“In order to embark on a lifelong journey with Christ, you have to accept that growth will always be a constant endeavor.”
Whether you’ve been walking with God for 3 months or 30 years, there will always be something He can teach you. God’s lessons are infinite and everlasting, which means we will spend our lifetime learning and still not know everything. Fortunately for us, He is patient and kind, tipping the scale for His children.
We stop learning when we begin to (foolishly) believe we know more than everyone else. Friends, that is simply not so. Even the wisest can still be humbled by a child or even a donkey! Of course, pride is human nature, which is why we have to be vigilant in our behaviors, practicing humility by asking God to reveal our next lessons. When you stop to ask Him for new lesson plans, He will bless you with a deeper understanding drawing you closer to Him.
Do you still think you’re the smartest person in the room?
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1 “Here is the list of the tribes of Israel and the territory each is to receive. The territory of Dan is in the extreme north. Its boundary line follows the Hethlon road to Lebo-hamath and then runs on to Hazar-enan on the border of Damascus, with Hamath to the north. Dan’s territory extends all the way across the land of Israel from east to west. 2 “Asher’s territory lies south of Dan’s and also extends from east to west. 3 Naphtali’s land lies south of Asher’s, also extending from east to west. 4 Then comes Manasseh south of Naphtali, and its territory also extends from east to west. 5 South of Manasseh is Ephraim, 6 and then Reuben, 7 and then Judah, all of whose boundaries extend from east to west. 8 “South of Judah is the land set aside for a special purpose. It will be 8 miles wide and will extend as far east and west as the tribal territories, with the Temple at the center. 9 “The area set aside for the LORD ’s Temple will be 8 miles long and 6 miles wide. 10 For the priests there will be a strip of land measuring 8 miles long by 3 miles wide, with the LORD ’s Temple at the center. 11 This area is set aside for the ordained priests, the descendants of Zadok who served me faithfully and did not go astray with the people of Israel and the rest of the Levites. 12 It will be their special portion when the land is distributed, the most sacred land of all. Next to the priests’ territory will lie the land where the other Levites will live. 13 “The land allotted to the Levites will be the same size and shape as that belonging to the priests—8 miles long and 3 miles wide. Together these portions of land will measure 8 miles long by 6 miles wide. 14 None of this special land may ever be sold or traded or used by others, for it belongs to the LORD ; it is set apart as holy. 15 “An additional strip of land 8 miles long by 1 miles wide, south of the sacred Temple area, will be allotted for public use—homes, pasturelands, and common lands, with a city at the center. 16 The city will measure 1 miles on each side—north, south, east, and west. 17 Open lands will surround the city for 150 yards in every direction. 18 Outside the city there will be a farming area that stretches 3 miles to the east and 3 miles to the west along the border of the sacred area. This farmland will produce food for the people working in the city. 19 Those who come from the various tribes to work in the city may farm it. 20 This entire area—including the sacred lands and the city—is a square that measures 8 miles on each side. 21 “The areas that remain, to the east and to the west of the sacred lands and the city, will belong to the prince. Each of these areas will be 8 miles wide, extending in opposite directions to the eastern and western borders of Israel, with the sacred lands and the sanctuary of the Temple in the center. 22 So the prince’s land will include everything between the territories allotted to Judah and Benjamin, except for the areas set aside for the sacred lands and the city. 23 “These are the territories allotted to the rest of the tribes. Benjamin’s territory lies just south of the prince’s lands, and it extends across the entire land of Israel from east to west. 24 South of Benjamin’s territory lies that of Simeon, also extending across the land from east to west. 25 Next is the territory of Issachar with the same eastern and western boundaries. 26 “Then comes the territory of Zebulun, which also extends across the land from east to west. 27 The territory of Gad is just south of Zebulun with the same borders to the east and west. 28 The southern border of Gad runs from Tamar to the waters of Meribah at Kadesh and then follows the Brook of Egypt to the Mediterranean. 29 “These are the allotments that will be set aside for each tribe’s exclusive possession. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken! 30 “These will be the exits to the city: On the north wall, which is 1 miles long, 31 there will be three gates, each one named after a tribe of Israel. The first will be named for Reuben, the second for Judah, and the third for Levi. 32 On the east wall, also 1 miles long, the gates will be named for Joseph, Benjamin, and Dan. 33 The south wall, also 1 miles long, will have gates named for Simeon, Issachar, and Zebulun. 34 And on the west wall, also 1 miles long, the gates will be named for Gad, Asher, and Naphtali. 35 “The distance around the entire city will be 6 miles. And from that day the name of the city will be ‘The LORD Is There.’ ”
“It’s foolish to believe that you’ll know God if your life is consumed with ungodly pursuits.”
We are what we consume– spiritually, physically, mentally, and all of the above. If you’re consumed with ingesting the poison that is pumped through our sin-fallen world, that is what you become. If you’re consumed with building a foundational relationship with Christ, that is what you find. But friends, don’t kid yourself by saying you’re trying to ‘find God’ while participating in activities and events where God is absent. You’re only fooling yourself. God knows His children and they know Him. If you don’t know Him, then He doesn’t know you. There is no in-between.
