“You can have your cake and eat it too, just don’t be foolish enough to disregard the terms and conditions.”~TB
It’s human nature to be selfish and we live in a world that supports that kind of mentality. Everyone wants to gorge themselves on the cake, but no one wants to take responsibility for the calories. More specifically, everyone wants to be their best version of a heathen, but no one wants to acknowledge their connection to God. So they ignore Him and those who warn them of their waywardness. If you think trivializing God changes your fate, welp, you can’t say you weren’t warned.
Discipline breeds results and nothing worth achieving comes easy. Seeking the Lord requires you to spit out the ‘cake’ that the world serves you. Sure, it’ll be tough in the beginning, but the relationship that discipline brings tastes sweeter than any confectionary delight. Indulge in God and He will take delight in you. Ignore God and don’t expect Him to vouch for you. You can’t have it both ways; you either know God or you won’t. But don’t lie to yourself come judgment day about the discipline you never enacted because you’d rather eat cake.
Are you developing discipline or are you on the road to being disciplined?
1“In that day,” says the LORD, “I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they will be my people.
2This is what the LORD says: “Those who survive the coming destruction will find blessings even in the barren land, for I will give rest to the people of Israel.”
3Long ago the LORD said to Israel: “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.
4I will rebuild you, my virgin Israel. You will again be happy and dance merrily with your tambourines.
5Again you will plant your vineyards on the mountains of Samaria and eat from your own gardens there.
6The day will come when watchmen will shout from the hill country of Ephraim, ‘Come, let us go up to Jerusalem to worship the LORD our God.’”
7Now this is what the LORD says: “Sing with joy for Israel. Shout for the greatest of nations! Shout out with praise and joy: ‘Save your people, O LORD, the remnant of Israel!’
8For I will bring them from the north and from the distant corners of the earth. I will not forget the blind and lame, the expectant mothers and women in labor. A great company will return!
9Tears of joy will stream down their faces, and I will lead them home with great care. They will walk beside quiet streams and on smooth paths where they will not stumble. For I am Israel’s father, and Ephraim is my oldest child.
10“Listen to this message from the LORD, you nations of the world; proclaim it in distant coastlands: The LORD, who scattered his people, will gather them and watch over them as a shepherd does his flock.
11For the LORD has redeemed Israel from those too strong for them.
12They will come home and sing songs of joy on the heights of Jerusalem. They will be radiant because of the LORD ’s good gifts— the abundant crops of grain, new wine, and olive oil, and the healthy flocks and herds. Their life will be like a watered garden, and all their sorrows will be gone.
13The young women will dance for joy, and the men—old and young—will join in the celebration. I will turn their mourning into joy. I will comfort them and exchange their sorrow for rejoicing.
14The priests will enjoy abundance, and my people will feast on my good gifts. I, the LORD, have spoken!”
15This is what the LORD says: “A cry is heard in Ramah— deep anguish and bitter weeping. Rachel weeps for her children, refusing to be comforted— for her children are gone.”
16But now this is what the LORD says: “Do not weep any longer, for I will reward you,” says the LORD . “Your children will come back to you from the distant land of the enemy.
17There is hope for your future,” says the LORD . “Your children will come again to their own land.
18I have heard Israel saying, ‘You disciplined me severely, like a calf that needs training for the yoke. Turn me again to you and restore me, for you alone are the LORD my God.
19I turned away from God, but then I was sorry. I kicked myself for my stupidity! I was thoroughly ashamed of all I did in my younger days.’
20“Is not Israel still my son, my darling child?” says the LORD . “I often have to punish him, but I still love him. That’s why I long for him and surely will have mercy on him.
21Set up road signs; put up guideposts. Mark well the path by which you came. Come back again, my virgin Israel; return to your towns here.
22How long will you wander, my wayward daughter? For the LORD will cause something new to happen— Israel will embrace her God. ”
23This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: “When I bring them back from captivity, the people of Judah and its towns will again say, ‘The LORD bless you, O righteous home, O holy mountain!’
24Townspeople and farmers and shepherds alike will live together in peace and happiness.
25For I have given rest to the weary and joy to the sorrowing.”
26At this, I woke up and looked around. My sleep had been very sweet.
27“The day is coming,” says the LORD, “when I will greatly increase the human population and the number of animals here in Israel and Judah.
28In the past I deliberately uprooted and tore down this nation. I overthrew it, destroyed it, and brought disaster upon it. But in the future I will just as deliberately plant it and build it up. I, the LORD, have spoken!
