“If being nice means you have to subjugate the truth, then you’re not being nice; you’re lying.”~TB
Being “nice” is such a weird concept to me. It’s not “nice” to disagree even if you’re position is correct. It’s not “nice” to offend even if what you say is true. We use it as a means to not be honest. But friends, the truth is the truth, whether we want to hear it or not. And people with ulterior motives will shove “nice” down your throat to get you from seeing the truth and to accept their lies. “Nice” is circumstantial, but the Truth never changes. I’ll give you an example
5 or so years ago, when I first began freelancing, I was shucking and jiving, not doing what I needed to in order to run a successful business. I was hiding under the guise of fear and anxiety to avoid the truth: I wasn’t doing the work to make it happen. Fortunately, my mom— who’s great at seeing through my BS— sent me a compelling email calling me out on my nonsense. At first, my feelings were hurt, but then, I called a former boss and in 3 days, I had a job. Imagine that.
Honor in Telling the Truth
My mom could’ve been “nice” and just let me wallow in my stupidity. After all, that would’ve been the safest route. However, she told me a much needed truth: I needed to get off my rear and make some money to take care of myself. People who truly love you will tell you the truth, no matter the consequence. God is the same way. His Truth never changes and depending on the level of stupidity we’re into, sometimes His Truth doesn’t feel all that nice. But considering His Truth is the only Truth, I for one would rather sacrifice my pride to live in the Truth today rather than feel “nice” and suffer the consequences tomorrow. Truth is, the choice is ours to make.
Are you interested in the Truth?
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1O LORD, I will honor and praise your name, for you are my God. You do such wonderful things! You planned them long ago, and now you have accomplished them.
2You turn mighty cities into heaps of ruins. Cities with strong walls are turned to rubble. Beautiful palaces in distant lands disappear and will never be rebuilt.
3Therefore, strong nations will declare your glory; ruthless nations will fear you.
4But you are a tower of refuge to the poor, O LORD, a tower of refuge to the needy in distress. You are a refuge from the storm and a shelter from the heat. For the oppressive acts of ruthless people are like a storm beating against a wall,
5or like the relentless heat of the desert. But you silence the roar of foreign nations. As the shade of a cloud cools relentless heat, so the boastful songs of ruthless people are stilled.
6In Jerusalem, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will spread a wonderful feast for all the people of the world. It will be a delicious banquet with clear, well-aged wine and choice meat.
7There he will remove the cloud of gloom, the shadow of death that hangs over the earth.
8He will swallow up death forever! The Sovereign LORD will wipe away all tears. He will remove forever all insults and mockery against his land and people. The LORD has spoken!
9In that day the people will proclaim, “This is our God! We trusted in him, and he saved us! This is the LORD, in whom we trusted. Let us rejoice in the salvation he brings!”
10For the LORD ’s hand of blessing will rest on Jerusalem. But Moab will be crushed. It will be like straw trampled down and left to rot.
11God will push down Moab’s people as a swimmer pushes down water with his hands. He will end their pride and all their evil works.
12The high walls of Moab will be demolished. They will be brought down to the ground, down into the dust.
“Stay close to God so that you do not get unplugged from His wisdom.”~TB
If you’re not careful, life has a way of getting you off track in your relationship with Christ. Whether it’s just life circumstances, poor decisions, or the opposition rocking your boat, taking your eyes off of the Truth is a recipe for disaster. When we stop looking to God for the answers, we begin to make up answers that generally leave us worse off than before. Friends, don’t lean on your human made solutions to the challenges in your life. When we struggle to find God in the midst of our situations, it’s a sign that we’re not going to the source material— the Bible— to know the Truth.
Recognize that there are patterns and cycles in life, and no matter what, our faith and reliance in God is the only key to success! The devil may poke and prod, making you feel uneasy and alone, but when you’re plugged into God, you know the difference. This is why reading the Bible daily is so important. It’s not just a task that you check off to get a pat on the head from God. No, it possesses the tools and weapons to prepare and protect you from the world and the opposition. Don’t fall for the smoke and mirrors of the evil one. Rest on the Truth of the Word to stay plugged in.
