“Examine how you spend your work hours because some work isn’t work at all.”~TB
You can stay busy and still be off task, not completing your assignment. This world is ripe for distraction, disruption, and the like, so an undisciplined worker doesn’t need much help in wasting their time. The guise of being busy is a great smokescreen to make you appear to be more productive that you actually are, but the results of your harvest will always tell the truth.
You can’t engage in wasted work and expect a positive outcome come harvest time. Sure, in your mind you worked hard, but all of the “work” did not produce any fruit! If you’re harvest is sparse, ask God on how to change your work ethic so that the next harvest will reap better results. Wasted work is a trap in the mind that keeps you from completing your assignments. Don’t fall for the trap. Work honestly and humbling to avoid wasted work.
Are you working hard or hardly working?
Enjoy the reading.
1A good reputation is more valuable than costly perfume. And the day you die is better than the day you are born.
2Better to spend your time at funerals than at parties. After all, everyone dies— so the living should take this to heart.
3Sorrow is better than laughter, for sadness has a refining influence on us.
4A wise person thinks a lot about death, while a fool thinks only about having a good time.
5Better to be criticized by a wise person than to be praised by a fool.
6A fool’s laughter is quickly gone, like thorns crackling in a fire. This also is meaningless.
7Extortion turns wise people into fools, and bribes corrupt the heart.
8Finishing is better than starting. Patience is better than pride.
9Control your temper, for anger labels you a fool.
10Don’t long for “the good old days.” This is not wise.
11Wisdom is even better when you have money. Both are a benefit as you go through life.
12Wisdom and money can get you almost anything, but only wisdom can save your life.
13Accept the way God does things, for who can straighten what he has made crooked?
14Enjoy prosperity while you can, but when hard times strike, realize that both come from God. Remember that nothing is certain in this life.
15I have seen everything in this meaningless life, including the death of good young people and the long life of wicked people.
16So don’t be too good or too wise! Why destroy yourself?
17On the other hand, don’t be too wicked either. Don’t be a fool! Why die before your time?
18Pay attention to these instructions, for anyone who fears God will avoid both extremes.
19One wise person is stronger than ten leading citizens of a town!
20Not a single person on earth is always good and never sins.
21Don’t eavesdrop on others—you may hear your servant curse you.
22For you know how often you yourself have cursed others.
23I have always tried my best to let wisdom guide my thoughts and actions. I said to myself, “I am determined to be wise.” But it didn’t work.
24Wisdom is always distant and difficult to find.
25I searched everywhere, determined to find wisdom and to understand the reason for things. I was determined to prove to myself that wickedness is stupid and that foolishness is madness.
26I discovered that a seductive woman is a trap more bitter than death. Her passion is a snare, and her soft hands are chains. Those who are pleasing to God will escape her, but sinners will be caught in her snare.
27“This is my conclusion,” says the Teacher. “I discovered this after looking at the matter from every possible angle.
28Though I have searched repeatedly, I have not found what I was looking for. Only one out of a thousand men is virtuous, but not one woman!
29But I did find this: God created people to be virtuous, but they have each turned to follow their own downward path.”
“People who stink may use their dirty laundry as a deterrent, to keep you from noticing their dirty room, car, house, habits, evil ways, bad people skills, and inadequate hygiene.” ~ Jon Barnes
There is always room for growth with cleaning up your own dirty laundry, mouth, mind, body, and soul. Each day we should repent of our funky behavior, ways, ideas, mind, heart, body, and soul like actions that are not consistent with God’s message. There is always room for improvement. I remain humbled and vigilant by this statement and I encourage you all to do the same. You only have enough time and energy to clean up your own room.
We can inspire others to keep their rooms, minds, bodies, souls, and the likes clean, but they must use their energy to do their own work for themselves. Daily upkeep requires more than just a little help from family and friends. You must want to improve your life for yourself and begin inspiring your children, family, and friends as well. Unorganized, lazy behavior is no excuse for dirtiness in your life. Inspire yourself and clean as you go.Change your stinking ways into fruitful actions of the Spirit.
Your next step should not be over your slop, clothes, trash, junk, pet poop, urine, paper, garbage, or other things that are out of place. Imagine your palace in Heaven and how you would take care of it. Do you think that God will allow you to be a slob in Heaven? Then, fix your personal problems of disobedience now.Why wait? Become the best you can be today. This is your next step and goal. Practice clean gospel thinking, living, loving, sharing, and caring with honesty, conviction, humility, mercy, kindness, long-suffering, balance, and real effort.
Is it hard to practice what you preach with the fruit of the Spirit in God?
Enjoy The Reading
1 Kings 22
Micaiah Prophesies Against Ahab
22 For three years there was no war between Aram and Israel.2 But in the third year Jehoshaphat king of Judah went down to see the king of Israel.3 The king of Israel had said to his officials, “Don’t you know that Ramoth Gilead belongs to us and yet we are doing nothing to retake it from the king of Aram?”
4 So he asked Jehoshaphat, “Will you go with me to fight against Ramoth Gilead?”
Jehoshaphat replied to the king of Israel, “I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses.”5 But Jehoshaphat also said to the king of Israel, “First seek the counsel of the Lord.”
6 So the king of Israel brought together the prophets—about four hundred men—and asked them, “Shall I go to war against Ramoth Gilead, or shall I refrain?”
“Go,” they answered, “for the Lord will give it into the king’s hand.”