A fallen lifestyle brings a congestion of issues, clogging up your spiritual arteries because you’ve spent a lifetime ingesting sinful behaviors. A polluted spirit cannot discern real from the fake, Christ from evil. If you examine your life, you can tell the difference. God is not the author of confusion and those who are His do not suffer from clogged spiritual arteries. If you suffer from the congestion of the opposition, it’s time to ask God for a spiritual operation. Fortunately for us, the only thing we need to do is repent, turn from our wicked ways, and ask for salvation.
What are you consuming?
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1 “Son of man, prophesy against Gog. Give him this message from the Sovereign LORD : I am your enemy, O Gog, ruler of the nations of Meshech and Tubal. 2 I will turn you around and drive you toward the mountains of Israel, bringing you from the distant north. 3 I will knock the bow from your left hand and the arrows from your right hand, and I will leave you helpless. 4 You and your army and your allies will all die on the mountains. I will feed you to the vultures and wild animals. 5 You will fall in the open fields, for I have spoken, says the Sovereign LORD . 6 And I will rain down fire on Magog and on all your allies who live safely on the coasts. Then they will know that I am the LORD . 7 “In this way, I will make known my holy name among my people of Israel. I will not let anyone bring shame on it. And the nations, too, will know that I am the LORD, the Holy One of Israel. 8 That day of judgment will come, says the Sovereign LORD . Everything will happen just as I have declared it. 9 “Then the people in the towns of Israel will go out and pick up your small and large shields, bows and arrows, javelins and spears, and they will use them for fuel. There will be enough to last them seven years! 10 They won’t need to cut wood from the fields or forests, for these weapons will give them all the fuel they need. They will plunder those who planned to plunder them, and they will rob those who planned to rob them, says the Sovereign LORD . 11 “And I will make a vast graveyard for Gog and his hordes in the Valley of the Travelers, east of the Dead Sea. It will block the way of those who travel there, and they will change the name of the place to the Valley of Gog’s Hordes. 12 It will take seven months for the people of Israel to bury the bodies and cleanse the land. 13 Everyone in Israel will help, for it will be a glorious victory for Israel when I demonstrate my glory on that day, says the Sovereign LORD . 14 “After seven months, teams of men will be appointed to search the land for skeletons to bury, so the land will be made clean again. 15 Whenever bones are found, a marker will be set up so the burial crews will take them to be buried in the Valley of Gog’s Hordes. 16 (There will be a town there named Hamonah, which means ‘horde.’) And so the land will finally be cleansed. 17 “And now, son of man, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Call all the birds and wild animals. Say to them: Gather together for my great sacrificial feast. Come from far and near to the mountains of Israel, and there eat flesh and drink blood! 18 Eat the flesh of mighty men and drink the blood of princes as though they were rams, lambs, goats, and bulls—all fattened animals from Bashan! 19 Gorge yourselves with flesh until you are glutted; drink blood until you are drunk. This is the sacrificial feast I have prepared for you. 20 Feast at my banquet table—feast on horses and charioteers, on mighty men and all kinds of valiant warriors, says the Sovereign LORD . 21 “In this way, I will demonstrate my glory to the nations. Everyone will see the punishment I have inflicted on them and the power of my fist when I strike. 22 And from that time on the people of Israel will know that I am the LORD their God. 23 The nations will then know why Israel was sent away to exile—it was punishment for sin, for they were unfaithful to their God. Therefore, I turned away from them and let their enemies destroy them. 24 I turned my face away and punished them because of their defilement and their sins. 25 “So now, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will end the captivity of my people ; I will have mercy on all Israel, for I jealously guard my holy reputation! 26 They will accept responsibility for their past shame and unfaithfulness after they come home to live in peace in their own land, with no one to bother them. 27 When I bring them home from the lands of their enemies, I will display my holiness among them for all the nations to see. 28 Then my people will know that I am the LORD their God, because I sent them away to exile and brought them home again. I will leave none of my people behind. 29 And I will never again turn my face from them, for I will pour out my Spirit upon the people of Israel. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken!”
“Spend time with God on your own, so that you can share His Word with your brothers and sisters in real life.”
God is real and desires for us to know Him. However, we must allocate real time to forge that relationship. Like getting to know your spouse, friend, and family, time and active participation is necessary to walk with God. Unlike humans, He is patient, forgiving and perfect, so no need to worry about Him letting you down. One of the best things we can do with the time we spend with God is to share the lessons learned with our brothers and sisters.
When we make a point of spending time with God, it becomes easier and natural to find Him in all areas of our lives. This world is topsy turvy, which is why as children of Christ, we must encourage one another with the Word. Last week I was talking with my sister about life’s happenings and as we caught up with one another, our conversation led to God, the Word, and how it applies in both of our lives. After our chat, we were both encouraged and learned from one another. That’s because as the body of Christ, God uses us to demonstrate His sovereignty. Walk with Him daily and see how He leads you in real time.
Are you seeking Christ in real time?
