Wise Counsel

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Keep wise God-fearing counsel around you as they will steer you in the right direction.”

TB

Experience

In this world, there is a spectrum of behaviors we can exhibit. We can do good, bad, and everything in between. Because we are human and imperfect spending time with wise people– those who have years of admirable life experience– to help us on our way. Their years of experience allows them to guide the young to smarter pastures. More to the point, their mistakes can help to avoid similar fates.

Better Sight

The eyes of the wise are clear and sharp thanks to their time with God and years on this earth. Those who have fought the good fight and live on to tell the tale have great stories full of insight. You can tell by the fact that God is within the very fabric of their lives– as He is in all of ours. Friends we live in a world with very many paths and detours. Yet there are two directions. So whoever you spend your time with, make sure their counsel leads you back to the source, in the direction of Christ

Today’s Question

Who do you listen to and which direction are they pointing you to?

Enjoy the reading

Lamentations 4

1 How the gold has lost its luster! Even the finest gold has become dull. The sacred gemstones lie scattered in the streets! 2 See how the precious children of Jerusalem, worth their weight in fine gold, are now treated like pots of clay made by a common potter. 3 Even the jackals feed their young, but not my people Israel. They ignore their children’s cries, like ostriches in the desert. 4 The parched tongues of their little ones stick to the roofs of their mouths in thirst. The children cry for bread, but no one has any to give them. 5 The people who once ate the richest foods now beg in the streets for anything they can get. Those who once wore the finest clothes now search the garbage dumps for food. 6 The guilt of my people is greater than that of Sodom, where utter disaster struck in a moment and no hand offered help. 7 Our princes once glowed with health— brighter than snow, whiter than milk. Their faces were as ruddy as rubies, their appearance like fine jewels. 8 But now their faces are blacker than soot. No one recognizes them in the streets. Their skin sticks to their bones; it is as dry and hard as wood. 9 Those killed by the sword are better off than those who die of hunger. Starving, they waste away for lack of food from the fields. 10 Tenderhearted women have cooked their own children. They have eaten them to survive the siege. 11 But now the anger of the LORD is satisfied. His fierce anger has been poured out. He started a fire in Jerusalem that burned the city to its foundations. 12 Not a king in all the earth— no one in all the world— would have believed that an enemy could march through the gates of Jerusalem. 13 Yet it happened because of the sins of her prophets and the sins of her priests, who defiled the city by shedding innocent blood. 14 They wandered blindly through the streets, so defiled by blood that no one dared touch them. 15 “Get away!” the people shouted at them. “You’re defiled! Don’t touch us!” So they fled to distant lands and wandered among foreign nations, but none would let them stay. 16 The LORD himself has scattered them, and he no longer helps them. People show no respect for the priests and no longer honor the leaders. 17 We looked in vain for our allies to come and save us, but we were looking to nations that could not help us. 18 We couldn’t go into the streets without danger to our lives. Our end was near; our days were numbered. We were doomed! 19 Our enemies were swifter than eagles in flight. If we fled to the mountains, they found us. If we hid in the wilderness, they were waiting for us there. 20 Our king—the LORD ’s anointed, the very life of our nation— was caught in their snares. We had thought that his shadow would protect us against any nation on earth! 21 Are you rejoicing in the land of Uz, O people of Edom? But you, too, must drink from the cup of the LORD ’s anger. You, too, will be stripped naked in your drunkenness. 22 O beautiful Jerusalem, your punishment will end; you will soon return from exile. But Edom, your punishment is just beginning; soon your many sins will be exposed.

One Thing

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Thank God that He does not see us as just one thing.”

~TB

Continuous

Life is a continuous journey that has different acts, seasons, treasons, and reasons, come what may. To that end, I’ve lived long enough to know that we all have various roles in our own stories. There are times where we are the protagonist– the good guy. There are times where we are the antagonist– the bad guy. Hopefully, at some point, you get the memo from God to learn how to find the happy ending to your story–salvation. Even though we wear many different hats in our lives, and the road changes often, we are never just good or bad. Sometimes we win, and sometimes, well… thank God for mercy and grace! My point is, we cannot judge each other as just one thing, one moment in time, or one character. Even further, when you trap a person into one thing, you are trapping yourself to the same fate.

Constant

Because God’s love for us is constant, we can rest assured that as we change, He still loves us no matter which character we are portraying. This means that when we’re on point or when we’re in the gutter, His love remains. In 30 years, I cannot say that I am the same person I was 20 years ago, well, even 2 years ago! I’ve played the protagonist very well, and I’ve had some minor antagonist roles as well. I thank God that He has given me wonderful examples so that my antagonist roles were shorter than they could’ve been. And because I’ve had the grace of being more than one thing, it’s my responsibility to share that grace with you. We all are loved by God in whatever part of the story we’re in. For those who understand this, we must work hard not to judge those who do not. And remember, just because you’re the ‘good guy’, it does not give you license to judge or condemn the ‘bad guy’ because, in life, everyone played every role at least once.

Today’s Question

Are you giving your brothers and sisters the chance to play different roles, or is your judgment better than God’s?

