“Only you can give up your peace; but you must cultivate your faith to believe it.”~TB
Faith is total trust and confidence in God. It’s a verb in that you must act on it every second of every day. Though we can’t open a door and say “Here is God!”, we know that He exists and is the creator of all. It’s easy to say we have faith. After all, it sounds pretty and whimsical. But there is a fundamental difference between talking faith and walking in faith. And, we are tested on this day in and day out. The devil can rattle your cage, but ultimately you must decided whether or not to lose your peace about it.
Walking in faith means that even though you are not in control of your situation, you are at total peace because you know who is. It means to sit still and let God handle the heavy lifting in your life. It also means to not allow your upstairs neighbor who likes to crank her bass up loud all day long after you’ve talked to her twice about it get under your skin. When you experience a tough time, remember that God is sovereign and there is nothing out of His control. So don’t merely talk about faith, walk in it so that you can experience the Hand of God in your life.
Are you using the real ‘F’ word?
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1But now, O Jacob, listen to the LORD who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says, “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine.
2When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.
3For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I gave Egypt as a ransom for your freedom; I gave Ethiopia and Seba in your place.
4Others were given in exchange for you. I traded their lives for yours because you are precious to me. You are honored, and I love you.
5“Do not be afraid, for I am with you. I will gather you and your children from east and west.
6I will say to the north and south, ‘Bring my sons and daughters back to Israel from the distant corners of the earth.
7Bring all who claim me as their God, for I have made them for my glory. It was I who created them.’”
8Bring out the people who have eyes but are blind, who have ears but are deaf.
9Gather the nations together! Assemble the peoples of the world! Which of their idols has ever foretold such things? Which can predict what will happen tomorrow? Where are the witnesses of such predictions? Who can verify that they spoke the truth?
10“But you are my witnesses, O Israel!” says the LORD . “You are my servant. You have been chosen to know me, believe in me, and understand that I alone am God. There is no other God— there never has been, and there never will be.
11I, yes I, am the LORD, and there is no other Savior.
12First I predicted your rescue, then I saved you and proclaimed it to the world. No foreign god has ever done this. You are witnesses that I am the only God,” says the LORD .
13“From eternity to eternity I am God. No one can snatch anyone out of my hand. No one can undo what I have done.”
14This is what the LORD says—your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “For your sakes I will send an army against Babylon, forcing the Babylonians to flee in those ships they are so proud of.
15I am the LORD, your Holy One, Israel’s Creator and King.
16I am the LORD, who opened a way through the waters, making a dry path through the sea.
17I called forth the mighty army of Egypt with all its chariots and horses. I drew them beneath the waves, and they drowned, their lives snuffed out like a smoldering candlewick.
18“But forget all that— it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.
19For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.
20The wild animals in the fields will thank me, the jackals and owls, too, for giving them water in the desert. Yes, I will make rivers in the dry wasteland so my chosen people can be refreshed.
21I have made Israel for myself, and they will someday honor me before the whole world.
22“But, dear family of Jacob, you refuse to ask for my help. You have grown tired of me, O Israel!
23You have not brought me sheep or goats for burnt offerings. You have not honored me with sacrifices, though I have not burdened and wearied you with requests for grain offerings and frankincense.
24You have not brought me fragrant calamus or pleased me with the fat from sacrifices. Instead, you have burdened me with your sins and wearied me with your faults.
25“I—yes, I alone—will blot out your sins for my own sake and will never think of them again.
26Let us review the situation together, and you can present your case to prove your innocence.
27From the very beginning, your first ancestor sinned against me; all your leaders broke my laws.
28That is why I have disgraced your priests; I have decreed complete destruction for Jacob and shame for Israel.
“God allows us to go through tough experiences to share with others.”~TB
Last week, I came across an article written by a fellow freelance writer. She had a catchy title, so curiously, I clicked. The first sentence began, “After 3 weeks of freelancing, I’ve come to learn… and I’m here to teach you…”
Three.Weeks. I was incredulous. How someone can believe they have the authority, understanding, or mastery of anything let alone running a freelance business is beyond me. It reminded me of the passage in 1 Timothy about why new believers shouldn’t be leaders and how the Devil would cause them to fall. It made me chuckle as I remembered a conversation I had with my father some years ago.
Faith Without Deeds
A few years back, God downloaded the Truth into my brain and I arrogantly shared with my Dad the “secret” to Christianity and following God. My father— who is ever patient and long-suffering with me— nodded and listened carefully to my “all knowing theories and agreed that what I said had made Biblical sense. He was kind enough to let life’s teachable moments fill in the gaps of my arrogant ways. The thing is, it’s easy to understand God’s truth, at least the “mechanics” of it. But, to hold onto that truth whileyou are tested, while you endure hardship, while you suffer persecution, now that’s a whole other animal. See, I knew the Truth, but had no experience applying it. As fate would have it, not too long after our conversation, I went through some of the toughest years of my life.