7 But Jehoshaphat asked, “Is there no longer a prophet of the Lord here whom we can inquire of?”
8 The king of Israel answered Jehoshaphat, “There is still one prophet through whom we can inquire of the Lord, but I hate him because he never prophesies anything good about me, but always bad. He is Micaiah son of Imlah.”
“The king should not say such a thing,” Jehoshaphat replied.
9 So the king of Israel called one of his officials and said, “Bring Micaiah son of Imlah at once.”
10 Dressed in their royal robes, the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah were sitting on their thrones at the threshing floor by the entrance of the gate of Samaria, with all the prophets prophesying before them.11 Now Zedekiah son of Kenaanah had made iron horns and he declared, “This is what the Lord says: ‘With these you will gore the Arameans until they are destroyed.’”
12 All the other prophets were prophesying the same thing. “Attack Ramoth Gilead and be victorious,” they said, “for the Lord will give it into the king’s hand.”
13 The messenger who had gone to summon Micaiah said to him, “Look, the other prophets without exception are predicting success for the king. Let your word agree with theirs, and speak favorably.”
14 But Micaiah said, “As surely as the Lord lives, I can tell him only what the Lord tells me.”
15 When he arrived, the king asked him, “Micaiah, shall we go to war against Ramoth Gilead, or not?”
“Attack and be victorious,” he answered, “for the Lord will give it into the king’s hand.”
16 The king said to him, “How many times must I make you swear to tell me nothing but the truth in the name of the Lord?”
17 Then Micaiah answered, “I saw all Israel scattered on the hills like sheep without a shepherd, and the Lord said, ‘These people have no master. Let each one go home in peace.’”
18 The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Didn’t I tell you that he never prophesies anything good about me, but only bad?”
19 Micaiah continued, “Therefore hear the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on his throne with all the multitudes of heaven standing around him on his right and on his left.20 And the Lord said, ‘Who will entice Ahab into attacking Ramoth Gilead and going to his death there?’
“One suggested this, and another that.21 Finally, a spirit came forward, stood before the Lord and said, ‘I will entice him.’
22 “‘By what means?’ the Lord asked.
“‘I will go out and be a deceiving spirit in the mouths of all his prophets,’ he said.
“‘You will succeed in enticing him,’ said the Lord. ‘Go and do it.’
23 “So now the Lord has put a deceiving spirit in the mouths of all these prophets of yours. The Lord has decreed disaster for you.”
24 Then Zedekiah son of Kenaanah went up and slapped Micaiah in the face. “Which way did the spirit from[a] the Lord go when he went from me to speak to you?” he asked.
25 Micaiah replied, “You will find out on the day you go to hide in an inner room.”
26 The king of Israel then ordered, “Take Micaiah and send him back to Amon the ruler of the city and to Joash the king’s son27 and say, ‘This is what the king says: Put this fellow in prison and give him nothing but bread and water until I return safely.’”
28 Micaiah declared, “If you ever return safely, the Lord has not spoken through me.” Then he added, “Mark my words, all you people!”
Ahab Killed at Ramoth Gilead
29 So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah went up to Ramoth Gilead.30 The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “I will enter the battle in disguise, but you wear your royal robes.” So the king of Israel disguised himself and went into battle.
31 Now the king of Aram had ordered his thirty-two chariot commanders, “Do not fight with anyone, small or great, except the king of Israel.”32 When the chariot commanders saw Jehoshaphat, they thought, “Surely this is the king of Israel.” So they turned to attack him, but when Jehoshaphat cried out,33 the chariot commanders saw that he was not the king of Israel and stopped pursuing him.
34 But someone drew his bow at random and hit the king of Israel between the sections of his armor. The king told his chariot driver, “Wheel around and get me out of the fighting. I’ve been wounded.”35 All day long the battle raged, and the king was propped up in his chariot facing the Arameans. The blood from his wound ran onto the floor of the chariot, and that evening he died.36 As the sun was setting, a cry spread through the army: “Every man to his town. Every man to his land!”
37 So the king died and was brought to Samaria, and they buried him there.38 They washed the chariot at a pool in Samaria (where the prostitutes bathed),[b] and the dogs licked up his blood, as the word of the Lord had declared.
39 As for the other events of Ahab’s reign, including all he did, the palace he built and adorned with ivory, and the cities he fortified, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel?40 Ahab rested with his ancestors. And Ahaziah his son succeeded him as king.
Jehoshaphat King of Judah
41 Jehoshaphat son of Asa became king of Judah in the fourth year of Ahab king of Israel.42 Jehoshaphat was thirty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-five years. His mother’s name was Azubah daughter of Shilhi.43 In everything he followed the ways of his father Asa and did not stray from them; he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord. The high places, however, were not removed, and the people continued to offer sacrifices and burn incense there.[c]44 Jehoshaphat was also at peace with the king of Israel.
45 As for the other events of Jehoshaphat’s reign, the things he achieved and his military exploits, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Judah?46 He rid the land of the rest of the male shrine prostitutes who remained there even after the reign of his father Asa.47 There was then no king in Edom; a provincial governor ruled.
48 Now Jehoshaphat built a fleet of trading ships[d] to go to Ophir for gold, but they never set sail—they were wrecked at Ezion Geber.49 At that time Ahaziah son of Ahab said to Jehoshaphat, “Let my men sail with yours,” but Jehoshaphat refused.
50 Then Jehoshaphat rested with his ancestors and was buried with them in the city of David his father. And Jehoram his son succeeded him as king.
