First Person

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“In order to build an authentic relationship with God, you must live a first person life.”~TB

Unreliable

I recently purchased a patio set that required some work to put it together. To give myself an understanding of what to expect, I read the reviews of people who had purchased the set. To my dismay, most said the process was hard, arduous, and not worth the effect. This made me avoid the project, dreading the idea of taking on such a difficult task. Yesterday, I finally got down to business, and not only did it take me about an hour, it was pretty straightforward and easy! Even more ironic, I enjoy putting things together, so why I allowed the opinions of others impede on my task is beyond me. As I sat on my newly built furniture, I laughed at myself because it had taken me an extra week to finish an easy and enjoyable project. I couldn’t help but see the correlation between how we pursue or don’t pursue a relationship with Christ based on the opinions of others.

In Real Time

When we live our lives based on the opinions and experiences of others, we fall prey to not truly living at all! The same can be said about knowing God. Just because you perceive that your buddy Joe is a Christian, that doesn’t mean he has all of the answers about God’s will for your life. That’s between you and God, not Joe. More to the point, most of us rely on faulty stories from other people that discourage us from knowing Him, only to find out that building that vital relationship was nothing like the bill of goods you were sold! Friends, walking with God is a first-person adventure. Your mother, brother, sister, daughter, son, pastor, teacher, or preacher cannot walk that walk for you. Even the wisest person is still unreliable in terms of perfectly exemplifying the behavior of Christ. So you must get to know him, otherwise you can fall prey to the false testimony of those who do now know Him.

Today’s Question

Are you actively walking with God, or are you getting advice from an unreliable source?

Enjoy the reading

Jeremiah 37

1 Zedekiah son of Josiah succeeded Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim as the king of Judah. He was appointed by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. 2 But neither King Zedekiah nor his attendants nor the people who were left in the land listened to what the LORD said through Jeremiah. 3 Nevertheless, King Zedekiah sent Jehucal son of Shelemiah, and Zephaniah the priest, son of Maaseiah, to ask Jeremiah, “Please pray to the LORD our God for us.” 4 Jeremiah had not yet been imprisoned, so he could come and go among the people as he pleased. 5 At this time the army of Pharaoh Hophra of Egypt appeared at the southern border of Judah. When the Babylonian army heard about it, they withdrew from their siege of Jerusalem. 6 Then the LORD gave this message to Jeremiah: 7 “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: The king of Judah sent you to ask me what is going to happen. Tell him, ‘Pharaoh’s army is about to return to Egypt, though he came here to help you. 8 Then the Babylonians will come back and capture this city and burn it to the ground.’ 9 “This is what the LORD says: Do not fool yourselves into thinking that the Babylonians are gone for good. They aren’t! 10 Even if you were to destroy the entire Babylonian army, leaving only a handful of wounded survivors, they would still stagger from their tents and burn this city to the ground!” 11 When the Babylonian army left Jerusalem because of Pharaoh’s approaching army, 12 Jeremiah started to leave the city on his way to the territory of Benjamin, to claim his share of the property among his relatives there. 13 But as he was walking through the Benjamin Gate, a sentry arrested him and said, “You are defecting to the Babylonians!” The sentry making the arrest was Irijah son of Shelemiah, grandson of Hananiah. 14 “That’s not true!” Jeremiah protested. “I had no intention of doing any such thing.” But Irijah wouldn’t listen, and he took Jeremiah before the officials. 15 They were furious with Jeremiah and had him flogged and imprisoned in the house of Jonathan the secretary. Jonathan’s house had been converted into a prison. 16 Jeremiah was put into a dungeon cell, where he remained for many days. 17 Later King Zedekiah secretly requested that Jeremiah come to the palace, where the king asked him, “Do you have any messages from the LORD ?” “Yes, I do!” said Jeremiah. “You will be defeated by the king of Babylon.” 18 Then Jeremiah asked the king, “What crime have I committed? What have I done against you, your attendants, or the people that I should be imprisoned like this? 19 Where are your prophets now who told you the king of Babylon would not attack you or this land? 20 Listen, my lord the king, I beg you. Don’t send me back to the dungeon in the house of Jonathan the secretary, for I will die there.” 21 So King Zedekiah commanded that Jeremiah not be returned to the dungeon. Instead, he was imprisoned in the courtyard of the guard in the royal palace. The king also commanded that Jeremiah be given a loaf of fresh bread every day as long as there was any left in the city. So Jeremiah was put in the palace prison.

