Graduation

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Hi Peeps,
Today’s Quote
“When Love orders your steps in the day and you follow God’s Plans, you have graduated to the next level.” ~ Jon Barnes

Credit

You can’t take credit for how God orchestrates your life, but it feels good to see the hand of God flowing like a river, from the biggest gorge into your life.  It’s great to see people fishing, hiking, relaxing, and loving the vibe and positive energy from your good work.  I can’t relate to any negative energy, because it does not come from me and I will not accept negative vibes. Own the credit for the good work of faith and reject evil things.

Earned

Your obedience earns you the right to freely spread the Love around. People from all around the world will respond to your smile, kind gestures, and polite behavior. The self-control and mature nature of your actions are examples of your graduate status. It is a big deal to improve and graduate at every level, learning something new each day about, how to love. Since you believe in Love, you will love and be loved.

Lovable

God teaches us how to become more lovable, kind, and honest with our relationships, family, jobs, and experiences.  We begin to pay closer attention to our spouses, assignments, and efforts to bring people closer together to work as a team and not in isolation. This requires a balance of less technology and more people interaction. Love doesn’t come from things, it comes from God and it is spread around by people like you. Become more lovable.
Today’s Question
Have you graduated from selfish, evil thoughts of your own, so that you may walk in God’s path of being lovable?
Enjoy The Reading

2 Samuel 22 

David’s Song of Praise

22 David sang this song to the Lord on the day the Lord rescued him from all his enemies and from Saul. He sang:
“The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior;
    my God is my rock, in whom I find protection.
He is my shield, the power that saves me,
    and my place of safety.
He is my refuge, my savior,
    the one who saves me from violence.
I called on the Lord, who is worthy of praise,
    and he saved me from my enemies.
“The waves of death overwhelmed me;
    floods of destruction swept over me.
The grave[a] wrapped its ropes around me;
    death laid a trap in my path.
But in my distress I cried out to the Lord;
    yes, I cried to my God for help.
He heard me from his sanctuary;
    my cry reached his ears.
“Then the earth quaked and trembled.
    The foundations of the heavens shook;
    they quaked because of his anger.
Smoke poured from his nostrils;
    fierce flames leaped from his mouth.
    Glowing coals blazed forth from him.
10 He opened the heavens and came down;
    dark storm clouds were beneath his feet.
11 Mounted on a mighty angelic being,[b] he flew,
    soaring[c] on the wings of the wind.
12 He shrouded himself in darkness,
    veiling his approach with dense rain clouds.
13 A great brightness shone around him,
    and burning coals[d] blazed forth.
14 The Lord thundered from heaven;
    the voice of the Most High resounded.
15 He shot arrows and scattered his enemies;
    his lightning flashed, and they were confused.
16 Then at the command of the Lord,
    at the blast of his breath,
the bottom of the sea could be seen,
    and the foundations of the earth were laid bare.
17 “He reached down from heaven and rescued me;
    he drew me out of deep waters.
18 He rescued me from my powerful enemies,
    from those who hated me and were too strong for me.
19 They attacked me at a moment when I was in distress,
    but the Lord supported me.
20 He led me to a place of safety;
    he rescued me because he delights in me.
21 The Lord rewarded me for doing right;
    he restored me because of my innocence.
22 For I have kept the ways of the Lord;
    I have not turned from my God to follow evil.
23 I have followed all his regulations;
    I have never abandoned his decrees.
24 I am blameless before God;
    I have kept myself from sin.
25 The Lord rewarded me for doing right.
    He has seen my innocence.
26 “To the faithful you show yourself faithful;
    to those with integrity you show integrity.
27 To the pure you show yourself pure,
    but to the crooked you show yourself shrewd.
28 You rescue the humble,
    but your eyes watch the proud and humiliate them.
29 Lord, you are my lamp.
    The Lord lights up my darkness.
30 In your strength I can crush an army;
    with my God I can scale any wall.
31 “God’s way is perfect.
    All the Lord’s promises prove true.
    He is a shield for all who look to him for protection.
32 For who is God except the Lord?
    Who but our God is a solid rock?
33 God is my strong fortress,
    and he makes my way perfect.
34 He makes me as surefooted as a deer,
    enabling me to stand on mountain heights.
35 He trains my hands for battle;
    he strengthens my arm to draw a bronze bow.
36 You have given me your shield of victory;
    your help[e] has made me great.
37 You have made a wide path for my feet
    to keep them from slipping.
38 “I chased my enemies and destroyed them;
    I did not stop until they were conquered.
39 I consumed them;
    I struck them down so they did not get up;
    they fell beneath my feet.
40 You have armed me with strength for the battle;
    you have subdued my enemies under my feet.
41 You placed my foot on their necks.
    I have destroyed all who hated me.
42 They looked for help, but no one came to their rescue.
    They even cried to the Lord, but he refused to answer.
43 I ground them as fine as the dust of the earth;
    I trampled them[f] in the gutter like dirt.
44 “You gave me victory over my accusers.
    You preserved me as the ruler over nations;
    people I don’t even know now serve me.
45 Foreign nations cringe before me;
    as soon as they hear of me, they submit.
46 They all lose their courage
    and come trembling[g] from their strongholds.
47 “The Lord lives! Praise to my Rock!
    May God, the Rock of my salvation, be exalted!
48 He is the God who pays back those who harm me;
    he brings down the nations under me
49     and delivers me from my enemies.
You hold me safe beyond the reach of my enemies;
    you save me from violent opponents.
50 For this, O Lord, I will praise you among the nations;
    I will sing praises to your name.
51 You give great victories to your king;
    you show unfailing love to your anointed,
    to David and all his descendants forever.”