Enjoy the reading

Jeremiah 38

1 Now Shephatiah son of Mattan, Gedaliah son of Pashhur, Jehucal son of Shelemiah, and Pashhur son of Malkijah heard what Jeremiah had been telling the people. He had been saying, 2 “This is what the LORD says: ‘Everyone who stays in Jerusalem will die from war, famine, or disease, but those who surrender to the Babylonians will live. Their reward will be life. They will live!’ 3 The LORD also says: ‘The city of Jerusalem will certainly be handed over to the army of the king of Babylon, who will capture it.’” 4 So these officials went to the king and said, “Sir, this man must die! That kind of talk will undermine the morale of the few fighting men we have left, as well as that of all the people. This man is a traitor!” 5 King Zedekiah agreed. “All right,” he said. “Do as you like. I can’t stop you.” 6 So the officials took Jeremiah from his cell and lowered him by ropes into an empty cistern in the prison yard. It belonged to Malkijah, a member of the royal family. There was no water in the cistern, but there was a thick layer of mud at the bottom, and Jeremiah sank down into it. 7 But Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, an important court official, heard that Jeremiah was in the cistern. At that time the king was holding court at the Benjamin Gate, 8 so Ebed-melech rushed from the palace to speak with him. 9 “My lord the king,” he said, “these men have done a very evil thing in putting Jeremiah the prophet into the cistern. He will soon die of hunger, for almost all the bread in the city is gone.” 10 So the king told Ebed-melech, “Take thirty of my men with you, and pull Jeremiah out of the cistern before he dies.” 11 So Ebed-melech took the men with him and went to a room in the palace beneath the treasury, where he found some old rags and discarded clothing. He carried these to the cistern and lowered them to Jeremiah on a rope. 12 Ebed-melech called down to Jeremiah, “Put these rags under your armpits to protect you from the ropes.” Then when Jeremiah was ready, 13 they pulled him out. So Jeremiah was returned to the courtyard of the guard—the palace prison—where he remained. 14 One day King Zedekiah sent for Jeremiah and had him brought to the third entrance of the LORD ’s Temple. “I want to ask you something,” the king said. “And don’t try to hide the truth.” 15 Jeremiah said, “If I tell you the truth, you will kill me. And if I give you advice, you won’t listen to me anyway.” 16 So King Zedekiah secretly promised him, “As surely as the LORD our Creator lives, I will not kill you or hand you over to the men who want you dead.” 17 Then Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, “This is what the LORD God of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘If you surrender to the Babylonian officers, you and your family will live, and the city will not be burned down. 18 But if you refuse to surrender, you will not escape! This city will be handed over to the Babylonians, and they will burn it to the ground.’” 19 “But I am afraid to surrender,” the king said, “for the Babylonians may hand me over to the Judeans who have defected to them. And who knows what they will do to me!” 20 Jeremiah replied, “You won’t be handed over to them if you choose to obey the LORD . Your life will be spared, and all will go well for you. 21 But if you refuse to surrender, this is what the LORD has revealed to me: 22 All the women left in your palace will be brought out and given to the officers of the Babylonian army. Then the women will taunt you, saying, ‘What fine friends you have! They have betrayed and misled you. When your feet sank in the mud, they left you to your fate!’ 23 All your wives and children will be led out to the Babylonians, and you will not escape. You will be seized by the king of Babylon, and this city will be burned down.” 24 Then Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, “Don’t tell anyone you told me this, or you will die! 25 My officials may hear that I spoke to you, and they may say, ‘Tell us what you and the king were talking about. If you don’t tell us, we will kill you.’ 26 If this happens, just tell them you begged me not to send you back to Jonathan’s dungeon, for fear you would die there.” 27 Sure enough, it wasn’t long before the king’s officials came to Jeremiah and asked him why the king had called for him. But Jeremiah followed the king’s instructions, and they left without finding out the truth. No one had overheard the conversation between Jeremiah and the king. 28 And Jeremiah remained a prisoner in the courtyard of the guard until the day Jerusalem was captured.

Resources

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Resources are meant to be used to grow with Christ, not to replace Him.”~TB

Just Stuff

A major balancing act in the Christian walk is utilizing and appreciating the resources that God gives us without allowing them to take on a god-like persona. If we’re honest, I’m sure we all have had moments where we want God’s ‘stuff’ more than we want Him. I don’t know about you, but for me, that’s a tough pill to swallow because the truth of the matter, money, cars, fame, notoriety are really just stuff. More to the point, wanting stuff more than we want God is quite sad and a major indictment on what we value as a collective. As someone who has experience with first-world niceties, I can say for certain, the best manmade things do not hold a candle to being in the presence of the Lord.

Remain in Him

These days, everything I have is a resource to remain in Christ. My money, time, love, etc. are poured into building my relationships with my family, spending time with God, sharing His Truth with others, and things of the like. That’s not to say I’m perfect, oh, I’m far from it. Over time, I’ve come to learn to hang out with God more, glean His insights, which helps me to make better decisions.  He has shown and taught me how wonderful it is to walk with Him and the resources He gives me are to grow stronger in Him. Friends, we have to evaluate how we look at things. Most of the time, we want ‘stuff’ just to impress others. The things of this world are temporary. We cannot take them with us when we go. But, the relationship we forge with Christ is everlasting, so enjoy the resources, but make sure they point back to Him.

Today’s Question

Do you want God’s resources or God Himself?

