“You’re either giving a Cain or an Abel offering; there is no in-between.”~TB
I have assisted my dad with this blog for almost 4 years. At first, I started as the editor/poster, adding the role of ‘writer’ along the way. In the beginning, it was my job to suss out the errors and formatting– general editor stuff. Occasionally, my father or mother would politely ask me to check my work. Back then, I thought what I was doing was the stuff of legends. I was assisting my father (and God), sacrificing my precious time for their pursuits. So naturally, as a foolish young person, I didn’t really take their feedback seriously and kept on my way. It was until a couple of weeks ago when I was formatting the blog posts for my dad’s upcoming books, that I had discovered not only was there a ton of errors the work was amazingly shoddy given my abilities.
Change with Humility
As I read the older blogs, the sting of conviction hit my gut as my mind recalled all of the editing conversations I had had with my dad years ago. See, he wasn’t forceful or persistent with the comments and yet, I would shove the notes aside as if my work was precise and perfect. Oh, youth! I was foolish to believe that I was helping my father and God when in reality it was they who were helping (and still are) me. As I laughed and repented for my foolishness, I was immediately reminded of the story of Cain and Abel. In the story of Cain and Abel, Abel did his best with his offering, and Cain perceived that his offering was great when it was not. But unlike the arrogance that blinds humans, God sees all and knows all.
Perception is not Reality
The jealousy that Cain felt towards Abel had nothing to do with his brother, but really it was Cain’s unwillingness to take responsibility for the crap that he himself presented to God. At that moment I realized, my work– or rather offering to God– was that of a Cain offering. In my arrogance, I believed that what I was doing was phenomenal, but really it was shoddy and unacceptable. Friends, we either give our best offering to God– an Abel offering. Or, we give our ‘meh’ offering to God– a Cain offering. Deep within our hearts, we know when we give which, so do not fool yourself into thinking God cannot spot the difference. Instead of devouring our brothers and sisters because of our lazy, corrupt thinking, spend your days working honestly as if God is standing next to you so that your daily offerings are deemed acceptable to the Lord.
Are you giving an honest offering or are you honestly fooling yourself?
Enjoy the reading
1King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came with all the armies from the kingdoms he ruled, and he fought against Jerusalem and the towns of Judah. At that time this message came to Jeremiah from the LORD :
2“Go to King Zedekiah of Judah, and tell him, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: I am about to hand this city over to the king of Babylon, and he will burn it down.
3You will not escape his grasp but will be captured and taken to meet the king of Babylon face to face. Then you will be exiled to Babylon.
4“‘But listen to this promise from the LORD, O Zedekiah, king of Judah. This is what the LORD says: You will not be killed in war
5but will die peacefully. People will burn incense in your memory, just as they did for your ancestors, the kings who preceded you. They will mourn for you, crying, “Alas, our master is dead!” This I have decreed, says the LORD .’”
6So Jeremiah the prophet delivered the message to King Zedekiah of Judah.
7At this time the Babylonian army was besieging Jerusalem, Lachish, and Azekah—the only fortified cities of Judah not yet captured.
8This message came to Jeremiah from the LORD after King Zedekiah made a covenant with the people, proclaiming freedom for the slaves.
9He had ordered all the people to free their Hebrew slaves—both men and women. No one was to keep a fellow Judean in bondage.
10The officials and all the people had obeyed the king’s command,
11but later they changed their minds. They took back the men and women they had freed, forcing them to be slaves again.
12So the LORD gave them this message through Jeremiah:
13“This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: I made a covenant with your ancestors long ago when I rescued them from their slavery in Egypt.
14I told them that every Hebrew slave must be freed after serving six years. But your ancestors paid no attention to me.
15Recently you repented and did what was right, following my command. You freed your slaves and made a solemn covenant with me in the Temple that bears my name.
16But now you have shrugged off your oath and defiled my name by taking back the men and women you had freed, forcing them to be slaves once again.
17“Therefore, this is what the LORD says: Since you have not obeyed me by setting your countrymen free, I will set you free to be destroyed by war, disease, and famine. You will be an object of horror to all the nations of the earth.
18Because you have broken the terms of our covenant, I will cut you apart just as you cut apart the calf when you walked between its halves to solemnize your vows.
19Yes, I will cut you apart, whether you are officials of Judah or Jerusalem, court officials, priests, or common people—for you have broken your oath.
20I will give you to your enemies, and they will kill you. Your bodies will be food for the vultures and wild animals.
21“I will hand over King Zedekiah of Judah and his officials to the army of the king of Babylon. And although they have left Jerusalem for a while,
22I will call the Babylonian armies back again. They will fight against this city and will capture it and burn it down. I will see to it that all the towns of Judah are destroyed, with no one living there.”