29“The people will no longer quote this proverb: ‘The parents have eaten sour grapes, but their children’s mouths pucker at the taste.’
30All people will die for their own sins—those who eat the sour grapes will be the ones whose mouths will pucker.
31“The day is coming,” says the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah.
32This covenant will not be like the one I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and brought them out of the land of Egypt. They broke that covenant, though I loved them as a husband loves his wife,” says the LORD .
33“But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel after those days,” says the LORD . “I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.
34And they will not need to teach their neighbors, nor will they need to teach their relatives, saying, ‘You should know the LORD .’ For everyone, from the least to the greatest, will know me already,” says the LORD . “And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.”
35It is the LORD who provides the sun to light the day and the moon and stars to light the night, and who stirs the sea into roaring waves. His name is the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, and this is what he says:
36“I am as likely to reject my people Israel as I am to abolish the laws of nature!”
37This is what the LORD says: “Just as the heavens cannot be measured and the foundations of the earth cannot be explored, so I will not consider casting them away for the evil they have done. I, the LORD, have spoken!
38“The day is coming,” says the LORD, “when all Jerusalem will be rebuilt for me, from the Tower of Hananel to the Corner Gate.
39A measuring line will be stretched out over the hill of Gareb and across to Goah.
40And the entire area—including the graveyard and ash dump in the valley, and all the fields out to the Kidron Valley on the east as far as the Horse Gate—will be holy to the LORD . The city will never again be captured or destroyed.”
“Find a way to channel your efforts and energy into what God would like for you to do and stay focused happily in a harmonious way.” ~ Jon Barnes
Find the hilarious things in life to laugh at while you work, so that you stay focused to keep working on your projects. Expect and know that everyone will not always like what you are doing. If God has not given you a project to work on for Him, you should be concerned about what you are doing with your time. Peacefully ask God what you should be doing and do the work.
Quietly and patiently be a part of the good solutions to problems and let people enjoy the benefit of having you around. Remember the job, message, and story that God givens you to share, relate, and respond to people, problems, and events. Give people access to God’s ways. These examples contain clues of happiness, success, and solutions to follow you around the world.
Use your instinct to follow God’s incentives, instructions, and intuition because God can see your motives from your heart. The Spirit will guide your heart, mind, and body. He will give you extra courage, support, clues, and cues to get the good work done. By exercising your faith, your fate is in good hands with God. If you do poor work and remain disobedient, you will harmoniously reap what you have sown.
Will you let God patiently map out your plans, work, exercises, activities, provisions, and family’s lifestyle in a harmonious way or will you become disobedient and naturally sabotage your future blessings?
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The Good Shepherd and His Sheep
10 “I tell you the truth, anyone who sneaks over the wall of a sheepfold, rather than going through the gate, must surely be a thief and a robber! 2 But the one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.4 After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice.5 They won’t follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don’t know his voice.”
6 Those who heard Jesus use this illustration didn’t understand what he meant,7 so he explained it to them: “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep.8 All who came before me were thieves and robbers. But the true sheep did not listen to them.9 Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures.10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.
11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep.12 A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock.13 The hired hand runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t really care about the sheep.
14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me,15 just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep.16 I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd.
17 “The Father loves me because I sacrifice my life so I may take it back again.18 No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded.”
19 When he said these things, the people were again divided in their opinions about him.20 Some said, “He’s demon possessed and out of his mind. Why listen to a man like that?”21 Others said, “This doesn’t sound like a man possessed by a demon! Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”
Jesus Claims to Be the Son of God
22 It was now winter, and Jesus was in Jerusalem at the time of Hanukkah, the Festival of Dedication. 23 He was in the Temple, walking through the section known as Solomon’s Colonnade.24 The people surrounded him and asked, “How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”
25 Jesus replied, “I have already told you, and you don’t believe me. The proof is the work I do in my Father’s name.26 But you don’t believe me because you are not my sheep.27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me,29 for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand.30 The Father and I are one.”
31 Once again the people picked up stones to kill him.32 Jesus said, “At my Father’s direction I have done many good works. For which one are you going to stone me?”
33 They replied, “We’re stoning you not for any good work, but for blasphemy! You, a mere man, claim to be God.”
34 Jesus replied, “It is written in your own Scriptures that God said to certain leaders of the people, ‘I say, you are gods!’35 And you know that the Scriptures cannot be altered. So if those people who received God’s message were called ‘gods,’36 why do you call it blasphemy when I say, ‘I am the Son of God’? After all, the Father set me apart and sent me into the world.37 Don’t believe me unless I carry out my Father’s work.38 But if I do his work, believe in the evidence of the miraculous works I have done, even if you don’t believe me. Then you will know and understand that the Father is in me, and I am in the Father.”
