“Like it or not, our lives are a testament to the power of God.”~TB
Long Story Short
Whether you follow Christ or not, our stories are the collective of what God built in this universe. As the creator, He breathed life into existence, carving out the episodic adventures we each call life. For those who humbly and honestly seek Him, your lives are a testament to His mighty righteousness and grace. For those that don’t, they are the testament of lessons to be learned from those narratives.
Stories of Old
Though we cannot see Him, if we look at the patterns of the righteous and wicked, there are undeniable correlations stemming all the way back from Adam and Eve. The thoughts and the deeds of the righteous are identifiable and consistent. The thoughts and the deeds of the wicked are just as identifiable and consistent. Human error befalls us all which is why repentance and turning from our sinful nature is a must. We all would do well to read the Word, learn from our ancestors and glean the examples from our parents to see God’s handiwork at work.
Which testament are you; righteous or wicked?
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1The following message came to Jeremiah from the LORD in the tenth year of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah. This was also the eighteenth year of the reign of King Nebuchadnezzar.
2Jerusalem was then under siege from the Babylonian army, and Jeremiah was imprisoned in the courtyard of the guard in the royal palace.
3King Zedekiah had put him there, asking why he kept giving this prophecy: “This is what the LORD says: ‘I am about to hand this city over to the king of Babylon, and he will take it.
4King Zedekiah will be captured by the Babylonians and taken to meet the king of Babylon face to face.
5He will take Zedekiah to Babylon, and I will deal with him there,’ says the LORD . ‘If you fight against the Babylonians, you will never succeed.’”
6At that time the LORD sent me a message. He said,
7“Your cousin Hanamel son of Shallum will come and say to you, ‘Buy my field at Anathoth. By law you have the right to buy it before it is offered to anyone else.’”
8Then, just as the LORD had said he would, my cousin Hanamel came and visited me in the prison. He said, “Please buy my field at Anathoth in the land of Benjamin. By law you have the right to buy it before it is offered to anyone else, so buy it for yourself.” Then I knew that the message I had heard was from the LORD .
9So I bought the field at Anathoth, paying Hanamel seventeen pieces of silver for it.
10I signed and sealed the deed of purchase before witnesses, weighed out the silver, and paid him.
11Then I took the sealed deed and an unsealed copy of the deed, which contained the terms and conditions of the purchase,
12and I handed them to Baruch son of Neriah and grandson of Mahseiah. I did all this in the presence of my cousin Hanamel, the witnesses who had signed the deed, and all the men of Judah who were there in the courtyard of the guardhouse.
13Then I said to Baruch as they all listened,
14“This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘Take both this sealed deed and the unsealed copy, and put them into a pottery jar to preserve them for a long time.’
15For this is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘Someday people will again own property here in this land and will buy and sell houses and vineyards and fields.’”
16Then after I had given the papers to Baruch, I prayed to the LORD :
17“O Sovereign LORD ! You made the heavens and earth by your strong hand and powerful arm. Nothing is too hard for you!
18You show unfailing love to thousands, but you also bring the consequences of one generation’s sin upon the next. You are the great and powerful God, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.
19You have all wisdom and do great and mighty miracles. You see the conduct of all people, and you give them what they deserve.
20You performed miraculous signs and wonders in the land of Egypt—things still remembered to this day! And you have continued to do great miracles in Israel and all around the world. You have made your name famous to this day.
21“You brought Israel out of Egypt with mighty signs and wonders, with a strong hand and powerful arm, and with overwhelming terror.
22You gave the people of Israel this land that you had promised their ancestors long before—a land flowing with milk and honey.
23Our ancestors came and conquered it and lived in it, but they refused to obey you or follow your word. They have not done anything you commanded. That is why you have sent this terrible disaster upon them.
24“See how the siege ramps have been built against the city walls! Through war, famine, and disease, the city will be handed over to the Babylonians, who will conquer it. Everything has happened just as you said.
25And yet, O Sovereign LORD, you have told me to buy the field—paying good money for it before these witnesses—even though the city will soon be handed over to the Babylonians.”
26Then this message came to Jeremiah from the LORD :
27“I am the LORD, the God of all the peoples of the world. Is anything too hard for me?
28Therefore, this is what the LORD says: I will hand this city over to the Babylonians and to Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, and he will capture it.
29The Babylonians outside the walls will come in and set fire to the city. They will burn down all these houses where the people provoked my anger by burning incense to Baal on the rooftops and by pouring out liquid offerings to other gods.
30Israel and Judah have done nothing but wrong since their earliest days. They have infuriated me with all their evil deeds,” says the LORD .
