“As you move through your trials, remember who benefits from your setbacks. Surely it is not you nor God.” –
It’s safe to say that in one way or another, we’ve all experienced some troubling times as of late. Like you, I’ve felt deflated, defeated, discouraged, and a host of emotions that have been hard to shake. But one thing I’ve realized is that God does not benefit from our dismay and sorrow, but you know who does? The opposition.
Living a Christ-like existence is a lifelong journey. There are many highs as well as lows. The devil will always try and discourage us when we’re onto something miraculous. Think about it, why go after a lost soul when you can attack a person on a mission for Christ! It’s difficult to cling to the truth in times of dire straits, but when we rest in the Word of God, we win the already declared victory that evil pretends does not exist. We win by putting our faith and deeds in God.
Are you enjoying the victory or mourning a false loss peddled by the devil?
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1 LORD, remember what has happened to us. See how we have been disgraced! 2 Our inheritance has been turned over to strangers, our homes to foreigners. 3 We are orphaned and fatherless. Our mothers are widowed. 4 We have to pay for water to drink, and even firewood is expensive. 5 Those who pursue us are at our heels; we are exhausted but are given no rest. 6 We submitted to Egypt and Assyria to get enough food to survive. 7 Our ancestors sinned, but they have died— and we are suffering the punishment they deserved! 8 Slaves have now become our masters; there is no one left to rescue us. 9 We hunt for food at the risk of our lives, for violence rules the countryside. 10 The famine has blackened our skin as though baked in an oven. 11 Our enemies rape the women in Jerusalem and the young girls in all the towns of Judah. 12 Our princes are being hanged by their thumbs, and our elders are treated with contempt. 13 Young men are led away to work at millstones, and boys stagger under heavy loads of wood. 14 The elders no longer sit in the city gates; the young men no longer dance and sing. 15 Joy has left our hearts; our dancing has turned to mourning. 16 The garlands have fallen from our heads. Weep for us because we have sinned. 17 Our hearts are sick and weary, and our eyes grow dim with tears. 18 For Jerusalem is empty and desolate, a place haunted by jackals. 19 But LORD, you remain the same forever! Your throne continues from generation to generation. 20 Why do you continue to forget us? Why have you abandoned us for so long? 21 Restore us, O LORD, and bring us back to you again! Give us back the joys we once had! 22 Or have you utterly rejected us? Are you angry with us still?
“It’s amazing that we’ll do everything but what God asks us to do.”~TB
Humans are interesting in that we overcomplicate the simplest of things, making relatively easy tasks appear to be the most challenging obstacles to overcome. If you want the honest answer as to why we do this, it’s disobedience. Of course, we all don’t want to be considered disobedient, so we romanticize it by attributing some reason beyond our control as to why we aren’t doing what we’ve been asked to do. Granted there is fear and letting go of the control ‘button’ that come into play, but if we truly want to hold ourselves accountable in our walk with Christ, it’s best to call a spade a spade; well, in this case, disobedience. I’ll explain.
We will put our trust in everyone and everything but God, which is ironic because He is the only one that will not fail us. Just look at King Saul, Jonah, or Eli. Those guys disobeyed God (Jonah eventually turned it around but was swallowed by a whale) because they didn’t trust God’s word. There are plenty of other disobedient parties in the Bible, which is why when we study the Word, hopefully, we can learn from their mistakes. My point in saying all this is, God’s Will will be done, whether we take the simple route or the disobedient route. Interestingly enough, choosing God’s Will is the best route, but when we fail to activate our faith or succumb to fear we are not able to see the full picture as He intended.
So, let go of the devices, vices, and perceptions that God is calling you to give up. Ask yourself, what do you stand to lose by following God’s path for you? Conversely, ask yourself, what do you have to gain by doing so? The short answers are nothing and everything. But, we must first allow ourselves to understand that our plans and agendas suck in comparison to the plans laid out by God. Only He was the capability and capacity to see generations and how they intersect and correlate. If you think about the numerical implications of that, it’s mind-boggling! Friends, give up your everything but, pick up your cross and run the race set before you. When we trust that God is sovereign and has our best interests at heart, all other choices are fool’s gold in comparison.