Ahaziah King of Israel
51 Ahaziah son of Ahab became king of Israel in Samaria in the seventeenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and he reigned over Israel two years.52 He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, because he followed the ways of his father and mother and of Jeroboam son of Nebat, who caused Israel to sin.53 He served and worshiped Baal and aroused the anger of the Lord, the God of Israel, just as his father had done.
“Great things happen when you look for the fruit God wants you to eat and share with others each day.” ~ Jon Barnes
Pause to relax, rest, feel, listen, touch, taste and look at what God is doing in the lives of people all around you and enjoy the part that you share with excellence, humility, and power. The simplicity of love with no strings attached can be felt by others with minimal effort. Wickedness runs in the other direction when God’s presence is near because God will shut down the practices of evil people for His purpose and cheer. Pause and make sure you are operating in God’s Purpose and not just your own power. Stop, relax, and think to see what you are doing this very hour.
Taking notes and following up on your good work is a character reflection upon your quality work ethic, delivery, and mastery of your craft. The skills you develop from working for God are amazing and should not be taken for granted. All the good you do today will come back to you. Even the wicked evil things that you should not do. Take the time to stop and reflect on the things you should do. Always remember based on your motives, the things you think, say, and do, your dreams may come true.
The sum of all your parts makes your whole, so don’t forget to pray, meditate, and ask God for help in completing your goals. As I balance my time, I don’t seem to mind helping a few along the way. Try to put your hands on all the good things to do, and your day will flow quickly to the end. God can see all of your good deeds, so follow His Ways until the end.
Are your eating a balanced meal with fruit and vegetables to keep your energy and outlook up?
Enjoy The Reading
1 Kings 14
Ahijah’s Prophecy against Jeroboam
14 At that time Jeroboam’s son Abijah became very sick.2 So Jeroboam told his wife, “Disguise yourself so that no one will recognize you as my wife. Then go to the prophet Ahijah at Shiloh—the man who told me I would become king.3 Take him a gift of ten loaves of bread, some cakes, and a jar of honey, and ask him what will happen to the boy.”
4 So Jeroboam’s wife went to Ahijah’s home at Shiloh. He was an old man now and could no longer see.5 But the Lord had told Ahijah, “Jeroboam’s wife will come here, pretending to be someone else. She will ask you about her son, for he is very sick. Give her the answer I give you.”
6 So when Ahijah heard her footsteps at the door, he called out, “Come in, wife of Jeroboam! Why are you pretending to be someone else?” Then he told her, “I have bad news for you.7 Give your husband, Jeroboam, this message from the Lord, the God of Israel: ‘I promoted you from the ranks of the common people and made you ruler over my people Israel.8 I ripped the kingdom away from the family of David and gave it to you. But you have not been like my servant David, who obeyed my commands and followed me with all his heart and always did whatever I wanted.9 You have done more evil than all who lived before you. You have made other gods for yourself and have made me furious with your gold calves. And since you have turned your back on me,10 I will bring disaster on your dynasty and will destroy every one of your male descendants, slave and free alike, anywhere in Israel. I will burn up your royal dynasty as one burns up trash until it is all gone.11 The members of Jeroboam’s family who die in the city will be eaten by dogs, and those who die in the field will be eaten by vultures. I, the Lord, have spoken.’”
12 Then Ahijah said to Jeroboam’s wife, “Go on home, and when you enter the city, the child will die.13 All Israel will mourn for him and bury him. He is the only member of your family who will have a proper burial, for this child is the only good thing that the Lord, the God of Israel, sees in the entire family of Jeroboam.
14 “In addition, the Lord will raise up a king over Israel who will destroy the family of Jeroboam. This will happen today, even now!15 Then the Lord will shake Israel like a reed whipped about in a stream. He will uproot the people of Israel from this good land that he gave their ancestors and will scatter them beyond the Euphrates River,[a] for they have angered the Lord with the Asherah poles they have set up for worship.16 He will abandon Israel because Jeroboam sinned and made Israel sin along with him.”
17 So Jeroboam’s wife returned to Tirzah, and the child died just as she walked through the door of her home.18 And all Israel buried him and mourned for him, as the Lord had promised through the prophet Ahijah.
19 The rest of the events in Jeroboam’s reign, including all his wars and how he ruled, are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Israel.20 Jeroboam reigned in Israel twenty-two years. When Jeroboam died, his son Nadab became the next king.
Rehoboam Rules in Judah
21 Meanwhile, Rehoboam son of Solomon was king in Judah. He was forty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city the Lord had chosen from among all the tribes of Israel as the place to honor his name. Rehoboam’s mother was Naamah, an Ammonite woman.
22 During Rehoboam’s reign, the people of Judah did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, provoking his anger with their sin, for it was even worse than that of their ancestors.23 For they also built for themselves pagan shrines and set up sacred pillars and Asherah poles on every high hill and under every green tree.24 There were even male and female shrine prostitutes throughout the land. The people imitated the detestable practices of the pagan nations the Lord had driven from the land ahead of the Israelites.
25 In the fifth year of King Rehoboam’s reign, King Shishak of Egypt came up and attacked Jerusalem.26 He ransacked the treasuries of the Lord’s Temple and the royal palace; he stole everything, including all the gold shields Solomon had made.27 King Rehoboam later replaced them with bronze shields as substitutes, and he entrusted them to the care of the commanders of the guard who protected the entrance to the royal palace.28 Whenever the king went to the Temple of the Lord, the guards would also take the shields and then return them to the guardroom.
