“Do you not fear your darkest hour because to fully realize God’s grace, you must know what he is sparing you from.”~TB
If I could give any advice to people— young and old— I would tell them to reject the teachings and ideas of the world. If you believe them, your perception and understanding of God’s will always be distorted. People tell each other the dumbest things, that have nothing to do with God, His grace, or even what His will is in your life. The world will sooner tell you it’s ok to become a unicorn rather than acknowledge God’s existence. The world and its ways are upside down. This is especially true when it comes to hard times and bad events
Dark Times produce the purest fruit, because whatever leaves wasn’t necessary and whatever remains is what will see you through. Your darkest hour will reveal how much you truly need the Lord and that all things work according to His plan. Humility and submission will open your eyes to what exactly is going on around you. In hard times, look to see the lessons. Remember that those tough moments didn’t break you. No, you survived! When you are spared from these crazy moments, you then realize that God’s Will is the only way. Surviving harsh times makes you grateful for salvation and everything in between. So the next time you’re being tested or going through a struggle, let God guide you through the moment.
Are you learning from your darkest hour or is bitterness setting in?
Enjoy the reading
Song of Solomon 7
1How beautiful are your sandaled feet, O queenly maiden. Your rounded thighs are like jewels, the work of a skilled craftsman.
2Your navel is perfectly formed like a goblet filled with mixed wine. Between your thighs lies a mound of wheat bordered with lilies.
3Your breasts are like two fawns, twin fawns of a gazelle.
4Your neck is as beautiful as an ivory tower. Your eyes are like the sparkling pools in Heshbon by the gate of Bath-rabbim. Your nose is as fine as the tower of Lebanon overlooking Damascus.
5Your head is as majestic as Mount Carmel, and the sheen of your hair radiates royalty. The king is held captive by its tresses.
6Oh, how beautiful you are! How pleasing, my love, how full of delights!
7You are slender like a palm tree, and your breasts are like its clusters of fruit.
8I said, “I will climb the palm tree and take hold of its fruit.” May your breasts be like grape clusters, and the fragrance of your breath like apples.
9May your kisses be as exciting as the best wine— Young Woman Yes, wine that goes down smoothly for my lover, flowing gently over lips and teeth.
10I am my lover’s, and he claims me as his own.
11Come, my love, let us go out to the fields and spend the night among the wildflowers.
12Let us get up early and go to the vineyards to see if the grapevines have budded, if the blossoms have opened, and if the pomegranates have bloomed. There I will give you my love.
13There the mandrakes give off their fragrance, and the finest fruits are at our door, new delights as well as old, which I have saved for you, my lover.
“So you’re spiritually mature, great! Now, step aside and let others pass theirs instead of trying to do the work for them.”~TB
The longer you spend with God, the more you understand how complex yet simple His love and teachings are. Like a game of chess, it takes a lifetime to study God’s ways. Even still, the wisest of us all will never truly and fully understand the miraculousness that is God. Depending on where you are on the spectrum, God will use you for His purpose, but friends, do your job and nothing more, as we all learn at a different pace.
Everyone goes through trials and tests at their own pace. Some learn faster than others. And some need to retake certain tests before they ace the exam. No person’s journey is superior to another’s, no matter how quickly they learn. If you are a quick learner, be a help and not a hindrance.
Helping others is part of the journey that is being a Christ-follower. This means encouraging the downtrodden, aiding those enduring hard times, and giving mercy to one another. It’s great to help, but when helping turns into servitude, you’re doing too much.
Yes, it’s natural to want to step in so that loved ones do not endure pain. However, everyone needs to go through their own tests so that they can learn the lessons and grow closer to God in the process. When you overstep in “helping” you’re actually hinder the person’s growth and maturity. Assist when necessary and let others develop accordingly.
Is your help a hindrance?
Enjoy the reading
1Don’t envy evil people or desire their company.
2For their hearts plot violence, and their words always stir up trouble.
3A house is built by wisdom and becomes strong through good sense.
4Through knowledge its rooms are filled with all sorts of precious riches and valuables.
5The wise are mightier than the strong, and those with knowledge grow stronger and stronger.
6So don’t go to war without wise guidance; victory depends on having many advisers.
7Wisdom is too lofty for fools. Among leaders at the city gate, they have nothing to say.
8A person who plans evil will get a reputation as a troublemaker.