Monkey See, Monkey Do

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“If there is anyone truly worth imitating, it’s God Himself.”~TB

Sloppy Imitations

By design, we humans are wired to seek out our Teacher– our Father in Heaven. Unfortunately, most have decided to go with the false teachers of this world for the fool’s gold that they peddle. One of the most detrimental things that we’ve done as a society is to brainwash ourselves through marketing, media, influencers, etc. I suspect down the line, there will be studies that support this argument. When you look to these false teachers, leaders, and the like, you’re ability to spot the truth dulls as the flashy fleshly desires of evil call to you like a shiny object to a monkey. Because of your attraction to superficial things, the Truth is boring and lame while sin is desirable.

The Real McCoy 

God never changes. He does not fail, He does not lie and His teachings remain the same from the time they first were instructed to this very day. What does change, what does fail, are evil and humanity, because both are fundamentally flawed. Human culture changes depending on what’s trending or deemed socially accepted. When leaders cower to the pressures of dumb, evil beings, people fall in line because, “if pastor so and so, or preacher this and that, said so, it must be true!”. Friends, we cannot imitate each other so blindly because you and I are a bunch of flesh bag idiots who are easily lead astray. Instead, follow God, hold each other accountable, and resist the temptation to entertain evil.

Today’s Question

Are you following the crowd to Hell or walking the narrow path alongside our Father in Heaven?

Enjoy the reading

Jeremiah 33

1 While Jeremiah was still confined in the courtyard of the guard, the LORD gave him this second message: 
2 “This is what the LORD says—the LORD who made the earth, who formed and established it, whose name is the LORD : 
3 Ask me and I will tell you remarkable secrets you do not know about things to come. 
4 For this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: You have torn down the houses of this city and even the king’s palace to get materials to strengthen the walls against the siege ramps and swords of the enemy. 
5 You expect to fight the Babylonians, but the men of this city are already as good as dead, for I have determined to destroy them in my terrible anger. I have abandoned them because of all their wickedness. 
6 “Nevertheless, the time will come when I will heal Jerusalem’s wounds and give it prosperity and true peace. 
7 I will restore the fortunes of Judah and Israel and rebuild their towns. 
8 I will cleanse them of their sins against me and forgive all their sins of rebellion. 
9 Then this city will bring me joy, glory, and honor before all the nations of the earth! The people of the world will see all the good I do for my people, and they will tremble with awe at the peace and prosperity I provide for them. 
10 “This is what the LORD says: You have said, ‘This is a desolate land where people and animals have all disappeared.’ Yet in the empty streets of Jerusalem and Judah’s other towns, there will be heard once more 
11 the sounds of joy and laughter. The joyful voices of bridegrooms and brides will be heard again, along with the joyous songs of people bringing thanksgiving offerings to the LORD . They will sing, ‘Give thanks to the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, for the LORD is good. His faithful love endures forever!’ For I will restore the prosperity of this land to what it was in the past, says the LORD . 
12 “This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: This land—though it is now desolate and has no people and animals—will once more have pastures where shepherds can lead their flocks. 
13 Once again shepherds will count their flocks in the towns of the hill country, the foothills of Judah, the Negev, the land of Benjamin, the vicinity of Jerusalem, and all the towns of Judah. I, the LORD, have spoken! 
14 “The day will come, says the LORD, when I will do for Israel and Judah all the good things I have promised them. 
15 “In those days and at that time I will raise up a righteous descendant from King David’s line. He will do what is just and right throughout the land. 
16 In that day Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this will be its name: ‘The LORD Is Our Righteousness.’ 
17 For this is what the LORD says: David will have a descendant sitting on the throne of Israel forever. 
18 And there will always be Levitical priests to offer burnt offerings and grain offerings and sacrifices to me.” 
19 Then this message came to Jeremiah from the LORD : 
20 “This is what the LORD says: If you can break my covenant with the day and the night so that one does not follow the other, 
21 only then will my covenant with my servant David be broken. Only then will he no longer have a descendant to reign on his throne. The same is true for my covenant with the Levitical priests who minister before me. 
22 And as the stars of the sky cannot be counted and the sand on the seashore cannot be measured, so I will multiply the descendants of my servant David and the Levites who minister before me.” 
23 The LORD gave another message to Jeremiah. He said, 
24 “Have you noticed what people are saying?—‘The LORD chose Judah and Israel and then abandoned them!’ They are sneering and saying that Israel is not worthy to be counted as a nation. 
25 But this is what the LORD says: I would no more reject my people than I would change my laws that govern night and day, earth and sky. 
26 I will never abandon the descendants of Jacob or David, my servant, or change the plan that David’s descendants will rule the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Instead, I will restore them to their land and have mercy on them.”

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.”

