“Don’t look at your neighbor’s harvest for evidence of God’s Sovereignty.”~TB
There are 24 hours, 1,440 minutes, and 86,400 seconds in each day. Considering that we spend only a mere fractionof that time around other people, it’s impossible to know all of the deeds and seeds being sown by anyone. Not even your child, your spouse, your sister, your brother, your best friend, anyone. Therefore, we cannot act as judge, jury, and executioner when it comes to other people’s lives. More importantly, we cannot base our understanding or relationship with God on the lives of anyone else but our own.
Everyone sows seeds, good or evil. Everyone also reaps a harvest based on the seeds sown. If you get a bad crop, it’s time to reflect on your seeds. Fortunately for us, we can all do our gardening research found in the Bible and time with God to learn how to sow good seeds. Don’t mind someone else’s garden or harvest, but rather tend to your own. Whatever they receive is between them and God and as onlookers, it is impossible to discern a harvest that which you did not plant. Instead, pray for your brother’s and sister’s and let God do the rest.
Are you foolish enough to look at someone’s harvest, believing that God is asleep at the wheel or are you smart enough to know that you know nothing about it at all?
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1Oh, that you would burst from the heavens and come down! How the mountains would quake in your presence!
2As fire causes wood to burn and water to boil, your coming would make the nations tremble. Then your enemies would learn the reason for your fame!
3When you came down long ago, you did awesome deeds beyond our highest expectations. And oh, how the mountains quaked!
4For since the world began, no ear has heard and no eye has seen a God like you, who works for those who wait for him!
5You welcome those who gladly do good, who follow godly ways. But you have been very angry with us, for we are not godly. We are constant sinners; how can people like us be saved?
6We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind.
7Yet no one calls on your name or pleads with you for mercy. Therefore, you have turned away from us and turned us over to our sins.
8And yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter. We all are formed by your hand.
9Don’t be so angry with us, LORD . Please don’t remember our sins forever. Look at us, we pray, and see that we are all your people.
10Your holy cities are destroyed. Zion is a wilderness; yes, Jerusalem is a desolate ruin.
11The holy and beautiful Temple where our ancestors praised you has been burned down, and all the things of beauty are destroyed.
12After all this, LORD, must you still refuse to help us? Will you continue to be silent and punish us?
“We are all given talents to do with as we please.”~TB
God gives us all talents. Our minds, bodies, spirit— these are where our talents come from. Some people use these talents to multiply their skills to do amazing things. While others sit on their talents for one reason or another. Just like the parable in the Bible, you can invest your talents and reap more, or you can be like the guy who buried his talent. The same can be said for our relationship with Christ
Because salvation is freely given, there is not much for us to do to receive it. However, to truly reap the benefits of knowing Christ, you must develop that gift through consistent practice. Just like those who develop and multiply their talents, work is needed. Even those we consider to be naturally gifted, must put in the time to become great. To experience this with Christ, reading the Word, applying the principles, and talking with Him is vital to hear and see what He has to share with you. Work is never ‘easy’, but the work you do with Christ is divinely worth it.
Are you developing your talent or are you burying it in the ground?
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1When King Hezekiah heard their report, he tore his clothes and put on burlap and went into the Temple of the LORD .
2And he sent Eliakim the palace administrator, Shebna the court secretary, and the leading priests, all dressed in burlap, to the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz.
3They told him, “This is what King Hezekiah says: Today is a day of trouble, insults, and disgrace. It is like when a child is ready to be born, but the mother has no strength to deliver the baby.
4But perhaps the LORD your God has heard the Assyrian chief of staff, sent by the king to defy the living God, and will punish him for his words. Oh, pray for those of us who are left!”
5After King Hezekiah’s officials delivered the king’s message to Isaiah,
6the prophet replied, “Say to your master, ‘This is what the LORD says: Do not be disturbed by this blasphemous speech against me from the Assyrian king’s messengers.
7Listen! I myself will move against him, and the king will receive a message that he is needed at home. So he will return to his land, where I will have him killed with a sword.’”
