“Rejoice in the fact that we get to serve a loving and merciful God.”~TB
A “have to” mindset is where you look at life’s tasks with a tedious and duty-bound attitude. In your mind, things just happen to you and you simply react. This lens makes the viewer see things in such a twisted light, it’s no wonder why people struggle to build a relationship with God! Spending time with God is not a chore nor an obligation. Friends, no one is holding a gun to your head. If something in your life sucks, change it. If you cannot see the joy in choosing to follow Christ, check your mindset, or quit pretending. No joy can come from a forced relationship. If you don’t want to know God, then don’t. Just stop pretending like you’re doing Him a favor with your bogus actions.
When you understand all that our Father in Heaven has done, is doing, and will do in your life, you can’t help but have a change in perspective. You’re “have to” mindset shifts into a “get to” viewpoint because you know the price that was paid for you. What once seemed like a chain weighing you down is now a joyous and love-filled activity. Know that God loves you and seeks to have a restorative and everlasting relationship with you. His love is unfailing and unyielding, so be glad you get to experience it. Take the time to cultivate an honest and personal relationship. His wisdom brings joy, peace, and contentment. How wonderful it is to get to know Him!
Are you leading a “get to” or “have to” kind of life?
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1Listen as Wisdom calls out! Hear as understanding raises her voice!
2On the hilltop along the road, she takes her stand at the crossroads.
3By the gates at the entrance to the town, on the road leading in, she cries aloud,
4“I call to you, to all of you! I raise my voice to all people.
5You simple people, use good judgment. You foolish people, show some understanding.
6Listen to me! For I have important things to tell you. Everything I say is right,
7for I speak the truth and detest every kind of deception.
8My advice is wholesome. There is nothing devious or crooked in it.
9My words are plain to anyone with understanding, clear to those with knowledge.
10Choose my instruction rather than silver, and knowledge rather than pure gold.
11For wisdom is far more valuable than rubies. Nothing you desire can compare with it.
12“I, Wisdom, live together with good judgment. I know where to discover knowledge and discernment.
13All who fear the LORD will hate evil. Therefore, I hate pride and arrogance, corruption and perverse speech.
14Common sense and success belong to me. Insight and strength are mine.
15Because of me, kings reign, and rulers make just decrees.
16Rulers lead with my help, and nobles make righteous judgments.
17“I love all who love me. Those who search will surely find me.
18I have riches and honor, as well as enduring wealth and justice.
19My gifts are better than gold, even the purest gold, my wages better than sterling silver!
20I walk in righteousness, in paths of justice.
21Those who love me inherit wealth. I will fill their treasuries.
22“The LORD formed me from the beginning, before he created anything else.
23I was appointed in ages past, at the very first, before the earth began.
24I was born before the oceans were created, before the springs bubbled forth their waters.
25Before the mountains were formed, before the hills, I was born—
26before he had made the earth and fields and the first handfuls of soil.
27I was there when he established the heavens, when he drew the horizon on the oceans.
28I was there when he set the clouds above, when he established springs deep in the earth.
29I was there when he set the limits of the seas, so they would not spread beyond their boundaries. And when he marked off the earth’s foundations,
30I was the architect at his side. I was his constant delight, rejoicing always in his presence.
31And how happy I was with the world he created; how I rejoiced with the human family!
32“And so, my children, listen to me, for all who follow my ways are joyful.
33Listen to my instruction and be wise. Don’t ignore it.
34Joyful are those who listen to me, watching for me daily at my gates, waiting for me outside my home!
35For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the LORD .
36But those who miss me injure themselves. All who hate me love death.”
“Do not put your brothers and sisters on a pedastal, as they require the same mercy and grace from God as you.”~TB
Even the wisest most disciplined follower of Christ does not compare to the perfection that is God. As such, do not place them in the same category. Each person who has been chosen to share the Lord’s wisdom is still a mere mortal. They bleed, feel, fail, achieve, in the same manner as anyone else. When they fail, as they will, you must give them the same space and grace as God gives to you.
If you view those in power as better than yourself, you run the risk of judging them harshly when they misstep. Yes, those who are placed in positions of leadership, teaching, and the like, must be held to a higher standard. However, this does not mean perfection. Human nature dictates that no one will live a perfect life. The judgment of their shortcomings is not for you or me. God is the ultimate judge and will always rule in a perfect manner.