Are you plugged into Christ or plugged into chaos and uncertainty?
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Song of Solomon
1Where has your lover gone, O woman of rare beauty? Which way did he turn so we can help you find him?
2My lover has gone down to his garden, to his spice beds, to browse in the gardens and gather the lilies.
3I am my lover’s, and my lover is mine. He browses among the lilies.
4You are beautiful, my darling, like the lovely city of Tirzah. Yes, as beautiful as Jerusalem, as majestic as an army with billowing banners.
5Turn your eyes away, for they overpower me. Your hair falls in waves, like a flock of goats winding down the slopes of Gilead.
6Your teeth are as white as sheep that are freshly washed. Your smile is flawless, each tooth matched with its twin.
7Your cheeks are like rosy pomegranates behind your veil.
8Even among sixty queens and eighty concubines and countless young women,
9I would still choose my dove, my perfect one— the favorite of her mother, dearly loved by the one who bore her. The young women see her and praise her; even queens and royal concubines sing her praises:
10“Who is this, arising like the dawn, as fair as the moon, as bright as the sun, as majestic as an army with billowing banners?”
11I went down to the grove of walnut trees and out to the valley to see the new spring growth, to see whether the grapevines had budded or the pomegranates were in bloom.
12Before I realized it, my strong desires had taken me to the chariot of a noble man.
13Return, return to us, O maid of Shulam. Come back, come back, that we may see you again. Young Man Why do you stare at this young woman of Shulam, as she moves so gracefully between two lines of dancers?
“Master your mind so that you know exactly whom you serve.”~TB
When you serve yourself, your ability to love is limited to the knowledge you possess, which isn’t much. Because humans are flawed, our way of thinking will always be imperfect, especially compared to the mind of Christ. Self serving behavior will always bring your problems because your intentions aren’t rooted in Christ’s standards. Your mind will trick you into believing you are mightier than you are and that the things of this world are worth desiring. If left unchecked, soon you will be serving too many false-gods, leaving you confused, and off task. Put your pride away and switch masters.
When you serve God, things like humility, compassion, love, and forgiveness are easier to give, because you’re focusing on the mind of Christ and not your own. Being flawed does not mean you are self-loathing or putting yourself down. No, it means you understand who has made you and why we must connect to Him to make up the difference. Your mind becomes disciplined and focused on the things of above, rejecting the things of the world. And through His love and only His love can we begin to receive the peace, joy, and understanding that comes from being His.
Where does your mind go when it wanders?
Song of Solomon 5
1I have entered my garden, my treasure, my bride! I gather myrrh with my spices and eat honeycomb with my honey. I drink wine with my milk. Young Women of Jerusalem Oh, lover and beloved, eat and drink! Yes, drink deeply of your love!
2I slept, but my heart was awake, when I heard my lover knocking and calling: “Open to me, my treasure, my darling, my dove, my perfect one. My head is drenched with dew, my hair with the dampness of the night.”
3But I responded, “I have taken off my robe. Should I get dressed again? I have washed my feet. Should I get them soiled?”
4My lover tried to unlatch the door, and my heart thrilled within me.
5I jumped up to open the door for my love, and my hands dripped with perfume. My fingers dripped with lovely myrrh as I pulled back the bolt.
6I opened to my lover, but he was gone! My heart sank. I searched for him but could not find him anywhere. I called to him, but there was no reply.
7The night watchmen found me as they made their rounds. They beat and bruised me and stripped off my veil, those watchmen on the walls.
8Make this promise, O women of Jerusalem— If you find my lover, tell him I am weak with love.
9Why is your lover better than all others, O woman of rare beauty? What makes your lover so special that we must promise this?
10My lover is dark and dazzling, better than ten thousand others!
11His head is finest gold, his wavy hair is black as a raven.
12His eyes sparkle like doves beside springs of water; they are set like jewels washed in milk.
13His cheeks are like gardens of spices giving off fragrance. His lips are like lilies, perfumed with myrrh.