29 The rest of the events in Rehoboam’s reign and everything he did are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Judah.30 There was constant war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam.31 When Rehoboam died, he was buried among his ancestors in the City of David. His mother was Naamah, an Ammonite woman. Then his son Abijam[b] became the next king.
“Recognize and enjoy the personal ministry God has given to you to help all the people around you when you travel during the day.” ~ Jon Barnes
Find positive words and works to share with people, by faith in doing the scriptures and not merely quoting them. Plain talk goes a long way with regular people.Meet them in the context of their life’s experiences so that you can connect to their world with God’s knowledge and love.This balance of wisdom and information requires that you practice what you preach. Many people are lying to themselves and God because they refuse to hold up the high standards of Biblical content, by changing laws, stories, and commandments to fit their own agendas.
I only follow God’s commandments and not my own agenda. It is just not profitable for me to focus on my own ideas, money, timing, and logic. As a result, I have become more sensitive to move in the direction that God places in front of me and I’ll find and see the opportunity that has my name on it. I then use all of the commandments to integrate into the conversations or situations that may arise and my biblical content is sprinkled all over my thought processes.
My sprinkler system of love enjoys watering the grass to preserve the green fresh look on life and God’s plans. I’m just a helper, messenger, and student of The Lord. My goal is to take the classes, enjoy the lectures, do the homework, pass the test, quizzes, and final exam.God is the best teacher and He provides a world of opportunities for you to succeed in Him if you are interested.
Are you interested in being taught by God with joy and the fruit of the Spirit or are you trying to seal your fate in hell?
Enjoy The Reading
1 Kings 9
The Lord’s Response to Solomon
9 So Solomon finished building the Temple of the Lord, as well as the royal palace. He completed everything he had planned to do.2 Then the Lord appeared to Solomon a second time, as he had done before at Gibeon.3 The Lord said to him,
“I have heard your prayer and your petition. I have set this Temple apart to be holy—this place you have built where my name will be honored forever. I will always watch over it, for it is dear to my heart.
4 “As for you, if you will follow me with integrity and godliness, as David your father did, obeying all my commands, decrees, and regulations,5 then I will establish the throne of your dynasty over Israel forever. For I made this promise to your father, David: ‘One of your descendants will always sit on the throne of Israel.’
6 “But if you or your descendants abandon me and disobey the commands and decrees I have given you, and if you serve and worship other gods,7 then I will uproot Israel from this land that I have given them. I will reject this Temple that I have made holy to honor my name. I will make Israel an object of mockery and ridicule among the nations.8 And though this Temple is impressive now, all who pass by will be appalled and will gasp in horror. They will ask, ‘Why did the Lord do such terrible things to this land and to this Temple?’
9 “And the answer will be, ‘Because his people abandoned the Lord their God, who brought their ancestors out of Egypt, and they worshiped other gods instead and bowed down to them. That is why the Lord has brought all these disasters on them.’”
Solomon’s Agreement with Hiram
10 It took Solomon twenty years to build the Lord’s Temple and his own royal palace. At the end of that time,11 he gave twenty towns in the land of Galilee to King Hiram of Tyre. (Hiram had previously provided all the cedar and cypress timber and gold that Solomon had requested.)12 But when Hiram came from Tyre to see the towns Solomon had given him, he was not at all pleased with them.13 “What kind of towns are these, my brother?” he asked. So Hiram called that area Cabul (which means “worthless”), as it is still known today.14 Nevertheless, Hiram paid[a] Solomon 9,000 pounds[b] of gold.
Solomon’s Many Achievements
15 This is the account of the forced labor that King Solomon conscripted to build the Lord’s Temple, the royal palace, the supporting terraces,[c] the wall of Jerusalem, and the cities of Hazor, Megiddo, and Gezer.16 (Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, had attacked and captured Gezer, killing the Canaanite population and burning it down. He gave the city to his daughter as a wedding gift when she married Solomon.17 So Solomon rebuilt the city of Gezer.) He also built up the towns of Lower Beth-horon,18 Baalath, and Tamar[d] in the wilderness within his land.19 He built towns as supply centers and constructed towns where his chariots and horses[e] could be stationed. He built everything he desired in Jerusalem and Lebanon and throughout his entire realm.
20 There were still some people living in the land who were not Israelites, including Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites.21 These were descendants of the nations whom the people of Israel had not completely destroyed.[f] So Solomon conscripted them as slaves, and they serve as forced laborers to this day.22 But Solomon did not conscript any of the Israelites for forced labor. Instead, he assigned them to serve as fighting men, government officials, officers and captains in his army, commanders of his chariots, and charioteers.23 Solomon appointed 550 of them to supervise the people working on his various projects.
24 Solomon moved his wife, Pharaoh’s daughter, from the City of David to the new palace he had built for her. Then he constructed the supporting terraces.
25 Three times each year Solomon presented burnt offerings and peace offerings on the altar he had built for the Lord. He also burned incense to the Lord. And so he finished the work of building the Temple.
26 King Solomon also built a fleet of ships at Ezion-geber, a port near Elath[g] in the land of Edom, along the shore of the Red Sea.[h]27 Hiram sent experienced crews of sailors to sail the ships with Solomon’s men.28 They sailed to Ophir and brought back to Solomon some sixteen tons[i] of gold.
“The actions of your faith like the work and lifestyle you live and the fruit of your choices and labor are self-evident, pleasing to God and helpful to others.” ~ Jon Barnes
You will always have a job when your quality, integrity, and honorable workflows from you. People will notice complement your thoughtfulness, helpfulness, honesty, and competence; whether you believe it or not. It takes work to make sure your talent, character, and lifestyle match what you preach.Eyes are always upon you and your reputation will follow you as well.
