“Don’t look at your neighbor’s harvest for evidence of God’s Sovereignty.”~TB
There are 24 hours, 1,440 minutes, and 86,400 seconds in each day. Considering that we spend only a mere fractionof that time around other people, it’s impossible to know all of the deeds and seeds being sown by anyone. Not even your child, your spouse, your sister, your brother, your best friend, anyone. Therefore, we cannot act as judge, jury, and executioner when it comes to other people’s lives. More importantly, we cannot base our understanding or relationship with God on the lives of anyone else but our own.
Everyone sows seeds, good or evil. Everyone also reaps a harvest based on the seeds sown. If you get a bad crop, it’s time to reflect on your seeds. Fortunately for us, we can all do our gardening research found in the Bible and time with God to learn how to sow good seeds. Don’t mind someone else’s garden or harvest, but rather tend to your own. Whatever they receive is between them and God and as onlookers, it is impossible to discern a harvest that which you did not plant. Instead, pray for your brother’s and sister’s and let God do the rest.
Are you foolish enough to look at someone’s harvest, believing that God is asleep at the wheel or are you smart enough to know that you know nothing about it at all?
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1Oh, that you would burst from the heavens and come down! How the mountains would quake in your presence!
2As fire causes wood to burn and water to boil, your coming would make the nations tremble. Then your enemies would learn the reason for your fame!
3When you came down long ago, you did awesome deeds beyond our highest expectations. And oh, how the mountains quaked!
4For since the world began, no ear has heard and no eye has seen a God like you, who works for those who wait for him!
5You welcome those who gladly do good, who follow godly ways. But you have been very angry with us, for we are not godly. We are constant sinners; how can people like us be saved?
6We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind.
7Yet no one calls on your name or pleads with you for mercy. Therefore, you have turned away from us and turned us over to our sins.
8And yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter. We all are formed by your hand.
9Don’t be so angry with us, LORD . Please don’t remember our sins forever. Look at us, we pray, and see that we are all your people.
10Your holy cities are destroyed. Zion is a wilderness; yes, Jerusalem is a desolate ruin.
11The holy and beautiful Temple where our ancestors praised you has been burned down, and all the things of beauty are destroyed.
12After all this, LORD, must you still refuse to help us? Will you continue to be silent and punish us?
“God does not treat us like puppets or slaves, so let’s not do that to each other.”~TB
Since when did following Christ mean that we are meant to be doormats? As followers of Christ, we are meant to strive for a higher standard, but that also means asserting boundaries and holding each other accountable when people get into ‘Pharaoh’ mode. It’s one thing to turn the other cheek when you are wronged. It’s an entirely different story when you allow other people to enslave your time, mind and resources because you think you’re being Christ-like. If you think bowing down to others and allowing poor treatment is an act of humility, I strongly encourage you to read the Bible more carefully.
When you allow others to continually take advantage of you, you are going down a slippery slope. There is a stark difference between forgiving offenses and tolerating abusive behavior. In our lives, we will endure hardship, setbacks, and other uncomfortable scenarios. But, that is not the same as tolerating bad behavior, whether it comes from your boss, your spouse, your landlord or anyone else. If we truly want to be Christ-like, we have to hold one another to a higher standard. That means shedding light on evil deeds, slave mentalities, and the like. The next time you’re dealing with a ‘Pharaoh’, remember that God loves you and does not require you to put up with inappropriate treatment. Forgive, yes. In addition, remember Christ’s standards.
Are you accepting bad behavior?
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1In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah’s reign, King Sennacherib of Assyria came to attack the fortified towns of Judah and conquered them.
2Then the king of Assyria sent his chief of staff from Lachish with a huge army to confront King Hezekiah in Jerusalem. The Assyrians took up a position beside the aqueduct that feeds water into the upper pool, near the road leading to the field where cloth is washed.
3These are the officials who went out to meet with them: Eliakim son of Hilkiah, the palace administrator; Shebna the court secretary; and Joah son of Asaph, the royal historian.
4Then the Assyrian king’s chief of staff told them to give this message to Hezekiah: “This is what the great king of Assyria says: What are you trusting in that makes you so confident?
5Do you think that mere words can substitute for military skill and strength? Who are you counting on, that you have rebelled against me?
6On Egypt? If you lean on Egypt, it will be like a reed that splinters beneath your weight and pierces your hand. Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, is completely unreliable!