Are you doing everything but following God?
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1The LORD gave another message to Jeremiah. He said,
2“Go down to the potter’s shop, and I will speak to you there.”
3So I did as he told me and found the potter working at his wheel.
4But the jar he was making did not turn out as he had hoped, so he crushed it into a lump of clay again and started over.
5Then the LORD gave me this message:
6“O Israel, can I not do to you as this potter has done to his clay? As the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand.
7If I announce that a certain nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down, and destroyed,
8but then that nation renounces its evil ways, I will not destroy it as I had planned.
9And if I announce that I will plant and build up a certain nation or kingdom,
10but then that nation turns to evil and refuses to obey me, I will not bless it as I said I would.
11“Therefore, Jeremiah, go and warn all Judah and Jerusalem. Say to them, ‘This is what the LORD says: I am planning disaster for you instead of good. So turn from your evil ways, each of you, and do what is right.’”
12But the people replied, “Don’t waste your breath. We will continue to live as we want to, stubbornly following our own evil desires.”
13So this is what the LORD says: “Has anyone ever heard of such a thing, even among the pagan nations? My virgin daughter Israel has done something terrible!
14Does the snow ever disappear from the mountaintops of Lebanon? Do the cold streams flowing from those distant mountains ever run dry?
15But my people are not so reliable, for they have deserted me; they burn incense to worthless idols. They have stumbled off the ancient highways and walk in muddy paths.
16Therefore, their land will become desolate, a monument to their stupidity. All who pass by will be astonished and will shake their heads in amazement.
17I will scatter my people before their enemies as the east wind scatters dust. And in all their trouble I will turn my back on them and refuse to notice their distress.”
18Then the people said, “Come on, let’s plot a way to stop Jeremiah. We have plenty of priests and wise men and prophets. We don’t need him to teach the word and give us advice and prophecies. Let’s spread rumors about him and ignore what he says.”
19LORD, hear me and help me! Listen to what my enemies are saying.
20Should they repay evil for good? They have dug a pit to kill me, though I pleaded for them and tried to protect them from your anger.
21So let their children starve! Let them die by the sword! Let their wives become childless widows. Let their old men die in a plague, and let their young men be killed in battle!
22Let screaming be heard from their homes as warriors come suddenly upon them. For they have dug a pit for me and have hidden traps along my path.
23LORD, you know all about their murderous plots against me. Don’t forgive their crimes and blot out their sins. Let them die before you. Deal with them in your anger.
“People who jump ship from Christ at the first sign of trouble fail to fully activate their faith”~TB
It’s amazing what we as people tolerate in our lives. We tolerate crappy bosses, toxic relationships, corrupt governments, gossipy friends, etc. We engage in fruitless and backward relationships that literally do not make sense. We imbibe and ingest things that aren’t beneficial while being potentially lethal. But, when it comes to our faith if it’s not perfect, or something “bad” comes down the pipeline, then we’re quick to abandon it. In our flawed thinking, faith and God has to mean a perfect, pain-free life or it just doesn’t work for us. Think about it, it’s ok to practice bad behavior, work at a place that treats you poorly and underpays, but if life isn’t going according to “your plan”, well this God thing is phooey. Rootless faith, faith that’s not rooted in anything, is what the opposition banks on because he knows at the slightest sign of discomfort, people will turn back to their old ways. The ironic part is that the storms or uncomfortable times are where we really get to know God and see His plan in our lives.