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1 Then this message came to me from the LORD : 2 “Son of man, prophesy against the false prophets of Israel who are inventing their own prophecies. Say to them, ‘Listen to the word of the LORD . 3 This is what the Sovereign LORD says: What sorrow awaits the false prophets who are following their own imaginations and have seen nothing at all!’ 4 “O people of Israel, these prophets of yours are like jackals digging in the ruins. 5 They have done nothing to repair the breaks in the walls around the nation. They have not helped it to stand firm in battle on the day of the LORD . 6 Instead, they have told lies and made false predictions. They say, ‘This message is from the LORD,’ even though the LORD never sent them. And yet they expect him to fulfill their prophecies! 7 Can your visions be anything but false if you claim, ‘This message is from the LORD,’ when I have not even spoken to you? 8 “Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Because what you say is false and your visions are a lie, I will stand against you, says the Sovereign LORD . 9 I will raise my fist against all the prophets who see false visions and make lying predictions, and they will be banished from the community of Israel. I will blot their names from Israel’s record books, and they will never again set foot in their own land. Then you will know that I am the Sovereign LORD . 10 “This will happen because these evil prophets deceive my people by saying, ‘All is peaceful’ when there is no peace at all! It’s as if the people have built a flimsy wall, and these prophets are trying to reinforce it by covering it with whitewash! 11 Tell these whitewashers that their wall will soon fall down. A heavy rainstorm will undermine it; great hailstones and mighty winds will knock it down. 12 And when the wall falls, the people will cry out, ‘What happened to your whitewash?’ 13 “Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will sweep away your whitewashed wall with a storm of indignation, with a great flood of anger, and with hailstones of fury. 14 I will break down your wall right to its foundation, and when it falls, it will crush you. Then you will know that I am the LORD . 15 At last my anger against the wall and those who covered it with whitewash will be satisfied. Then I will say to you: ‘The wall and those who whitewashed it are both gone. 16 They were lying prophets who claimed peace would come to Jerusalem when there was no peace. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken!’ 17 “Now, son of man, speak out against the women who prophesy from their own imaginations. 18 This is what the Sovereign LORD says: What sorrow awaits you women who are ensnaring the souls of my people, young and old alike. You tie magic charms on their wrists and furnish them with magic veils. Do you think you can trap others without bringing destruction on yourselves? 19 You bring shame on me among my people for a few handfuls of barley or a piece of bread. By lying to my people who love to listen to lies, you kill those who should not die, and you promise life to those who should not live. 20 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am against all your magic charms, which you use to ensnare my people like birds. I will tear them from your arms, setting my people free like birds set free from a cage. 21 I will tear off the magic veils and save my people from your grasp. They will no longer be your victims. Then you will know that I am the LORD . 22 You have discouraged the righteous with your lies, but I didn’t want them to be sad. And you have encouraged the wicked by promising them life, even though they continue in their sins. 23 Because of all this, you will no longer talk of seeing visions that you never saw, nor will you make predictions. For I will rescue my people from your grasp. Then you will know that I am the LORD .”
“Remember the mission statement God has given you through His Prophets and enjoy the service you share with others and their future blessing from being obedient to God.”~Jon Barnes
Remember that someone told you about God and that you had to repent, follow God, and get to work. This is never an easy message because the devil that is inside of people will want to kill the messenger to kill the message. Many people just want to do what they wish to live in their sin and abyss.
The message of God from the prophets never changes as their actions still remain the same both for the prophets of God and the evil people who follow satan. The Irony is that all Christians are God’s prophets who repent, live for God and tell about the love of God and His desire to bless His Children.
However, notice in the sight of God’s prophecy and reality flow together, because with God time doesn’t matter! Time is stuck within God’s Hands, like all things in the Universe and every human. God’s song is the same old story of love, creation, and provision of sharing His Story.
Can you now see Jesus Christ from the Beginning of all things and into the future and that your mission of love should be consistent with God throughout the Bible?
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Jeremiah Threatened With Death
26 Early in the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah, this word came from the Lord: 2 “This is what the Lord says: Stand in the courtyard of the Lord’s house and speak to all the people of the towns of Judah who come to worship in the house of the Lord. Tell them everything I command you; do not omit a word.3 Perhaps they will listen and each will turn from their evil ways. Then I will relent and not inflict on them the disaster I was planning because of the evil they have done.4 Say to them, ‘This is what the Lord says: If you do not listen to me and follow my law, which I have set before you,5 and if you do not listen to the words of my servants the prophets, whom I have sent to you again and again (though you have not listened),6 then I will make this house like Shiloh and this city a curse[a] among all the nations of the earth.’”
7 The priests, the prophets and all the people heard Jeremiah speak these words in the house of the Lord.8 But as soon as Jeremiah finished telling all the people everything the Lord had commanded him to say, the priests, the prophets and all the people seized him and said, “You must die!9 Why do you prophesy in the Lord’s name that this house will be like Shiloh and this city will be desolate and deserted?” And all the people crowded around Jeremiah in the house of the Lord.
10 When the officials of Judah heard about these things, they went up from the royal palace to the house of the Lord and took their places at the entrance of the New Gate of the Lord’s house.11 Then the priests and the prophets said to the officials and all the people, “This man should be sentenced to death because he has prophesied against this city. You have heard it with your own ears!”
