“There is nothing more loving, merciful, and just than a person who is willing to tell you God’s honest truth.”~TB
I once had a client who was dangling a promising contract over my head, but instead of honoring it, they would tease out assignments. They paid well and on time, but the deal was exploitative and I hated it. I called my mom and dad to talk about it. Furious about the change in terms I vowed to drop the client. My mother calmly and gently brought up the point that I was not in the position to drop clients. I had financial responsibilities and did not have the extra resources to be choosey about who I worked with. It was a tough thing to hear. My ego was not happy to ingest this news, but I am so grateful and thankful that she had enough love and mercy to tell me the Truth rather than stoking the fire to my already outrageous ego. More to the point, it empowered me to work harder so that I would not have to be in that position again. Thanks, Mom!
Friends, we have to drop our egos if we want a chance to know our Father in Heaven. This means listening to wise counsel, being brave enough to speak the Truth no matter the consequence, and being merciful when giving a hard word. We are called the Body of Christ, which means we’re in this together! If someone has broccoli in their teeth, tell them! If your brother is walking into a fire pit, shout to let him know. We’ve tricked ourselves into believing that honesty is mean. But I ask you this, what is meaner: telling someone their behavior is detrimental or letting them self-destruct in ignorance? It’s not nice to prolong someone’s suffering because you don’t want to be inconvenienced by speaking the truth. God blesses the merciful and friends, honesty– in the right context– is merciful. So let’s hold each other to righteous and just mercy so that we help each other when we stumble rather than become onlookers to the fallen.
Are you practicing just mercy or are you just standing by watching?
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1This message for all the people of Judah came to Jeremiah from the LORD during the fourth year of Jehoiakim’s reign over Judah. This was the year when King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon began his reign.
2Jeremiah the prophet said to all the people in Judah and Jerusalem,
3“For the past twenty-three years—from the thirteenth year of the reign of Josiah son of Amon, king of Judah, until now—the LORD has been giving me his messages. I have faithfully passed them on to you, but you have not listened.
4“Again and again the LORD has sent you his servants, the prophets, but you have not listened or even paid attention.
5Each time the message was this: ‘Turn from the evil road you are traveling and from the evil things you are doing. Only then will I let you live in this land that the LORD gave to you and your ancestors forever.
6Do not provoke my anger by worshiping idols you made with your own hands. Then I will not harm you.’
7“But you would not listen to me,” says the LORD . “You made me furious by worshiping idols you made with your own hands, bringing on yourselves all the disasters you now suffer.
8And now the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: Because you have not listened to me,
9I will gather together all the armies of the north under King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, whom I have appointed as my deputy. I will bring them all against this land and its people and against the surrounding nations. I will completely destroy you and make you an object of horror and contempt and a ruin forever.
10I will take away your happy singing and laughter. The joyful voices of bridegrooms and brides will no longer be heard. Your millstones will fall silent, and the lights in your homes will go out.
11This entire land will become a desolate wasteland. Israel and her neighboring lands will serve the king of Babylon for seventy years.
12“Then, after the seventy years of captivity are over, I will punish the king of Babylon and his people for their sins,” says the LORD . “I will make the country of the Babylonians a wasteland forever.
13I will bring upon them all the terrors I have promised in this book—all the penalties announced by Jeremiah against the nations.
14Many nations and great kings will enslave the Babylonians, just as they enslaved my people. I will punish them in proportion to the suffering they cause my people.”
15This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, said to me: “Take from my hand this cup filled to the brim with my anger, and make all the nations to whom I send you drink from it.
16When they drink from it, they will stagger, crazed by the warfare I will send against them.”
17So I took the cup of anger from the LORD and made all the nations drink from it—every nation to which the LORD sent me.
18I went to Jerusalem and the other towns of Judah, and their kings and officials drank from the cup. From that day until this, they have been a desolate ruin, an object of horror, contempt, and cursing.
19I gave the cup to Pharaoh, king of Egypt, his attendants, his officials, and all his people,
20along with all the foreigners living in that land. I also gave it to all the kings of the land of Uz and the kings of the Philistine cities of Ashkelon, Gaza, Ekron, and what remains of Ashdod.
21Then I gave the cup to the nations of Edom, Moab, and Ammon,
22and the kings of Tyre and Sidon, and the kings of the regions across the sea.
23I gave it to Dedan, Tema, and Buz, and to the people who live in distant places.
24I gave it to the kings of Arabia, the kings of the nomadic tribes of the desert,
25and to the kings of Zimri, Elam, and Media.
26And I gave it to the kings of the northern countries, far and near, one after the other—all the kingdoms of the world. And finally, the king of Babylon himself drank from the cup of the LORD ’s anger.
27Then the LORD said to me, “Now tell them, ‘This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: Drink from this cup of my anger. Get drunk and vomit; fall to rise no more, for I am sending terrible wars against you.’
28And if they refuse to accept the cup, tell them, ‘The LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: You have no choice but to drink from it.
29I have begun to punish Jerusalem, the city that bears my name. Now should I let you go unpunished? No, you will not escape disaster. I will call for war against all the nations of the earth. I, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken!’
30“Now prophesy all these things, and say to them, “‘The LORD will roar against his own land from his holy dwelling in heaven. He will shout like those who tread grapes; he will shout against everyone on earth.
31His cry of judgment will reach the ends of the earth, for the LORD will bring his case against all the nations. He will judge all the people of the earth, slaughtering the wicked with the sword. I, the LORD, have spoken!’”
32This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: “Look! Disaster will fall upon nation after nation! A great whirlwind of fury is rising from the most distant corners of the earth!”
33In that day those the LORD has slaughtered will fill the earth from one end to the other. No one will mourn for them or gather up their bodies to bury them. They will be scattered on the ground like manure.
34Weep and moan, you evil shepherds! Roll in the dust, you leaders of the flock! The time of your slaughter has arrived; you will fall and shatter like a fragile vase.
35You will find no place to hide; there will be no way to escape.
36Listen to the frantic cries of the shepherds. The leaders of the flock are wailing in despair, for the LORD is ruining their pastures.
37Peaceful meadows will be turned into a wasteland by the LORD ’s fierce anger.
38He has left his den like a strong lion seeking its prey, and their land will be made desolate by the sword of the enemy and the LORD ’s fierce anger.
“Resources are meant to be used to grow with Christ, not to replace Him.”~TB
A major balancing act in the Christian walk is utilizing and appreciating the resources that God gives us without allowing them to take on a god-like persona. If we’re honest, I’m sure we all have had moments where we want God’s ‘stuff’ more than we want Him. I don’t know about you, but for me, that’s a tough pill to swallow because the truth of the matter, money, cars, fame, notoriety are really just stuff. More to the point, wanting stuff more than we want God is quite sad and a major indictment on what we value as a collective. As someone who has experience with first-world niceties, I can say for certain, the best manmade things do not hold a candle to being in the presence of the Lord.