During natural disasters, there are plans and protocols in place to help those affected remain safe. In times of spiritual trouble, the Bible is exactly that. I’m not just talking about doctrine. There are a bunch of stories that talk about men and women enduring wild situations who chose to rely on God’s wisdom to see them through. Regular people, just like you and me were used to do miraculous things because they hunkered down and trusted God. Instead of running at the first sign of trouble, dive deep into the Word. Sure, the Israelites got to see the Red Sea part. Though we may not be able to see such signs today, we have the advantage of having the Living Word at our fingertips! Those guys lived those moments, but we get to read about them and use them to navigate our own “Red Seas”. That’s pretty cool when you think about it. Friends, don’t let go of faith when trouble hits. That’s the devil’s whole strategy (because it’s highly effective). Double down, seek the Lord and He will be with you always in all ways.
Are you jumping ship and missing the true destination all because of a few waves?
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1Then the LORD said to me, “Even if Moses and Samuel stood before me pleading for these people, I wouldn’t help them. Away with them! Get them out of my sight!
2And if they say to you, ‘But where can we go?’ tell them, ‘This is what the LORD says: “‘Those who are destined for death, to death; those who are destined for war, to war; those who are destined for famine, to famine; those who are destined for captivity, to captivity.’
3“I will send four kinds of destroyers against them,” says the LORD . “I will send the sword to kill, the dogs to drag away, the vultures to devour, and the wild animals to finish up what is left.
4Because of the wicked things Manasseh son of Hezekiah, king of Judah, did in Jerusalem, I will make my people an object of horror to all the kingdoms of the earth.
5“Who will feel sorry for you, Jerusalem? Who will weep for you? Who will even bother to ask how you are?
6You have abandoned me and turned your back on me,” says the LORD . “Therefore, I will raise my fist to destroy you. I am tired of always giving you another chance.
7I will winnow you like grain at the gates of your cities and take away the children you hold dear. I will destroy my own people, because they refuse to change their evil ways.
8There will be more widows than the grains of sand on the seashore. At noontime I will bring a destroyer against the mothers of young men. I will cause anguish and terror to come upon them suddenly.
9The mother of seven grows faint and gasps for breath; her sun has gone down while it is still day. She sits childless now, disgraced and humiliated. And I will hand over those who are left to be killed by the enemy. I, the LORD, have spoken!”
10Then I said, “What sorrow is mine, my mother. Oh, that I had died at birth! I am hated everywhere I go. I am neither a lender who threatens to foreclose nor a borrower who refuses to pay— yet they all curse me.”
11The LORD replied, “I will take care of you, Jeremiah. Your enemies will ask you to plead on their behalf in times of trouble and distress.
12Can a man break a bar of iron from the north, or a bar of bronze?
13At no cost to them, I will hand over your wealth and treasures as plunder to your enemies, for sin runs rampant in your land.
14I will tell your enemies to take you as captives to a foreign land. For my anger blazes like a fire that will burn forever. ”
15Then I said, “ LORD, you know what’s happening to me. Please step in and help me. Punish my persecutors! Please give me time; don’t let me die young. It’s for your sake that I am suffering.
16When I discovered your words, I devoured them. They are my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, O LORD God of Heaven’s Armies.
17I never joined the people in their merry feasts. I sat alone because your hand was on me. I was filled with indignation at their sins.
18Why then does my suffering continue? Why is my wound so incurable? Your help seems as uncertain as a seasonal brook, like a spring that has gone dry.”
19This is how the LORD responds: “If you return to me, I will restore you so you can continue to serve me. If you speak good words rather than worthless ones, you will be my spokesman. You must influence them; do not let them influence you!
20They will fight against you like an attacking army, but I will make you as secure as a fortified wall of bronze. They will not conquer you, for I am with you to protect and rescue you. I, the LORD, have spoken!
21Yes, I will certainly keep you safe from these wicked men. I will rescue you from their cruel hands.”
