“The Body of Christ means that we are all in this together.”~TB
Church is God’s people, not merely a place you go to on Sunday to check off your sanctified box. Church is everyday, doing life with you brother, sister, family, neighbor and so on. It means stepping in to help the widowed, the poor, the downtrodden, and the like. It means mirroring the ways of Jesus to the best of our ability. Unfortunately, somewhere down the line, many of us missed the memo on the lessons that Christ actually conveyed.
If you’re idea of Christianity is looking like an Instagram filter on Sundays while judging the members of your church based on a vanity metric system, you need to recalibrate. Our roles as children of God is to spread His message, and not our personal agendas. We must check out egos at the door and see what is needed and not just what we want. There is much more gained in giving than receiving. In all that you do, remember what Jesus did to guide your way.
Are you stepping up or stepping on your brothers and sisters?
Enjoy the reading
1Bel and Nebo, the gods of Babylon, bow as they are lowered to the ground. They are being hauled away on ox carts. The poor beasts stagger under the weight.
2Both the idols and their owners are bowed down. The gods cannot protect the people, and the people cannot protect the gods. They go off into captivity together.
3“Listen to me, descendants of Jacob, all you who remain in Israel. I have cared for you since you were born. Yes, I carried you before you were born.
4I will be your God throughout your lifetime— until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you.
5“To whom will you compare me? Who is my equal?
6Some people pour out their silver and gold and hire a craftsman to make a god from it. Then they bow down and worship it!
7They carry it around on their shoulders, and when they set it down, it stays there. It can’t even move! And when someone prays to it, there is no answer. It can’t rescue anyone from trouble.
8“Do not forget this! Keep it in mind! Remember this, you guilty ones.
9Remember the things I have done in the past. For I alone am God! I am God, and there is none like me.
10Only I can tell you the future before it even happens. Everything I plan will come to pass, for I do whatever I wish.
11I will call a swift bird of prey from the east— a leader from a distant land to come and do my bidding. I have said what I would do, and I will do it.
12“Listen to me, you stubborn people who are so far from doing right.
13For I am ready to set things right, not in the distant future, but right now! I am ready to save Jerusalem and show my glory to Israel.
“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?
Enjoy the reading
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 wait for some miraculous sign to do what God has called you to do.”~TB
When God first reveals the Truth, everything seems miraculous and wonderful. Because you are looking at the world with open eyes you see Him in everything and everywhere. You delight in His presence, singing promises of obedience, forever and ever. Of course, it’s easy to be a babe in Christ; you have yet to begin your walk! It’s a good thing that God’s patient is immeasurable as we humans have a tendency of making promises we cannot keep. Trials and tests have a way of making one weary and jaded, which is why you have to rest and renew your spirit through your 1 on 1 time with Christ.
Time has a way of dulling the senses and if you’re not careful, that fire you once had for Christ turns into a lukewarm complacency. Over time, you begin to look for some magical occurrence to help push you into your calling. Friends, God is still here and He is still working in your favor. Don’t take for granted what He’s done for you. If you find yourself waiting for some mystical happening, talk to Him and pray for a renewal of your faith. Even better, help your brothers and sisters who are in need. We are all one body, so when we help someone else, we, in turn, are aided in our service. Don’t wait for signs to do what you know to be the right thing.
What are you waiting for?
Enjoy the reading
1While dining with a ruler, pay attention to what is put before you.
2If you are a big eater, put a knife to your throat;
3don’t desire all the delicacies, for he might be trying to trick you.
4Don’t wear yourself out trying to get rich. Be wise enough to know when to quit.
5In the blink of an eye wealth disappears, for it will sprout wings and fly away like an eagle.
6Don’t eat with people who are stingy; don’t desire their delicacies.
7They are always thinking about how much it costs. “Eat and drink,” they say, but they don’t mean it.
8You will throw up what little you’ve eaten, and your compliments will be wasted.
9Don’t waste your breath on fools, for they will despise the wisest advice.
10Don’t cheat your neighbor by moving the ancient boundary markers; don’t take the land of defenseless orphans.
11For their Redeemer is strong; he himself will bring their charges against you.
12Commit yourself to instruction; listen carefully to words of knowledge.
13Don’t fail to discipline your children. The rod of punishment won’t kill them.
14Physical discipline may well save them from death.
15My child, if your heart is wise, my own heart will rejoice!
16Everything in me will celebrate when you speak what is right.
17Don’t envy sinners, but always continue to fear the LORD .
18You will be rewarded for this; your hope will not be disappointed.
19My child, listen and be wise: Keep your heart on the right course.
20Do not carouse with drunkards or feast with gluttons,
21for they are on their way to poverty, and too much sleep clothes them in rags.
22Listen to your father, who gave you life, and don’t despise your mother when she is old.
23Get the truth and never sell it; also get wisdom, discipline, and good judgment.
24The father of godly children has cause for joy. What a pleasure to have children who are wise.
25So give your father and mother joy! May she who gave you birth be happy.
26O my son, give me your heart. May your eyes take delight in following my ways.
27A prostitute is a dangerous trap; a promiscuous woman is as dangerous as falling into a narrow well.
28She hides and waits like a robber, eager to make more men unfaithful.
29Who has anguish? Who has sorrow? Who is always fighting? Who is always complaining? Who has unnecessary bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes?
30It is the one who spends long hours in the taverns, trying out new drinks.
31Don’t gaze at the wine, seeing how red it is, how it sparkles in the cup, how smoothly it goes down.
32For in the end it bites like a poisonous snake; it stings like a viper.
33You will see hallucinations, and you will say crazy things.
34You will stagger like a sailor tossed at sea, clinging to a swaying mast.
35And you will say, “They hit me, but I didn’t feel it. I didn’t even know it when they beat me up. When will I wake up so I can look for another drink?”