Real people get the work done because they are honest, caring, and full of love. They don’t need a lot of instructions since they see the need. Their willingness to help is not a quality to be taken advantage of. However, God sees and rewards their quality of labor and character.Your character is not based on the things you have and how much money you make. By default, your motives from the heart automatically manifest your character and work ethic.
Continue to do the good works each day and enjoy the wonderful blessings that God will shine on you.Notice and be thankful for the near misses in car accidents, harmful plots, corruption, greed, and lust of the eyes that can befall us. Stay true to the cause of justice, love, honesty, and faithfulness.God will reward your loving work. Enjoy the Good Work, mercy, and grace in your life.
Does your good work follow you, as you walk, work, and live by faith?
Enjoy The Reading
2 Samuel 20
The Revolt of Sheba
20 There happened to be a troublemaker there named Sheba son of Bicri, a man from the tribe of Benjamin. Sheba blew a ram’s horn and began to chant:
“Down with the dynasty of David! We have no interest in the son of Jesse. Come on, you men of Israel, back to your homes!”
2 So all the men of Israel deserted David and followed Sheba son of Bicri. But the men of Judah stayed with their king and escorted him from the Jordan River to Jerusalem.
3 When David came to his palace in Jerusalem, he took the ten concubines he had left to look after the palace and placed them in seclusion. Their needs were provided for, but he no longer slept with them. So each of them lived like a widow until she died.
4 Then the king told Amasa, “Mobilize the army of Judah within three days, and report back at that time.”5 So Amasa went out to notify Judah, but it took him longer than the time he had been given.
6 Then David said to Abishai, “Sheba son of Bicri is going to hurt us more than Absalom did. Quick, take my troops and chase after him before he gets into a fortified town where we can’t reach him.”
7 So Abishai and Joab,[a] together with the king’s bodyguard[b] and all the mighty warriors, set out from Jerusalem to go after Sheba.8 As they arrived at the great stone in Gibeon, Amasa met them. Joab was wearing his military tunic with a dagger strapped to his belt. As he stepped forward to greet Amasa, he slipped the dagger from its sheath.[c]
9 “How are you, my cousin?” Joab said and took him by the beard with his right hand as though to kiss him.10 Amasa didn’t notice the dagger in his left hand, and Joab stabbed him in the stomach with it so that his insides gushed out onto the ground. Joab did not need to strike again, and Amasa soon died. Joab and his brother Abishai left him lying there and continued after Sheba.
11 One of Joab’s young men shouted to Amasa’s troops, “If you are for Joab and David, come and follow Joab.”12 But Amasa lay in his blood in the middle of the road, and Joab’s man saw that everyone was stopping to stare at him. So he pulled him off the road into a field and threw a cloak over him.13 With Amasa’s body out of the way, everyone went on with Joab to capture Sheba son of Bicri.
14 Meanwhile, Sheba traveled through all the tribes of Israel and eventually came to the town of Abel-beth-maacah. All the members of his own clan, the Bicrites,[d]assembled for battle and followed him into the town.15 When Joab’s forces arrived, they attacked Abel-beth-maacah. They built a siege ramp against the town’s fortifications and began battering down the wall.16 But a wise woman in the town called out to Joab, “Listen to me, Joab. Come over here so I can talk to you.”17 As he approached, the woman asked, “Are you Joab?”
“I am,” he replied.
So she said, “Listen carefully to your servant.”
“I’m listening,” he said.
18 Then she continued, “There used to be a saying, ‘If you want to settle an argument, ask advice at the town of Abel.’19 I am one who is peace loving and faithful in Israel. But you are destroying an important town in Israel.[e] Why do you want to devour what belongs to the Lord?”
20 And Joab replied, “Believe me, I don’t want to devour or destroy your town!21 That’s not my purpose. All I want is a man named Sheba son of Bicri from the hill country of Ephraim, who has revolted against King David. If you hand over this one man to me, I will leave the town in peace.”
“All right,” the woman replied, “we will throw his head over the wall to you.”22 Then the woman went to all the people with her wise advice, and they cut off Sheba’s head and threw it out to Joab. So he blew the ram’s horn and called his troops back from the attack. They all returned to their homes, and Joab returned to the king at Jerusalem.
23 Now Joab was the commander of the army of Israel. Benaiah son of Jehoiada was captain of the king’s bodyguard.24 Adoniram[f] was in charge of forced labor. Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud was the royal historian.25 Sheva was the court secretary. Zadok and Abiathar were the priests.26 And Ira, a descendant of Jair, was David’s personal priest.
“Your lack of love, faith, and transparency to God and people are the number one reasons why people sin and do wicked things that are full of pride and foolishness.” ~ Jon Barnes
People think that they know it all and God knows nothing. Our arrogance is beyond measure, behaving as if we designed the universe and everything in it. We tend to think that God can’t see our evil hearts, minds, and lifestyles.Just because it seems God has done little to stop us in our tracks of injustice, we think we have gotten away with the constant deception. But when you look at your children and state of affairs, you can see the blessings of God or the curses of God in your life, based on your actions.
Those who obey and follow God will break the chains of ignorance, pride, lust, greed, and all other wicked behavior that consumes evil people. Your sin can be subtle and you may not be aware of your arrogance of success. However, your collection of things are, like trash from a hoarder and when you die, it is given and sold to the poor, deeply discounted, and ultimately, it will burn.