Love,

Jonathan

Reactions

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Hi Peeps,
Today’s Quote
“Often times, people will say things to see if they can get a reaction from you, because they are hiding behind a wall of something that they don’t fully understand or care about.” ~ Jon Barnes

Hiding

Lies are hidden behind, between, and in front of half truthful statements, from wicked people. You must always do your own homework and balance what people say, what you read, and the number of things you can accomplish and comprehend in a day.  Each step of integrity requires patient movements and exercises in faith to work out and expose negative issues, false statements, and evil intentions.  Allow God to show you what you or someone else is hiding so that He can counsel you in all things.

Response

A truthful response will always give the best results and God will organize your steps, protection, and plans of action. Avoid accidents by stating and carefully exercising your faith and good works in doing the truth. People are watching you to see if you are faithful to God. If you are not, they will talk about you like a dog. Solutions become clear, on point, and most efficient with your time management, health, life, and spiritual issues, because of your faith in God. Then people will positively respond to your meetings, work, and physical presence.

Presence

The presence of God gives you the power, understanding, and will to do the right things in life and you are never alone. There is always good work to be done. When you have a true relationship with God, you can ask questions and get real answers to daily issues and success is at every hand, whether you know it or not. You may not like the answers, assignments, or plans that you get, but the stories from the completed missions are always awesome with God. Trust Him.  By the way, at least the pressures in life become manageable, meaningful, and properly dispersed, which allows your joy, happiness, and love to flow with positive reactions, fulfillment, and contentment!
Today’s Question
Are you reacting to people’s negative issues in a positive way, while finishing your job for God?
Enjoy The Reading

2 Samuel 18 

Absalom’s Defeat and Death

18 David now mustered the men who were with him and appointed generals and captains[a]to lead them. He sent the troops out in three groups, placing one group under Joab, one under Joab’s brother Abishai son of Zeruiah, and one under Ittai, the man from Gath. The king told his troops, “I am going out with you.”
But his men objected strongly. “You must not go,” they urged. “If we have to turn and run—and even if half of us die—it will make no difference to Absalom’s troops; they will be looking only for you. You are worth 10,000 of us,[b] and it is better that you stay here in the town and send help if we need it.”
“If you think that’s the best plan, I’ll do it,” the king answered. So he stood alongside the gate of the town as all the troops marched out in groups of hundreds and of thousands.
And the king gave this command to Joab, Abishai, and Ittai: “For my sake, deal gently with young Absalom.” And all the troops heard the king give this order to his commanders.
So the battle began in the forest of Ephraim, and the Israelite troops were beaten back by David’s men. There was a great slaughter that day, and 20,000 men laid down their lives.The battle raged all across the countryside, and more men died because of the forest than were killed by the sword.
During the battle, Absalom happened to come upon some of David’s men. He tried to escape on his mule, but as he rode beneath the thick branches of a great tree, his hair[c] got caught in the tree. His mule kept going and left him dangling in the air. 10 One of David’s men saw what had happened and told Joab, “I saw Absalom dangling from a great tree.”
11 “What?” Joab demanded. “You saw him there and didn’t kill him? I would have rewarded you with ten pieces of silver[d] and a hero’s belt!”
12 “I would not kill the king’s son for even a thousand pieces of silver,[e]” the man replied to Joab. “We all heard the king say to you and Abishai and Ittai, ‘For my sake, please spare young Absalom.’ 13 And if I had betrayed the king by killing his son—and the king would certainly find out who did it—you yourself would be the first to abandon me.”
14 “Enough of this nonsense,” Joab said. Then he took three daggers and plunged them into Absalom’s heart as he dangled, still alive, in the great tree. 15 Ten of Joab’s young armor bearers then surrounded Absalom and killed him.
16 Then Joab blew the ram’s horn, and his men returned from chasing the army of Israel.17 They threw Absalom’s body into a deep pit in the forest and piled a great heap of stones over it. And all Israel fled to their homes.
18 During his lifetime, Absalom had built a monument to himself in the King’s Valley, for he said, “I have no son to carry on my name.” He named the monument after himself, and it is known as Absalom’s Monument to this day.

