreaking when they suffer– especially to false accusations. I’ve been known to jump on land mines for the people I love. Though my intentions are well-meaning, every single one of us has to go through the fire at some point and blocking someone else’s spiritual assignment –good-intentioned or otherwise– benefits no one.

Growth Through Struggle

Having experience with unfair persecution, I can say that those uncomfortable times did way more good than harm. Through the muck and the mess, I learned that I had to rely on God because He was with me in the fiery storms. When I look back at those radical moments, I realize that though the experiences were unpleasant, never was I harmed. So, if God walks with me, I’d be a fool to not trust that He’s walking with all of you as well. More to the point, when those we love endure suffering for what is right, we should be pleased that they too get the opportunity to grow in Christ.

It’s All Joy

These days I am more mindful about the Hand of Christ and I am present and careful to watch Him at work. I pray for His Will to be done rather than jump the gun with my hair-brained schemes. Instead of interfering, I encourage and listen. Friends that is all we can do, because the heavy lifting is God’s plan. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather that my brothers and sisters have God’s help than mine, because well, it’s should be obvious, ha! So the next time you see those in your life go through hard times, remember how your struggles brought you closer to God and that they too are given the opportunity and honor to know God in that same way.

Today’s Question

Are you letting your interfering ways block the spiritual growth of others?

Enjoy the reading

Jeremiah 20

1 Now Pashhur son of Immer, the priest in charge of the Temple of the LORD, heard what Jeremiah was prophesying. 
2 So he arrested Jeremiah the prophet and had him whipped and put in stocks at the Benjamin Gate of the LORD ’s Temple. 
3 The next day, when Pashhur finally released him, Jeremiah said, “Pashhur, the LORD has changed your name. From now on you are to be called ‘The Man Who Lives in Terror.’ 
4 For this is what the LORD says: ‘I will send terror upon you and all your friends, and you will watch as they are slaughtered by the swords of the enemy. I will hand the people of Judah over to the king of Babylon. He will take them captive to Babylon or run them through with the sword. 
5 And I will let your enemies plunder Jerusalem. All the famed treasures of the city—the precious jewels and gold and silver of your kings—will be carried off to Babylon. 
6 As for you, Pashhur, you and all your household will go as captives to Babylon. There you will die and be buried, you and all your friends to whom you prophesied that everything would be all right.’” 
7 O LORD, you misled me, and I allowed myself to be misled. You are stronger than I am, and you overpowered me. Now I am mocked every day; everyone laughs at me. 
8 When I speak, the words burst out. “Violence and destruction!” I shout. So these messages from the LORD have made me a household joke. 
9 But if I say I’ll never mention the LORD or speak in his name, his word burns in my heart like a fire. It’s like a fire in my bones! I am worn out trying to hold it in! I can’t do it! 
10 I have heard the many rumors about me. They call me “The Man Who Lives in Terror.” They threaten, “If you say anything, we will report it.” Even my old friends are watching me, waiting for a fatal slip. “He will trap himself,” they say, “and then we will get our revenge on him.” 
11 But the LORD stands beside me like a great warrior. Before him my persecutors will stumble. They cannot defeat me. They will fail and be thoroughly humiliated. Their dishonor will never be forgotten. 
12 O LORD of Heaven’s Armies, you test those who are righteous, and you examine the deepest thoughts and secrets. Let me see your vengeance against them, for I have committed my cause to you. 
13 Sing to the LORD ! Praise the LORD ! For though I was poor and needy, he rescued me from my oppressors. 
14 Yet I curse the day I was born! May no one celebrate the day of my birth. 
15 I curse the messenger who told my father, “Good news—you have a son!” 
16 Let him be destroyed like the cities of old that the LORD overthrew without mercy. Terrify him all day long with battle shouts, 
17 because he did not kill me at birth. Oh, that I had died in my mother’s womb, that her body had been my grave! 
18 Why was I ever born? My entire life has been filled with trouble, sorrow, and shame.

 

Agents

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“We are all God’s agents, dispatched to exemplify His name on various missions.”~TB

Mission

Spoiler alert: you don’t have to go out of the country to a foreign land to go on missions for Christ. In fact, chances are you can do more for you neighbor in God’s name than you can to someone who may not be able to fully understand your language. That’s not a dig at those doing great works in other nations. It is a gentle reminder that we all have a duty to help the poor, the widowed, and the downtrodden which you can easily find in your backyard. Like agents on a secret mission, listen to your Holy Commander for your next assignment. That could be feeding the less fortunate, uplifting a family member or neighbor, the list is long and God knows who to select for the cause. If you are looking for a way to get in on the fun that is serving Christ through serving others, all you have to do is look at the Word for guidance.