One of the reasons why people are so willing to idolize those they consider to be wise is because it’s a great excuse to not do the work. Friends, the wise are not a substitute for our Father in Heaven. They are mouthpieces at best and examples of what not to do at worst. When you rely on someone else’s relationship/connection to Christ, it’s easy to fall into complacency, thinking that listening to them abdicates the need for you to go to God. Don’t lean on them as they are human. Instead, tap into the direct connection with God so that you know where to place your faith.
Are you avoiding Christ by putting humans on an unrealistic pedestal?
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1My son, pay attention to my wisdom; listen carefully to my wise counsel.
2Then you will show discernment, and your lips will express what you’ve learned.
3For the lips of an immoral woman are as sweet as honey, and her mouth is smoother than oil.
4But in the end she is as bitter as poison, as dangerous as a double-edged sword.
5Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave.
6For she cares nothing about the path to life. She staggers down a crooked trail and doesn’t realize it.
7So now, my sons, listen to me. Never stray from what I am about to say:
8Stay away from her! Don’t go near the door of her house!
9If you do, you will lose your honor and will lose to merciless people all you have achieved.
10Strangers will consume your wealth, and someone else will enjoy the fruit of your labor.
11In the end you will groan in anguish when disease consumes your body.
12You will say, “How I hated discipline! If only I had not ignored all the warnings!
13Oh, why didn’t I listen to my teachers? Why didn’t I pay attention to my instructors?
14I have come to the brink of utter ruin, and now I must face public disgrace.”
15Drink water from your own well— share your love only with your wife.
16Why spill the water of your springs in the streets, having sex with just anyone?
17You should reserve it for yourselves. Never share it with strangers.
18Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you. Rejoice in the wife of your youth.
19She is a loving deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts satisfy you always. May you always be captivated by her love.
20Why be captivated, my son, by an immoral woman, or fondle the breasts of a promiscuous woman?
21For the LORD sees clearly what a man does, examining every path he takes.
22An evil man is held captive by his own sins; they are ropes that catch and hold him.
23He will die for lack of self-control; he will be lost because of his great foolishness.
“Make a decision and stick with it, because a double-mind cannot properly follow the Lord.”~TB
Reconcile Your Path
Saying you’ve accepted Christ is one thing. Walking the path is another. If you decide to accept the gift of salvation, be bold and follow through on that decision. People fall into traps because they say one thing but do the opposite. This happens because you are looking around at everything else when really you should focus your attention on God. Your relationship with God influences every aspect of your life, develop it first and the rest will follow.
Being disengaged in your relationship with God is like trying to pull yourself out of quicksand to no avail. When you are double-minded– practicing opposing behaviors– your mind becomes trapped, unable to free itself from a loop of negative/evil thinking. Friends, nothing good comes from a corrupt mind, as your actions and behaviors will soon mirror your destructive thoughts. Making evil choices is like a poisoned well, where your misdeeds leak onto all who encounter you. To be free of this trap, ask God for help.
Follow the Leader
Like Red Riding Hood, everyone strays from the path, getting into tricky situations. Fortunately, God is the wisest of them all, and no amount of quicksand is too difficult for Him to free you. Experiencing this freedom requires you to follow God, the leader. Though this path is narrow, it is clear, and simple to follow. Understand that simple and easy are not the same thing, as you must decide in everything you do to follow Christ. Be sober in your judgment and decisions and you will find peace in God’s path.
Are you upholding your decision to follow the path or is quicksand a better option?
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1My children, listen when your father corrects you. Pay attention and learn good judgment,
2for I am giving you good guidance. Don’t turn away from my instructions.
3For I, too, was once my father’s son, tenderly loved as my mother’s only child.
4My father taught me, “Take my words to heart. Follow my commands, and you will live.
5Get wisdom; develop good judgment. Don’t forget my words or turn away from them.
6Don’t turn your back on wisdom, for she will protect you. Love her, and she will guard you.
7Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do! And whatever else you do, develop good judgment.
8If you prize wisdom, she will make you great. Embrace her, and she will honor you.
9She will place a lovely wreath on your head; she will present you with a beautiful crown.”
10My child, listen to me and do as I say, and you will have a long, good life.
11I will teach you wisdom’s ways and lead you in straight paths.
12When you walk, you won’t be held back; when you run, you won’t stumble.
13Take hold of my instructions; don’t let them go. Guard them, for they are the key to life.
14Don’t do as the wicked do, and don’t follow the path of evildoers.
15Don’t even think about it; don’t go that way. Turn away and keep moving.
16For evil people can’t sleep until they’ve done their evil deed for the day. They can’t rest until they’ve caused someone to stumble.