7“But perhaps you will say to me, ‘We are trusting in the LORD our God!’ But isn’t he the one who was insulted by Hezekiah? Didn’t Hezekiah tear down his shrines and altars and make everyone in Judah and Jerusalem worship only at the altar here in Jerusalem?
8“I’ll tell you what! Strike a bargain with my master, the king of Assyria. I will give you 2,000 horses if you can find that many men to ride on them!
9With your tiny army, how can you think of challenging even the weakest contingent of my master’s troops, even with the help of Egypt’s chariots and charioteers?
10What’s more, do you think we have invaded your land without the LORD ’s direction? The LORD himself told us, ‘Attack this land and destroy it!’”
11Then Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah said to the Assyrian chief of staff, “Please speak to us in Aramaic, for we understand it well. Don’t speak in Hebrew, for the people on the wall will hear.”
12But Sennacherib’s chief of staff replied, “Do you think my master sent this message only to you and your master? He wants all the people to hear it, for when we put this city under siege, they will suffer along with you. They will be so hungry and thirsty that they will eat their own dung and drink their own urine.”
13Then the chief of staff stood and shouted in Hebrew to the people on the wall, “Listen to this message from the great king of Assyria!
14This is what the king says: Don’t let Hezekiah deceive you. He will never be able to rescue you.
15Don’t let him fool you into trusting in the LORD by saying, ‘The LORD will surely rescue us. This city will never fall into the hands of the Assyrian king!’
16“Don’t listen to Hezekiah! These are the terms the king of Assyria is offering: Make peace with me—open the gates and come out. Then each of you can continue eating from your own grapevine and fig tree and drinking from your own well.
17Then I will arrange to take you to another land like this one—a land of grain and new wine, bread and vineyards.
18“Don’t let Hezekiah mislead you by saying, ‘The LORD will rescue us!’ Have the gods of any other nations ever saved their people from the king of Assyria?
19What happened to the gods of Hamath and Arpad? And what about the gods of Sepharvaim? Did any god rescue Samaria from my power?
20What god of any nation has ever been able to save its people from my power? So what makes you think that the LORD can rescue Jerusalem from me?”
21But the people were silent and did not utter a word because Hezekiah had commanded them, “Do not answer him.”
22Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah, the palace administrator; Shebna the court secretary; and Joah son of Asaph, the royal historian, went back to Hezekiah. They tore their clothes in despair, and they went in to see the king and told him what the Assyrian chief of staff had said.
“Take a balanced and Biblical approach when examining the stages of your life.”~TB
We all perceive our life experience based on our level of faith, emotional maturity, and memory. How you look at certain moments depends on where your mind is and how much influence Christ has on your perspective. I’ll give you an example. My dad took me and my siblings everywhere with him. He was a teacher at our schools and we helped out at his music studio after school or were taking music lessons. On weekends we’d either play or help out on gigs. Or, we’d be doing yard work or something labor-intensive. He ran a tight ship, kept us close, and told many stories about life. Many would call my upbringing strict (however, if you knew how my brain worked, you’d keep me on a tight leash too). Sure, I wasn’t a fan of shoveling wood chips, but looking back on my childhood, my dad instilled the tools and foundation of faith that help me succeed to this day. In addition to the above, my dad was/is a total goof-ball, taking my siblings and I on elevator rides, climbing trees, etc. He also would buy every single book I requested (It would be a list at least 20 books deep) at every book fair. His love for God and sitting us down on Sundays to read the Bible and have discussions was probably the only reason I ever entertained getting to know God. I can change a tire, lay down tile, paint a house, and a whole bunch of other skills. I also would not have a business-oriented mindset had he not included us in his business dealings. My point in saying this is that life’s experience depends on how you look at it and it’s impossible to look at one scenario to get a complete picture.
We now live in a time where family dynamics are heavily scrutinized and the world tells us that parents who set boundaries and standards are stifling their kids. If I had a dollar for how many stories I’ve heard from people about their parents and how it impacted their lives, well, I wouldn’t have to work. If you look at life or your family based on the world’s standards, it’s going to look ugly. That’s because for some odd reason, society has taught us to expect its version of familial perfection without the nuance of God, grace, mercy or forgiveness. One of the greatest aspects of the Old Testament is the many examples of family dynamics. You’ve got siblings selling their brother into slavery. You’ve got a brother stealing a birthright. You’ve got women fighting over a baby. I mean the stories are far and wide. What these stories tell us is that families are not perfect and every family has some sort of dysfunction. More to the point, even when we do drop the ball, we aren’t the sum total of our mistakes. God calls us to set our egos aside and to love and forgive everyone— family included. Maybe your family experience was terrible or less than ideal. Truth is, we cannot get from people what only God can give us. If you let him, God will reconcile your experience, but you have to look at all things considered from Christ’s perspective.