31“From the time this city was built until now, it has done nothing but anger me, so I am determined to get rid of it.
32“The sins of Israel and Judah—the sins of the people of Jerusalem, the kings, the officials, the priests, and the prophets—have stirred up my anger.
33My people have turned their backs on me and have refused to return. Even though I diligently taught them, they would not receive instruction or obey.
34They have set up their abominable idols right in my own Temple, defiling it.
35They have built pagan shrines to Baal in the valley of Ben-Hinnom, and there they sacrifice their sons and daughters to Molech. I have never commanded such a horrible deed; it never even crossed my mind to command such a thing. What an incredible evil, causing Judah to sin so greatly!
36“Now I want to say something more about this city. You have been saying, ‘It will fall to the king of Babylon through war, famine, and disease.’ But this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says:
37I will certainly bring my people back again from all the countries where I will scatter them in my fury. I will bring them back to this very city and let them live in peace and safety.
38They will be my people, and I will be their God.
39And I will give them one heart and one purpose: to worship me forever, for their own good and for the good of all their descendants.
40And I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good for them. I will put a desire in their hearts to worship me, and they will never leave me.
41I will find joy doing good for them and will faithfully and wholeheartedly replant them in this land.
42“This is what the LORD says: Just as I have brought all these calamities on them, so I will do all the good I have promised them.
43Fields will again be bought and sold in this land about which you now say, ‘It has been ravaged by the Babylonians, a desolate land where people and animals have all disappeared.’
44Yes, fields will once again be bought and sold—deeds signed and sealed and witnessed—in the land of Benjamin and here in Jerusalem, in the towns of Judah and in the hill country, in the foothills of Judah and in the Negev, too. For someday I will restore prosperity to them. I, the LORD, have spoken!”
“Talking and walking are two different things.”~TB
It’s one thing to know the truth. Hearing about the amazing works of Christ, how He brings us together to realize and share the Good News, it’s awesome! But faith is an amalgamation of both belief and deed. To put it bluntly, you can say you believe and follow Christ, but if you’re not acting on it, what good is your word?
If you are looking to find healing, your belief has to be activated by your behavior. Sight alone does not change a situation, you have to activate your behavior. I can say I want to run a marathon, but if I’m not out there putting in the work, that dream is dead. Friends, we must all how ourselves accountable to the words and deeds we do or don’t do. Christ can fill the need, but we have to act on it.
Does your talk outshine your walk?
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1The LORD gave another message to Jeremiah. He said,
2“Remind the people of Judah and Jerusalem about the terms of my covenant with them.
3Say to them, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: Cursed is anyone who does not obey the terms of my covenant!
4For I said to your ancestors when I brought them out of the iron-smelting furnace of Egypt, “If you obey me and do whatever I command you, then you will be my people, and I will be your God.”
5I said this so I could keep my promise to your ancestors to give you a land flowing with milk and honey—the land you live in today.’” Then I replied, “Amen, LORD ! May it be so.”
6Then the LORD said, “Broadcast this message in the streets of Jerusalem. Go from town to town throughout the land and say, ‘Remember the ancient covenant, and do everything it requires.
7For I solemnly warned your ancestors when I brought them out of Egypt, “Obey me!” I have repeated this warning over and over to this day,
8but your ancestors did not listen or even pay attention. Instead, they stubbornly followed their own evil desires. And because they refused to obey, I brought upon them all the curses described in this covenant.’”
9Again the LORD spoke to me and said, “I have discovered a conspiracy against me among the people of Judah and Jerusalem.
10They have returned to the sins of their ancestors. They have refused to listen to me and are worshiping other gods. Israel and Judah have both broken the covenant I made with their ancestors.
11Therefore, this is what the LORD says: I am going to bring calamity upon them, and they will not escape. Though they beg for mercy, I will not listen to their cries.
12Then the people of Judah and Jerusalem will pray to their idols and burn incense before them. But the idols will not save them when disaster strikes!
13Look now, people of Judah; you have as many gods as you have towns. You have as many altars of shame—altars for burning incense to your god Baal—as there are streets in Jerusalem.
14“Pray no more for these people, Jeremiah. Do not weep or pray for them, for I will not listen to them when they cry out to me in distress.
15“What right do my beloved people have to come to my Temple, when they have done so many immoral things? Can their vows and sacrifices prevent their destruction? They actually rejoice in doing evil!
16I, the LORD, once called them a thriving olive tree, beautiful to see and full of good fruit. But now I have sent the fury of their enemies to burn them with fire, leaving them charred and broken.
17“I, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, who planted this olive tree, have ordered it destroyed. For the people of Israel and Judah have done evil, arousing my anger by burning incense to Baal.”