12 Then Jeremiah said to all the officials and all the people: “The Lord sent me to prophesy against this house and this city all the things you have heard.13 Now reform your ways and your actions and obey the Lord your God. Then the Lord will relent and not bring the disaster he has pronounced against you.14 As for me, I am in your hands; do with me whatever you think is good and right.15 Be assured, however, that if you put me to death, you will bring the guilt of innocent blood on yourselves and on this city and on those who live in it, for in truth the Lord has sent me to you to speak all these words in your hearing.”
16 Then the officials and all the people said to the priests and the prophets, “This man should not be sentenced to death! He has spoken to us in the name of the Lord our God.”
17 Some of the elders of the land stepped forward and said to the entire assembly of people,18 “Micah of Moresheth prophesied in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah. He told all the people of Judah, ‘This is what the Lord Almighty says:
“‘Zion will be plowed like a field,
Jerusalem will become a heap of rubble,
the temple hill a mound overgrown with thickets.’[b]
19 “Did Hezekiah king of Judah or anyone else in Judah put him to death? Did not Hezekiah fear the Lord and seek his favor? And did not the Lord relent, so that he did not bring the disaster he pronounced against them? We are about to bring a terrible disaster on ourselves!”
20 (Now Uriah son of Shemaiah from Kiriath Jearim was another man who prophesied in the name of the Lord; he prophesied the same things against this city and this land as Jeremiah did.21 When King Jehoiakim and all his officers and officials heard his words, the king was determined to put him to death. But Uriah heard of it and fled in fear to Egypt.22 King Jehoiakim, however, sent Elnathan son of Akbor to Egypt, along with some other men.23 They brought Uriah out of Egypt and took him to King Jehoiakim, who had him struck down with a sword and his body thrown into the burial place of the common people.)
24 Furthermore, Ahikam son of Shaphan supported Jeremiah, and so he was not handed over to the people to be put to death.
“There is but only ONE God who sets all of the planets everywhere, who moves at will with a twinkle of an eye, and who knows all things, can see anything, and can do everything, without any of our help.” ~ Jon Barnes
Since God is smart enough to create everything, including you, He also created the day that you will die. This is a sobering thought because God is infinitely smarter than you and I. You would be smart to stay prepared. Learn to honor God, your Heavenly Father, like you should honor your own father and notice how much more God will bless you. Do not copy the ways of evil fathers who do not take care of their own children. God is not a dead-beat dad!!!
God has given me more blessings, time, energy, skills, opportunities, and stuff to do than I could ever hope for and I am thankful for the challenges. I can see my own growth and improvements. When you respect the little things and the few commandments that God has given us to do (The 10 Commandments), then, God will give you the fine line of spiritual success that is not measurable with money, power, or the carnal mind. Heaven can not be imagined with the carnal mind, but the spiritual mind can relate because it is connected to the Mind of God!
Yes, I am smiling as I write this because God is really cool to hang out with. Imagine hanging out with your biological father and enjoying the day, the walk, the fun, the work, and other activities and benefits of having a cool dad to talk with and ask questions. Now imagine, growing up without a father. Which would you prefer? I am fine with your option and choice to recognize, honor, and follow in the footsteps of your Father, God to teach the next generation about true family values and traditions.
Since the strength of Love allows you to choose your own destiny, will you do the work to stay connected with your Heavenly Father, or are you missing in action as many fathers are today?
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Jesus, the Way to the Father
14 “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. 2 There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?3 When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.4 And you know the way to where I am going.”
5 “No, we don’t know, Lord,” Thomas said. “We have no idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.7 If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is. From now on, you do know him and have seen him!”
8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.”
9 Jesus replied, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don’t know who I am? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! So why are you asking me to show him to you?10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I speak are not my own, but my Father who lives in me does his work through me.11 Just believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Or at least believe because of the work you have seen me do.
12 “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.13 You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father.14 Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!
Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit
15 “If you love me, obey my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you.17 He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.18 No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you.19 Soon the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Since I live, you also will live.20 When I am raised to life again, you will know that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.21 Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them.”
22 Judas (not Judas Iscariot, but the other disciple with that name) said to him, “Lord, why are you going to reveal yourself only to us and not to the world at large?”
23 Jesus replied, “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them.24 Anyone who doesn’t love me will not obey me. And remember, my words are not my own. What I am telling you is from the Father who sent me.25 I am telling you these things now while I am still with you.26 But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.
27 “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.28 Remember what I told you: I am going away, but I will come back to you again. If you really loved me, you would be happy that I am going to the Father, who is greater than I am.29 I have told you these things before they happen so that when they do happen, you will believe.
30 “I don’t have much more time to talk to you, because the ruler of this world approaches. He has no power over me,31 but I will do what the Father requires of me, so that the world will know that I love the Father. Come, let’s be going.
“It is a fantastic feeling when people tell you that your children and grandchildren are doing a great job honoring God with their good work, lifestyles, and choices.” ~ Jon Barnes
You can rejoice, laugh, and smile after you have put in all of the hard work, sweat, and tears of joy while working in the trenches by yourself because your family will copy you and make you proud. The quality of work put in your obedience to God will give you great success with Jesus our Lord! Laugh and be thankful. Others may join you with your good cheer or frown in the sorrow of their laziness of love.