When you die, your stuff has no value and the living will do as they please with your lifelong possessions. Only God will value and repay you for your lifelong efforts either in heaven or hell.Choose your parking lot space for death, underground or above ground. Share, teach, and obey God’s lifestyle so that you can see the fruits of your labor as true children of God, heaven bound.
Were Adam and Eve transparent to God?
Enjoy The Reading
2 Samuel 9
David’s Kindness to Mephibosheth
9 One day David asked, “Is anyone in Saul’s family still alive—anyone to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?”2 He summoned a man named Ziba, who had been one of Saul’s servants. “Are you Ziba?” the king asked.
“Yes sir, I am,” Ziba replied.
3 The king then asked him, “Is anyone still alive from Saul’s family? If so, I want to show God’s kindness to them.”
Ziba replied, “Yes, one of Jonathan’s sons is still alive. He is crippled in both feet.”
4 “Where is he?” the king asked.
“In Lo-debar,” Ziba told him, “at the home of Makir son of Ammiel.”
5 So David sent for him and brought him from Makir’s home.6 His name was Mephibosheth[a]; he was Jonathan’s son and Saul’s grandson. When he came to David, he bowed low to the ground in deep respect. David said, “Greetings, Mephibosheth.”
Mephibosheth replied, “I am your servant.”
7 “Don’t be afraid!” David said. “I intend to show kindness to you because of my promise to your father, Jonathan. I will give you all the property that once belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will eat here with me at the king’s table!”
8 Mephibosheth bowed respectfully and exclaimed, “Who is your servant, that you should show such kindness to a dead dog like me?”
9 Then the king summoned Saul’s servant Ziba and said, “I have given your master’s grandson everything that belonged to Saul and his family.10 You and your sons and servants are to farm the land for him to produce food for your master’s household.[b] But Mephibosheth, your master’s grandson, will eat here at my table.” (Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants.)
11 Ziba replied, “Yes, my lord the king; I am your servant, and I will do all that you have commanded.” And from that time on, Mephibosheth ate regularly at David’s table,[c] like one of the king’s own sons.
12 Mephibosheth had a young son named Mica. From then on, all the members of Ziba’s household were Mephibosheth’s servants.13 And Mephibosheth, who was crippled in both feet, lived in Jerusalem and ate regularly at the king’s table.
“There is a Spiritual Reason why we must all study and read the stories of old from God in the Bible, so we can all understand the vocabulary and wisdom of our Creator, and connect with His Love for us.” ~ Jon Barnes
Deliberately walking into the Hands of Christ will destroy any plans of the devil for your life, by reason of obedience and God’s Power. God can start and stop anything, but His Reasons must be calibrated with your reasons. If you are unaware of how God’s movements are calibrated to His Spirit then you will misalign your steps and efforts– wasting your time, energy, and resources.
Trusting, believing, and fearing God is the beginning of understanding, with good reason.God never fails. Your faith can never be damaged, destroyed or crippled if you are honest with God, yourself, and others. Lying to God and to yourself is Foolishness and it incapacitates your ability to love. Evil people will take advantage of you when your love for God is obstructed, by your own lies and negative lifestyle.
Spirituality is a loving lifestyle that is not vandalized by sin and your maturity in God will not be impaired.The improvements that you make in life each day while walking with God is a Holy Militaristic Advantage that you have over satan, who is powerless. You give up your power by being uninformed, ignorant, disobedient,and crippled with self-deception and self-destructive behaviors. By reason of insanity, walking alone in the dark without God is mindless, unfruitful, and pointless– which is the behavior of many people.
For what reason did you sell your Spirituality to the devil; was it a house, car, boat, jewelry, job, money, sex, drugs, fame, idols, or something else?
Enjoy The Reading
14 Samson went down to Timnah and saw there a young Philistine woman.2 When he returned, he said to his father and mother, “I have seen a Philistine woman in Timnah; now get her for me as my wife.”
3 His father and mother replied, “Isn’t there an acceptable woman among your relatives or among all our people? Must you go to the uncircumcised Philistines to get a wife?”
But Samson said to his father, “Get her for me. She’s the right one for me.”4 (His parents did not know that this was from the Lord, who was seeking an occasion to confront the Philistines; for at that time they were ruling over Israel.)
5 Samson went down to Timnah together with his father and mother. As they approached the vineyards of Timnah, suddenly a young lion came roaring toward him.6 The Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon him so that he tore the lion apart with his bare hands as he might have torn a young goat. But he told neither his father nor his mother what he had done.7 Then he went down and talked with the woman, and he liked her.
8 Some time later, when he went back to marry her, he turned aside to look at the lion’s carcass, and in it he saw a swarm of bees and some honey.9 He scooped out the honey with his hands and ate as he went along. When he rejoined his parents, he gave them some, and they too ate it. But he did not tell them that he had taken the honey from the lion’s carcass.
10 Now his father went down to see the woman. And there Samson held a feast, as was customary for young men.11 When the people saw him, they chose thirty men to be his companions.
12 “Let me tell you a riddle,” Samson said to them. “If you can give me the answer within the seven days of the feast, I will give you thirty linen garments and thirty sets of clothes.13 If you can’t tell me the answer, you must give me thirty linen garments and thirty sets of clothes.”
“Tell us your riddle,” they said. “Let’s hear it.”
14 He replied,
“Out of the eater, something to eat; out of the strong, something sweet.”
For three days they could not give the answer.