Remain in Him
These days, everything I have is a resource to remain in Christ. My money, time, love, etc. are poured into building my relationships with my family, spending time with God, sharing His Truth with others, and things of the like. That’s not to say I’m perfect, oh, I’m far from it. Over time, I’ve come to learn to hang out with God more, glean His insights, which helps me to make better decisions. He has shown and taught me how wonderful it is to walk with Him and the resources He gives me are to grow stronger in Him. Friends, we have to evaluate how we look at things. Most of the time, we want ‘stuff’ just to impress others. The things of this world are temporary. We cannot take them with us when we go. But, the relationship we forge with Christ is everlasting, so enjoy the resources, but make sure they point back to Him.
Do you want God’s resources or God Himself?
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1This is what the LORD said to me: “Go over and speak directly to the king of Judah. Say to him,
2‘Listen to this message from the LORD, you king of Judah, sitting on David’s throne. Let your attendants and your people listen, too.
3This is what the LORD says: Be fair-minded and just. Do what is right! Help those who have been robbed; rescue them from their oppressors. Quit your evil deeds! Do not mistreat foreigners, orphans, and widows. Stop murdering the innocent!
4If you obey me, there will always be a descendant of David sitting on the throne here in Jerusalem. The king will ride through the palace gates in chariots and on horses, with his parade of attendants and subjects.
5But if you refuse to pay attention to this warning, I swear by my own name, says the LORD, that this palace will become a pile of rubble.’”
6Now this is what the LORD says concerning Judah’s royal palace: “I love you as much as fruitful Gilead and the green forests of Lebanon. But I will turn you into a desert, with no one living within your walls.
7I will call for wreckers, who will bring out their tools to dismantle you. They will tear out all your fine cedar beams and throw them on the fire.
8“People from many nations will pass by the ruins of this city and say to one another, ‘Why did the LORD destroy such a great city?’
9And the answer will be, ‘Because they violated their covenant with the LORD their God by worshiping other gods.’”
10Do not weep for the dead king or mourn his loss. Instead, weep for the captive king being led away! For he will never return to see his native land again.
11For this is what the LORD says about Jehoahaz, who succeeded his father, King Josiah, and was taken away as a captive: “He will never return.
12He will die in a distant land and will never again see his own country.”
13And the LORD says, “What sorrow awaits Jehoiakim, who builds his palace with forced labor. He builds injustice into its walls, for he makes his neighbors work for nothing. He does not pay them for their labor.
14He says, ‘I will build a magnificent palace with huge rooms and many windows. I will panel it throughout with fragrant cedar and paint it a lovely red.’
15But a beautiful cedar palace does not make a great king! Your father, Josiah, also had plenty to eat and drink. But he was just and right in all his dealings. That is why God blessed him.
16He gave justice and help to the poor and needy, and everything went well for him. Isn’t that what it means to know me?” says the LORD .
17“But you! You have eyes only for greed and dishonesty! You murder the innocent, oppress the poor, and reign ruthlessly.”
18Therefore, this is what the LORD says about Jehoiakim, son of King Josiah: “The people will not mourn for him, crying to one another, ‘Alas, my brother! Alas, my sister!’ His subjects will not mourn for him, crying, ‘Alas, our master is dead! Alas, his splendor is gone!’
19He will be buried like a dead donkey— dragged out of Jerusalem and dumped outside the gates!
20Weep for your allies in Lebanon. Shout for them in Bashan. Search for them in the regions east of the river. See, they are all destroyed. Not one is left to help you.
21I warned you when you were prosperous, but you replied, ‘Don’t bother me.’ You have been that way since childhood— you simply will not obey me!
22And now the wind will blow away your allies. All your friends will be taken away as captives. Surely then you will see your wickedness and be ashamed.
23It may be nice to live in a beautiful palace paneled with wood from the cedars of Lebanon, but soon you will groan with pangs of anguish— anguish like that of a woman in labor.
24“As surely as I live,” says the LORD, “I will abandon you, Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah. Even if you were the signet ring on my right hand, I would pull you off.
25I will hand you over to those who seek to kill you, those you so desperately fear—to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and the mighty Babylonian army.
26I will expel you and your mother from this land, and you will die in a foreign country, not in your native land.
27You will never again return to the land you yearn for.
28“Why is this man Jehoiachin like a discarded, broken jar? Why are he and his children to be exiled to a foreign land?
29O earth, earth, earth! Listen to this message from the LORD !
30This is what the LORD says: ‘Let the record show that this man Jehoiachin was childless. He is a failure, for none of his children will succeed him on the throne of David to rule over Judah.’
“The salvation of Christ is the only thing that makes us valid.”~TB
Consulting self-help gurus, thought leaders, influencers, and peers who tout a false reality of what a valid life experience looks like has become standard practice. Thanks to our lookie-loo mentalities, there is an invalid acceptance that people crave that ultimately has nothing to do with Who made us and how we actually work. External and physical validity is superficial at best and downright depressing at worst. Because once you’ve achieved your targeted status in the world, one realizes that it actually does not fill the void you are looking to complete.
A connection with Christ is the only real antidote in this strange world. Knowing God on a deeper, everyday level brings a sense of true peace, contentment, and understanding that is second to none. With this, you stop looking to the outside and seek the internal answers that only He can give. When you build that relationship, you understand the sacrifice of salvation and the authenticity of the one who paid that price. It brings a wholeness knowing that you are loved and valid based on that act alone and
Do you prefer the fool’s gold of public opinion to the priceless validity of Christ?
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1Hear the word that the LORD speaks to you, O Israel!
2This is what the LORD says: “Do not act like the other nations, who try to read their future in the stars. Do not be afraid of their predictions, even though other nations are terrified by them.
3Their ways are futile and foolish. They cut down a tree, and a craftsman carves an idol.
4They decorate it with gold and silver and then fasten it securely with hammer and nails so it won’t fall over.
5Their gods are like helpless scarecrows in a cucumber field! They cannot speak, and they need to be carried because they cannot walk. Do not be afraid of such gods, for they can neither harm you nor do you any good.”
6LORD, there is no one like you! For you are great, and your name is full of power.
7Who would not fear you, O King of nations? That title belongs to you alone! Among all the wise people of the earth and in all the kingdoms of the world, there is no one like you.
8People who worship idols are stupid and foolish. The things they worship are made of wood!
9They bring beaten sheets of silver from Tarshish and gold from Uphaz, and they give these materials to skillful craftsmen who make their idols. Then they dress these gods in royal blue and purple robes made by expert tailors.
10But the LORD is the only true God. He is the living God and the everlasting King! The whole earth trembles at his anger. The nations cannot stand up to his wrath.
