Lift

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Hi Peeps,
Today’s Quote
“Lift up your voice, singing to God about all of the wonderful things He is doing in your life with your actions, not you empty words, works, and dreams.”  ~  Jon Barnes

Chant

The chant of champions communicates to God with every cell in their bodies, singing, exercising, and declaring the Glory of The Lord in all of their ways, lifestyles, and work ethics.  Progress is given to us because we love God.  Speak, chant, and lift up God’s plans, commandments, and virtues to quietly shine the love of your action, LOUDLY!  Speak the Volumes of Wisdom in God, which easily and eternally surpasses the volume levels of your ears, mouth, mind, and senses.

Weep

Cry out in your stupidity so that God may hear you and change your wicked heart that is full of lies and untruth.  Let God lift up the Gates of Love and Righteousness to flow like a damn, from the tears of your own eyes.  If there is some integrity there, God will see it and honor your request.

Cry

Hell will be full of many people, lifting up their voices, gnashing their teeth, and drinking liquid fire from the bitter, waterless, cup of sin, evil, and wickedness forever.  Cry now for hope, or cry later in hopelessness.  Lift up your voice and sing that God’s Will is in everything.  Whether you like it or not, His will you cannot stop.
Today’s Question
Are you lifting and flowing in the will of God towards Heaven or Hell?

Esther 1 

Queen Vashti Deposed

This is what happened during the time of Xerxes,[a] the Xerxes who ruled over 127 provinces stretching from India to Cush[b]: At that time King Xerxes reigned from his royal throne in the citadel of Susa, and in the third year of his reign he gave a banquet for all his nobles and officials. The military leaders of Persia and Media, the princes, and the nobles of the provinces were present.
For a full 180 days he displayed the vast wealth of his kingdom and the splendor and glory of his majesty. When these days were over, the king gave a banquet, lasting seven days, in the enclosed garden of the king’s palace, for all the people from the least to the greatest who were in the citadel of Susa. The garden had hangings of white and blue linen, fastened with cords of white linen and purple material to silver rings on marble pillars. There were couches of gold and silver on a mosaic pavement of porphyry, marble, mother-of-pearl and other costly stones.Wine was served in goblets of gold, each one different from the other, and the royal wine was abundant, in keeping with the king’s liberality. By the king’s command each guest was allowed to drink with no restrictions, for the king instructed all the wine stewards to serve each man what he wished.
Queen Vashti also gave a banquet for the women in the royal palace of King Xerxes.
10 On the seventh day, when King Xerxes was in high spirits from wine, he commanded the seven eunuchs who served him—Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona,Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar and Karkas— 11 to bring before him Queen Vashti, wearing her royal crown, in order to display her beauty to the people and nobles, for she was lovely to look at. 12 But when the attendants delivered the king’s command, Queen Vashti refused to come. Then the king became furious and burned with anger.
13 Since it was customary for the king to consult experts in matters of law and justice, he spoke with the wise men who understood the times 14 and were closest to the king—Karshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena and Memukan, the seven nobles of Persia and Media who had special access to the king and were highest in the kingdom.
15 “According to law, what must be done to Queen Vashti?” he asked. “She has not obeyed the command of King Xerxes that the eunuchs have taken to her.”
16 Then Memukan replied in the presence of the king and the nobles, “Queen Vashti has done wrong, not only against the king but also against all the nobles and the peoples of all the provinces of King Xerxes. 17 For the queen’s conduct will become known to all the women, and so they will despise their husbands and say, ‘King Xerxes commanded Queen Vashti to be brought before him, but she would not come.’ 18 This very day the Persian and Median women of the nobility who have heard about the queen’s conduct will respond to all the king’s nobles in the same way. There will be no end of disrespect and discord.
19 “Therefore, if it pleases the king, let him issue a royal decree and let it be written in the laws of Persia and Media, which cannot be repealed, that Vashti is never again to enter the presence of King Xerxes. Also let the king give her royal position to someone else who is better than she. 20 Then when the king’s edict is proclaimed throughout all his vast realm, all the women will respect their husbands, from the least to the greatest.”
21 The king and his nobles were pleased with this advice, so the king did as Memukan proposed. 22 He sent dispatches to all parts of the kingdom, to each province in its own script and to each people in their own language, proclaiming that every man should be ruler over his own household, using his native tongue.
Love,
Jonathan

Just

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Hi Peeps,
Today’s Quote
“Good people do just enough to love God and live by faith, doing the daily activities and work that is full of joy, peace, kindness, long-suffering, patience, mercy, and grace, because God uses the blood of Christ to wash away our sins, in our honest repentance.” ~  Jon Barnes

Just Now

Believe God has forgiven you and live the lifestyle that God has given to help your family and yourself.  You help your family by teaching, communicating, and sharing examples of love that God has granted.  Grant the same level of love and respect to others and watch your life bless others all around you. Just Do It! Fake repentance does not get washed by the Blood of Jesus. 