18Then the LORD told me about the plots my enemies were making against me.
19I was like a lamb being led to the slaughter. I had no idea that they were planning to kill me! “Let’s destroy this man and all his words,” they said. “Let’s cut him down, so his name will be forgotten forever.”
20O LORD of Heaven’s Armies, you make righteous judgments, and you examine the deepest thoughts and secrets. Let me see your vengeance against them, for I have committed my cause to you.
21This is what the LORD says about the men of Anathoth who wanted me dead. They had said, “We will kill you if you do not stop prophesying in the LORD ’s name.”
22So this is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says about them: “I will punish them! Their young men will die in battle, and their boys and girls will starve to death.
23Not one of these plotters from Anathoth will survive, for I will bring disaster upon them when their time of punishment comes.”
“The plain truth can be extremely harsh, to the point, and blinding, so be kind, considerate, and gentle when you deliver God’s Mercy, Grace, and Loving Message.” ~ Jon Barnes
It should be tough for you to be a bad person, who would want to lie, cheat, steal, enslave, or prevent good people from doing their good work. The Spirit of God should make you feel bad for wanting to behave in an evil manner. You should be able to stop yourself from committing sinful acts by remembering all of the wonderful things God has done for you and that no one loves you more than God.
A beautiful, tough, witty mind will be driven by the heart of God’s laws and commandments with every breath, muscle movement, and thought that comes from each second of your being. The battle is won from within, to be on guard 24 hours each day. Your dreams should reflect your maturity in the daily battle at hand to provide insight into God’s plan for your life. Gently remember that God wants the very best for you and your family in your lifestyle, habits, and fun activities.
Your nervous system is wrapped up with all of your daily habits, thoughts, and actions to give you the nerve to be tough for God and to love His ways and stories of old. Learning, hiding, living, sharing, and giving your best effort become obviously needed, expected, and memorable to God, your family, and all the people around you. Infect everyone with the gentle, subtle nudges of truth, peace, self-control, patience, long-suffering, and kindness that should follow all of your actions. It is tough to be gentle in Christ Jesus.
Will it be tough for God to allow you into heaven, based on His biblical stories, commandments, laws, and lifestyle, if you are a lying, cheating, nasty, hypocrite in your fake personal faith, action, work, and belief system?
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Jesus Sentenced to Death
19 Then Pilate had Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip. 2 The soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and they put a purple robe on him.3 “Hail! King of the Jews!” they mocked, as they slapped him across the face.
4 Pilate went outside again and said to the people, “I am going to bring him out to you now, but understand clearly that I find him not guilty.”5 Then Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said, “Look, here is the man!”
6 When they saw him, the leading priests and Temple guards began shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”
“Take him yourselves and crucify him,” Pilate said. “I find him not guilty.”
7 The Jewish leaders replied, “By our law he ought to die because he called himself the Son of God.”
8 When Pilate heard this, he was more frightened than ever.9 He took Jesus back into the headquarters again and asked him, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave no answer.10 “Why don’t you talk to me?” Pilate demanded. “Don’t you realize that I have the power to release you or crucify you?”
11 Then Jesus said, “You would have no power over me at all unless it were given to you from above. So the one who handed me over to you has the greater sin.”
12 Then Pilate tried to release him, but the Jewish leaders shouted, “If you release this man, you are no ‘friend of Caesar.’ Anyone who declares himself a king is a rebel against Caesar.”
13 When they said this, Pilate brought Jesus out to them again. Then Pilate sat down on the judgment seat on the platform that is called the Stone Pavement (in Hebrew, Gabbatha).14 It was now about noon on the day of preparation for the Passover. And Pilate said to the people, “Look, here is your king!”
15 “Away with him,” they yelled. “Away with him! Crucify him!”
“What? Crucify your king?” Pilate asked.
“We have no king but Caesar,” the leading priests shouted back.
16 Then Pilate turned Jesus over to them to be crucified.
So they took Jesus away. 17 Carrying the cross by himself, he went to the place called Place of the Skull (in Hebrew, Golgotha).18 There they nailed him to the cross. Two others were crucified with him, one on either side, with Jesus between them.19 And Pilate posted a sign on the cross that read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.”20 The place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek, so that many people could read it.
21 Then the leading priests objected and said to Pilate, “Change it from ‘The King of the Jews’ to ‘He said, I am King of the Jews.’”
22 Pilate replied, “No, what I have written, I have written.”
23 When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they divided his clothes among the four of them. They also took his robe, but it was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom.24 So they said, “Rather than tearing it apart, let’s throw dice for it.” This fulfilled the Scripture that says, “They divided my garments among themselves and threw dice for my clothing.” So that is what they did.