Dossier

Spoiler alert #2: you don’t have to shove the Word down the throat of those you serve on your Mission. Look at your dossier– The Word– and read it carefully to understand its instructions. A lot of us get caught up in our egos and go off script with our “help” causing more harm than good. God calls us to be examples not enforcersand there is a difference. Your Mission is torpedoed when you go off script and blow your cover. When working for God, all you have to do is be a light, shining kindness, love, mercy, and humility when carrying out your mission. We are not dispatched to judge because that job is solely reserved for the One who can. So instead of beating the Bible across the faces of “heathens”, try meeting a need. If you are truly looking to show people who God is, love them as He loves you; which means keep the self-righteousness and judgment at home.

Today’s Question

Are you carrying out God’s Mission or your own?

Enjoy the reading

Isaiah 56

1 This is what the LORD says: “Be just and fair to all. Do what is right and good, for I am coming soon to rescue you and to display my righteousness among you. 
2 Blessed are all those who are careful to do this. Blessed are those who honor my Sabbath days of rest and keep themselves from doing wrong. 
3 “Don’t let foreigners who commit themselves to the LORD say, ‘The LORD will never let me be part of his people.’ And don’t let the eunuchs say, ‘I’m a dried-up tree with no children and no future.’ 
4 For this is what the LORD says: I will bless those eunuchs who keep my Sabbath days holy and who choose to do what pleases me and commit their lives to me. 
5 I will give them—within the walls of my house— a memorial and a name far greater than sons and daughters could give. For the name I give them is an everlasting one. It will never disappear! 
6 “I will also bless the foreigners who commit themselves to the LORD, who serve him and love his name, who worship him and do not desecrate the Sabbath day of rest, and who hold fast to my covenant. 
7 I will bring them to my holy mountain of Jerusalem and will fill them with joy in my house of prayer. I will accept their burnt offerings and sacrifices, because my Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations. 
8 For the Sovereign LORD, who brings back the outcasts of Israel, says: I will bring others, too, besides my people Israel.” 
9 Come, wild animals of the field! Come, wild animals of the forest! Come and devour my people! 
10 For the leaders of my people— the LORD ’s watchmen, his shepherds— are blind and ignorant. They are like silent watchdogs that give no warning when danger comes. They love to lie around, sleeping and dreaming. 
11 Like greedy dogs, they are never satisfied. They are ignorant shepherds, all following their own path and intent on personal gain. 
12 “Come,” they say, “let’s get some wine and have a party. Let’s all get drunk. Then tomorrow we’ll do it again and have an even bigger party!”

 

Bless God

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Hi Peeps,
Today’s Quote
“Bless God for giving me the heart, mind, and faith to follow His information and not my own, since obedience is the key to our salvation and loving God, ourselves, and others.” ~ Jon Barnes

Payment

Your righteous work is not always paid with fame, stuff, silver, gold, and money, but your entrance into heaven requires your righteous obedience into the kingdom of God, covered with the Blood of Jesus.  Your repentance and obedience are required in your connection to God.  Remember the scripture “Lord, Lord…!”

In 

As a child of God, it is virtuous and vitally important to be a serious student of God’s Word, History, and Works, so that your faith can hold up to the test of time times Eternity in Heaven.  I just don’t want to get caught sleeping on the sidelines with the devil, pretending everything is okay.  If the righteous will barely make it into heaven and they are known to God for what they do, what hope does the fake Christian have?

Full 

Fight and Run your race with God to the finish line, so that you may be blameless, full of wisdom and understanding from God about your salvation and your personal responsibility.  Don’t leave these requirements up to someone else to show or explain your duties and services owed to God before you die.
Today’s Question
Did you Thank God for giving you the memo, mind, and heart for The Bible, to read and study for yourself, so that you are not caught off guard with the lies of this world?
Enjoy The Reading

Job 14 

14 “How frail is humanity!
    How short is life, how full of trouble!
We blossom like a flower and then wither.
    Like a passing shadow, we quickly disappear.
Must you keep an eye on such a frail creature
    and demand an accounting from me?
Who can bring purity out of an impure person?
    No one!
You have decided the length of our lives.
    You know how many months we will live,
    and we are not given a minute longer.
So leave us alone and let us rest!
    We are like hired hands, so let us finish our work in peace.
“Even a tree has more hope!
    If it is cut down, it will sprout again
    and grow new branches.
Though its roots have grown old in the earth
    and its stump decays,
at the scent of water it will bud
    and sprout again like a new seedling.
10 “But when people die, their strength is gone.
    They breathe their last, and then where are they?
11 As water evaporates from a lake
    and a river disappears in drought,
12 people are laid to rest and do not rise again.
    Until the heavens are no more, they will not wake up
    nor be roused from their sleep.
13 “I wish you would hide me in the grave[a]
    and forget me there until your anger has passed.
    But mark your calendar to think of me again!
14 Can the dead live again?
    If so, this would give me hope through all my years of struggle,
    and I would eagerly await the release of death.
15 You would call and I would answer,
    and you would yearn for me, your handiwork.
16 For then you would guard my steps,
    instead of watching for my sins.
17 My sins would be sealed in a pouch,
    and you would cover my guilt.
18 “But instead, as mountains fall and crumble
    and as rocks fall from a cliff,
19 as water wears away the stones
    and floods wash away the soil,
    so you destroy people’s hope.
20 You always overpower them, and they pass from the scene.
    You disfigure them in death and send them away.
21 They never know if their children grow up in honor
    or sink to insignificance.
22 They suffer painfully;
    their life is full of trouble.”

