“Imagine what our relationship with God would be if we only followed His directions.”~TB
In theory, God’s Will, laws, and ways are not difficult to understand. That said, it’s amazing how fickle, fleshly, and wayward we can be. God will give us simple, easy to follow instructions, but like Red Riding Hood, something catches our eye and we stray from the path. Then when we are at the mercy of our choices and the opposition, we cry out to God to put us back on the straight and narrow. And when He does, many of us often fall back into the same pattern, never maturing in Christ. When you reflect on this, it’s hard not to think about how odd and foolish we can be.
As flesh-driven creatures, obedience to Christ and His ways is tough! We have to humbly submit ourselves to His plans and designs for our lives. The struggle lies in allowing Christ behind the wheel instead of driving ourselves. The ironic part is that walking in step with Christ yields fruit way sweeter than anything we can cultivate on our own. However, to actualize this, we must reign in our behavior, thoughts, and minds, following the instruction of God rather than our own directions. When that happens God can then use us to our full potential.
Where could you be if you followed the directions of Christ?
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1Good people pass away; the godly often die before their time. But no one seems to care or wonder why. No one seems to understand that God is protecting them from the evil to come.
2For those who follow godly paths will rest in peace when they die.
3“But you—come here, you witches’ children, you offspring of adulterers and prostitutes!
4Whom do you mock, making faces and sticking out your tongues? You children of sinners and liars!
5You worship your idols with great passion beneath the oaks and under every green tree. You sacrifice your children down in the valleys, among the jagged rocks in the cliffs.
6Your gods are the smooth stones in the valleys. You worship them with liquid offerings and grain offerings. They, not I, are your inheritance. Do you think all this makes me happy?
7You have committed adultery on every high mountain. There you have worshiped idols and have been unfaithful to me.
8You have put pagan symbols on your doorposts and behind your doors. You have left me and climbed into bed with these detestable gods. You have committed yourselves to them. You love to look at their naked bodies.
9You have gone to Molech with olive oil and many perfumes, sending your agents far and wide, even to the world of the dead.
10You grew weary in your search, but you never gave up. Desire gave you renewed strength, and you did not grow weary.
11“Are you afraid of these idols? Do they terrify you? Is that why you have lied to me and forgotten me and my words? Is it because of my long silence that you no longer fear me?
12Now I will expose your so-called good deeds. None of them will help you.
13Let’s see if your idols can save you when you cry to them for help. Why, a puff of wind can knock them down! If you just breathe on them, they fall over! But whoever trusts in me will inherit the land and possess my holy mountain.”
14God says, “Rebuild the road! Clear away the rocks and stones so my people can return from captivity.”
15The high and lofty one who lives in eternity, the Holy One, says this: “I live in the high and holy place with those whose spirits are contrite and humble. I restore the crushed spirit of the humble and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts.
16For I will not fight against you forever; I will not always be angry. If I were, all people would pass away— all the souls I have made.
17I was angry, so I punished these greedy people. I withdrew from them, but they kept going on their own stubborn way.
18I have seen what they do, but I will heal them anyway! I will lead them. I will comfort those who mourn,
19bringing words of praise to their lips. May they have abundant peace, both near and far,” says the LORD, who heals them.
20“But those who still reject me are like the restless sea, which is never still but continually churns up mud and dirt.
“We are all given talents to do with as we please.”~TB
God gives us all talents. Our minds, bodies, spirit— these are where our talents come from. Some people use these talents to multiply their skills to do amazing things. While others sit on their talents for one reason or another. Just like the parable in the Bible, you can invest your talents and reap more, or you can be like the guy who buried his talent. The same can be said for our relationship with Christ
Because salvation is freely given, there is not much for us to do to receive it. However, to truly reap the benefits of knowing Christ, you must develop that gift through consistent practice. Just like those who develop and multiply their talents, work is needed. Even those we consider to be naturally gifted, must put in the time to become great. To experience this with Christ, reading the Word, applying the principles, and talking with Him is vital to hear and see what He has to share with you. Work is never ‘easy’, but the work you do with Christ is divinely worth it.
Are you developing your talent or are you burying it in the ground?
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1When King Hezekiah heard their report, he tore his clothes and put on burlap and went into the Temple of the LORD .
2And he sent Eliakim the palace administrator, Shebna the court secretary, and the leading priests, all dressed in burlap, to the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz.
3They told him, “This is what King Hezekiah says: Today is a day of trouble, insults, and disgrace. It is like when a child is ready to be born, but the mother has no strength to deliver the baby.