“Talking and walking are two different things.”~TB
It’s one thing to know the truth. Hearing about the amazing works of Christ, how He brings us together to realize and share the Good News, it’s awesome! But faith is an amalgamation of both belief and deed. To put it bluntly, you can say you believe and follow Christ, but if you’re not acting on it, what good is your word?
If you are looking to find healing, your belief has to be activated by your behavior. Sight alone does not change a situation, you have to activate your behavior. I can say I want to run a marathon, but if I’m not out there putting in the work, that dream is dead. Friends, we must all how ourselves accountable to the words and deeds we do or don’t do. Christ can fill the need, but we have to act on it.
Does your talk outshine your walk?
Enjoy the reading
1The LORD gave another message to Jeremiah. He said,
2“Remind the people of Judah and Jerusalem about the terms of my covenant with them.
3Say to them, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: Cursed is anyone who does not obey the terms of my covenant!
4For I said to your ancestors when I brought them out of the iron-smelting furnace of Egypt, “If you obey me and do whatever I command you, then you will be my people, and I will be your God.”
5I said this so I could keep my promise to your ancestors to give you a land flowing with milk and honey—the land you live in today.’” Then I replied, “Amen, LORD ! May it be so.”
6Then the LORD said, “Broadcast this message in the streets of Jerusalem. Go from town to town throughout the land and say, ‘Remember the ancient covenant, and do everything it requires.
7For I solemnly warned your ancestors when I brought them out of Egypt, “Obey me!” I have repeated this warning over and over to this day,
8but your ancestors did not listen or even pay attention. Instead, they stubbornly followed their own evil desires. And because they refused to obey, I brought upon them all the curses described in this covenant.’”
9Again the LORD spoke to me and said, “I have discovered a conspiracy against me among the people of Judah and Jerusalem.
10They have returned to the sins of their ancestors. They have refused to listen to me and are worshiping other gods. Israel and Judah have both broken the covenant I made with their ancestors.
11Therefore, this is what the LORD says: I am going to bring calamity upon them, and they will not escape. Though they beg for mercy, I will not listen to their cries.
12Then the people of Judah and Jerusalem will pray to their idols and burn incense before them. But the idols will not save them when disaster strikes!
13Look now, people of Judah; you have as many gods as you have towns. You have as many altars of shame—altars for burning incense to your god Baal—as there are streets in Jerusalem.
14“Pray no more for these people, Jeremiah. Do not weep or pray for them, for I will not listen to them when they cry out to me in distress.
15“What right do my beloved people have to come to my Temple, when they have done so many immoral things? Can their vows and sacrifices prevent their destruction? They actually rejoice in doing evil!
16I, the LORD, once called them a thriving olive tree, beautiful to see and full of good fruit. But now I have sent the fury of their enemies to burn them with fire, leaving them charred and broken.
17“I, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, who planted this olive tree, have ordered it destroyed. For the people of Israel and Judah have done evil, arousing my anger by burning incense to Baal.”
18Then the LORD told me about the plots my enemies were making against me.
19I was like a lamb being led to the slaughter. I had no idea that they were planning to kill me! “Let’s destroy this man and all his words,” they said. “Let’s cut him down, so his name will be forgotten forever.”
20O LORD of Heaven’s Armies, you make righteous judgments, and you examine the deepest thoughts and secrets. Let me see your vengeance against them, for I have committed my cause to you.
21This is what the LORD says about the men of Anathoth who wanted me dead. They had said, “We will kill you if you do not stop prophesying in the LORD ’s name.”
22So this is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says about them: “I will punish them! Their young men will die in battle, and their boys and girls will starve to death.
23Not one of these plotters from Anathoth will survive, for I will bring disaster upon them when their time of punishment comes.”
“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?
Enjoy the reading
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.
“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 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, then 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 upbeat attitude of praise and thanksgiving or are you moving in a different direction?
Enjoy The Reading
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.”
“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?
Enjoy the reading
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.
“Life will always present new opportunities and challenges, so hang tight, calm down, and remember who made you.”~TB
This sin fallen world will lull you into the fake belief that Christian life is some perfect-Instagram-able filter, where Jesus protects you from experiencing any pain or hardship. Many of you believe that if bad things happen, God must not be around. How foolish! Read your Bibles and you will see that every single person who took up their Holy employment struggled with many things. Even David, God’s favorite, endured hardship. The enemy uses this false ploy to deceive young believers. The moment you face a struggle, you abandon ship. You cower in fear and anguish over every little thing, because you haven’t done your reading. Friends, use your hardships to deepen your relationship with God. In those moments, double-down in your faith.
No one gets out of this life unbruised as we are all tested, pruned, pressed, into becoming more and more into the image of our Father in Heaven. To walk the path of Jesus means to catch a glimpse of what He endured to save us. When you understand this truth, go to the ultimate playbook, the Bible, to see how to navigate tricky situations. Troubles do not go away the closer you walk with God. However, because you’ve done your work and you know His teachings, He gives you the grace, strength, patience to endure any and every test thrown your way. So stop looking for the perfect life as a sign that God is good. God is Good because He IS. Calm down, remember the truth, and make Biblical decisions in all that you do.
