“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.”
“I asked students about their opinions of my book that I wrote and why they would like to read it and I was enlightened by their response and overwhelming curiosity to know more about me, their teacher.”~Jon Barnes
I cracked open a box of my book, passed them out to my students and let them read the back cover to learn more about, my past, accomplishments, and future goals.We sat in a circle, reading silently for a few minutes and then we re-read the material aloud, taking turns.
I was able to speak about things, ask questions and answer questions as we read.The feeling in the room was very upbeat and full of discovery, research, and fact-finding about Mr. Barnes, his past, and future.My life is an open book, being read in a classroom to help kids see themselves, find answers, ask questions, and develop new skills of learning, growing, helping, and loving, while learning music.
Because they did such a great job reading, asking questions, and giving me their honest opinions about the experience of having an author/ teacher/ famous musician, business person, and grandparent in their mist, I taught them how to play the drum set.Everyone seems to love beating on the drums, pounding out their problems in life and making some noise with the cymbal crash.Having the power of the sticks, books, and knowledge in your hands can be invigorating.
Are you overwhelmingly curious about God to learn as much as you can from Him by staying in His presence, obeying His directions, and reading about Him as much as possible?
Enjoy The Reading
A psalm of David.
1 The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him. 2 For he laid the earth’s foundation on the seas and built it on the ocean depths.
3 Who may climb the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? 4 Only those whose hands and hearts are pure, who do not worship idols and never tell lies. 5 They will receive the Lord’s blessing and have a right relationship with God their savior. 6 Such people may seek you and worship in your presence, O God of Jacob.[a]Interlude
7 Open up, ancient gates! Open up, ancient doors, and let the King of glory enter. 8 Who is the King of glory? The Lord, strong and mighty; the Lord, invincible in battle. 9 Open up, ancient gates! Open up, ancient doors, and let the King of glory enter. 10 Who is the King of glory? The Lord of Heaven’s Armies— he is the King of glory. Interlude
The balancing of activities is such a joy when you can see the many benefits in doing good, by faith, from the hand of God on your life which is spiritual and not carnal, with no strings attached.” ~ Jon Barnes
Every day will be different so find something new, challenging, and fun to do.Be early for your appointments and when they don’t show up, you will know what to do.Go with it and with God and don’t stress. Work on something else and fix things yourself with your extra time in the day, with the new people you meet.Be glad you have time to move things around and do new things your own way.
Life is a joy, like a big toy and the clock is ticking fast.Enjoy each moment, like you own it since it just might be your last. Oops, it’s gone, there goes your moment, your appointment arrived from the past. Be ready.Your destiny is set when you place your bet on something that doesn’t last. God is the Author and finisher of our fate. Maybe it’s time to know where you really stand before it is too Late.
Now is the time to open up your Bible and learn more about life.Study the patterns, memorize the stories, and know everything in sight.Take a look and start to cook with the fresh ingredients that are all there.God has given you enough to feed on to arrive and become an heir. I enjoy writing a little poetry from time to time.
Is it natural for you to be spiritually cool, learning about God, and balancing your life?
Enjoy The Reading
1 Chronicles 24
Duties of the Priests
24 This is how Aaron’s descendants, the priests, were divided into groups for service. The sons of Aaron were Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar.2 But Nadab and Abihu died before their father, and they had no sons. So only Eleazar and Ithamar were left to carry on as priests.
3 With the help of Zadok, who was a descendant of Eleazar, and of Ahimelech, who was a descendant of Ithamar, David divided Aaron’s descendants into groups according to their various duties.4 Eleazar’s descendants were divided into sixteen groups and Ithamar’s into eight, for there were more family leaders among the descendants of Eleazar.
5 All tasks were assigned to the various groups by means of sacred lots so that no preference would be shown, for there were many qualified officials serving God in the sanctuary from among the descendants of both Eleazar and Ithamar.6 Shemaiah son of Nethanel, a Levite, acted as secretary and wrote down the names and assignments in the presence of the king, the officials, Zadok the priest, Ahimelech son of Abiathar, and the family leaders of the priests and Levites. The descendants of Eleazar and Ithamar took turns casting lots.
7 The first lot fell to Jehoiarib. The second lot fell to Jedaiah. 8 The third lot fell to Harim. The fourth lot fell to Seorim. 9 The fifth lot fell to Malkijah. The sixth lot fell to Mijamin. 10 The seventh lot fell to Hakkoz. The eighth lot fell to Abijah. 11 The ninth lot fell to Jeshua. The tenth lot fell to Shecaniah. 12 The eleventh lot fell to Eliashib. The twelfth lot fell to Jakim. 13 The thirteenth lot fell to Huppah. The fourteenth lot fell to Jeshebeab. 14 The fifteenth lot fell to Bilgah. The sixteenth lot fell to Immer. 15 The seventeenth lot fell to Hezir. The eighteenth lot fell to Happizzez. 16 The nineteenth lot fell to Pethahiah. The twentieth lot fell to Jehezkel. 17 The twenty-first lot fell to Jakin. The twenty-second lot fell to Gamul. 18 The twenty-third lot fell to Delaiah. The twenty-fourth lot fell to Maaziah.