Just Enough

The things that God gives you is just enough for you to do the job of love, work of faith, and balance with mercy and grace to display the full gospel in your life to others as well.  Each step that you take walks towards God and Heaven’s Gates by faith in doing the right things that are pleasing to God. You know that you are pleasing God because your balanced life connects as the just shall live by faith.  This faith is directed at your children first.

Just Faith

You know the truth and the steps to take, so just do it and communicate God’s truth each day by faith.  God is in the buildings of His People and your light, love for God, and actions of faith are alive as you breathe, walk, talk, and shine His Light and Spirit through Your Eyes. We don’t judge and bully people.  We just love them and let God’s conviction or judgment do the work of faith.  Mastering these Gospel Fundamentals will transform your family!
Today’s Question
Since Christ died for our sins, are you taking care of your temple as a living participant in God’s love, work, faith, and action or are you just OFF TASK and OFFLINE?
Enjoy The Reading

Ezra 8 

Exiles Who Returned with Ezra

Here is a list of the family leaders and the genealogies of those who came with me from Babylon during the reign of King Artaxerxes:
From the family of Phinehas: Gershom.
From the family of Ithamar: Daniel.
From the family of David: Hattush, a descendant of Shecaniah.
From the family of Parosh: Zechariah and 150 other men were registered.
From the family of Pahath-moab: Eliehoenai son of Zerahiah and 200 other men.
From the family of Zattu[a]: Shecaniah son of Jahaziel and 300 other men.
From the family of Adin: Ebed son of Jonathan and 50 other men.
From the family of Elam: Jeshaiah son of Athaliah and 70 other men.
From the family of Shephatiah: Zebadiah son of Michael and 80 other men.
From the family of Joab: Obadiah son of Jehiel and 218 other men.
10 From the family of Bani[b]: Shelomith son of Josiphiah and 160 other men.
11 From the family of Bebai: Zechariah son of Bebai and 28 other men.
12 From the family of Azgad: Johanan son of Hakkatan and 110 other men.
13 From the family of Adonikam, who came later[c]: Eliphelet, Jeuel, Shemaiah, and 60 other men.
14 From the family of Bigvai: Uthai, Zaccur,[d] and 70 other men.

Ezra’s Journey to Jerusalem

15 I assembled the exiles at the Ahava Canal, and we camped there for three days while I went over the lists of the people and the priests who had arrived. I found that not one Levite had volunteered to come along. 16 So I sent for Eliezer, Ariel, Shemaiah, Elnathan, Jarib, Elnathan, Nathan, Zechariah, and Meshullam, who were leaders of the people. I also sent for Joiarib and Elnathan, who were men of discernment. 17 I sent them to Iddo, the leader of the Levites at Casiphia, to ask him and his relatives and the Temple servants to send us ministers for the Temple of God at Jerusalem.
18 Since the gracious hand of our God was on us, they sent us a man named Sherebiah, along with eighteen of his sons and brothers. He was a very astute man and a descendant of Mahli, who was a descendant of Levi son of Israel.[e]19 They also sent Hashabiah, together with Jeshaiah from the descendants of Merari, and twenty of his sons and brothers, 20 and 220 Temple servants. The Temple servants were assistants to the Levites—a group of Temple workers first instituted by King David and his officials. They were all listed by name.
21 And there by the Ahava Canal, I gave orders for all of us to fast and humble ourselves before our God. We prayed that he would give us a safe journey and protect us, our children, and our goods as we traveled. 22 For I was ashamed to ask the king for soldiers and horsemen[f] to accompany us and protect us from enemies along the way. After all, we had told the king, “Our God’s hand of protection is on all who worship him, but his fierce anger rages against those who abandon him.” 23 So we fasted and earnestly prayed that our God would take care of us, and he heard our prayer.
24 I appointed twelve leaders of the priests—Sherebiah, Hashabiah, and ten other priests— 25 to be in charge of transporting the silver, the gold, the gold bowls, and the other items that the king, his council, his officials, and all the people of Israel had presented for the Temple of God. 26 I weighed the treasure as I gave it to them and found the totals to be as follows:
24 tons[g] of silver,
7,500 pounds[h] of silver articles,
7,500 pounds of gold,
27 20 gold bowls, equal in value to 1,000 gold coins,[i]
2 fine articles of polished bronze, as precious as gold.
28 And I said to these priests, “You and these treasures have been set apart as holy to the Lord. This silver and gold is a voluntary offering to the Lord, the God of our ancestors. 29 Guard these treasures well until you present them to the leading priests, the Levites, and the leaders of Israel, who will weigh them at the storerooms of the Lord’s Temple in Jerusalem.” 30 So the priests and the Levites accepted the task of transporting these treasures of silver and gold to the Temple of our God in Jerusalem.
31 We broke camp at the Ahava Canal on April 19[j] and started off to Jerusalem. And the gracious hand of our God protected us and saved us from enemies and bandits along the way. 32 So we arrived safely in Jerusalem, where we rested for three days.
33 On the fourth day after our arrival, the silver, gold, and other valuables were weighed at the Temple of our God and entrusted to Meremoth son of Uriah the priest and to Eleazar son of Phinehas, along with Jozabad son of Jeshua and Noadiah son of Binnui—both of whom were Levites. 34 Everything was accounted for by number and weight, and the total weight was officially recorded.
35 Then the exiles who had come out of captivity sacrificed burnt offerings to the God of Israel. They presented twelve bulls for all the people of Israel, as well as ninety-six rams and seventy-seven male lambs. They also offered twelve male goats as a sin offering. All this was given as a burnt offering to the Lord. 36 The king’s decrees were delivered to his highest officers and the governors of the province west of the Euphrates River,[k] who then cooperated by supporting the people and the Temple of God.
Love,
Jonathan