14His arms are like rounded bars of gold, set with beryl. His body is like bright ivory, glowing with lapis lazuli.
15His legs are like marble pillars set in sockets of finest gold. His posture is stately, like the noble cedars of Lebanon.
16His mouth is sweetness itself; he is desirable in every way. Such, O women of Jerusalem, is my lover, my friend.
“Though we believe without seeing, there is nothing blind about following Jesus.”~TB
When you don’t have a relationship with God it’s easy to think that those who do just blindly follow the teachings of Christ. As if Christians live some cherry pie existence, blissfully and ignorantly enjoying life without troubles. Oh, but if they only knew. Having a an authentic relationship with Christ requires you to ask questions, have doubts, air grievances, complain, moan, mumble, etc. No, to follow Christ isn’t blind, it requires you to keep your eyes and ears open to experience the wisdom that only comes from Him.
The Truth is, though we cannot see in the natural world, God guides us spiritually, helping us to see in other ways. Through Him, we are connected to each other. Through those relationships, we can see how God impacts each and everyone of us. Of course, you must see, hear, and ask these things of God so that you too can see the patterns of His love through us. It is so important to have honest communication with your brothers and sisters in Christ, so that the babes develop their sight and that the wise don’t go blind from bitterness in the trenches. It is the Truth of the Lord that removes the scales of the world to see what is really going on.
Are you blinded by the world?
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Song of Solomon 3
1One night as I lay in bed, I yearned for my lover. I yearned for him, but he did not come.
2So I said to myself, “I will get up and roam the city, searching in all its streets and squares. I will search for the one I love.” So I searched everywhere but did not find him.
3The watchmen stopped me as they made their rounds, and I asked, “Have you seen the one I love?”
4Then scarcely had I left them when I found my love! I caught and held him tightly, then I brought him to my mother’s house, into my mother’s bed, where I had been conceived.
5Promise me, O women of Jerusalem, by the gazelles and wild deer, not to awaken love until the time is right.
6Who is this sweeping in from the wilderness like a cloud of smoke? Who is it, fragrant with myrrh and frankincense and every kind of spice?
7Look, it is Solomon’s carriage, surrounded by sixty heroic men, the best of Israel’s soldiers.
8They are all skilled swordsmen, experienced warriors. Each wears a sword on his thigh, ready to defend the king against an attack in the night.
9King Solomon’s carriage is built of wood imported from Lebanon.
10Its posts are silver, its canopy gold; its cushions are purple. It was decorated with love by the young women of Jerusalem.
11Come out to see King Solomon, young women of Jerusalem. He wears the crown his mother gave him on his wedding day, his most joyous day
“Set aside your old foolish ways that you can live well in Christ.”~TB
As You Are
God will always love you in every stage of your life. Be that as it may, a life full of misdeeds will dampen the Truth and Joy God wants to share with you. Sinning does not revoke your salvation. It does, however, disrupt your connection to Christ. God doesn’t let go of you when you sin, you let go of Him when you do. Stop chasing fleshly pleasures as they lead you astray. Do not desire a life of power because the pursuit of your own status will cause you to forget whose power actually matters. Though this world can offer things that satisfy immediate fleshly desires, the human lifespan is a millisecond compared to eternity. Invest wisely.
If you’re tired of the obstacles and mayhem that comes with secular life, look to God. Throw off your vices, devices, and sinful behaviors to experience the Truth, joy, and contentment that can only come from our Father in Heaven. Cultivate the discipline and perseverance required to lead an honorable life. This means abandoning the ways of the world and adopting the teachings of Christ. When you apply the Godly wisdom that can be found in the Bible, notice how your life changes. The Truth will open your eyes, and suddenly what you once craved is detestable. If you allow God to write the Truth on your hearts, the world has less influence on your behavior. Follow Him to set aside junk so that you can possess your inheritance.
Did you set aside your old life or is it throwing you off?
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1My child, if you have put up security for a friend’s debt or agreed to guarantee the debt of a stranger—
2if you have trapped yourself by your agreement and are caught by what you said—
3follow my advice and save yourself, for you have placed yourself at your friend’s mercy. Now swallow your pride; go and beg to have your name erased.