David Mourns Absalom’s Death

19 Then Zadok’s son Ahimaaz said, “Let me run to the king with the good news that the Lordhas rescued him from his enemies.”
20 “No,” Joab told him, “it wouldn’t be good news to the king that his son is dead. You can be my messenger another time, but not today.”
21 Then Joab said to a man from Ethiopia,[f] “Go tell the king what you have seen.” The man bowed and ran off.
22 But Ahimaaz continued to plead with Joab, “Whatever happens, please let me go, too.”
“Why should you go, my son?” Joab replied. “There will be no reward for your news.”
23 “Yes, but let me go anyway,” he begged.
Joab finally said, “All right, go ahead.” So Ahimaaz took the less demanding route by way of the plain and ran to Mahanaim ahead of the Ethiopian.
24 While David was sitting between the inner and outer gates of the town, the watchman climbed to the roof of the gateway by the wall. As he looked, he saw a lone man running toward them. 25 He shouted the news down to David, and the king replied, “If he is alone, he has news.”
As the messenger came closer, 26 the watchman saw another man running toward them. He shouted down, “Here comes another one!”
The king replied, “He also will have news.”
27 “The first man runs like Ahimaaz son of Zadok,” the watchman said.
“He is a good man and comes with good news,” the king replied.
28 Then Ahimaaz cried out to the king, “Everything is all right!” He bowed before the king with his face to the ground and said, “Praise to the Lord your God, who has handed over the rebels who dared to stand against my lord the king.”
29 “What about young Absalom?” the king demanded. “Is he all right?”
Ahimaaz replied, “When Joab told me to come, there was a lot of commotion. But I didn’t know what was happening.”
30 “Wait here,” the king told him. So Ahimaaz stepped aside.
31 Then the man from Ethiopia arrived and said, “I have good news for my lord the king. Today the Lord has rescued you from all those who rebelled against you.”
32 “What about young Absalom?” the king demanded. “Is he all right?”
And the Ethiopian replied, “May all of your enemies, my lord the king, both now and in the future, share the fate of that young man!”
33 [g]The king was overcome with emotion. He went up to the room over the gateway and burst into tears. And as he went, he cried, “O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you! O Absalom, my son, my son.”
Love,
Jonatahn

Be

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Hi Peeps,
Today’s Quote
“Be who you are with the Love of God in your heart or keep copying the evil you see all around you.” ~ Jon Barnes

Become

Becoming better is a process that God teaches you by faith. You can see the fruit of your obedience each day from each smile someone gives you for being kind, humble, helpful, faithful, considerate, and loving. There is no time to be lazy, talking about people and their problems.   Their story is not your story in God. Talk about, pray, and fix your own problems so that others can see God’s hand in your life. You must show people that God is becoming more important to you in your life each day and the proof is in your own personal growth and this example in your family will match your integrity!

The Leader

The leader in you comes out because your connection to Christ is the blood of faith that bonds you to God, from the Cross on Calvary. You do not need to hang yourself upon a tree for your sins and guilt. Repent and crucify your sin daily, like taking a shower and let the past go. Why should you skip a day? Smell your best, pump fresh blood into your body, breath fresh oxygen, fresh food, and honor God, because He provides justification, Judgment, justice, and fresh things for all of us.

