“Do not avoid uncomfortable situations or moments. Instead, walk boldly in the truth that God is with you in all things.”~TB
The world teaches us to avoid unpleasant experiences. Human logic dictates that if the moment induces discomfort, it must be a bad thing, therefore we remove the “yucky stuff” from our lives. What an amazingly ironic and counterproductive paradigm! The problem with that ideology is that it eliminates the most vital and necessary aspect of our spiritual growth. Through the unpleasant times, we get to grow closer and know God in a more personal and one-on-one manner. In fact, it’s those uncomfortable and painful moments where we grow the most. That is if we take them as they are and not as we perceive them to be.
When I was a kid in elementary school, we’d have the opportunity to participate in an art class. Some of the projects included working with clay, making different sorts of things. I loved it. Being able to mold and shape things– essentially making something out of nothing– is something I love. My favorite part was seeing my work after it was fired in the kiln. For those that don’t know, a kiln is a heating chamber that transforms materials in high temperatures. When the clay is heated properly, it is then ready to be turned into a vessel. If you’ve ever worked clay, you’ve seen firsthand how a slippery and malleable substance is transformed into a sturdy and utilitarian product. God is the Kiln to our clay.
In order to be the vessel that God has called you to be, you must learn to reexamine your mind about the kiln process. Trials and tribulations are the firey elements that shore up your vessel. Without them, you remain mushy and unsustainable. When you avoid the molding and kiln of God, your ability to rise to the calling on your life is impossible. Don’t avoid the process, but trust that all things in your life are used to strengthen your relationship with God. Let the Bible mold you and your time with God be the fire that hardens the clay. In doing so, we see as God intended us to see. When that happens, we walk in the way that God called us to.
Are you going through the kiln or do you want to remain mushy and broken?
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1“In that day,” says the LORD, “the enemy will break open the graves of the kings and officials of Judah, and the graves of the priests, prophets, and common people of Jerusalem.
2They will spread out their bones on the ground before the sun, moon, and stars—the gods my people have loved, served, and worshiped. Their bones will not be gathered up again or buried but will be scattered on the ground like manure.
3And the people of this evil nation who survive will wish to die rather than live where I will send them. I, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken!
4“Jeremiah, say to the people, ‘This is what the LORD says: “‘When people fall down, don’t they get up again? When they discover they’re on the wrong road, don’t they turn back?
5Then why do these people stay on their self-destructive path? Why do the people of Jerusalem refuse to turn back? They cling tightly to their lies and will not turn around.
6I listen to their conversations and don’t hear a word of truth. Is anyone sorry for doing wrong? Does anyone say, “What a terrible thing I have done”? No! All are running down the path of sin as swiftly as a horse galloping into battle!
7Even the stork that flies across the sky knows the time of her migration, as do the turtledove, the swallow, and the crane. They all return at the proper time each year. But not my people! They do not know the LORD ’s laws.
8“‘How can you say, “We are wise because we have the word of the LORD,” when your teachers have twisted it by writing lies?
9These wise teachers will fall into the trap of their own foolishness, for they have rejected the word of the LORD . Are they so wise after all?
10I will give their wives to others and their farms to strangers. From the least to the greatest, their lives are ruled by greed. Yes, even my prophets and priests are like that. They are all frauds.
11They offer superficial treatments for my people’s mortal wound. They give assurances of peace when there is no peace.
12Are they ashamed of these disgusting actions? Not at all—they don’t even know how to blush! Therefore, they will lie among the slaughtered. They will be brought down when I punish them, says the LORD .
13I will surely consume them. There will be no more harvests of figs and grapes. Their fruit trees will all die. Whatever I gave them will soon be gone. I, the LORD, have spoken!’
14“Then the people will say, ‘Why should we wait here to die? Come, let’s go to the fortified towns and die there. For the LORD our God has decreed our destruction and has given us a cup of poison to drink because we sinned against the LORD .
15We hoped for peace, but no peace came. We hoped for a time of healing, but found only terror.’
16“The snorting of the enemies’ warhorses can be heard all the way from the land of Dan in the north! The neighing of their stallions makes the whole land tremble. They are coming to devour the land and everything in it— cities and people alike.
17I will send these enemy troops among you like poisonous snakes you cannot charm. They will bite you, and you will die. I, the LORD, have spoken!”
18My grief is beyond healing; my heart is broken.
19Listen to the weeping of my people; it can be heard all across the land. “Has the LORD abandoned Jerusalem? ” the people ask. “Is her King no longer there?” “Oh, why have they provoked my anger with their carved idols and their worthless foreign gods?” says the LORD .
20“The harvest is finished, and the summer is gone,” the people cry, “yet we are not saved!”
21I hurt with the hurt of my people. I mourn and am overcome with grief.
22Is there no medicine in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why is there no healing for the wounds of my people?