Resources

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Resources are meant to be used to grow with Christ, not to replace Him.”~TB

Just Stuff

A major balancing act in the Christian walk is utilizing and appreciating the resources that God gives us without allowing them to take on a god-like persona. If we’re honest, I’m sure we all have had moments where we want God’s ‘stuff’ more than we want Him. I don’t know about you, but for me, that’s a tough pill to swallow because the truth of the matter, money, cars, fame, notoriety are really just stuff. More to the point, wanting stuff more than we want God is quite sad and a major indictment on what we value as a collective. As someone who has experience with first-world niceties, I can say for certain, the best manmade things do not hold a candle to being in the presence of the Lord.

Remain in Him

These days, everything I have is a resource to remain in Christ. My money, time, love, etc. are poured into building my relationships with my family, spending time with God, sharing His Truth with others, and things of the like. That’s not to say I’m perfect, oh, I’m far from it. Over time, I’ve come to learn to hang out with God more, glean His insights, which helps me to make better decisions.  He has shown and taught me how wonderful it is to walk with Him and the resources He gives me are to grow stronger in Him. Friends, we have to evaluate how we look at things. Most of the time, we want ‘stuff’ just to impress others. The things of this world are temporary. We cannot take them with us when we go. But, the relationship we forge with Christ is everlasting, so enjoy the resources, but make sure they point back to Him.

Today’s Question

Do you want God’s resources or God Himself?

Enjoy the reading

Jeremiah 22

1 This is what the LORD said to me: “Go over and speak directly to the king of Judah. Say to him, 
2 ‘Listen to this message from the LORD, you king of Judah, sitting on David’s throne. Let your attendants and your people listen, too. 
3 This is what the LORD says: Be fair-minded and just. Do what is right! Help those who have been robbed; rescue them from their oppressors. Quit your evil deeds! Do not mistreat foreigners, orphans, and widows. Stop murdering the innocent! 
4 If you obey me, there will always be a descendant of David sitting on the throne here in Jerusalem. The king will ride through the palace gates in chariots and on horses, with his parade of attendants and subjects. 
5 But if you refuse to pay attention to this warning, I swear by my own name, says the LORD, that this palace will become a pile of rubble.’” 
6 Now this is what the LORD says concerning Judah’s royal palace: “I love you as much as fruitful Gilead and the green forests of Lebanon. But I will turn you into a desert, with no one living within your walls. 
7 I will call for wreckers, who will bring out their tools to dismantle you. They will tear out all your fine cedar beams and throw them on the fire. 
8 “People from many nations will pass by the ruins of this city and say to one another, ‘Why did the LORD destroy such a great city?’ 
9 And the answer will be, ‘Because they violated their covenant with the LORD their God by worshiping other gods.’” 
10 Do not weep for the dead king or mourn his loss. Instead, weep for the captive king being led away! For he will never return to see his native land again. 
11 For this is what the LORD says about Jehoahaz, who succeeded his father, King Josiah, and was taken away as a captive: “He will never return. 
12 He will die in a distant land and will never again see his own country.” 
13 And the LORD says, “What sorrow awaits Jehoiakim, who builds his palace with forced labor. He builds injustice into its walls, for he makes his neighbors work for nothing. He does not pay them for their labor. 
14 He says, ‘I will build a magnificent palace with huge rooms and many windows. I will panel it throughout with fragrant cedar and paint it a lovely red.’ 
15 But a beautiful cedar palace does not make a great king! Your father, Josiah, also had plenty to eat and drink. But he was just and right in all his dealings. That is why God blessed him. 
16 He gave justice and help to the poor and needy, and everything went well for him. Isn’t that what it means to know me?” says the LORD . 
17 “But you! You have eyes only for greed and dishonesty! You murder the innocent, oppress the poor, and reign ruthlessly.” 
18 Therefore, this is what the LORD says about Jehoiakim, son of King Josiah: “The people will not mourn for him, crying to one another, ‘Alas, my brother! Alas, my sister!’ His subjects will not mourn for him, crying, ‘Alas, our master is dead! Alas, his splendor is gone!’ 
19 He will be buried like a dead donkey— dragged out of Jerusalem and dumped outside the gates! 
20 Weep for your allies in Lebanon. Shout for them in Bashan. Search for them in the regions east of the river. See, they are all destroyed. Not one is left to help you. 
21 I warned you when you were prosperous, but you replied, ‘Don’t bother me.’ You have been that way since childhood— you simply will not obey me! 
22 And now the wind will blow away your allies. All your friends will be taken away as captives. Surely then you will see your wickedness and be ashamed. 
23 It may be nice to live in a beautiful palace paneled with wood from the cedars of Lebanon, but soon you will groan with pangs of anguish— anguish like that of a woman in labor. 
24 “As surely as I live,” says the LORD, “I will abandon you, Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah. Even if you were the signet ring on my right hand, I would pull you off. 
25 I will hand you over to those who seek to kill you, those you so desperately fear—to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and the mighty Babylonian army. 
26 I will expel you and your mother from this land, and you will die in a foreign country, not in your native land. 
27 You will never again return to the land you yearn for. 
28 “Why is this man Jehoiachin like a discarded, broken jar? Why are he and his children to be exiled to a foreign land? 
29 O earth, earth, earth! Listen to this message from the LORD ! 
30 This is what the LORD says: ‘Let the record show that this man Jehoiachin was childless. He is a failure, for none of his children will succeed him on the throne of David to rule over Judah.’