4Don’t put it off; do it now! Don’t rest until you do.
5Save yourself like a gazelle escaping from a hunter, like a bird fleeing from a net.
6Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones. Learn from their ways and become wise!
7Though they have no prince or governor or ruler to make them work,
8they labor hard all summer, gathering food for the winter.
9But you, lazybones, how long will you sleep? When will you wake up?
10A little extra sleep, a little more slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest—
11then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit; scarcity will attack you like an armed robber.
12What are worthless and wicked people like? They are constant liars,
13signaling their deceit with a wink of the eye, a nudge of the foot, or the wiggle of fingers.
14Their perverted hearts plot evil, and they constantly stir up trouble.
15But they will be destroyed suddenly, broken in an instant beyond all hope of healing.
16There are six things the LORD hates— no, seven things he detests:
17haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that kill the innocent,
18a heart that plots evil, feet that race to do wrong,
19a false witness who pours out lies, a person who sows discord in a family.
20My son, obey your father’s commands, and don’t neglect your mother’s instruction.
21Keep their words always in your heart. Tie them around your neck.
22When you walk, their counsel will lead you. When you sleep, they will protect you. When you wake up, they will advise you.
23For their command is a lamp and their instruction a light; their corrective discipline is the way to life.
24It will keep you from the immoral woman, from the smooth tongue of a promiscuous woman.
25Don’t lust for her beauty. Don’t let her coy glances seduce you.
26For a prostitute will bring you to poverty, but sleeping with another man’s wife will cost you your life.
27Can a man scoop a flame into his lap and not have his clothes catch on fire?
28Can he walk on hot coals and not blister his feet?
29So it is with the man who sleeps with another man’s wife. He who embraces her will not go unpunished.
30Excuses might be found for a thief who steals because he is starving.
31But if he is caught, he must pay back seven times what he stole, even if he has to sell everything in his house.
32But the man who commits adultery is an utter fool, for he destroys himself.
33He will be wounded and disgraced. His shame will never be erased.
34For the woman’s jealous husband will be furious, and he will show no mercy when he takes revenge.
35He will accept no compensation, nor be satisfied with a payoff of any size.
“When you accept Christ into your life, you must do an about face, leaving behind your past ways and to adopt the new life Christ has given you.”~TB
Abandon your old ways, the sinful thoughts and behaviors, and everything else in between so that you can build your foundation firmly on the principles of Christ. The same level of thinking from your previous life cannot remain because you have died from your previous self. A new self must take place and it has to start with The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This is because, in our sin-fallen world, before we accepted Christ, we were programmed with corrupted software, making us believe in worldly ideas and principles. Friends, it is a daily work, throwing off the lies of the world and learning the ways of God. Do the work so you can learn and live in the Truth.
Arm yourselves with the Word of God each and every day so that you may know how to navigate a broken world. The devil is around, especially among those who are working diligently for the Lord, waiting to steal your peace, joy, and contentment. Friends, do not lose heart if you find yourselves in trying times. If you stay close with God and listen to His wisdom, you will learn how to walk in peace, in every aspect of your life. This peace comes from the understanding of Who is with us. When you know that God is at the beginning, the middle, and the end, the path becomes much clearer. We already know who wins in the end, but we must use our newfound understanding and relationship with God to withstand the realities of this world. Take up the cross and walk in your new life with Christ.
Are you struggling in your new life because you’re holding on to the old?
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1Praise the LORD ! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heaven!
2Praise him for his mighty works; praise his unequaled greatness!
3Praise him with a blast of the ram’s horn; praise him with the lyre and harp!
4Praise him with the tambourine and dancing; praise him with strings and flutes!
5Praise him with a clash of cymbals; praise him with loud clanging cymbals.
6Let everything that breathes sing praises to the LORD ! Praise the LORD !