“Be confident about how people perceive and know who you are, what you are doing, and how you serve God because they can tell if you are a fraud when they test you.” ~ Jon Barnes
Become successful at loving God and you will be spiritually and naturally rich and not an evil fraud. Money does not measure your richness with God because it is like dirt to Him. The streets of Heaven are paved with treasures unseen. Your family and the people around you will admire your faith, work ethic, and talent that God has blessed you with. People will become jealous and they will try to treat you badly for doing a good job. Count it all as Joy.
There is no need to brag about your accomplishments with serving God because it is obvious. The simplicity of obedience means the most to God and it is the foundation of your faith in Jesus. Pray that you stay connected and humble in the Love of God, with your faith, actions, words, work, and service to others. Quality Love builds confidence that you can naturally be proud of and feel good about, just like a Dad who takes good care of his kids and family. The truth always rises to the top of who you are in Christ.
I get this jolly feeling of joy when I see my children obey God’s commandments, talk about bible stories, and improve their lives. It is more joyful to see this happen with my grandchildren as well. Continue to share and reflect on these things to enjoy the lifestyle God has blessed you with. Teach the next generation by example, daily practice, and discussions with gladness and success. This way of life should be natural, unforced, and encouraged for generational transfer of wisdom, love, and understanding with good common sense, family values, ethics, morals, and discipline.
Are you happy about working for God and going to Heaven or would you rather go to hell by worshiping something else?
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Jesus, the True Vine
15 “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.3 You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you.4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.
5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.6 Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned.7 But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!8 When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.
9 “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love.10 When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.11 I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!12 This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.13 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.14 You are my friends if you do what I command.15 I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me.16 You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name.17 This is my command: Love each other.
The World’s Hatred
18 “If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. 19 The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you.20 Do you remember what I told you? ‘A slave is not greater than the master.’ Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you.21 They will do all this to you because of me, for they have rejected the one who sent me.22 They would not be guilty if I had not come and spoken to them. But now they have no excuse for their sin.23 Anyone who hates me also hates my Father.24 If I hadn’t done such miraculous signs among them that no one else could do, they would not be guilty. But as it is, they have seen everything I did, yet they still hate me and my Father.25 This fulfills what is written in their Scriptures: ‘They hated me without cause.’
26 “But I will send you the Advocate—the Spirit of truth. He will come to you from the Father and will testify all about me.27 And you must also testify about me because you have been with me from the beginning of my ministry.
“If God is not at the forefront of your life, you will malfunction”~TB
It’s amazing to me to see how many of us live apart from God. The truth is, we are all creations made by His design. If you don’t believe that, take a look around and see how broken this world is. People all around are ruled by their flesh, the world and the opposition. That’s not a judgment, just an observation. While many believe that something is missing, few seek the true fix, which is a relationship with God. Salvation is a wonderful gift given to us, but that is not the only reason to put God first in your life.
God is the Manufacturer, salvation is the warranty, and we are the product. Think of it this way, the appliances we buy come with instructions on how to best use them. When an appliance is broken and it is under warranty, you take it back to the manufacturer to be fixed or replaced. Though the warranty is there as a safety measure, the instructions on how to keep the appliance functioning well is just as important. Let’s put that back into perspective with God. God manufactured us. Salvation —the warranty—spares us from judgment. The instructions— The Bible and our walk— keep us in tune by operating as we were designed.
When we accept God into our lives, our warranty is extended and never expires. That said, following the instructions and using proper care keeps us from having to go back in for repairs. The Living Word is a valuable resource that can enrich our lives when we refer to it daily. Walking and talking with God daily allows us to directly download the Heavenly updates so that our hardware works at intended. This has to be a daily occurrence because we all have so much to learn and the world is forever throwing virus-like downloads that corrupt our original design. If you’re tired of not functioning properly and the world’s cheap fixes aren’t cutting it, dust off that warranty and call the Holy Manufacturer for some much needed upgrades.
Are you following the Holy Manufacturer’s instructions or do you believe you are self-manufactured?