Enjoy the reading

Jeremiah 22

1 This is what the LORD said to me: “Go over and speak directly to the king of Judah. Say to him, 
2 ‘Listen to this message from the LORD, you king of Judah, sitting on David’s throne. Let your attendants and your people listen, too. 
3 This is what the LORD says: Be fair-minded and just. Do what is right! Help those who have been robbed; rescue them from their oppressors. Quit your evil deeds! Do not mistreat foreigners, orphans, and widows. Stop murdering the innocent! 
4 If you obey me, there will always be a descendant of David sitting on the throne here in Jerusalem. The king will ride through the palace gates in chariots and on horses, with his parade of attendants and subjects. 
5 But if you refuse to pay attention to this warning, I swear by my own name, says the LORD, that this palace will become a pile of rubble.’” 
6 Now this is what the LORD says concerning Judah’s royal palace: “I love you as much as fruitful Gilead and the green forests of Lebanon. But I will turn you into a desert, with no one living within your walls. 
7 I will call for wreckers, who will bring out their tools to dismantle you. They will tear out all your fine cedar beams and throw them on the fire. 
8 “People from many nations will pass by the ruins of this city and say to one another, ‘Why did the LORD destroy such a great city?’ 
9 And the answer will be, ‘Because they violated their covenant with the LORD their God by worshiping other gods.’” 
10 Do not weep for the dead king or mourn his loss. Instead, weep for the captive king being led away! For he will never return to see his native land again. 
11 For this is what the LORD says about Jehoahaz, who succeeded his father, King Josiah, and was taken away as a captive: “He will never return. 
12 He will die in a distant land and will never again see his own country.” 
13 And the LORD says, “What sorrow awaits Jehoiakim, who builds his palace with forced labor. He builds injustice into its walls, for he makes his neighbors work for nothing. He does not pay them for their labor. 
14 He says, ‘I will build a magnificent palace with huge rooms and many windows. I will panel it throughout with fragrant cedar and paint it a lovely red.’ 
15 But a beautiful cedar palace does not make a great king! Your father, Josiah, also had plenty to eat and drink. But he was just and right in all his dealings. That is why God blessed him. 
16 He gave justice and help to the poor and needy, and everything went well for him. Isn’t that what it means to know me?” says the LORD . 
17 “But you! You have eyes only for greed and dishonesty! You murder the innocent, oppress the poor, and reign ruthlessly.” 
18 Therefore, this is what the LORD says about Jehoiakim, son of King Josiah: “The people will not mourn for him, crying to one another, ‘Alas, my brother! Alas, my sister!’ His subjects will not mourn for him, crying, ‘Alas, our master is dead! Alas, his splendor is gone!’ 
19 He will be buried like a dead donkey— dragged out of Jerusalem and dumped outside the gates! 
20 Weep for your allies in Lebanon. Shout for them in Bashan. Search for them in the regions east of the river. See, they are all destroyed. Not one is left to help you. 
21 I warned you when you were prosperous, but you replied, ‘Don’t bother me.’ You have been that way since childhood— you simply will not obey me! 
22 And now the wind will blow away your allies. All your friends will be taken away as captives. Surely then you will see your wickedness and be ashamed. 
23 It may be nice to live in a beautiful palace paneled with wood from the cedars of Lebanon, but soon you will groan with pangs of anguish— anguish like that of a woman in labor. 
24 “As surely as I live,” says the LORD, “I will abandon you, Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah. Even if you were the signet ring on my right hand, I would pull you off. 
25 I will hand you over to those who seek to kill you, those you so desperately fear—to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and the mighty Babylonian army. 
26 I will expel you and your mother from this land, and you will die in a foreign country, not in your native land. 
27 You will never again return to the land you yearn for. 
28 “Why is this man Jehoiachin like a discarded, broken jar? Why are he and his children to be exiled to a foreign land? 
29 O earth, earth, earth! Listen to this message from the LORD ! 
30 This is what the LORD says: ‘Let the record show that this man Jehoiachin was childless. He is a failure, for none of his children will succeed him on the throne of David to rule over Judah.’

Enthusiastic

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Hi Peeps,
Today’s Quote
“Stop letting other people take the fall for your dumb choices and decisions, but rather enthusiastically accept your frailty and ask God to really help you to listen and learn from Him.”  ~ Jon Barnes

Trustworthy

When you become trustworthy enough to embrace God’s truth, hide it in your heart, and live by biblical morals, values, and principles.  God will build a circle of protection around you and reward you with eternal benefits in heaven.  If you do the opposite, you will reap the eternal benefits of hell forever.  This is not a threat, but a trustworthy promise from God with consequences or rewards.

Reward

It is standard to receive a reward for doing something right and obeying the rules.  We reap what we sow. As a result, it is the love of God that you have in your heart that activates the reward of doing the work God has commanded us to do.  We do not get the chance to make up God’s Commandments nor can we change or select which ones to obey!