Inflicted

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Hi Peeps,
Today’s Quote
“Self Inflicted drama is the unexpected destructive activities one engages in with food, drugs, activities, emotions, and thought processes that negate anything good in your life.” ~ Jon Barnes

Drama

You can’t hide the weight of personal drama because it must be felt and dealt with by you and God first before you can explain or understand your personal problems.  When we make others the brunt of our personal problems, we avoid the therapy God is teaching to us.  Speak less and listen to God more for Good Answers.  I am not the solution to your self-inflicted problems.

Forgiveness

Holding on to old baggage and remembering all of the old things said to you in life is a waste of time and energy for growth and self-improvement.  Forget the negative statements of the past and grow into learning the new things God has for you into the future.  The more you focus and recite the negative past, the less you can improve into the future blessings of the now.  You are not a victim, so stop acting like one.

Balanced

Even when bad things happen, use them for your good.  True understanding of God’s Word teaches you to rejoice in all things and count them as Joy when you are being tested and taught new things that you may not understand yet.  Maturity is a lifelong adventure, so stop being insulted by your lack thereof.  God is the only mature standard of excellent e in the Room!
Today’s Question
Do you talk more than you listen to what God is teaching you?

Enjoy The Reading

2 Chronicles 26 

Uzziah Rules in Judah

26 All the people of Judah had crowned Amaziah’s sixteen-year-old son, Uzziah, as king in place of his father. After his father’s death, Uzziah rebuilt the town of Elath[a] and restored it to Judah.
Uzziah was sixteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-two years. His mother was Jecoliah from Jerusalem. He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight, just as his father, Amaziah, had done. Uzziah sought God during the days of Zechariah, who taught him to fear God.[b] And as long as the king sought guidance from the Lord, God gave him success.
Uzziah declared war on the Philistines and broke down the walls of Gath, Jabneh, and Ashdod. Then he built new towns in the Ashdod area and in other parts of Philistia. God helped him in his wars against the Philistines, his battles with the Arabs of Gur,[c] and his wars with the Meunites. The Meunites[d] paid annual tribute to him, and his fame spread even to Egypt, for he had become very powerful.
Uzziah built fortified towers in Jerusalem at the Corner Gate, at the Valley Gate, and at the angle in the wall. 10 He also constructed forts in the wilderness and dug many water cisterns, because he kept great herds of livestock in the foothills of Judah[e] and on the plains. He was also a man who loved the soil. He had many workers who cared for his farms and vineyards, both on the hillsides and in the fertile valleys.
11 Uzziah had an army of well-trained warriors, ready to march into battle, unit by unit. This army had been mustered and organized by Jeiel, the secretary of the army, and his assistant, Maaseiah. They were under the direction of Hananiah, one of the king’s officials. 12 These regiments of mighty warriors were commanded by 2,600 clan leaders. 13 The army consisted of 307,500 men, all elite troops. They were prepared to assist the king against any enemy.
14 Uzziah provided the entire army with shields, spears, helmets, coats of mail, bows, and sling stones. 15 And he built structures on the walls of Jerusalem, designed by experts to protect those who shot arrows and hurled large stones[f]from the towers and the corners of the wall. His fame spread far and wide, for the Lord gave him marvelous help, and he became very powerful.