Since people really understand God’s Truth, notice how many will poke holes at your belief system, God’s Word, and your lifestyle. Evil people will always find ways to change God’s laws to benefit their evil lifestyle, which is the very reason that they know the biblical stories better than you good people. This is their normal, so smile and be resourceful with few words and lots of spiritual action ordained by God in your personal obedience with God’s Love and Spirit. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist, but you must be honest with God.
People who talk less and do more tend to be more likable, effective, honest, and to the point. God loves the truthful simplicity of love, life, and spiritual growth. Strive to carry the character and characteristics of Christ in your life so that God likes what you are doing. He knows how to bless you beyond your wildest imagination so that you don’t have to build an empire or legacy of proof. Having God on your side is all the empire, legacy, money, and love that you’ll ever need. How fantastic is that?
Can you live a fantastic life with the hope of eternal salvation with lies, fake news, and false hopes in your own fanciful, man-made, makeshift belief system?
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Jesus Anointed at Bethany
12 Six days before the Passover celebration began, Jesus arrived in Bethany, the home of Lazarus—the man he had raised from the dead. 2 A dinner was prepared in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, and Lazarus was among those who ate with him.3 Then Mary took a twelve-ounce jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard, and she anointed Jesus’ feet with it, wiping his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance.
4 But Judas Iscariot, the disciple who would soon betray him, said,5 “That perfume was worth a year’s wages. It should have been sold and the money given to the poor.”6 Not that he cared for the poor—he was a thief, and since he was in charge of the disciples’ money, he often stole some for himself.
7 Jesus replied, “Leave her alone. She did this in preparation for my burial.8 You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”
9 When all the people heard of Jesus’ arrival, they flocked to see him and also to see Lazarus, the man Jesus had raised from the dead.10 Then the leading priests decided to kill Lazarus, too,11 for it was because of him that many of the people had deserted them and believed in Jesus.
Jesus’ Triumphant Entry
12 The next day, the news that Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem swept through the city. A large crowd of Passover visitors 13 took palm branches and went down the road to meet him. They shouted,
Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hail to the King of Israel!”
14 Jesus found a young donkey and rode on it, fulfilling the prophecy that said:
15 “Don’t be afraid, people of Jerusalem.
Look, your King is coming,
riding on a donkey’s colt.”
16 His disciples didn’t understand at the time that this was a fulfillment of prophecy. But after Jesus entered into his glory, they remembered what had happened and realized that these things had been written about him.
17 Many in the crowd had seen Jesus call Lazarus from the tomb, raising him from the dead, and they were telling others about it.18 That was the reason so many went out to meet him—because they had heard about this miraculous sign.19 Then the Pharisees said to each other, “There’s nothing we can do. Look, everyone has gone after him!”
Jesus Predicts His Death
20 Some Greeks who had come to Jerusalem for the Passover celebration 21 paid a visit to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee. They said, “Sir, we want to meet Jesus.”22 Philip told Andrew about it, and they went together to ask Jesus.
23 Jesus replied, “Now the time has come for the Son of Man to enter into his glory.24 I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives.25 Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity.26 Anyone who wants to serve me must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me.
27 “Now my soul is deeply troubled. Should I pray, ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But this is the very reason I came!28 Father, bring glory to your name.”
Then a voice spoke from heaven, saying, “I have already brought glory to my name, and I will do so again.” 29 When the crowd heard the voice, some thought it was thunder, while others declared an angel had spoken to him.
30 Then Jesus told them, “The voice was for your benefit, not mine.31 The time for judging this world has come, when Satan, the ruler of this world, will be cast out.32 And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.”33 He said this to indicate how he was going to die.
34 The crowd responded, “We understood from Scripture that the Messiah would live forever. How can you say the Son of Man will die? Just who is this Son of Man, anyway?”
35 Jesus replied, “My light will shine for you just a little longer. Walk in the light while you can, so the darkness will not overtake you. Those who walk in the darkness cannot see where they are going.36 Put your trust in the light while there is still time; then you will become children of the light.”
After saying these things, Jesus went away and was hidden from them.
The Unbelief of the People
37 But despite all the miraculous signs Jesus had done, most of the people still did not believe in him. 38 This is exactly what Isaiah the prophet had predicted:
“Lord, who has believed our message?
To whom has the Lord revealed his powerful arm?”
39 But the people couldn’t believe, for as Isaiah also said,
40 “The Lord has blinded their eyes
and hardened their hearts—
so that their eyes cannot see,
and their hearts cannot understand,
and they cannot turn to me
and have me heal them.”
41 Isaiah was referring to Jesus when he said this, because he saw the future and spoke of the Messiah’s glory.42 Many people did believe in him, however, including some of the Jewish leaders. But they wouldn’t admit it for fear that the Pharisees would expel them from the synagogue.43 For they loved human praise more than the praise of God.