11Say this to those who worship other gods: “Your so-called gods, who did not make the heavens and earth, will vanish from the earth and from under the heavens.”
12But the LORD made the earth by his power, and he preserves it by his wisdom. With his own understanding he stretched out the heavens.
13When he speaks in the thunder, the heavens roar with rain. He causes the clouds to rise over the earth. He sends the lightning with the rain and releases the wind from his storehouses.
14The whole human race is foolish and has no knowledge! The craftsmen are disgraced by the idols they make, for their carefully shaped works are a fraud. These idols have no breath or power.
15Idols are worthless; they are ridiculous lies! On the day of reckoning they will all be destroyed.
16But the God of Israel is no idol! He is the Creator of everything that exists, including Israel, his own special possession. The LORD of Heaven’s Armies is his name!
17Pack your bags and prepare to leave; the siege is about to begin.
18For this is what the LORD says: “Suddenly, I will fling out all you who live in this land. I will pour great troubles upon you, and at last you will feel my anger.”
19My wound is severe, and my grief is great. My sickness is incurable, but I must bear it.
20My home is gone, and no one is left to help me rebuild it. My children have been taken away, and I will never see them again.
21The shepherds of my people have lost their senses. They no longer seek wisdom from the LORD . Therefore, they fail completely, and their flocks are scattered.
22Listen! Hear the terrifying roar of great armies as they roll down from the north. The towns of Judah will be destroyed and become a haunt for jackals.
23I know, LORD, that our lives are not our own. We are not able to plan our own course.
24So correct me, LORD, but please be gentle. Do not correct me in anger, for I would die.
25Pour out your wrath on the nations that refuse to acknowledge you— on the peoples that do not call upon your name. For they have devoured your people Israel ; they have devoured and consumed them, making the land a desolate wilderness.
“When you forgive others as God forgives you, you are essentially giving each other a rebrand, cleaning the slate as God does for all of His Kids.”~TB
A dog shows its belly– the most vulnerable part of its body– to those it trusts. But if said trusted individual kicks the dog in the belly, that dog will be sure not to show weakness to that person again. We as people tend to have that mindset when dealing with each other. Forgiveness is difficult because at the root of it exists pain and mistrust. Our thought process is: “how can I trust that person if they’ve hurt me?”. And to be completely honest, it’s tough. While I try to quickly forgive and turn the other cheek, I too have to reconcile the pain and mistrust that happens when those close to us let us down in one way or the other. That’s where God steps in– if you ask and allow Him to.
Give It Up
The pain and sorrow of transgressions are not for us to hold on to. In fact, we are supposed to give those things to God, because we lack the ability to process those things in a Christ-like manner on our own. When you give the transgressions and burdens to our Father in Heaven, He makes a way in us to love and extend forgiveness to our brothers and sisters. This is because He forgives us so freely and willingly each and every time, when you experience that kind of mercy, it becomes easier to share it with those around you. More to the point, when you practice honest, Biblical, forgiveness, not only do you allow the transgressor the ability to change, but so do you.
Have you ever been looked at as the person you once were rather than the person you are? It’s not fun carrying an outdated interpretation of your past, no matter how far you’ve come to make amends. It’s tough to change and grow when we all hold each other to the less than stellar moments in our lives. Trust me, we all have those moments. But to keep each other in those chains, it stagnates growth and community. That’s what happens when we do not forgive each other. Instead, give people space and grace to grow and be who God made them to be. By wiping the slate clean the act of forgiveness is a mutual endeavor that gives not only the parties involved the chance to start again, but those who are watching can accurately see that person as they truly are too. I’ve seen firsthand what a rebranded person looks and behaves like when given the opportunity. I hope that we all can tap into the Holy Spirit to grant each other that chance to rebrand and change too,
Are you giving space and grace to allow your brothers and sisters to rebrand; or are you stagnating the healing process?
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1If only my head were a pool of water and my eyes a fountain of tears, I would weep day and night for all my people who have been slaughtered.
2Oh, that I could go away and forget my people and live in a travelers’ shack in the desert. For they are all adulterers— a pack of treacherous liars.
3“My people bend their tongues like bows to shoot out lies. They refuse to stand up for the truth. They only go from bad to worse. They do not know me,” says the LORD .
4“Beware of your neighbor! Don’t even trust your brother! For brother takes advantage of brother, and friend slanders friend.
5They all fool and defraud each other; no one tells the truth. With practiced tongues they tell lies; they wear themselves out with all their sinning.
6They pile lie upon lie and utterly refuse to acknowledge me,” says the LORD .
7Therefore, this is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: “See, I will melt them down in a crucible and test them like metal. What else can I do with my people?
8For their tongues shoot lies like poisoned arrows. They speak friendly words to their neighbors while scheming in their heart to kill them.
9Should I not punish them for this?” says the LORD . “Should I not avenge myself against such a nation?”
10I will weep for the mountains and wail for the wilderness pastures. For they are desolate and empty of life; the lowing of cattle is heard no more; the birds and wild animals have all fled.
11“I will make Jerusalem into a heap of ruins,” says the LORD . “It will be a place haunted by jackals. The towns of Judah will be ghost towns, with no one living in them.”
12Who is wise enough to understand all this? Who has been instructed by the LORD and can explain it to others? Why has the land been so ruined that no one dares to travel through it?
13The LORD replies, “This has happened because my people have abandoned my instructions; they have refused to obey what I said.
14Instead, they have stubbornly followed their own desires and worshiped the images of Baal, as their ancestors taught them.
15So now, this is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: Look! I will feed them with bitterness and give them poison to drink.
16I will scatter them around the world, in places they and their ancestors never heard of, and even there I will chase them with the sword until I have destroyed them completely.”
17This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: “Consider all this, and call for the mourners. Send for the women who mourn at funerals.
18Quick! Begin your weeping! Let the tears flow from your eyes.
19Hear the people of Jerusalem crying in despair, ‘We are ruined! We are completely humiliated! We must leave our land, because our homes have been torn down.’”
20Listen, you women, to the words of the LORD ; open your ears to what he has to say. Teach your daughters to wail; teach one another how to lament.
21For death has crept in through our windows and has entered our mansions. It has killed off the flower of our youth: Children no longer play in the streets, and young men no longer gather in the squares.
22This is what the LORD says: “Bodies will be scattered across the fields like clumps of manure, like bundles of grain after the harvest. No one will be left to bury them.”
23This is what the LORD says: “Don’t let the wise boast in their wisdom, or the powerful boast in their power, or the rich boast in their riches.
24But those who wish to boast should boast in this alone: that they truly know me and understand that I am the LORD who demonstrates unfailing love and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth, and that I delight in these things. I, the LORD, have spoken!
