It’s human nature to think that just because you have the tools in your possession, you’re solid. Some of us spend a lifetime collecting the world’s best and shiniest tools only to let them sit and gather dust. It doesn’t necessarily matter if you ever use them, having them is what counts. We put these tools on display so that our peers can see how “prepared” and amazing we are, yet when it comes down to it, we’ve probably never even read the instruction manual to most of it. Oh man, with that kind of thinking, it’s no wonder why we struggle as a collective to discern the truth from the fake, good from evil, and so on. Yes, having the tools is a step in the right direction, but how effective can they be if you don’t ever use them?
I could have a state of the art gym in my house. However, if I don’t actually use it, how effective is just having the stuff around? The same concept can be applied to us and the Bible. Ask yourself, how much are you actually reading it? How often are you applying its wisdom to your life? If we spend more time binge-watching our favorite shows or zoning out to our preferred method of escapism, can we really blame the tools? Friends, it’s time that we put our tools to the test and use them to our advantage. The Living Word has a host of benefits that will serve you well all through your life. That said, you can only find that out if you use it.
Are you collecting God’s tools or are you using them?
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1This message came to Jeremiah from the LORD early in the reign of Zedekiah son of Josiah, king of Judah.
2This is what the LORD said to me: “Make a yoke, and fasten it on your neck with leather straps.
3Then send messages to the kings of Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre, and Sidon through their ambassadors who have come to see King Zedekiah in Jerusalem.
4Give them this message for their masters: ‘This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says:
5With my great strength and powerful arm I made the earth and all its people and every animal. I can give these things of mine to anyone I choose.
6Now I will give your countries to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, who is my servant. I have put everything, even the wild animals, under his control.
7All the nations will serve him, his son, and his grandson until his time is up. Then many nations and great kings will conquer and rule over Babylon.
8So you must submit to Babylon’s king and serve him; put your neck under Babylon’s yoke! I will punish any nation that refuses to be his slave, says the LORD . I will send war, famine, and disease upon that nation until Babylon has conquered it.
9“‘Do not listen to your false prophets, fortune-tellers, interpreters of dreams, mediums, and sorcerers who say, “The king of Babylon will not conquer you.”
10They are all liars, and their lies will lead to your being driven out of your land. I will drive you out and send you far away to die.
11But the people of any nation that submits to the king of Babylon will be allowed to stay in their own country to farm the land as usual. I, the LORD, have spoken!’”
12Then I repeated this same message to King Zedekiah of Judah. “If you want to live, submit to the yoke of the king of Babylon and his people.
13Why do you insist on dying—you and your people? Why should you choose war, famine, and disease, which the LORD will bring against every nation that refuses to submit to Babylon’s king?
14Do not listen to the false prophets who keep telling you, ‘The king of Babylon will not conquer you.’ They are liars.
15This is what the LORD says: ‘I have not sent these prophets! They are telling you lies in my name, so I will drive you from this land. You will all die—you and all these prophets, too.’”
16Then I spoke to the priests and the people and said, “This is what the LORD says: ‘Do not listen to your prophets who claim that soon the gold articles taken from my Temple will be returned from Babylon. It is all a lie!
17Do not listen to them. Surrender to the king of Babylon, and you will live. Why should this whole city be destroyed?
18If they really are prophets and speak the LORD ’s messages, let them pray to the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. Let them pray that the articles remaining in the LORD ’s Temple and in the king’s palace and in the palaces of Jerusalem will not be carried away to Babylon!’
19“For the LORD of Heaven’s Armies has spoken about the pillars in front of the Temple, the great bronze basin called the Sea, the water carts, and all the other ceremonial articles.
20King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon left them here when he exiled Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, to Babylon, along with all the other nobles of Judah and Jerusalem.
21Yes, this is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says about the precious things still in the Temple, in the palace of Judah’s king, and in Jerusalem:
22‘They will all be carried away to Babylon and will stay there until I send for them,’ says the LORD . ‘Then I will bring them back to Jerusalem again.’”