Uzziah’s Sin and Punishment

16 But when he had become powerful, he also became proud, which led to his downfall. He sinned against the Lord his God by entering the sanctuary of the Lord’s Temple and personally burning incense on the incense altar. 17 Azariah the high priest went in after him with eighty other priests of the Lord, all brave men.18 They confronted King Uzziah and said, “It is not for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the Lord. That is the work of the priests alone, the descendants of Aaron who are set apart for this work. Get out of the sanctuary, for you have sinned. The LordGod will not honor you for this!”
19 Uzziah, who was holding an incense burner, became furious. But as he was standing there raging at the priests before the incense altar in the Lord’s Temple, leprosy[g] suddenly broke out on his forehead. 20 When Azariah the high priest and all the other priests saw the leprosy, they rushed him out. And the king himself was eager to get out because the Lord had struck him. 21 So King Uzziah had leprosy until the day he died. He lived in isolation in a separate house, for he was excluded from the Temple of the Lord. His son Jotham was put in charge of the royal palace, and he governed the people of the land.
22 The rest of the events of Uzziah’s reign, from beginning to end, are recorded by the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz. 23 When Uzziah died, he was buried with his ancestors; his grave was in a nearby burial field belonging to the kings, for the people said, “He had leprosy.” And his son Jotham became the next king.
Love,
Jonathan

Sand Paper

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Hi Peeps,
Today’s Quote
“God’s pattern for salvation is like sandpaper to the skin of evil people or buttermilk lotion to good people, who believe.” ~ Jon Barnes  

Perfect

Outside your front door is an opportunity to love someone you meet.  It is that simple. Many of us hate the person next to us and completely ignore people walking by us.  I am guilty of being unfriendly, unkind, too focused, and inhumane at times, as well.  But, the more I smile, greet, laugh, love, help, assist, and rest within God’s wisdom, the best experiences, conversations, and events happen.  People learn about the salvation of God from your lifestyle, not your empty words.  Your works of love are not sandpaper.

Imperfect

God helps us to find better ways to communicate, help and love people by staying connected to scriptures, stories, parables, and prayer.  Our imperfection is not the issue, it’s our love and forgiveness that is in question.  Don’t be so rigid in your thinking, giving, time, and ways.  Kindly enjoy the people right in front of you and don’t stop loving them.  You don’t have to become like them, but you strive to become like God!

Strive

Challenges will always come, like the rubbing of sandpaper onto the skin, but when you are clearly prepared, Healing Begins.  Let God heal you of your old problems and war wounds and strive to live a better lifestyle in Him without sandpaper.  Understanding comes from the heart and not your mind.  Your mind learns from what you believe and do, not from what you think or say.  Throw away the sandpaper thinking.
Today’s Question
Have you accepted the pattern of God’s Salvation or are you still holding onto your sandpaper?
Enjoy The Reading
 

1 Chronicles 15 

Preparing to Move the Ark

15 David now built several buildings for himself in the City of David. He also prepared a place for the Ark of God and set up a special tent for it. Then he commanded, “No one except the Levites may carry the Ark of God. The Lord has chosen them to carry the Ark of the Lord and to serve him forever.”
Then David summoned all Israel to Jerusalem to bring the Ark of the Lord to the place he had prepared for it. This is the number of the descendants of Aaron (the priests) and the Levites who were called together:
From the clan of Kohath, 120, with Uriel as their leader.
From the clan of Merari, 220, with Asaiah as their leader.
From the clan of Gershon,[a] 130, with Joel as their leader.
From the descendants of Elizaphan, 200, with Shemaiah as their leader.
From the descendants of Hebron, 80, with Eliel as their leader.
10 From the descendants of Uzziel, 112, with Amminadab as their leader.
11 Then David summoned the priests, Zadok and Abiathar, and these Levite leaders: Uriel, Asaiah, Joel, Shemaiah, Eliel, and Amminadab. 12 He said to them, “You are the leaders of the Levite families. You must purify yourselves and all your fellow Levites, so you can bring the Ark of the Lord, the God of Israel, to the place I have prepared for it. 13 Because you Levites did not carry the Ark the first time, the anger of the Lord our God burst out against us. We failed to ask God how to move it properly.” 14 So the priests and the Levites purified themselves in order to bring the Ark of the Lord, the God of Israel, to Jerusalem. 15 Then the Levites carried the Ark of God on their shoulders with its carrying poles, just as the Lord had instructed Moses.
16 David also ordered the Levite leaders to appoint a choir of Levites who were singers and musicians to sing joyful songs to the accompaniment of harps, lyres, and cymbals. 17 So the Levites appointed Heman son of Joel along with his fellow Levites: Asaph son of Berekiah, and Ethan son of Kushaiah from the clan of Merari. 18 The following men were chosen as their assistants: Zechariah, Jaaziel,[b] Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Unni, Eliab, Benaiah, Maaseiah, Mattithiah, Eliphelehu, Mikneiah, and the gatekeepers—Obed-edom and Jeiel.
19 The musicians Heman, Asaph, and Ethan were chosen to sound the bronze cymbals.20 Zechariah, Aziel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Unni, Eliab, Maaseiah, and Benaiah were chosen to play the harps.[c] 21 Mattithiah, Eliphelehu, Mikneiah, Obed-edom, Jeiel, and Azaziah were chosen to play the lyres.[d] 22 Kenaniah, the head Levite, was chosen as the choir leader because of his skill.
23 Berekiah and Elkanah were chosen to guard[e] the Ark. 24 Shebaniah, Joshaphat, Nethanel, Amasai, Zechariah, Benaiah, and Eliezer—all of whom were priests—were chosen to blow the trumpets as they marched in front of the Ark of God. Obed-edom and Jehiah were chosen to guard the Ark.