All things considered, are you grateful for the life God gave you?
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1This message came to me concerning Egypt: Look! The LORD is advancing against Egypt, riding on a swift cloud. The idols of Egypt tremble. The hearts of the Egyptians melt with fear.
2“I will make Egyptian fight against Egyptian— brother against brother, neighbor against neighbor, city against city, province against province.
3The Egyptians will lose heart, and I will confuse their plans. They will plead with their idols for wisdom and call on spirits, mediums, and those who consult the spirits of the dead.
4I will hand Egypt over to a hard, cruel master. A fierce king will rule them,” says the Lord, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.
5The waters of the Nile will fail to rise and flood the fields. The riverbed will be parched and dry.
6The canals of the Nile will dry up, and the streams of Egypt will stink with rotting reeds and rushes.
7All the greenery along the riverbank and all the crops along the river will dry up and blow away.
8The fishermen will lament for lack of work. Those who cast hooks into the Nile will groan, and those who use nets will lose heart.
9There will be no flax for the harvesters, no thread for the weavers.
10They will be in despair, and all the workers will be sick at heart.
11What fools are the officials of Zoan! Their best counsel to the king of Egypt is stupid and wrong. Will they still boast to Pharaoh of their wisdom? Will they dare brag about all their wise ancestors?
12Where are your wise counselors, Pharaoh? Let them tell you what God plans, what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies is going to do to Egypt.
13The officials of Zoan are fools, and the officials of Memphis are deluded. The leaders of the people have led Egypt astray.
14The LORD has sent a spirit of foolishness on them, so all their suggestions are wrong. They cause Egypt to stagger like a drunk in his vomit.
15There is nothing Egypt can do. All are helpless— the head and the tail, the noble palm branch and the lowly reed.
16In that day the Egyptians will be as weak as women. They will cower in fear beneath the upraised fist of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.
17Just to speak the name of Israel will terrorize them, for the LORD of Heaven’s Armies has laid out his plans against them.
18In that day five of Egypt’s cities will follow the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. They will even begin to speak Hebrew, the language of Canaan. One of these cities will be Heliopolis, the City of the Sun.
19In that day there will be an altar to the LORD in the heart of Egypt, and there will be a monument to the LORD at its border.
20It will be a sign and a witness that the LORD of Heaven’s Armies is worshiped in the land of Egypt. When the people cry to the LORD for help against those who oppress them, he will send them a savior who will rescue them.
21The LORD will make himself known to the Egyptians. Yes, they will know the LORD and will give their sacrifices and offerings to him. They will make a vow to the LORD and will keep it.
22The LORD will strike Egypt, and then he will bring healing. For the Egyptians will turn to the LORD, and he will listen to their pleas and heal them.
23In that day Egypt and Assyria will be connected by a highway. The Egyptians and Assyrians will move freely between their lands, and they will both worship God.
24In that day Israel will be the third, along with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth.
25For the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will say, “Blessed be Egypt, my people. Blessed be Assyria, the land I have made. Blessed be Israel, my special possession!”
“God’s love is not contingent on your behavior.”~TB
Salvation is not merit-based. Thank God— literally— as none of us would measure up. Still, even though we know this, many believe that God is waiting to love the ‘new and improved’ version of us. Like, if we could only sin less, be nicer to our neighbors, do more for the community, etc. then God would love us. No, God loves us in our stupor, our good moments, and the not so great ones. Part of growing with God is understanding how immeasurable His love is. That way we stop trying to attain it and recognize that His love is already ours.
Being unconditionally loved is a near impossible concept for many, which is why we mistake God’s unconditional love for the warped perception that we may have. Sure, parents get pretty close to it, but even still, God’s love is greater. If you’re able to glean how He loves us and sees us, only then can you begin to move in His ways and teachings. Like Jesus on Earth, He sat with everyone and judged no one. Granted we all fall short of this mark, but experiencing His grace when we do fall, is a wonderful thing. So the next time you’re trying to be a Super Christian— sinless and perfect— remember that God’s love is eternal and unconditional. The best way we can mirror this is to try and pass on that same love and grace to one another.