How do you respond to your trials and tribulations?
Enjoy the reading
1A wise woman builds her home, but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands.
2Those who follow the right path fear the LORD ; those who take the wrong path despise him.
3A fool’s proud talk becomes a rod that beats him, but the words of the wise keep them safe.
4Without oxen a stable stays clean, but you need a strong ox for a large harvest.
5An honest witness does not lie; a false witness breathes lies.
6A mocker seeks wisdom and never finds it, but knowledge comes easily to those with understanding.
7Stay away from fools, for you won’t find knowledge on their lips.
8The prudent understand where they are going, but fools deceive themselves.
9Fools make fun of guilt, but the godly acknowledge it and seek reconciliation.
10Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can fully share its joy.
11The house of the wicked will be destroyed, but the tent of the godly will flourish.
12There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.
13Laughter can conceal a heavy heart, but when the laughter ends, the grief remains.
14Backsliders get what they deserve; good people receive their reward.
15Only simpletons believe everything they’re told! The prudent carefully consider their steps.
16The wise are cautious and avoid danger; fools plunge ahead with reckless confidence.
17Short-tempered people do foolish things, and schemers are hated.
18Simpletons are clothed with foolishness, but the prudent are crowned with knowledge.
19Evil people will bow before good people; the wicked will bow at the gates of the godly.
20The poor are despised even by their neighbors, while the rich have many “friends.”
21It is a sin to belittle one’s neighbor; blessed are those who help the poor.
22If you plan to do evil, you will be lost; if you plan to do good, you will receive unfailing love and faithfulness.
23Work brings profit, but mere talk leads to poverty!
24Wealth is a crown for the wise; the effort of fools yields only foolishness.
25A truthful witness saves lives, but a false witness is a traitor.
26Those who fear the LORD are secure; he will be a refuge for their children.
27Fear of the LORD is a life-giving fountain; it offers escape from the snares of death.
28A growing population is a king’s glory; a prince without subjects has nothing.
29People with understanding control their anger; a hot temper shows great foolishness.
30A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body; jealousy is like cancer in the bones.
31Those who oppress the poor insult their Maker, but helping the poor honors him.
32The wicked are crushed by disaster, but the godly have a refuge when they die.
33Wisdom is enshrined in an understanding heart; wisdom is not found among fools.
34Godliness makes a nation great, but sin is a disgrace to any people.
35A king rejoices in wise servants but is angry with those who disgrace him.
“Set aside your old foolish ways that you can live well in Christ.”~TB
As You Are
God will always love you in every stage of your life. Be that as it may, a life full of misdeeds will dampen the Truth and Joy God wants to share with you. Sinning does not revoke your salvation. It does, however, disrupt your connection to Christ. God doesn’t let go of you when you sin, you let go of Him when you do. Stop chasing fleshly pleasures as they lead you astray. Do not desire a life of power because the pursuit of your own status will cause you to forget whose power actually matters. Though this world can offer things that satisfy immediate fleshly desires, the human lifespan is a millisecond compared to eternity. Invest wisely.
If you’re tired of the obstacles and mayhem that comes with secular life, look to God. Throw off your vices, devices, and sinful behaviors to experience the Truth, joy, and contentment that can only come from our Father in Heaven. Cultivate the discipline and perseverance required to lead an honorable life. This means abandoning the ways of the world and adopting the teachings of Christ. When you apply the Godly wisdom that can be found in the Bible, notice how your life changes. The Truth will open your eyes, and suddenly what you once craved is detestable. If you allow God to write the Truth on your hearts, the world has less influence on your behavior. Follow Him to set aside junk so that you can possess your inheritance.
Did you set aside your old life or is it throwing you off?
Enjoy the reading
1My child, if you have put up security for a friend’s debt or agreed to guarantee the debt of a stranger—
2if you have trapped yourself by your agreement and are caught by what you said—
3follow my advice and save yourself, for you have placed yourself at your friend’s mercy. Now swallow your pride; go and beg to have your name erased.
4Don’t put it off; do it now! Don’t rest until you do.
5Save yourself like a gazelle escaping from a hunter, like a bird fleeing from a net.
6Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones. Learn from their ways and become wise!
7Though they have no prince or governor or ruler to make them work,
8they labor hard all summer, gathering food for the winter.
9But you, lazybones, how long will you sleep? When will you wake up?
10A little extra sleep, a little more slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest—
11then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit; scarcity will attack you like an armed robber.
12What are worthless and wicked people like? They are constant liars,
13signaling their deceit with a wink of the eye, a nudge of the foot, or the wiggle of fingers.