Obey

It appears that we all are enthusiastic about doing God’s work and going to heaven or we are all enthusiastically following the devil to prepare our future home in hell.  In the court of God’s Kingdom, you will be judged accordingly and accurately, based on your lifestyle account.
Today’s Question
Are you motivated or are your motives out of touch with God’s reality?
Enjoy The Reading

John 4 

Jesus and the Samaritan Woman

4 Jesus knew the Pharisees had heard that he was baptizing and making more disciples than John 2 (though Jesus himself didn’t baptize them—his disciples did). 3 So he left Judea and returned to Galilee.
4 He had to go through Samaria on the way. 5 Eventually he came to the Samaritan village of Sychar, near the field that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there; and Jesus, tired from the long walk, sat wearily beside the well about noontime. 7 Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.” 8 He was alone at the time because his disciples had gone into the village to buy some food.
9 The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?”
10 Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.”
11 “But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water? 12 And besides, do you think you’re greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well? How can you offer better water than he and his sons and his animals enjoyed?”
13 Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. 14 But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”
15 “Please, sir,” the woman said, “give me this water! Then I’ll never be thirsty again, and I won’t have to come here to get water.”
16 “Go and get your husband,” Jesus told her.
17 “I don’t have a husband,” the woman replied.
Jesus said, “You’re right! You don’t have a husband— 18 for you have had five husbands, and you aren’t even married to the man you’re living with now. You certainly spoke the truth!”
19 “Sir,” the woman said, “you must be a prophet. 20 So tell me, why is it that you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place of worship, while we Samaritans claim it is here at Mount Gerizim, where our ancestors worshiped?”
21 Jesus replied, “Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews. 23 But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. 24 For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”
25 The woman said, “I know the Messiah is coming—the one who is called Christ. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
26 Then Jesus told her, “I am the Messiah!”
27 Just then his disciples came back. They were shocked to find him talking to a woman, but none of them had the nerve to ask, “What do you want with her?” or “Why are you talking to her?” 28 The woman left her water jar beside the well and ran back to the village, telling everyone, 29 “Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could he possibly be the Messiah?” 30 So the people came streaming from the village to see him.
31 Meanwhile, the disciples were urging Jesus, “Rabbi, eat something.”
32 But Jesus replied, “I have a kind of food you know nothing about.”
33 “Did someone bring him food while we were gone?” the disciples asked each other.
34 Then Jesus explained: “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work. 35 You know the saying, ‘Four months between planting and harvest.’ But I say, wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest. 36 The harvesters are paid good wages, and the fruit they harvest is people brought to eternal life. What joy awaits both the planter and the harvester alike! 37 You know the saying, ‘One plants and another harvests.’ And it’s true. 38 I sent you to harvest where you didn’t plant; others had already done the work, and now you will get to gather the harvest.”

Many Samaritans Believe

39 Many Samaritans from the village believed in Jesus because the woman had said, “He told me everything I ever did!” 40 When they came out to see him, they begged him to stay in their village. So he stayed for two days, 41 long enough for many more to hear his message and believe. 42 Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not just because of what you told us, but because we have heard him ourselves. Now we know that he is indeed the Savior of the world.”

Jesus Heals an Official’s Son

43 At the end of the two days, Jesus went on to Galilee. 44 He himself had said that a prophet is not honored in his own hometown. 45 Yet the Galileans welcomed him, for they had been in Jerusalem at the Passover celebration and had seen everything he did there.
46 As he traveled through Galilee, he came to Cana, where he had turned the water into wine. There was a government official in nearby Capernaum whose son was very sick. 47 When he heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went and begged Jesus to come to Capernaum to heal his son, who was about to die.
48 Jesus asked, “Will you never believe in me unless you see miraculous signs and wonders?”
49 The official pleaded, “Lord, please come now before my little boy dies.”
50 Then Jesus told him, “Go back home. Your son will live!” And the man believed what Jesus said and started home.
51 While the man was on his way, some of his servants met him with the news that his son was alive and well. 52 He asked them when the boy had begun to get better, and they replied, “Yesterday afternoon at one o’clock his fever suddenly disappeared!” 53 Then the father realized that that was the very time Jesus had told him, “Your son will live.” And he and his entire household believed in Jesus. 54 This was the second miraculous sign Jesus did in Galilee after coming from Judea.

Equation

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“God will provide the solutions for your life, but it is your job to put them into action.”~TB

Questions Answered

If you ignore the chaotic abyss that is the world, a life following Christ becomes more tangible. The older I get, the more I realize that the answers to life’s questions that I seek can be found in the Bible and by talking to God. Man, I could have avoided many dumb decisions earlier on had I heeded His word. In quiet study and communication lies the many wonderful and simple solutions that only Christ can give. Imagine the kind of life we could live if only we used the correct answers instead of our own!

In Practice

It’s one thing to know what to do; it’s an entirely different story to do it. I find that when I walk the path He’s set before me, things miraculously make sense. On the flip side, when I’m copying others or looking for external validation, my world becomes complex, messy, and off task. Getting the solutions is the simple part, putting them into action, well that’s a lifelong endeavor. To fulfill the call that God has for our lives, we must quiet the outside noise and follow the instructions and solutions that He gives.

Today’s Question

Are you using God’s solutions for life’s equations?