Why are you overcompensating for something that is already yours?
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1Then the LORD said to me, “Make a large signboard and clearly write this name on it: Maher-shalal-hash-baz. ”
2I asked Uriah the priest and Zechariah son of Jeberekiah, both known as honest men, to witness my doing this.
3Then I slept with my wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. And the LORD said, “Call him Maher-shalal-hash-baz.
4For before this child is old enough to say ‘Papa’ or ‘Mama,’ the king of Assyria will carry away both the abundance of Damascus and the riches of Samaria.”
5Then the LORD spoke to me again and said,
6“My care for the people of Judah is like the gently flowing waters of Shiloah, but they have rejected it. They are rejoicing over what will happen to King Rezin and King Pekah.
7Therefore, the Lord will overwhelm them with a mighty flood from the Euphrates River —the king of Assyria and all his glory. This flood will overflow all its channels
8and sweep into Judah until it is chin deep. It will spread its wings, submerging your land from one end to the other, O Immanuel.
9“Huddle together, you nations, and be terrified. Listen, all you distant lands. Prepare for battle, but you will be crushed! Yes, prepare for battle, but you will be crushed!
10Call your councils of war, but they will be worthless. Develop your strategies, but they will not succeed. For God is with us! ”
11The LORD has given me a strong warning not to think like everyone else does. He said,
12“Don’t call everything a conspiracy, like they do, and don’t live in dread of what frightens them.
13Make the LORD of Heaven’s Armies holy in your life. He is the one you should fear. He is the one who should make you tremble.
14He will keep you safe. But to Israel and Judah he will be a stone that makes people stumble, a rock that makes them fall. And for the people of Jerusalem he will be a trap and a snare.
15Many will stumble and fall, never to rise again. They will be snared and captured.”
16Preserve the teaching of God; entrust his instructions to those who follow me.
17I will wait for the LORD, who has turned away from the descendants of Jacob. I will put my hope in him.
18I and the children the LORD has given me serve as signs and warnings to Israel from the LORD of Heaven’s Armies who dwells in his Temple on Mount Zion.
19Someone may say to you, “Let’s ask the mediums and those who consult the spirits of the dead. With their whisperings and mutterings, they will tell us what to do.” But shouldn’t people ask God for guidance? Should the living seek guidance from the dead?
20Look to God’s instructions and teachings! People who contradict his word are completely in the dark.
21They will go from one place to another, weary and hungry. And because they are hungry, they will rage and curse their king and their God. They will look up to heaven
22and down at the earth, but wherever they look, there will be trouble and anguish and dark despair. They will be thrown out into the darkness.
“Check your motives and behaviors because sometimes your illness is caused by your actions.”~TB
Isn’t weird how many of the things we do in our lives are counterintuitive to the goals we wish to achieve? Say you’re trying to lose weight, but keep buying croissants and donuts. Or, you’re trying to start a business but don’t want to qualify prospects. Though we are engaging in this behavior, many times we are quick to blame our circumstance while forgetting about the deeds we did to get there. Our wounds can be self-inflicted and certain afflictions are a result of what we have or haven’t done. When we don’t take responsibility for our hand in our situations, it can seem like life is unfair or that the cards are stacked against you. No, I’m not saying that every bad thing in your life is your fault. I am saying, that the choices we make today impact our ability and mobility tomorrow. More to the point, maybe learned behaviors or life experiences have caused you to take an “ill” viewpoint. To get out of that mentality, a shift in discipline and accountability is imperative. When there is a lack of discipline and accountability, tilling the soil becomes a nuisance rather than the objective.
Discipline isn’t fun but it is a necessary daily practice that we must do. It first starts with disciplining our minds and hearts to follow God. Putting God first every day is challenging for everyone, even those who’ve been doing for a long time. That’s because we are always battling our flesh which is why discipline and endurance are vital. Discipline teaches you to show up, even when you don’t want to. Endurance gives you the extra push to keep going when your tank is on empty. And God fills in the blanks and covers the rest when we fall short. We begin to see the errors of our ways by having honest conversations with God and ourselves. To get there takes humility and an understanding that we’re all flawed. The world isn’t always against you. Sometimes it’s actually you that’s against you. Calling yourself to the carpet and cultivating self-discipline are the best things you can do, not only in your relationship with Christ, but in your relationship and dealing within the world. When you shift your perspective, you will see that your illness is subjective and that if you allow Him, God can prescribe the antidote.