“While in the lion’s den, be patient and productive so that you can learn the lessons and tools God can teach you in your time of waiting.”~TB
Waiting sucks. Especially when you’re at a time where you are waiting for something that despite your best efforts is being dragged out with no end in sight. During periods like these, I’m reminded of Daniel in the lion’s den. Even though the lions could not physically harm him, I’m willing to bet that being stuck in that situation was probably less than ideal. But still, he put his faith in God.
Just like those lions, our times of waiting will not be the end of us. It’s human nature to want to hone in and focus on the obstacles we cannot change. However, when we obsess over what we cannot do, we miss out on what we can. Instead of watching the pot, ask God how to best utilize the time that you have to continue His purpose for your life. Rejoice that whatever is causing your frustration is not the end and that in time, the wait will be over.
How are you handling the wait?
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1“O Israel,” says the LORD, “if you wanted to return to me, you could. You could throw away your detestable idols and stray away no more.
2Then when you swear by my name, saying, ‘As surely as the LORD lives,’ you could do so with truth, justice, and righteousness. Then you would be a blessing to the nations of the world, and all people would come and praise my name.”
3This is what the LORD says to the people of Judah and Jerusalem: “Plow up the hard ground of your hearts! Do not waste your good seed among thorns.
4O people of Judah and Jerusalem, surrender your pride and power. Change your hearts before the LORD, or my anger will burn like an unquenchable fire because of all your sins.
5“Shout to Judah, and broadcast to Jerusalem! Tell them to sound the alarm throughout the land: ‘Run for your lives! Flee to the fortified cities!’
6Raise a signal flag as a warning for Jerusalem : ‘Flee now! Do not delay!’ For I am bringing terrible destruction upon you from the north.”
7A lion stalks from its den, a destroyer of nations. It has left its lair and is headed your way. It’s going to devastate your land! Your towns will lie in ruins, with no one living in them anymore.
8So put on clothes of mourning and weep with broken hearts, for the fierce anger of the LORD is still upon us.
9“In that day,” says the LORD, “the king and the officials will tremble in fear. The priests will be struck with horror, and the prophets will be appalled.”
10Then I said, “O Sovereign LORD, the people have been deceived by what you said, for you promised peace for Jerusalem. But the sword is held at their throats!”
11The time is coming when the LORD will say to the people of Jerusalem, “My dear people, a burning wind is blowing in from the desert, and it’s not a gentle breeze useful for winnowing grain.
12It is a roaring blast sent by me! Now I will pronounce your destruction!”
13Our enemy rushes down on us like storm clouds! His chariots are like whirlwinds. His horses are swifter than eagles. How terrible it will be, for we are doomed!
14O Jerusalem, cleanse your heart that you may be saved. How long will you harbor your evil thoughts?
15Your destruction has been announced from Dan and the hill country of Ephraim.
16“Warn the surrounding nations and announce this to Jerusalem: The enemy is coming from a distant land, raising a battle cry against the towns of Judah.
17They surround Jerusalem like watchmen around a field, for my people have rebelled against me,” says the LORD .
18“Your own actions have brought this upon you. This punishment is bitter, piercing you to the heart!”
19My heart, my heart—I writhe in pain! My heart pounds within me! I cannot be still. For I have heard the blast of enemy trumpets and the roar of their battle cries.
20Waves of destruction roll over the land, until it lies in complete desolation. Suddenly my tents are destroyed; in a moment my shelters are crushed.
21How long must I see the battle flags and hear the trumpets of war?
22“My people are foolish and do not know me,” says the LORD . “They are stupid children who have no understanding. They are clever enough at doing wrong, but they have no idea how to do right!”
23I looked at the earth, and it was empty and formless. I looked at the heavens, and there was no light.
24I looked at the mountains and hills, and they trembled and shook.
25I looked, and all the people were gone. All the birds of the sky had flown away.
26I looked, and the fertile fields had become a wilderness. The towns lay in ruins, crushed by the LORD ’s fierce anger.