Moving the Ark to Jerusalem

25 Then David and the elders of Israel and the generals of the army[f] went to the house of Obed-edom to bring the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant up to Jerusalem with a great celebration.26 And because God was clearly helping the Levites as they carried the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant, they sacrificed seven bulls and seven rams.
27 David was dressed in a robe of fine linen, as were all the Levites who carried the Ark, and also the singers, and Kenaniah the choir leader. David was also wearing a priestly garment.[g]28 So all Israel brought up the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant with shouts of joy, the blowing of rams’ horns and trumpets, the crashing of cymbals, and loud playing on harps and lyres.
29 But as the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant entered the City of David, Michal, the daughter of Saul, looked down from her window. When she saw King David skipping about and laughing with joy, she was filled with contempt for him.
Love,
Jonathan

Trend

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Hi Peeps,
Today’s Quote
“Be a trendsetter who is fundamental, morally, and ethically sound to be a leader, doing all the good  you can for God, not for self-pity, fake piety, greed or ill-gotten gain.”  ~ Jon Barnes

Treat

What a treat it is to see young people learn from the next generation to improve their piety to God, their family, health, and spiritual growth.  Money is a good tool, but it does not measure the success with the quality of love God has given you to share with others.  Sharing this love to your enemies and people you do not like is also your job in your faith.  Only the people receiving this love can validate your honest efforts and pure intentions, as a gift from God.  Otherwise, your gift of love is fake and you will be retested over and over again to endure the same pain you refuse to give up and let go of.

Setter

You are simply the faithful, honest messenger of love sent to do an important job for humanity with your own family first. Don’t follow the ways of wicked people in their private path of destruction and self-hate.  Forgive, forget, learn and follow the pleasant path of doing the right things so that you can sleep peacefully at night with a clear conscience, smiling all day.  If you are frowning all day, something is wrong with you!

Message

Keep your message of hope, love, integrity, respect, and honesty wrapped around your neck so that you don’t forget your calling.  Be who you are in God and live well.  Your message will speak for itself in your actions of love and character.  The motives that are in your mind will play out on stage as life unfolds each day.  Live the trend that you set with God or you will fall back into your old dumb habits.
Today’s Question
Are you going in the opposite direction of God with your daily trends or did you pass the test today?
Enjoy The Reading
 