Are you sick of being sick?
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1When Ahaz, son of Jotham and grandson of Uzziah, was king of Judah, King Rezin of Syria and Pekah son of Remaliah, the king of Israel, set out to attack Jerusalem. However, they were unable to carry out their plan.
2The news had come to the royal court of Judah: “Syria is allied with Israel against us!” So the hearts of the king and his people trembled with fear, like trees shaking in a storm.
3Then the LORD said to Isaiah, “Take your son Shear-jashub and go out to meet King Ahaz. You will find him at the end of the aqueduct that feeds water into the upper pool, near the road leading to the field where cloth is washed.
4Tell him to stop worrying. Tell him he doesn’t need to fear the fierce anger of those two burned-out embers, King Rezin of Syria and Pekah son of Remaliah.
5Yes, the kings of Syria and Israel are plotting against him, saying,
6‘We will attack Judah and capture it for ourselves. Then we will install the son of Tabeel as Judah’s king.’
7But this is what the Sovereign LORD says: “This invasion will never happen; it will never take place;
8for Syria is no stronger than its capital, Damascus, and Damascus is no stronger than its king, Rezin. As for Israel, within sixty-five years it will be crushed and completely destroyed.
9Israel is no stronger than its capital, Samaria, and Samaria is no stronger than its king, Pekah son of Remaliah. Unless your faith is firm, I cannot make you stand firm.”
10Later, the LORD sent this message to King Ahaz:
11“Ask the LORD your God for a sign of confirmation, Ahaz. Make it as difficult as you want—as high as heaven or as deep as the place of the dead. ”
12But the king refused. “No,” he said, “I will not test the LORD like that.”
13Then Isaiah said, “Listen well, you royal family of David! Isn’t it enough to exhaust human patience? Must you exhaust the patience of my God as well?
14All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’).
15By the time this child is old enough to choose what is right and reject what is wrong, he will be eating yogurt and honey.
16For before the child is that old, the lands of the two kings you fear so much will both be deserted.
17“Then the LORD will bring things on you, your nation, and your family unlike anything since Israel broke away from Judah. He will bring the king of Assyria upon you!”
18In that day the LORD will whistle for the army of southern Egypt and for the army of Assyria. They will swarm around you like flies and bees.
19They will come in vast hordes and settle in the fertile areas and also in the desolate valleys, caves, and thorny places.
20In that day the Lord will hire a “razor” from beyond the Euphrates River —the king of Assyria—and use it to shave off everything: your land, your crops, and your people.
21In that day a farmer will be fortunate to have a cow and two sheep or goats left.
22Nevertheless, there will be enough milk for everyone because so few people will be left in the land. They will eat their fill of yogurt and honey.
23In that day the lush vineyards, now worth 1,000 pieces of silver, will become patches of briers and thorns.
24The entire land will become a vast expanse of briers and thorns, a hunting ground overrun by wildlife.
25No one will go to the fertile hillsides where the gardens once grew, for briers and thorns will cover them. Cattle, sheep, and goats will graze there.
“In order to go somewhere new, you have to do something new.”~TB
If you’ve been trying to go to the next level in your faith, but feel stagnate, check your process. Examine your patterns of behavior. Grab ahold of your thought life. Old methods won’t yield new results. So throw off the old and embrace doing something new.
New places, people, and things are unfamiliar and probably feel uncomfortable. Truth is, growth will always be uncomfortable. So if God is placing you in a period of uncomfortable-ness, it’s not punishment, but rather the playing field for you to grow closer to Him. Choose to see the opportunities rather than the obstacles.
Are you ready to give up your old ways for something new?
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Song of Solomon 1
1This is Solomon’s song of songs, more wonderful than any other.
2Kiss me and kiss me again, for your love is sweeter than wine.
3How fragrant your cologne; your name is like its spreading fragrance. No wonder all the young women love you!
4Take me with you; come, let’s run! The king has brought me into his bedroom. Young Women of Jerusalem How happy we are for you, O king. We praise your love even more than wine. Young Woman How right they are to adore you.
