“God’s love is not contingent on your behavior.”~TB
Salvation is not merit-based. Thank God— literally— as none of us would measure up. Still, even though we know this, many believe that God is waiting to love the ‘new and improved’ version of us. Like, if we could only sin less, be nicer to our neighbors, do more for the community, etc. then God would love us. No, God loves us in our stupor, our good moments, and the not so great ones. Part of growing with God is understanding how immeasurable His love is. That way we stop trying to attain it and recognize that His love is already ours.
Being unconditionally loved is a near impossible concept for many, which is why we mistake God’s unconditional love for the warped perception that we may have. Sure, parents get pretty close to it, but even still, God’s love is greater. If you’re able to glean how He loves us and sees us, only then can you begin to move in His ways and teachings. Like Jesus on Earth, He sat with everyone and judged no one. Granted we all fall short of this mark, but experiencing His grace when we do fall, is a wonderful thing. So the next time you’re trying to be a Super Christian— sinless and perfect— remember that God’s love is eternal and unconditional. The best way we can mirror this is to try and pass on that same love and grace to one another.
Why are you overcompensating for something that is already yours?
Enjoy the reading
1Then the LORD said to me, “Make a large signboard and clearly write this name on it: Maher-shalal-hash-baz. ”
2I asked Uriah the priest and Zechariah son of Jeberekiah, both known as honest men, to witness my doing this.
3Then I slept with my wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. And the LORD said, “Call him Maher-shalal-hash-baz.
4For before this child is old enough to say ‘Papa’ or ‘Mama,’ the king of Assyria will carry away both the abundance of Damascus and the riches of Samaria.”
5Then the LORD spoke to me again and said,
6“My care for the people of Judah is like the gently flowing waters of Shiloah, but they have rejected it. They are rejoicing over what will happen to King Rezin and King Pekah.
7Therefore, the Lord will overwhelm them with a mighty flood from the Euphrates River —the king of Assyria and all his glory. This flood will overflow all its channels
8and sweep into Judah until it is chin deep. It will spread its wings, submerging your land from one end to the other, O Immanuel.
9“Huddle together, you nations, and be terrified. Listen, all you distant lands. Prepare for battle, but you will be crushed! Yes, prepare for battle, but you will be crushed!
10Call your councils of war, but they will be worthless. Develop your strategies, but they will not succeed. For God is with us! ”
11The LORD has given me a strong warning not to think like everyone else does. He said,
12“Don’t call everything a conspiracy, like they do, and don’t live in dread of what frightens them.
13Make the LORD of Heaven’s Armies holy in your life. He is the one you should fear. He is the one who should make you tremble.
14He will keep you safe. But to Israel and Judah he will be a stone that makes people stumble, a rock that makes them fall. And for the people of Jerusalem he will be a trap and a snare.
15Many will stumble and fall, never to rise again. They will be snared and captured.”
16Preserve the teaching of God; entrust his instructions to those who follow me.
17I will wait for the LORD, who has turned away from the descendants of Jacob. I will put my hope in him.
18I and the children the LORD has given me serve as signs and warnings to Israel from the LORD of Heaven’s Armies who dwells in his Temple on Mount Zion.
19Someone may say to you, “Let’s ask the mediums and those who consult the spirits of the dead. With their whisperings and mutterings, they will tell us what to do.” But shouldn’t people ask God for guidance? Should the living seek guidance from the dead?
20Look to God’s instructions and teachings! People who contradict his word are completely in the dark.
21They will go from one place to another, weary and hungry. And because they are hungry, they will rage and curse their king and their God. They will look up to heaven
22and down at the earth, but wherever they look, there will be trouble and anguish and dark despair. They will be thrown out into the darkness.
“Don’t live by the judgments of man, only God can see you as you truly are.”~TB
Every single human being has insecurities, blind spots, and a slew of fallible qualities that make us terrible judges of character. For this reason, you cannot place your value in the hands of others. When we give people the authority to dictate how we see ourselves, chaos and imbalance ensues. That’s because humans are flawed and are unable to judge one another with the grace and unconditional love that can only come from our Father in Heaven. Even with the best intentions, we will fail each other, and we will fall short of each other’s expectations. So when a human condemns your character on circumstantial evidence, do your best to let it go, because holding on to the judgment of others hinders your personal and spiritual growth.