39 Once again they tried to arrest him, but he got away and left them.40 He went beyond the Jordan River near the place where John was first baptizing and stayed there awhile.41 And many followed him. “John didn’t perform miraculous signs,” they remarked to one another, “but everything he said about this man has come true.”42 And many who were there believed in Jesus.
“When you walk with God daily, He gives you your daily bread.”~TB
What if there was a pill that you could take once a day that would change the way you looked at life, people, and the challenges that each day brings? We’d all probably be in line for a lifetime supply. Think about it, if there was something that could radically change our lives for the better, wouldn’t we all do what was necessary to obtain it? Funny thing is, there is someone who can do all that and more and I’m not just being hyperbolic. Maintaining an authentic relationship with Christ is the key to living this life victoriously. Problem is, without faith or vision, we cannot achieve it.
Once a Day
If there’s one thing my dad always points back to it’s the Lord’s Prayer. It’s a great starting point no matter where you are in your walk with God. While there is so much information to distill from it, the daily bread part sticks out to me in that God gives us the resources each day to walk through life triumphantly. I go one daily walks with my dog where I will have a dialogue with God. For an hour or so, I vent, praise, complain, exhort and all the above to Him. Then, I listen and download my daily bread. Chewing on God’s word daily gives us the tools and ability to navigate a backwards world filled with misguided situations. I find that my days are more peaceful when I go on these walks.
Following Christ is not about ‘repent or go to hell’ semantics. Yes, salvation is a gift, but God provides a host of benefits if you choose to listen to His wisdom. Restoration and healing occur when you walk with God because you begin to understand things like forgiveness, mercy, and kindness in a different light. If there is one thing I’d encourage people to do, it would be to forge a relationship with Christ, not out of fear or blind obedience but as a connection between a parent and a child. When you know Christ, you can see Him in a more authentic manner, rather than the tropes we rely on. If you truly want to radically change your days, get your daily bread by talking with Christ each day.
Where do you get your daily bread?
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1“Sing, O childless woman, you who have never given birth! Break into loud and joyful song, O Jerusalem, you who have never been in labor. For the desolate woman now has more children than the woman who lives with her husband,” says the LORD .
2“Enlarge your house; build an addition. Spread out your home, and spare no expense!
3For you will soon be bursting at the seams. Your descendants will occupy other nations and resettle the ruined cities.
4“Fear not; you will no longer live in shame. Don’t be afraid; there is no more disgrace for you. You will no longer remember the shame of your youth and the sorrows of widowhood.
5For your Creator will be your husband; the LORD of Heaven’s Armies is his name! He is your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, the God of all the earth.
6For the LORD has called you back from your grief— as though you were a young wife abandoned by her husband,” says your God.
7“For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with great compassion I will take you back.
8In a burst of anger I turned my face away for a little while. But with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,” says the LORD, your Redeemer.
9“Just as I swore in the time of Noah that I would never again let a flood cover the earth, so now I swear that I will never again be angry and punish you.
10For the mountains may move and the hills disappear, but even then my faithful love for you will remain. My covenant of blessing will never be broken,” says the LORD, who has mercy on you.
11“O storm-battered city, troubled and desolate! I will rebuild you with precious jewels and make your foundations from lapis lazuli.
12I will make your towers of sparkling rubies, your gates of shining gems, and your walls of precious stones.
13I will teach all your children, and they will enjoy great peace.
14You will be secure under a government that is just and fair. Your enemies will stay far away. You will live in peace, and terror will not come near.
15If any nation comes to fight you, it is not because I sent them. Whoever attacks you will go down in defeat.
16“I have created the blacksmith who fans the coals beneath the forge and makes the weapons of destruction. And I have created the armies that destroy.
17But in that coming day no weapon turned against you will succeed. You will silence every voice raised up to accuse you. These benefits are enjoyed by the servants of the LORD ; their vindication will come from me. I, the LORD, have spoken!
“God’s love is not contingent on your behavior.”~TB
Salvation is not merit-based. Thank God— literally— as none of us would measure up. Still, even though we know this, many believe that God is waiting to love the ‘new and improved’ version of us. Like, if we could only sin less, be nicer to our neighbors, do more for the community, etc. then God would love us. No, God loves us in our stupor, our good moments, and the not so great ones. Part of growing with God is understanding how immeasurable His love is. That way we stop trying to attain it and recognize that His love is already ours.