25“A time is coming,” says the LORD, “when I will punish all those who are circumcised in body but not in spirit—
26the Egyptians, Edomites, Ammonites, Moabites, the people who live in the desert in remote places, and yes, even the people of Judah. And like all these pagan nations, the people of Israel also have uncircumcised hearts.”
“Do not avoid uncomfortable situations or moments. Instead, walk boldly in the truth that God is with you in all things.”~TB
The world teaches us to avoid unpleasant experiences. Human logic dictates that if the moment induces discomfort, it must be a bad thing, therefore we remove the “yucky stuff” from our lives. What an amazingly ironic and counterproductive paradigm! The problem with that ideology is that it eliminates the most vital and necessary aspect of our spiritual growth. Through the unpleasant times, we get to grow closer and know God in a more personal and one-on-one manner. In fact, it’s those uncomfortable and painful moments where we grow the most. That is if we take them as they are and not as we perceive them to be.
When I was a kid in elementary school, we’d have the opportunity to participate in an art class. Some of the projects included working with clay, making different sorts of things. I loved it. Being able to mold and shape things– essentially making something out of nothing– is something I love. My favorite part was seeing my work after it was fired in the kiln. For those that don’t know, a kiln is a heating chamber that transforms materials in high temperatures. When the clay is heated properly, it is then ready to be turned into a vessel. If you’ve ever worked clay, you’ve seen firsthand how a slippery and malleable substance is transformed into a sturdy and utilitarian product. God is the Kiln to our clay.
In order to be the vessel that God has called you to be, you must learn to reexamine your mind about the kiln process. Trials and tribulations are the firey elements that shore up your vessel. Without them, you remain mushy and unsustainable. When you avoid the molding and kiln of God, your ability to rise to the calling on your life is impossible. Don’t avoid the process, but trust that all things in your life are used to strengthen your relationship with God. Let the Bible mold you and your time with God be the fire that hardens the clay. In doing so, we see as God intended us to see. When that happens, we walk in the way that God called us to.
Are you going through the kiln or do you want to remain mushy and broken?
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1“In that day,” says the LORD, “the enemy will break open the graves of the kings and officials of Judah, and the graves of the priests, prophets, and common people of Jerusalem.
2They will spread out their bones on the ground before the sun, moon, and stars—the gods my people have loved, served, and worshiped. Their bones will not be gathered up again or buried but will be scattered on the ground like manure.
3And the people of this evil nation who survive will wish to die rather than live where I will send them. I, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken!
4“Jeremiah, say to the people, ‘This is what the LORD says: “‘When people fall down, don’t they get up again? When they discover they’re on the wrong road, don’t they turn back?
5Then why do these people stay on their self-destructive path? Why do the people of Jerusalem refuse to turn back? They cling tightly to their lies and will not turn around.
6I listen to their conversations and don’t hear a word of truth. Is anyone sorry for doing wrong? Does anyone say, “What a terrible thing I have done”? No! All are running down the path of sin as swiftly as a horse galloping into battle!
7Even the stork that flies across the sky knows the time of her migration, as do the turtledove, the swallow, and the crane. They all return at the proper time each year. But not my people! They do not know the LORD ’s laws.
8“‘How can you say, “We are wise because we have the word of the LORD,” when your teachers have twisted it by writing lies?
9These wise teachers will fall into the trap of their own foolishness, for they have rejected the word of the LORD . Are they so wise after all?
10I will give their wives to others and their farms to strangers. From the least to the greatest, their lives are ruled by greed. Yes, even my prophets and priests are like that. They are all frauds.
11They offer superficial treatments for my people’s mortal wound. They give assurances of peace when there is no peace.
12Are they ashamed of these disgusting actions? Not at all—they don’t even know how to blush! Therefore, they will lie among the slaughtered. They will be brought down when I punish them, says the LORD .
13I will surely consume them. There will be no more harvests of figs and grapes. Their fruit trees will all die. Whatever I gave them will soon be gone. I, the LORD, have spoken!’
14“Then the people will say, ‘Why should we wait here to die? Come, let’s go to the fortified towns and die there. For the LORD our God has decreed our destruction and has given us a cup of poison to drink because we sinned against the LORD .
15We hoped for peace, but no peace came. We hoped for a time of healing, but found only terror.’
16“The snorting of the enemies’ warhorses can be heard all the way from the land of Dan in the north! The neighing of their stallions makes the whole land tremble. They are coming to devour the land and everything in it— cities and people alike.
17I will send these enemy troops among you like poisonous snakes you cannot charm. They will bite you, and you will die. I, the LORD, have spoken!”
18My grief is beyond healing; my heart is broken.
19Listen to the weeping of my people; it can be heard all across the land. “Has the LORD abandoned Jerusalem? ” the people ask. “Is her King no longer there?” “Oh, why have they provoked my anger with their carved idols and their worthless foreign gods?” says the LORD .
20“The harvest is finished, and the summer is gone,” the people cry, “yet we are not saved!”
21I hurt with the hurt of my people. I mourn and am overcome with grief.
22Is there no medicine in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why is there no healing for the wounds of my people?
“Don’t be fooled by the guise of self-reliance because only God can allow our seeds to grow.”~TB
In the eyes of man, we applaud the idea that we can achieve anything based on our own merit. With our two hands, grit, and determination, we have everything we need. To the world, success happens by yourself on your own accord. Friends, while we have to play an active role in our lives, the belief that we don’t need anyone or anything is a fallacy. It conveniently leaves out our Maker and how His hand dictates the events that play out in our lives.
When you know who actually runs the show, you recognize how needy and dependent you actually are. In life, we need Christ to show us the way, to approve of our plans so that we build our lives on the firm foundation of God. Being and believing that you are indeed God-Made allows you to receive His instructions. It also encourages you to engage with the Body of Christ– the people around you– as you know it takes a village to succeed. So rather than relying on your flesh, rely on the One who first called you His so you can truly see what you are made of.
When the time comes to give your account, who do you want to vouch for you; yourself or Christ?
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1The LORD gave another message to Jeremiah. He said,
2“Go to the entrance of the LORD ’s Temple, and give this message to the people: ‘O Judah, listen to this message from the LORD ! Listen to it, all of you who worship here!
3This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: “‘Even now, if you quit your evil ways, I will let you stay in your own land.
4But don’t be fooled by those who promise you safety simply because the LORD ’s Temple is here. They chant, “The LORD ’s Temple is here! The LORD ’s Temple is here!”
5But I will be merciful only if you stop your evil thoughts and deeds and start treating each other with justice;
6only if you stop exploiting foreigners, orphans, and widows; only if you stop your murdering; and only if you stop harming yourselves by worshiping idols.
7Then I will let you stay in this land that I gave to your ancestors to keep forever.
8“‘Don’t be fooled into thinking that you will never suffer because the Temple is here. It’s a lie!