I was broken down, pruned, fired in the kiln, spiritually crushed, and eventually put back together. In that time I had to make a choice: either press on or give up God altogether. For me, though at times I wanted to quit, I knew too much and I couldn’t go back to my old selfish ways. At the time, I didn’t understand why I went through such an oppressive period, but a random conversation with a woman in Tennessee made me understand why God’s children have to go through a foundation building process.
I talked about this a month or so ago, but while I was traveling, I stayed at an Airbnb in Tennessee with a hospitable lady. She had a free spirit “all gods are the same” type of mentality, which I didn’t push back on. At the time I was travel-worn and just wanted to catch my breath. What was interesting was that she kept asking me what I believed and why. And as I mentioned earlier, I was in no mood to have that conversation, but I could feel God prodding me to answer this woman, and so I did. At the time, I was more concerned with sharing about God’s Truth and not necessarily my subject matter expertise. To be honest, I didn’t know why me of all people would be the one share Biblical information. I certainly didn’t feel (And still don’t) qualified to know or share anything after the crazy past few years. However, after reading that freelance writer’s blog, remembering the conversation with my dad, and recalling the conversation in Tennessee, I finally got my answer why. Experience. It’s easy to know the Truth untested, but to believe it after a hard life exam, you’ve gotten some subject matter experience under your belt.
No, I’m not some wise person who has unique God-given experiences (at least I don’t think, I do have grey hair, however). I believe that those who have been through the refiner’s fire have something to share with those who are in the process. We can encourage those going through tough times because we’ve had to endure struggles of our own and have lived to tell the tale. The woman in Tennessee was asking some legitimate theological questions and had I not gone through such a crappy few years having to rely solely on God, I would not have been able to give meaningful answers. I say all of this to say that if you have gone through the process, have gone through the fire, and can still choose God above yourself, you too have answers to share with those seeking Him. It’s a team effort.
What’s your experience to share?
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1“What sorrow awaits Ariel, the City of David. Year after year you celebrate your feasts.
2Yet I will bring disaster upon you, and there will be much weeping and sorrow. For Jerusalem will become what her name Ariel means— an altar covered with blood.
3I will be your enemy, surrounding Jerusalem and attacking its walls. I will build siege towers and destroy it.
4Then deep from the earth you will speak; from low in the dust your words will come. Your voice will whisper from the ground like a ghost conjured up from the grave.
5“But suddenly, your ruthless enemies will be crushed like the finest of dust. Your many attackers will be driven away like chaff before the wind. Suddenly, in an instant,
6I, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, will act for you with thunder and earthquake and great noise, with whirlwind and storm and consuming fire.
7All the nations fighting against Jerusalem will vanish like a dream! Those who are attacking her walls will vanish like a vision in the night.
8A hungry person dreams of eating but wakes up still hungry. A thirsty person dreams of drinking but is still faint from thirst when morning comes. So it will be with your enemies, with those who attack Mount Zion.”
9Are you amazed and incredulous? Don’t you believe it? Then go ahead and be blind. You are stupid, but not from wine! You stagger, but not from liquor!
10For the LORD has poured out on you a spirit of deep sleep. He has closed the eyes of your prophets and visionaries.
11All the future events in this vision are like a sealed book to them. When you give it to those who can read, they will say, “We can’t read it because it is sealed.”
12When you give it to those who cannot read, they will say, “We don’t know how to read.”
13And so the Lord says, “These people say they are mine. They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. And their worship of me is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote.
14Because of this, I will once again astound these hypocrites with amazing wonders. The wisdom of the wise will pass away, and the intelligence of the intelligent will disappear.”
15What sorrow awaits those who try to hide their plans from the LORD, who do their evil deeds in the dark! “The LORD can’t see us,” they say. “He doesn’t know what’s going on!”
16How foolish can you be? He is the Potter, and he is certainly greater than you, the clay! Should the created thing say of the one who made it, “He didn’t make me”? Does a jar ever say, “The potter who made me is stupid”?
17Soon—and it will not be very long— the forests of Lebanon will become a fertile field, and the fertile field will yield bountiful crops.
18In that day the deaf will hear words read from a book, and the blind will see through the gloom and darkness.
19The humble will be filled with fresh joy from the LORD . The poor will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.
20The scoffer will be gone, the arrogant will disappear, and those who plot evil will be killed.
21Those who convict the innocent by their false testimony will disappear. A similar fate awaits those who use trickery to pervert justice and who tell lies to destroy the innocent.