When you care about how you are viewed by others, you are essentially making your peers your god. This cripples you from being who God truly called you to be. You’re so busy worrying about offending, being uncool, or being seen as weird or different, that you don’t know who you are. Fortunately, this happens to all of us, but you don’t have to let it be a lifelong sentence. To really understand your true identity, develop your relationship with Christ. When you engage with Him regularly, He will show you who you really are— His. God’s opinion of you is infinitely more perfect and accurate than even your own parents. Because His opinion and judgment of you never waivers, you can stand firm on His promise and will for your life.
Whose authority are you submitting to?
1Now I will sing for the one I love a song about his vineyard: My beloved had a vineyard on a rich and fertile hill.
2He plowed the land, cleared its stones, and planted it with the best vines. In the middle he built a watchtower and carved a winepress in the nearby rocks. Then he waited for a harvest of sweet grapes, but the grapes that grew were bitter.
3Now, you people of Jerusalem and Judah, you judge between me and my vineyard.
4What more could I have done for my vineyard that I have not already done? When I expected sweet grapes, why did my vineyard give me bitter grapes?
5Now let me tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will tear down its hedges and let it be destroyed. I will break down its walls and let the animals trample it.
6I will make it a wild place where the vines are not pruned and the ground is not hoed, a place overgrown with briers and thorns. I will command the clouds to drop no rain on it.
7The nation of Israel is the vineyard of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. The people of Judah are his pleasant garden. He expected a crop of justice, but instead he found oppression. He expected to find righteousness, but instead he heard cries of violence.
8What sorrow for you who buy up house after house and field after field, until everyone is evicted and you live alone in the land.
9But I have heard the LORD of Heaven’s Armies swear a solemn oath: “Many houses will stand deserted; even beautiful mansions will be empty.
10Ten acres of vineyard will not produce even six gallons of wine. Ten baskets of seed will yield only one basket of grain.”
11What sorrow for those who get up early in the morning looking for a drink of alcohol and spend long evenings drinking wine to make themselves flaming drunk.
12They furnish wine and lovely music at their grand parties— lyre and harp, tambourine and flute— but they never think about the LORD or notice what he is doing.
13So my people will go into exile far away because they do not know me. Those who are great and honored will starve, and the common people will die of thirst.
14The grave is licking its lips in anticipation, opening its mouth wide. The great and the lowly and all the drunken mob will be swallowed up.
15Humanity will be destroyed, and people brought down; even the arrogant will lower their eyes in humiliation.
16But the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will be exalted by his justice. The holiness of God will be displayed by his righteousness.
17In that day lambs will find good pastures, and fattened sheep and young goats will feed among the ruins.
18What sorrow for those who drag their sins behind them with ropes made of lies, who drag wickedness behind them like a cart!
19They even mock God and say, “Hurry up and do something! We want to see what you can do. Let the Holy One of Israel carry out his plan, for we want to know what it is.”
20What sorrow for those who say that evil is good and good is evil, that dark is light and light is dark, that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter.
21What sorrow for those who are wise in their own eyes and think themselves so clever.
22What sorrow for those who are heroes at drinking wine and boast about all the alcohol they can hold.
23They take bribes to let the wicked go free, and they punish the innocent.
24Therefore, just as fire licks up stubble and dry grass shrivels in the flame, so their roots will rot and their flowers wither. For they have rejected the law of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies; they have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.
25That is why the LORD ’s anger burns against his people, and why he has raised his fist to crush them. The mountains tremble, and the corpses of his people litter the streets like garbage. But even then the LORD ’s anger is not satisfied. His fist is still poised to strike!
26He will send a signal to distant nations far away and whistle to those at the ends of the earth. They will come racing toward Jerusalem.
27They will not get tired or stumble. They will not stop for rest or sleep. Not a belt will be loose, not a sandal strap broken.
28Their arrows will be sharp and their bows ready for battle. Sparks will fly from their horses’ hooves, and the wheels of their chariots will spin like a whirlwind.
29They will roar like lions, like the strongest of lions. Growling, they will pounce on their victims and carry them off, and no one will be there to rescue them.