25 Standing near the cross were Jesus’ mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary (the wife of Clopas), and Mary Magdalene.26 When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.”27 And he said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on this disciple took her into his home.
The Death of Jesus
28 Jesus knew that his mission was now finished, and to fulfill Scripture he said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar of sour wine was sitting there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put it on a hyssop branch, and held it up to his lips.30 When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
31 It was the day of preparation, and the Jewish leaders didn’t want the bodies hanging there the next day, which was the Sabbath (and a very special Sabbath, because it was Passover week). So they asked Pilate to hasten their deaths by ordering that their legs be broken. Then their bodies could be taken down.32 So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the two men crucified with Jesus.33 But when they came to Jesus, they saw that he was already dead, so they didn’t break his legs.34 One of the soldiers, however, pierced his side with a spear, and immediately blood and water flowed out.35 (This report is from an eyewitness giving an accurate account. He speaks the truth so that you also may continue to believe.[)36 These things happened in fulfillment of the Scriptures that say, “Not one of his bones will be broken,”37 and “They will look on the one they pierced.”
The Burial of Jesus
38 Afterward Joseph of Arimathea, who had been a secret disciple of Jesus (because he feared the Jewish leaders), asked Pilate for permission to take down Jesus’ body. When Pilate gave permission, Joseph came and took the body away. 39 With him came Nicodemus, the man who had come to Jesus at night. He brought about seventy-five pounds of perfumed ointment made from myrrh and aloes.40 Following Jewish burial custom, they wrapped Jesus’ body with the spices in long sheets of linen cloth.41 The place of crucifixion was near a garden, where there was a new tomb, never used before.42 And so, because it was the day of preparation for the Jewish Passover and since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.
“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.”
“Open up the good new possibilities and opportunities that you are supposed to do and achieve in life by taking each step of faith and work that goes along with God’s loving plan for your life and family.” ~ Jon Barnes
It amazes me to think and reflect on how much time I have spent with my wife, children, and family. It is an honor and privilege to model, teach and share the fascinating facts of all the things I am learning about God. This once in a lifetime experience is unique, incredible and extremely personal for me. It would take an eternity to begin to unravel and understand more about the mind of God and His infinite love, as a Creator and Father of All.
When you take the time needed to be with your spouse, raise your children, and balance your life, God gives you an understanding, knowledge, and experience in what it’s like to create, provide, and sustain life. The life lessons are not always comfortable, but necessary. By studying His examples and stories from the Bible, we have an open book of commandments to follow, problems to avoid, and lessons to learn, in order to do a fantastic job.
When we cooperate with God, our efforts will produce the proper outcome, response, and results from the fruits of our labor. I don’t understand why there are so many men who will not take care of their own children. This is an epidemic, societal decease, and curse!! Like “DOGS”, they hit and run! Real men need to train, explain, and model for their boys and girls about this unacceptable, nasty behavior. I find it challenging to take care of just one family, based on my experience and time management.
Are you paying attention to the fruits of your labor, choices, and decisions or did you leave your family, responsibilities, spouse, and children behind, like an evil dog, for the lust of your own flesh?
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Jesus and His Brothers
7 After this, Jesus traveled around Galilee. He wanted to stay out of Judea, where the Jewish leaders were plotting his death. 2 But soon it was time for the Jewish Festival of Shelters,3 and Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea, where your followers can see your miracles!4 You can’t become famous if you hide like this! If you can do such wonderful things, show yourself to the world!”5 For even his brothers didn’t believe in him.
6 Jesus replied, “Now is not the right time for me to go, but you can go anytime.7 The world can’t hate you, but it does hate me because I accuse it of doing evil.8 You go on. I’m not going to this festival, because my time has not yet come.”9 After saying these things, Jesus remained in Galilee.
Jesus Teaches Openly at the Temple
10 But after his brothers left for the festival, Jesus also went, though secretly, staying out of public view. 11 The Jewish leaders tried to find him at the festival and kept asking if anyone had seen him.12 There was a lot of grumbling about him among the crowds. Some argued, “He’s a good man,” but others said, “He’s nothing but a fraud who deceives the people.”13 But no one had the courage to speak favorably about him in public, for they were afraid of getting in trouble with the Jewish leaders.
14 Then, midway through the festival, Jesus went up to the Temple and began to teach.15 The people were surprised when they heard him. “How does he know so much when he hasn’t been trained?” they asked.