19 Each group carried out its appointed duties in the house of the Lord according to the procedures established by their ancestor Aaron in obedience to the commands of the Lord, the God of Israel.
Family Leaders among the Levites
20 These were the other family leaders descended from Levi:
From the descendants of Amram, the leader was Shebuel.[a] From the descendants of Shebuel, the leader was Jehdeiah. 21 From the descendants of Rehabiah, the leader was Isshiah. 22 From the descendants of Izhar, the leader was Shelomith.[b] From the descendants of Shelomith, the leader was Jahath. 23 From the descendants of Hebron, Jeriah was the leader,[c] Amariah was second, Jahaziel was third, and Jekameam was fourth. 24 From the descendants of Uzziel, the leader was Micah. From the descendants of Micah, the leader was Shamir,25 along with Isshiah, the brother of Micah. From the descendants of Isshiah, the leader was Zechariah. 26 From the descendants of Merari, the leaders were Mahli and Mushi. From the descendants of Jaaziah, the leader was Beno. 27 From the descendants of Merari through Jaaziah, the leaders were Beno, Shoham, Zaccur, and Ibri. 28 From the descendants of Mahli, the leader was Eleazar, though he had no sons. 29 From the descendants of Kish, the leader was Jerahmeel. 30 From the descendants of Mushi, the leaders were Mahli, Eder, and Jerimoth.
These were the descendants of Levi in their various families.31 Like the descendants of Aaron, they were assigned to their duties by means of sacred lots, without regard to age or rank. Lots were drawn in the presence of King David, Zadok, Ahimelech, and the family leaders of the priests and the Levites.
“Know your boundaries and limits, since there are things you should never touch, consider, or think about!”~Jon Barnes
It is a waste of time listening and debating God’s Good information with evil people. Understanding and wisdom comes with learning, knowing, and applying God’s Word to live fruitful, productive lives. My questions are directed towards God and the study of who He is, what He thinks, How I should behave, where I should live, when I should move, and why I need to know biblical content and stories.
It is good to use good information accurately to help benefit others rather than for selfish gain, power, or lust, causing grief and deception. Wisdom and understanding biblical content helps us to share and apply knowledge from God, to defeat evil. However, God is a very shrewd business man towards good and evil deeds, making people reap what they have sown.
God knows the answer to every question, before He ask it. It is wise to remember that you pray, walk, talk, and have access to God, who has all power, wisdom, knowledge, resources, and love. Continue in the way of God’s grace and mercy to learn, live, grow, and share His love to grow and multiply your fruit.
Why would you touch, do, say, think, or eat something that could kill you forever, by not following God’s directions?
Enjoy Today’s Reading
The Man and Woman Sin
3 The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the Lord God had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?”
2 “Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,” the woman replied.3 “It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.’”
4 “You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman.5 “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.”
6 The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too.7 At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves.
8 When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man[a] and his wife heard the Lord God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the Lord God among the trees.9 Then the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
10 He replied, “I heard you walking in the garden, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked.”
11 “Who told you that you were naked?” the Lord God asked. “Have you eaten from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat?”
12 The man replied, “It was the woman you gave me who gave me the fruit, and I ate it.”
13 Then the Lord God asked the woman, “What have you done?”
“The serpent deceived me,” she replied. “That’s why I ate it.”
14 Then the Lord God said to the serpent,
“Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all animals, domestic and wild. You will crawl on your belly, groveling in the dust as long as you live. 15 And I will cause hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike[b] your head, and you will strike his heel.”
16 Then he said to the woman,
“I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy, and in pain you will give birth. And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you.[c]”
17 And to the man he said,
“Since you listened to your wife and ate from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat, the ground is cursed because of you. All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it. 18 It will grow thorns and thistles for you, though you will eat of its grains. 19 By the sweat of your brow will you have food to eat until you return to the ground from which you were made. For you were made from dust, and to dust you will return.”
Paradise Lost: God’s Judgment
20 Then the man—Adam—named his wife Eve, because she would be the mother of all who live.[d]21 And the Lord God made clothing from animal skins for Adam and his wife.
22 Then the Lord God said, “Look, the human beings[e] have become like us, knowing both good and evil. What if they reach out, take fruit from the tree of life, and eat it? Then they will live forever!”23 So the Lord God banished them from the Garden of Eden, and he sent Adam out to cultivate the ground from which he had been made.24 After sending them out, the Lord God stationed mighty cherubim to the east of the Garden of Eden. And he placed a flaming sword that flashed back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.