Jump Ship

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

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

Tolerance

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

Hunker Down

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

Today’s Question

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

Enjoy the reading

Jeremiah 15

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

Obedience>Perfection

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“God never asks for perfection, just obedience.”~TB

Standards

Do you ever sit back and reflect on the standards that Christ has asked of us? Love your neighbor as yourself, don’t covet, forgive others, honor thy mother and father, and so on. These standards in of themselves are not difficult. They do not require a Ph.D. nor a mathematical background to practice. More to the point, even when we do screw those up, all we have to do is repent and turn from our stupidity. Imagine that! So why is it that we as people have come so far astray from those simple commandments and deeds? We’ve adopted our own morbid standards of human perfection (depravity) and have tossed God’s to the wayside. If you don’t believe me consider this: depending on the human audience, the standards change. But, God’s standards, never change no matter the audience or time period.

Practice

So if man’s standards change– as they often do– it can’t come as a massive surprise that we feel the instability and insecurity that is plaguing our society. From social standards, workplace standards, economic standards, it’s all over the place! This means, that instead of trying to perfect any standard, it’s always best to practice obeying the standards of Christ. Because God’s word never fails, deviates, and obscures, all we have is Him — which is all we need. Think about it; when we die, we can’t take any of this with us. What Suzy said about your outfit or the way you made your quiche does not come into play at the Pearly Gates. Jim’s amazing man cave or home gym does not matter one iota. Friends, imagine if we moved in the way that Christ asked of us. It would be interesting to see what we could accomplish and the peace that would ensue. So, instead of looking to be perfect, practice obeying what Christ has written on our hearts.

Today’s Question

Are you practicing obedience or practicing stupidity?

Enjoy the reading

Jeremiah 14

1 This message came to Jeremiah from the LORD, explaining why he was holding back the rain: 
2 “Judah wilts; commerce at the city gates grinds to a halt. All the people sit on the ground in mourning, and a great cry rises from Jerusalem. 
3 The nobles send servants to get water, but all the wells are dry. The servants return with empty pitchers, confused and desperate, covering their heads in grief. 
4 The ground is parched and cracked for lack of rain. The farmers are deeply troubled; they, too, cover their heads. 
5 Even the doe abandons her newborn fawn because there is no grass in the field. 
6 The wild donkeys stand on the bare hills panting like thirsty jackals. They strain their eyes looking for grass, but there is none to be found.” 
7 The people say, “Our wickedness has caught up with us, LORD, but help us for the sake of your own reputation. We have turned away from you and sinned against you again and again. 
8 O Hope of Israel, our Savior in times of trouble, why are you like a stranger to us? Why are you like a traveler passing through the land, stopping only for the night? 
9 Are you also confused? Is our champion helpless to save us? You are right here among us, LORD . We are known as your people. Please don’t abandon us now!” 
10 So this is what the LORD says to his people: “You love to wander far from me and do not restrain yourselves. Therefore, I will no longer accept you as my people. Now I will remember all your wickedness and will punish you for your sins.” 
11 Then the LORD said to me, “Do not pray for these people anymore. 
12 When they fast, I will pay no attention. When they present their burnt offerings and grain offerings to me, I will not accept them. Instead, I will devour them with war, famine, and disease.” 
13 Then I said, “O Sovereign LORD, their prophets are telling them, ‘All is well—no war or famine will come. The LORD will surely send you peace.’” 
14 Then the LORD said, “These prophets are telling lies in my name. I did not send them or tell them to speak. I did not give them any messages. They prophesy of visions and revelations they have never seen or heard. They speak foolishness made up in their own lying hearts. 
15 Therefore, this is what the LORD says: I will punish these lying prophets, for they have spoken in my name even though I never sent them. They say that no war or famine will come, but they themselves will die by war and famine! 
16 As for the people to whom they prophesy—their bodies will be thrown out into the streets of Jerusalem, victims of famine and war. There will be no one left to bury them. Husbands, wives, sons, and daughters—all will be gone. For I will pour out their own wickedness on them. 
17 Now, Jeremiah, say this to them: “Night and day my eyes overflow with tears. I cannot stop weeping, for my virgin daughter—my precious people— has been struck down and lies mortally wounded. 
18 If I go out into the fields, I see the bodies of people slaughtered by the enemy. If I walk the city streets, I see people who have died of starvation. The prophets and priests continue with their work, but they don’t know what they’re doing.” 
19 LORD, have you completely rejected Judah? Do you really hate Jerusalem? Why have you wounded us past all hope of healing? We hoped for peace, but no peace came. We hoped for a time of healing, but found only terror. 
20 LORD, we confess our wickedness and that of our ancestors, too. We all have sinned against you. 
21 For the sake of your reputation, LORD, do not abandon us. Do not disgrace your own glorious throne. Please remember us, and do not break your covenant with us. 
22 Can any of the worthless foreign gods send us rain? Does it fall from the sky by itself? No, you are the one, O LORD our God! Only you can do such things. So we will wait for you to help us.