“If you struggle with stumbling blocks seek Christ and wise counsel to learn how to remove them.”~TB
We all have stumbling blocks, that may have come from a hurtful and traumatic experience from our past. Maybe you accidentally choked on an apple and years later the color red makes you anxious. Perhaps the snake scene in Indiana Jones scared you, so now reptiles freaks you out. These are relatively mild experiences, but if you examine your life, I’m sure you can find your own examples. Some triggers are harmless while others can cause problems in our lives or negatively impact those around us. I bring this up because whatever causes us to stumble or to fall, the devil will exploit to the maximum of his ability. His job is to take our eyes from Christ and suck the joy and purpose that God has for each and every one of us. This is where strength in numbers and honest Biblical conversations really come into play.
Talk it Out
I’ve found through the years that if I ask God pointed questions about examining the areas of improvement of my life, the revelations are astounding! Seriously, it’s like divine therapy. Add in the weekly chats with my dad where we volley ideas and concepts back and forth, I get the opportunity to learn a lot. Of course, there’s no harm in talking with a professional either. My point is that in order to improve on our weaknesses and stop being an unconscious henchmen for the opposition, self-awareness is critical.
I’ll give you a personal example. For work, I am a freelance writer, creating content for organizations and universities. For the most part, I love my job and the flexibility and autonomy it brings. Most recently, however, I realized that some contracts present a certain sense of anxious foreboding for me and it impacts my ability to do my job well. In a moment of frustration, I asked God, “what is wrong with me?”. Funnily enough a memory of my former boss popped into my head.
My first big kid job was at Burger King in their corporate operations department. I had a micromanaging boss that enjoyed sending me performance managing emails with the HR manager cc-ed to them. Ironically, my territory was the highest performing within her portfolio, but for one reason or another, she enjoyed singling me out. It got so bad that it affected my personal life and I eventually left. That was 6 years ago.
Now, I realize that subconsciously, I get anxious working with clients who remind me of her. Through no fault of their own, I’ve been projecting my experience onto my clients, which has been hindering the joy and creating in my work. The beauty of this revelation is that I can now intentionally work on my attitude toward certain clients as I don’t want to keep repeating the cycle.
A lot of people believe having a relationship with Christ is just about salvation and escaping the fate of hell. But really, it’s so much more. When Christ influences your life, you experience peace, joy, contentment today. The benefits of Christ don’t start when we die, they’re already here! For this reason, I encourage you to ask Him questions, talk with Him daily, and get some feedback and perspective from elders. Reflective wisdom can help you identify your triggers and remove the root-causes of problems within your life. This all can happen when you seek to know Him.
Are you reaping the benefits of knowing Christ
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1In the year when King Sargon of Assyria sent his commander in chief to capture the Philistine city of Ashdod,
2the LORD told Isaiah son of Amoz, “Take off the burlap you have been wearing, and remove your sandals.” Isaiah did as he was told and walked around naked and barefoot.
3Then the LORD said, “My servant Isaiah has been walking around naked and barefoot for the last three years. This is a sign—a symbol of the terrible troubles I will bring upon Egypt and Ethiopia.
4For the king of Assyria will take away the Egyptians and Ethiopians as prisoners. He will make them walk naked and barefoot, both young and old, their buttocks bared, to the shame of Egypt.
5Then the Philistines will be thrown into panic, for they counted on the power of Ethiopia and boasted of their allies in Egypt!
6They will say, ‘If this can happen to Egypt, what chance do we have? We were counting on Egypt to protect us from the king of Assyria.’”
“The light bulb clicks on eventually as you stay honest and true to God’s steps into doing the good work that He has for you to follow, by faith.” ~ Jon Barnes
The Doors Open
You will feel and see how well things will flow on your behalf as your obedience grows stronger and your resolve remains straight and honest.When we honor God, He honors us with success, not failure. Many times we cannot see the success of God’s plan until it is late in the game of life. Yet, we know that our efforts are real and impact people far greater than we could ever see.It is because God is the one who opens up the doors for people to understand, love, walk, share, and care.
By faith, God sets your appointments, even though they may seem to adjust and remain flexible at times, our perspective is flexible, not His! Allow God’s appointments to manifest in your life and stop trying to make them happen.It is not your day planner, it’s God’s Daily Schedule, which is totally different than the one you write.
Understanding this wonderful arrangement will allow you to stress less, enjoy more, and see the many miracles that happen to you each day that you live.I am becoming more aware of the fun God has in my life, as I get out of my own way to enjoy the best ideas God has to offer me. Why should I reject such great ideas and information? Go with God’s arrangements and follow His Music.
Are you taking music lessons from God or are you sitting in the dark without sound doctrine?