Ahaz Rules in Judah

16 Ahaz son of Jotham began to rule over Judah in the seventeenth year of King Pekah’s reign in Israel. Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem sixteen years. He did not do what was pleasing in the sight of the Lord his God, as his ancestor David had done. Instead, he followed the example of the kings of Israel, even sacrificing his own son in the fire.[a] In this way, he followed the detestable practices of the pagan nations the Lord had driven from the land ahead of the Israelites. He offered sacrifices and burned incense at the pagan shrines and on the hills and under every green tree.
Then King Rezin of Aram and King Pekah of Israel came up to attack Jerusalem. They besieged Ahaz but could not conquer him. At that time the king of Edom[b] recovered the town of Elath for Edom.[c] He drove out the people of Judah and sent Edomites[d] to live there, as they do to this day.
King Ahaz sent messengers to King Tiglath-pileser of Assyria with this message: “I am your servant and your vassal.[e] Come up and rescue me from the attacking armies of Aram and Israel.” Then Ahaz took the silver and gold from the Temple of the Lord and the palace treasury and sent it as a payment to the Assyrian king. So the king of Assyria attacked the Aramean capital of Damascus and led its population away as captives, resettling them in Kir. He also killed King Rezin.
10 King Ahaz then went to Damascus to meet with King Tiglath-pileser of Assyria. While he was there, he took special note of the altar. Then he sent a model of the altar to Uriah the priest, along with its design in full detail. 11 Uriah followed the king’s instructions and built an altar just like it, and it was ready before the king returned from Damascus. 12 When the king returned, he inspected the altar and made offerings on it. 13 He presented a burnt offering and a grain offering, he poured out a liquid offering, and he sprinkled the blood of peace offerings on the altar.
14 Then King Ahaz removed the old bronze altar from its place in front of the Lord’s Temple, between the entrance and the new altar, and placed it on the north side of the new altar. 15 He told Uriah the priest, “Use the new altar[f] for the morning sacrifices of burnt offering, the evening grain offering, the king’s burnt offering and grain offering, and the burnt offerings of all the people, as well as their grain offerings and liquid offerings. Sprinkle the blood from all the burnt offerings and sacrifices on the new altar. The bronze altar will be for my personal use only.” 16 Uriah the priest did just as King Ahaz commanded him.
17 Then the king removed the side panels and basins from the portable water carts. He also removed the great bronze basin called the Sea from the backs of the bronze oxen and placed it on the stone pavement. 18 In deference to the king of Assyria, he also removed the canopy that had been constructed inside the palace for use on the Sabbath day,[g] as well as the king’s outer entrance to the Temple of the Lord.
19 The rest of the events in Ahaz’s reign and everything he did are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Judah. 20 When Ahaz died, he was buried with his ancestors in the City of David. Then his son Hezekiah became the next king.
Love,
Jonathan

Humbled

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Hi Peeps,
Today’s Quote
“Remaining humbled and faithful when God blesses you is a test of obedience in which many us will fail because our will is more important that God’s Will and Commandments.” ~ Jon Barnes 

Trophy

Our prayer life and praises unto God are not trophies to be displayed before people just to be seen. Yet God would rather you pray and work like children of God from your secret closet. Our humbled secret works of faith, prayer, and praise are rewarded by God openly in how you live openly every day. The humility of your actions shines like the sun and your trumpet doesn’t need to blast before you enter the room, like a trophy.

Blast

Sometimes God will use a trumpet blast to get our attention, destroy walls, make a point, or handle issues, but in general, God doesn’t need our help to blast anything.  It is us who need God. Master the ability and humility of following God’s directions, not the hype of traditions of men. Blast your way into God’s hands and not into the ways of man.

Outcast

You may seem like an outcast by following God’s agenda and not your own.  When things don’t work out from your perspective, it is God’s plan that directs you to the flow of where you will go.  Be open to change directions because God is steering the boat.  Don’t allow your pride to take over the captain’s seat, which dishonors your parents and God.  Stay humble and relevant.
Today’s Question.
Are you relevant to God in humility, faith, love, forgiveness, work, prayer, and truth?
Enjoy The Reading

2 Samuel 3 

That was the beginning of a long war between those who were loyal to Saul and those loyal to David. As time passed David became stronger and stronger, while Saul’s dynasty became weaker and weaker.

David’s Sons Born in Hebron

These are the sons who were born to David in Hebron:
The oldest was Amnon, whose mother was Ahinoam from Jezreel.
The second was Daniel,[a] whose mother was Abigail, the widow of Nabal from Carmel.
The third was Absalom, whose mother was Maacah, the daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur.
The fourth was Adonijah, whose mother was Haggith.
The fifth was Shephatiah, whose mother was Abital.
The sixth was Ithream, whose mother was Eglah, David’s wife.
These sons were all born to David in Hebron.