5I am dark but beautiful, O women of Jerusalem— dark as the tents of Kedar, dark as the curtains of Solomon’s tents.
6Don’t stare at me because I am dark— the sun has darkened my skin. My brothers were angry with me; they forced me to care for their vineyards, so I couldn’t care for myself—my own vineyard.
7Tell me, my love, where are you leading your flock today? Where will you rest your sheep at noon? For why should I wander like a prostitute among your friends and their flocks?
8If you don’t know, O most beautiful woman, follow the trail of my flock, and graze your young goats by the shepherds’ tents.
9You are as exciting, my darling, as a mare among Pharaoh’s stallions.
10How lovely are your cheeks; your earrings set them afire! How lovely is your neck, enhanced by a string of jewels.
11We will make for you earrings of gold and beads of silver.
12The king is lying on his couch, enchanted by the fragrance of my perfume.
13My lover is like a sachet of myrrh lying between my breasts.
14He is like a bouquet of sweet henna blossoms from the vineyards of En-gedi.
15How beautiful you are, my darling, how beautiful! Your eyes are like doves.
16You are so handsome, my love, pleasing beyond words! The soft grass is our bed;
17fragrant cedar branches are the beams of our house, and pleasant smelling firs are the rafters.
“Make a decision and stick with it, because a double-mind cannot properly follow the Lord.”~TB
Reconcile Your Path
Saying you’ve accepted Christ is one thing. Walking the path is another. If you decide to accept the gift of salvation, be bold and follow through on that decision. People fall into traps because they say one thing but do the opposite. This happens because you are looking around at everything else when really you should focus your attention on God. Your relationship with God influences every aspect of your life, develop it first and the rest will follow.
Being disengaged in your relationship with God is like trying to pull yourself out of quicksand to no avail. When you are double-minded– practicing opposing behaviors– your mind becomes trapped, unable to free itself from a loop of negative/evil thinking. Friends, nothing good comes from a corrupt mind, as your actions and behaviors will soon mirror your destructive thoughts. Making evil choices is like a poisoned well, where your misdeeds leak onto all who encounter you. To be free of this trap, ask God for help.
Follow the Leader
Like Red Riding Hood, everyone strays from the path, getting into tricky situations. Fortunately, God is the wisest of them all, and no amount of quicksand is too difficult for Him to free you. Experiencing this freedom requires you to follow God, the leader. Though this path is narrow, it is clear, and simple to follow. Understand that simple and easy are not the same thing, as you must decide in everything you do to follow Christ. Be sober in your judgment and decisions and you will find peace in God’s path.
Are you upholding your decision to follow the path or is quicksand a better option?
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1My children, listen when your father corrects you. Pay attention and learn good judgment,
2for I am giving you good guidance. Don’t turn away from my instructions.
3For I, too, was once my father’s son, tenderly loved as my mother’s only child.
4My father taught me, “Take my words to heart. Follow my commands, and you will live.
5Get wisdom; develop good judgment. Don’t forget my words or turn away from them.
6Don’t turn your back on wisdom, for she will protect you. Love her, and she will guard you.
7Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do! And whatever else you do, develop good judgment.
8If you prize wisdom, she will make you great. Embrace her, and she will honor you.
9She will place a lovely wreath on your head; she will present you with a beautiful crown.”
10My child, listen to me and do as I say, and you will have a long, good life.
11I will teach you wisdom’s ways and lead you in straight paths.
12When you walk, you won’t be held back; when you run, you won’t stumble.
13Take hold of my instructions; don’t let them go. Guard them, for they are the key to life.
14Don’t do as the wicked do, and don’t follow the path of evildoers.
15Don’t even think about it; don’t go that way. Turn away and keep moving.
16For evil people can’t sleep until they’ve done their evil deed for the day. They can’t rest until they’ve caused someone to stumble.
17They eat the food of wickedness and drink the wine of violence!
18The way of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, which shines ever brighter until the full light of day.
19But the way of the wicked is like total darkness. They have no idea what they are stumbling over.
20My child, pay attention to what I say. Listen carefully to my words.
21Don’t lose sight of them. Let them penetrate deep into your heart,
22for they bring life to those who find them, and healing to their whole body.
23Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.
24Avoid all perverse talk; stay away from corrupt speech.
25Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you.
26Mark out a straight path for your feet; stay on the safe path.
27Don’t get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil.