Enjoy the reading

Isaiah 48

1 “Listen to me, O family of Jacob, you who are called by the name of Israel and born into the family of Judah. Listen, you who take oaths in the name of the LORD and call on the God of Israel. You don’t keep your promises,
2 even though you call yourself the holy city and talk about depending on the God of Israel, whose name is the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.
3 Long ago I told you what was going to happen. Then suddenly I took action, and all my predictions came true.
4 For I know how stubborn and obstinate you are. Your necks are as unbending as iron. Your heads are as hard as bronze.
5That is why I told you what would happen; I told you beforehand what I was going to do. Then you could never say, ‘My idols did it. My wooden image and metal god commanded it to happen!’
6 You have heard my predictions and seen them fulfilled, but you refuse to admit it. Now I will tell you new things, secrets you have not yet heard.
7 They are brand new, not things from the past. So you cannot say, ‘We knew that all the time!’
8 “Yes, I will tell you of things that are entirely new, things you never heard of before. For I know so well what traitors you are. You have been rebels from birth.
9 Yet for my own sake and for the honor of my name, I will hold back my anger and not wipe you out.
10 I have refined you, but not as silver is refined. Rather, I have refined you in the furnace of suffering.
11I will rescue you for my sake— yes, for my own sake! I will not let my reputation be tarnished, and I will not share my glory with idols!
12“Listen to me, O family of Jacob, Israel my chosen one! I alone am God, the First and the Last.
13 It was my hand that laid the foundations of the earth, my right hand that spread out the heavens above. When I call out the stars, they all appear in order.”
14 Have any of your idols ever told you this? Come, all of you, and listen: The LORD has chosen Cyrus as his ally. He will use him to put an end to the empire of Babylon and to destroy the Babylonian armies.
15 “I have said it: I am calling Cyrus! I will send him on this errand and will help him succeed.
16 Come closer, and listen to this. From the beginning I have told you plainly what would happen.” And now the Sovereign LORD and his Spirit have sent me with this message.
17 This is what the LORD says— your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is good for you and leads you along the paths you should follow.
18 Oh, that you had listened to my commands! Then you would have had peace flowing like a gentle river and righteousness rolling over you like waves in the sea.
19 Your descendants would have been like the sands along the seashore— too many to count! There would have been no need for your destruction, or for cutting off your family name.”
20 Yet even now, be free from your captivity! Leave Babylon and the Babylonians. Sing out this message! Shout it to the ends of the earth! The LORD has redeemed his servants, the people of Israel.
21 They were not thirsty when he led them through the desert. He divided the rock, and water gushed out for them to drink.
22“But there is no peace for the wicked,” says the LORD .

 

Cover Up

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“It’s better to stab someone in the front than the back, because at least you’re being honest.”~TB

Make Believe

Adam and Eve covering up their bodies after eating the forbidden fruit says a lot about the world today. The issue wasn’t their nakedness. The issue was that they believed they were capable of hiding anything from God. Ironically we do the same thing time and time again. We’re all trying to ‘hide’ our flaws, appear to be smarter, richer, prettier, etc. just to appeal to one another. As I grow older, I find myself walking away from the guise of being ‘better than I am’ and accepting the way God made me, flaws and all. I’ve also found honesty allows me to come before God with all that I am so that I may receive the best answers to my questions, rather than covering them up with manure.

Wolf and Sheep

God has more respect for the person being an adamant heathen than the fake spiritual man. If you are publicly screaming “Praise God”, but are privately devouring your neighbor, well, God knows. He knows the light and the dark, after all it is all His creation. So if we stand to have any sort of relationship with Him, we must stop being wolves and return to His flock as sheep. If being a sheep offends you, then I encourage you to reflect on the choices, perceptions, and decisions you make as they are all influenced by something or someone. Personally, I’d rather be a sheep for God than a mindless slave to man.

Today’s Question

Are you being honest or is it a cover up?

Isaiah 44

1 “But now, listen to me, Jacob my servant, Israel my chosen one.
2 The LORD who made you and helps you says: Do not be afraid, O Jacob, my servant, O dear Israel, my chosen one.
3 For I will pour out water to quench your thirst and to irrigate your parched fields. And I will pour out my Spirit on your descendants, and my blessing on your children.
4 They will thrive like watered grass, like willows on a riverbank.
5 Some will proudly claim, ‘I belong to the LORD .’ Others will say, ‘I am a descendant of Jacob.’ Some will write the LORD ’s name on their hands and will take the name of Israel as their own.”
6 This is what the LORD says—Israel’s King and Redeemer, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies: “I am the First and the Last; there is no other God.
7 Who is like me? Let him step forward and prove to you his power. Let him do as I have done since ancient times when I established a people and explained its future.
8 Do not tremble; do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim my purposes for you long ago? You are my witnesses—is there any other God? No! There is no other Rock—not one!”
9 How foolish are those who manufacture idols. These prized objects are really worthless. The people who worship idols don’t know this, so they are all put to shame.
10 Who but a fool would make his own god— an idol that cannot help him one bit?
11 All who worship idols will be disgraced along with all these craftsmen—mere humans— who claim they can make a god. They may all stand together, but they will stand in terror and shame.
12 The blacksmith stands at his forge to make a sharp tool, pounding and shaping it with all his might. His work makes him hungry and weak. It makes him thirsty and faint.
13Then the wood-carver measures a block of wood and draws a pattern on it. He works with chisel and plane and carves it into a human figure. He gives it human beauty and puts it in a little shrine.
14 He cuts down cedars; he selects the cypress and the oak; he plants the pine in the forest to be nourished by the rain.
15 Then he uses part of the wood to make a fire. With it he warms himself and bakes his bread. Then—yes, it’s true—he takes the rest of it and makes himself a god to worship! He makes an idol and bows down in front of it!
16 He burns part of the tree to roast his meat and to keep himself warm. He says, “Ah, that fire feels good.”
17Then he takes what’s left and makes his god: a carved idol! He falls down in front of it, worshiping and praying to it. “Rescue me!” he says. “You are my god!”
18 Such stupidity and ignorance! Their eyes are closed, and they cannot see. Their minds are shut, and they cannot think.
19 The person who made the idol never stops to reflect, “Why, it’s just a block of wood! I burned half of it for heat and used it to bake my bread and roast my meat. How can the rest of it be a god? Should I bow down to worship a piece of wood?”
20 The poor, deluded fool feeds on ashes. He trusts something that can’t help him at all. Yet he cannot bring himself to ask, “Is this idol that I’m holding in my hand a lie?”
21 “Pay attention, O Jacob, for you are my servant, O Israel. I, the LORD, made you, and I will not forget you.
22 I have swept away your sins like a cloud. I have scattered your offenses like the morning mist. Oh, return to me, for I have paid the price to set you free.”
23 Sing, O heavens, for the LORD has done this wondrous thing. Shout for joy, O depths of the earth! Break into song, O mountains and forests and every tree! For the LORD has redeemed Jacob and is glorified in Israel.
24 This is what the LORD says— your Redeemer and Creator: “I am the LORD, who made all things. I alone stretched out the heavens. Who was with me when I made the earth?
25 I expose the false prophets as liars and make fools of fortune-tellers. I cause the wise to give bad advice, thus proving them to be fools.
26 But I carry out the predictions of my prophets! By them I say to Jerusalem, ‘People will live here again,’ and to the towns of Judah, ‘You will be rebuilt; I will restore all your ruins!’
27 When I speak to the rivers and say, ‘Dry up!’ they will be dry.
28 When I say of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd,’ he will certainly do as I say. He will command, ‘Rebuild Jerusalem’; he will say, ‘Restore the Temple.’”