22That is why the LORD, who redeemed Abraham, says to the people of Israel, “My people will no longer be ashamed or turn pale with fear.
23For when they see their many children and all the blessings I have given them, they will recognize the holiness of the Holy One of Jacob. They will stand in awe of the God of Israel.
24Then the wayward will gain understanding, and complainers will accept instruction
“If God thinks we’re all that and a bag of chips, then the opinions that we hold of each other don’t really matter.”~TB
A few years ago, I was helping my dad out by teaching his elementary school kids music a few kids at a time. This way, each kid could get some individualized attention on how to improve and whatnot. There was one kid who wasn’t quite getting it though I believed I was providing the best instruction possible. In my head, I figured he just couldn’t get it and wrote him off (I still worked with him, but I didn’t have high hopes). A few minutes later, my dad comes in checking out our progress. He goes through the kids that got it and stops to listen to the trumpet kid. My dad broke down the music and showed the kid how to play in a way that he understood. Moments later, the kid sounded like he knew what he was doing after all! Surprised, I immediately felt terrible for failing to see the potential that my dad saw. I’m grateful that teacher’s like my dad exist, because they see the value in every student, not just the ones they understand. More to the point, that experience showed me how dismissive we can be when we don’t see the value in each other. I’ll give you another example.
Last year, I decided to work with a startup in the financial services industry. The pay was significantly lower than my general fee, but since there was a lot of work to be done, I took it (On a side note, never work for less than you’re worth, if you can and never work with cheap people, it will not end well). Admittedly, I didn’t put my best foot forward, but the work was still good by any standard. The content manager quickly came back and told me my grammar was terrible and my rate didn’t justify the quality of work (I had negotiated a slightly higher rate). We parted ways and I was relieved because I knew the deal was crap. Funnily enough, I signed a contract with Stanford University a mere few days later. Ironic, right? I share these stories to say that man’s standards and evaluations of one another are utter crap. Basically, this stuff is all relative. Some may sing your praises while others won’t think you’re worth more than a hill of beans. But God, however has the ultimate judgment and He values you more than another other creation. Think about that.
Maybe someone in your life made you feel like you weren’t worth much. Well, they’re wrong. No matter what state you’re in God loves you more than anything else in this world. So what if that person at work can’t see it? So what if the person you admire doesn’t value what you bring to the table? Your value, your worth does not come from man, so let people have their opinions and keep it moving. Plus if someone cannot see how wonderfully God made you, then clearly they are not meant to be in your life, and that’s totally ok. Society will tell you to adjust yourself to the standards of others. That mentality is utter crap because it produces fake people living a fake lifestyle. If you have to change your personality, clothes, or whatever to be likable or authentic, trust me friends, you are neither. So the next time you’re feeling low because of the flawed evaluations of your peers, pick up the Word and read all of the amazing things God has done through His people to give us the ultimate gift. You won’t be able to help but feel amazing.
Do you base your worth in relation to man or in relation to your Creator?
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1This message came to me concerning Jerusalem—the Valley of Vision : What is happening? Why is everyone running to the rooftops?
2The whole city is in a terrible uproar. What do I see in this reveling city? Bodies are lying everywhere, killed not in battle but by famine and disease.
3All your leaders have fled. They surrendered without resistance. The people tried to slip away, but they were captured, too.
4That’s why I said, “Leave me alone to weep; do not try to comfort me. Let me cry for my people as I watch them being destroyed.”
5Oh, what a day of crushing defeat! What a day of confusion and terror brought by the Lord, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, upon the Valley of Vision! The walls of Jerusalem have been broken, and cries of death echo from the mountainsides.
6Elamites are the archers, with their chariots and charioteers. The men of Kir hold up the shields.
7Chariots fill your beautiful valleys, and charioteers storm your gates.
8Judah’s defenses have been stripped away. You run to the armory for your weapons.
9You inspect the breaks in the walls of Jerusalem. You store up water in the lower pool.
10You survey the houses and tear some down for stone to strengthen the walls.
11Between the city walls, you build a reservoir for water from the old pool. But you never ask for help from the One who did all this. You never considered the One who planned this long ago.
12At that time the Lord, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, called you to weep and mourn. He told you to shave your heads in sorrow for your sins and to wear clothes of burlap to show your remorse.
13But instead, you dance and play; you slaughter cattle and kill sheep. You feast on meat and drink wine. You say, “Let’s feast and drink, for tomorrow we die!”
14The LORD of Heaven’s Armies has revealed this to me: “Till the day you die, you will never be forgiven for this sin.” That is the judgment of the Lord, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.