9The schemes of a fool are sinful; everyone detests a mocker.
10If you fail under pressure, your strength is too small.
11Rescue those who are unjustly sentenced to die; save them as they stagger to their death.
12Don’t excuse yourself by saying, “Look, we didn’t know.” For God understands all hearts, and he sees you. He who guards your soul knows you knew. He will repay all people as their actions deserve.
13My child, eat honey, for it is good, and the honeycomb is sweet to the taste.
14In the same way, wisdom is sweet to your soul. If you find it, you will have a bright future, and your hopes will not be cut short.
15Don’t wait in ambush at the home of the godly, and don’t raid the house where the godly live.
16The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again. But one disaster is enough to overthrow the wicked.
17Don’t rejoice when your enemies fall; don’t be happy when they stumble.
18For the LORD will be displeased with you and will turn his anger away from them.
19Don’t fret because of evildoers; don’t envy the wicked.
20For evil people have no future; the light of the wicked will be snuffed out.
21My child, fear the LORD and the king. Don’t associate with rebels,
22for disaster will hit them suddenly. Who knows what punishment will come from the LORD and the king?
23Here are some further sayings of the wise: It is wrong to show favoritism when passing judgment.
24A judge who says to the wicked, “You are innocent,” will be cursed by many people and denounced by the nations.
25But it will go well for those who convict the guilty; rich blessings will be showered on them.
26An honest answer is like a kiss of friendship.
27Do your planning and prepare your fields before building your house.
28Don’t testify against your neighbors without cause; don’t lie about them.
29And don’t say, “Now I can pay them back for what they’ve done to me! I’ll get even with them!”
30I walked by the field of a lazy person, the vineyard of one with no common sense.
31I saw that it was overgrown with nettles. It was covered with weeds, and its walls were broken down.
32Then, as I looked and thought about it, I learned this lesson:
33A little extra sleep, a little more slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest—
34then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit; scarcity will attack you like an armed robber.
“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?
Enjoy the reading
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?
Enjoy the reading
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.
“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?
Enjoy the reading
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.
“Don’t look at your troubles too deeply, because what looks like a mountain is actually a molehill”~TB
It took the Israelites 40 years to get to the promised land because they couldn’t look past their problems. They chose to focus on their past slavery, and their uncertain future, even though God explicitly told them that there was a future of Hope. Do not be like our ancestors, realize that you are free to enter the promised land as quickly as you’d like. Just because the devil makes some trouble, it does not negate the predestined will for our lives. Your wilderness journey timetable is up to you.
By Faithfully reading and embracing the Word, you understand the tricks, traps, and schemes that the evil one plants out for us. Though they are pesky and annoying, they will not bring you death. Avoid stewing in the opposition for too long otherwise, you will be trapped in the fake and shallow void, prolonging your arrival time. If you can keep your eyes focused on the plan that God has created for you, you can reach the destination in the time that God intended.
How long will you sit on inconsequential problems, 40 years or 11 days?
Enjoy the reading
1O LORD, the God of vengeance, O God of vengeance, let your glorious justice shine forth!
2Arise, O Judge of the earth. Give the proud what they deserve.
3How long, O LORD ? How long will the wicked be allowed to gloat?
4How long will they speak with arrogance? How long will these evil people boast?
5They crush your people, LORD, hurting those you claim as your own.
6They kill widows and foreigners and murder orphans.
7“The LORD isn’t looking,” they say, “and besides, the God of Israel doesn’t care.”
8Think again, you fools! When will you finally catch on?
9Is he deaf—the one who made your ears? Is he blind—the one who formed your eyes?
10He punishes the nations—won’t he also punish you? He knows everything—doesn’t he also know what you are doing?
11The LORD knows people’s thoughts; he knows they are worthless!
12Joyful are those you discipline, LORD, those you teach with your instructions.
13You give them relief from troubled times until a pit is dug to capture the wicked.
14The LORD will not reject his people; he will not abandon his special possession.
15Judgment will again be founded on justice, and those with virtuous hearts will pursue it.
16Who will protect me from the wicked? Who will stand up for me against evildoers?
17Unless the LORD had helped me, I would soon have settled in the silence of the grave.
18I cried out, “I am slipping!” but your unfailing love, O LORD, supported me.
19When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.