Preventative Measures

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Hi Peeps,
Today’s Quote
“Prevent your personal disaster from happening  by doing your private prayers, devotional, meditation, and exercises in faith consistently each day and expect God to bless the quality of work you put into yourself, others, and your assignments.”  ~  Jon Barnes

Negative

Negative emotions and input tends to prevent people from moving forward, changing bad habits, or listening to reason, when faced with difficult times, choices, decisions, and daily practices.  It is always better to be obedient to God while fighting the good fight of faith.  Do not allow negative people or situations cloud your best judgment and proper solution path.

Moods

Exercise, good food, plenty of water, rest, and a positive outlook will help you to control your mood swings during good and troubled times.  Since we all learn new things each day, enjoy the mood of learning, discovering, and working through all types of problems and issues.  Continue to enjoy all the good that you do.  Follow God’s guidelines and not your mood swing or interpretations.

Attitudes

You can inspire others to have a positive attitude, just because you maintain your positive outlook at all times.  In the worst of situations, God gives us a way out and an understanding of wisdom to deal with the evil practices of the devil.  Your track record and successful approaches to problems will shine God’s love onto all things and situations you may encounter.  Keep the Faith in front!
Today’s Question
Did you take God’s preventative measure of faith with you this morning? 
Enjoy The Reading

Psalm 37 

A psalm of David.

Don’t worry about the wicked
    or envy those who do wrong.
For like grass, they soon fade away.
    Like spring flowers, they soon wither.
Trust in the Lord and do good.
    Then you will live safely in the land and prosper.
Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you your heart’s desires.
Commit everything you do to the Lord.
    Trust him, and he will help you.
He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn,
    and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun.
Be still in the presence of the Lord,
    and wait patiently for him to act.
Don’t worry about evil people who prosper
    or fret about their wicked schemes.
Stop being angry!
    Turn from your rage!
Do not lose your temper—
    it only leads to harm.
For the wicked will be destroyed,
    but those who trust in the Lord will possess the land.
10 Soon the wicked will disappear.
    Though you look for them, they will be gone.
11 The lowly will possess the land
    and will live in peace and prosperity.
12 The wicked plot against the godly;
    they snarl at them in defiance.
13 But the Lord just laughs,
    for he sees their day of judgment coming.
14 The wicked draw their swords
    and string their bows
to kill the poor and the oppressed,
    to slaughter those who do right.
15 But their swords will stab their own hearts,
    and their bows will be broken.
16 It is better to be godly and have little
    than to be evil and rich.
17 For the strength of the wicked will be shattered,
    but the Lord takes care of the godly.
18 Day by day the Lord takes care of the innocent,
    and they will receive an inheritance that lasts forever.
19 They will not be disgraced in hard times;
    even in famine they will have more than enough.
20 But the wicked will die.
    The Lord’s enemies are like flowers in a field—
    they will disappear like smoke.
21 The wicked borrow and never repay,
    but the godly are generous givers.
22 Those the Lord blesses will possess the land,
    but those he curses will die.
23 The Lord directs the steps of the godly.
    He delights in every detail of their lives.
24 Though they stumble, they will never fall,
    for the Lord holds them by the hand.
25 Once I was young, and now I am old.
    Yet I have never seen the godly abandoned
    or their children begging for bread.
26 The godly always give generous loans to others,
    and their children are a blessing.
27 Turn from evil and do good,
    and you will live in the land forever.
28 For the Lord loves justice,
    and he will never abandon the godly.
He will keep them safe forever,
    but the children of the wicked will die.
29 The godly will possess the land
    and will live there forever.
30 The godly offer good counsel;
    they teach right from wrong.
31 They have made God’s law their own,
    so they will never slip from his path.
32 The wicked wait in ambush for the godly,
    looking for an excuse to kill them.
33 But the Lord will not let the wicked succeed
    or let the godly be condemned when they are put on trial.
34 Put your hope in the Lord.
    Travel steadily along his path.
He will honor you by giving you the land.
    You will see the wicked destroyed.
35 I have seen wicked and ruthless people
    flourishing like a tree in its native soil.
36 But when I looked again, they were gone!
    Though I searched for them, I could not find them!
37 Look at those who are honest and good,
    for a wonderful future awaits those who love peace.
38 But the rebellious will be destroyed;
    they have no future.
39 The Lord rescues the godly;
    he is their fortress in times of trouble.
40 The Lord helps them,
    rescuing them from the wicked.
He saves them,
    and they find shelter in him.