4But perhaps the LORD your God has heard the Assyrian chief of staff, sent by the king to defy the living God, and will punish him for his words. Oh, pray for those of us who are left!”
5After King Hezekiah’s officials delivered the king’s message to Isaiah,
6the prophet replied, “Say to your master, ‘This is what the LORD says: Do not be disturbed by this blasphemous speech against me from the Assyrian king’s messengers.
7Listen! I myself will move against him, and the king will receive a message that he is needed at home. So he will return to his land, where I will have him killed with a sword.’”
8Meanwhile, the Assyrian chief of staff left Jerusalem and went to consult the king of Assyria, who had left Lachish and was attacking Libnah.
9Soon afterward King Sennacherib received word that King Tirhakah of Ethiopia was leading an army to fight against him. Before leaving to meet the attack, he sent messengers back to Hezekiah in Jerusalem with this message:
10“This message is for King Hezekiah of Judah. Don’t let your God, in whom you trust, deceive you with promises that Jerusalem will not be captured by the king of Assyria.
11You know perfectly well what the kings of Assyria have done wherever they have gone. They have completely destroyed everyone who stood in their way! Why should you be any different?
12Have the gods of other nations rescued them—such nations as Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the people of Eden who were in Tel-assar? My predecessors destroyed them all!
13What happened to the king of Hamath and the king of Arpad? What happened to the kings of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah?”
14After Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it, he went up to the LORD ’s Temple and spread it out before the LORD .
15And Hezekiah prayed this prayer before the LORD :
16“O LORD of Heaven’s Armies, God of Israel, you are enthroned between the mighty cherubim! You alone are God of all the kingdoms of the earth. You alone created the heavens and the earth.
17Bend down, O LORD, and listen! Open your eyes, O LORD, and see! Listen to Sennacherib’s words of defiance against the living God.
18“It is true, LORD, that the kings of Assyria have destroyed all these nations.
19And they have thrown the gods of these nations into the fire and burned them. But of course the Assyrians could destroy them! They were not gods at all—only idols of wood and stone shaped by human hands.
20Now, O LORD our God, rescue us from his power; then all the kingdoms of the earth will know that you alone, O LORD, are God. ”
21Then Isaiah son of Amoz sent this message to Hezekiah: “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: Because you prayed about King Sennacherib of Assyria,
22the LORD has spoken this word against him: “The virgin daughter of Zion despises you and laughs at you. The daughter of Jerusalem shakes her head in derision as you flee.
23“Whom have you been defying and ridiculing? Against whom did you raise your voice? At whom did you look with such haughty eyes? It was the Holy One of Israel!
24By your messengers you have defied the Lord. You have said, ‘With my many chariots I have conquered the highest mountains— yes, the remotest peaks of Lebanon. I have cut down its tallest cedars and its finest cypress trees. I have reached its farthest heights and explored its deepest forests.
25I have dug wells in many foreign lands and refreshed myself with their water. With the sole of my foot, I stopped up all the rivers of Egypt!’
26“But have you not heard? I decided this long ago. Long ago I planned it, and now I am making it happen. I planned for you to crush fortified cities into heaps of rubble.
27That is why their people have so little power and are so frightened and confused. They are as weak as grass, as easily trampled as tender green shoots. They are like grass sprouting on a housetop, scorched before it can grow lush and tall.
28“But I know you well— where you stay and when you come and go. I know the way you have raged against me.
29And because of your raging against me and your arrogance, which I have heard for myself, I will put my hook in your nose and my bit in your mouth. I will make you return by the same road on which you came.”
30Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Here is the proof that what I say is true: “This year you will eat only what grows up by itself, and next year you will eat what springs up from that. But in the third year you will plant crops and harvest them; you will tend vineyards and eat their fruit.
31And you who are left in Judah, who have escaped the ravages of the siege, will put roots down in your own soil and grow up and flourish.
32For a remnant of my people will spread out from Jerusalem, a group of survivors from Mount Zion. The passionate commitment of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!
33“And this is what the LORD says about the king of Assyria: “‘His armies will not enter Jerusalem. They will not even shoot an arrow at it. They will not march outside its gates with their shields nor build banks of earth against its walls.
34The king will return to his own country by the same road on which he came. He will not enter this city,’ says the LORD .
35‘For my own honor and for the sake of my servant David, I will defend this city and protect it.’”