Who has believed our message? To whom has the LORD revealed his powerful arm?
2My servant grew up in the LORD ’s presence like a tender green shoot, like a root in dry ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him.
3He was despised and rejected— a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care.
4Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins!
5But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.
6All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on him the sins of us all.
7He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth.
8Unjustly condemned, he was led away. No one cared that he died without descendants, that his life was cut short in midstream. But he was struck down for the rebellion of my people.
9He had done no wrong and had never deceived anyone. But he was buried like a criminal; he was put in a rich man’s grave.
10But it was the LORD ’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief. Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have many descendants. He will enjoy a long life, and the LORD ’s good plan will prosper in his hands.
11When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins.
12I will give him the honors of a victorious soldier, because he exposed himself to death. He was counted among the rebels. He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels.
“We are all given talents to do with as we please.”~TB
God gives us all talents. Our minds, bodies, spirit— these are where our talents come from. Some people use these talents to multiply their skills to do amazing things. While others sit on their talents for one reason or another. Just like the parable in the Bible, you can invest your talents and reap more, or you can be like the guy who buried his talent. The same can be said for our relationship with Christ
Because salvation is freely given, there is not much for us to do to receive it. However, to truly reap the benefits of knowing Christ, you must develop that gift through consistent practice. Just like those who develop and multiply their talents, work is needed. Even those we consider to be naturally gifted, must put in the time to become great. To experience this with Christ, reading the Word, applying the principles, and talking with Him is vital to hear and see what He has to share with you. Work is never ‘easy’, but the work you do with Christ is divinely worth it.
Are you developing your talent or are you burying it in the ground?
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1When King Hezekiah heard their report, he tore his clothes and put on burlap and went into the Temple of the LORD .
2And he sent Eliakim the palace administrator, Shebna the court secretary, and the leading priests, all dressed in burlap, to the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz.
3They told him, “This is what King Hezekiah says: Today is a day of trouble, insults, and disgrace. It is like when a child is ready to be born, but the mother has no strength to deliver the baby.
4But perhaps the LORD your God has heard the Assyrian chief of staff, sent by the king to defy the living God, and will punish him for his words. Oh, pray for those of us who are left!”
5After King Hezekiah’s officials delivered the king’s message to Isaiah,
6the prophet replied, “Say to your master, ‘This is what the LORD says: Do not be disturbed by this blasphemous speech against me from the Assyrian king’s messengers.
7Listen! I myself will move against him, and the king will receive a message that he is needed at home. So he will return to his land, where I will have him killed with a sword.’”
8Meanwhile, the Assyrian chief of staff left Jerusalem and went to consult the king of Assyria, who had left Lachish and was attacking Libnah.
9Soon afterward King Sennacherib received word that King Tirhakah of Ethiopia was leading an army to fight against him. Before leaving to meet the attack, he sent messengers back to Hezekiah in Jerusalem with this message:
10“This message is for King Hezekiah of Judah. Don’t let your God, in whom you trust, deceive you with promises that Jerusalem will not be captured by the king of Assyria.
11You know perfectly well what the kings of Assyria have done wherever they have gone. They have completely destroyed everyone who stood in their way! Why should you be any different?
12Have the gods of other nations rescued them—such nations as Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the people of Eden who were in Tel-assar? My predecessors destroyed them all!
13What happened to the king of Hamath and the king of Arpad? What happened to the kings of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah?”
14After Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it, he went up to the LORD ’s Temple and spread it out before the LORD .
15And Hezekiah prayed this prayer before the LORD :
16“O LORD of Heaven’s Armies, God of Israel, you are enthroned between the mighty cherubim! You alone are God of all the kingdoms of the earth. You alone created the heavens and the earth.
17Bend down, O LORD, and listen! Open your eyes, O LORD, and see! Listen to Sennacherib’s words of defiance against the living God.
18“It is true, LORD, that the kings of Assyria have destroyed all these nations.