16 So Jesus told them, “My message is not my own; it comes from God who sent me.17 Anyone who wants to do the will of God will know whether my teaching is from God or is merely my own.18 Those who speak for themselves want glory only for themselves, but a person who seeks to honor the one who sent him speaks truth, not lies.19 Moses gave you the law, but none of you obeys it! In fact, you are trying to kill me.”
20 The crowd replied, “You’re demon possessed! Who’s trying to kill you?”
21 Jesus replied, “I did one miracle on the Sabbath, and you were amazed.22 But you work on the Sabbath, too, when you obey Moses’ law of circumcision. (Actually, this tradition of circumcision began with the patriarchs, long before the law of Moses.)23 For if the correct time for circumcising your son falls on the Sabbath, you go ahead and do it so as not to break the law of Moses. So why should you be angry with me for healing a man on the Sabbath?24 Look beneath the surface so you can judge correctly.”
Is Jesus the Messiah?
25 Some of the people who lived in Jerusalem started to ask each other, “Isn’t this the man they are trying to kill? 26 But here he is, speaking in public, and they say nothing to him. Could our leaders possibly believe that he is the Messiah?27 But how could he be? For we know where this man comes from. When the Messiah comes, he will simply appear; no one will know where he comes from.”
28 While Jesus was teaching in the Temple, he called out, “Yes, you know me, and you know where I come from. But I’m not here on my own. The one who sent me is true, and you don’t know him.29 But I know him because I come from him, and he sent me to you.”30 Then the leaders tried to arrest him; but no one laid a hand on him, because his time had not yet come.
31 Many among the crowds at the Temple believed in him. “After all,” they said, “would you expect the Messiah to do more miraculous signs than this man has done?”
32 When the Pharisees heard that the crowds were whispering such things, they and the leading priests sent Temple guards to arrest Jesus.33 But Jesus told them, “I will be with you only a little longer. Then I will return to the one who sent me.34 You will search for me but not find me. And you cannot go where I am going.”
35 The Jewish leaders were puzzled by this statement. “Where is he planning to go?” they asked. “Is he thinking of leaving the country and going to the Jews in other lands? Maybe he will even teach the Greeks!36 What does he mean when he says, ‘You will search for me but not find me,’ and ‘You cannot go where I am going’?”
Jesus Promises Living Water
37 On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! 38 Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’”39 (When he said “living water,” he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him. But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into his glory.)
Division and Unbelief
40 When the crowds heard him say this, some of them declared, “Surely this man is the Prophet we’ve been expecting.” 41 Others said, “He is the Messiah.” Still others said, “But he can’t be! Will the Messiah come from Galilee?42 For the Scriptures clearly state that the Messiah will be born of the royal line of David, in Bethlehem, the village where King David was born.”43 So the crowd was divided about him.44 Some even wanted him arrested, but no one laid a hand on him.
45 When the Temple guards returned without having arrested Jesus, the leading priests and Pharisees demanded, “Why didn’t you bring him in?”
46 “We have never heard anyone speak like this!” the guards responded.
47 “Have you been led astray, too?” the Pharisees mocked.48 “Is there a single one of us rulers or Pharisees who believes in him?49 This foolish crowd follows him, but they are ignorant of the law. God’s curse is on them!”
50 Then Nicodemus, the leader who had met with Jesus earlier, spoke up.51 “Is it legal to convict a man before he is given a hearing?” he asked.
52 They replied, “Are you from Galilee, too? Search the Scriptures and see for yourself—no prophet ever comes from Galilee!”
“The pains we can get from doing our best work can be overwhelming, but in the end, the grief of it all will turn into maximized longterm relief and true success with God, people, and your destiny.” ~ Jon Barnes
Align your ambitions with God’s Will and maximize all of the good you will do for the Kingdom of God. Each small step taken will teach you how to take better care of your family first. A person who does not love their family or take good care of them is worse than an infidel; Specifically, men who do not take care or provide for their own children. Friends become ambitious about taking care of your own kids, family, and God will teach you how to become a good friend to others also.
You cannot be fair to others if you are not fair to God and your own family. Practice what you preach by following His instructions, lifestyle commandments, and love guidelines. Too often we are all trying to move and learn everything way too fast, with shortcuts that diminish the natural learning experiences that we all need. There is no fairness in enslaving others to do your work, while you reap all of the rewards and benefits by spreading lies, grief, and mayhem.
People who are thoughtful with the love of God will pay and reward people properly for quality work and honest opportunity to survive and thrive. They will develop housing, land, jobs, food, education, and the likes for the good of all. There are enough provisions for all people to succeed, without greed! However, if our governments, we the people, and our businesses become full of corruption, then the laws and practices will reflect the welfare status of the city, country, or state.