36That night the angel of the LORD went out to the Assyrian camp and killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers. When the surviving Assyrians woke up the next morning, they found corpses everywhere.
37Then King Sennacherib of Assyria broke camp and returned to his own land. He went home to his capital of Nineveh and stayed there.
38One day while he was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisroch, his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer killed him with their swords. They then escaped to the land of Ararat, and another son, Esarhaddon, became the next king of Assyria.
“Rejoice in the fact that we get to serve a loving and merciful God.”~TB
A “have to” mindset is where you look at life’s tasks with a tedious and duty-bound attitude. In your mind, things just happen to you and you simply react. This lens makes the viewer see things in such a twisted light, it’s no wonder why people struggle to build a relationship with God! Spending time with God is not a chore nor an obligation. Friends, no one is holding a gun to your head. If something in your life sucks, change it. If you cannot see the joy in choosing to follow Christ, check your mindset, or quit pretending. No joy can come from a forced relationship. If you don’t want to know God, then don’t. Just stop pretending like you’re doing Him a favor with your bogus actions.
When you understand all that our Father in Heaven has done, is doing, and will do in your life, you can’t help but have a change in perspective. You’re “have to” mindset shifts into a “get to” viewpoint because you know the price that was paid for you. What once seemed like a chain weighing you down is now a joyous and love-filled activity. Know that God loves you and seeks to have a restorative and everlasting relationship with you. His love is unfailing and unyielding, so be glad you get to experience it. Take the time to cultivate an honest and personal relationship. His wisdom brings joy, peace, and contentment. How wonderful it is to get to know Him!
Are you leading a “get to” or “have to” kind of life?
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1Listen as Wisdom calls out! Hear as understanding raises her voice!
2On the hilltop along the road, she takes her stand at the crossroads.
3By the gates at the entrance to the town, on the road leading in, she cries aloud,
4“I call to you, to all of you! I raise my voice to all people.
5You simple people, use good judgment. You foolish people, show some understanding.
6Listen to me! For I have important things to tell you. Everything I say is right,
7for I speak the truth and detest every kind of deception.
8My advice is wholesome. There is nothing devious or crooked in it.
9My words are plain to anyone with understanding, clear to those with knowledge.
10Choose my instruction rather than silver, and knowledge rather than pure gold.
11For wisdom is far more valuable than rubies. Nothing you desire can compare with it.
12“I, Wisdom, live together with good judgment. I know where to discover knowledge and discernment.
13All who fear the LORD will hate evil. Therefore, I hate pride and arrogance, corruption and perverse speech.
14Common sense and success belong to me. Insight and strength are mine.
15Because of me, kings reign, and rulers make just decrees.
16Rulers lead with my help, and nobles make righteous judgments.
17“I love all who love me. Those who search will surely find me.
18I have riches and honor, as well as enduring wealth and justice.
19My gifts are better than gold, even the purest gold, my wages better than sterling silver!
20I walk in righteousness, in paths of justice.
21Those who love me inherit wealth. I will fill their treasuries.
22“The LORD formed me from the beginning, before he created anything else.
23I was appointed in ages past, at the very first, before the earth began.
24I was born before the oceans were created, before the springs bubbled forth their waters.
25Before the mountains were formed, before the hills, I was born—
26before he had made the earth and fields and the first handfuls of soil.
27I was there when he established the heavens, when he drew the horizon on the oceans.
28I was there when he set the clouds above, when he established springs deep in the earth.
29I was there when he set the limits of the seas, so they would not spread beyond their boundaries. And when he marked off the earth’s foundations,
30I was the architect at his side. I was his constant delight, rejoicing always in his presence.
31And how happy I was with the world he created; how I rejoiced with the human family!
32“And so, my children, listen to me, for all who follow my ways are joyful.
33Listen to my instruction and be wise. Don’t ignore it.
34Joyful are those who listen to me, watching for me daily at my gates, waiting for me outside my home!
35For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the LORD .
36But those who miss me injure themselves. All who hate me love death.”
“Do not put your brothers and sisters on a pedastal, as they require the same mercy and grace from God as you.”~TB
Even the wisest most disciplined follower of Christ does not compare to the perfection that is God. As such, do not place them in the same category. Each person who has been chosen to share the Lord’s wisdom is still a mere mortal. They bleed, feel, fail, achieve, in the same manner as anyone else. When they fail, as they will, you must give them the same space and grace as God gives to you.