 

Job

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Don’t do the devil’s job for him.”~Jon Barnes

Enemy

Have you ever noticed that many people shoot for the minimum or enough to get by? It’s interesting how we as a society have conditioned ourselves to accept mediocrity, corruption, and the like as if bondage and enslavement are normal living conditions. We are more prone to believe in the negative things and scoff at the amazing possibilities . and potential that comes with following Christ.  Self-sabotage is a behavior that keeps us from actualizing the promises that God gives to each and every one of us. In short, when we participate in these defeating practices, we’re giving the devil much unnecessary help that we could be using ourselves to answer the call of Christ.

Ally

Friends do not be scared, intimated, or in denial of the great dreams and potential that God has stored in each and every one of you. He has done a great work in all of us. The worst thing we can do is to trade a miraculous truth for comfortable lies. Yes,  God’s plan requires faith, work, and humility, but the pay off is so much more satisfying and everlasting than not working to your potential. Look to God as the ultimate ally and guide for your life.  When you read the Bible and see all of the people and works documented, the extraordinary seems more possible, because all things are possible through Him!  Don’t do the enemy any favors by beating yourself up and living in condemnation. Instead, till the soil and see what it is that God has tasked you to do. It will be a life well-lived and full of adventure, no doubt.

Today’s Question

Who are you working for; God of the devil?

Enjoy the reading

Jeremiah 13

1 This is what the LORD said to me: “Go and buy a linen loincloth and put it on, but do not wash it.” 
2 So I bought the loincloth as the LORD directed me, and I put it on. 
3 Then the LORD gave me another message: 
4 “Take the linen loincloth you are wearing, and go to the Euphrates River. Hide it there in a hole in the rocks.” 
5 So I went and hid it by the Euphrates as the LORD had instructed me. 
6 A long time afterward the LORD said to me, “Go back to the Euphrates and get the loincloth I told you to hide there.” 
7 So I went to the Euphrates and dug it out of the hole where I had hidden it. But now it was rotting and falling apart. The loincloth was good for nothing. 
8 Then I received this message from the LORD : 
9 “This is what the LORD says: This shows how I will rot away the pride of Judah and Jerusalem. 
10 These wicked people refuse to listen to me. They stubbornly follow their own desires and worship other gods. Therefore, they will become like this loincloth—good for nothing! 
11 As a loincloth clings to a man’s waist, so I created Judah and Israel to cling to me, says the LORD . They were to be my people, my pride, my glory—an honor to my name. But they would not listen to me. 
12 “So tell them, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: May all your jars be filled with wine.’ And they will reply, ‘Of course! Jars are made to be filled with wine!’ 
13 “Then tell them, ‘No, this is what the LORD means: I will fill everyone in this land with drunkenness—from the king sitting on David’s throne to the priests and the prophets, right down to the common people of Jerusalem. 
14 I will smash them against each other, even parents against children, says the LORD . I will not let my pity or mercy or compassion keep me from destroying them.’” 
15 Listen and pay attention! Do not be arrogant, for the LORD has spoken. 
16 Give glory to the LORD your God before it is too late. Acknowledge him before he brings darkness upon you, causing you to stumble and fall on the darkening mountains. For then, when you look for light, you will find only terrible darkness and gloom. 
17 And if you still refuse to listen, I will weep alone because of your pride. My eyes will overflow with tears, because the LORD ’s flock will be led away into exile. 
18 Say to the king and his mother, “Come down from your thrones and sit in the dust, for your glorious crowns will soon be snatched from your heads.” 
19 The towns of the Negev will close their gates, and no one will be able to open them. The people of Judah will be taken away as captives. All will be carried into exile. 
20 Open up your eyes and see the armies marching down from the north! Where is your flock— your beautiful flock— that he gave you to care for? 
21 What will you say when the LORD takes the allies you have cultivated and appoints them as your rulers? Pangs of anguish will grip you, like those of a woman in labor! 
22 You may ask yourself, “Why is all this happening to me?” It is because of your many sins! That is why you have been stripped and raped by invading armies. 
23 Can an Ethiopian change the color of his skin? Can a leopard take away its spots? Neither can you start doing good, for you have always done evil. 
24 “I will scatter you like chaff that is blown away by the desert winds. 
25 This is your allotment, the portion I have assigned to you,” says the LORD, “for you have forgotten me, putting your trust in false gods. 
26 I myself will strip you and expose you to shame. 
27 I have seen your adultery and lust, and your disgusting idol worship out in the fields and on the hills. What sorrow awaits you, Jerusalem! How long before you are pure?”