Love,

Jonathan

After

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Hi Peeps,
Today’s Quote
“After you have committed to exercising each day, you can enjoy the new muscle mass that is Spiritually created by faith in your workouts, choices, goals, and studies with God.”  ~  Jon Barnes

Show

When you show up each day to embrace the quality time with God, your heart will beat to His drum and exercising routines that are designed by the Master of All Things to strengthen, sustain, and encourage your physical and spiritual needs.  He is The Best Trainer to keep you focused and on task!  Ask God to show you your personalized schedule and goals for your life, mind, body, heart, and purpose.  Be Patient!

Do 

Do, practice, and share the new skills God teaches you after you have mastered the new methods.  You will get plenty of practice and test to show your proficiency.  Improvement is a daily, ongoing task, as God knows and watches your every move, thought, and assignment.  However, you can not give something that you do not have or learned.  Possess and bless others with what God has taught you.
  

Feel

Notice how much better you feel and how much more clean and clear your life becomes, when you obey God, no matter what your job functions are.  Your place in God’s plan is great with constant effort.  When you have worked to your potential, God honors your honest and steady commitment to your faith, improvement, love, and ability to change.
Today’s Question
After you study and exercise with God each day, can you see the improvements and changes in your life, like others can?
Enjoy The Reading
 

Psalm 5

For the choir director: A psalm of David, to be accompanied by the flute.
O Lord, hear me as I pray;
    pay attention to my groaning.
Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God,
    for I pray to no one but you.
Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord.
    Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly.
O God, you take no pleasure in wickedness;
    you cannot tolerate the sins of the wicked.
Therefore, the proud may not stand in your presence,
    for you hate all who do evil.
You will destroy those who tell lies.
    The Lord detests murderers and deceivers.
Because of your unfailing love, I can enter your house;
    I will worship at your Temple with deepest awe.
Lead me in the right path, O Lord,
    or my enemies will conquer me.
Make your way plain for me to follow.
My enemies cannot speak a truthful word.
    Their deepest desire is to destroy others.
Their talk is foul, like the stench from an open grave.
    Their tongues are filled with flattery.[a]
10 
O God, declare them guilty.
    Let them be caught in their own traps.
Drive them away because of their many sins,
    for they have rebelled against you.
11 
But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
    let them sing joyful praises forever.
Spread your protection over them,
    that all who love your name may be filled with joy.
12 
For you bless the godly, O Lord;
    you surround them with your shield of love.
 
Love,
 
Jonathan

Repentance

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Hi Peeps,
Today’s Quote
“Dear God and people, please forgive me of all the sin I have done in my life to cause hurt, pain, suffering, and unnecessary anguish onto others, knowingly, willingly, and unknowingly and Please help me to stay on track with the Commandments in the Bible.”  ~  Jon Barnes

Goodness

Pretending to do good works with altered selfish motives of evil and greed can be detected by God.  For show, many will look the part to fool people, but God cannot be fooled.  For sure, your lies and fake repentance will burn you up in the end, spiritually, physically, and literally.  Do not lie to God with fake, false, and phony prayers, of heartless intentions.

My Prayers

Allow God to teach you how to pray and work from your secret closet, so that your blessings will be noticed from the Hand of God and not your hands.  Consistently meet and use your prayer closet of repentance, worship, and meditation for learning, reading, counseling, and wisdom to stay connected to God and not your own self-righteous, manmade image.  People will automatically know that God honors and answers your prayers, based on the trail of blessing you leave behind in your walk with God.

Your Prayers

Your prayers, faith, and work will be taken seriously, based on the honest integrity of your obedience and not your cunning abilities to paint half-truths with white lies, deception, and ambiguity.  Your prayers, language, and actions should be direct, genuine, to the point with few words, so that you minimize the risk of lying and vain babbling.  Repent and spread the Word of Faith in your daily practice in life’s journey.
Today’s Question
Are you still pretending in your repentance, faith, charity, love, and thanksgiving, only to be publicly seen and heard by people and not God?