Abner Joins Forces with David

As the war between the house of Saul and the house of David went on, Abner became a powerful leader among those loyal to Saul. One day Ishbosheth,[b]Saul’s son, accused Abner of sleeping with one of his father’s concubines, a woman named Rizpah, daughter of Aiah.
Abner was furious. “Am I some Judean dog to be kicked around like this?” he shouted. “After all I have done for your father, Saul, and his family and friends by not handing you over to David, is this my reward—that you find fault with me about this woman? May God strike me and even kill me if I don’t do everything I can to help David get what the Lord has promised him! 10 I’m going to take Saul’s kingdom and give it to David. I will establish the throne of David over Israel as well as Judah, all the way from Dan in the north to Beersheba in the south.”11 Ishbosheth didn’t dare say another word because he was afraid of what Abner might do.
12 Then Abner sent messengers to David, saying, “Doesn’t the entire land belong to you? Make a solemn pact with me, and I will help turn over all of Israel to you.”
13 “All right,” David replied, “but I will not negotiate with you unless you bring back my wife Michal, Saul’s daughter, when you come.”
14 David then sent this message to Ishbosheth, Saul’s son: “Give me back my wife Michal, for I bought her with the lives[c] of 100 Philistines.”
15 So Ishbosheth took Michal away from her husband, Palti[d] son of Laish. 16 Palti followed along behind her as far as Bahurim, weeping as he went. Then Abner told him, “Go back home!” So Palti returned.
17 Meanwhile, Abner had consulted with the elders of Israel. “For some time now,” he told them, “you have wanted to make David your king. 18 Now is the time! For the Lord has said, ‘I have chosen David to save my people Israel from the hands of the Philistines and from all their other enemies.’” 19 Abner also spoke with the men of Benjamin. Then he went to Hebron to tell David that all the people of Israel and Benjamin had agreed to support him.
20 When Abner and twenty of his men came to Hebron, David entertained them with a great feast. 21 Then Abner said to David, “Let me go and call an assembly of all Israel to support my lord the king. They will make a covenant with you to make you their king, and you will rule over everything your heart desires.” So David sent Abner safely on his way.

Joab Murders Abner

22 But just after David had sent Abner away in safety, Joab and some of David’s troops returned from a raid, bringing much plunder with them. 23 When Joab arrived, he was told that Abner had just been there visiting the king and had been sent away in safety.
24 Joab rushed to the king and demanded, “What have you done? What do you mean by letting Abner get away? 25 You know perfectly well that he came to spy on you and find out everything you’re doing!”
26 Joab then left David and sent messengers to catch up with Abner, asking him to return. They found him at the well of Sirah and brought him back, though David knew nothing about it. 27 When Abner arrived back at Hebron, Joab took him aside at the gateway as if to speak with him privately. But then he stabbed Abner in the stomach and killed him in revenge for killing his brother Asahel.
28 When David heard about it, he declared, “I vow by the Lord that I and my kingdom are forever innocent of this crime against Abner son of Ner. 29 Joab and his family are the guilty ones. May the family of Joab be cursed in every generation with a man who has open sores or leprosy[e] or who walks on crutches[f] or dies by the sword or begs for food!”
30 So Joab and his brother Abishai killed Abner because Abner had killed their brother Asahel at the battle of Gibeon.

David Mourns Abner’s Death

31 Then David said to Joab and all those who were with him, “Tear your clothes and put on burlap. Mourn for Abner.” And King David himself walked behind the procession to the grave. 32 They buried Abner in Hebron, and the king and all the people wept at his graveside. 33 Then the king sang this funeral song for Abner:
“Should Abner have died as fools die?
34 Your hands were not bound;
    your feet were not chained.
No, you were murdered—
    the victim of a wicked plot.”
All the people wept again for Abner. 35 David had refused to eat anything on the day of the funeral, and now everyone begged him to eat. But David had made a vow, saying, “May God strike me and even kill me if I eat anything before sundown.”
36 This pleased the people very much. In fact, everything the king did pleased them! 37 So everyone in Judah and all Israel understood that David was not responsible for Abner’s murder.
38 Then King David said to his officials, “Don’t you realize that a great commander has fallen today in Israel? 39 And even though I am the anointed king, these two sons of Zeruiah—Joab and Abishai—are too strong for me to control. So may the Lord repay these evil men for their evil deeds.”
Love,
Jonathan

Testing 1…2…3…

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Whatever you struggle with, don’t be surprised if it’s your test to get to the next level” ~Taryn Barnes

I haven’t been on this Earth very long, but I can say without a doubt that God has a very funny sense of humor. Yesterday, I talked about forgiveness and that it was something I was working on. Sure enough, only hours later, I was placed in a situation where my forgiveness levels were put to the test.

God put me smack dab in the room with the person I was struggling to forgive! At first, I was very upset at the situation. I didn’t want to be there and I didn’t want to deal with it. That said, in a very glaring way, I realized that I was being tested on how I’d react in the situation. I’m glad to say that I didn’t and I kept my cool. However, the night did leave a bad taste in my mouth, leaving me to struggle with it this very morning.

I had to admit that I was being legalistic about forgiveness. You see, just because you may be “right” in the eyes of man doesn’t mean that you’re “right” in the eyes of God. I could sit and be angry, or I can have peace and let God deal with the matters at hand. So I say, whatever turmoil, anguish, or problems you’re dealing with– whether situationally or relationally– let them go. It’s not about the other person or the problem. The truth is, the longer we dwell on the situation, the longer we rob ourselves of our joy, ultimately deterring our blessing for passing the test.