Fantastic

 

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Hi Peeps
Today’s Quote
 
“It is a fantastic feeling when people tell you that your children and grandchildren are doing a great job honoring God with their good work, lifestyles, and choices.”  ~  Jon Barnes

Hilarious

You can rejoice, laugh, and smile after you have put in all of the hard work, sweat, and tears of joy while working in the trenches by yourself because your family will copy you and make you proud. The quality of work put in your obedience to God will give you great success with Jesus our Lord!  Laugh and be thankful.  Others may join you with your good cheer or frown in the sorrow of their laziness of love.

Resourceful

Since people really understand God’s Truth, notice how many will poke holes at your belief system, God’s Word, and your lifestyle.  Evil people will always find ways to change God’s laws to benefit their evil lifestyle, which is the very reason that they know the biblical stories better than you good people. This is their normal, so smile and be resourceful with few words and lots of spiritual action ordained by God in your personal obedience with God’s Love and Spirit.  You don’t have to be a rocket scientist, but you must be honest with God.

Likable

People who talk less and do more tend to be more likable, effective, honest, and to the point.  God loves the truthful simplicity of love, life, and spiritual growth.  Strive to carry the character and characteristics of Christ in your life so that God likes what you are doing.  He knows how to bless you beyond your wildest imagination so that you don’t have to build an empire or legacy of proof.  Having God on your side is all the empire, legacy, money, and love that you’ll ever need.  How fantastic is that?
Today’s Question
Can you live a fantastic life with the hope of eternal salvation with lies, fake news, and false hopes in your own fanciful, man-made, makeshift belief system?
Enjoy The Reading

John 12 

Jesus Anointed at Bethany

12 Six days before the Passover celebration began, Jesus arrived in Bethany, the home of Lazarus—the man he had raised from the dead. 2 A dinner was prepared in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, and Lazarus was among those who ate with him. 3 Then Mary took a twelve-ounce jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard, and she anointed Jesus’ feet with it, wiping his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance.
4 But Judas Iscariot, the disciple who would soon betray him, said, 5 “That perfume was worth a year’s wages. It should have been sold and the money given to the poor.” 6 Not that he cared for the poor—he was a thief, and since he was in charge of the disciples’ money, he often stole some for himself.
7 Jesus replied, “Leave her alone. She did this in preparation for my burial. 8 You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”
9 When all the people heard of Jesus’ arrival, they flocked to see him and also to see Lazarus, the man Jesus had raised from the dead. 10 Then the leading priests decided to kill Lazarus, too, 11 for it was because of him that many of the people had deserted them and believed in Jesus.

Jesus’ Triumphant Entry

12 The next day, the news that Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem swept through the city. A large crowd of Passover visitors 13 took palm branches and went down the road to meet him. They shouted,
“Praise God!
Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hail to the King of Israel!”
14 Jesus found a young donkey and rode on it, fulfilling the prophecy that said:
15 “Don’t be afraid, people of Jerusalem.
Look, your King is coming,
riding on a donkey’s colt.”
16 His disciples didn’t understand at the time that this was a fulfillment of prophecy. But after Jesus entered into his glory, they remembered what had happened and realized that these things had been written about him.
17 Many in the crowd had seen Jesus call Lazarus from the tomb, raising him from the dead, and they were telling others about it. 18 That was the reason so many went out to meet him—because they had heard about this miraculous sign. 19 Then the Pharisees said to each other, “There’s nothing we can do. Look, everyone has gone after him!”

Jesus Predicts His Death

20 Some Greeks who had come to Jerusalem for the Passover celebration 21 paid a visit to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee. They said, “Sir, we want to meet Jesus.” 22 Philip told Andrew about it, and they went together to ask Jesus.
23 Jesus replied, “Now the time has come for the Son of Man to enter into his glory. 24 I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives. 25 Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity. 26 Anyone who wants to serve me must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me.
27 “Now my soul is deeply troubled. Should I pray, ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But this is the very reason I came! 28 Father, bring glory to your name.”
Then a voice spoke from heaven, saying, “I have already brought glory to my name, and I will do so again.” 29 When the crowd heard the voice, some thought it was thunder, while others declared an angel had spoken to him.
30 Then Jesus told them, “The voice was for your benefit, not mine. 31 The time for judging this world has come, when Satan, the ruler of this world, will be cast out. 32 And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.” 33 He said this to indicate how he was going to die.
34 The crowd responded, “We understood from Scripture that the Messiah would live forever. How can you say the Son of Man will die? Just who is this Son of Man, anyway?”
35 Jesus replied, “My light will shine for you just a little longer. Walk in the light while you can, so the darkness will not overtake you. Those who walk in the darkness cannot see where they are going. 36 Put your trust in the light while there is still time; then you will become children of the light.”
After saying these things, Jesus went away and was hidden from them.