“Don’t let the devil scam you out of your inheritance”~TB
Evil’s job is to scam you out of your God-given inheritance. When you’re tired, leary, and impressionable, he’ll come up to you and offer the riches, attention, and desires of the world. This sin-fallen world is worth a hill of beans, yet many will happily sell their soul to try and rule it. Friends, don’t you see the devil is trying to trade your salvation for temporary fake pleasures and an eternity of hell?
A hedonistic lifestyle is superficially desirable because to the untrained eye it is glittery and illustrious. Of course, heathens seem like they’re having all of the fun. How else do you expect sin to work? If sin appeared as evil and as hideous as it actually is, we wouldn’t dare touch it! Look closer, and you will begin to see the cracks in the glitter and the torment that worldly desire brings. Learn to discern God’s true riches from the fake, so that you free yourselves from a scammy lifestyle.
Are you enjoying your inheritance or did you trade it in a scam?
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1What if the LORD had not been on our side? Let all Israel repeat:
2What if the LORD had not been on our side when people attacked us?
3They would have swallowed us alive in their burning anger.
4The waters would have engulfed us; a torrent would have overwhelmed us.
5Yes, the raging waters of their fury would have overwhelmed our very lives.
6Praise the LORD, who did not let their teeth tear us apart!
7We escaped like a bird from a hunter’s trap. The trap is broken, and we are free!
8Our help is from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.
“Focus on God’s signal in the noise so that you may not trade the truth for a lie.”~TB
There are so many distractions in this world that keep people from honestly pursuing a relationship with Christ. Of course, you cannot blame these distractions as you willfully engage in the nonsense. Whether you’re chasing money, sex, idolatry, clout, prestige, possessions, whatever the case may be, you’re desiring a false god. Conversely, if you dwell on your problems, your circumstances, your pain, you miss the healing that God is so desperately trying to give to you. Friends, we cannot heal ourselves, our minds are not capable of the forgiveness and the love that comes from God.
Focus your attention to God’s love. Let it be the lighthouse that guides your way. When you experience God’s forgiveness, love, and blessings, you are able to extend that grace towards your brothers and sisters. The world will tell you that you have to exact your own justice, vengeance, or whatever you want to call it. Friends, we don’t have to protect ourselves. We don’t have to hold people accountable for their sins. Let Him be the judge and let yourselves embody His light. When we share the love of Christ, we point back to His lighthouse, allowing others to experience and seek a relationship with him. Hold your gaze to the Lord’s signal and let the rest of the noise fall away.
Are you focused on God’s love or are you confused and distorted by the lies of this world?
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1LORD, hear my prayer! Listen to my plea!
2Don’t turn away from me in my time of distress. Bend down to listen, and answer me quickly when I call to you.
3For my days disappear like smoke, and my bones burn like red-hot coals.
4My heart is sick, withered like grass, and I have lost my appetite.
5Because of my groaning, I am reduced to skin and bones.
6I am like an owl in the desert, like a little owl in a far-off wilderness.
7I lie awake, lonely as a solitary bird on the roof.
8My enemies taunt me day after day. They mock and curse me.
9I eat ashes for food. My tears run down into my drink
10because of your anger and wrath. For you have picked me up and thrown me out.
11My life passes as swiftly as the evening shadows. I am withering away like grass.
12But you, O LORD, will sit on your throne forever. Your fame will endure to every generation.
13You will arise and have mercy on Jerusalem — and now is the time to pity her, now is the time you promised to help.
14For your people love every stone in her walls and cherish even the dust in her streets.
15Then the nations will tremble before the LORD . The kings of the earth will tremble before his glory.
16For the LORD will rebuild Jerusalem. He will appear in his glory.
17He will listen to the prayers of the destitute. He will not reject their pleas.
18Let this be recorded for future generations, so that a people not yet born will praise the LORD .
19Tell them the LORD looked down from his heavenly sanctuary. He looked down to earth from heaven
20to hear the groans of the prisoners, to release those condemned to die.
21And so the LORD ’s fame will be celebrated in Zion, his praises in Jerusalem,
22when multitudes gather together and kingdoms come to worship the LORD .
23He broke my strength in midlife, cutting short my days.
24But I cried to him, “O my God, who lives forever, don’t take my life while I am so young!