44 Jesus shouted to the crowds, “If you trust me, you are trusting not only me, but also God who sent me.45 For when you see me, you are seeing the one who sent me.46 I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark.47 I will not judge those who hear me but don’t obey me, for I have come to save the world and not to judge it.48 But all who reject me and my message will be judged on the day of judgment by the truth I have spoken.49 I don’t speak on my own authority. The Father who sent me has commanded me what to say and how to say it.50 And I know his commands lead to eternal life; so I say whatever the Father tells me to say.”
“Don’t allow past experiences and events contaminate a growing relationship with God.”~TB
The world can be a scary and traumatic place, where vulnerable innocent people endure unjust hardships. There is no denying that the human experience can be awful. Some of you have deep wounds, committed by those who were supposed to care for you. Some of those very people probably hid behind ‘religion’, trying to cover up their horrendous practices and abuse. They will be judged and dealt with. Friends, don’t allow the transgressions and evil deeds of others taint your understanding of the Lord. False Christians are exactly that, false. In order to heal, you must step out in faith.
No matter your experience, God can and will work within you to heal your wounds and provide you a joyful existence. There are hope and restoration after a destructive beginning. In order to grow with Him, you must let go of the weight of your past. It’s impossible to elevate to the next level when the weight of unforgiveness, shame, and sorrow are tied to you like cement bricks. Friends, give your burdens to God because you can’t handle them on your own. Finish your race victoriously on God’s team.
Are you allowing your experience contaminate your ability to walk with God?
Enjoy the reading
1Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the LORD .
2Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts.
3They do not compromise with evil, and they walk only in his paths.
4You have charged us to keep your commandments carefully.
5Oh, that my actions would consistently reflect your decrees!
6Then I will not be ashamed when I compare my life with your commands.
7As I learn your righteous regulations, I will thank you by living as I should!
8I will obey your decrees. Please don’t give up on me!
9How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word.
10I have tried hard to find you— don’t let me wander from your commands.
11I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
12I praise you, O LORD ; teach me your decrees.
13I have recited aloud all the regulations you have given us.
14I have rejoiced in your laws as much as in riches.
15I will study your commandments and reflect on your ways.
16I will delight in your decrees and not forget your word.
17Be good to your servant, that I may live and obey your word.
18Open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in your instructions.
19I am only a foreigner in the land. Don’t hide your commands from me!
20I am always overwhelmed with a desire for your regulations.
21You rebuke the arrogant; those who wander from your commands are cursed.
22Don’t let them scorn and insult me, for I have obeyed your laws.
23Even princes sit and speak against me, but I will meditate on your decrees.
24Your laws please me; they give me wise advice.
25I lie in the dust; revive me by your word.
26I told you my plans, and you answered. Now teach me your decrees.
27Help me understand the meaning of your commandments, and I will meditate on your wonderful deeds.
28I weep with sorrow; encourage me by your word.
29Keep me from lying to myself; give me the privilege of knowing your instructions.
30I have chosen to be faithful; I have determined to live by your regulations.
31I cling to your laws. LORD, don’t let me be put to shame!
32I will pursue your commands, for you expand my understanding.
33Teach me your decrees, O LORD ; I will keep them to the end.
34Give me understanding and I will obey your instructions; I will put them into practice with all my heart.
35Make me walk along the path of your commands, for that is where my happiness is found.
36Give me an eagerness for your laws rather than a love for money!
37Turn my eyes from worthless things, and give me life through your word.
38Reassure me of your promise, made to those who fear you.
39Help me abandon my shameful ways; for your regulations are good.
40I long to obey your commandments! Renew my life with your goodness.
41LORD, give me your unfailing love, the salvation that you promised me.
42Then I can answer those who taunt me, for I trust in your word.
43Do not snatch your word of truth from me, for your regulations are my only hope.
44I will keep on obeying your instructions forever and ever.
45I will walk in freedom, for I have devoted myself to your commandments.
46I will speak to kings about your laws, and I will not be ashamed.
47How I delight in your commands! How I love them!
48I honor and love your commands. I meditate on your decrees.
49Remember your promise to me; it is my only hope.
50Your promise revives me; it comforts me in all my troubles.
51The proud hold me in utter contempt, but I do not turn away from your instructions.
52I meditate on your age-old regulations; O LORD, they comfort me.
53I become furious with the wicked, because they reject your instructions.
54Your decrees have been the theme of my songs wherever I have lived.
55I reflect at night on who you are, O LORD ; therefore, I obey your instructions.
56This is how I spend my life: obeying your commandments.
57LORD, you are mine! I promise to obey your words!
58With all my heart I want your blessings. Be merciful as you promised.
59I pondered the direction of my life, and I turned to follow your laws.
60I will hurry, without delay, to obey your commands.
61Evil people try to drag me into sin, but I am firmly anchored to your instructions.
62I rise at midnight to thank you for your just regulations.
63I am a friend to anyone who fears you— anyone who obeys your commandments.
64O LORD, your unfailing love fills the earth; teach me your decrees.
65You have done many good things for me, LORD, just as you promised.
66I believe in your commands; now teach me good judgment and knowledge.
67I used to wander off until you disciplined me; but now I closely follow your word.
68You are good and do only good; teach me your decrees.
69Arrogant people smear me with lies, but in truth I obey your commandments with all my heart.