30They will roar over their victims on that day of destruction like the roaring of the sea. If someone looks across the land, only darkness and distress will be seen; even the light will be darkened by clouds.
“God’s love, forgiveness, and acceptance are infinitely unlimited. Apply them to your lives daily.”~TB
Don’t allow distorted thinking to limit your understanding of God’s love for you. Whether it’s coming from the opposition or a negative mindset, the biggest mistake you can make is to confuse your limited resources for God’s. Limited thinking makes you believe that God only loves you when you’re on target. That is not so! God loves you always. So whenever you mess up, set aside your finite resources and reach out to the Lord in your weakness. Friends, strength does not come from fine-tuning your skills. It comes from understanding how weak and imperfect you are.
Strength in Weakness
There will be times when you pass tests and are doing well in your work for God. Don’t get too high and mighty, because your success can cloud your judgment and make you feel invincible. As fleshly people, no matter how disciplined, you will never be perfect and eventually, you will fail. When you fall short, as we all do, remember that your weakness is not His. In your time of need, admit your shortcomings. Friends, when you know that your resources are not enough, that is when you can truly lean on God so that He can make up the difference! His unlimited resources supersede yours, covering up the blemishes. So, don’t boast in your strength, but rather rejoice in your weakness. This way you will remember that God is the only way.
Is your limited thinking obstructing your relationship with God?
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1Praise the LORD ! Praise the LORD from the heavens! Praise him from the skies!
2Praise him, all his angels! Praise him, all the armies of heaven!
3Praise him, sun and moon! Praise him, all you twinkling stars!
4Praise him, skies above! Praise him, vapors high above the clouds!
5Let every created thing give praise to the LORD, for he issued his command, and they came into being.
6He set them in place forever and ever. His decree will never be revoked.
7Praise the LORD from the earth, you creatures of the ocean depths,
8fire and hail, snow and clouds, wind and weather that obey him,
9mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars,
10wild animals and all livestock, small scurrying animals and birds,
11kings of the earth and all people, rulers and judges of the earth,
12young men and young women, old men and children.
13Let them all praise the name of the LORD . For his name is very great; his glory towers over the earth and heaven!
14He has made his people strong, honoring his faithful ones— the people of Israel who are close to him. Praise the LORD !
“Maturity is when you refuse to take a step in the wrong direction because you are Happily, Willingly, and Blindly doing the Good Work God has created you to do, with no excuses, exceptions, explanations, or murmurings!” ~ Jon Barnes
After you have passed your test, maturity comes in the morning with Joy, having completed a passing grade on your last assignment. If you keep failing the test from God, you will keep taking the same test over and over again until you pass it. Take Joy in learning to focus on doing your own work well for God, passing your tests, and listening to Him, The Word, and His Lectures, without trying to debate nonsense. This is how you live your Dream.
Once you have accepted that you are arrogant, wrong, judgmental, lazy, and full of talk, then you will stay focused enough to see the fruits of your labor, without going backwards into your old sinful nature. Take comfort in the fact that you are at the door of comfort, ready to walk therein. Stay honest and positive and God will positively stay with you. Don’t stop the process and progress God has set you in. Stay upon the Rock of Comfort by obeying God and not your own selfish thoughts of slavery and deceit.
When you half do the good work, you get half the credit and half the comfort, because you gave the other half to the devil. Complete your good work and receive full credit and reward for passing your test. Get that “A” if you can! I really understand this from experience, as I use to be a terrible student, in college, until I got mad at my laziness and started to consistently work on ME! Repent and crucify your selfish heart, thoughts, actions, and ways. Just do it, God’s Way, for best results!
Did you pass the last test of Maturity or are you trying to write a book about your failures, like the devil, lying to people about your fake success?
Enjoy Today’s Reading
37 So Jacob settled again in the land of Canaan, where his father had lived as a foreigner.
2 This is the account of Jacob and his family. When Joseph was seventeen years old, he often tended his father’s flocks. He worked for his half brothers, the sons of his father’s wives Bilhah and Zilpah. But Joseph reported to his father some of the bad things his brothers were doing.