27This is what the LORD says: “The whole land will be ruined, but I will not destroy it completely.
28The earth will mourn and the heavens will be draped in black because of my decree against my people. I have made up my mind and will not change it.”
29At the noise of charioteers and archers, the people flee in terror. They hide in the bushes and run for the mountains. All the towns have been abandoned— not a person remains!
30What are you doing, you who have been plundered? Why do you dress up in beautiful clothing and put on gold jewelry? Why do you brighten your eyes with mascara? Your primping will do you no good! The allies who were your lovers despise you and seek to kill you.
31I hear a cry, like that of a woman in labor, the groans of a woman giving birth to her first child. It is beautiful Jerusalem gasping for breath and crying out, “Help! I’m being murdered!”
“In case of emergencies (or in everyday life), tap into the Holy Humor of God.”~TB
The Divine Chuckle
God has to have the greatest sense of humor of all time. Just look at us, we are a funny bunch. I’m sure He looks down at us, and has a good chuckle from time to time. And if you learn how, you too can get in on the joke. The older I get, the more I’m convinced that when we endure trying times, in those moments we are able to experience the the kindness and humor of God. If you take a step back and look, you can begin to see God in His kindness and mercy, rather than the Old Testament look we tend to view Him as. Take the holidays and family, for example. Many of us in the Western part of the world are wrapping up the holiday season, which means time spent with your family– for better or worse.
Family can bring the greatest sense of joy. They can also provide the greatest amount of strife as those closest to us know (consciously or otherwise) how to get under our skin. Family functions will always have a sort of dysfunction because we’re all flesh-bag beings who are severely imperfect, and no amount of strategically choreographed photos can change that. Be that as it may, the art of seeing the humor in discord serves two purposes. 1.) You learn not to pick up the sword and you can disarm a brewing battle. 2.) It’s a fun way to take the sting out of the situation. Like the gauge of a pressure cooker, Holy laughter alleviates the boiling pot of tension in family gatherings, safely dismantling a lethal weapon, repurposing it into a fun endeavor.
For Better or Worse
This life is full of hills and valleys, highs and lows. If you can’t find the humor or absurdity in situations, friends it’s going to be a long and arduous venture. So the next time Uncle Frank (no offense to the Franks of the world) makes an insensitive comment or your cousin asks to borrow a couple bucks from you, have a laugh with God, and let the moments float on by as punch lines of your Holy Comedy Routine. The more you learn to chuckle and roll with the punches, the less opportunities are available for the opposition to sow seeds of discord. Remember, when in doubt, have a chuckle with God and laugh it out.
Are you able to see God’s Humor or are you the butt of the joke?
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1“Shout with the voice of a trumpet blast. Shout aloud! Don’t be timid. Tell my people Israel of their sins!
2Yet they act so pious! They come to the Temple every day and seem delighted to learn all about me. They act like a righteous nation that would never abandon the laws of its God. They ask me to take action on their behalf, pretending they want to be near me.
3‘We have fasted before you!’ they say. ‘Why aren’t you impressed? We have been very hard on ourselves, and you don’t even notice it!’ “I will tell you why!” I respond. “It’s because you are fasting to please yourselves. Even while you fast, you keep oppressing your workers.
4What good is fasting when you keep on fighting and quarreling? This kind of fasting will never get you anywhere with me.
5You humble yourselves by going through the motions of penance, bowing your heads like reeds bending in the wind. You dress in burlap and cover yourselves with ashes. Is this what you call fasting? Do you really think this will please the LORD ?
6“No, this is the kind of fasting I want: Free those who are wrongly imprisoned; lighten the burden of those who work for you. Let the oppressed go free, and remove the chains that bind people.
7Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help.
8“Then your salvation will come like the dawn, and your wounds will quickly heal. Your godliness will lead you forward, and the glory of the LORD will protect you from behind.