19And they have thrown the gods of these nations into the fire and burned them. But of course the Assyrians could destroy them! They were not gods at all—only idols of wood and stone shaped by human hands.
20Now, O LORD our God, rescue us from his power; then all the kingdoms of the earth will know that you alone, O LORD, are God. ”
21Then Isaiah son of Amoz sent this message to Hezekiah: “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: Because you prayed about King Sennacherib of Assyria,
22the LORD has spoken this word against him: “The virgin daughter of Zion despises you and laughs at you. The daughter of Jerusalem shakes her head in derision as you flee.
23“Whom have you been defying and ridiculing? Against whom did you raise your voice? At whom did you look with such haughty eyes? It was the Holy One of Israel!
24By your messengers you have defied the Lord. You have said, ‘With my many chariots I have conquered the highest mountains— yes, the remotest peaks of Lebanon. I have cut down its tallest cedars and its finest cypress trees. I have reached its farthest heights and explored its deepest forests.
25I have dug wells in many foreign lands and refreshed myself with their water. With the sole of my foot, I stopped up all the rivers of Egypt!’
26“But have you not heard? I decided this long ago. Long ago I planned it, and now I am making it happen. I planned for you to crush fortified cities into heaps of rubble.
27That is why their people have so little power and are so frightened and confused. They are as weak as grass, as easily trampled as tender green shoots. They are like grass sprouting on a housetop, scorched before it can grow lush and tall.
28“But I know you well— where you stay and when you come and go. I know the way you have raged against me.
29And because of your raging against me and your arrogance, which I have heard for myself, I will put my hook in your nose and my bit in your mouth. I will make you return by the same road on which you came.”
30Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Here is the proof that what I say is true: “This year you will eat only what grows up by itself, and next year you will eat what springs up from that. But in the third year you will plant crops and harvest them; you will tend vineyards and eat their fruit.
31And you who are left in Judah, who have escaped the ravages of the siege, will put roots down in your own soil and grow up and flourish.
32For a remnant of my people will spread out from Jerusalem, a group of survivors from Mount Zion. The passionate commitment of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!
33“And this is what the LORD says about the king of Assyria: “‘His armies will not enter Jerusalem. They will not even shoot an arrow at it. They will not march outside its gates with their shields nor build banks of earth against its walls.
34The king will return to his own country by the same road on which he came. He will not enter this city,’ says the LORD .
35‘For my own honor and for the sake of my servant David, I will defend this city and protect it.’”
36That night the angel of the LORD went out to the Assyrian camp and killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers. When the surviving Assyrians woke up the next morning, they found corpses everywhere.
37Then King Sennacherib of Assyria broke camp and returned to his own land. He went home to his capital of Nineveh and stayed there.
38One day while he was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisroch, his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer killed him with their swords. They then escaped to the land of Ararat, and another son, Esarhaddon, became the next king of Assyria.
“God promised a peaceful life, not a perfect life, so it’s important to understand the difference.”~TB
When you follow the world too closely, it can lull you into a false sense of how life is “supposed” to go. Society tells you to follow certain practices, go to school, get a job, buy a house, join the HOA, build a family, etc. These rules seem fine because it gives you a sense of “what to do”. However, these superficial guidelines can make the blind feel a false sense of control or security that lies outside of God. Ironically, what this world teaches you is not rooted in Biblical principle, because the only guaranteed thing in life is God and nothing else. Blindly following this “checklist life” will bring you disillusionment and discontent because this path is the exact opposite of what Christ teaches.
The Impossible Quest for Perfection
Yes, it is important to be part of the community. Yes, one must have a job and educate themselves. None of these goals are inherently wrong. That said, life in this world is a journey and not a successive one at that. The world teaches you that life happens in an upward slope. The Bible teaches you that hills, valleys, and plateaus are normal. If you take the world’s guidelines to heart, prepare for a depressing reality because perfection is impossible! At least, for humanity. Just look at Job, Jonah, Joseph, David, and all of the stories in the Bible. Friends, even God’s favorite people in the Word faced trial after trial, setback after setback, before they experienced any kind of success. And, even after they achieved great things, they still faced opposition. So friends, do not strive for perfection, or the picturesque falsehoods of the world. Strive for peace, which can be found in the teachings of the Lord.