15This is what the Lord, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, said to me: “Confront Shebna, the palace administrator, and give him this message:
16“Who do you think you are, and what are you doing here, building a beautiful tomb for yourself— a monument high up in the rock?
17For the LORD is about to hurl you away, mighty man. He is going to grab you,
18crumple you into a ball, and toss you away into a distant, barren land. There you will die, and your glorious chariots will be broken and useless. You are a disgrace to your master!
19“Yes, I will drive you out of office,” says the LORD . “I will pull you down from your high position.
20And then I will call my servant Eliakim son of Hilkiah to replace you.
21I will dress him in your royal robes and will give him your title and your authority. And he will be a father to the people of Jerusalem and Judah.
22I will give him the key to the house of David—the highest position in the royal court. When he opens doors, no one will be able to close them; when he closes doors, no one will be able to open them.
23He will bring honor to his family name, for I will drive him firmly in place like a nail in the wall.
24They will give him great responsibility, and he will bring honor to even the lowliest members of his family. ”
25But the LORD of Heaven’s Armies also says: “The time will come when I will pull out the nail that seemed so firm. It will come out and fall to the ground. Everything it supports will fall with it. I, the LORD, have spoken!”
“Don’t create a massive process to process forgiveness, love, and acceptance.”~TB
When you regularly walk with God, you will notice how quickly He is to forgive us when we screw up. He doesn’t read a list of past offenses, He simply acknowledges your repentance and moves on. We know this, yet we still hold the offenses of our peers to a higher standard. How arrogant and how foolish! God doesn’t beat us up because He knows that in order for you to grow, you must be given the space and grace to do so. When you look at a person, in the same way, failing to acknowledge their growth or change, well, that says more about you than the other person.
I admit, there are times where I get annoyed with my dad when he advises me to move on from offenses. In my frustration, I’d rather wallow in my “rightness” rather than extend the same space and grace that God gives me on a daily basis. I humbly laugh at my misguided nature and continually ask God to improve my resilience in that area. I’ve come to realize that my dad is not trying to diminish/erase my experience, but rather, he’s encouraging me to love people as God loves me. I share this with you to say, whatever the offense, whatever the reason, right or wrong, move on. God gives credit where credit is due, and we all reap what we sow, good or bad. So let God do the judging.
Are you letting a convoluted process hinder your walk with Christ?
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1The king’s heart is like a stream of water directed by the LORD ; he guides it wherever he pleases.
2People may be right in their own eyes, but the LORD examines their heart.
3The LORD is more pleased when we do what is right and just than when we offer him sacrifices.
4Haughty eyes, a proud heart, and evil actions are all sin.
5Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.
6Wealth created by a lying tongue is a vanishing mist and a deadly trap.
7The violence of the wicked sweeps them away, because they refuse to do what is just.
8The guilty walk a crooked path; the innocent travel a straight road.
9It’s better to live alone in the corner of an attic than with a quarrelsome wife in a lovely home.
10Evil people desire evil; their neighbors get no mercy from them.
11If you punish a mocker, the simpleminded become wise; if you instruct the wise, they will be all the wiser.
12The Righteous One knows what is going on in the homes of the wicked; he will bring disaster on them.
13Those who shut their ears to the cries of the poor will be ignored in their own time of need.
14A secret gift calms anger; a bribe under the table pacifies fury.
15Justice is a joy to the godly, but it terrifies evildoers.
16The person who strays from common sense will end up in the company of the dead.
17Those who love pleasure become poor; those who love wine and luxury will never be rich.
18The wicked are punished in place of the godly, and traitors in place of the honest.
19It’s better to live alone in the desert than with a quarrelsome, complaining wife.
20The wise have wealth and luxury, but fools spend whatever they get.
21Whoever pursues righteousness and unfailing love will find life, righteousness, and honor.
22The wise conquer the city of the strong and level the fortress in which they trust.
23Watch your tongue and keep your mouth shut, and you will stay out of trouble.
24Mockers are proud and haughty; they act with boundless arrogance.
25Despite their desires, the lazy will come to ruin, for their hands refuse to work.
26Some people are always greedy for more, but the godly love to give!
27The sacrifice of an evil person is detestable, especially when it is offered with wrong motives.
28A false witness will be cut off, but a credible witness will be allowed to speak.
29The wicked bluff their way through, but the virtuous think before they act.
30No human wisdom or understanding or plan can stand against the LORD .
31The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the LORD .
“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.
“Consider that your lack of preparation, studies, and knowledge about God from the Bible is your down fall and you alone are personally responsible for your own ignorance.” ~ Jon Barnes
Stop blaming the preacher for your ignorance.Can you read?Do you read? Probably not. Therefore, when God asks you these questions at the Pearly Gate, what will be your response?You didn’t have time?You can’t read or listen to audio? Oh, you were confused and didn’t know. Yeah! Now you understand the games our own children play on us.We are all alike and only God is the Good God to save us from our wicked selves. Repent.