15 On the fourth[a] day, they said to Samson’s wife, “Coax your husband into explaining the riddle for us, or we will burn you and your father’s household to death. Did you invite us here to steal our property?”
16 Then Samson’s wife threw herself on him, sobbing, “You hate me! You don’t really love me. You’ve given my people a riddle, but you haven’t told me the answer.”
“I haven’t even explained it to my father or mother,” he replied, “so why should I explain it to you?”17 She cried the whole seven days of the feast. So on the seventh day he finally told her, because she continued to press him. She in turn explained the riddle to her people.
18 Before sunset on the seventh day the men of the town said to him,
“What is sweeter than honey? What is stronger than a lion?”
Samson said to them,
“If you had not plowed with my heifer, you would not have solved my riddle.”
19 Then the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon him. He went down to Ashkelon, struck down thirty of their men, stripped them of everything and gave their clothes to those who had explained the riddle. Burning with anger, he returned to his father’s home.20 And Samson’s wife was given to one of his companions who had attended him at the feast.
“Self-sabotage comes from always being late, unprepared, with a bad attitude, negative words, bad thoughts, and no self-discipline in using the fruit of the Spirit!” ~ Jon Barnes
With God’s purpose at heart, your mind and body train your will to conform, listen, understand and follow the Holy Spirit and your fruit will look, sound, and taste like the fruit of the spirit. If you are arguing, yelling, or forcing your points, reconsider the fruit you are eating and sharing. It may not be fruit at all. The position of Meekness and Kindness really works when you play the position well.
In the soccer game of life, the devil plays the goalie to prevent you from scoring points for God on “Team Good.“ Evil will encourage you to bump heads and cause fights within “Team Good,“ so that evil can score more points. When you are immature, God has to take the shots, until you grow up to become more responsive to the position you play in the Game of life, with God’s purpose at heart. Otherwise, you are sabotaging your position with disobedience and pride.
Each day, choose one of the positions to play on God’s soccer field, from the Fruit of the Spirit so you can master the objectives and goals God has set for you during the day. Stay in this position until you have mastered it. This may take a day, a year, or even longer. Go to the next position and master that one as well. Practice more than one position to understand the overall strategy of the Game too.
Did you wake up today for practice or pretense, laying around all day waiting for something to happen, despising the good work of the other players on God’s Team?
Enjoy The Reading
The Birth of Samson
13 Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, so the Lord delivered them into the hands of the Philistines for forty years.
2 A certain man of Zorah, named Manoah, from the clan of the Danites, had a wife who was childless, unable to give birth.3 The angel of the Lord appeared to herand said, “You are barren and childless, but you are going to become pregnant and give birth to a son.4 Now see to it that you drink no wine or other fermented drink and that you do not eat anything unclean.5 You will become pregnant and have a son whose head is never to be touched by a razor because the boy is to be a Nazirite, dedicated to God from the womb. He will take the lead in delivering Israel from the hands of the Philistines.”
6 Then the woman went to her husband and told him, “A man of God came to me. He looked like an angel of God, very awesome. I didn’t ask him where he came from, and he didn’t tell me his name.7 But he said to me, ‘You will become pregnant and have a son. Now then, drink no wine or other fermented drink and do not eat anything unclean, because the boy will be a Nazirite of God from the womb until the day of his death.’”
8 Then Manoah prayed to the Lord: “Pardon your servant, Lord. I beg you to let the man of God you sent to us come again to teach us how to bring up the boy who is to be born.”
9 God heard Manoah, and the angel of God came again to the woman while she was out in the field; but her husband Manoah was not with her.10 The woman hurried to tell her husband, “He’s here! The man who appeared to me the other day!”
11 Manoah got up and followed his wife. When he came to the man, he said, “Are you the man who talked to my wife?”
“I am,” he said.
12 So Manoah asked him, “When your words are fulfilled, what is to be the rule that governs the boy’s life and work?”
13 The angel of the Lord answered, “Your wife must do all that I have told her.14 She must not eat anything that comes from the grapevine, nor drink any wine or other fermented drink nor eat anything unclean. She must do everything I have commanded her.”
15 Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, “We would like you to stay until we prepare a young goat for you.”
16 The angel of the Lord replied, “Even though you detain me, I will not eat any of your food. But if you prepare a burnt offering, offer it to the Lord.” (Manoah did not realize that it was the angel of the Lord.)
17 Then Manoah inquired of the angel of the Lord, “What is your name, so that we may honor you when your word comes true?”
18 He replied, “Why do you ask my name? It is beyond understanding.[a]”19 Then Manoah took a young goat, together with the grain offering, and sacrificed it on a rock to the Lord. And the Lord did an amazing thing while Manoah and his wife watched:20 As the flame blazed up from the altar toward heaven, the angel of the Lord ascended in the flame. Seeing this, Manoah and his wife fell with their faces to the ground.21 When the angel of the Lord did not show himself again to Manoah and his wife, Manoah realized that it was the angel of the Lord.
22 “We are doomed to die!” he said to his wife. “We have seen God!”
23 But his wife answered, “If the Lord had meant to kill us, he would not have accepted a burnt offering and grain offering from our hands, nor shown us all these things or now told us this.”
24 The woman gave birth to a boy and named him Samson. He grew and the Lordblessed him,25 and the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him while he was in Mahaneh Dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.
“It is your choice to follow God’s liberty bell of freedom and it comes with an eternal sticker price of obedience, faith, good works, repentance, and honesty to boot.” ~ Jon Barnes
Religious freedom is important, but God’s judgment day will clear and clean the air of errors when you take your last breath; Then and only then you will truly know how connected your love to God is. Squeezing through the vents in heaven will not be an option. God is smarter, the Bible is honest, and God’s love is accurate and all powerful with truth and justice. Let your freedom ring on the right side of justice and honor.