70Their hearts are dull and stupid, but I delight in your instructions.
71My suffering was good for me, for it taught me to pay attention to your decrees.
72Your instructions are more valuable to me than millions in gold and silver.
73You made me; you created me. Now give me the sense to follow your commands.
74May all who fear you find in me a cause for joy, for I have put my hope in your word.
75I know, O LORD, that your regulations are fair; you disciplined me because I needed it.
76Now let your unfailing love comfort me, just as you promised me, your servant.
77Surround me with your tender mercies so I may live, for your instructions are my delight.
78Bring disgrace upon the arrogant people who lied about me; meanwhile, I will concentrate on your commandments.
79Let me be united with all who fear you, with those who know your laws.
80May I be blameless in keeping your decrees; then I will never be ashamed.
81I am worn out waiting for your rescue, but I have put my hope in your word.
82My eyes are straining to see your promises come true. When will you comfort me?
83I am shriveled like a wineskin in the smoke, but I have not forgotten to obey your decrees.
84How long must I wait? When will you punish those who persecute me?
85These arrogant people who hate your instructions have dug deep pits to trap me.
86All your commands are trustworthy. Protect me from those who hunt me down without cause.
87They almost finished me off, but I refused to abandon your commandments.
88In your unfailing love, spare my life; then I can continue to obey your laws.
89Your eternal word, O LORD, stands firm in heaven.
90Your faithfulness extends to every generation, as enduring as the earth you created.
91Your regulations remain true to this day, for everything serves your plans.
92If your instructions hadn’t sustained me with joy, I would have died in my misery.
93I will never forget your commandments, for by them you give me life.
94I am yours; rescue me! For I have worked hard at obeying your commandments.
95Though the wicked hide along the way to kill me, I will quietly keep my mind on your laws.
96Even perfection has its limits, but your commands have no limit.
97Oh, how I love your instructions! I think about them all day long.
98Your commands make me wiser than my enemies, for they are my constant guide.
99Yes, I have more insight than my teachers, for I am always thinking of your laws.
100I am even wiser than my elders, for I have kept your commandments.
101I have refused to walk on any evil path, so that I may remain obedient to your word.
102I haven’t turned away from your regulations, for you have taught me well.
103How sweet your words taste to me; they are sweeter than honey.
104Your commandments give me understanding; no wonder I hate every false way of life.
105Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.
106I’ve promised it once, and I’ll promise it again: I will obey your righteous regulations.
107I have suffered much, O LORD ; restore my life again as you promised.
108LORD, accept my offering of praise, and teach me your regulations.
109My life constantly hangs in the balance, but I will not stop obeying your instructions.
110The wicked have set their traps for me, but I will not turn from your commandments.
111Your laws are my treasure; they are my heart’s delight.
112I am determined to keep your decrees to the very end.
113I hate those with divided loyalties, but I love your instructions.
114You are my refuge and my shield; your word is my source of hope.
115Get out of my life, you evil-minded people, for I intend to obey the commands of my God.
116LORD, sustain me as you promised, that I may live! Do not let my hope be crushed.
117Sustain me, and I will be rescued; then I will meditate continually on your decrees.
118But you have rejected all who stray from your decrees. They are only fooling themselves.
119You skim off the wicked of the earth like scum; no wonder I love to obey your laws!
120I tremble in fear of you; I stand in awe of your regulations.
121Don’t leave me to the mercy of my enemies, for I have done what is just and right.
122Please guarantee a blessing for me. Don’t let the arrogant oppress me!
123My eyes strain to see your rescue, to see the truth of your promise fulfilled.
124I am your servant; deal with me in unfailing love, and teach me your decrees.
125Give discernment to me, your servant; then I will understand your laws.
126LORD, it is time for you to act, for these evil people have violated your instructions.
127Truly, I love your commands more than gold, even the finest gold.
128Each of your commandments is right. That is why I hate every false way.
129Your laws are wonderful. No wonder I obey them!
130The teaching of your word gives light, so even the simple can understand.
131I pant with expectation, longing for your commands.
132Come and show me your mercy, as you do for all who love your name.
133Guide my steps by your word, so I will not be overcome by evil.
134Ransom me from the oppression of evil people; then I can obey your commandments.
135Look upon me with love; teach me your decrees.
136Rivers of tears gush from my eyes because people disobey your instructions.
137O LORD, you are righteous, and your regulations are fair.
138Your laws are perfect and completely trustworthy.
139I am overwhelmed with indignation, for my enemies have disregarded your words.
140Your promises have been thoroughly tested; that is why I love them so much.
141I am insignificant and despised, but I don’t forget your commandments.
142Your justice is eternal, and your instructions are perfectly true.
143As pressure and stress bear down on me, I find joy in your commands.
144Your laws are always right; help me to understand them so I may live.
145I pray with all my heart; answer me, LORD ! I will obey your decrees.
146I cry out to you; rescue me, that I may obey your laws.
147I rise early, before the sun is up; I cry out for help and put my hope in your words.
148I stay awake through the night, thinking about your promise.
149In your faithful love, O LORD, hear my cry; let me be revived by following your regulations.