9Do you really think you can steal, murder, commit adultery, lie, and burn incense to Baal and all those other new gods of yours,
10and then come here and stand before me in my Temple and chant, “We are safe!”—only to go right back to all those evils again?
11Don’t you yourselves admit that this Temple, which bears my name, has become a den of thieves? Surely I see all the evil going on there. I, the LORD, have spoken!
12“‘Go now to the place at Shiloh where I once put the Tabernacle that bore my name. See what I did there because of all the wickedness of my people, the Israelites.
13While you were doing these wicked things, says the LORD, I spoke to you about it repeatedly, but you would not listen. I called out to you, but you refused to answer.
14So just as I destroyed Shiloh, I will now destroy this Temple that bears my name, this Temple that you trust in for help, this place that I gave to you and your ancestors.
15And I will send you out of my sight into exile, just as I did your relatives, the people of Israel. ’
16“Pray no more for these people, Jeremiah. Do not weep or pray for them, and don’t beg me to help them, for I will not listen to you.
17Don’t you see what they are doing throughout the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem?
18No wonder I am so angry! Watch how the children gather wood and the fathers build sacrificial fires. See how the women knead dough and make cakes to offer to the Queen of Heaven. And they pour out liquid offerings to their other idol gods!
19Am I the one they are hurting?” asks the LORD . “Most of all, they hurt themselves, to their own shame.”
20So this is what the Sovereign LORD says: “I will pour out my terrible fury on this place. Its people, animals, trees, and crops will be consumed by the unquenchable fire of my anger.”
21This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: “Take your burnt offerings and your other sacrifices and eat them yourselves!
22When I led your ancestors out of Egypt, it was not burnt offerings and sacrifices I wanted from them.
23This is what I told them: ‘Obey me, and I will be your God, and you will be my people. Do everything as I say, and all will be well!’
24“But my people would not listen to me. They kept doing whatever they wanted, following the stubborn desires of their evil hearts. They went backward instead of forward.
25From the day your ancestors left Egypt until now, I have continued to send my servants, the prophets—day in and day out.
26But my people have not listened to me or even tried to hear. They have been stubborn and sinful—even worse than their ancestors.
27“Tell them all this, but do not expect them to listen. Shout out your warnings, but do not expect them to respond.
28Say to them, ‘This is the nation whose people will not obey the LORD their God and who refuse to be taught. Truth has vanished from among them; it is no longer heard on their lips.
29Shave your head in mourning, and weep alone on the mountains. For the LORD has rejected and forsaken this generation that has provoked his fury.’
30“The people of Judah have sinned before my very eyes,” says the LORD . “They have set up their abominable idols right in the Temple that bears my name, defiling it.
31They have built pagan shrines at Topheth, the garbage dump in the valley of Ben-Hinnom, and there they burn their sons and daughters in the fire. I have never commanded such a horrible deed; it never even crossed my mind to command such a thing!
32So beware, for the time is coming,” says the LORD, “when that garbage dump will no longer be called Topheth or the valley of Ben-Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter. They will bury the bodies in Topheth until there is no more room for them.
33The bodies of my people will be food for the vultures and wild animals, and no one will be left to scare them away.
34I will put an end to the happy singing and laughter in the streets of Jerusalem. The joyful voices of bridegrooms and brides will no longer be heard in the towns of Judah. The land will lie in complete desolation.
“The truth is pleasant when you hear and do the honest work of faith, because everyone can see it, hear it, and enjoy the clean, fresh look of progress and the steps God gives you to cross the finish line.” ~ Jon Barnes
We are all capable of doing great things with the talent and skillsets that we have. Be the first to see a problem, providing a personal solution, before someone asks you for help. Don’t be a stumbling block for someone else by being mean. Give solutions and allow people to fix their own problems and copy good behavior.
You don’t need to copyright or patent everything in your life, as if you are trying to gain all of the gold in the world. Your level of greed will consume you and prevent you from achieving the real path of justice and truth in God. Don’t burn the bridge so that no one else can cross it after you. Be happy at each level you find yourself stepping into with God to bridge the gap.
It is silly to think that your steps are random, but they are ordered by God since you are His child. Keep walking the right path. Take every opportunity to learn from your mistakes by correcting them to move to the next level of love. Clean up your own workspace and stop waiting for others to do the job for you.
Did you notice how people will become inspired to clean up as you clean up all around you and if they don’t, are you praying for them?
The Prayer of Jesus
17 After saying all these things, Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son so he can give glory back to you. 2 For you have given him authority over everyone. He gives eternal life to each one you have given him.3 And this is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth.4 I brought glory to you here on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.5 Now, Father, bring me into the glory we shared before the world began.
6 “I have revealed you to the ones you gave me from this world. They were always yours. You gave them to me, and they have kept your word.7 Now they know that everything I have is a gift from you,8 for I have passed on to them the message you gave me. They accepted it and know that I came from you, and they believe you sent me.
9 “My prayer is not for the world, but for those you have given me, because they belong to you.10 All who are mine belong to you, and you have given them to me, so they bring me glory.11 Now I am departing from the world; they are staying in this world, but I am coming to you. Holy Father, you have given me your name; now protect them by the power of your name so that they will be united just as we are.12 During my time here, I protected them by the power of the name you gave me. I guarded them so that not one was lost, except the one headed for destruction, as the Scriptures foretold.
13 “Now I am coming to you. I told them many things while I was with them in this world so they would be filled with my joy.14 I have given them your word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world.15 I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one.16 They do not belong to this world any more than I do.17 Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth.18 Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world.19 And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth.
20 “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message.21 I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.
22 “I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one.23 I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.24 Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with me where I am. Then they can see all the glory you gave me because you loved me even before the world began!
25 “O righteous Father, the world doesn’t know you, but I do; and these disciples know you sent me.26 I have revealed you to them, and I will continue to do so. Then your love for me will be in them, and I will be in them.”
“It is a fantastic feeling when people tell you that your children and grandchildren are doing a great job honoring God with their good work, lifestyles, and choices.” ~ Jon Barnes
You can rejoice, laugh, and smile after you have put in all of the hard work, sweat, and tears of joy while working in the trenches by yourself because your family will copy you and make you proud. The quality of work put in your obedience to God will give you great success with Jesus our Lord! Laugh and be thankful. Others may join you with your good cheer or frown in the sorrow of their laziness of love.
Since people really understand God’s Truth, notice how many will poke holes at your belief system, God’s Word, and your lifestyle. Evil people will always find ways to change God’s laws to benefit their evil lifestyle, which is the very reason that they know the biblical stories better than you good people. This is their normal, so smile and be resourceful with few words and lots of spiritual action ordained by God in your personal obedience with God’s Love and Spirit. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist, but you must be honest with God.