Your life does not have to be perfect to experience God’s perfect peace. No, this type of peace comes from a deep and lengthy time with God Himself. Friends, we cannot learn all that Christ has to teach us unless we take the necessary time to spend sitting at His feet. Through God, you learn that life is messy. Through Him, you learn that He controls all. And, if you rely on His wisdom, you will see that He is in the midst of all facets of your life. Know that He is always an umbrella when life and opposition bring inclement weather. Spending time in His presence strengthens your understanding that the world is a broken and misguided place and that you need to possess the lens of Christ in order to see through the falsehoods. So the next time you’re feeling down because life isn’t perfect, ask God to teach you how to sit in perfect peace.
What is stopping you from living in perfect peace?
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1Whoever stubbornly refuses to accept criticism will suddenly be destroyed beyond recovery.
2When the godly are in authority, the people rejoice. But when the wicked are in power, they groan.
3The man who loves wisdom brings joy to his father, but if he hangs around with prostitutes, his wealth is wasted.
4A just king gives stability to his nation, but one who demands bribes destroys it.
5To flatter friends is to lay a trap for their feet.
6Evil people are trapped by sin, but the righteous escape, shouting for joy.
7The godly care about the rights of the poor; the wicked don’t care at all.
8Mockers can get a whole town agitated, but the wise will calm anger.
9If a wise person takes a fool to court, there will be ranting and ridicule but no satisfaction.
10The bloodthirsty hate blameless people, but the upright seek to help them.
11Fools vent their anger, but the wise quietly hold it back.
12If a ruler pays attention to liars, all his advisers will be wicked.
13The poor and the oppressor have this in common— the LORD gives sight to the eyes of both.
14If a king judges the poor fairly, his throne will last forever.
15To discipline a child produces wisdom, but a mother is disgraced by an undisciplined child.
16When the wicked are in authority, sin flourishes, but the godly will live to see their downfall.
17Discipline your children, and they will give you peace of mind and will make your heart glad.
18When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild. But whoever obeys the law is joyful.
19Words alone will not discipline a servant; the words may be understood, but they are not heeded.
20There is more hope for a fool than for someone who speaks without thinking.
21A servant pampered from childhood will become a rebel.
22An angry person starts fights; a hot-tempered person commits all kinds of sin.
23Pride ends in humiliation, while humility brings honor.
24If you assist a thief, you only hurt yourself. You are sworn to tell the truth, but you dare not testify.
25Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the LORD means safety.
26Many seek the ruler’s favor, but justice comes from the LORD .
27The righteous despise the unjust; the wicked despise the godly
“Stay connected with God through the Word so you can detect your misfiring fuses.”~TB
Your mind, body, and spirit are like a machine that needs proper care and maintenance. Routinely caring for them requires a balanced diet. When your diet— especially your spiritual diet— is compromised you will blow a fuse, causing the whole operation to malfunction. When your fuse is blown spiritually, it’s easier for a sinful mindset to take root, blinding you from how far out to pasture you’ve gone. If you find yourself in a constant state of chaos, unrest, anger, fear, or any negative mindset, chances are you’ve blown a fuse.
Blowing a fuse is part of the human experience. God knows this, which is why the Bible and reflection are great diagnostic tools to help you see which fuse is blown. Like a diagnostic tool used on a vehicle, hook up to God to see what’s what under the hood of your mind, body, and spirit. When you walk with God on a regular basis, it’s easier to discern which fuse needs more attention than others or which fuse has completely shorted. Friends, remember, we cannot fix a blown fuse on our own, our Father in Heaven. So, connect to Him to replace your blown fuses so that you may operate on all four cylinders.