The Follower

Avoid being the follower of evil, wicked, or confused people. Good people will attract and learn from other good people. When you are too busy following God, there is no time left to follow anyone else. You become focused, clear, content, courageous, sensitive, and more honest with yourself and others as well.  The high standards and work ethics become a model for others to share, follow, observe and copy.
Today’s Question
Did you give away your mind and leadership status to your misuse of electronics and flagrant sin?
Enjoy The Reading

2 Samuel 15 

Absalom’s Rebellion

15 After this, Absalom bought a chariot and horses, and he hired fifty bodyguards to run ahead of him. He got up early every morning and went out to the gate of the city. When people brought a case to the king for judgment, Absalom would ask where in Israel they were from, and they would tell him their tribe. Then Absalom would say, “You’ve really got a strong case here! It’s too bad the king doesn’t have anyone to hear it. I wish I were the judge. Then everyone could bring their cases to me for judgment, and I would give them justice!”
When people tried to bow before him, Absalom wouldn’t let them. Instead, he took them by the hand and kissed them. Absalom did this with everyone who came to the king for judgment, and so he stole the hearts of all the people of Israel.
After four years,[a] Absalom said to the king, “Let me go to Hebron to offer a sacrifice to the Lord and fulfill a vow I made to him. For while your servant was at Geshur in Aram, I promised to sacrifice to the Lord in Hebron[b] if he would bring me back to Jerusalem.”
“All right,” the king told him. “Go and fulfill your vow.”
So Absalom went to Hebron. 10 But while he was there, he sent secret messengers to all the tribes of Israel to stir up a rebellion against the king. “As soon as you hear the ram’s horn,” his message read, “you are to say, ‘Absalom has been crowned king in Hebron.’” 11 He took 200 men from Jerusalem with him as guests, but they knew nothing of his intentions. 12 While Absalom was offering the sacrifices, he sent for Ahithophel, one of David’s counselors who lived in Giloh. Soon many others also joined Absalom, and the conspiracy gained momentum.

David Escapes from Jerusalem

13 A messenger soon arrived in Jerusalem to tell David, “All Israel has joined Absalom in a conspiracy against you!”
14 “Then we must flee at once, or it will be too late!” David urged his men. “Hurry! If we get out of the city before Absalom arrives, both we and the city of Jerusalem will be spared from disaster.”
15 “We are with you,” his advisers replied. “Do what you think is best.”
16 So the king and all his household set out at once. He left no one behind except ten of his concubines to look after the palace. 17 The king and all his people set out on foot, pausing at the last house 18 to let all the king’s men move past to lead the way. There were 600 men from Gath who had come with David, along with the king’s bodyguard.[c]
19 Then the king turned and said to Ittai, a leader of the men from Gath, “Why are you coming with us? Go on back to King Absalom, for you are a guest in Israel, a foreigner in exile. 20 You arrived only recently, and should I force you today to wander with us? I don’t even know where we will go. Go on back and take your kinsmen with you, and may the Lord show you his unfailing love and faithfulness.[d]
21 But Ittai said to the king, “I vow by the Lord and by your own life that I will go wherever my lord the king goes, no matter what happens—whether it means life or death.”
22 David replied, “All right, come with us.” So Ittai and all his men and their families went along.
23 Everyone cried loudly as the king and his followers passed by. They crossed the Kidron Valley and then went out toward the wilderness.
24 Zadok and all the Levites also came along, carrying the Ark of the Covenant of God. They set down the Ark of God, and Abiathar offered sacrifices[e] until everyone had passed out of the city.
25 Then the king instructed Zadok to take the Ark of God back into the city. “If the Lord sees fit,” David said, “he will bring me back to see the Ark and the Tabernacle[f] again. 26 But if he is through with me, then let him do what seems best to him.”
27 The king also told Zadok the priest, “Look,[g] here is my plan. You and Abiathar[h] should return quietly to the city with your son Ahimaaz and Abiathar’s son Jonathan. 28 I will stop at the shallows of the Jordan River[i] and wait there for a report from you.” 29 So Zadok and Abiathar took the Ark of God back to the city and stayed there.
30 David walked up the road to the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went. His head was covered and his feet were bare as a sign of mourning. And the people who were with him covered their heads and wept as they climbed the hill. 31 When someone told David that his adviser Ahithophel was now backing Absalom, David prayed, “O Lord, let Ahithophel give Absalom foolish advice!”
32 When David reached the summit of the Mount of Olives where people worshiped God, Hushai the Arkite was waiting there for him. Hushai had torn his clothing and put dirt on his head as a sign of mourning. 33 But David told him, “If you go with me, you will only be a burden. 34 Return to Jerusalem and tell Absalom, ‘I will now be your adviser, O king, just as I was your father’s adviser in the past.’ Then you can frustrate and counter Ahithophel’s advice. 35 Zadok and Abiathar, the priests, will be there. Tell them about the plans being made in the king’s palace, 36 and they will send their sons Ahimaaz and Jonathan to tell me what is going on.”
37 So David’s friend Hushai returned to Jerusalem, getting there just as Absalom arrived.
Love,
Jonathan

 

Story

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Hi Peeps,
Today’s Quote
“Focus on the story God wants you to tell with your life so that others can be blessed in the lifestyle that is following God.” ~ Jon Barnes

Lies

Lies are not stories that are told by good people. Evil people believe and follow lies because, this is what they are interested in selling, living, promoting, and doing.  Foolishness is the result of sharing, telling, thinking, and doing things without love, respect, honor, integrity, and God. Since God is true love, fake love will lack substance, wisdom, and the fruit of the Spirit. Focus on True Love in all that you do!