20Can unjust leaders claim that God is on their side— leaders whose decrees permit injustice?
21They gang up against the righteous and condemn the innocent to death.
22But the LORD is my fortress; my God is the mighty rock where I hide.
23God will turn the sins of evil people back on them. He will destroy them for their sins. The LORD our God will destroy them.
“It’s easy to perform well when the conditions are in your favor, whereas trials can make the task extremely difficult to complete. Intense pressure turns coal into diamonds, in the same manner that suffering for Christ brings you closer to God.” ~Taryn Barnes
In the beginning, God gives us milk, gently showing us the way to become mature Christians as we begin our path to follow Christ. He gives us plain and clear direction, encouraging us in our walk. Be thankful for the times where life is plentiful and the walk with God shows you favor and abundance in life.
In time, God weans us off of milk, giving us meat that will prove to be tougher to digest than the milk previously given. It is best to ingest slowly and carefully as these messages often always are not meant to be swallowed in one bite. Be thankful for the times of famine and confusion as this is a test of your ability to continue following Christ sight unseen.
As people who have made the conscious decision to take up the cross each and every day, we will experience seasons of feast and famine; encountering trials and tribulations that human understanding will never fully resolve. Don’t be afraid of trials and tribulations as they are an indication that you have chosen the narrow path that leads to everlasting life. Rejoice in all of these seasons as they bring us toward Christ, forming a closer bond to God than we could ever imagine.
Question of the day
In your times of trial, are you leaning on your understanding, or God’s?
Enjoy today’s reading
Numbers 8 NIV
Setting Up the Lamps
1The LORD said to Moses, 2“Speak to Aaron and say to him, ‘When you set up the lamps, see that all seven light up the area in front of the lampstand.’ ” 3Aaron did so; he set up the lamps so that they faced forward on the lampstand, just as the LORD commanded Moses. 4This is how the lampstand was made: It was made of hammered gold—from its base to its blossoms. The lampstand was made exactly like the pattern the LORD had shown Moses.
The Setting Apart of the Levites
5The LORD said to Moses: 6“Take the Levites from among all the Israelites and make them ceremonially clean. 7To purify them, do this: Sprinkle the water of cleansing on them; then have them shave their whole bodies and wash their clothes. And so they will purify themselves. 8Have them take a young bull with its grain offering of the finest flour mixed with olive oil; then you are to take a second young bull for a sin offering. 9Bring the Levites to the front of the tent of meeting and assemble the whole Israelite community. 10You are to bring the Levites before the LORD, and the Israelites are to lay their hands on them. 11Aaron is to present the Levites before the LORD as a wave offering from the Israelites, so that they may be ready to do the work of the LORD.
12“Then the Levites are to lay their hands on the heads of the bulls, using one for a sin offering to the LORD and the other for a burnt offering, to make atonement for the Levites. 13Have the Levites stand in front of Aaron and his sons and then present them as a wave offering to the LORD. 14In this way you are to set the Levites apart from the other Israelites, and the Levites will be mine.15“After you have purified the Levites and presented them as a wave offering, they are to come to do their work at the tent of meeting. 16They are the Israelites who are to be given wholly to me. I have taken them as my own in place of the firstborn, the first male offspring from every Israelite woman.
17Every firstborn male in Israel, whether human or animal, is mine. When I struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, I set them apart for myself. 18And I have taken the Levites in place of all the firstborn sons in Israel. 19From among all the Israelites, I have given the Levites as gifts to Aaron and his sons to do the work at the tent of meeting on behalf of the Israelites and to make atonement for them so that no plague will strike the Israelites when they go near the sanctuary.” 20Moses, Aaron and the whole Israelite community did with the Levites just as the LORD commanded Moses. 21The Levites purified themselves and washed their clothes. Then Aaron presented them as a wave offering before the LORD and made atonement for them to purify them.
22After that, the Levites came to do their work at the tent of meeting under the supervision of Aaron and his sons. They did with the Levites just as the LORD commanded Moses. 23The LORD said to Moses,24“This applies to the Levites: Men twenty-five years old or more shall come to take part in the work at the tent of meeting,
25but at the age of fifty, they must retire from their regular service and work no longer.
26They may assist their brothers in performing their duties at the tent of meeting, but they themselves must not do the work. This, then, is how you are to assign the responsibilities of the Levites.”