Being unconditionally loved is a near impossible concept for many, which is why we mistake God’s unconditional love for the warped perception that we may have. Sure, parents get pretty close to it, but even still, God’s love is greater. If you’re able to glean how He loves us and sees us, only then can you begin to move in His ways and teachings. Like Jesus on Earth, He sat with everyone and judged no one. Granted we all fall short of this mark, but experiencing His grace when we do fall, is a wonderful thing. So the next time you’re trying to be a Super Christian— sinless and perfect— remember that God’s love is eternal and unconditional. The best way we can mirror this is to try and pass on that same love and grace to one another.
Why are you overcompensating for something that is already yours?
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1Then the LORD said to me, “Make a large signboard and clearly write this name on it: Maher-shalal-hash-baz. ”
2I asked Uriah the priest and Zechariah son of Jeberekiah, both known as honest men, to witness my doing this.
3Then I slept with my wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. And the LORD said, “Call him Maher-shalal-hash-baz.
4For before this child is old enough to say ‘Papa’ or ‘Mama,’ the king of Assyria will carry away both the abundance of Damascus and the riches of Samaria.”
5Then the LORD spoke to me again and said,
6“My care for the people of Judah is like the gently flowing waters of Shiloah, but they have rejected it. They are rejoicing over what will happen to King Rezin and King Pekah.
7Therefore, the Lord will overwhelm them with a mighty flood from the Euphrates River —the king of Assyria and all his glory. This flood will overflow all its channels
8and sweep into Judah until it is chin deep. It will spread its wings, submerging your land from one end to the other, O Immanuel.
9“Huddle together, you nations, and be terrified. Listen, all you distant lands. Prepare for battle, but you will be crushed! Yes, prepare for battle, but you will be crushed!
10Call your councils of war, but they will be worthless. Develop your strategies, but they will not succeed. For God is with us! ”
11The LORD has given me a strong warning not to think like everyone else does. He said,
12“Don’t call everything a conspiracy, like they do, and don’t live in dread of what frightens them.
13Make the LORD of Heaven’s Armies holy in your life. He is the one you should fear. He is the one who should make you tremble.
14He will keep you safe. But to Israel and Judah he will be a stone that makes people stumble, a rock that makes them fall. And for the people of Jerusalem he will be a trap and a snare.
15Many will stumble and fall, never to rise again. They will be snared and captured.”
16Preserve the teaching of God; entrust his instructions to those who follow me.
17I will wait for the LORD, who has turned away from the descendants of Jacob. I will put my hope in him.
18I and the children the LORD has given me serve as signs and warnings to Israel from the LORD of Heaven’s Armies who dwells in his Temple on Mount Zion.
19Someone may say to you, “Let’s ask the mediums and those who consult the spirits of the dead. With their whisperings and mutterings, they will tell us what to do.” But shouldn’t people ask God for guidance? Should the living seek guidance from the dead?
20Look to God’s instructions and teachings! People who contradict his word are completely in the dark.
21They will go from one place to another, weary and hungry. And because they are hungry, they will rage and curse their king and their God. They will look up to heaven
22and down at the earth, but wherever they look, there will be trouble and anguish and dark despair. They will be thrown out into the darkness.
“Examine how you spend your work hours because some work isn’t work at all.”~TB
You can stay busy and still be off task, not completing your assignment. This world is ripe for distraction, disruption, and the like, so an undisciplined worker doesn’t need much help in wasting their time. The guise of being busy is a great smokescreen to make you appear to be more productive that you actually are, but the results of your harvest will always tell the truth.
You can’t engage in wasted work and expect a positive outcome come harvest time. Sure, in your mind you worked hard, but all of the “work” did not produce any fruit! If you’re harvest is sparse, ask God on how to change your work ethic so that the next harvest will reap better results. Wasted work is a trap in the mind that keeps you from completing your assignments. Don’t fall for the trap. Work honestly and humbling to avoid wasted work.
Are you working hard or hardly working?
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1A good reputation is more valuable than costly perfume. And the day you die is better than the day you are born.
2Better to spend your time at funerals than at parties. After all, everyone dies— so the living should take this to heart.
3Sorrow is better than laughter, for sadness has a refining influence on us.
4A wise person thinks a lot about death, while a fool thinks only about having a good time.
5Better to be criticized by a wise person than to be praised by a fool.