17They eat the food of wickedness and drink the wine of violence!
18The way of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, which shines ever brighter until the full light of day.
19But the way of the wicked is like total darkness. They have no idea what they are stumbling over.
20My child, pay attention to what I say. Listen carefully to my words.
21Don’t lose sight of them. Let them penetrate deep into your heart,
22for they bring life to those who find them, and healing to their whole body.
23Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.
24Avoid all perverse talk; stay away from corrupt speech.
25Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you.
26Mark out a straight path for your feet; stay on the safe path.
27Don’t get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil.
“Keep a watchful eye on the people, places, and things that influence your life. A careless thoughtlife will surely lead to a poor understanding of the Truth.”~TB
God programmed us to be free thinkers. This means that the blank software you were born with is free to download whatever information you choose. You don’t have to follow God or even acknowledge His existence! On the same token, He does not have to acknowledge you come judgment day. Make of that as you will. Some will come to know Christ early on. Some will do so later on. And others, well, they chose what they chose. Thank God that we have a choice! So, why is it important that you understand this distinction? Well, friends, not all information is wise or accurate. More to the point, not every activity or deed will bring you peace or contentment.
As society advances, so does the ability to easily practice sin, debauchery, and all types of blasphemous activities. Problem is, much of what is not good for you is marketed as delightful and necessary things. This is why analyzing and understanding what you’re listening to and to whom you’re influenced by is of the utmost importance. Evil people seek to give you poisonous information and will claim such acts as good! And if you’re not paying attention, you will download it, like a virus that will corrupt your system. Friends, be discerning! Let the Holy Spirit guide your thought process. If someone is telling you to make concessions on the Truth, run! If someone is trying to change you or make you believe that you are anything less than what God created you to be, ignore them. In a world that is upside down, and evil is packaged as freedom, choice, and pursuit of happiness, if you are not paying attention, life is more challenging.
Even though we have a choice and God will not inflict His authority on you, He is there! If you are tired of the gnarly viruses of the world, if you are frustrated by the hypocrisy of mankind, turn to the Truth. Forming a genuine relationship with God is beneficial in so many ways. Like the ultimate anti-virus, God will download the Truth, peace, and joy onto your operating system. This new software, The Holy Spirit is not only a useful tool but a true friend that will help guide you in this wicked world. If you take the time to cultivate this relationship, it will serve you well. Make no mistake, to walk with God means to abdicate the sin-fallen world. It means to take up the cross, abandon a flesh-filled life, and to live according to His will. As with anything worth doing, dedication, discipline, and time are necessary to run this race. Friends, you have a choice, make sure you choose wisely.
Are you downloading the Truth or is your operating system full of viruses?
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1How joyful are those who fear the LORD — all who follow his ways!
2You will enjoy the fruit of your labor. How joyful and prosperous you will be!
3Your wife will be like a fruitful grapevine, flourishing within your home. Your children will be like vigorous young olive trees as they sit around your table.
4That is the LORD ’s blessing for those who fear him.
5May the LORD continually bless you from Zion. May you see Jerusalem prosper as long as you live.
6May you live to enjoy your grandchildren. May Israel have peace!
With the help of God’s word, you are able to direct your life in a manner that is pleasing to Him. Of course, there are two types of directions you can follow: His or your own. His direction takes your arrow straight to the bullseye. Your direction, well, let’s just say it’s pointed downward. Even though we fundamentally know that God’s understanding and timing are perfect, we almost always foolishly believe that our way matters. Friends, it does not. Reflect on your life, how well have you navigated it? More to the point, how many times have you had to beg God to get you back on track? Fortunately, we serve a mighty God who will take our aimless arrows and will direct them to the target.
To get the most accurate aim, lean on the word of God and the counsel of trusted advisors. Since we are all part of God’s plan, those whom He has entrusted with insight and wisdom are equipped with providing direction that comes directly from Him. This is why it is so important to converse with wise elders. God uses everything and everyone according to his purpose. Don’t be foolish enough to believe that your aimless arrow is better off alone. We all help one another in some form or fashion. So, shoot your shot, armed in the righteousness of the Lord to hit the bullseye.
Are you hitting the mark or are you aimless in your sin?
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1Those who trust in the LORD are as secure as Mount Zion; they will not be defeated but will endure forever.
2Just as the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people, both now and forever.
3The wicked will not rule the land of the godly, for then the godly might be tempted to do wrong.
4O LORD, do good to those who are good, whose hearts are in tune with you.