Enjoy The Reading

Job 41 

The Lord’s Challenge Continues

41 [a]“Can you catch Leviathan[b] with a hook
    or put a noose around its jaw?
Can you tie it with a rope through the nose
    or pierce its jaw with a spike?
Will it beg you for mercy
    or implore you for pity?
Will it agree to work for you,
    to be your slave for life?
Can you make it a pet like a bird,
    or give it to your little girls to play with?
Will merchants try to buy it
    to sell it in their shops?
Will its hide be hurt by spears
    or its head by a harpoon?
If you lay a hand on it,
    you will certainly remember the battle that follows.
    You won’t try that again!
[c]No, it is useless to try to capture it.
    The hunter who attempts it will be knocked down.
10 And since no one dares to disturb it,
    who then can stand up to me?
11 Who has given me anything that I need to pay back?
    Everything under heaven is mine.
12 “I want to emphasize Leviathan’s limbs
    and its enormous strength and graceful form.
13 Who can strip off its hide,
    and who can penetrate its double layer of armor?[d]
14 Who could pry open its jaws?
    For its teeth are terrible!
15 The scales on its back are like[e] rows of shields
    tightly sealed together.
16 They are so close together
    that no air can get between them.
17 Each scale sticks tight to the next.
    They interlock and cannot be penetrated.
18 “When it sneezes, it flashes light!
    Its eyes are like the red of dawn.
19 Lightning leaps from its mouth;
    flames of fire flash out.
20 Smoke streams from its nostrils
    like steam from a pot heated over burning rushes.
21 Its breath would kindle coals,
    for flames shoot from its mouth.
22 “The tremendous strength in Leviathan’s neck
    strikes terror wherever it goes.
23 Its flesh is hard and firm
    and cannot be penetrated.
24 Its heart is hard as rock,
    hard as a millstone.
25 When it rises, the mighty are afraid,
    gripped by terror.
26 No sword can stop it,
    no spear, dart, or javelin.
27 Iron is nothing but straw to that creature,
    and bronze is like rotten wood.
28 Arrows cannot make it flee.
    Stones shot from a sling are like bits of grass.
29 Clubs are like a blade of grass,
    and it laughs at the swish of javelins.
30 Its belly is covered with scales as sharp as glass.
    It plows up the ground as it drags through the mud.
31 “Leviathan makes the water boil with its commotion.
    It stirs the depths like a pot of ointment.
32 The water glistens in its wake,
    making the sea look white.
33 Nothing on earth is its equal,
    no other creature so fearless.
34 Of all the creatures, it is the proudest.
    It is the king of beasts.”

Love,

Jonathan

Plate

flat-lay-2583212_1920.jpgHi Peeps,
Today’s Quote
“There is enough on your plate to do your job, work, planning, reading, studying, eating, and  exercising well, so that your relationship with God and others improve as you age, for all to see and tell.” ~  Jon Barnes

Fork

Many are called but few are chosen because we are so busy sticking forks into people’s eyes with the mean things we say and do.  Close your mouth, get to work, exercise your faith, eat less, and use your fork properly.  Stop blaming everyone for your own problems, faults, and lack of focus. Stick a fork in your balloon of pride and do what God says, by not being lazy or foolish.

Spoon

Expect what God says to work for you in your life, otherwise, you are not eating and chewing your spiritual food correctly.  The more you chew on God’s work, the better you will understand and digest the milk, meat, vegetables, and potatoes.  Drink and keep lots of Holy Water, with the Blood of Jesus to keep yourself clean after each meal.

Napkin

Bless your food, give thanks, close your mouth, chew your food, stop complaining, and talking about negative stuff all of the time.  Wipe your face and hands during and after your meal and be thankful for what you have and the improvements of progress.  Take the time to finish what God has on your plate and stop eating from the plate of others.  No need to be greedy, gaining weight, being nosey, and doing incomplete work.
Today’s Question
Will your relationship with God, your spouse, family, friends, and enemies improve because your plate is cleaned each day by obeying God and finishing your own work?
Enjoy The Reading
 

Job 40 

40 Then the Lord said to Job,
“Do you still want to argue with the Almighty?
    You are God’s critic, but do you have the answers?”

Job Responds to the Lord

Then Job replied to the Lord,
“I am nothing—how could I ever find the answers?
    I will cover my mouth with my hand.
I have said too much already.
    I have nothing more to say.”

The Lord Challenges Job Again

Then the Lord answered Job from the whirlwind:
“Brace yourself like a man,
    because I have some questions for you,
    and you must answer them.
“Will you discredit my justice
    and condemn me just to prove you are right?
Are you as strong as God?
    Can you thunder with a voice like his?
10 All right, put on your glory and splendor,
    your honor and majesty.
11 Give vent to your anger.
    Let it overflow against the proud.
12 Humiliate the proud with a glance;
    walk on the wicked where they stand.
13 Bury them in the dust.
    Imprison them in the world of the dead.
14 Then even I would praise you,
    for your own strength would save you.
15 “Take a look at Behemoth,[a]
    which I made, just as I made you.
    It eats grass like an ox.
16 See its powerful loins
    and the muscles of its belly.
17 Its tail is as strong as a cedar.
    The sinews of its thighs are knit tightly together.
18 Its bones are tubes of bronze.
    Its limbs are bars of iron.
19 It is a prime example of God’s handiwork,
    and only its Creator can threaten it.
20 The mountains offer it their best food,
    where all the wild animals play.
21 It lies under the lotus plants,[b]
    hidden by the reeds in the marsh.
22 The lotus plants give it shade
    among the willows beside the stream.
23 It is not disturbed by the raging river,
    not concerned when the swelling Jordan rushes around it.
24 No one can catch it off guard
    or put a ring in its nose and lead it away.

Love,

Jonathan