“Life will always present new opportunities and challenges, so hang tight, calm down, and remember who made you.”~TB
This sin fallen world will lull you into the fake belief that Christian life is some perfect-Instagram-able filter, where Jesus protects you from experiencing any pain or hardship. Many of you believe that if bad things happen, God must not be around. How foolish! Read your Bibles and you will see that every single person who took up their Holy employment struggled with many things. Even David, God’s favorite, endured hardship. The enemy uses this false ploy to deceive young believers. The moment you face a struggle, you abandon ship. You cower in fear and anguish over every little thing, because you haven’t done your reading. Friends, use your hardships to deepen your relationship with God. In those moments, double-down in your faith.
No one gets out of this life unbruised as we are all tested, pruned, pressed, into becoming more and more into the image of our Father in Heaven. To walk the path of Jesus means to catch a glimpse of what He endured to save us. When you understand this truth, go to the ultimate playbook, the Bible, to see how to navigate tricky situations. Troubles do not go away the closer you walk with God. However, because you’ve done your work and you know His teachings, He gives you the grace, strength, patience to endure any and every test thrown your way. So stop looking for the perfect life as a sign that God is good. God is Good because He IS. Calm down, remember the truth, and make Biblical decisions in all that you do.
How do you respond to your trials and tribulations?
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1A wise woman builds her home, but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands.
2Those who follow the right path fear the LORD ; those who take the wrong path despise him.
3A fool’s proud talk becomes a rod that beats him, but the words of the wise keep them safe.
4Without oxen a stable stays clean, but you need a strong ox for a large harvest.
5An honest witness does not lie; a false witness breathes lies.
6A mocker seeks wisdom and never finds it, but knowledge comes easily to those with understanding.
7Stay away from fools, for you won’t find knowledge on their lips.
8The prudent understand where they are going, but fools deceive themselves.
9Fools make fun of guilt, but the godly acknowledge it and seek reconciliation.
10Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can fully share its joy.
11The house of the wicked will be destroyed, but the tent of the godly will flourish.
12There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.
13Laughter can conceal a heavy heart, but when the laughter ends, the grief remains.
14Backsliders get what they deserve; good people receive their reward.
15Only simpletons believe everything they’re told! The prudent carefully consider their steps.
16The wise are cautious and avoid danger; fools plunge ahead with reckless confidence.
17Short-tempered people do foolish things, and schemers are hated.
18Simpletons are clothed with foolishness, but the prudent are crowned with knowledge.
19Evil people will bow before good people; the wicked will bow at the gates of the godly.
20The poor are despised even by their neighbors, while the rich have many “friends.”
21It is a sin to belittle one’s neighbor; blessed are those who help the poor.
22If you plan to do evil, you will be lost; if you plan to do good, you will receive unfailing love and faithfulness.
23Work brings profit, but mere talk leads to poverty!
24Wealth is a crown for the wise; the effort of fools yields only foolishness.
25A truthful witness saves lives, but a false witness is a traitor.
26Those who fear the LORD are secure; he will be a refuge for their children.
27Fear of the LORD is a life-giving fountain; it offers escape from the snares of death.
28A growing population is a king’s glory; a prince without subjects has nothing.
29People with understanding control their anger; a hot temper shows great foolishness.
30A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body; jealousy is like cancer in the bones.
31Those who oppress the poor insult their Maker, but helping the poor honors him.
32The wicked are crushed by disaster, but the godly have a refuge when they die.
33Wisdom is enshrined in an understanding heart; wisdom is not found among fools.
34Godliness makes a nation great, but sin is a disgrace to any people.
35A king rejoices in wise servants but is angry with those who disgrace him.
”All things work as God intended, so till your soil, chill out, and be cool.”~TB
Each day presents new opportunities and challenges. You have a finite amount of resources to till the soil and plant the seeds of your future harvest. The devil’s job is to get you off task and he doesn’t play fair or nice. In those moments, you have two options: be cool and plant Godly seeds, or give in to the chaos and plant seeds of discord. While the opposition will lead you to a poisoned well, you make the choice to drink the poisoned water. No matter which path you choose, the results will show your deeds.