3 Jacob[a] loved Joseph more than any of his other children because Joseph had been born to him in his old age. So one day Jacob had a special gift made for Joseph—a beautiful robe.[b]4 But his brothers hated Joseph because their father loved him more than the rest of them. They couldn’t say a kind word to him.
5 One night Joseph had a dream, and when he told his brothers about it, they hated him more than ever.6 “Listen to this dream,” he said.7 “We were out in the field, tying up bundles of grain. Suddenly my bundle stood up, and your bundles all gathered around and bowed low before mine!”
8 His brothers responded, “So you think you will be our king, do you? Do you actually think you will reign over us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dreams and the way he talked about them.
9 Soon Joseph had another dream, and again he told his brothers about it. “Listen, I have had another dream,” he said. “The sun, moon, and eleven stars bowed low before me!”
10 This time he told the dream to his father as well as to his brothers, but his father scolded him. “What kind of dream is that?” he asked. “Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow to the ground before you?”11 But while his brothers were jealous of Joseph, his father wondered what the dreams meant.
12 Soon after this, Joseph’s brothers went to pasture their father’s flocks at Shechem.13 When they had been gone for some time, Jacob said to Joseph, “Your brothers are pasturing the sheep at Shechem. Get ready, and I will send you to them.”
“I’m ready to go,” Joseph replied.
14 “Go and see how your brothers and the flocks are getting along,” Jacob said. “Then come back and bring me a report.” So Jacob sent him on his way, and Joseph traveled to Shechem from their home in the valley of Hebron.
15 When he arrived there, a man from the area noticed him wandering around the countryside. “What are you looking for?” he asked.
16 “I’m looking for my brothers,” Joseph replied. “Do you know where they are pasturing their sheep?”
17 “Yes,” the man told him. “They have moved on from here, but I heard them say, ‘Let’s go on to Dothan.’” So Joseph followed his brothers to Dothan and found them there.
Joseph Sold into Slavery
18 When Joseph’s brothers saw him coming, they recognized him in the distance. As he approached, they made plans to kill him.19 “Here comes the dreamer!” they said.20 “Come on, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns. We can tell our father, ‘A wild animal has eaten him.’ Then we’ll see what becomes of his dreams!”
21 But when Reuben heard of their scheme, he came to Joseph’s rescue. “Let’s not kill him,” he said.22 “Why should we shed any blood? Let’s just throw him into this empty cistern here in the wilderness. Then he’ll die without our laying a hand on him.” Reuben was secretly planning to rescue Joseph and return him to his father.
23 So when Joseph arrived, his brothers ripped off the beautiful robe he was wearing.24 Then they grabbed him and threw him into the cistern. Now the cistern was empty; there was no water in it.25 Then, just as they were sitting down to eat, they looked up and saw a caravan of camels in the distance coming toward them. It was a group of Ishmaelite traders taking a load of gum, balm, and aromatic resin from Gilead down to Egypt.
26 Judah said to his brothers, “What will we gain by killing our brother? We’d have to cover up the crime.[c]27 Instead of hurting him, let’s sell him to those Ishmaelite traders. After all, he is our brother—our own flesh and blood!” And his brothers agreed.28 So when the Ishmaelites, who were Midianite traders, came by, Joseph’s brothers pulled him out of the cistern and sold him to them for twenty pieces[d] of silver. And the traders took him to Egypt.
29 Some time later, Reuben returned to get Joseph out of the cistern. When he discovered that Joseph was missing, he tore his clothes in grief.30 Then he went back to his brothers and lamented, “The boy is gone! What will I do now?”
31 Then the brothers killed a young goat and dipped Joseph’s robe in its blood.32 They sent the beautiful robe to their father with this message: “Look at what we found. Doesn’t this robe belong to your son?”
33 Their father recognized it immediately. “Yes,” he said, “it is my son’s robe. A wild animal must have eaten him. Joseph has clearly been torn to pieces!”34 Then Jacob tore his clothes and dressed himself in burlap. He mourned deeply for his son for a long time.35 His family all tried to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. “I will go to my grave[e] mourning for my son,” he would say, and then he would weep.
36 Meanwhile, the Midianite traders[f] arrived in Egypt, where they sold Joseph to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. Potiphar was captain of the palace guard.