If you view those in power as better than yourself, you run the risk of judging them harshly when they misstep. Yes, those who are placed in positions of leadership, teaching, and the like, must be held to a higher standard. However, this does not mean perfection. Human nature dictates that no one will live a perfect life. The judgment of their shortcomings is not for you or me. God is the ultimate judge and will always rule in a perfect manner.
One of the reasons why people are so willing to idolize those they consider to be wise is because it’s a great excuse to not do the work. Friends, the wise are not a substitute for our Father in Heaven. They are mouthpieces at best and examples of what not to do at worst. When you rely on someone else’s relationship/connection to Christ, it’s easy to fall into complacency, thinking that listening to them abdicates the need for you to go to God. Don’t lean on them as they are human. Instead, tap into the direct connection with God so that you know where to place your faith.
Are you avoiding Christ by putting humans on an unrealistic pedestal?
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1My son, pay attention to my wisdom; listen carefully to my wise counsel.
2Then you will show discernment, and your lips will express what you’ve learned.
3For the lips of an immoral woman are as sweet as honey, and her mouth is smoother than oil.
4But in the end she is as bitter as poison, as dangerous as a double-edged sword.
5Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave.
6For she cares nothing about the path to life. She staggers down a crooked trail and doesn’t realize it.
7So now, my sons, listen to me. Never stray from what I am about to say:
8Stay away from her! Don’t go near the door of her house!
9If you do, you will lose your honor and will lose to merciless people all you have achieved.
10Strangers will consume your wealth, and someone else will enjoy the fruit of your labor.
11In the end you will groan in anguish when disease consumes your body.
12You will say, “How I hated discipline! If only I had not ignored all the warnings!
13Oh, why didn’t I listen to my teachers? Why didn’t I pay attention to my instructors?
14I have come to the brink of utter ruin, and now I must face public disgrace.”
15Drink water from your own well— share your love only with your wife.
16Why spill the water of your springs in the streets, having sex with just anyone?
17You should reserve it for yourselves. Never share it with strangers.
18Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you. Rejoice in the wife of your youth.
19She is a loving deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts satisfy you always. May you always be captivated by her love.
20Why be captivated, my son, by an immoral woman, or fondle the breasts of a promiscuous woman?
21For the LORD sees clearly what a man does, examining every path he takes.
22An evil man is held captive by his own sins; they are ropes that catch and hold him.
23He will die for lack of self-control; he will be lost because of his great foolishness.
“You have the choice to pass the buck and not develop your talents and relationship with God. Just don’t be upset watching other people pass you by.”~TB
Quit coveting the talents and belongings of your neighbor. You have the same hours and minutes in the day to develop yourself. These things don’t happen overnight. Each day, you make choices to either develop and grow or remain in your stupor. You can choose to get up, read your Bible, and make sound decisions. Friends, hard work and labor are Biblically inspired! What you do with your time is up to you.
You can make excuses for your life, your lack of development, and absentee relationship with God. If you’re creative enough, those excuses will seem valid. They may work on your brothers and sisters, but make no mistake, we are all seen by God for who we truly are. Don’t think your confusion surprises Him.
Are you developing your relationship or are you envying the labor of your neighbor?
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1Sing praises to God, our strength. Sing to the God of Jacob.
2Sing! Beat the tambourine. Play the sweet lyre and the harp.
3Blow the ram’s horn at new moon, and again at full moon to call a festival!
4For this is required by the decrees of Israel; it is a regulation of the God of Jacob.
5He made it a law for Israel when he attacked Egypt to set us free. I heard an unknown voice say,
6“Now I will take the load from your shoulders; I will free your hands from their heavy tasks.
7You cried to me in trouble, and I saved you; I answered out of the thundercloud and tested your faith when there was no water at Meribah. Interlude
8“Listen to me, O my people, while I give you stern warnings. O Israel, if you would only listen to me!
9You must never have a foreign god; you must not bow down before a false god.
10For it was I, the LORD your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it with good things.
11“But no, my people wouldn’t listen. Israel did not want me around.
12So I let them follow their own stubborn desires, living according to their own ideas.
13Oh, that my people would listen to me! Oh, that Israel would follow me, walking in my paths!
14How quickly I would then subdue their enemies! How soon my hands would be upon their foes!
15Those who hate the LORD would cringe before him; they would be doomed forever.
16But I would feed you with the finest wheat. I would satisfy you with wild honey from the rock.”