We all will Enjoy the fruit of our lifestyle choice soon enough so continue in your well doing, studies, prayer, and acts of kindness in faith. God will not be slow in giving you your reward both now and in heaven or hell if you choose to go there, based on your own lifestyle decisions. God will not chase you down to make you love Him, you must love God first and chase Him down like you do with your idols, rock stars, and famous people.
Friends of mine honestly talk about the effects of fake Christians and people, who think God is simply stupid and won’t hold people accountable for the obvious disobedience, that is habitually done, day after day, with no regret or repentance. They don’t know God and they don’t want to know God. Quoting scriptures is not knowing God. Following His Commandments and lifestyle is the simplicity of Love, with freedom rings the choice.
Do you let freedom ring for God in your heart, connecting to His love, will, and purpose?
Enjoy The Reading
The Israelites Defeat Ai
8 Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid or discouraged. Take all your fighting men and attack Ai, for I have given you the king of Ai, his people, his town, and his land.2 You will destroy them as you destroyed Jericho and its king. But this time you may keep the plunder and the livestock for yourselves. Set an ambush behind the town.”
3 So Joshua and all the fighting men set out to attack Ai. Joshua chose 30,000 of his best warriors and sent them out at night4 with these orders: “Hide in ambush close behind the town and be ready for action.5 When our main army attacks, the men of Ai will come out to fight as they did before, and we will run away from them.6 We will let them chase us until we have drawn them away from the town. For they will say, ‘The Israelites are running away from us as they did before.’ Then, while we are running from them,7 you will jump up from your ambush and take possession of the town, for the Lord your God will give it to you.8 Set the town on fire, as the Lord has commanded. You have your orders.”
9 So they left and went to the place of ambush between Bethel and the west side of Ai. But Joshua remained among the people in the camp that night.10 Early the next morning Joshua roused his men and started toward Ai, accompanied by the elders of Israel.11 All the fighting men who were with Joshua marched in front of the town and camped on the north side of Ai, with a valley between them and the town.12 That night Joshua sent about 5,000 men to lie in ambush between Bethel and Ai, on the west side of the town.13 So they stationed the main army north of the town and the ambush west of the town. Joshua himself spent that night in the valley.
14 When the king of Ai saw the Israelites across the valley, he and all his army hurried out early in the morning and attacked the Israelites at a place overlooking the Jordan Valley.[a] But he didn’t realize there was an ambush behind the town.15 Joshua and the Israelite army fled toward the wilderness as though they were badly beaten.16 Then all the men in the town were called out to chase after them. In this way, they were lured away from the town.17 There was not a man left in Ai or Bethel[b] who did not chase after the Israelites, and the town was left wide open.
18 Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Point the spear in your hand toward Ai, for I will hand the town over to you.” Joshua did as he was commanded.19 As soon as Joshua gave this signal, all the men in ambush jumped up from their position and poured into the town. They quickly captured it and set it on fire.
20 When the men of Ai looked behind them, smoke from the town was filling the sky, and they had nowhere to go. For the Israelites who had fled in the direction of the wilderness now turned on their pursuers.21 When Joshua and all the other Israelites saw that the ambush had succeeded and that smoke was rising from the town, they turned and attacked the men of Ai.22 Meanwhile, the Israelites who were inside the town came out and attacked the enemy from the rear. So the men of Ai were caught in the middle, with Israelite fighters on both sides. Israel attacked them, and not a single person survived or escaped.23 Only the king of Ai was taken alive and brought to Joshua.
24 When the Israelite army finished chasing and killing all the men of Ai in the open fields, they went back and finished off everyone inside.25 So the entire population of Ai, including men and women, was wiped out that day—12,000 in all.26 For Joshua kept holding out his spear until everyone who had lived in Ai was completely destroyed.[c]27 Only the livestock and the treasures of the town were not destroyed, for the Israelites kept these as plunder for themselves, as the Lordhad commanded Joshua.28 So Joshua burned the town of Ai,[d] and it became a permanent mound of ruins, desolate to this very day.
29 Joshua impaled the king of Ai on a sharpened pole and left him there until evening. At sunset the Israelites took down the body, as Joshua commanded, and threw it in front of the town gate. They piled a great heap of stones over him that can still be seen today.
The Lord’s Covenant Renewed
30 Then Joshua built an altar to the Lord, the God of Israel, on Mount Ebal.31 He followed the commands that Moses the Lord’s servant had written in the Book of Instruction: “Make me an altar from stones that are uncut and have not been shaped with iron tools.”[e] Then on the altar they presented burnt offerings and peace offerings to the Lord.32 And as the Israelites watched, Joshua copied onto the stones of the altar[f] the instructions Moses had given them.
33 Then all the Israelites—foreigners and native-born alike—along with the elders, officers, and judges, were divided into two groups. One group stood in front of Mount Gerizim, the other in front of Mount Ebal. Each group faced the other, and between them stood the Levitical priests carrying the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant. This was all done according to the commands that Moses, the servant of the Lord, had previously given for blessing the people of Israel.
34 Joshua then read to them all the blessings and curses Moses had written in the Book of Instruction.35 Every word of every command that Moses had ever given was read to the entire assembly of Israel, including the women and children and the foreigners who lived among them.
“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?
Enjoy the Reading
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.