Looking into the scriptures gives you a personal experience of enlightenment that is epic, biblical, and sound logic that will answer any questions you could imagine.All of the information is organized, easy to read, and full of fun and adventure. Looking to Jesus for these answers is the only way to truth, justice, and eternal salvation, which is untouched by human hands. For the few who have found God, keep up the good work and don’t become corrupted in your walk and lifestyle.
The Tree of Life belongs to God and His plans for eternity are self-evident to the wise. To the fool, God doesn’t exist. Find your place in your mind and heart to belong in one of these two categories. Based on your heart, you will know the truth as it is and I will accept your choice as God has. It is beyond my pay grade to talk people into or out of Heaven.My job is to point to The Way, The Truth, and The Light. My hope and prayer are that the Love of God jumps off of this page into your heart to inquire within for yourself.
Are you applying what you know about God in your lifestyle?
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2 Kings 3New
3 Joram[a] son of Ahab became king of Israel in Samaria in the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and he reigned twelve years.2 He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, but not as his father and mother had done. He got rid of the sacred stone of Baal that his father had made.3 Nevertheless he clung to the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit; he did not turn away from them.
4 Now Mesha king of Moab raised sheep, and he had to pay the king of Israel a tribute of a hundred thousand lambs and the wool of a hundred thousand rams.5 But after Ahab died, the king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel.6 So at that time King Joram set out from Samaria and mobilized all Israel.7 He also sent this message to Jehoshaphat king of Judah: “The king of Moab has rebelled against me. Will you go with me to fight against Moab?”
“I will go with you,” he replied. “I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses.”
8 “By what route shall we attack?” he asked.
“Through the Desert of Edom,” he answered.
9 So the king of Israel set out with the king of Judah and the king of Edom. After a roundabout march of seven days, the army had no more water for themselves or for the animals with them.
10 “What!” exclaimed the king of Israel. “Has the Lord called us three kings together only to deliver us into the hands of Moab?”
11 But Jehoshaphat asked, “Is there no prophet of the Lord here, through whom we may inquire of the Lord?”
An officer of the king of Israel answered, “Elisha son of Shaphat is here. He used to pour water on the hands of Elijah.[b]”
12 Jehoshaphat said, “The word of the Lord is with him.” So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom went down to him.
13 Elisha said to the king of Israel, “Why do you want to involve me? Go to the prophets of your father and the prophets of your mother.”
“No,” the king of Israel answered, “because it was the Lord who called us three kings together to deliver us into the hands of Moab.”
14 Elisha said, “As surely as the Lord Almighty lives, whom I serve, if I did not have respect for the presence of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, I would not pay any attention to you.15 But now bring me a harpist.”
While the harpist was playing, the hand of the Lord came on Elisha16 and he said, “This is what the Lord says: I will fill this valley with pools of water.17 For this is what the Lord says: You will see neither wind nor rain, yet this valley will be filled with water, and you, your cattle and your other animals will drink.18 This is an easy thing in the eyes of the Lord; he will also deliver Moab into your hands.19 You will overthrow every fortified city and every major town. You will cut down every good tree, stop up all the springs, and ruin every good field with stones.”
20 The next morning, about the time for offering the sacrifice, there it was—water flowing from the direction of Edom! And the land was filled with water.
21 Now all the Moabites had heard that the kings had come to fight against them; so every man, young and old, who could bear arms was called up and stationed on the border.22 When they got up early in the morning, the sun was shining on the water. To the Moabites across the way, the water looked red—like blood.23 “That’s blood!” they said. “Those kings must have fought and slaughtered each other. Now to the plunder, Moab!”
24 But when the Moabites came to the camp of Israel, the Israelites rose up and fought them until they fled. And the Israelites invaded the land and slaughtered the Moabites.25 They destroyed the towns, and each man threw a stone on every good field until it was covered. They stopped up all the springs and cut down every good tree. Only Kir Hareseth was left with its stones in place, but men armed with slings surrounded it and attacked it.
26 When the king of Moab saw that the battle had gone against him, he took with him seven hundred swordsmen to break through to the king of Edom, but they failed.27 Then he took his firstborn son, who was to succeed him as king, and offered him as a sacrifice on the city wall. The fury against Israel was great; they withdrew and returned to their own land.
“Challenge yourself to complete each mission that is set for you to accomplish with God and do not follow the opinions of others who are not in a position to understand your true goals and honest motives.” ~ Jon Barnes
Once your target is set, you must meet in the location of the target physically.Too often, our schedules prevent other amazing meetings from ever occurring. The loss of human contact, interaction, and physical connection with people will prevent better solutions from occurring because we are not following and listening to God’s directions. Your presence is required to maximize and understand true love, as you follow the wisdom of God.