14Their perverted hearts plot evil, and they constantly stir up trouble.
15But they will be destroyed suddenly, broken in an instant beyond all hope of healing.
16There are six things the LORD hates— no, seven things he detests:
17haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that kill the innocent,
18a heart that plots evil, feet that race to do wrong,
19a false witness who pours out lies, a person who sows discord in a family.
20My son, obey your father’s commands, and don’t neglect your mother’s instruction.
21Keep their words always in your heart. Tie them around your neck.
22When you walk, their counsel will lead you. When you sleep, they will protect you. When you wake up, they will advise you.
23For their command is a lamp and their instruction a light; their corrective discipline is the way to life.
24It will keep you from the immoral woman, from the smooth tongue of a promiscuous woman.
25Don’t lust for her beauty. Don’t let her coy glances seduce you.
26For a prostitute will bring you to poverty, but sleeping with another man’s wife will cost you your life.
27Can a man scoop a flame into his lap and not have his clothes catch on fire?
28Can he walk on hot coals and not blister his feet?
29So it is with the man who sleeps with another man’s wife. He who embraces her will not go unpunished.
30Excuses might be found for a thief who steals because he is starving.
31But if he is caught, he must pay back seven times what he stole, even if he has to sell everything in his house.
32But the man who commits adultery is an utter fool, for he destroys himself.
33He will be wounded and disgraced. His shame will never be erased.
34For the woman’s jealous husband will be furious, and he will show no mercy when he takes revenge.
35He will accept no compensation, nor be satisfied with a payoff of any size.
“There will be days where you’re exhausted and confused. Press on.”~TB
Nothing great is ever easy. The life of a Christian is not without its challenges. When you’re weary, tired, and feeling defeated, don’t give up! If you stumble and fall, get up. Though your trials are not without merit, take comfort that your fate is not of the Apostle Paul.
When you’re struggling, remember who made you. Remember who redeems you. Remember who already won the battle. You’re not pressing on for His sake, but for yours! Don’t be dismayed, don’t let the opposition trick you into submission. Take a nap, arm yourself in the Truth and press on.
Are you pressed or are you pressing on?
Enjoy the reading
1I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the LORD .”
2And now here we are, standing inside your gates, O Jerusalem.
3Jerusalem is a well-built city; its seamless walls cannot be breached.
4All the tribes of Israel—the LORD ’s people— make their pilgrimage here. They come to give thanks to the name of the LORD, as the law requires of Israel.
5Here stand the thrones where judgment is given, the thrones of the dynasty of David.
6Pray for peace in Jerusalem. May all who love this city prosper.
7O Jerusalem, may there be peace within your walls and prosperity in your palaces.
8For the sake of my family and friends, I will say, “May you have peace.”
9For the sake of the house of the LORD our God, I will seek what is best for you, O Jerusalem.
“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.
“When you don’t have a budget for your own ideas, work, and faith, you are telling God and people that you don’t support what you do, believe, and think, which will have little to no value to people and God.”~ Jon Barnes
Your best efforts are not your thoughts and words, but the actions of your thoughts and words carried out in your daily activities, by faith in God.These motives are carried out because in your heart, you really believe God’s Word and you will pay the cost to follow Him.Being Cheap is not an option.
Using your personal assets to uphold, share, and shine the love of God is a service only you can provide.God will judge how well you manage your assets for Kingdom business and family affairs.Everything else will budget itself in order of priority, proficiency, and efficiency.
The convictions of your good actions come from God and you should act accordingly.Take the time and resources that are needed to start and finish each job and notice the wonderful steps of progress that will occur.You have the budget and the know-how, so get it done.
Did you spend all of your budget on your greedy self, leaving nothing for God?
Enjoy The Reading
Job Continues to Defend His Innocence
17 “My spirit is crushed, and my life is nearly snuffed out. The grave is ready to receive me. 2 I am surrounded by mockers. I watch how bitterly they taunt me.
3 “You must defend my innocence, O God, since no one else will stand up for me. 4 You have closed their minds to understanding, but do not let them triumph. 5 They betray their friends for their own advantage, so let their children faint with hunger.
6 “God has made a mockery of me among the people; they spit in my face. 7 My eyes are swollen with weeping, and I am but a shadow of my former self. 8 The virtuous are horrified when they see me. The innocent rise up against the ungodly. 9 The righteous keep moving forward, and those with clean hands become stronger and stronger.
10 “As for all of you, come back with a better argument, though I still won’t find a wise man among you. 11 My days are over. My hopes have disappeared. My heart’s desires are broken. 12 These men say that night is day; they claim that the darkness is light. 13 What if I go to the grave[a] and make my bed in darkness? 14 What if I call the grave my father, and the maggot my mother or my sister? 15 Where then is my hope? Can anyone find it? 16 No, my hope will go down with me to the grave. We will rest together in the dust!”