6A fool’s laughter is quickly gone, like thorns crackling in a fire. This also is meaningless.
7Extortion turns wise people into fools, and bribes corrupt the heart.
8Finishing is better than starting. Patience is better than pride.
9Control your temper, for anger labels you a fool.
10Don’t long for “the good old days.” This is not wise.
11Wisdom is even better when you have money. Both are a benefit as you go through life.
12Wisdom and money can get you almost anything, but only wisdom can save your life.
13Accept the way God does things, for who can straighten what he has made crooked?
14Enjoy prosperity while you can, but when hard times strike, realize that both come from God. Remember that nothing is certain in this life.
15I have seen everything in this meaningless life, including the death of good young people and the long life of wicked people.
16So don’t be too good or too wise! Why destroy yourself?
17On the other hand, don’t be too wicked either. Don’t be a fool! Why die before your time?
18Pay attention to these instructions, for anyone who fears God will avoid both extremes.
19One wise person is stronger than ten leading citizens of a town!
20Not a single person on earth is always good and never sins.
21Don’t eavesdrop on others—you may hear your servant curse you.
22For you know how often you yourself have cursed others.
23I have always tried my best to let wisdom guide my thoughts and actions. I said to myself, “I am determined to be wise.” But it didn’t work.
24Wisdom is always distant and difficult to find.
25I searched everywhere, determined to find wisdom and to understand the reason for things. I was determined to prove to myself that wickedness is stupid and that foolishness is madness.
26I discovered that a seductive woman is a trap more bitter than death. Her passion is a snare, and her soft hands are chains. Those who are pleasing to God will escape her, but sinners will be caught in her snare.
27“This is my conclusion,” says the Teacher. “I discovered this after looking at the matter from every possible angle.
28Though I have searched repeatedly, I have not found what I was looking for. Only one out of a thousand men is virtuous, but not one woman!
29But I did find this: God created people to be virtuous, but they have each turned to follow their own downward path.”
“Be careful when proclaiming to be wise, because eventually you will have to walk your talk.”~TB
It’s easy to learn and comprehend theory. There is no skin in the game. ‘Wise’ people sit around and pontificate meaningless thoughts and ideas, as if it means anything. Wisdumb is the art of over complicating simple truths to appear more intelligent while fooling the naive. Friends, those who are truly wise understand that wisdom comes from failure, practice, obedience, endurance, and a pure love and pursuit of God. Even then, the wise discover what it is to actually be wise, which is no prize at all.
Wisdom can be found in the trenches where God is. It is not an easy endeavor, nor will it bring the contentment most believe it yields. God is the only truth that matters, because all human understanding leads to disappointment and despair. Wisdom is knowing how dumb we are in comparison to our Father in Heaven! So be wise and rejoice that He loves us and takes us back no matter stupid or fallen we’ve become. In practice, the wise learn how foolish they really are!
Have you ‘wised’ up yet?
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1These are the words of the Teacher, King David’s son, who ruled in Jerusalem.
2“Everything is meaningless,” says the Teacher, “completely meaningless!”
3What do people get for all their hard work under the sun?
4Generations come and generations go, but the earth never changes.
5The sun rises and the sun sets, then hurries around to rise again.
6The wind blows south, and then turns north. Around and around it goes, blowing in circles.
7Rivers run into the sea, but the sea is never full. Then the water returns again to the rivers and flows out again to the sea.
8Everything is wearisome beyond description. No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied. No matter how much we hear, we are not content.
9History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new.
10Sometimes people say, “Here is something new!” But actually it is old; nothing is ever truly new.
11We don’t remember what happened in the past, and in future generations, no one will remember what we are doing now.
12I, the Teacher, was king of Israel, and I lived in Jerusalem.
13I devoted myself to search for understanding and to explore by wisdom everything being done under heaven. I soon discovered that God has dealt a tragic existence to the human race.
14I observed everything going on under the sun, and really, it is all meaningless—like chasing the wind.
15What is wrong cannot be made right. What is missing cannot be recovered.
16I said to myself, “Look, I am wiser than any of the kings who ruled in Jerusalem before me. I have greater wisdom and knowledge than any of them.”
17So I set out to learn everything from wisdom to madness and folly. But I learned firsthand that pursuing all this is like chasing the wind.
18The greater my wisdom, the greater my grief. To increase knowledge only increases sorrow.
“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?
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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.
“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?
Enjoy the reading
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?
Enjoy the reading
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?
Enjoy the reading
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.