The stage is set each time you arrive at an event, meeting, performance, or rehearsal.You are always being interviewed, based on what you say, do, look, act, think, and smell. These impressions that come from our God-given senses help us to detect problems, errors, possibilities, and good solutions. We know when we are doing wrong. A computer, voice mail, e-mail, text, book, or document can only give an outline of the real meaning of interaction, love, knowledge, experience, and understanding. Always do good with God’s opinions.
Physically challenge yourself by going to the meeting place, talking face to face with God to understand His purpose for your actions and not the opinions of others. Your face to the bible is face to Face with God! Once you have done your reading and homework for the day, observe God’s presence in all the things you do, see, hear, last, and smell.There is always a meeting opportunity to help, serve, learn, grow, empower, listen, and act. Physical facts and successful experiences from life’s meetings and relationships are targets and missions of faith in action. Your best work is always required, not your opinion.
Are you asking the right questions face to face with God or are you hiding from completing your work?
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2 Samuel 17
17 Now Ahithophel urged Absalom, “Let me choose 12,000 men to start out after David tonight.2 I will catch up with him while he is weary and discouraged. He and his troops will panic, and everyone will run away. Then I will kill only the king,3 and I will bring all the people back to you as a bride returns to her husband. After all, it is only one man’s life that you seek.[a] Then you will be at peace with all the people.”4 This plan seemed good to Absalom and to all the elders of Israel.
Hushai Counters Ahithophel’s Advice
5 But then Absalom said, “Bring in Hushai the Arkite. Let’s see what he thinks about this.”6 When Hushai arrived, Absalom told him what Ahithophel had said. Then he asked, “What is your opinion? Should we follow Ahithophel’s advice? If not, what do you suggest?”
7 “Well,” Hushai replied to Absalom, “this time Ahithophel has made a mistake.8 You know your father and his men; they are mighty warriors. Right now they are as enraged as a mother bear who has been robbed of her cubs. And remember that your father is an experienced man of war. He won’t be spending the night among the troops.9 He has probably already hidden in some pit or cave. And when he comes out and attacks and a few of your men fall, there will be panic among your troops, and the word will spread that Absalom’s men are being slaughtered.10 Then even the bravest soldiers, though they have the heart of a lion, will be paralyzed with fear. For all Israel knows what a mighty warrior your father is and how courageous his men are.
11 “I recommend that you mobilize the entire army of Israel, bringing them from as far away as Dan in the north and Beersheba in the south. That way you will have an army as numerous as the sand on the seashore. And I advise that you personally lead the troops.12 When we find David, we’ll fall on him like dew that falls on the ground. Then neither he nor any of his men will be left alive.13 And if David were to escape into some town, you will have all Israel there at your command. Then we can take ropes and drag the walls of the town into the nearest valley until every stone is torn down.”
14 Then Absalom and all the men of Israel said, “Hushai’s advice is better than Ahithophel’s.” For the Lord had determined to defeat the counsel of Ahithophel, which really was the better plan, so that he could bring disaster on Absalom!
Hushai Warns David to Escape
15 Hushai told Zadok and Abiathar, the priests, what Ahithophel had said to Absalom and the elders of Israel and what he himself had advised instead.16 “Quick!” he told them. “Find David and urge him not to stay at the shallows of the Jordan River[b]tonight. He must go across at once into the wilderness beyond. Otherwise he will die and his entire army with him.”
17 Jonathan and Ahimaaz had been staying at En-rogel so as not to be seen entering and leaving the city. Arrangements had been made for a servant girl to bring them the message they were to take to King David.18 But a boy spotted them at En-rogel, and he told Absalom about it. So they quickly escaped to Bahurim, where a man hid them down inside a well in his courtyard.19 The man’s wife put a cloth over the top of the well and scattered grain on it to dry in the sun; so no one suspected they were there.
20 When Absalom’s men arrived, they asked her, “Have you seen Ahimaaz and Jonathan?”
The woman replied, “They were here, but they crossed over the brook.” Absalom’s men looked for them without success and returned to Jerusalem.
21 Then the two men crawled out of the well and hurried on to King David. “Quick!” they told him, “cross the Jordan tonight!” And they told him how Ahithophel had advised that he be captured and killed.22 So David and all the people with him went across the Jordan River during the night, and they were all on the other bank before dawn.
23 When Ahithophel realized that his advice had not been followed, he saddled his donkey, went to his hometown, set his affairs in order, and hanged himself. He died there and was buried in the family tomb.