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The Song of Deborah
5 On that day Deborah and Barak son of Abinoam sang this song:
2 “When the princes in Israel take the lead, when the people willingly offer themselves— praise the Lord!
3 “Hear this, you kings! Listen, you rulers! I, even I, will sing to[a] the Lord; I will praise the Lord, the God of Israel, in song.
4 “When you, Lord, went out from Seir, when you marched from the land of Edom, the earth shook, the heavens poured, the clouds poured down water. 5 The mountains quaked before the Lord, the One of Sinai, before the Lord, the God of Israel.
6 “In the days of Shamgar son of Anath, in the days of Jael, the highways were abandoned; travelers took to winding paths. 7 Villagers in Israel would not fight; they held back until I, Deborah, arose, until I arose, a mother in Israel. 8 God chose new leaders when war came to the city gates, but not a shield or spear was seen among forty thousand in Israel. 9 My heart is with Israel’s princes, with the willing volunteers among the people. Praise the Lord!
10 “You who ride on white donkeys, sitting on your saddle blankets, and you who walk along the road, consider11 the voice of the singers[b] at the watering places. They recite the victories of the Lord, the victories of his villagers in Israel.
“Then the people of the Lord went down to the city gates. 12 ‘Wake up, wake up, Deborah! Wake up, wake up, break out in song! Arise, Barak! Take captive your captives, son of Abinoam.’
13 “The remnant of the nobles came down; the people of the Lord came down to me against the mighty. 14 Some came from Ephraim, whose roots were in Amalek; Benjamin was with the people who followed you. From Makir captains came down, from Zebulun those who bear a commander’s[c] staff. 15 The princes of Issachar were with Deborah; yes, Issachar was with Barak, sent under his command into the valley. In the districts of Reuben there was much searching of heart. 16 Why did you stay among the sheep pens[d] to hear the whistling for the flocks? In the districts of Reuben there was much searching of heart. 17 Gilead stayed beyond the Jordan. And Dan, why did he linger by the ships? Asher remained on the coast and stayed in his coves. 18 The people of Zebulun risked their very lives; so did Naphtali on the terraced fields.
19 “Kings came, they fought, the kings of Canaan fought. At Taanach, by the waters of Megiddo, they took no plunder of silver. 20 From the heavens the stars fought, from their courses they fought against Sisera. 21 The river Kishon swept them away, the age-old river, the river Kishon. March on, my soul; be strong! 22 Then thundered the horses’ hooves— galloping, galloping go his mighty steeds. 23 ‘Curse Meroz,’ said the angel of the Lord. ‘Curse its people bitterly, because they did not come to help the Lord, to help the Lord against the mighty.’
24 “Most blessed of women be Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, most blessed of tent-dwelling women. 25 He asked for water, and she gave him milk; in a bowl fit for nobles she brought him curdled milk. 26 Her hand reached for the tent peg, her right hand for the workman’s hammer. She struck Sisera, she crushed his head, she shattered and pierced his temple. 27 At her feet he sank, he fell; there he lay. At her feet he sank, he fell; where he sank, there he fell—dead.
28 “Through the window peered Sisera’s mother; behind the lattice she cried out, ‘Why is his chariot so long in coming? Why is the clatter of his chariots delayed?’ 29 The wisest of her ladies answer her; indeed, she keeps saying to herself, 30 ‘Are they not finding and dividing the spoils: a woman or two for each man, colorful garments as plunder for Sisera, colorful garments embroidered, highly embroidered garments for my neck— all this as plunder?’
31 “So may all your enemies perish, Lord! But may all who love you be like the sun when it rises in its strength.”
“You create your own headaches based on your diet, stress level, perception of reality in how you live and tell your personal story of bad works and little faith.” ~ Jon Barnes
How you interpret your experience will give you insight or confusion. If you are confused, you are looking at things in the wrong context, and you need help listening to someone with experience to help you logically understand deep, truthful, common sense. Good people usually have experiences that will help paint pictures of context of God’s real stories.
The Bible is a very logical, simple, and practical guidebook to reduce the headaches in your life, if you apply the information with honesty and truth. Things in life become illogical when you lie, cheat and steal your way to the top of the corporate world public, non-profit, profit, educational, governmental, and private sectors.
Control your interpretations by focusing on the true meaning of your life and how scripture is applied to assist you in love, understanding, and wisdom. Happiness helps your mood when you show God’s love to everyone you meet, which reduces your stress and anxiety.
Did you notice how your good works improves your faith and reduces stress and headaches?
Enjoy Today’s Reading.
1 Timothy 4
4 The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.2 Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.3 They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth.4 For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving,5 because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.
6 If you point these things out to the brothers and sisters,[a] you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished on the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed.7 Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly.8 For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.9 This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance.10 That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people,and especially of those who believe.
11 Command and teach these things.12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching.14 Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you.
15 Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress.16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.