“Live your life in a manner in which God lights up the room and not your sad stories of gloom and doom, that you enjoy sweeping up with your wicked tongue, like a witch’s broom.”~Jon Barnes
Lying, cheating, stealing, and being disobedient to God and His Commandments is just like practicing witchcraft.Your tongue can sow clean, fresh seeds of kindness, happiness, and fruitfulness into the air, with good business and ethics or you, can spread a lot of dust, dirt, and allergens into the air, making people sick with coughing up germs and spreading them all around the world.
It doesn’t make sense to spin negative plots and plans of unhappiness into the world since you will pay for what you are doing.Which reward do you prefer, hell, a witches reward or heavenly, a reward for the obedient child of God?There are only two options on the menu in lieu of your options for eternal life and you will pay for the witch meal that you ordered.Don’t sweep your love for God under a rug!
Your life should look, smell, and taste like which meal you ordered and prefer.Don’t be fooled by the propaganda of evil people, just because your witch meal comes with a 5-star restaurant rating or a happy meal with a two for one twist.Learn and trust in God’s meal plan for your success and life’s decisions for your own family and eternal destination.In the end, you must eat properly to digest the commandments of God, in love with your good works.You are what you eat.Fake food, restaurants, and meal plans will burn with you in hell, as you follow the witches broom of spells, potions, and spirits of destruction and evil.
Which are you a witch for satan or a worshiper in God’s Kingdom?
Enjoy The Reading
A psalm of David.
1 Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight! 2 Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt,[b] whose lives are lived in complete honesty! 3 When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long. 4 Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat. Interlude
5 Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.” And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone. Interlude
6 Therefore, let all the godly pray to you while there is still time, that they may not drown in the floodwaters of judgment. 7 For you are my hiding place; you protect me from trouble. You surround me with songs of victory. Interlude
8 The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. 9 Do not be like a senseless horse or mule that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.”
10 Many sorrows come to the wicked, but unfailing love surrounds those who trust the Lord. 11 So rejoice in the Lord and be glad, all you who obey him! Shout for joy, all you whose hearts are pure!
“When you pick up evil habits that go undetected, unchanged, and ignored, you stand the risk of ruining your life, because these little problems will grow into major catastrophes, due to your arrogance.”~Jon Barnes
Your evil work is like an invisible eraser that removes any trace of morals and values from your character God has taught you.Your will and pride overrides how to do the right things and your hearing and doing the truth fade away by default.The old memory card gets erased, deleted, corrupt or altered.
Bad patterns of evil slowly grow into your DNA, replacing good nerves for bad nerves. Soon, your whole body and mind become wrapped up and intertwined with little lies, fake news, and stories that are untrue. Who you are can no longer be recognized and your lifestyle has successfully duplicated who the devil is.
Pay attention to who, what, when, why, and where you pattern yourself, thoughts, actions, mind, body, habits, and spirit after.We follow Christ in Love to copy His Patterns of truth, justice, honesty, integrity, love, and fun in doing the good work, spreading great memories and controlling our negative mouths and actions.
Are you trying to spin the truth of Good Intentions with your evil tongue, by letting the Spirit of God control and replace your negative behavior, words, stories, and ideas with good ones.
Enjoy The Reading
A psalm of David.
1 O Lord, I give my life to you. 2 I trust in you, my God! Do not let me be disgraced, or let my enemies rejoice in my defeat. 3 No one who trusts in you will ever be disgraced, but disgrace comes to those who try to deceive others.
4 Show me the right path, O Lord; point out the road for me to follow. 5 Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you. 6 Remember, O Lord, your compassion and unfailing love, which you have shown from long ages past. 7 Do not remember the rebellious sins of my youth. Remember me in the light of your unfailing love, for you are merciful, O Lord.
8 The Lord is good and does what is right; he shows the proper path to those who go astray. 9 He leads the humble in doing right, teaching them his way. 10 The Lord leads with unfailing love and faithfulness all who keep his covenant and obey his demands.
11 For the honor of your name, O Lord, forgive my many, many sins. 12 Who are those who fear the Lord? He will show them the path they should choose. 13 They will live in prosperity, and their children will inherit the land. 14 The Lord is a friend to those who fear him. He teaches them his covenant. 15 My eyes are always on the Lord, for he rescues me from the traps of my enemies.