You can only fake your results for so long. Don’t forget that wheat and tares grow together and cannot be distinguished until harvest time, so don’t be fulled by growth. Come harvest time, God will show you whether you’ve been cool or not. Just because you have not yet reaped your harvest— good or bad— does not mean that God is not watching. If you’re cool, He will reward you. If you’re not, well, you reap what you’ve sown. Perhaps if you repent and let God work in you, He’ll hook you up in the next season. So be cool, honor God, and do your work.
Are you being cool yet?
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1Wisdom has built her house; she has carved its seven columns.
2She has prepared a great banquet, mixed the wines, and set the table.
3She has sent her servants to invite everyone to come. She calls out from the heights overlooking the city.
4“Come in with me,” she urges the simple. To those who lack good judgment, she says,
5“Come, eat my food, and drink the wine I have mixed.
6Leave your simple ways behind, and begin to live; learn to use good judgment.”
7Anyone who rebukes a mocker will get an insult in return. Anyone who corrects the wicked will get hurt.
8So don’t bother correcting mockers; they will only hate you. But correct the wise, and they will love you.
9Instruct the wise, and they will be even wiser. Teach the righteous, and they will learn even more.
10Fear of the LORD is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment.
11Wisdom will multiply your days and add years to your life.
12If you become wise, you will be the one to benefit. If you scorn wisdom, you will be the one to suffer.
13The woman named Folly is brash. She is ignorant and doesn’t know it.
14She sits in her doorway on the heights overlooking the city.
15She calls out to men going by who are minding their own business.
16“Come in with me,” she urges the simple. To those who lack good judgment, she says,
17“Stolen water is refreshing; food eaten in secret tastes the best!”
18But little do they know that the dead are there. Her guests are in the depths of the grave.
“Understanding God’s Word is fairly simple. Applying it to your life, well, that’s a whole other animal.”~TB
In theory, love sacrifice, patience, long-suffering, and perseverance are lovely and beautiful concepts. When you speak them to one another, those words provide a false sense of accomplishment. In today’s society, people sing sweet nothings, as if spraying perfume on a stinky body, in an attempt to hide the foul smell. Words without deeds are empty. Many of you have filled your hearts and minds with empty rhetoric. Friends, listen carefully: as idiot people, we have subjugated those words, turning them into nouns when they really are verbs!
Love, sacrifice, patience, long-suffering, and perseverance requires DOING! You can’t just say the words and poof life is wonderful. You have to love when it’s hard. You have to be patient in tough times. You have to be long-suffering when the odds aren’t in your favor. You have to persevere when failure comes your way. Anyone can be an armchair quarterback. It takes humility in understanding that God can only help you with this verbs. You cannot overcome your sinful nature on your own.
Are you applying the verbs or do you stink under the perfume of fake words?
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1Beside the rivers of Babylon, we sat and wept as we thought of Jerusalem.
2We put away our harps, hanging them on the branches of poplar trees.
3For our captors demanded a song from us. Our tormentors insisted on a joyful hymn: “Sing us one of those songs of Jerusalem!”
4But how can we sing the songs of the LORD while in a pagan land?
5If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget how to play the harp.
6May my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth if I fail to remember you, if I don’t make Jerusalem my greatest joy.
7O LORD, remember what the Edomites did on the day the armies of Babylon captured Jerusalem. “Destroy it!” they yelled. “Level it to the ground!”
8O Babylon, you will be destroyed. Happy is the one who pays you back for what you have done to us.
9Happy is the one who takes your babies and smashes them against the rocks!