“Ignorant people make good people look like superheroes all around the world and we should do more talking about God,the good things on the news,and the positive results we are getting our conversations, communities, and daily worship.” ~Jon Barnes
I tell all of my students that good students work smarter, try harder, and practice improving their skills to help themselves and others to achieve good objectives.Aligning your motives and objectives in the right direction can be a challenge.Super Heroes find a way to walk in that path towards God, with each step in daily worship.
Silly negative issues do not stop Superheroes from working hard and staying on task.They recognize the silly little tricks of the enemy and move onto the next good solution.No time is wasted on the lessons learned, while quickly fixing many problems that are encountered daily.Bullies try to control you with fear, with remembering past sins, and guilt to kick you off course from improving and growing in God.
Develop Super Cool work habits, ethics, and ideas to enhance your family, the workplace, and your daily walk with God.In these relationships, you can test all the biblical principles your are reading, learning, and following to ask God questions to get much-needed guidance and answers. Don’t talk to people being used by the devil.Just walk away and let God fight them.
What Super Question did you ask God about today and what did tell you?
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2 Chronicles 35
Josiah Celebrates Passover
35 Then Josiah announced that the Passover of the Lord would be celebrated in Jerusalem, and so the Passover lamb was slaughtered on the fourteenth day of the first month.[a]2 Josiah also assigned the priests to their duties and encouraged them in their work at the Temple of the Lord.3 He issued this order to the Levites, who were to teach all Israel and who had been set apart to serve the Lord: “Put the holy Ark in the Temple that was built by Solomon son of David, the king of Israel. You no longer need to carry it back and forth on your shoulders. Now spend your time serving the Lord your God and his people Israel.4 Report for duty according to the family divisions of your ancestors, following the directions of King David of Israel and the directions of his son Solomon.
5 “Then stand in the sanctuary at the place appointed for your family division and help the families assigned to you as they bring their offerings to the Temple.6 Slaughter the Passover lambs, purify yourselves, and prepare to help those who come. Follow all the directions that the Lord gave through Moses.”
7 Then Josiah provided 30,000 lambs and young goats for the people’s Passover offerings, along with 3,000 cattle, all from the king’s own flocks and herds.8 The king’s officials also made willing contributions to the people, priests, and Levites. Hilkiah, Zechariah, and Jehiel, the administrators of God’s Temple, gave the priests 2,600 lambs and young goats and 300 cattle as Passover offerings.9 The Levite leaders—Conaniah and his brothers Shemaiah and Nethanel, as well as Hashabiah, Jeiel, and Jozabad—gave 5,000 lambs and young goats and 500 cattle to the Levites for their Passover offerings.
10 When everything was ready for the Passover celebration, the priests and the Levites took their places, organized by their divisions, as the king had commanded.11 The Levites then slaughtered the Passover lambs and presented the blood to the priests, who sprinkled the blood on the altar while the Levites prepared the animals.12 They divided the burnt offerings among the people by their family groups, so they could offer them to the Lord as prescribed in the Book of Moses. They did the same with the cattle.13 Then they roasted the Passover lambs as prescribed; and they boiled the holy offerings in pots, kettles, and pans, and brought them out quickly so the people could eat them.
14 Afterward the Levites prepared Passover offerings for themselves and for the priests—the descendants of Aaron—because the priests had been busy from morning till night offering the burnt offerings and the fat portions. The Levites took responsibility for all these preparations.
15 The musicians, descendants of Asaph, were in their assigned places, following the commands that had been given by David, Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun, the king’s seer. The gatekeepers guarded the gates and did not need to leave their posts of duty, for their Passover offerings were prepared for them by their fellow Levites.
16 The entire ceremony for the Lord’s Passover was completed that day. All the burnt offerings were sacrificed on the altar of the Lord, as King Josiah had commanded.17 All the Israelites present in Jerusalem celebrated Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread for seven days.18 Never since the time of the prophet Samuel had there been such a Passover. None of the kings of Israel had ever kept a Passover as Josiah did, involving all the priests and Levites, all the people of Jerusalem, and people from all over Judah and Israel.19 This Passover was celebrated in the eighteenth year of Josiah’s reign.
Josiah Dies in Battle
20 After Josiah had finished restoring the Temple, King Neco of Egypt led his army up from Egypt to do battle at Carchemish on the Euphrates River, and Josiah and his army marched out to fight him.[b]21 But King Neco sent messengers to Josiah with this message:
“What do you want with me, king of Judah? I have no quarrel with you today! I am on my way to fight another nation, and God has told me to hurry! Do not interfere with God, who is with me, or he will destroy you.”