Lastly, when it comes to forgiving someone, it’s never about them. You choose to forgive because it’s the right thing to do. That other person/party involved does not have to be on board or even acknowledge their transgressions, you just forgive and move on anyway. It’s not always a walk in the park, but the peace and the close relationship you build with God is all the more worth it.

Question of the day

Are you deterring blessings by holding on to unforgiveness?

Enjoy today’s reading

Duties of Priests and Levites

1 The LORD said to Aaron, “You, your sons and your family are to bear the responsibility for offenses connected with the sanctuary, and you and your sons alone are to bear the responsibility for offenses connected with the priesthood. 2 Bring your fellow Levites from your ancestral tribe to join you and assist you when you and your sons minister before the tent of the covenant law. 3 They are to be responsible to you and are to perform all the duties of the tent, but they must not go near the furnishings of the sanctuary or the altar. Otherwise both they and you will die. 4 They are to join you and be responsible for the care of the tent of meeting—all the work at the tent—and no one else may come near where you are. 5 “You are to be responsible for the care of the sanctuary and the altar, so that my wrath will not fall on the Israelites again. 6 I myself have selected your fellow Levites from among the Israelites as a gift to you, dedicated to the LORD to do the work at the tent of meeting. 7 But only you and your sons may serve as priests in connection with everything at the altar and inside the curtain. I am giving you the service of the priesthood as a gift. Anyone else who comes near the sanctuary is to be put to death.”

Offerings for Priests and Levites

8 Then the LORD said to Aaron, “I myself have put you in charge of the offerings presented to me; all the holy offerings the Israelites give me I give to you and your sons as your portion, your perpetual share. 9 You are to have the part of the most holy offerings that is kept from the fire. From all the gifts they bring me as most holy offerings, whether grain or sin or guilt offerings, that part belongs to you and your sons. 10 Eat it as something most holy; every male shall eat it. You must regard it as holy. 11 “This also is yours: whatever is set aside from the gifts of all the wave offerings of the Israelites. I give this to you and your sons and daughters as your perpetual share. Everyone in your household who is ceremonially clean may eat it. 12 “I give you all the finest olive oil and all the finest new wine and grain they give the LORD as the firstfruits of their harvest. 13 All the land’s firstfruits that they bring to the LORD will be yours. Everyone in your household who is ceremonially clean may eat it. 14 “Everything in Israel that is devoted to the LORD is yours. 15 The first offspring of every womb, both human and animal, that is offered to the LORD is yours. But you must redeem every firstborn son and every firstborn male of unclean animals. 16 When they are a month old, you must redeem them at the redemption price set at five shekels of silver, according to the sanctuary shekel, which weighs twenty gerahs. 17 “But you must not redeem the firstborn of a cow, a sheep or a goat; they are holy. Splash their blood against the altar and burn their fat as a food offering, an aroma pleasing to the LORD. 18 Their meat is to be yours, just as the breast of the wave offering and the right thigh are yours. 19 Whatever is set aside from the holy offerings the Israelites present to the LORD I give to you and your sons and daughters as your perpetual share. It is an everlasting covenant of salt before the LORD for both you and your offspring.” 20 The LORD said to Aaron, “You will have no inheritance in their land, nor will you have any share among them; I am your share and your inheritance among the Israelites.21 “I give to the Levites all the tithes in Israel as their inheritance in return for the work they do while serving at the tent of meeting.22 From now on the Israelites must not go near the tent of meeting, or they will bear the consequences of their sin and will die. 23 It is the Levites who are to do the work at the tent of meeting and bear the responsibility for any offenses they commit against it. This is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. They will receive no inheritance among the Israelites. 24 Instead, I give to the Levites as their inheritance the tithes that the Israelites present as an offering to the LORD. That is why I said concerning them: ‘They will have no inheritance among the Israelites.’ ” 25The LORD said to Moses, 26 “Speak to the Levites and say to them: ‘When you receive from the Israelites the tithe I give you as your inheritance, you must present a tenth of that tithe as the LORD’s offering. 27 Your offering will be reckoned to you as grain from the threshing floor or juice from the winepress. 28 In this way you also will present an offering to the LORD from all the tithes you receive from the Israelites. From these tithes you must give the LORD’s portion to Aaron the priest. 29 You must present as the LORD’s portion the best and holiest part of everything given to you.’ 30 “Say to the Levites: ‘When you present the best part, it will be reckoned to you as the product of the threshing floor or the winepress. 31 You and your households may eat the rest of it anywhere, for it is your wages for your work at the tent of meeting.32 By presenting the best part of it you will not be guilty in this matter; then you will not defile the holy offerings of the Israelites, and you will not die.’ ”