8Meanwhile, the Assyrian chief of staff left Jerusalem and went to consult the king of Assyria, who had left Lachish and was attacking Libnah.
9Soon afterward King Sennacherib received word that King Tirhakah of Ethiopia was leading an army to fight against him. Before leaving to meet the attack, he sent messengers back to Hezekiah in Jerusalem with this message:
10“This message is for King Hezekiah of Judah. Don’t let your God, in whom you trust, deceive you with promises that Jerusalem will not be captured by the king of Assyria.
11You know perfectly well what the kings of Assyria have done wherever they have gone. They have completely destroyed everyone who stood in their way! Why should you be any different?
12Have the gods of other nations rescued them—such nations as Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the people of Eden who were in Tel-assar? My predecessors destroyed them all!
13What happened to the king of Hamath and the king of Arpad? What happened to the kings of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah?”
14After Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it, he went up to the LORD ’s Temple and spread it out before the LORD .
15And Hezekiah prayed this prayer before the LORD :
16“O LORD of Heaven’s Armies, God of Israel, you are enthroned between the mighty cherubim! You alone are God of all the kingdoms of the earth. You alone created the heavens and the earth.
17Bend down, O LORD, and listen! Open your eyes, O LORD, and see! Listen to Sennacherib’s words of defiance against the living God.
18“It is true, LORD, that the kings of Assyria have destroyed all these nations.
19And they have thrown the gods of these nations into the fire and burned them. But of course the Assyrians could destroy them! They were not gods at all—only idols of wood and stone shaped by human hands.
20Now, O LORD our God, rescue us from his power; then all the kingdoms of the earth will know that you alone, O LORD, are God. ”
21Then Isaiah son of Amoz sent this message to Hezekiah: “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: Because you prayed about King Sennacherib of Assyria,
22the LORD has spoken this word against him: “The virgin daughter of Zion despises you and laughs at you. The daughter of Jerusalem shakes her head in derision as you flee.
23“Whom have you been defying and ridiculing? Against whom did you raise your voice? At whom did you look with such haughty eyes? It was the Holy One of Israel!
24By your messengers you have defied the Lord. You have said, ‘With my many chariots I have conquered the highest mountains— yes, the remotest peaks of Lebanon. I have cut down its tallest cedars and its finest cypress trees. I have reached its farthest heights and explored its deepest forests.
25I have dug wells in many foreign lands and refreshed myself with their water. With the sole of my foot, I stopped up all the rivers of Egypt!’
26“But have you not heard? I decided this long ago. Long ago I planned it, and now I am making it happen. I planned for you to crush fortified cities into heaps of rubble.
27That is why their people have so little power and are so frightened and confused. They are as weak as grass, as easily trampled as tender green shoots. They are like grass sprouting on a housetop, scorched before it can grow lush and tall.
28“But I know you well— where you stay and when you come and go. I know the way you have raged against me.
29And because of your raging against me and your arrogance, which I have heard for myself, I will put my hook in your nose and my bit in your mouth. I will make you return by the same road on which you came.”
30Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Here is the proof that what I say is true: “This year you will eat only what grows up by itself, and next year you will eat what springs up from that. But in the third year you will plant crops and harvest them; you will tend vineyards and eat their fruit.
31And you who are left in Judah, who have escaped the ravages of the siege, will put roots down in your own soil and grow up and flourish.
32For a remnant of my people will spread out from Jerusalem, a group of survivors from Mount Zion. The passionate commitment of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!
33“And this is what the LORD says about the king of Assyria: “‘His armies will not enter Jerusalem. They will not even shoot an arrow at it. They will not march outside its gates with their shields nor build banks of earth against its walls.
34The king will return to his own country by the same road on which he came. He will not enter this city,’ says the LORD .
35‘For my own honor and for the sake of my servant David, I will defend this city and protect it.’”
36That night the angel of the LORD went out to the Assyrian camp and killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers. When the surviving Assyrians woke up the next morning, they found corpses everywhere.
37Then King Sennacherib of Assyria broke camp and returned to his own land. He went home to his capital of Nineveh and stayed there.