9Then when you call, the LORD will answer. ‘Yes, I am here,’ he will quickly reply. “Remove the heavy yoke of oppression. Stop pointing your finger and spreading vicious rumors!
10Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon.
11The LORD will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.
12Some of you will rebuild the deserted ruins of your cities. Then you will be known as a rebuilder of walls and a restorer of homes.
13“Keep the Sabbath day holy. Don’t pursue your own interests on that day, but enjoy the Sabbath and speak of it with delight as the LORD ’s holy day. Honor the Sabbath in everything you do on that day, and don’t follow your own desires or talk idly.
14Then the LORD will be your delight. I will give you great honor and satisfy you with the inheritance I promised to your ancestor Jacob. I, the LORD, have spoken!”
“By effectively using the tools and talents God has given you, your ideas and work ethic will improve beyond your own capacity, when you walk with God!”
God will allocate all of the resources you will need to complete, organize, and share the Word of God to people everywhere.Just let your light shine by not living in the darkness of sin.Fight the temptations of old because now you have Jesus helping you out.If you don’t use Him as your main resource, you are doomed to fail. Your Tests will not break You!
When you are familiar with all of the materials in the Bible, you will enjoy re-reading the fun stories to see how much you have matured in God.Practicing your faith is like growing in grace, love, and understanding. Pay close attention to the materials God wants you to use.Learn from the Tests before you take and experience them yourself.Recognize your growth in God.
Write books about how God has helped you out over the years and proclaim the Goodness of God to all of your family, friends, and enemies.It is fun to document your progress, understanding, and service for the kingdom to help inspire others to do better.We are all tools in the hand of God and it is an honor to be of some good use to The Lord of All. Examine your own faith.
How can you be an effective tool and resource for God’s Kingdom, being so negative, with your broken tools and lack of work?
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5 “Call if you will, but who will answer you? To which of the holy ones will you turn? 2 Resentment kills a fool, and envy slays the simple. 3 I myself have seen a fool taking root, but suddenly his house was cursed. 4 His children are far from safety, crushed in court without a defender. 5 The hungry consume his harvest, taking it even from among thorns, and the thirsty pant after his wealth. 6 For hardship does not spring from the soil, nor does trouble sprout from the ground. 7 Yet man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward.
8 “But if I were you, I would appeal to God; I would lay my cause before him. 9 He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted. 10 He provides rain for the earth; he sends water on the countryside. 11 The lowly he sets on high, and those who mourn are lifted to safety. 12 He thwarts the plans of the crafty, so that their hands achieve no success. 13 He catches the wise in their craftiness, and the schemes of the wily are swept away. 14 Darkness comes upon them in the daytime; at noon they grope as in the night. 15 He saves the needy from the sword in their mouth; he saves them from the clutches of the powerful. 16 So the poor have hope, and injustice shuts its mouth.
17 “Blessed is the one whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.[a] 18 For he wounds, but he also binds up; he injures, but his hands also heal. 19 From six calamities he will rescue you; in seven no harm will touch you. 20 In famine he will deliver you from death, and in battle from the stroke of the sword. 21 You will be protected from the lash of the tongue, and need not fear when destruction comes. 22 You will laugh at destruction and famine, and need not fear the wild animals. 23 For you will have a covenant with the stones of the field, and the wild animals will be at peace with you. 24 You will know that your tent is secure; you will take stock of your property and find nothing missing. 25 You will know that your children will be many, and your descendants like the grass of the earth. 26 You will come to the grave in full vigor, like sheaves gathered in season.
27 “We have examined this, and it is true. So hear it and apply it to yourself.”
“Technology is an applied science, tool, and gift– not God!
We must all keep our heads in the Game of Life as we run our Good Race to the finish line and become content with the content and assignments God has for our lives. We are not better than the people we serve, help, and love. We must face the music of reality and adjust to the changes in our world to uphold the standards of God’s Truth, Justice, and Placement of Understanding. God is truly The Head of The Game and not we ourselves.