Are you happy with all of the poverty that surrounds your wonderful business, property, and city or will you help to develop plans, goals, and opportunities for people to help themselves to do better with God’s Ethics?
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Jesus Feeds Five Thousand
6 After this, Jesus crossed over to the far side of the Sea of Galilee, also known as the Sea of Tiberias. 2 A huge crowd kept following him wherever he went, because they saw his miraculous signs as he healed the sick.3 Then Jesus climbed a hill and sat down with his disciples around him.4 (It was nearly time for the Jewish Passover celebration.)5 Jesus soon saw a huge crowd of people coming to look for him. Turning to Philip, he asked, “Where can we buy bread to feed all these people?”6 He was testing Philip, for he already knew what he was going to do.
7 Philip replied, “Even if we worked for months, we wouldn’t have enough money to feed them!”
8 Then Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up.9 “There’s a young boy here with five barley loaves and two fish. But what good is that with this huge crowd?”
10 “Tell everyone to sit down,” Jesus said. So they all sat down on the grassy slopes. (The men alone numbered about 5,000.)11 Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks to God, and distributed them to the people. Afterward he did the same with the fish. And they all ate as much as they wanted.12 After everyone was full, Jesus told his disciples, “Now gather the leftovers, so that nothing is wasted.”13 So they picked up the pieces and filled twelve baskets with scraps left by the people who had eaten from the five barley loaves.
14 When the people saw him do this miraculous sign, they exclaimed, “Surely, he is the Prophet we have been expecting!”15 When Jesus saw that they were ready to force him to be their king, he slipped away into the hills by himself.
Jesus Walks on Water
16 That evening Jesus’ disciples went down to the shore to wait for him. 17 But as darkness fell and Jesus still hadn’t come back, they got into the boat and headed across the lake toward Capernaum.18 Soon a gale swept down upon them, and the sea grew very rough.19 They had rowed three or four miles when suddenly they saw Jesus walking on the water toward the boat. They were terrified,20 but he called out to them, “Don’t be afraid. I am here!”21 Then they were eager to let him in the boat, and immediately they arrived at their destination!
Jesus, the Bread of Life
22 The next day the crowd that had stayed on the far shore saw that the disciples had taken the only boat, and they realized Jesus had not gone with them. 23 Several boats from Tiberias landed near the place where the Lord had blessed the bread and the people had eaten.24 So when the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and went across to Capernaum to look for him.25 They found him on the other side of the lake and asked, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”
26 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you understood the miraculous signs.27 But don’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you. For God the Father has given me the seal of his approval.”
28 They replied, “We want to perform God’s works, too. What should we do?”
29 Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.”
30 They answered, “Show us a miraculous sign if you want us to believe in you. What can you do?31 After all, our ancestors ate manna while they journeyed through the wilderness! The Scriptures say, ‘Moses gave them bread from heaven to eat’. ”
32 Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, Moses didn’t give you bread from heaven. My Father did. And now he offers you the true bread from heaven.33 The true bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
34 “Sir,” they said, “give us that bread every day.”
35 Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.36 But you haven’t believed in me even though you have seen me.37 However, those the Father has given me will come to me, and I will never reject them.38 For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will.39 And this is the will of God, that I should not lose even one of all those he has given me, but that I should raise them up at the last day.40 For it is my Father’s will that all who see his Son and believe in him should have eternal life. I will raise them up at the last day.”
41 Then the people began to murmur in disagreement because he had said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.”42 They said, “Isn’t this Jesus, the son of Joseph? We know his father and mother. How can he say, ‘I came down from heaven’?”
43 But Jesus replied, “Stop complaining about what I said.44 For no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them to me, and at the last day I will raise them up.45 As it is written in the Scriptures, ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me.46 (Not that anyone has ever seen the Father; only I, who was sent from God, have seen him.)
47 “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes has eternal life.48 Yes, I am the bread of life!49 Your ancestors ate manna in the wilderness, but they all died.50 Anyone who eats the bread from heaven, however, will never die.51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; and this bread, which I will offer so the world may live, is my flesh.”
52 Then the people began arguing with each other about what he meant. “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” they asked.
53 So Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you cannot have eternal life within you.54 But anyone who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise that person at the last day.55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.56 Anyone who eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him.57 I live because of the living Father who sent me; in the same way, anyone who feeds on me will live because of me.58 I am the true bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will not die as your ancestors did (even though they ate the manna) but will live forever.”
59 He said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.
Many Disciples Desert Jesus
60 Many of his disciples said, “This is very hard to understand. How can anyone accept it?”
61 Jesus was aware that his disciples were complaining, so he said to them, “Does this offend you?62 Then what will you think if you see the Son of Man ascend to heaven again?63 The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.64 But some of you do not believe me.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning which ones didn’t believe, and he knew who would betray him.)65 Then he said, “That is why I said that people can’t come to me unless the Father gives them to me.”