38One day while he was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisroch, his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer killed him with their swords. They then escaped to the land of Ararat, and another son, Esarhaddon, became the next king of Assyria.
“God will not let your tests overtake you. Conversely He will not bless you with more if you cannot maintain what is already in your possession.”~TB
Have you ever noticed a pattern where certain opportunities seemed block for one reason or another? Well, it’s not always an oppositional offense, but rather, unfinished business. If you are experiencing a cork in your situation, check your work. A wise employer will not overload you with new assignments if your old ones are withering away at your desk. So if you’re looking around for your next step in life, make sure you’ve done that God has asked you to do.
Get it Done
Whatever it is that you are tasked to do, do it and do it well. Holding onto one assignment and expecting another to follow before you’ve finished your work is a foolish practice. Don’t waste your time dreaming about the next thing, when today’s work is still unfinished. When your work is done, then you can reap the benefits of a job well-done. In order to do this, step aside from your pride, ask God what needs to be done, and get to it.
What unfinished business is bottlenecking your next assignment?
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1As dead flies cause even a bottle of perfume to stink, so a little foolishness spoils great wisdom and honor.
2A wise person chooses the right road; a fool takes the wrong one.
3You can identify fools just by the way they walk down the street!
4If your boss is angry at you, don’t quit! A quiet spirit can overcome even great mistakes.
5There is another evil I have seen under the sun. Kings and rulers make a grave mistake
6when they give great authority to foolish people and low positions to people of proven worth.
7I have even seen servants riding horseback like princes—and princes walking like servants!
8When you dig a well, you might fall in. When you demolish an old wall, you could be bitten by a snake.
9When you work in a quarry, stones might fall and crush you. When you chop wood, there is danger with each stroke of your ax.
10Using a dull ax requires great strength, so sharpen the blade. That’s the value of wisdom; it helps you succeed.
11If a snake bites before you charm it, what’s the use of being a snake charmer?
12Wise words bring approval, but fools are destroyed by their own words.
13Fools base their thoughts on foolish assumptions, so their conclusions will be wicked madness;
14they chatter on and on. No one really knows what is going to happen; no one can predict the future.
15Fools are so exhausted by a little work that they can’t even find their way home.
16What sorrow for the land ruled by a servant, the land whose leaders feast in the morning.
17Happy is the land whose king is a noble leader and whose leaders feast at the proper time to gain strength for their work, not to get drunk.
18Laziness leads to a sagging roof; idleness leads to a leaky house.
19A party gives laughter, wine gives happiness, and money gives everything!
20Never make light of the king, even in your thoughts. And don’t make fun of the powerful, even in your own bedroom. For a little bird might deliver your message and tell them what you said.
“Examine how you spend your work hours because some work isn’t work at all.”~TB
You can stay busy and still be off task, not completing your assignment. This world is ripe for distraction, disruption, and the like, so an undisciplined worker doesn’t need much help in wasting their time. The guise of being busy is a great smokescreen to make you appear to be more productive that you actually are, but the results of your harvest will always tell the truth.
You can’t engage in wasted work and expect a positive outcome come harvest time. Sure, in your mind you worked hard, but all of the “work” did not produce any fruit! If you’re harvest is sparse, ask God on how to change your work ethic so that the next harvest will reap better results. Wasted work is a trap in the mind that keeps you from completing your assignments. Don’t fall for the trap. Work honestly and humbling to avoid wasted work.
Are you working hard or hardly working?
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1A good reputation is more valuable than costly perfume. And the day you die is better than the day you are born.
2Better to spend your time at funerals than at parties. After all, everyone dies— so the living should take this to heart.
3Sorrow is better than laughter, for sadness has a refining influence on us.
4A wise person thinks a lot about death, while a fool thinks only about having a good time.
5Better to be criticized by a wise person than to be praised by a fool.
6A fool’s laughter is quickly gone, like thorns crackling in a fire. This also is meaningless.
7Extortion turns wise people into fools, and bribes corrupt the heart.
8Finishing is better than starting. Patience is better than pride.
9Control your temper, for anger labels you a fool.