25Long ago you laid the foundation of the earth and made the heavens with your hands.
26They will perish, but you remain forever; they will wear out like old clothing. You will change them like a garment and discard them.
27But you are always the same; you will live forever.
28The children of your people will live in security. Their children’s children will thrive in your presence.”
“Before God can give you anything, He will search your heart and examine your motives.”~TB
Who Are You?
Who are you in this world and when did you give up an let the world define you? Stop looking to the heathens, the demons, the whoremongers and the ilk to determine your worth. In doing so you lose your inheritance because your motives have become sullied by the sin-fallen ways of this broken world. Though the corrupt of this world seem to have everything, in Christ they have nothing. When your motives are tainted and evil, what’s up is down and what’s down is up, confusing the blind dumb and willfully stupid.
Who You Are
Who you are in Christ, is a redeemed lamb that has escaped the line of Slaughter because God so graciously has made you right through the salvation of his son, Jesus. Friends, that is the only identity we can truly claim because it is the only one that can bring us eternal life and everlasting peace. This world is not the Final Destination, so act accordingly. Examine your motives and walk with God and you will see the truth as it was intended.
Who are you and what are your motives?
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1O LORD, God of my salvation, I cry out to you by day. I come to you at night.
2Now hear my prayer; listen to my cry.
3For my life is full of troubles, and death draws near.
4I am as good as dead, like a strong man with no strength left.
5They have left me among the dead, and I lie like a corpse in a grave. I am forgotten, cut off from your care.
6You have thrown me into the lowest pit, into the darkest depths.
7Your anger weighs me down; with wave after wave you have engulfed me. Interlude
8You have driven my friends away by making me repulsive to them. I am in a trap with no way of escape.
9My eyes are blinded by my tears. Each day I beg for your help, O LORD ; I lift my hands to you for mercy.
10Are your wonderful deeds of any use to the dead? Do the dead rise up and praise you? Interlude
11Can those in the grave declare your unfailing love? Can they proclaim your faithfulness in the place of destruction?
12Can the darkness speak of your wonderful deeds? Can anyone in the land of forgetfulness talk about your righteousness?
13O LORD, I cry out to you. I will keep on pleading day by day.
14O LORD, why do you reject me? Why do you turn your face from me?
15I have been sick and close to death since my youth. I stand helpless and desperate before your terrors.
16Your fierce anger has overwhelmed me. Your terrors have paralyzed me.
17They swirl around me like floodwaters all day long. They have engulfed me completely.
18You have taken away my companions and loved ones. Darkness is my closest friend.
“It does not take much to justify evil, because unchecked flesh craves sin and will blindly see it as good!”~TB
You justify worshipping yourselves by throwing decadent parades glorifying your own image. You publicly glorify the defilement of your bodies, claiming freedom and self-revolution yet you are a slave to your own depravity. You lure people with sweet words and songs, only to manipulate them into doing your bidding under the guise of being “nice”. Of course, if one doesn’t bend to your will and kneel on their knees, it’s their fault! You justify the cruel treatment of foreigners citing the very same corrupt laws that enslave you. Yet you say you love the Lord. You will be judged.
Friends, it’s time to make some adjustments. Have you not studied the readings? Are you arrogant enough to believe that we are above the same fates as Judah and Israel? Do not be surprised when judgment floods the land, crushing the blind and the corrupt. Do not be surprised when your cries to the Lord for relief and mercy fall on deaf ears. He will give you the same silence that you gave the oppressed. Enjoy the festivities now because they are surely coming to an end.
Are you still justifying or are you making adjustments to turn to the Lord?
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1Please, God, rescue me! Come quickly, LORD, and help me.
2May those who try to kill me be humiliated and put to shame. May those who take delight in my trouble be turned back in disgrace.
3Let them be horrified by their shame, for they said, “Aha! We’ve got him now!”
4But may all who search for you be filled with joy and gladness in you. May those who love your salvation repeatedly shout, “God is great!”
5But as for me, I am poor and needy; please hurry to my aid, O God. You are my helper and my savior; O LORD, do not delay.