5But banish those who turn to crooked ways, O LORD . Take them away with those who do evil. May Israel have peace!
“If God continually invests His resources and time into you and you still don’t get it, who can you blame?”~TB
When you use God’s Holy lens to view your life, you learn not to sweat the small stuff because you understand the greater importance that He has placed on your life. People, situations, problems, and the like are easier to navigate because you see the playing field from a Biblical perspective. Using God’s resources, your trials become less trivial, as you experience peace in even the harshest conditions. Friends, you cannot survive this world successfully without the provisions of God. Step out of your understanding and rely on His.
When you refuse to use the Holy resources that are abundantly available, your sight is useless. Everyone else is at fault for your existence and peace is but a dream because you lack the Biblical vision to pass your Holy eye exam. Step back and look again! God has been with you this whole time. The Bible is available to you in every format possible. Quit licking your superficial wounds and cling to the Truth! If you fail to confer with your Father in Heaven, that is your fault. So step off of your sanctimonious cross and use your Holy resources! Stop using your myopic viewpoint and adopt God’s superior vision to life in the Truth.
Who can you blame if you fail to do your own work?
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1The LORD said to my Lord, “Sit in the place of honor at my right hand until I humble your enemies, making them a footstool under your feet.”
2The LORD will extend your powerful kingdom from Jerusalem ; you will rule over your enemies.
3When you go to war, your people will serve you willingly. You are arrayed in holy garments, and your strength will be renewed each day like the morning dew.
4The LORD has taken an oath and will not break his vow: “You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.”
5The Lord stands at your right hand to protect you. He will strike down many kings when his anger erupts.
6He will punish the nations and fill their lands with corpses; he will shatter heads over the whole earth.
7But he himself will be refreshed from brooks along the way. He will be victorious.
“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!
“Since there is nothing you can do, say, or think to stop the power of God, the good choice of obedience in love is very clear, obvious, and wise.”~Jon Barnes
There is no need to worry about the next move that God has planned for you, but keep your eyes, ears, and senses open to how God will move you to the next assignment.Your promotion is in the move of the next destination and your blessing are hidden in the journey of the destination.
Notice how things come together with the new people that you meet and your inspiration is someone’s hope and encouragement.New places and spaces provide opportunities for growth, expansion, and promotion in wisdom, savings, and blessings.Money is not always the object.
Change your mental, physical, and spiritual settings to flow with God and His infinite wisdom so that your movements leave a legacy of wonder and lasting impressions of hope for others to follow. Exercise these new gifts in the gym of life, swimming in God’s lifestyle of love, where ever you go.
Does God follow you everywhere you go or do you follow Him?
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A psalm of David.
1 The Lord is my light and my salvation— so why should I be afraid? The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble? 2 When evil people come to devour me, when my enemies and foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. 3 Though a mighty army surrounds me, my heart will not be afraid. Even if I am attacked, I will remain confident.
4 The one thing I ask of the Lord— the thing I seek most— is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, delighting in the Lord’s perfections and meditating in his Temple. 5 For he will conceal me there when troubles come; he will hide me in his sanctuary. He will place me out of reach on a high rock. 6 Then I will hold my head high above my enemies who surround me. At his sanctuary I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy, singing and praising the Lord with music.
7 Hear me as I pray, O Lord. Be merciful and answer me! 8 My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.” 9 Do not turn your back on me. Do not reject your servant in anger. You have always been my helper. Don’t leave me now; don’t abandon me, O God of my salvation! 10 Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close.
11 Teach me how to live, O Lord. Lead me along the right path, for my enemies are waiting for me. 12 Do not let me fall into their hands. For they accuse me of things I’ve never done; with every breath they threaten me with violence. 13 Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living.
14 Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.
“Saying no to idiots with deflection, intervention, prevention, preparation, kindness, a gift, and love is wisdom from God’s Word.” ~ Jon Barnes
It is impossible to give a gift of love when there is no LOVE in your heart. People who destroy themselves cannot love someone else. Honestly look to see how people treat themselves and how they care for their children, family, and other people in the same manner. When a person is selfish, they will treat their children like slaves. Separating yourself from fools and their foolishness is a gift from God for you to share with your family first.
A person who teaches and rewards their children for good work will gain a lifelong friend full of wisdom and understanding to improve upon their parent’s lessons in life. People who teach their children how to fight with The Word of God, simply live by the truth and not with an attitude. Copy this model from God and teach others by examples success in your life lessons.