66 At this point many of his disciples turned away and deserted him.67 Then Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked, “Are you also going to leave?”
68 Simon Peter replied, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life.69 We believe, and we know you are the Holy One of God.”
70 Then Jesus said, “I chose the twelve of you, but one is a devil.”71 He was speaking of Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, one of the Twelve, who would later betray him.
“Don’t look at your neighbor’s harvest for evidence of God’s Sovereignty.”~TB
There are 24 hours, 1,440 minutes, and 86,400 seconds in each day. Considering that we spend only a mere fractionof that time around other people, it’s impossible to know all of the deeds and seeds being sown by anyone. Not even your child, your spouse, your sister, your brother, your best friend, anyone. Therefore, we cannot act as judge, jury, and executioner when it comes to other people’s lives. More importantly, we cannot base our understanding or relationship with God on the lives of anyone else but our own.
Everyone sows seeds, good or evil. Everyone also reaps a harvest based on the seeds sown. If you get a bad crop, it’s time to reflect on your seeds. Fortunately for us, we can all do our gardening research found in the Bible and time with God to learn how to sow good seeds. Don’t mind someone else’s garden or harvest, but rather tend to your own. Whatever they receive is between them and God and as onlookers, it is impossible to discern a harvest that which you did not plant. Instead, pray for your brother’s and sister’s and let God do the rest.
Are you foolish enough to look at someone’s harvest, believing that God is asleep at the wheel or are you smart enough to know that you know nothing about it at all?
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1Oh, that you would burst from the heavens and come down! How the mountains would quake in your presence!
2As fire causes wood to burn and water to boil, your coming would make the nations tremble. Then your enemies would learn the reason for your fame!
3When you came down long ago, you did awesome deeds beyond our highest expectations. And oh, how the mountains quaked!
4For since the world began, no ear has heard and no eye has seen a God like you, who works for those who wait for him!
5You welcome those who gladly do good, who follow godly ways. But you have been very angry with us, for we are not godly. We are constant sinners; how can people like us be saved?
6We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind.
7Yet no one calls on your name or pleads with you for mercy. Therefore, you have turned away from us and turned us over to our sins.
8And yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter. We all are formed by your hand.
9Don’t be so angry with us, LORD . Please don’t remember our sins forever. Look at us, we pray, and see that we are all your people.
10Your holy cities are destroyed. Zion is a wilderness; yes, Jerusalem is a desolate ruin.
11The holy and beautiful Temple where our ancestors praised you has been burned down, and all the things of beauty are destroyed.
12After all this, LORD, must you still refuse to help us? Will you continue to be silent and punish us?
“Many of you pretend to love God for show, but your deeds expose your heart.”~TB
It’s amazing how lukewarm Christians get when things are comfortable. Hiding behind your decorated walls, it’s easy to judge and turn away those in need. You pray for the helpless, yet offer no help. Of course, this must be done publicly, so that your peers can see how spiritual you are. No amount of superficial acts can clean your blackened heart. Who do you think you are fooling? God knows you better than you know yourself.
God puts tests in front of all of us. Some come in the form of helping others, some in the form of external obstacles, and others an internal struggle. This is why reading and practicing the Words in the Bible is so important. His Word is a direct connection to His Will. When you understand Who you’re connected to, you can lay down your fake worship and fake Christianity. God is evaluating and judging us all. Make sure you’re not failing your tests.
Is your love for God for show?
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1These are the proverbs of Solomon, David’s son, king of Israel.
2 Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline, to help them understand the insights of the wise.
3Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives, to help them do what is right, just, and fair.
4These proverbs will give insight to the simple, knowledge and discernment to the young.
5Let the wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser. Let those with understanding receive guidance
6by exploring the meaning in these proverbs and parables, the words of the wise and their riddles.
7Fear of the LORD is the foundation of true knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.
8My child, listen when your father corrects you. Don’t neglect your mother’s instruction.
9What you learn from them will crown you with grace and be a chain of honor around your neck.
10My child, if sinners entice you, turn your back on them!
11They may say, “Come and join us. Let’s hide and kill someone! Just for fun, let’s ambush the innocent!
12Let’s swallow them alive, like the grave; let’s swallow them whole, like those who go down to the pit of death.
13Think of the great things we’ll get! We’ll fill our houses with all the stuff we take.
14Come, throw in your lot with us; we’ll all share the loot.”
15My child, don’t go along with them! Stay far away from their paths.