22 But Josiah refused to listen to Neco, to whom God had indeed spoken, and he would not turn back. Instead, he disguised himself and led his army into battle on the plain of Megiddo.23 But the enemy archers hit King Josiah with their arrows and wounded him. He cried out to his men, “Take me from the battle, for I am badly wounded!”
24 So they lifted Josiah out of his chariot and placed him in another chariot. Then they brought him back to Jerusalem, where he died. He was buried there in the royal cemetery. And all Judah and Jerusalem mourned for him.25 The prophet Jeremiah composed funeral songs for Josiah, and to this day choirs still sing these sad songs about his death. These songs of sorrow have become a tradition and are recorded in The Book of Laments.
26 The rest of the events of Josiah’s reign and his acts of devotion (carried out according to what was written in the Law of the Lord),27 from beginning to end—all are recorded in The Book of the Kings of Israel and Judah.
“Greed, waste, and laziness will make you lose more money than you can ever earn, but God can teach you how to be productive and content.” ~ Jon Barnes
Begin to look at everything God has done on this planet as a tourist and admire His creations to become inspired to learn, grow, share, care, and develop the talent He has given you.You are never too old to learn new things to color, dance, sing, read, listen, and give back to your community. As a result, you will find and develop many talents because of your willingness to be obedient to God’s ways and open to learning.
Playing nicely on the playground, at work, home, church, and everywhere you go is like saving money and developing good friends.Saving your money by not wasting products, goods, and services are the best tool for consumption with contentment, just as saving your time by being obedient with God from the beginning.Nurturing family, friends, students, and people will leave a lasting impression of gratitude, faith, and integrity.
Turn the channel from negative points of view and see yourself fixing your own problems each day one step at a time.Do what you say and check off things on your list.Channel your energy, thoughts, and prayers into doing all things with the best intentions with simplicity, focus, and fulfillment of joy.
Has money become your only motivation and not God?
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1 Chronicles 10
Saul Takes His Life
10 Now the Philistines fought against Israel; the Israelites fled before them, and many fell dead on Mount Gilboa.2 The Philistines were in hot pursuit of Saul and his sons, and they killed his sons Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malki-Shua.3 The fighting grew fierce around Saul, and when the archers overtook him, they wounded him.
4 Saul said to his armor-bearer, “Draw your sword and run me through, or these uncircumcised fellows will come and abuse me.”
But his armor-bearer was terrified and would not do it; so Saul took his own sword and fell on it.5 When the armor-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he too fell on his sword and died.6 So Saul and his three sons died, and all his house died together.
7 When all the Israelites in the valley saw that the army had fled and that Saul and his sons had died, they abandoned their towns and fled. And the Philistines came and occupied them.
8 The next day, when the Philistines came to strip the dead, they found Saul and his sons fallen on Mount Gilboa.9 They stripped him and took his head and his armor, and sent messengers throughout the land of the Philistines to proclaim the news among their idols and their people.10 They put his armor in the temple of their gods and hung up his head in the temple of Dagon.
11 When all the inhabitants of Jabesh Gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul,12 all their valiant men went and took the bodies of Saul and his sons and brought them to Jabesh. Then they buried their bones under the great tree in Jabesh, and they fasted seven days.
13 Saul died because he was unfaithful to the Lord; he did not keep the word of the Lord and even consulted a medium for guidance,14 and did not inquire of the Lord. So the Lord put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David son of Jesse.
“It is a pleasure to see the fruits of your hard work in progress ripen with maturity, patience, sweat, and tears when no one is around to see you doing the work!” ~ Jon Barnes
As your muscles flex they become tense so that you can engage in the work needed for your assignment.This daily exercise pushes you forward with plans and assignments to complete. Tension and release are required to maximize efficiency and balance, whereas laziness is constantly at rest, looking at everyone else doing the work.
There are many ways to apply good effort and it is up to you to find which application fits your work ethic. Something positive must be accomplished by your hands if you want to grow, develop, and mature. When no effort is applied, your muscles shrivel up and die. Work time is not relaxation time and too many people are doing careless work, wanting to get paid for bad service and quality.
People who love God and their work will live by faith and not by their talent and money. Relax in the joy of the Lord and your work will seem like playing at the park.God always supplies the equipment and means to work in his fields. Be relieved that God is just and true to His Work and honors His Laborers with ripped fruit.
Are you a Laborer or a Liar?