Learn

Learn about the true stories of old when you read them yourself. Most people know nothing about the Bible so, they can’t even have an intelligent conversation or factual thought process for themselves to naturally engage. Stop relying on others to do your homework, thinking, and praying for you. Read and pray to God each day and know the stories for yourself. Drink your own water, eat your own food, and live your own life as God intended for you to do. Being a slave to evil thoughts, ideas, stories and work is not the goal of good people in a good community.

Rules

Do not follow the rules and ways of wicked people. Break the rules of sin in your life by not participating in foolish behavior. You know better. Live the truth by seeking the kingdom of God, which is to Love God and people as you love yourself. Stand up for yourself and your family, by following the commandments of God and your life will have meaning, purpose, and clarity. Your love will be pure, honest, and simple. The focus of your story will be crystal clear, organized, and ordered by God, openly for all to see, feel, and understand. Good news is not fake news. We live, eat, and breath the real story of how God supplies all of our needs each day.
Today’s Question
Have you decided what side of the story to live on, fiction or non-fiction; your reality or God’s reality?
Enjoy The Reading

2 Samuel 14 

Joab Arranges for Absalom’s Return

14 Joab realized how much the king longed to see Absalom. So he sent for a woman from Tekoa who had a reputation for great wisdom. He said to her, “Pretend you are in mourning; wear mourning clothes and don’t put on lotions.[a] Act like a woman who has been mourning for the dead for a long time. Then go to the king and tell him the story I am about to tell you.” Then Joab told her what to say.
When the woman from Tekoa approached[b] the king, she bowed with her face to the ground in deep respect and cried out, “O king! Help me!”
“What’s the trouble?” the king asked.
“Alas, I am a widow!” she replied. “My husband is dead. My two sons had a fight out in the field. And since no one was there to stop it, one of them was killed. Now the rest of the family is demanding, ‘Let us have your son. We will execute him for murdering his brother. He doesn’t deserve to inherit his family’s property.’ They want to extinguish the only coal I have left, and my husband’s name and family will disappear from the face of the earth.”
“Leave it to me,” the king told her. “Go home, and I’ll see to it that no one touches him.”
“Oh, thank you, my lord the king,” the woman from Tekoa replied. “If you are criticized for helping me, let the blame fall on me and on my father’s house, and let the king and his throne be innocent.”
10 “If anyone objects,” the king said, “bring him to me. I can assure you he will never harm you again!”
11 Then she said, “Please swear to me by the Lord your God that you won’t let anyone take vengeance against my son. I want no more bloodshed.”
“As surely as the Lord lives,” he replied, “not a hair on your son’s head will be disturbed!”
12 “Please allow me to ask one more thing of my lord the king,” she said.
“Go ahead and speak,” he responded.
13 She replied, “Why don’t you do as much for the people of God as you have promised to do for me? You have convicted yourself in making this decision, because you have refused to bring home your own banished son. 14 All of us must die eventually. Our lives are like water spilled out on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. But God does not just sweep life away; instead, he devises ways to bring us back when we have been separated from him.
15 “I have come to plead with my lord the king because people have threatened me. I said to myself, ‘Perhaps the king will listen to me 16 and rescue us from those who would cut us off from the inheritance[c] God has given us. 17 Yes, my lord the king will give us peace of mind again.’ I know that you are like an angel of God in discerning good from evil. May the Lordyour God be with you.”
18 “I must know one thing,” the king replied, “and tell me the truth.”
“Yes, my lord the king,” she responded.
19 “Did Joab put you up to this?”
And the woman replied, “My lord the king, how can I deny it? Nobody can hide anything from you. Yes, Joab sent me and told me what to say. 20 He did it to place the matter before you in a different light. But you are as wise as an angel of God, and you understand everything that happens among us!”
21 So the king sent for Joab and told him, “All right, go and bring back the young man Absalom.”
22 Joab bowed with his face to the ground in deep respect and said, “At last I know that I have gained your approval, my lord the king, for you have granted me this request!”
23 Then Joab went to Geshur and brought Absalom back to Jerusalem. 24 But the king gave this order: “Absalom may go to his own house, but he must never come into my presence.” So Absalom did not see the king.