“Give people the space and grace to grow and develop in Christ”~TB
Don’t compare the development of your relationship with Christ to the relationship He has with others. Everyone grows and develops at their own pace. For this reason, you must give yourself and your brothers and sisters in Christ space and time to till their soil. People are not meant to be ingratiated 24/7 as you need quiet to hear what God has to say. If you’re too busy listening and following others, you’re ignoring the voice of your Heavenly Father. Give yourself space to hear, heal, and grow with God.
Because sin will always be a part of the human experience, grace has to be freely and quickly extended. As we still continually struggle with this concept, believe that God has your back as you walk in that grace by faith. We will undoubtedly cause offense and quarrels amongst one another. It’s ok, we’re human and Rome wasn’t built in a day. This is why walking with God is so important every second of every day. Grace cannot be earned, so forgive as God forgives us.
Are you using and walking in your space and Grace on a daily basis?
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1Praise the LORD ! Praise the name of the LORD ! Praise him, you who serve the LORD,
2you who serve in the house of the LORD, in the courts of the house of our God.
3Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good; celebrate his lovely name with music.
4For the LORD has chosen Jacob for himself, Israel for his own special treasure.
5I know the greatness of the LORD — that our Lord is greater than any other god.
6The LORD does whatever pleases him throughout all heaven and earth, and on the seas and in their depths.
7He causes the clouds to rise over the whole earth. He sends the lightning with the rain and releases the wind from his storehouses.
8He destroyed the firstborn in each Egyptian home, both people and animals.
9He performed miraculous signs and wonders in Egypt against Pharaoh and all his people.
10He struck down great nations and slaughtered mighty kings—
11Sihon king of the Amorites, Og king of Bashan, and all the kings of Canaan.
12He gave their land as an inheritance, a special possession to his people Israel.
13Your name, O LORD, endures forever; your fame, O LORD, is known to every generation.
14For the LORD will give justice to his people and have compassion on his servants.
15The idols of the nations are merely things of silver and gold, shaped by human hands.
16They have mouths but cannot speak, and eyes but cannot see.
17They have ears but cannot hear, and mouths but cannot breathe.
18And those who make idols are just like them, as are all who trust in them.
19O Israel, praise the LORD ! O priests—descendants of Aaron—praise the LORD !
20O Levites, praise the LORD ! All you who fear the LORD, praise the LORD !
21The LORD be praised from Zion, for he lives here in Jerusalem. Praise the LORD !
“There will be days where you’re exhausted and confused. Press on.”~TB
Nothing great is ever easy. The life of a Christian is not without its challenges. When you’re weary, tired, and feeling defeated, don’t give up! If you stumble and fall, get up. Though your trials are not without merit, take comfort that your fate is not of the Apostle Paul.
When you’re struggling, remember who made you. Remember who redeems you. Remember who already won the battle. You’re not pressing on for His sake, but for yours! Don’t be dismayed, don’t let the opposition trick you into submission. Take a nap, arm yourself in the Truth and press on.
Are you pressed or are you pressing on?
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1I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the LORD .”
2And now here we are, standing inside your gates, O Jerusalem.
3Jerusalem is a well-built city; its seamless walls cannot be breached.
4All the tribes of Israel—the LORD ’s people— make their pilgrimage here. They come to give thanks to the name of the LORD, as the law requires of Israel.
5Here stand the thrones where judgment is given, the thrones of the dynasty of David.
6Pray for peace in Jerusalem. May all who love this city prosper.
7O Jerusalem, may there be peace within your walls and prosperity in your palaces.
8For the sake of my family and friends, I will say, “May you have peace.”
9For the sake of the house of the LORD our God, I will seek what is best for you, O Jerusalem.
“Don’t fixate on your problems, because you may miss God’s solutions and blessing to the resolve it.”~TB
Smoke and Mirrors
The devil will use your setbacks to transfix you on the problems you face. When you are only focused on the problems, you are not paying attention to the Biblically simple solutions that will propel you to the next chapter in your life. Don’t miss your blessing by obsessing over the challenges. Objects are smaller than they appear.