The Unbelief of the People

37 But despite all the miraculous signs Jesus had done, most of the people still did not believe in him. 38 This is exactly what Isaiah the prophet had predicted:
“Lord, who has believed our message?
To whom has the Lord revealed his powerful arm?”
39 But the people couldn’t believe, for as Isaiah also said,
40 “The Lord has blinded their eyes
and hardened their hearts—
so that their eyes cannot see,
and their hearts cannot understand,
and they cannot turn to me
and have me heal them.”
41 Isaiah was referring to Jesus when he said this, because he saw the future and spoke of the Messiah’s glory. 42 Many people did believe in him, however, including some of the Jewish leaders. But they wouldn’t admit it for fear that the Pharisees would expel them from the synagogue. 43 For they loved human praise more than the praise of God.
44 Jesus shouted to the crowds, “If you trust me, you are trusting not only me, but also God who sent me. 45 For when you see me, you are seeing the one who sent me. 46 I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark. 47 I will not judge those who hear me but don’t obey me, for I have come to save the world and not to judge it. 48 But all who reject me and my message will be judged on the day of judgment by the truth I have spoken. 49 I don’t speak on my own authority. The Father who sent me has commanded me what to say and how to say it. 50 And I know his commands lead to eternal life; so I say whatever the Father tells me to say.”

Junk Food

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“You are what you consume.”~TB

Counterintuitive

Have you ever noticed how the majority of the world’s standards and practices go against the Biblical and wise solutions and messages of Christ? More to the point, society teaches us the very ideas that poison our mind, body, and spirit. I know that sounds hyperbolic, but hear me out. What we eat, how we think, what we do with our bodies— there’s this indoctrination of indulgence and gluttony. We also glorify a lazy and mediocre existence. For argument’s sake, let’s drop the morality perspective and focus on the physiological. The mind, body and soul are all connected, which means how we treat one impacts the rest.

Mind

How’s your thought life? Do you hold yourself in a positive light or do you allow others to tear you down and believe their lies? Stinkin’ Thinkin’— as Joyce Meyer calls it— is detrimental to your wellbeing. The beauty is that we can control what we choose to think about. Of course, that take a conscious and present effort. Distraction is the ultimate slippery slope to a junky thought life. When your thoughts are negative, you’re less likely to take care of yourself, both physically and spiritually. This feeds directly into how you treat your body.

Body

Physical activity is incredibly important. It helps us to reconcile the mind junk and hold on to the positive truths. Food is also key. What are you eating? Fun fact, your stomach contains neurons, which acts as your second brain. So when you eat junk, it messes with your brain. When we talk about mental health, it’s impossible not to connect your dietary habits with your mind because your stomach quite literally contributes to it. As for the soul connection, if you’re out there using your body like a playground with others, friends there are major spiritual implications.

Soul

Have you ever wondered why we call liquor ‘spirits’? Alcohol isn’t inherently bad, I mean Jesus turned water into wine after all. But context matters as does the spiritual implications of drugs (I could go on but this post is pretty long already). Sex in its proper context is great! However, when it’s as common as a handshake, as the saying goes, if you lie down with dogs, you wake up with fleas. And I’m not just talking about diseases. Though our society teaches a “free spirit” and “sex positive” attitude, it fails to teach you the spiritual pitfalls that come from that lifestyle. There is a spiritual transference that occurs and you’re essentially giving pieces of yourself whenever you partake. No, this isn’t meant to shame you into celibacy. In fact, this isn’t about shame at all. But notice how these three things cycle back together. A broken mind leads to a broken body thus leading to a broken spirit, or any combination of the three. So why is this important?

In Context

Because God created us, our minds, bodies, and souls cannot be explained without Him. We are like his custom-built machines, which mean He’s the ultimate User Manual. So if we stand a chance to flee from our flesh, the world and the opposition, we have to continually read and understand the User Manual AKA the Bible. When we engage in pleasure-seeking activities that exist outside of His will for us, we suffer. No, not because He’s punishing us, it’s because we aren’t operating as intended. It’s like putting diesel fuel in a gas tank. You’re going to mess up the engine. We must stop perceiving discipline and obedience as punitive but as the guidelines for healthy operation. Guard your mind, body, and soul accordingly so that you can work as God intended. He made you for a purpose.