Absalom Reconciled to David

25 Now Absalom was praised as the most handsome man in all Israel. He was flawless from head to foot. 26 He cut his hair only once a year, and then only because it was so heavy. When he weighed it out, it came to five pounds![d] 27 He had three sons and one daughter. His daughter’s name was Tamar, and she was very beautiful.
28 Absalom lived in Jerusalem for two years, but he never got to see the king. 29 Then Absalom sent for Joab to ask him to intercede for him, but Joab refused to come. Absalom sent for him a second time, but again Joab refused to come. 30 So Absalom said to his servants, “Go and set fire to Joab’s barley field, the field next to mine.” So they set his field on fire, as Absalom had commanded.
31 Then Joab came to Absalom at his house and demanded, “Why did your servants set my field on fire?”
32 And Absalom replied, “Because I wanted you to ask the king why he brought me back from Geshur if he didn’t intend to see me. I might as well have stayed there. Let me see the king; if he finds me guilty of anything, then let him kill me.”
33 So Joab told the king what Absalom had said. Then at last David summoned Absalom, who came and bowed low before the king, and the king kissed him.
Love,
Jonathan

Relationships

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Hi Peeps,
Today’s Quote
“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

Vacations

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

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. 

Music

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.
Today’s Question
Do you have the best relationship with God and the people around you?
 
Enjoy The Reading

1 Samuel 7

1 So 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. 2 The 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. 3 Then 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.” 4 So the Israelites got rid of their images of Baal and Ashtoreth and worshiped only the LORD . 5 Then Samuel told them, “Gather all of Israel to Mizpah, and I will pray to the LORD for you.” 6 So 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.) 7 When 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. 9 So 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. 10 Just 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. 11 The men of Israel chased them from Mizpah to a place below Beth-car, slaughtering them all along the way. 12 Samuel 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!” 13 So 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. 14 The 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. 15 Samuel continued as Israel’s judge for the rest of his life. 16 Each 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. 17 Then 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.

Family Ties

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Hi Peeps,
Today’s Quote
“Simply put, the truth needs no apologies for loving God, your family, friends and your enemies so that God takes care of the things you cannot.” ~ Jon Barnes

Importance

It is important to know your motives, direction, and destination with your goals, plans, and objectives in life and with God. During your studies, you will begin to make better plans and prepare for the next level that is right for you and your family. If you leave your responsibilities up in the air, then evil will take care of it for you.

Carefully

Carefully map out your routine, direction, and instruction that God gives you to move forward with your good work. Realize that the plans of others may derail your plan should you choose to follow the distraction of others. Stick to the plan that follows God and you will do fine. 

Network 

Network, leverage, and value the quality talent that is in your family to nurture and support progress, education, and innovation. Help each other achieve goals, develop solutions, and build stronger bonds within a community. You and your family are a link that someone needs in their life as an example to follow. Show them that you are following God!
Today’s Question
Is your connection to God strong enough for you to connect God with your family or is your connection faulty, deactivated,  and non-existent?
   