People who talk less and do more tend to be more likable, effective, honest, and to the point. God loves the truthful simplicity of love, life, and spiritual growth. Strive to carry the character and characteristics of Christ in your life so that God likes what you are doing. He knows how to bless you beyond your wildest imagination so that you don’t have to build an empire or legacy of proof. Having God on your side is all the empire, legacy, money, and love that you’ll ever need. How fantastic is that?
Can you live a fantastic life with the hope of eternal salvation with lies, fake news, and false hopes in your own fanciful, man-made, makeshift belief system?
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Jesus Anointed at Bethany
12 Six days before the Passover celebration began, Jesus arrived in Bethany, the home of Lazarus—the man he had raised from the dead. 2 A dinner was prepared in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, and Lazarus was among those who ate with him.3 Then Mary took a twelve-ounce jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard, and she anointed Jesus’ feet with it, wiping his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance.
4 But Judas Iscariot, the disciple who would soon betray him, said,5 “That perfume was worth a year’s wages. It should have been sold and the money given to the poor.”6 Not that he cared for the poor—he was a thief, and since he was in charge of the disciples’ money, he often stole some for himself.
7 Jesus replied, “Leave her alone. She did this in preparation for my burial.8 You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”
9 When all the people heard of Jesus’ arrival, they flocked to see him and also to see Lazarus, the man Jesus had raised from the dead.10 Then the leading priests decided to kill Lazarus, too,11 for it was because of him that many of the people had deserted them and believed in Jesus.
Jesus’ Triumphant Entry
12 The next day, the news that Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem swept through the city. A large crowd of Passover visitors 13 took palm branches and went down the road to meet him. They shouted,
Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hail to the King of Israel!”
14 Jesus found a young donkey and rode on it, fulfilling the prophecy that said:
15 “Don’t be afraid, people of Jerusalem.
Look, your King is coming,
riding on a donkey’s colt.”
16 His disciples didn’t understand at the time that this was a fulfillment of prophecy. But after Jesus entered into his glory, they remembered what had happened and realized that these things had been written about him.
17 Many in the crowd had seen Jesus call Lazarus from the tomb, raising him from the dead, and they were telling others about it.18 That was the reason so many went out to meet him—because they had heard about this miraculous sign.19 Then the Pharisees said to each other, “There’s nothing we can do. Look, everyone has gone after him!”
Jesus Predicts His Death
20 Some Greeks who had come to Jerusalem for the Passover celebration 21 paid a visit to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee. They said, “Sir, we want to meet Jesus.”22 Philip told Andrew about it, and they went together to ask Jesus.
23 Jesus replied, “Now the time has come for the Son of Man to enter into his glory.24 I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives.25 Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity.26 Anyone who wants to serve me must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me.
27 “Now my soul is deeply troubled. Should I pray, ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But this is the very reason I came!28 Father, bring glory to your name.”
Then a voice spoke from heaven, saying, “I have already brought glory to my name, and I will do so again.” 29 When the crowd heard the voice, some thought it was thunder, while others declared an angel had spoken to him.
30 Then Jesus told them, “The voice was for your benefit, not mine.31 The time for judging this world has come, when Satan, the ruler of this world, will be cast out.32 And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.”33 He said this to indicate how he was going to die.
34 The crowd responded, “We understood from Scripture that the Messiah would live forever. How can you say the Son of Man will die? Just who is this Son of Man, anyway?”
35 Jesus replied, “My light will shine for you just a little longer. Walk in the light while you can, so the darkness will not overtake you. Those who walk in the darkness cannot see where they are going.36 Put your trust in the light while there is still time; then you will become children of the light.”
After saying these things, Jesus went away and was hidden from them.
The Unbelief of the People
37 But despite all the miraculous signs Jesus had done, most of the people still did not believe in him. 38 This is exactly what Isaiah the prophet had predicted:
“Lord, who has believed our message?
To whom has the Lord revealed his powerful arm?”
39 But the people couldn’t believe, for as Isaiah also said,
40 “The Lord has blinded their eyes
and hardened their hearts—
so that their eyes cannot see,
and their hearts cannot understand,
and they cannot turn to me
and have me heal them.”
41 Isaiah was referring to Jesus when he said this, because he saw the future and spoke of the Messiah’s glory.42 Many people did believe in him, however, including some of the Jewish leaders. But they wouldn’t admit it for fear that the Pharisees would expel them from the synagogue.43 For they loved human praise more than the praise of God.
44 Jesus shouted to the crowds, “If you trust me, you are trusting not only me, but also God who sent me.45 For when you see me, you are seeing the one who sent me.46 I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark.47 I will not judge those who hear me but don’t obey me, for I have come to save the world and not to judge it.48 But all who reject me and my message will be judged on the day of judgment by the truth I have spoken.49 I don’t speak on my own authority. The Father who sent me has commanded me what to say and how to say it.50 And I know his commands lead to eternal life; so I say whatever the Father tells me to say.”
“Each day when your efforts are focused and detailed, you will enjoy the good efforts and fruits of your labor with God!” ~ Jon Barnes
Be brave in standing up for what is right and do not compromise your integrity, honesty, and quality of work that you do. The Kingdom of Heaven is for those who will do what God wants them to do. Be a doer of God’s Word and expect conflict for being convicted in God’s lifestyle.
Being exuberant with God’s love in your life will shine like the sun, with high spirits that are full of joy, which is irrepressible. This energetic attitude is a magnet that helps to attract people like you to God, with the good work of faith that only you can give from the heart. Balance your efforts so that you can see the detailed stumbling blocks to bounce over them with joy, peace, long-suffering, patience, and grace.
It is a wonderful thing when people recognize the gift of love God has given you, as they will tell you and respond to the love that you share. People are generally honest with the respect and love that is given to them by you, so give them a detailed account of how wonderful God’s love is by your own examples. Your love will wonderfully stand out and shine all over the place.
Is your love for God a good example for people to examine with great detail or are you faking it?
Enjoy The Reading
Jesus Heals a Lame Man
5 Afterward Jesus returned to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish holy days. 2 Inside the city, near the Sheep Gate, was the pool of Bethesda, with five covered porches.3 Crowds of sick people—blind, lame, or paralyzed—lay on the porches. 5 One of the men lying there had been sick for thirty-eight years.6 When Jesus saw him and knew he had been ill for a long time, he asked him, “Would you like to get well?”
7 “I can’t, sir,” the sick man said, “for I have no one to put me into the pool when the water bubbles up. Someone else always gets there ahead of me.”
8 Jesus told him, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!”
9 Instantly, the man was healed! He rolled up his sleeping mat and began walking! But this miracle happened on the Sabbath,10 so the Jewish leaders objected. They said to the man who was cured, “You can’t work on the Sabbath! The law doesn’t allow you to carry that sleeping mat!”