Today’s Question

Who or what is in control of your “machinery”

Isaiah 47

1 “Come down, virgin daughter of Babylon, and sit in the dust. For your days of sitting on a throne have ended. O daughter of Babylonia, never again will you be the lovely princess, tender and delicate.
2 Take heavy millstones and grind flour. Remove your veil, and strip off your robe. Expose yourself to public view.
3You will be naked and burdened with shame. I will take vengeance against you without pity.”
4Our Redeemer, whose name is the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, is the Holy One of Israel.
5“O beautiful Babylon, sit now in darkness and silence. Never again will you be known as the queen of kingdoms.
6 For I was angry with my chosen people and punished them by letting them fall into your hands. But you, Babylon, showed them no mercy. You oppressed even the elderly.
7 You said, ‘I will reign forever as queen of the world!’ You did not reflect on your actions or think about their consequences.
8“Listen to this, you pleasure-loving kingdom, living at ease and feeling secure. You say, ‘I am the only one, and there is no other. I will never be a widow or lose my children.’
9 Well, both these things will come upon you in a moment: widowhood and the loss of your children. Yes, these calamities will come upon you, despite all your witchcraft and magic.
10 “You felt secure in your wickedness. ‘No one sees me,’ you said. But your ‘wisdom’ and ‘knowledge’ have led you astray, and you said, ‘I am the only one, and there is no other.’
11 So disaster will overtake you, and you won’t be able to charm it away. Calamity will fall upon you, and you won’t be able to buy your way out. A catastrophe will strike you suddenly, one for which you are not prepared.
12 “Now use your magical charms! Use the spells you have worked at all these years! Maybe they will do you some good. Maybe they can make someone afraid of you.
13 All the advice you receive has made you tired. Where are all your astrologers, those stargazers who make predictions each month? Let them stand up and save you from what the future holds.
14 But they are like straw burning in a fire; they cannot save themselves from the flame. You will get no help from them at all; their hearth is no place to sit for warmth.
15 And all your friends, those with whom you’ve done business since childhood, will go their own ways, turning a deaf ear to your cries.

 

Way More

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Whatever you ‘lose’ on your walk with God, you will receive way more in return.”~TB

Sacrifice

Walking with Christ, you will lose things. Friends that you thought would be around forever, activities that gave you temporary pleasure, and a mindset that led you astray. In the beginning, this loss, this “sacrifice” seems punitive and unfair. The people and the activities that once orbited your life no longer hold the same influence or joy. In this stage, it can feel more like a punishment than a blessing, but in time, you will see the change in tide that will lead you to better things.

Blessings

A relationship with Christ is the key to the self-imposed shackles that we place on ourselves. It’s funny, because some people will say that following God is restricting, but in reality, it’s actually quite liberating. You’re free to think objectively, not bowing down to the pressures of modern society. You know not to through away your hard-earned money on vanity and fruitless endeavors. You learn to love your neighbor as God loves you because you’ve experienced the Hand of God on your life. There is a freedom in Christ that is unlike any other, and if you take the time to study, listen, and learn it is way more than any man-made gift on this earth.

Today’s Question

Are you way more interested in the truth or society’s shackles?

Enjoy the Reading

Isaiah 31

1 What sorrow awaits those who look to Egypt for help, trusting their horses, chariots, and charioteers and depending on the strength of human armies instead of looking to the LORD, the Holy One of Israel.
2 In his wisdom, the LORD will send great disaster; he will not change his mind. He will rise against the wicked and against their helpers.
3 For these Egyptians are mere humans, not God! Their horses are puny flesh, not mighty spirits! When the LORD raises his fist against them, those who help will stumble, and those being helped will fall. They will all fall down and die together.
4But this is what the LORD has told me: “When a strong young lion stands growling over a sheep it has killed, it is not frightened by the shouts and noise of a whole crowd of shepherds. In the same way, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will come down and fight on Mount Zion.
5 The LORD of Heaven’s Armies will hover over Jerusalem and protect it like a bird protecting its nest. He will defend and save the city; he will pass over it and rescue it.”
6 Though you are such wicked rebels, my people, come and return to the LORD .
7 I know the glorious day will come when each of you will throw away the gold idols and silver images your sinful hands have made.
8 “The Assyrians will be destroyed, but not by the swords of men. The sword of God will strike them, and they will panic and flee. The strong young Assyrians will be taken away as captives.
9 Even the strongest will quake with terror, and princes will flee when they see your battle flags,” says the LORD, whose fire burns in Zion, whose flame blazes from Jerusalem