You must decide what moves to make, even though God has all the moves figured out, pre-planned, and predestined. The thinking person will ask God for direction, ideas, and provisions to study and finish the good game well. The non-thinking person will become a mindless dummy to model the path of fools.
Each piece of the chess game in life is important and the arrangement of strategy will allow you to make the best moves. The more you give, the more you can take, because you will reap what you sow and you will have a better harvest, since you love God. Swim in the Mind of God to learn the chess game pieces so that you can move freely in love, humility, and efficiency, while teaching the Game of Life with God’s living pieces and Living Word, which is the ultimate Technological Tool.
Did you learn how to play chess properly with today’s technology from God’s perspective yet?
Enjoy Today’s Reading
1 Thessalonians 2
Paul’s Ministry in Thessalonica
2 You know, brothers and sisters, that our visit to you was not without results.2 We had previously suffered and been treated outrageously in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in the face of strong opposition.3 For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives,nor are we trying to trick you.4 On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts.5 You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed—God is our witness.6 We were not looking for praise from people, not from you or anyone else, even though as apostles of Christ we could have asserted our authority.7 Instead, we were like young children[a] among you.
Just as a nursing mother cares for her children,8 so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of Godbut our lives as well.9 Surely you remember, brothers and sisters, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you.10 You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy,righteous and blameless we were among you who believed.11 For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children,12 encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.
13 And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God,which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe.14 For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own people the same things those churches suffered from the Jews15 who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to everyone16 in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last.[b]
Paul’s Longing to See the Thessalonians
17 But, brothers and sisters, when we were orphaned by being separated from you for a short time (in person, not in thought), out of our intense longing we made every effort to see you.18 For we wanted to come to you—certainly I, Paul, did, again and again—but Satan blocked our way.19 For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you?20 Indeed, you are our glory and joy.
“Maintaining your tools of understanding, working in your field of expertise, managing your weaknesses, and giving God, the love, respect, and credit He deserves will help you NOT to become a Hypocrite.” ~ Jon Barnes
The scales of justice is often unbalanced with favoritism, greed, hate, and evil lifestyles that enslave people all around the world. We lose ourselves in comfort, gluttony, excess, luxury, money, fame, and power by ignoring and taking advantage of the poor and holding back real solutions to the problems of implementing fair justice for all. God will judge you.
We worship, gifts and not God! We want everything we see, even the power of God, if it were obtainable. We think of ourselves as better than the poor person next to us, because we treat them as such. We treat rich people with power nicely to gain favors, status, money, opportunities, and jobs. Yet, God does not play favoritism and you will reap what you sow.
Reading, hearing, and doing the word and the work of God is a living example of our Faith in God. Practicing what we preach is fundamental and mandatory in our walk with God. The fruit of your Faith is justified by God’s Grace and Mercy on your life, to be seen by all the people you know. They truly know if you are a hypocrite or not. So, keep sharpening your tools for God, repent, repent, repent and get back to work.
Stop wasting time playing favorites, spying for the devil! All Lives and Souls Matter.
Do you love your children Equally as God does or are you a hypocrite?
Enjoy Today’s Reading.
Faith or Works of the Law
3 You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified.2 I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard?3 Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?[a]4 Have you experienced[b] so much in vain—if it really was in vain?5 So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard?6 So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”[c]
7 Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham.8 Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.”[d]9 So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.
10 For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.”[e]11 Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.”[f]12 The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.”[g]13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.”[h]14 He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.
The Law and the Promise
15 Brothers and sisters, let me take an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly established, so it is in this case.16 The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,”[i]meaning one person, who is Christ.17 What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise.18 For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on the promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise.
19 Why, then, was the law given at all? It was added because of transgressionsuntil the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was given through angels and entrusted to a mediator.20 A mediator, however, implies more than one party; but God is one.
21 Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law.22 But Scripture has locked up everything under the control of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.
Children of God
23 Before the coming of this faith,[j] we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed.24 So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith.25 Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.
26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith,27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.