150Lawless people are coming to attack me; they live far from your instructions.
151But you are near, O LORD, and all your commands are true.
152I have known from my earliest days that your laws will last forever.
153Look upon my suffering and rescue me, for I have not forgotten your instructions.
154Argue my case; take my side! Protect my life as you promised.
155The wicked are far from rescue, for they do not bother with your decrees.
156LORD, how great is your mercy; let me be revived by following your regulations.
157Many persecute and trouble me, yet I have not swerved from your laws.
158Seeing these traitors makes me sick at heart, because they care nothing for your word.
159See how I love your commandments, LORD . Give back my life because of your unfailing love.
160The very essence of your words is truth; all your just regulations will stand forever.
161Powerful people harass me without cause, but my heart trembles only at your word.
162I rejoice in your word like one who discovers a great treasure.
163I hate and abhor all falsehood, but I love your instructions.
164I will praise you seven times a day because all your regulations are just.
165Those who love your instructions have great peace and do not stumble.
166I long for your rescue, LORD, so I have obeyed your commands.
167I have obeyed your laws, for I love them very much.
168Yes, I obey your commandments and laws because you know everything I do.
169O LORD, listen to my cry; give me the discerning mind you promised.
170Listen to my prayer; rescue me as you promised.
171Let praise flow from my lips, for you have taught me your decrees.
172Let my tongue sing about your word, for all your commands are right.
173Give me a helping hand, for I have chosen to follow your commandments.
174O LORD, I have longed for your rescue, and your instructions are my delight.
175Let me live so I can praise you, and may your regulations help me.
176I have wandered away like a lost sheep; come and find me, for I have not forgotten your commands.
“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.
“Let your spouse and children explain what they have learned from you and God will show you how effective your life has been to them.” ~ Jon Barnes
Express your love for God in all that you do so that there is no question about your character and faith in God. The perfect work of love is simple and people all around the world have the same longing for it. If you are a conduit of love, your actions are obvious and in tune with Humanity in God.
Move forward in your love thinking with your time, money, family and work so that your balance with God’s life lessons account for your success right now and in Heaven. Because the path of goodness is lonely, with few people walking thereby, keep the faith as a permanent process God has for your life.
With lots of love, work by yourself and then share what you have learned. Collaborate when you have the wisdom to do so. Otherwise, your distractions may cause you to stumble, stall, and ultimately fail. People must buy their own oil to be ready for God and the Love He can only give. Let your work be to the Will of God and not your own thoughts.
Did you let the Will of God move you today and can you see the fruit from your continued obedience or are you frustrated, busted, and discussed?
Enjoy The Reading
For the choir director: A psalm of David.
1 Only fools say in their hearts, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, and their actions are evil; not one of them does good!
2 The Lord looks down from heaven on the entire human race; he looks to see if anyone is truly wise, if anyone seeks God. 3 But no, all have turned away; all have become corrupt.[a] No one does good, not a single one!
4 Will those who do evil never learn? They eat up my people like bread and wouldn’t think of praying to the Lord. 5 Terror will grip them, for God is with those who obey him. 6 The wicked frustrate the plans of the oppressed, but the Lord will protect his people.
7 Who will come from Mount Zion to rescue Israel? When the Lord restores his people, Jacob will shout with joy, and Israel will rejoice.
“Saying no to idiots with deflection, intervention, prevention, preparation, kindness, a gift, and love is wisdom from God’s Word.” ~ Jon Barnes
It is impossible to give a gift of love when there is no LOVE in your heart. People who destroy themselves cannot love someone else. Honestly look to see how people treat themselves and how they care for their children, family, and other people in the same manner. When a person is selfish, they will treat their children like slaves. Separating yourself from fools and their foolishness is a gift from God for you to share with your family first.
A person who teaches and rewards their children for good work will gain a lifelong friend full of wisdom and understanding to improve upon their parent’s lessons in life. People who teach their children how to fight with The Word of God, simply live by the truth and not with an attitude. Copy this model from God and teach others by examples success in your life lessons.
Negotiation skills are a gift from God, but wisdom teaches you how to avoid the pitfalls of pitiful thinkers. After you have spoken the truth, walk away and let God do the rest. Be the truth and you will always do your best. Stay with God and accept nothing less. Stop asking for handout and advice as if you are needy. Help yourself, buy your obedience to Love, the sowing of good seeds, and properly sharing the harvested oils of wisdom. Your forest of righteousness will nicely grow when you tell other people NO.
Do you think I would be able to accomplish being a good father, loving husband, hard worker, and a man of faith if I said yes to all the dumb things people asked me to do for them and within my lifetime?
Enjoy The Reading
For the choir director: A psalm of David.
1 O Lord, how long will you forget me? Forever? How long will you look the other way? 2 How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul, with sorrow in my heart every day? How long will my enemy have the upper hand?
3 Turn and answer me, O Lord my God! Restore the sparkle to my eyes, or I will die. 4 Don’t let my enemies gloat, saying, “We have defeated him!” Don’t let them rejoice at my downfall.
5 But I trust in your unfailing love. I will rejoice because you have rescued me. 6 I will sing to the Lord because he is good to me.