God made you as you are, which means you have the tools to overcome any obstacle. One of the biggest misconceptions about walking with Christ is that all of your fleshly afflictions vanish and life becomes perfect. No, as you mature in Christ, you recognize that your flesh is fickle, so you simply step aside from the traps to avoid them. Not every thought and feeling is valid or useful so let go of the ones that cause you to stumble.
When you finally understand that you must depend on God in every second of every day, you let go of your man-made solutions which probably got you into your troubles in the first place. Let go of your legalistic pride, and accept the wisdom of God, which will gently nudge you to practice patience, forgiveness, and humility. Sure, you may not “win” every human argument, but winning with God is better than any victory the world could ever give you.
Are you fixating on your right ways or are you leaning on God’s solutions?
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1When the Israelites escaped from Egypt— when the family of Jacob left that foreign land—
2the land of Judah became God’s sanctuary, and Israel became his kingdom.
3The Red Sea saw them coming and hurried out of their way! The water of the Jordan River turned away.
4The mountains skipped like rams, the hills like lambs!
5What’s wrong, Red Sea, that made you hurry out of their way? What happened, Jordan River, that you turned away?
6Why, mountains, did you skip like rams? Why, hills, like lambs?
7Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob.
8He turned the rock into a pool of water; yes, a spring of water flowed from solid rock.
“Copying someone else’s faith without putting in the effort to have a personal relationship with God is like plagiarizing an F paper.”~TB
No pastor, preacher, prophet, or human can build a relationship with God for you. Sure, they can lead and encourage you to the Source, but you have to put in the effort. The foundation of your faith has to be your direct connection with Him. If you don’t turn off all of the worldly distractions and spend your time with God, there is no way you can grow in faith. Be honest with yourselves to create a foundation that is rooted in the Truth. The path to God is simple. The discipline to follow the simple path, well, that depends on you.
Doubt Happens by Cheating
Following God in an ostentatiously flawed world is challenging. There are so many people who criticize, disparage and doubt God. When people behave this way, it’s because they themselves have not done the personal work to get to know Him. When you copy their fake ideas and agenda, it’s no wonder you fall prey to their doubt. You cheated and tried to gain access using the incorrect answers. If you don’t study for a test, how do you expect to know the right answers from the wrong ones? More to the point, if you don’t know God, how do you expect to understand His answers and reject the incorrect human answers? You can’t, which is why your faith sucks. There is none!
We are all idiot sinners, destined to continue being flawed, which is the exact reason you must cultivate your own connection to the Lord. Sure, we improve as we walk closer with Him, but we will never be perfect. People will always fall short, so if you copy their external faith, you only see the human side of a spiritual relationship. Because you cannot hear their conversations with God, you only see the flaws. On the outside, of course, it looks busted! Because you copied the wrong answers for a test that is uniquely yours. My test is different than your test. Your test is different than mine. But we all have the same studying tools available to learn and understand how to pass our own personal tests. Keep your eyes on your own paper.
Are you studying for your Holy exam or are you copying the answers of a failed test?
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1Praise the LORD ! I will thank the LORD with all my heart as I meet with his godly people.
2How amazing are the deeds of the LORD ! All who delight in him should ponder them.
3Everything he does reveals his glory and majesty. His righteousness never fails.
4He causes us to remember his wonderful works. How gracious and merciful is our LORD !
5He gives food to those who fear him; he always remembers his covenant.
6He has shown his great power to his people by giving them the lands of other nations.
7All he does is just and good, and all his commandments are trustworthy.
8They are forever true, to be obeyed faithfully and with integrity.
9He has paid a full ransom for his people. He has guaranteed his covenant with them forever. What a holy, awe-inspiring name he has!
10Fear of the LORD is the foundation of true wisdom. All who obey his commandments will grow in wisdom. Praise him forever!