16They rush to commit evil deeds. They hurry to commit murder.
17If a bird sees a trap being set, it knows to stay away.
18But these people set an ambush for themselves; they are trying to get themselves killed.
19Such is the fate of all who are greedy for money; it robs them of life.
20Wisdom shouts in the streets. She cries out in the public square.
21She calls to the crowds along the main street, to those gathered in front of the city gate:
22“How long, you simpletons, will you insist on being simpleminded? How long will you mockers relish your mocking? How long will you fools hate knowledge?
23Come and listen to my counsel. I’ll share my heart with you and make you wise.
24“I called you so often, but you wouldn’t come. I reached out to you, but you paid no attention.
25You ignored my advice and rejected the correction I offered.
26So I will laugh when you are in trouble! I will mock you when disaster overtakes you—
27when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when disaster engulfs you like a cyclone, and anguish and distress overwhelm you.
28“When they cry for help, I will not answer. Though they anxiously search for me, they will not find me.
29For they hated knowledge and chose not to fear the LORD.
30They rejected my advice and paid no attention when I corrected them.
31Therefore, they must eat the bitter fruit of living their own way, choking on their own schemes.
32For simpletons turn away from me—to death. Fools are destroyed by their own complacency.
33But all who listen to me will live in peace, untroubled by fear of harm.”
“Understanding God’s Word is fairly simple. Applying it to your life, well, that’s a whole other animal.”~TB
In theory, love sacrifice, patience, long-suffering, and perseverance are lovely and beautiful concepts. When you speak them to one another, those words provide a false sense of accomplishment. In today’s society, people sing sweet nothings, as if spraying perfume on a stinky body, in an attempt to hide the foul smell. Words without deeds are empty. Many of you have filled your hearts and minds with empty rhetoric. Friends, listen carefully: as idiot people, we have subjugated those words, turning them into nouns when they really are verbs!
Love, sacrifice, patience, long-suffering, and perseverance requires DOING! You can’t just say the words and poof life is wonderful. You have to love when it’s hard. You have to be patient in tough times. You have to be long-suffering when the odds aren’t in your favor. You have to persevere when failure comes your way. Anyone can be an armchair quarterback. It takes humility in understanding that God can only help you with this verbs. You cannot overcome your sinful nature on your own.
Are you applying the verbs or do you stink under the perfume of fake words?
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1Beside the rivers of Babylon, we sat and wept as we thought of Jerusalem.
2We put away our harps, hanging them on the branches of poplar trees.
3For our captors demanded a song from us. Our tormentors insisted on a joyful hymn: “Sing us one of those songs of Jerusalem!”
4But how can we sing the songs of the LORD while in a pagan land?
5If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget how to play the harp.
6May my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth if I fail to remember you, if I don’t make Jerusalem my greatest joy.
7O LORD, remember what the Edomites did on the day the armies of Babylon captured Jerusalem. “Destroy it!” they yelled. “Level it to the ground!”
8O Babylon, you will be destroyed. Happy is the one who pays you back for what you have done to us.
9Happy is the one who takes your babies and smashes them against the rocks!
“You become like the Pharaoh of Egypt when you enslave your peers, usurping their goods without offering them anything in return.”~TB
Why did you take that which does not belong to you? Are God’s provisions not enough? Your appetite for authority and prestige has blinded you to your maliciously evil deeds. Look in the mirror and who do you see; a child of God or a modern day slave owner?
Your heart is hardened, making you blind to the wrath of justice right around the corner. You’ve failed to listen to the truth, opting to believe the lies of strangers of God. When you are the supreme ruler of your life, eventually you will surround yourself with people who are more than happy to aid in your demise. Soon you will see what happens to the emperor who succumbs to false flattery and evil deeds.
Are you ready to abdicate your evil throne or does God have to smack some sense into you?
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1Come, let us sing to the LORD ! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
2Let us come to him with thanksgiving. Let us sing psalms of praise to him.
3For the LORD is a great God, a great King above all gods.
4He holds in his hands the depths of the earth and the mightiest mountains.
5The sea belongs to him, for he made it. His hands formed the dry land, too.
6Come, let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the LORD our maker,
7for he is our God. We are the people he watches over, the flock under his care. If only you would listen to his voice today!
8The LORD says, “Don’t harden your hearts as Israel did at Meribah, as they did at Massah in the wilderness.
9For there your ancestors tested and tried my patience, even though they saw everything I did.
10For forty years I was angry with them, and I said, ‘They are a people whose hearts turn away from me. They refuse to do what I tell them.’
11So in my anger I took an oath: ‘They will never enter my place of rest.’”