24 David soon arrived at Mahanaim. By now, Absalom had mobilized the entire army of Israel and was leading his troops across the Jordan River.25 Absalom had appointed Amasa as commander of his army, replacing Joab, who had been commander under David. (Amasa was Joab’s cousin. His father was Jether,[c] an Ishmaelite.[d] His mother, Abigail daughter of Nahash, was the sister of Joab’s mother, Zeruiah.)26 Absalom and the Israelite army set up camp in the land of Gilead.
27 When David arrived at Mahanaim, he was warmly greeted by Shobi son of Nahash, who came from Rabbah of the Ammonites, and by Makir son of Ammiel from Lo-debar, and by Barzillai of Gilead from Rogelim.28 They brought sleeping mats, cooking pots, serving bowls, wheat and barley, flour and roasted grain, beans, lentils,29 honey, butter, sheep, goats, and cheese for David and those who were with him. For they said, “You must all be very hungry and tired and thirsty after your long march through the wilderness.”
“It’s up to you to look at your relationship with God. Think of it like going on a vacation to a foreign country, or a different place. It puts a new lens on your focus to see the beauty that already exists. Then take that experience and do the same for your spouse, family, and enemies.“~ Jon Barnes
Strategic two-day vacations can help you refocus your attention on God, your spouse, loved ones, family, and friends. Sometimes we miss the obvious things to do.The balance of time spent on your relationships will improve your focus and quality of attention to detail that is needed in maintaining Godly love. Take a step back to check your own work.People will clearly see the good work in your life and the blessing from your faith walk with God.
Dancing is a great way to exercise the love that is in your heart when connecting with God and people. Your daily working movements are a part of your daily dance.Moving in the direction of love is joyful, wonderful, and full of praise and thanksgiving. The way you move says it all. The Arts help us to express the perception of perfection in ways we cannot comprehend or count, yet we see the hand of God with each dancing movement of the clouds.
It is like music to my ears when God smiles at my progress. My spouse is full of joy, and the people around me are full of happiness when I am obedient to God.This great joy should be expressed in the music you make and listen to.The good vibrations of love are needed to fill the air and our hearts with a continuous reminder of how Good God is to us all. We sing praises to God in all our relationships.
Do you have the best relationship with God and the people around you?
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1 Samuel 7
1So the men of Kiriath-jearim came to get the Ark of the LORD . They took it to the hillside home of Abinadab and ordained Eleazar, his son, to be in charge of it. 2The Ark remained in Kiriath-jearim for a long time—twenty years in all. During that time all Israel mourned because it seemed the LORD had abandoned them. 3Then Samuel said to all the people of Israel, “If you want to return to the LORD with all your hearts, get rid of your foreign gods and your images of Ashtoreth. Turn your hearts to the LORD and obey him alone; then he will rescue you from the Philistines.” 4So the Israelites got rid of their images of Baal and Ashtoreth and worshiped only the LORD . 5Then Samuel told them, “Gather all of Israel to Mizpah, and I will pray to the LORD for you.” 6So they gathered at Mizpah and, in a great ceremony, drew water from a well and poured it out before the LORD . They also went without food all day and confessed that they had sinned against the LORD . (It was at Mizpah that Samuel became Israel’s judge.) 7When the Philistine rulers heard that Israel had gathered at Mizpah, they mobilized their army and advanced. The Israelites were badly frightened when they learned that the Philistines were approaching. 8“Don’t stop pleading with the LORD our God to save us from the Philistines!” they begged Samuel. 9So Samuel took a young lamb and offered it to the LORD as a whole burnt offering. He pleaded with the LORD to help Israel, and the LORD answered him. 10Just as Samuel was sacrificing the burnt offering, the Philistines arrived to attack Israel. But the LORD spoke with a mighty voice of thunder from heaven that day, and the Philistines were thrown into such confusion that the Israelites defeated them. 11The men of Israel chased them from Mizpah to a place below Beth-car, slaughtering them all along the way. 12Samuel then took a large stone and placed it between the towns of Mizpah and Jeshanah. He named it Ebenezer (which means “the stone of help”), for he said, “Up to this point the LORD has helped us!” 13So the Philistines were subdued and didn’t invade Israel again for some time. And throughout Samuel’s lifetime, the LORD ’s powerful hand was raised against the Philistines. 14The Israelite villages near Ekron and Gath that the Philistines had captured were restored to Israel, along with the rest of the territory that the Philistines had taken. And there was peace between Israel and the Amorites in those days. 15Samuel continued as Israel’s judge for the rest of his life. 16Each year he traveled around, setting up his court first at Bethel, then at Gilgal, and then at Mizpah. He judged the people of Israel at each of these places. 17Then he would return to his home at Ramah, and he would hear cases there, too. And Samuel built an altar to the LORD at Ramah.