Negotiation skills are a gift from God, but wisdom teaches you how to avoid the pitfalls of pitiful thinkers. After you have spoken the truth, walk away and let God do the rest. Be the truth and you will always do your best. Stay with God and accept nothing less. Stop asking for handout and advice as if you are needy. Help yourself, buy your obedience to Love, the sowing of good seeds, and properly sharing the harvested oils of wisdom. Your forest of righteousness will nicely grow when you tell other people NO.
Do you think I would be able to accomplish being a good father, loving husband, hard worker, and a man of faith if I said yes to all the dumb things people asked me to do for them and within my lifetime?
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For the choir director: A psalm of David.
1 O Lord, how long will you forget me? Forever? How long will you look the other way? 2 How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul, with sorrow in my heart every day? How long will my enemy have the upper hand?
3 Turn and answer me, O Lord my God! Restore the sparkle to my eyes, or I will die. 4 Don’t let my enemies gloat, saying, “We have defeated him!” Don’t let them rejoice at my downfall.
5 But I trust in your unfailing love. I will rejoice because you have rescued me. 6 I will sing to the Lord because he is good to me.
When someone doesn’t believe in marriage, family, values, and ethics of God’s wisdom, mercy, grace, love, structure, and commandments, you should believe them by finding a mate that does.”~Jon Barnes
A person will never need a job if they can get milk, food, meat, clothes, and stuff for free.There is no incentive to improve, learn, grow, work, and love in any relationship.We all have a job to play with rules, regulations, commandments, and obligations.Good relationships thrive on the quality of work and faith you bring to the table of your life, family, friends, and job.
Don’t allow people to ignore or fumble around with their responsibilities.Expect and demand better of yourself and others will follow when we follow God’s plans. Being meek and humble in your pride is cool, but be aggressive in doing excellent work in your faith.People will know what you stand for and make their own choices.
The standards that you set with God’s best will help you to identify your spouse, raise your children, and accomplish the work of faith in your lifestyle of love.Love is not a rug to step on.God is love, but he will let you go to hell, by your own choice.God does not enable anyone.He is very clear and specific with His Instructions and the work of your faith matters.
Why is it that many people will not enter into the Gates of Heaven or do you think God will leave the Pearly Gates Unlocked for the disobedient people who did nothing?
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The Lord’s Challenge Continues
39 “Do you know when the wild goats give birth? Have you watched as deer are born in the wild? 2 Do you know how many months they carry their young? Are you aware of the time of their delivery? 3 They crouch down to give birth to their young and deliver their offspring. 4 Their young grow up in the open fields, then leave home and never return.
5 “Who gives the wild donkey its freedom? Who untied its ropes? 6 I have placed it in the wilderness; its home is the wasteland. 7 It hates the noise of the city and has no driver to shout at it. 8 The mountains are its pastureland, where it searches for every blade of grass.
9 “Will the wild ox consent to being tamed? Will it spend the night in your stall? 10 Can you hitch a wild ox to a plow? Will it plow a field for you? 11 Given its strength, can you trust it? Can you leave and trust the ox to do your work? 12 Can you rely on it to bring home your grain and deliver it to your threshing floor?
13 “The ostrich flaps her wings grandly, but they are no match for the feathers of the stork. 14 She lays her eggs on top of the earth, letting them be warmed in the dust. 15 She doesn’t worry that a foot might crush them or a wild animal might destroy them. 16 She is harsh toward her young, as if they were not her own. She doesn’t care if they die. 17 For God has deprived her of wisdom. He has given her no understanding. 18 But whenever she jumps up to run, she passes the swiftest horse with its rider.
19 “Have you given the horse its strength or clothed its neck with a flowing mane? 20 Did you give it the ability to leap like a locust? Its majestic snorting is terrifying! 21 It paws the earth and rejoices in its strength when it charges out to battle. 22 It laughs at fear and is unafraid. It does not run from the sword. 23 The arrows rattle against it, and the spear and javelin flash. 24 It paws the ground fiercely and rushes forward into battle when the ram’s horn blows. 25 It snorts at the sound of the horn. It senses the battle in the distance. It quivers at the captain’s commands and the noise of battle.
26 “Is it your wisdom that makes the hawk soar and spread its wings toward the south? 27 Is it at your command that the eagle rises to the heights to make its nest? 28 It lives on the cliffs, making its home on a distant, rocky crag. 29 From there it hunts its prey, keeping watch with piercing eyes. 30 Its young gulp down blood. Where there’s a carcass, there you’ll find it.”