“Focus on God’s signal in the noise so that you may not trade the truth for a lie.”~TB
There are so many distractions in this world that keep people from honestly pursuing a relationship with Christ. Of course, you cannot blame these distractions as you willfully engage in the nonsense. Whether you’re chasing money, sex, idolatry, clout, prestige, possessions, whatever the case may be, you’re desiring a false god. Conversely, if you dwell on your problems, your circumstances, your pain, you miss the healing that God is so desperately trying to give to you. Friends, we cannot heal ourselves, our minds are not capable of the forgiveness and the love that comes from God.
Focus your attention to God’s love. Let it be the lighthouse that guides your way. When you experience God’s forgiveness, love, and blessings, you are able to extend that grace towards your brothers and sisters. The world will tell you that you have to exact your own justice, vengeance, or whatever you want to call it. Friends, we don’t have to protect ourselves. We don’t have to hold people accountable for their sins. Let Him be the judge and let yourselves embody His light. When we share the love of Christ, we point back to His lighthouse, allowing others to experience and seek a relationship with him. Hold your gaze to the Lord’s signal and let the rest of the noise fall away.
Are you focused on God’s love or are you confused and distorted by the lies of this world?
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1LORD, hear my prayer! Listen to my plea!
2Don’t turn away from me in my time of distress. Bend down to listen, and answer me quickly when I call to you.
3For my days disappear like smoke, and my bones burn like red-hot coals.
4My heart is sick, withered like grass, and I have lost my appetite.
5Because of my groaning, I am reduced to skin and bones.
6I am like an owl in the desert, like a little owl in a far-off wilderness.
7I lie awake, lonely as a solitary bird on the roof.
8My enemies taunt me day after day. They mock and curse me.
9I eat ashes for food. My tears run down into my drink
10because of your anger and wrath. For you have picked me up and thrown me out.
11My life passes as swiftly as the evening shadows. I am withering away like grass.
12But you, O LORD, will sit on your throne forever. Your fame will endure to every generation.
13You will arise and have mercy on Jerusalem — and now is the time to pity her, now is the time you promised to help.
14For your people love every stone in her walls and cherish even the dust in her streets.
15Then the nations will tremble before the LORD . The kings of the earth will tremble before his glory.
16For the LORD will rebuild Jerusalem. He will appear in his glory.
17He will listen to the prayers of the destitute. He will not reject their pleas.
18Let this be recorded for future generations, so that a people not yet born will praise the LORD .
19Tell them the LORD looked down from his heavenly sanctuary. He looked down to earth from heaven
20to hear the groans of the prisoners, to release those condemned to die.
21And so the LORD ’s fame will be celebrated in Zion, his praises in Jerusalem,
22when multitudes gather together and kingdoms come to worship the LORD .
23He broke my strength in midlife, cutting short my days.
24But I cried to him, “O my God, who lives forever, don’t take my life while I am so young!
25Long ago you laid the foundation of the earth and made the heavens with your hands.
26They will perish, but you remain forever; they will wear out like old clothing. You will change them like a garment and discard them.
27But you are always the same; you will live forever.
28The children of your people will live in security. Their children’s children will thrive in your presence.”
“When you’re working in your Holy employment, expect distractions. Don’t be alarmed, it’s simply a smokescreen”~TB
The devil can only do so much to those who are working in the will of God. Therefore, what little he can do, he will. Like the mirror maze at a carnival, he’ll spin seeds of discord, distorting the truth to get you off of your path. Fear not, his tricks are harmless, unless you allow them to get under your skin. The point is to get you to question your purpose and to ultimately get you to question God. Remember that we’re operating under pre-destined conditions. The results are set in stone, we’re simply seeing it through. Think about that and let it be written on your hearts. If the battle has already been won, no detours, derailment, or delay will stop God’s victory. Sidestep the smokescreen to live in peace.
Right as Rain
When you’re operating on all cylinders for the Lord, opposition trembles at the very thought of you. When you face difficulties, rejoice in the fact that you are viewed as a threat. This means that you are on the righteous path that Christ has set before you. There are so many examples of this in the Bible, which is why you must do your reading. The more you understand the lay of the land, the easier it is to spot the feeble attempts of the evil one. Talk with God and He will help you see the distractions on your road map. Listen, study, and look to avoid senseless nonsense. Trust in the Lord and He will remove the smokescreen from your path.