“Words have meanings, but your actions tell the true story, motives, results from the test of your love, that communicates the intentions of your heart.” ~ Jon Barnes
You can lie to yourself but you cannot lie to the fruit of your actions. You can say the words of repentance and keep doing the opposite based on your wonderful ability to cognitively lie to your mind and enslave your heart with evil. Your words mean nothing until you activate your faith, obey God, and connect with His Results and Plans. You are not a part of God’s Plan unless you work in God’s Plan.Planning to fail is like ignoring God’s lifestyle, Commandments, and stories. Planning for success is like doing the good work within God’s Plan and seeing the results of the seeds, work, fruit, trees, and crops of your labor.
Your children are your crops and you must work the soil with your hands and the sweat of your brow, with pain and suffering, until you die.You will learn and feel what God experience when mankind does not listen to Biblical Instructions, just like your children disobey you. We truly get the experience of God as we raise our kids, teach others, and help those in need.The patience and long-suffering gained in this transaction, helps you to see and understand the meanings hidden in the biblical stories of old and true motives of God.
You cannot live the life of your child or make their decisions to know God, learn or improve an individual’s right standing with God. We must have the faith to work on our relationship and connect with God on our own merit. Value is placed on your words as you complete the work of each test you must take. Balancing work, faith, action, practice, and studies will look easy from the sidelines until you have to do the work. Many fail God’s vocabulary test and quizzes because they do not study or commit to the 10 Commandments and the word meanings. Let the true meanings of your words and work speak the Gospel of your life in your actions for all to see around you.
Do you know your 10 Commandments?
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Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread
16 “In honor of the Lord your God, celebrate the Passover each year in the early spring, in the month of Abib,[a] for that was the month in which the Lord your God brought you out of Egypt by night.2 Your Passover sacrifice may be from either the flock or the herd, and it must be sacrificed to the Lord your God at the designated place of worship—the place he chooses for his name to be honored.3 Eat it with bread made without yeast. For seven days the bread you eat must be made without yeast, as when you escaped from Egypt in such a hurry. Eat this bread—the bread of suffering—so that as long as you live you will remember the day you departed from Egypt.4 Let no yeast be found in any house throughout your land for those seven days. And when you sacrifice the Passover lamb on the evening of the first day, do not let any of the meat remain until the next morning.
5 “You may not sacrifice the Passover in just any of the towns that the Lord your God is giving you.6 You must offer it only at the designated place of worship—the place the Lord your God chooses for his name to be honored. Sacrifice it there in the evening as the sun goes down on the anniversary of your exodus from Egypt.7 Roast the lamb and eat it in the place the Lord your God chooses. Then you may go back to your tents the next morning.8 For the next six days you may not eat any bread made with yeast. On the seventh day proclaim another holy day in honor of the Lord your God, and no work may be done on that day.
The Festival of Harvest
9 “Count off seven weeks from when you first begin to cut the grain at the time of harvest.10 Then celebrate the Festival of Harvest[b] to honor the Lord your God. Bring him a voluntary offering in proportion to the blessings you have received from him.11 This is a time to celebrate before the Lord your God at the designated place of worship he will choose for his name to be honored. Celebrate with your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, the Levites from your towns, and the foreigners, orphans, and widows who live among you.12 Remember that you were once slaves in Egypt, so be careful to obey all these decrees.
The Festival of Shelters
13 “You must observe the Festival of Shelters[c] for seven days at the end of the harvest season, after the grain has been threshed and the grapes have been pressed.14 This festival will be a happy time of celebrating with your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, and the Levites, foreigners, orphans, and widows from your towns.15 For seven days you must celebrate this festival to honor the Lord your God at the place he chooses, for it is he who blesses you with bountiful harvests and gives you success in all your work. This festival will be a time of great joy for all.
16 “Each year every man in Israel must celebrate these three festivals: the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the Festival of Harvest, and the Festival of Shelters. On each of these occasions, all men must appear before the Lord your God at the place he chooses, but they must not appear before the Lord without a gift for him.17 All must give as they are able, according to the blessings given to them by the Lordyour God.
Justice for the People
18 “Appoint judges and officials for yourselves from each of your tribes in all the towns the Lord your God is giving you. They must judge the people fairly.19 You must never twist justice or show partiality. Never accept a bribe, for bribes blind the eyes of the wise and corrupt the decisions of the godly.20 Let true justice prevail, so you may live and occupy the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
21 “You must never set up a wooden Asherah pole beside the altar you build for the Lord your God.22 And never set up sacred pillars for worship, for the Lord your God hates them.