10Don’t long for “the good old days.” This is not wise.
11Wisdom is even better when you have money. Both are a benefit as you go through life.
12Wisdom and money can get you almost anything, but only wisdom can save your life.
13Accept the way God does things, for who can straighten what he has made crooked?
14Enjoy prosperity while you can, but when hard times strike, realize that both come from God. Remember that nothing is certain in this life.
15I have seen everything in this meaningless life, including the death of good young people and the long life of wicked people.
16So don’t be too good or too wise! Why destroy yourself?
17On the other hand, don’t be too wicked either. Don’t be a fool! Why die before your time?
18Pay attention to these instructions, for anyone who fears God will avoid both extremes.
19One wise person is stronger than ten leading citizens of a town!
20Not a single person on earth is always good and never sins.
21Don’t eavesdrop on others—you may hear your servant curse you.
22For you know how often you yourself have cursed others.
23I have always tried my best to let wisdom guide my thoughts and actions. I said to myself, “I am determined to be wise.” But it didn’t work.
24Wisdom is always distant and difficult to find.
25I searched everywhere, determined to find wisdom and to understand the reason for things. I was determined to prove to myself that wickedness is stupid and that foolishness is madness.
26I discovered that a seductive woman is a trap more bitter than death. Her passion is a snare, and her soft hands are chains. Those who are pleasing to God will escape her, but sinners will be caught in her snare.
27“This is my conclusion,” says the Teacher. “I discovered this after looking at the matter from every possible angle.
28Though I have searched repeatedly, I have not found what I was looking for. Only one out of a thousand men is virtuous, but not one woman!
29But I did find this: God created people to be virtuous, but they have each turned to follow their own downward path.”
“Don’t be so quick to fall in love with only the outcome. It will make you hate the process.”~TB
God will provide you with a vision for your destiny here on earth. This is meant to inspire and give you hope to develop yourself and your relationship in Christ. Inspiration, when put in the right context empowers you to move in ways you could never conceive. When you put your faith in Christ and in the vision He gives you, great things are possible. On the other hand, if you basque in the potential of what could be without doing the work to make it happen, you will remain stuck in the ‘what if’ because you failed to do the process.
Before the vision can be achieved, the work needed to complete the job has to be done. Don’t compare your work or your vision to the work and vision of others. You will only see the fruits (or lack thereof) of their labor, but you fail to see what they did (or did not do) to get there. The same understanding can be applied to your relationship with God. It is a 1 on 1 relationship that takes intentional development over time. Friends, spending time with God daily is not for His benefit, it is for yours! Having a talk with God is not an “optional” endeavor, but rather the necessary process of spiritual growth. You would not give a calculus test to a 3rd grader. In the same way, God cannot bestow gifts and glory to those who are not connected to Him. Submit to the process to actualize the outcome.
Whenever you see your brothers and sisters in Christ succeed, be it in life, money, spiritual growth, etc., remember that they too had to go through a process. The outcome can only be attained if you do the work. It’s as simple as that. If you’re trying to save money, limit your unnecessary spending. If you’re trying to learn a new language, study, daily. If you seek the wisdom of God, walk with Him always. Friends, success is not by accident and there are no overnight victories. Some days will be easier than others. Even on the hard days, the process is still there, so get to work! The point is, though salvation is freely given, you must actively and intentionally seek God. No, not just on the hour of church on Sunday, that is supplemental. Fall in love with the process so that you can experience the outcome.
Are you in love with the process or are you in love with avoiding the work?
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1From the depths of despair, O LORD, I call for your help.
2Hear my cry, O Lord. Pay attention to my prayer.
3LORD, if you kept a record of our sins, who, O Lord, could ever survive?
4But you offer forgiveness, that we might learn to fear you.
5I am counting on the LORD ; yes, I am counting on him. I have put my hope in his word.
6I long for the Lord more than sentries long for the dawn, yes, more than sentries long for the dawn.
7O Israel, hope in the LORD ; for with the LORD there is unfailing love. His redemption overflows.
8He himself will redeem Israel from every kind of sin.