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Judges 11 

11 Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty warrior. His father was Gilead; his mother was a prostitute. Gilead’s wife also bore him sons, and when they were grown up, they drove Jephthah away. “You are not going to get any inheritance in our family,” they said, “because you are the son of another woman.” So Jephthah fled from his brothers and settled in the land of Tob, where a gang of scoundrels gathered around him and followed him.
Sometime later, when the Ammonites were fighting against Israel, the elders of Gilead went to get Jephthah from the land of Tob. “Come,” they said, “be our commander so we can fight the Ammonites.”
Jephthah said to them, “Didn’t you hate me and drive me from my father’s house? Why do you come to me now, when you’re in trouble?”
The elders of Gilead said to him, “Nevertheless, we are turning to you now; come with us to fight the Ammonites, and you will be head over all of us who live in Gilead.”
Jephthah answered, “Suppose you take me back to fight the Ammonites and the Lord gives them to me—will I really be your head?”
10 The elders of Gilead replied, “The Lord is our witness; we will certainly do as you say.” 11 So Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and commander over them. And he repeated all his words before the Lord in Mizpah.
12 Then Jephthah sent messengers to the Ammonite king with the question: “What do you have against me that you have attacked my country?”
13 The king of the Ammonites answered Jephthah’s messengers, “When Israel came up out of Egypt, they took away my land from the Arnon to the Jabbok, all the way to the Jordan. Now give it back peaceably.”
14 Jephthah sent back messengers to the Ammonite king, 15 saying:
“This is what Jephthah says: Israel did not take the land of Moab or the land of the Ammonites. 16 But when they came up out of Egypt, Israel went through the wilderness to the Red Sea[a] and on to Kadesh. 17 Then Israel sent messengersto the king of Edom, saying, ‘Give us permission to go through your country,’but the king of Edom would not listen. They sent also to the king of Moab, and he refused. So Israel stayed at Kadesh.
18 “Next they traveled through the wilderness, skirted the lands of Edom and Moab, passed along the eastern side of the country of Moab, and camped on the other side of the Arnon. They did not enter the territory of Moab, for the Arnon was its border.
19 “Then Israel sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites, who ruled in Heshbon, and said to him, ‘Let us pass through your country to our own place.’20 Sihon, however, did not trust Israel[b] to pass through his territory. He mustered all his troops and encamped at Jahaz and fought with Israel.
21 “Then the Lord, the God of Israel, gave Sihon and his whole army into Israel’s hands, and they defeated them. Israel took over all the land of the Amorites who lived in that country, 22 capturing all of it from the Arnon to the Jabbok and from the desert to the Jordan.
23 “Now since the Lord, the God of Israel, has driven the Amorites out before his people Israel, what right have you to take it over? 24 Will you not take what your god Chemosh gives you? Likewise, whatever the Lord our God has given us, we will possess. 25 Are you any better than Balak son of Zippor, king of Moab? Did he ever quarrel with Israel or fight with them? 26 For three hundred years Israel occupied Heshbon, Aroer, the surrounding settlements and all the towns along the Arnon. Why didn’t you retake them during that time? 27 I have not wronged you, but you are doing me wrong by waging war against me. Let the Lord, the Judge, decide the dispute this day between the Israelites and the Ammonites.”
28 The king of Ammon, however, paid no attention to the message Jephthah sent him.
29 Then the Spirit of the Lord came on Jephthah. He crossed Gilead and Manasseh, passed through Mizpah of Gilead, and from there he advanced against the Ammonites. 30 And Jephthah made a vow to the Lord: “If you give the Ammonites into my hands, 31 whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites will be the Lord’s, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering.”
32 Then Jephthah went over to fight the Ammonites, and the Lord gave them into his hands. 33 He devastated twenty towns from Aroer to the vicinity of Minnith, as far as Abel Keramim. Thus Israel subdued Ammon.
34 When Jephthah returned to his home in Mizpah, who should come out to meet him but his daughter, dancing to the sound of timbrels! She was an only child.Except for her he had neither son nor daughter. 35 When he saw her, he tore his clothes and cried, “Oh no, my daughter! You have brought me down and I am devastated. I have made a vow to the Lord that I cannot break.”
36 “My father,” she replied, “you have given your word to the Lord. Do to me just as you promised, now that the Lord has avenged you of your enemies, the Ammonites. 37 But grant me this one request,” she said. “Give me two months to roam the hills and weep with my friends, because I will never marry.”
38 “You may go,” he said. And he let her go for two months. She and her friends went into the hills and wept because she would never marry. 39 After the two months, she returned to her father, and he did to her as he had vowed. And she was a virgin.
From this comes the Israelite tradition 40 that each year the young women of Israel go out for four days to commemorate the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite.
 
Love,
 
Jonathan

Each Generation 

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Hi Peeps,
Today’s Quote
“Each Generation is responsible for teaching the next generation how to Love, live, and learn God’s lifestyle and commandments!” ~ Jon Barnes

Attention

Parents who pay close attention to the needs of their children will make the time to read, teach, and share biblical stories with their loved ones every day.  There is a life lesson to learn with every opportunity that arises and it is our parental responsibility to see and make these connections to God. Chasing after God is the goal, chasing after money is not.

Chase

Giving God His first fruits of your day will allow you to have time to chase your dreams and fulfill God’s Commandments within your daily schedule.  Balance your time with God and he’ll balance your life for Good. Do your life’s homework for an hour each day and it will pay off. Set your realistic goals and make them a priority, so that the next generation doesn’t forget who God is.