11 But he replied, “The man who healed me told me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’”
12 “Who said such a thing as that?” they demanded.
13 The man didn’t know, for Jesus had disappeared into the crowd.14 But afterward Jesus found him in the Temple and told him, “Now you are well; so stop sinning, or something even worse may happen to you.”15 Then the man went and told the Jewish leaders that it was Jesus who had healed him.
Jesus Claims to Be the Son of God
16 So the Jewish leaders began harassing Jesus for breaking the Sabbath rules. 17 But Jesus replied, “My Father is always working, and so am I.”18 So the Jewish leaders tried all the harder to find a way to kill him. For he not only broke the Sabbath, he called God his Father, thereby making himself equal with God.
19 So Jesus explained, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does.20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him everything he is doing. In fact, the Father will show him how to do even greater works than healing this man. Then you will truly be astonished.21 For just as the Father gives life to those he raises from the dead, so the Son gives life to anyone he wants.22 In addition, the Father judges no one. Instead, he has given the Son absolute authority to judge,23 so that everyone will honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Anyone who does not honor the Son is certainly not honoring the Father who sent him.
24 “I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life.
25 “And I assure you that the time is coming, indeed it’s here now, when the dead will hear my voice—the voice of the Son of God. And those who listen will live.26 The Father has life in himself, and he has granted that same life-giving power to his Son.27 And he has given him authority to judge everyone because he is the Son of Man.28 Don’t be so surprised! Indeed, the time is coming when all the dead in their graves will hear the voice of God’s Son,29 and they will rise again. Those who have done good will rise to experience eternal life, and those who have continued in evil will rise to experience judgment.30 I can do nothing on my own. I judge as God tells me. Therefore, my judgment is just, because I carry out the will of the one who sent me, not my own will.
Witnesses to Jesus
31 “If I were to testify on my own behalf, my testimony would not be valid. 32 But someone else is also testifying about me, and I assure you that everything he says about me is true.33 In fact, you sent investigators to listen to John the Baptist, and his testimony about me was true.34 Of course, I have no need of human witnesses, but I say these things so you might be saved.35 John was like a burning and shining lamp, and you were excited for a while about his message.36 But I have a greater witness than John—my teachings and my miracles. The Father gave me these works to accomplish, and they prove that he sent me.37 And the Father who sent me has testified about me himself. You have never heard his voice or seen him face to face,38 and you do not have his message in your hearts, because you do not believe me—the one he sent to you.
39 “You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me!40 Yet you refuse to come to me to receive this life.
41 “Your approval means nothing to me,42 because I know you don’t have God’s love within you.43 For I have come to you in my Father’s name, and you have rejected me. Yet if others come in their own name, you gladly welcome them.44 No wonder you can’t believe! For you gladly honor each other, but you don’t care about the honor that comes from the one who alone is God.
45 “Yet it isn’t I who will accuse you before the Father. Moses will accuse you! Yes, Moses, in whom you put your hopes.46 If you really believed Moses, you would believe me, because he wrote about me.47 But since you don’t believe what he wrote, how will you believe what I say?”
“Stop letting other people take the fall for you dumb choices and decision, but rather enthusiastically accept your frailty and ask God to really help you to listen and learn from Him.” ~ Jon Barnes
When you become trustworthy enough to embrace God’s truth, hide it in your heart, and live by biblical morals, values, and principles. God will build a circle of protection around you and reward you with eternal benefits in heaven. If you do the opposite, you will reap the eternal benefits of hell forever. This is not a threat, but a trustworthy promise from God with consequences or rewards.
It is standard to receive a reward for doing something right and obeying the rules. We reap what we sow. As a result, it is the love of God that you have in your heart that activates the reward of doing the work God has commanded us to do. We do not get the chance to make up God’s Commandments nor can we change or select which ones to obey!
It appears that we all are enthusiastic about doing Gods’s work and going to heaven or we are all enthusiastically following the devil to prepare our future home in hell. In the court of God’s Kingdom, you will be judged accordingly and accurately, based on your lifestyle account.
Are you motivated or are your motives out of touch with God’s reality?
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Jesus and the Samaritan Woman
4 Jesus knew the Pharisees had heard that he was baptizing and making more disciples than John 2 (though Jesus himself didn’t baptize them—his disciples did).3 So he left Judea and returned to Galilee.
4 He had to go through Samaria on the way.5 Eventually he came to the Samaritan village of Sychar, near the field that Jacob gave to his son Joseph.6 Jacob’s well was there; and Jesus, tired from the long walk, sat wearily beside the well about noontime.7 Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.”8 He was alone at the time because his disciples had gone into the village to buy some food.
9 The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?”
10 Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.”
11 “But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water?12 And besides, do you think you’re greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well? How can you offer better water than he and his sons and his animals enjoyed?”
13 Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again.14 But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”
15 “Please, sir,” the woman said, “give me this water! Then I’ll never be thirsty again, and I won’t have to come here to get water.”
16 “Go and get your husband,” Jesus told her.
17 “I don’t have a husband,” the woman replied.
Jesus said, “You’re right! You don’t have a husband— 18 for you have had five husbands, and you aren’t even married to the man you’re living with now. You certainly spoke the truth!”
19 “Sir,” the woman said, “you must be a prophet.20 So tell me, why is it that you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place of worship, while we Samaritans claim it is here at Mount Gerizim, where our ancestors worshiped?”
21 Jesus replied, “Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem.22 You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews.23 But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way.24 For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”
25 The woman said, “I know the Messiah is coming—the one who is called Christ. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
26 Then Jesus told her, “I am the Messiah!”
27 Just then his disciples came back. They were shocked to find him talking to a woman, but none of them had the nerve to ask, “What do you want with her?” or “Why are you talking to her?”28 The woman left her water jar beside the well and ran back to the village, telling everyone,29 “Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could he possibly be the Messiah?”30 So the people came streaming from the village to see him.
31 Meanwhile, the disciples were urging Jesus, “Rabbi, eat something.”
32 But Jesus replied, “I have a kind of food you know nothing about.”
33 “Did someone bring him food while we were gone?” the disciples asked each other.
34 Then Jesus explained: “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work.35 You know the saying, ‘Four months between planting and harvest.’ But I say, wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest.36 The harvesters are paid good wages, and the fruit they harvest is people brought to eternal life. What joy awaits both the planter and the harvester alike!37 You know the saying, ‘One plants and another harvests.’ And it’s true.38 I sent you to harvest where you didn’t plant; others had already done the work, and now you will get to gather the harvest.”
Many Samaritans Believe
39 Many Samaritans from the village believed in Jesus because the woman had said, “He told me everything I ever did!” 40 When they came out to see him, they begged him to stay in their village. So he stayed for two days,41 long enough for many more to hear his message and believe.42 Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not just because of what you told us, but because we have heard him ourselves. Now we know that he is indeed the Savior of the world.”