16 Turn to me and have mercy, for I am alone and in deep distress. 17 My problems go from bad to worse. Oh, save me from them all! 18 Feel my pain and see my trouble. Forgive all my sins. 19 See how many enemies I have and how viciously they hate me! 20 Protect me! Rescue my life from them! Do not let me be disgraced, for in you I take refuge. 21 May integrity and honesty protect me, for I put my hope in you.
“Once you really believe that your limitations in life are like an ant in this world, then Godcan speak to you and show you the importance of listening and not talking so much.”~Jon Barnes
People want to know more about you but the information needs to be presented in a way they can understand and receive it.Raw data is useless in the hands of a fool searching for information out of context, with no relevance or substance.You personally add to your sorrow by not minding your own business and letting God do the teaching, judging, and correcting of others. I had to learn how to stop “playing God” as if I have all knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. You have enough on your plate to do already.
As a parent, children must be guided, protected, and corrected so that they understand the rules, procedures, guidelines, and protocols of prosperity.However, kids must mind their own choices to reap the things they sow, each second of their lives.Teach children to sow what they need and they will reap what they really want. Don’t sow your negative words, thoughts, and ideas at people just because you are hurting and confused.Sow love, forgiveness, kindness, meekness, long-suffering, gentleness, joy, peace, and patience into your family so that you can prevent the devil from uprooting your farm and crop.
As a mature adult, I still don’t know what I need, but I believe God does.I remain as a Child in the eyes of God so that I may sow what I need to get what God wants me to have.This is what I really want.I don’t want what I think, because I’m not smart enough to think or do the correct things all of the time.So, if I allow God to show me everything each day, every hour, and second, then perhaps I will make fewer mistakes and become more helpful with how I love people as myself.
Am I so smart that toilet paper is hanging outside my pants, while I’m walking down the street, yet I don’t believe God when He shows me a picture of myself in the mirror?
Enjoy The Reading
For the choir director: A psalm of David, to be sung to the tune “Doe of the Dawn.”
1 My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why are you so far away when I groan for help? 2 Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer. Every night I lift my voice, but I find no relief.
3 Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. 4 Our ancestors trusted in you, and you rescued them. 5 They cried out to you and were saved. They trusted in you and were never disgraced.
6 But I am a worm and not a man. I am scorned and despised by all! 7 Everyone who sees me mocks me. They sneer and shake their heads, saying, 8 “Is this the one who relies on the Lord? Then let the Lord save him! If the Lord loves him so much, let the Lord rescue him!”
9 Yet you brought me safely from my mother’s womb and led me to trust you at my mother’s breast. 10 I was thrust into your arms at my birth. You have been my God from the moment I was born.
11 Do not stay so far from me, for trouble is near, and no one else can help me. 12 My enemies surround me like a herd of bulls; fierce bulls of Bashan have hemmed me in! 13 Like lions they open their jaws against me, roaring and tearing into their prey. 14 My life is poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart is like wax, melting within me. 15 My strength has dried up like sunbaked clay. My tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth. You have laid me in the dust and left me for dead. 16 My enemies surround me like a pack of dogs; an evil gang closes in on me. They have pierced[a] my hands and feet. 17 I can count all my bones. My enemies stare at me and gloat. 18 They divide my garments among themselves and throw dice[b] for my clothing.
19 O Lord, do not stay far away! You are my strength; come quickly to my aid! 20 Save me from the sword; spare my precious life from these dogs. 21 Snatch me from the lion’s jaws and from the horns of these wild oxen.
22 I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters.[c] I will praise you among your assembled people. 23 Praise the Lord, all you who fear him! Honor him, all you descendants of Jacob! Show him reverence, all you descendants of Israel! 24 For he has not ignored or belittled the suffering of the needy. He has not turned his back on them, but has listened to their cries for help.
25 I will praise you in the great assembly. I will fulfill my vows in the presence of those who worship you. 26 The poor will eat and be satisfied. All who seek the Lord will praise him. Their hearts will rejoice with everlasting joy. 27 The whole earth will acknowledge the Lord and return to him. All the families of the nations will bow down before him. 28 For royal power belongs to the Lord. He rules all the nations.
29 Let the rich of the earth feast and worship. Bow before him, all who are mortal, all whose lives will end as dust. 30 Our children will also serve him. Future generations will hear about the wonders of the Lord. 31 His righteous acts will be told to those not yet born. They will hear about everything he has done.