Love,

Jonathan

Jealousy 

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Hi Peeps,
Today’s Quote
“Jealousy and lust are empty rooms that can never be filled and like the grave, you can’t cheat or delete its consumption.” ~ Jon Barnes

Empty

Empty rooms are like empty minds of evil thoughts going nowhere fast.  The torture of evil spirits will consume the disobedient, just as peace and favor will overcome the righteous. God will make fun of fools by default and people of faith will be known for their good works and honest love. Empty are the hands of the wicked, condemned to hell for eternity and full are the hands of the righteous with love.

Rooms

Rooms will be overcrowded in hell, yet there will be plenty of space in heaven for the righteous. Wrap your mind around the quality of space and comfort you wish to have for eternity before the spirit of jealousy and lust consumes your mind and heart.  It is better to enter Heaven with nothing than to enter hell will money and stuff to burn.

Perspective

No matter what you choose, you will have to work at doing good and exercising your faith or you will suffer a loss through disobedience and evil practices.  Whichever path you choose, payment will be made in full. Make room in your mind to add up the cost of jealousy and lust in your life and imagine the gnashing of teeth in heat of the many who are in the gates of hell, right now!
Today’s Question
Is it worth it?
Enjoy The Reading

1 Samuel 22 

David at the Cave of Adullam

22 So David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. Soon his brothers and all his other relatives joined him there. Then others began coming—men who were in trouble or in debt or who were just discontented—until David was the captain of about 400 men.
Later David went to Mizpeh in Moab, where he asked the king, “Please allow my father and mother to live here with you until I know what God is going to do for me.” So David’s parents stayed in Moab with the king during the entire time David was living in his stronghold.
One day the prophet Gad told David, “Leave the stronghold and return to the land of Judah.” So David went to the forest of Hereth.
The news of his arrival in Judah soon reached Saul. At the time, the king was sitting beneath the tamarisk tree on the hill at Gibeah, holding his spear and surrounded by his officers.
“Listen here, you men of Benjamin!” Saul shouted to his officers when he heard the news. “Has that son of Jesse promised every one of you fields and vineyards? Has he promised to make you all generals and captains in his army?[a] Is that why you have conspired against me? For not one of you told me when my own son made a solemn pact with the son of Jesse. You’re not even sorry for me. Think of it! My own son—encouraging him to kill me, as he is trying to do this very day!”
Then Doeg the Edomite, who was standing there with Saul’s men, spoke up. “When I was at Nob,” he said, “I saw the son of Jesse talking to the priest, Ahimelech son of Ahitub.10 Ahimelech consulted the Lord for him. Then he gave him food and the sword of Goliath the Philistine.”

The Slaughter of the Priests

11 King Saul immediately sent for Ahimelech and all his family, who served as priests at Nob.12 When they arrived, Saul shouted at him, “Listen to me, you son of Ahitub!”
“What is it, my king?” Ahimelech asked.
13 “Why have you and the son of Jesse conspired against me?” Saul demanded. “Why did you give him food and a sword? Why have you consulted God for him? Why have you encouraged him to kill me, as he is trying to do this very day?”
14 “But sir,” Ahimelech replied, “is anyone among all your servants as faithful as David, your son-in-law? Why, he is the captain of your bodyguard and a highly honored member of your household! 15 This was certainly not the first time I had consulted God for him! May the king not accuse me and my family in this matter, for I knew nothing at all of any plot against you.”
16 “You will surely die, Ahimelech, along with your entire family!” the king shouted. 17 And he ordered his bodyguards, “Kill these priests of the Lord, for they are allies and conspirators with David! They knew he was running away from me, but they didn’t tell me!” But Saul’s men refused to kill the Lord’s priests.
18 Then the king said to Doeg, “You do it.” So Doeg the Edomite turned on them and killed them that day, eighty-five priests in all, still wearing their priestly garments. 19 Then he went to Nob, the town of the priests, and killed the priests’ families—men and women, children and babies—and all the cattle, donkeys, sheep, and goats.
20 Only Abiathar, one of the sons of Ahimelech, escaped and fled to David. 21 When he told David that Saul had killed the priests of the Lord, 22 David exclaimed, “I knew it! When I saw Doeg the Edomite there that day, I knew he was sure to tell Saul. Now I have caused the death of all your father’s family. 23 Stay here with me, and don’t be afraid. I will protect you with my own life, for the same person wants to kill us both.”
Love,
Jonathan