1 Samuel 29
The Philistines Reject David
29 The entire Philistine army now mobilized at Aphek, and the Israelites camped at the spring in Jezreel.2 As the Philistine rulers were leading out their troops in groups of hundreds and thousands, David and his men marched at the rear with King Achish.3 But the Philistine commanders demanded, “What are these Hebrews doing here?”
And Achish told them, “This is David, the servant of King Saul of Israel. He’s been with me for years, and I’ve never found a single fault in him from the day he arrived until today.”
4 But the Philistine commanders were angry. “Send him back to the town you’ve given him!” they demanded. “He can’t go into the battle with us. What if he turns against us in battle and becomes our adversary? Is there any better way for him to reconcile himself with his master than by handing our heads over to him?5 Isn’t this the same David about whom the women of Israel sing in their dances,
‘Saul has killed his thousands, and David his ten thousands’?”
6 So Achish finally summoned David and said to him, “I swear by the Lord that you have been a trustworthy ally. I think you should go with me into battle, for I’ve never found a single flaw in you from the day you arrived until today. But the other Philistine rulers won’t hear of it.7 Please don’t upset them, but go back quietly.”
8 “What have I done to deserve this treatment?” David demanded. “What have you ever found in your servant, that I can’t go and fight the enemies of my lord the king?”
9 But Achish insisted, “As far as I’m concerned, you’re as perfect as an angel of God. But the Philistine commanders are afraid to have you with them in the battle.10 Now get up early in the morning, and leave with your men as soon as it gets light.”
11 So David and his men headed back into the land of the Philistines, while the Philistine army went on to Jezreel.
“When you give to people from out of the love that is in your heart from God, healing, blessings, and understanding flows from your actions and words with patience, clarity, purpose, and direction.” ~ Jon Barnes
God’s training methods are unique, effective and efficiently original. Like fingerprints, each lesson God instructs has its own weight, merit, and purpose to fulfill. God’s word gives power to simplicity, honesty, and character to the obedient child who listens. Recognize when God’s methods are being applied to your life and give God credit and thanks for your blessings.
Lessons are practiced and mastered many times before the test of battle. Daily preparation of your fate hangs in the balance of your continued cooperation with the Spirit of God and His Commandments. Don’t underestimate the power of obedience in the hands of a giving servant, who is willing to do the work, standing up for what is right.
Lifelong learners continue to develop their gifts for The Lord so that they may use them in service of the Kingdom and service of others. Training new leaders with opportunities to serve to give the next generation a fighting chance to know who God is, by practicing their faith.It is important to model and teach the next generation about God, so they do not forget the stories and blessings.
How do you inspire the next generation to hold onto God’s Commandments?
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1 Samuel 19
Saul Tries to Kill David
19 Saul now urged his servants and his son Jonathan to assassinate David. But Jonathan, because of his strong affection for David,2 told him what his father was planning. “Tomorrow morning,” he warned him, “you must find a hiding place out in the fields.3 I’ll ask my father to go out there with me, and I’ll talk to him about you. Then I’ll tell you everything I can find out.”
4 The next morning Jonathan spoke with his father about David, saying many good things about him. “The king must not sin against his servant David,” Jonathan said. “He’s never done anything to harm you. He has always helped you in any way he could.5 Have you forgotten about the time he risked his life to kill the Philistine giant and how the Lord brought a great victory to all Israel as a result? You were certainly happy about it then. Why should you murder an innocent man like David? There is no reason for it at all!”
6 So Saul listened to Jonathan and vowed, “As surely as the Lord lives, David will not be killed.”
7 Afterward Jonathan called David and told him what had happened. Then he brought David to Saul, and David served in the court as before.
8 War broke out again after that, and David led his troops against the Philistines. He attacked them with such fury that they all ran away.
9 But one day when Saul was sitting at home, with spear in hand, the tormenting spirit[a] from the Lord suddenly came upon him again. As David played his harp,10 Saul hurled his spear at David. But David dodged out of the way, and leaving the spear stuck in the wall, he fled and escaped into the night.
Michal Saves David’s Life
11 Then Saul sent troops to watch David’s house. They were told to kill David when he came out the next morning. But Michal, David’s wife, warned him, “If you don’t escape tonight, you will be dead by morning.”12 So she helped him climb out through a window, and he fled and escaped.13 Then she took an idol[b] and put it in his bed, covered it with blankets, and put a cushion of goat’s hair at its head.
14 When the troops came to arrest David, she told them he was sick and couldn’t get out of bed.
15 But Saul sent the troops back to get David. He ordered, “Bring him to me in his bed so I can kill him!”16 But when they came to carry David out, they discovered that it was only an idol in the bed with a cushion of goat’s hair at its head.