Are you being distracted by the face smokescreen or did you do the necessary studying to realize that it’s just a poorly laid trap?
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1The LORD is king! Let the earth rejoice! Let the farthest coastlands be glad.
2Dark clouds surround him. Righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.
3Fire spreads ahead of him and burns up all his foes.
4His lightning flashes out across the world. The earth sees and trembles.
5The mountains melt like wax before the LORD, before the Lord of all the earth.
6The heavens proclaim his righteousness; every nation sees his glory.
7Those who worship idols are disgraced— all who brag about their worthless gods— for every god must bow to him.
8Jerusalem has heard and rejoiced, and all the towns of Judah are glad because of your justice, O LORD !
9For you, O LORD, are supreme over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods.
10You who love the LORD, hate evil! He protects the lives of his godly people and rescues them from the power of the wicked.
11Light shines on the godly, and joy on those whose hearts are right.
12May all who are godly rejoice in the LORD and praise his holy name!
“It takes only 5 minutes to read a chapter of the Bible a day, yet few people actually do it.”~ Jon Barnes
The path to Truth and righteousness is very simple in nature. It requires independent study, on your own time, with your own eyes, in order for you to receive its inheritance. The Bible espouses wisdom to those who continually seek the Truth. By doing your Biblical homework, reading a chapter and meditating on the Word on a daily basis, you find the correct answers to navigate the many traps and snares in this fallen world. However, many fail to cultivate the discipline and steadfastness required to pass their Biblical tests.
When you are lazy and fail to do your Biblical reading, you rely on the wrong answers of false teachers, pastors, prophets, and the like. You fall prey to their fake candor, false leadership, and flattering words. Slowly but surely they turn your hearts from the Lord and onto their agendas. Friends, if your spiritual leaders are pointing towards a “Caesar” for leadership, they are not of God. God does not need politicians or world leaders of any kind to gain access to our hearts and minds. Only a fool who copied false answers instead of studying the Word would fall prey to that. Do you not recall the reign of Saul? Study the Word so that you can receive everlasting life. Or don’t and enjoy the alternative. The choice is ultimately yours.
Are you ready to study the right answers or are you comfortable with passing the test to hell?
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1Please listen, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph’s descendants like a flock. O God, enthroned above the cherubim, display your radiant glory
2to Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh. Show us your mighty power. Come to rescue us!
3Turn us again to yourself, O God. Make your face shine down upon us. Only then will we be saved.
4O LORD God of Heaven’s Armies, how long will you be angry with our prayers?
5You have fed us with sorrow and made us drink tears by the bucketful.
6You have made us the scorn of neighboring nations. Our enemies treat us as a joke.
7Turn us again to yourself, O God of Heaven’s Armies. Make your face shine down upon us. Only then will we be saved.
8You brought us from Egypt like a grapevine; you drove away the pagan nations and transplanted us into your land.
9You cleared the ground for us, and we took root and filled the land.
10Our shade covered the mountains; our branches covered the mighty cedars.
11We spread our branches west to the Mediterranean Sea; our shoots spread east to the Euphrates River.
12But now, why have you broken down our walls so that all who pass by may steal our fruit?
13The wild boar from the forest devours it, and the wild animals feed on it.
14Come back, we beg you, O God of Heaven’s Armies. Look down from heaven and see our plight. Take care of this grapevine
15that you yourself have planted, this son you have raised for yourself.
16For we are chopped up and burned by our enemies. May they perish at the sight of your frown.
17Strengthen the man you love, the son of your choice.
18Then we will never abandon you again. Revive us so we can call on your name once more.
19Turn us again to yourself, O LORD God of Heaven’s Armies. Make your face shine down upon us. Only then will we be saved.