Jesus Heals an Official’s Son
43 At the end of the two days, Jesus went on to Galilee. 44 He himself had said that a prophet is not honored in his own hometown.45 Yet the Galileans welcomed him, for they had been in Jerusalem at the Passover celebration and had seen everything he did there.
46 As he traveled through Galilee, he came to Cana, where he had turned the water into wine. There was a government official in nearby Capernaum whose son was very sick.47 When he heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went and begged Jesus to come to Capernaum to heal his son, who was about to die.
48 Jesus asked, “Will you never believe in me unless you see miraculous signs and wonders?”
49 The official pleaded, “Lord, please come now before my little boy dies.”
50 Then Jesus told him, “Go back home. Your son will live!” And the man believed what Jesus said and started home.
51 While the man was on his way, some of his servants met him with the news that his son was alive and well.52 He asked them when the boy had begun to get better, and they replied, “Yesterday afternoon at one o’clock his fever suddenly disappeared!”53 Then the father realized that that was the very time Jesus had told him, “Your son will live.” And he and his entire household believed in Jesus.54 This was the second miraculous sign Jesus did in Galilee after coming from Judea.
“Keeping a smile on your face is a lot easier when God is in control and you believe it; Otherwise, you are in control and responsible for your own mess!” ~ Jon Barnes
Changes in life are punctuated with time sensitive movements that should be be executed in a punctual manner. The next step that you take will be based on how well you completed your last step. Master each step in a timely fashion and enjoy the journey with God. That is your daily task.
Be brave in being who you are and thank God for your originality. The practice you place on doing the good work and developing your talents will be useful in your walk with God. Expect and accept the challenge of developing new talents to be able to complete new tasks and assignments. Exercise your faith in being obedient, confident, loyal, and faithful to the wonderful things God has for you to do. It will be unique. Recognize that you are different!
Cooperate with God in developing your gifts, talents, and new lessons. Plan on learning new things during your entire life. Be happy to exercise your mind, body, heart, spirit, and soul to accomplish the things God has for you to do. If you are not cooperating with God, than by default, you must be cooperating with the devil. You actually have a 50/50 chance of getting this right.
Are you cooperating with God with an up beat attitude of praise and thanks giving or are you moving in a different direction?
3 There was a man named Nicodemus, a Jewish religious leader who was a Pharisee.2 After dark one evening, he came to speak with Jesus. “Rabbi,” he said, “we all know that God has sent you to teach us. Your miraculous signs are evidence that God is with you.”
3 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”
4 “What do you mean?” exclaimed Nicodemus. “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?”
5 Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. 6 Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life.7 So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You[ must be born again.’8 The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.”
9 “How are these things possible?” Nicodemus asked.
10 Jesus replied, “You are a respected Jewish teacher, and yet you don’t understand these things?11 I assure you, we tell you what we know and have seen, and yet you won’t believe our testimony.12 But if you don’t believe me when I tell you about earthly things, how can you possibly believe if I tell you about heavenly things?13 No one has ever gone to heaven and returned. But the Son of Man has come down from heaven.14 And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,15 so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life.
16 “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.
18 “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son.19 And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil.20 All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed.21 But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.”
John the Baptist Exalts Jesus
22 Then Jesus and his disciples left Jerusalem and went into the Judean countryside. Jesus spent some time with them there, baptizing people.
23 At this time John the Baptist was baptizing at Aenon, near Salim, because there was plenty of water there; and people kept coming to him for baptism.24 (This was before John was thrown into prison.)25 A debate broke out between John’s disciples and a certain Jew[i] over ceremonial cleaning.26 So John’s disciples came to him and said, “Rabbi, the man you met on the other side of the Jordan River, the one you identified as the Messiah, is also baptizing people. And everybody is going to him instead of coming to us.”
27 John replied, “No one can receive anything unless God gives it from heaven.28 You yourselves know how plainly I told you, ‘I am not the Messiah. I am only here to prepare the way for him.’29 It is the bridegroom who marries the bride, and the bridegroom’s friend is simply glad to stand with him and hear his vows. Therefore, I am filled with joy at his success.30 He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.
31 “He has come from above and is greater than anyone else. We are of the earth, and we speak of earthly things, but he has come from heaven and is greater than anyone else.32 He testifies about what he has seen and heard, but how few believe what he tells them!33 Anyone who accepts his testimony can affirm that God is true.34 For he is sent by God. He speaks God’s words, for God gives him the Spirit without limit.35 The Father loves his Son and has put everything into his hands.36 And anyone who believes in God’s Son has eternal life. Anyone who doesn’t obey the Son will never experience eternal life but remains under God’s angry judgment.”
“The Body of Christ means that we are all in this together.”~TB
Church is God’s people, not merely a place you go to on Sunday to check off your sanctified box. Church is everyday, doing life with you brother, sister, family, neighbor and so on. It means stepping in to help the widowed, the poor, the downtrodden, and the like. It means mirroring the ways of Jesus to the best of our ability. Unfortunately, somewhere down the line, many of us missed the memo on the lessons that Christ actually conveyed.
If you’re idea of Christianity is looking like an Instagram filter on Sundays while judging the members of your church based on a vanity metric system, you need to recalibrate. Our roles as children of God is to spread His message, and not our personal agendas. We must check out egos at the door and see what is needed and not just what we want. There is much more gained in giving than receiving. In all that you do, remember what Jesus did to guide your way.
Are you stepping up or stepping on your brothers and sisters?
Enjoy the reading
1Bel and Nebo, the gods of Babylon, bow as they are lowered to the ground. They are being hauled away on ox carts. The poor beasts stagger under the weight.
2Both the idols and their owners are bowed down. The gods cannot protect the people, and the people cannot protect the gods. They go off into captivity together.
3“Listen to me, descendants of Jacob, all you who remain in Israel. I have cared for you since you were born. Yes, I carried you before you were born.
4I will be your God throughout your lifetime— until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you.
5“To whom will you compare me? Who is my equal?
6Some people pour out their silver and gold and hire a craftsman to make a god from it. Then they bow down and worship it!
7They carry it around on their shoulders, and when they set it down, it stays there. It can’t even move! And when someone prays to it, there is no answer. It can’t rescue anyone from trouble.
8“Do not forget this! Keep it in mind! Remember this, you guilty ones.
9Remember the things I have done in the past. For I alone am God! I am God, and there is none like me.
10Only I can tell you the future before it even happens. Everything I plan will come to pass, for I do whatever I wish.
11I will call a swift bird of prey from the east— a leader from a distant land to come and do my bidding. I have said what I would do, and I will do it.
12“Listen to me, you stubborn people who are so far from doing right.
13For I am ready to set things right, not in the distant future, but right now! I am ready to save Jerusalem and show my glory to Israel.