Is a blown fuse causing problems in your life?
Enjoy the reading
1The LORD detests the use of dishonest scales, but he delights in accurate weights.
2Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.
3Honesty guides good people; dishonesty destroys treacherous people.
4Riches won’t help on the day of judgment, but right living can save you from death.
5The godly are directed by honesty; the wicked fall beneath their load of sin.
6The godliness of good people rescues them; the ambition of treacherous people traps them.
7When the wicked die, their hopes die with them, for they rely on their own feeble strength.
8The godly are rescued from trouble, and it falls on the wicked instead.
9With their words, the godless destroy their friends, but knowledge will rescue the righteous.
10The whole city celebrates when the godly succeed; they shout for joy when the wicked die.
11Upright citizens are good for a city and make it prosper, but the talk of the wicked tears it apart.
12It is foolish to belittle one’s neighbor; a sensible person keeps quiet.
13A gossip goes around telling secrets, but those who are trustworthy can keep a confidence.
14Without wise leadership, a nation falls; there is safety in having many advisers.
15There’s danger in putting up security for a stranger’s debt; it’s safer not to guarantee another person’s debt.
16A gracious woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth.
17Your kindness will reward you, but your cruelty will destroy you.
18Evil people get rich for the moment, but the reward of the godly will last.
19Godly people find life; evil people find death.
20The LORD detests people with crooked hearts, but he delights in those with integrity.
21Evil people will surely be punished, but the children of the godly will go free.
22A beautiful woman who lacks discretion is like a gold ring in a pig’s snout.
23The godly can look forward to a reward, while the wicked can expect only judgment.
24Give freely and become more wealthy; be stingy and lose everything.
25The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.
26People curse those who hoard their grain, but they bless the one who sells in time of need.
27If you search for good, you will find favor; but if you search for evil, it will find you!
28Trust in your money and down you go! But the godly flourish like leaves in spring.
29Those who bring trouble on their families inherit the wind. The fool will be a servant to the wise.
30The seeds of good deeds become a tree of life; a wise person wins friends.
31If the righteous are rewarded here on earth, what will happen to wicked sinners?
“It’s difficult to grow your faith if you have a fixed mindset.”~TB
To the uninformed, once you know the Truth, all learning ceases. Even though the Truth– salvation is given to us through the sacrifice of Jesus– never changes, the trouble with that mindset is that life’s lessons and challenges still exist. The reason the Bible is called the Living Word is that it applies in your life in all of its stages. Friends, receiving salvation is the easy part. Staying in a learning mindset takes grit and perseverance. Failing to cultivate a lifelong relationship with Christ will cause you to stagnate because you don’t understand the landscape of a fallen world. Without understanding God’s love, it is difficult to practice His teachings. Adopt a continuous learning mindset so that you can grow with God throughout your life.
The truth is, there is always another level after the last. God’s ways are so expansive and massive that it takes a lifetime to even catch a glimpse. What a mighty God we serve! For this reason, you must always be willing and able to learn new things with Him. Human love pales in comparison to God’s love, which is why we must connect with Him daily to practice love from a Biblical perspective. Those who are considered wise understand that even in their wisdom, they still depend on God like a nursing baby. Without Him you are nothing. But with Him, nothing is impossible. Pass your tests and get to the next level, so that you may reach the next level after that. Once you understand that this is a lifelong process, you will love attending God’s Holy school.
Are you one of God’s lifelong students or are you flunking out?
Enjoy the reading
1How wonderful and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony!
2For harmony is as precious as the anointing oil that was poured over Aaron’s head, that ran down his beard and onto the border of his robe.
3Harmony is as refreshing as the dew from Mount Hermon that falls on the mountains of Zion. And there the LORD has pronounced his blessing, even life everlasting.
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!