Each

Each job you do for God is important and people tend to belittle the small jobs as if they don’t count! It is better to be faithful in the small jobs and make it into heaven, than to focus only on the big jobs, hoping to hit home runs in the bottom of the 9th inning, with 2 strikes. Let us teach the next generation to play ball with God and finish the entire GAME well! You only strike out when you quit loving God and have stopped living by His commandment.
Today’s Question
Who is responsible for teaching the next generation about God, you or the devil?
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Judges 6

Gideon

1 The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD, and for seven years he gave them into the hands of the Midianites.2 Because the power of Midian was so oppressive, the Israelites prepared shelters for themselves in mountain clefts, caves and strongholds. 3 Whenever the Israelites planted their crops, the Midianites, Amalekites and other eastern peoples invaded the country. 4 They camped on the land and ruined the crops all the way to Gaza and did not spare a living thing for Israel, neither sheep nor cattle nor donkeys.5 They came up with their livestock and their tents like swarms of locusts. It was impossible to count them or their camels; they invaded the land to ravage it. 6 Midian so impoverished the Israelites that they cried out to the LORD for help. 7 When the Israelites cried out to the LORD because of Midian, 8 he sent them a prophet, who said, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: I brought you up out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 9 I rescued you from the hand of the Egyptians. And I delivered you from the hand of all your oppressors; I drove them out before you and gave you their land. 10 I said to you, ‘I am the LORD your God; do not worship the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you live.’ But you have not listened to me.” 11 The angel of the LORD came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. 12When the angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon, he said, “The LORD is with you, mighty warrior.” 13 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the LORD has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.” 14 The LORD turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” 15“Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” 16 The LORD answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.” 17 Gideon replied, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, give me a sign that it is really you talking to me. 18Please do not go away until I come back and bring my offering and set it before you.” And the LORD said, “I will wait until you return.” 19 Gideon went inside, prepared a young goat, and from an ephah of flour he made bread without yeast. Putting the meat in a basket and its broth in a pot, he brought them out and offered them to him under the oak. 20 The angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and the unleavened bread, place them on this rock, and pour out the broth.” And Gideon did so. 21 Then the angel of the LORD touched the meat and the unleavened bread with the tip of the staff that was in his hand. Fire flared from the rock, consuming the meat and the bread. And the angel of the LORD disappeared. 22When Gideon realized that it was the angel of the LORD, he exclaimed, “Alas, Sovereign LORD! I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face!” 23 But the LORD said to him, “Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die.” 24 So Gideon built an altar to the LORD there and called it The LORD Is Peace. To this day it stands in Ophrah of the Abiezrites. 25 That same night the LORD said to him, “Take the second bull from your father’s herd, the one seven years old. Tear down your father’s altar to Baal and cut down the Asherah pole beside it. 26 Then build a proper kind of altar to the LORD your God on the top of this height. Using the wood of the Asherah pole that you cut down, offer the secondbull as a burnt offering.” 27 So Gideon took ten of his servants and did as the LORD told him. But because he was afraid of his family and the townspeople, he did it at night rather than in the daytime. 28 In the morning when the people of the town got up, there was Baal’s altar, demolished, with the Asherah pole beside it cut down and the second bull sacrificed on the newly built altar! 29 They asked each other, “Who did this?” When they carefully investigated, they were told, “Gideon son of Joash did it.” 30 The people of the town demanded of Joash, “Bring out your son. He must die, because he has broken down Baal’s altar and cut down the Asherah pole beside it.” 31 But Joash replied to the hostile crowd around him, “Are you going to plead Baal’s cause? Are you trying to save him? Whoever fights for him shall be put to death by morning! If Baal really is a god, he can defend himself when someone breaks down his altar.” 32 So because Gideon broke down Baal’s altar, they gave him the name Jerub-Baal that day, saying, “Let Baal contend with him.” 33 Now all the Midianites, Amalekites and other eastern peoples joined forces and crossed over the Jordan and camped in the Valley of Jezreel. 34 Then the Spirit of the LORD came on Gideon, and he blew a trumpet, summoning the Abiezrites to follow him. 35 He sent messengers throughout Manasseh, calling them to arms, and also into Asher, Zebulun and Naphtali, so that they too went up to meet them. 36 Gideon said to God, “If you will save Israel by my hand as you have promised— 37 look, I will place a wool fleece on the threshing floor. If there is dew only on the fleece and all the ground is dry, then I will know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you said.” 38 And that is what happened. Gideon rose early the next day; he squeezed the fleece and wrung out the dew—a bowlful of water. 39Then Gideon said to God, “Do not be angry with me. Let me make just one more request. Allow me one more test with the fleece, but this time make the fleece dry and let the ground be covered with dew.” 40 That night God did so. Only the fleece was dry; all the ground was covered with dew.