17 “Why have you betrayed me like this and let my enemy escape?” Saul demanded of Michal.
“I had to,” Michal replied. “He threatened to kill me if I didn’t help him.”
18 So David escaped and went to Ramah to see Samuel, and he told him all that Saul had done to him. Then Samuel took David with him to live at Naioth.19 When the report reached Saul that David was at Naioth in Ramah,20 he sent troops to capture him. But when they arrived and saw Samuel leading a group of prophets who were prophesying, the Spirit of God came upon Saul’s men, and they also began to prophesy.21 When Saul heard what had happened, he sent other troops, but they, too, prophesied! The same thing happened a third time.22 Finally, Saul himself went to Ramah and arrived at the great well in Secu. “Where are Samuel and David?” he demanded.
“They are at Naioth in Ramah,” someone told him.
23 But on the way to Naioth in Ramah the Spirit of God came even upon Saul, and he, too, began to prophesy all the way to Naioth!24 He tore off his clothes and lay naked on the ground all day and all night, prophesying in the presence of Samuel. The people who were watching exclaimed, “What? Is even Saul a prophet?”
“Take one step closer to what God wants you to do and notice how doors began to open up in your life.” ~ Jon Barnes
Each little step adds up to a mile of good work that flows in the direction of success with what you are doing by faith.Your faith is strengthened by a group of these little good steps of obedience. Eventually, you will complete the goal and inspire others to move by faith, with little steps, as you move more and more with God.
Flowing with good, small, consistent steps will move you into your direction of faith because you believe that God is guiding your steps of joy.Teaching others will help you to learn more about what you are giving. Allowing others to participate in the learning process will guide you into a future of obedience and contentment. Look into what you are stepping on and you will see the connections appear.
More connections are made by like-minded people stepping in the same direction and creating energy and synergy that is required to build the next bridge.People should work together, but most of the time, you must do your own homework to complete your own bridge and goal that connects to God. Personal help is developed in your personal, secret, prayer closet.
Did you count your steps with God Today?
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1 Samuel 1
The Birth of Samuel
1 There was a certain man from Ramathaim, a Zuphite[a] from the hill country of Ephraim,whose name was Elkanah son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite.2 He had two wives; one was called Hannah and the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none.
3 Year after year this man went up from his town to worship and sacrifice to the Lord Almighty at Shiloh, where Hophni and Phinehas, the two sons of Eli, were priests of the Lord.4 Whenever the day came for Elkanah to sacrifice, he would give portions of the meat to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters.5 But to Hannah he gave a double portionbecause he loved her, and the Lord had closed her womb.6 Because the Lord had closed Hannah’s womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her.7 This went on year after year. Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the Lord, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat.8 Her husband Elkanah would say to her, “Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don’t you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?”
9 Once when they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh, Hannah stood up. Now Eli the priest was sitting on his chair by the doorpost of the Lord’s house.10 In her deep anguishHannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly.11 And she made a vow, saying, “Lord Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.”
12 As she kept on praying to the Lord, Eli observed her mouth.13 Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk14 and said to her, “How long are you going to stay drunk? Put away your wine.”
15 “Not so, my lord,” Hannah replied, “I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the Lord.16 Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.”
17 Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.”
18 She said, “May your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast.
19 Early the next morning they arose and worshiped before the Lord and then went back to their home at Ramah. Elkanah made love to his wife Hannah, and the Lord remembered her.20 So in the course of time Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel,[b] saying, “Because I asked the Lord for him.”
Hannah Dedicates Samuel
21 When her husband Elkanah went up with all his family to offer the annual sacrifice to the Lord and to fulfill his vow,22 Hannah did not go. She said to her husband, “After the boy is weaned, I will take him and present him before the Lord, and he will live there always.”[c]
23 “Do what seems best to you,” her husband Elkanah told her. “Stay here until you have weaned him; only may the Lord make good his[d] word.” So the woman stayed at home and nursed her son until she had weaned him.
24 After he was weaned, she took the boy with her, young as he was, along with a three-year-old bull,[e] an ephah[f] of flour and a skin of wine, and brought him to the house of the Lord at Shiloh.25 When the bull had been sacrificed, they brought the boy to Eli,26 and she said to him, “Pardon me, my lord. As surely as you live, I am the woman who stood here beside you praying to the Lord.27 I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him.28 So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.” And he worshiped the Lord there.