“Be nice, forgive yourself for making mistakes and then forgive others as you ask God to forgive you, so you can move forward with your life, to grow in grace, mercy, and peace.” ~ Jon Barnes
Being honest, helpful and successful is about enjoying the love God has given you to share with others and monitoring the successful impact your good work, words, and wisdom has on loved ones, friends and strangers. You cannot do this while living in the past, carrying all of the hurt, disappointments, misunderstandings, and confusion from your heart into the next new great thing you should be doing. Stop hoarding the hate, which deteriorates your body, mind, faith, and soul. Love the truth with joy, even when you are wrong. Change and grow.
Giving and receiving great information helps us to challenge our thinking, motives, and quality of good work when we honestly communicate ideas, methods, and business plans for future goals and projects. Ask questions and talk to people. This self reflective education gives us a direction to point our energy, time, and resources into developing better ways of Godly productivity. Dump the fat from the hate and grow love muscles by exercising your faith, love, and patience practices. Share your love food and eat less.
Share your experience by practicing your love talent with each family member, ideally in person, to reconnect, focus, love, and grow God’s business model. How can you have a connection with God and you don’t have a real connection to your children, parents, family, friends, and enemies. Your love is fake and unproductive when life is played like a baseball game, with your focus only being on hitting home runs and out scoring everyone. Forgive yourself and others for striking out and making unforced errors. Loving God and each other makes us all obedient winners.
Did you give up trying to communicate with your family, by not calling, visiting, or talking to them or is this your fake interpretation of God’s Love?
Enjoy The Reading
1 The elder,
To my dear friend Gaius, whom I love in the truth.
2 Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.3 It gave me great joy when some believers came and testified about your faithfulness to the truth, telling how you continue to walk in it.4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.
5 Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers and sisters,[a]even though they are strangers to you.6 They have told the church about your love. Please send them on their way in a manner that honors God.7 It was for the sake of the Name that they went out, receiving no help from the pagans.8 We ought therefore to show hospitality to such people so that we may work together for the truth.
9 I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will not welcome us.10 So when I come, I will call attention to what he is doing, spreading malicious nonsense about us. Not satisfied with that, he even refuses to welcome other believers. He also stops those who want to do so and puts them out of the church.
11 Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God.12 Demetrius is well spoken of by everyone—and even by the truth itself. We also speak well of him, and you know that our testimony is true.
13 I have much to write you, but I do not want to do so with pen and ink.14 I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face.
Peace to you. The friends here send their greetings. Greet the friends there by name.
“No one likes rejection, so become informed, love the truth of God, and be saved from the grips of the evil one or his false teachers.” ~ Jon Barnes
It is a pleasure to have a mind and heart to learn, read, study, and become informed, reassured, and transformed by the Word of God. Good information and wisdom from God is better than gold, fame, pride, greed, and lust. As a result, few people choose Good information because of their passion for worldly pleasures that lust after the flesh.
There is no hope in trying to buy your way out of sin. God’s Bible is an accurate account of History and you must know these stories for yourself. You must go by the book of God after you go buy and read a copy of it for yourself. God holds us all accountable for the true work we put into learning, growing, and working for Him. No love means no faith, no work, and no hope in God.
Receive the feedback that God has given you as a wonderful warning of things to come. I do not want to be caught up in the evil of someone else, so I tend to do my own work to monitor and focus on my progress and I’ll ask God for direction and feedback. I can only share what I read and learn from His Bible. Test this theory out for yourself and receive God’s acceptance and Spirit of Truth.
Have you been comforted with God’s Holy Spirit of Truth and Acceptance to become obedient.
Enjoy Today’s Reading.
1 Timothy 1
1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope,
2 To Timothy my true son in the faith:
Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
Timothy Charged to Oppose False Teachers
3 As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer4 or to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God’s work—which is by faith.5 The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.6 Some have departed from these and have turned to meaningless talk.7 They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.
8 We know that the law is good if one uses it properly.9 We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers,10 for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine11 that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.
The Lord’s Grace to Paul
12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service.13 Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief.14 The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
The Charge to Timothy Renewed
18 Timothy, my son, I am giving you this command in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by recalling them you may fight the battle well,19 holding on to faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith.20 Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander,whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme.