Have you ever noticed how the majority of the world’s standards and practices go against the Biblical and wise solutions and messages of Christ? More to the point, society teaches us the very ideas that poison our mind, body, and spirit. I know that sounds hyperbolic, but hear me out. What we eat, how we think, what we do with our bodies— there’s this indoctrination of indulgence and gluttony. We also glorify a lazy and mediocre existence. For argument’s sake, let’s drop the morality perspective and focus on the physiological. The mind, body and soul are all connected, which means how we treat one impacts the rest.
How’s your thought life? Do you hold yourself in a positive light or do you allow others to tear you down and believe their lies? Stinkin’ Thinkin’— as Joyce Meyer calls it— is detrimental to your wellbeing. The beauty is that we can control what we choose to think about. Of course, that take a conscious and present effort. Distraction is the ultimate slippery slope to a junky thought life. When your thoughts are negative, you’re less likely to take care of yourself, both physically and spiritually. This feeds directly into how you treat your body.
Physical activity is incredibly important. It helps us to reconcile the mind junk and hold on to the positive truths. Food is also key. What are you eating? Fun fact, your stomach contains neurons, which acts as your second brain. So when you eat junk, it messes with your brain. When we talk about mental health, it’s impossible not to connect your dietary habits with your mind because your stomach quite literally contributes to it. As for the soul connection, if you’re out there using your body like a playground with others, friends there are major spiritual implications.
Have you ever wondered why we call liquor ‘spirits’? Alcohol isn’t inherently bad, I mean Jesus turned water into wine after all. But context matters as does the spiritual implications of drugs (I could go on but this post is pretty long already). Sex in its proper context is great! However, when it’s as common as a handshake, as the saying goes, if you lie down with dogs, you wake up with fleas. And I’m not just talking about diseases. Though our society teaches a “free spirit” and “sex positive” attitude, it fails to teach you the spiritual pitfalls that come from that lifestyle. There is a spiritual transference that occurs and you’re essentially giving pieces of yourself whenever you partake. No, this isn’t meant to shame you into celibacy. In fact, this isn’t about shame at all. But notice how these three things cycle back together. A broken mind leads to a broken body thus leading to a broken spirit, or any combination of the three. So why is this important?
Because God created us, our minds, bodies, and souls cannot be explained without Him. We are like his custom-built machines, which mean He’s the ultimate User Manual. So if we stand a chance to flee from our flesh, the world and the opposition, we have to continually read and understand the User Manual AKA the Bible. When we engage in pleasure-seeking activities that exist outside of His will for us, we suffer. No, not because He’s punishing us, it’s because we aren’t operating as intended. It’s like putting diesel fuel in a gas tank. You’re going to mess up the engine. We must stop perceiving discipline and obedience as punitive but as the guidelines for healthy operation. Guard your mind, body, and soul accordingly so that you can work as God intended. He made you for a purpose.
Who or what is in control of your “machinery”
1“Come down, virgin daughter of Babylon, and sit in the dust. For your days of sitting on a throne have ended. O daughter of Babylonia, never again will you be the lovely princess, tender and delicate.
2Take heavy millstones and grind flour. Remove your veil, and strip off your robe. Expose yourself to public view.
3You will be naked and burdened with shame. I will take vengeance against you without pity.”
4Our Redeemer, whose name is the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, is the Holy One of Israel.
5“O beautiful Babylon, sit now in darkness and silence. Never again will you be known as the queen of kingdoms.
6For I was angry with my chosen people and punished them by letting them fall into your hands. But you, Babylon, showed them no mercy. You oppressed even the elderly.
7You said, ‘I will reign forever as queen of the world!’ You did not reflect on your actions or think about their consequences.
8“Listen to this, you pleasure-loving kingdom, living at ease and feeling secure. You say, ‘I am the only one, and there is no other. I will never be a widow or lose my children.’
9Well, both these things will come upon you in a moment: widowhood and the loss of your children. Yes, these calamities will come upon you, despite all your witchcraft and magic.
10“You felt secure in your wickedness. ‘No one sees me,’ you said. But your ‘wisdom’ and ‘knowledge’ have led you astray, and you said, ‘I am the only one, and there is no other.’
11So disaster will overtake you, and you won’t be able to charm it away. Calamity will fall upon you, and you won’t be able to buy your way out. A catastrophe will strike you suddenly, one for which you are not prepared.
12“Now use your magical charms! Use the spells you have worked at all these years! Maybe they will do you some good. Maybe they can make someone afraid of you.
13All the advice you receive has made you tired. Where are all your astrologers, those stargazers who make predictions each month? Let them stand up and save you from what the future holds.
14But they are like straw burning in a fire; they cannot save themselves from the flame. You will get no help from them at all; their hearth is no place to sit for warmth.
15And all your friends, those with whom you’ve done business since childhood, will go their own ways, turning a deaf ear to your cries.
“We are all given talents to do with as we please.”~TB
God gives us all talents. Our minds, bodies, spirit— these are where our talents come from. Some people use these talents to multiply their skills to do amazing things. While others sit on their talents for one reason or another. Just like the parable in the Bible, you can invest your talents and reap more, or you can be like the guy who buried his talent. The same can be said for our relationship with Christ
Because salvation is freely given, there is not much for us to do to receive it. However, to truly reap the benefits of knowing Christ, you must develop that gift through consistent practice. Just like those who develop and multiply their talents, work is needed. Even those we consider to be naturally gifted, must put in the time to become great. To experience this with Christ, reading the Word, applying the principles, and talking with Him is vital to hear and see what He has to share with you. Work is never ‘easy’, but the work you do with Christ is divinely worth it.
Are you developing your talent or are you burying it in the ground?
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1When King Hezekiah heard their report, he tore his clothes and put on burlap and went into the Temple of the LORD .
2And he sent Eliakim the palace administrator, Shebna the court secretary, and the leading priests, all dressed in burlap, to the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz.
3They told him, “This is what King Hezekiah says: Today is a day of trouble, insults, and disgrace. It is like when a child is ready to be born, but the mother has no strength to deliver the baby.
4But perhaps the LORD your God has heard the Assyrian chief of staff, sent by the king to defy the living God, and will punish him for his words. Oh, pray for those of us who are left!”
5After King Hezekiah’s officials delivered the king’s message to Isaiah,
6the prophet replied, “Say to your master, ‘This is what the LORD says: Do not be disturbed by this blasphemous speech against me from the Assyrian king’s messengers.
7Listen! I myself will move against him, and the king will receive a message that he is needed at home. So he will return to his land, where I will have him killed with a sword.’”
8Meanwhile, the Assyrian chief of staff left Jerusalem and went to consult the king of Assyria, who had left Lachish and was attacking Libnah.
9Soon afterward King Sennacherib received word that King Tirhakah of Ethiopia was leading an army to fight against him. Before leaving to meet the attack, he sent messengers back to Hezekiah in Jerusalem with this message:
10“This message is for King Hezekiah of Judah. Don’t let your God, in whom you trust, deceive you with promises that Jerusalem will not be captured by the king of Assyria.
11You know perfectly well what the kings of Assyria have done wherever they have gone. They have completely destroyed everyone who stood in their way! Why should you be any different?
12Have the gods of other nations rescued them—such nations as Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the people of Eden who were in Tel-assar? My predecessors destroyed them all!
13What happened to the king of Hamath and the king of Arpad? What happened to the kings of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah?”
14After Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it, he went up to the LORD ’s Temple and spread it out before the LORD .
15And Hezekiah prayed this prayer before the LORD :
16“O LORD of Heaven’s Armies, God of Israel, you are enthroned between the mighty cherubim! You alone are God of all the kingdoms of the earth. You alone created the heavens and the earth.
17Bend down, O LORD, and listen! Open your eyes, O LORD, and see! Listen to Sennacherib’s words of defiance against the living God.
18“It is true, LORD, that the kings of Assyria have destroyed all these nations.
19And they have thrown the gods of these nations into the fire and burned them. But of course the Assyrians could destroy them! They were not gods at all—only idols of wood and stone shaped by human hands.
20Now, O LORD our God, rescue us from his power; then all the kingdoms of the earth will know that you alone, O LORD, are God. ”
21Then Isaiah son of Amoz sent this message to Hezekiah: “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: Because you prayed about King Sennacherib of Assyria,
22the LORD has spoken this word against him: “The virgin daughter of Zion despises you and laughs at you. The daughter of Jerusalem shakes her head in derision as you flee.
23“Whom have you been defying and ridiculing? Against whom did you raise your voice? At whom did you look with such haughty eyes? It was the Holy One of Israel!
24By your messengers you have defied the Lord. You have said, ‘With my many chariots I have conquered the highest mountains— yes, the remotest peaks of Lebanon. I have cut down its tallest cedars and its finest cypress trees. I have reached its farthest heights and explored its deepest forests.
25I have dug wells in many foreign lands and refreshed myself with their water. With the sole of my foot, I stopped up all the rivers of Egypt!’
26“But have you not heard? I decided this long ago. Long ago I planned it, and now I am making it happen. I planned for you to crush fortified cities into heaps of rubble.
27That is why their people have so little power and are so frightened and confused. They are as weak as grass, as easily trampled as tender green shoots. They are like grass sprouting on a housetop, scorched before it can grow lush and tall.
28“But I know you well— where you stay and when you come and go. I know the way you have raged against me.
29And because of your raging against me and your arrogance, which I have heard for myself, I will put my hook in your nose and my bit in your mouth. I will make you return by the same road on which you came.”
30Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Here is the proof that what I say is true: “This year you will eat only what grows up by itself, and next year you will eat what springs up from that. But in the third year you will plant crops and harvest them; you will tend vineyards and eat their fruit.
31And you who are left in Judah, who have escaped the ravages of the siege, will put roots down in your own soil and grow up and flourish.
32For a remnant of my people will spread out from Jerusalem, a group of survivors from Mount Zion. The passionate commitment of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!
33“And this is what the LORD says about the king of Assyria: “‘His armies will not enter Jerusalem. They will not even shoot an arrow at it. They will not march outside its gates with their shields nor build banks of earth against its walls.
34The king will return to his own country by the same road on which he came. He will not enter this city,’ says the LORD .
35‘For my own honor and for the sake of my servant David, I will defend this city and protect it.’”
36That night the angel of the LORD went out to the Assyrian camp and killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers. When the surviving Assyrians woke up the next morning, they found corpses everywhere.
37Then King Sennacherib of Assyria broke camp and returned to his own land. He went home to his capital of Nineveh and stayed there.
38One day while he was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisroch, his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer killed him with their swords. They then escaped to the land of Ararat, and another son, Esarhaddon, became the next king of Assyria.
“God is not some magical genie, standing by to grant your every wish.”~TB
I’ll be blunt, humans are dumb. Yes, all of us. We want what we want, when we want it, even foolishly believing with deserve it. Even those who claim to be wise fall into this trap from time to time. Just because you’re living right does not mean God owes you everything you ask for. No, he’s not a genie in a bottle, but rather, our Father in Heaven. Know the difference. It is a waste to only look at God as a gift giver and that mentality makes you miss out on the greatest relationship of all.
A Gift Given
A relationship built on wants and desires is a transactional one. If you believe that you can actually give something of value to God in exchange for your wishlist, you certainly need to reevaluate your mindset. Aside from the ultimate gift— salvation— God has given each of us the opportunity to draw close to Him. This relationship forms all others and through time, pruning, perseverance, He will teach you the true meaning of being one of His.
Are you looking for a Genie in a bottle or for your Father in Heaven?
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1Send your grain across the seas, and in time, profits will flow back to you.
2But divide your investments among many places, for you do not know what risks might lie ahead.
3When clouds are heavy, the rains come down. Whether a tree falls north or south, it stays where it falls.
4Farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant. If they watch every cloud, they never harvest.
5Just as you cannot understand the path of the wind or the mystery of a tiny baby growing in its mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the activity of God, who does all things.
6Plant your seed in the morning and keep busy all afternoon, for you don’t know if profit will come from one activity or another—or maybe both.
7Light is sweet; how pleasant to see a new day dawning.
8When people live to be very old, let them rejoice in every day of life. But let them also remember there will be many dark days. Everything still to come is meaningless.
9Young people, it’s wonderful to be young! Enjoy every minute of it. Do everything you want to do; take it all in. But remember that you must give an account to God for everything you do.
10So refuse to worry, and keep your body healthy. But remember that youth, with a whole life before you, is meaningless.
“Stop focusing on what you’re not and rejoice in who you are.”~TB
Many of you are operating on false feedback loops that are hindering your growth with God. At some point in your life, someone made you feel inferior, or less than. This feeling of lack, this deficit, it is a lie. Yes, as humans, we are flawed beings. However, as children of God, we are wonderfully made and forgiven, with our own individual purpose and gifts, hand-picked by our Father in Heaven. No man can deny what God has given you. No evil can speak truths about your worth. If you’re feeling weak, less than, or not good enough, know that these are not proclamations from God. Ditch your negative mentalities as you are free in Christ.
With God, you are part of something more wonderful and more precious than any amount of riches this world contains. Through Him, you are greater than your mistakes, greater than your shortcomings, and greater than any obstacle the devil may throw your way. Knowing these important truths– which are reinforced through the reading of the Bible– you can clearly see what the opposition so desperately tries to hide from you: you are free! Who told you to live in misery, anguish, and fear? Friends, surely it was not from God. Consider the source of mindset! When you fill your thoughts and minds with the Word of God, the truth takes over the falsehoods, allowing you to see how great you truly are. Step out into your greatness.
Are you great or are you experiencing an operator error?
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1O LORD, I am calling to you. Please hurry! Listen when I cry to you for help!
2Accept my prayer as incense offered to you, and my upraised hands as an evening offering.
3Take control of what I say, O LORD, and guard my lips.
4Don’t let me drift toward evil or take part in acts of wickedness. Don’t let me share in the delicacies of those who do wrong.
5Let the godly strike me! It will be a kindness! If they correct me, it is soothing medicine. Don’t let me refuse it. But I pray constantly against the wicked and their deeds.
6When their leaders are thrown down from a cliff, the wicked will listen to my words and find them true.
7Like rocks brought up by a plow, the bones of the wicked will lie scattered without burial.
8I look to you for help, O Sovereign LORD . You are my refuge; don’t let them kill me.
9Keep me from the traps they have set for me, from the snares of those who do wrong.
10Let the wicked fall into their own nets, but let me escape.
“I’m operating at that maximum capacity within all of my talents that God has given me and I suspect that He will give me more, as He makes judgment and adjustments in all of our lives right now.”~Jon Barnes
By Faith, new things happened this morning and the internal blessings were so real, visible, audible, physical, spiritual, and tangible that I began to cry and thank God for being so cool to me.I can only talk about my experiences and hope that you all will have even better success in your walk with God.Each day the facts of faith are for real to those who believe in Jesus.
In your walk with God, He will prove and show you all the facts of life that you will need to operate within your faith and the Kingdom of God.Signs and Wonders will follow you in the simplest of forms, yet they are epic and life-altering.All you have to do is to tap into God and notice these simple things that we continually take for granted.Big miracles are cool, but the smallest ones are just as powerful.
If you are still alive, you will appreciate that fact more seriously and carefully, as our days are numbered and we all will leave this earth very soon.Enjoy the facts of life and God’s blessings with the provision that he grants you so that someone can see God in your eyes and lifestyle.Operating in the Kingdom of God makes your life special, unique, and fulfilled.
Are you filling up your buckets in Heaven with love of just money and which do you get to keep?
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For the choir director: A psalm[a] of David, to be accompanied by stringed instruments.
1 Listen to my prayer, O God. Do not ignore my cry for help! 2 Please listen and answer me, for I am overwhelmed by my troubles. 3 My enemies shout at me, making loud and wicked threats. They bring trouble on me and angrily hunt me down.
4 My heart pounds in my chest. The terror of death assaults me. 5 Fear and trembling overwhelm me, and I can’t stop shaking. 6 Oh, that I had wings like a dove; then I would fly away and rest! 7 I would fly far away to the quiet of the wilderness. Interlude 8 How quickly I would escape— far from this wild storm of hatred.
9 Confuse them, Lord, and frustrate their plans, for I see violence and conflict in the city. 10 Its walls are patrolled day and night against invaders, but the real danger is wickedness within the city. 11 Everything is falling apart; threats and cheating are rampant in the streets.
12 It is not an enemy who taunts me— I could bear that. It is not my foes who so arrogantly insult me— I could have hidden from them. 13 Instead, it is you—my equal, my companion and close friend. 14 What good fellowship we once enjoyed as we walked together to the house of God.
15 Let death stalk my enemies; let the grave[b] swallow them alive, for evil makes its home within them.
16 But I will call on God, and the Lord will rescue me. 17 Morning, noon, and night I cry out in my distress, and the Lord hears my voice. 18 He ransoms me and keeps me safe from the battle waged against me, though many still oppose me. 19 God, who has ruled forever, will hear me and humble them. Interlude For my enemies refuse to change their ways; they do not fear God.
20 As for my companion, he betrayed his friends; he broke his promises. 21 His words are as smooth as butter, but in his heart is war. His words are as soothing as lotion, but underneath are daggers!
22 Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.
23 But you, O God, will send the wicked down to the pit of destruction. Murderers and liars will die young, but I am trusting you to save me.
“For every homeless, helpless, hopeless, street person I have ever met, I clearly remember most of them saying to me, ”God Bless You!”~Jon Barnes
By default, people call on God and thank Him for blessings and in time of need.Now if we could get people to walk with God all day long, this world would be a better place to live, with no one homeless or living without basic necessities.We all know how to help each other out and to do our fair share of work, but we all have our issues.
Those who share will share their gifts with others each day in many different ways.On the job, at home, church, school, etc, good people can be found loving, caring sharing, and teaching.Now if we could get more people to walk with God all day long, our leaders, teachers, parents, preachers, owners, and managers would already be trained to do a better job in our government, businesses, churches, educational institutions, and management of our resources, talents, wages, raises, bonuses, and profit sharing.
God knows who is responsible for the homeless, hopeless, and helpless of people.We all must pitch in to help improve our communities at every level. Refer to the rich man and poor man story in the bible.The rich guy asked, please let me go to my brothers and explain how wrong their business practices are!
Are your business practices driving people into homelessness, poverty, hopelessness, and helplessness with your greed for more profits and the slave owner mentality?
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A psalm of David.
1 I pray to you, O Lord, my rock. Do not turn a deaf ear to me. For if you are silent, I might as well give up and die. 2 Listen to my prayer for mercy as I cry out to you for help, as I lift my hands toward your holy sanctuary.
3 Do not drag me away with the wicked— with those who do evil— those who speak friendly words to their neighbors while planning evil in their hearts. 4 Give them the punishment they so richly deserve! Measure it out in proportion to their wickedness. Pay them back for all their evil deeds! Give them a taste of what they have done to others. 5 They care nothing for what the Lord has done or for what his hands have made. So he will tear them down, and they will never be rebuilt!
6 Praise the Lord! For he has heard my cry for mercy. 7 The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.
8 The Lord gives his people strength. He is a safe fortress for his anointed king. 9 Save your people! Bless Israel, your special possession.[a] Lead them like a shepherd, and carry them in your arms forever.
“You are a product of what you believe, think, say, and do for God!” ~ Jon Barnes
You “R” also a product of what you don’t believe, think, say, and do for God as well.Since the measure of a person is based on the level of work and faith that is put into their actions, stay awake in your work.Pay close attention to the quality, honesty, and motivational components of your daily plan with God because, the dividends you get will blossom all year round, into the future of eternity, if you don’t quit.
There is a clear picture that you paint for yourself when you do you.Being who you are in God paints a beautiful portrait of love that is real and superior to your natural looks and affections.Your true looks and value are accurately measured from this viewpoint. Keep God’s viewpoint as your standard and avoid becoming arrogant and full of pride.
You don’t have time to keep making the same mistakes of vanity, envy, lust, and wicked ideas packaged in new ways.I have fun focusing on the now, which is how God teaches me new things each day.You can correct your own mistakes a lot easier when you acknowledge the truth with God and not by yourself.Enjoy yourself in God and you will never be alone, without purpose, a plan, and a place.
Do you enjoy your purpose or are you still clueless in Christ?
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7 So the king and Haman went to Queen Esther’s banquet,2 and as they were drinking wine on the second day, the king again asked, “Queen Esther, what is your petition? It will be given you. What is your request? Even up to half the kingdom, it will be granted.”
3 Then Queen Esther answered, “If I have found favor with you, Your Majesty, and if it pleases you, grant me my life—this is my petition. And spare my people—this is my request.4 For I and my people have been sold to be destroyed, killed and annihilated. If we had merely been sold as male and female slaves, I would have kept quiet, because no such distress would justify disturbing the king.[a]”
5 King Xerxes asked Queen Esther, “Who is he? Where is he—the man who has dared to do such a thing?”
6 Esther said, “An adversary and enemy! This vile Haman!”
Then Haman was terrified before the king and queen.7 The king got up in a rage,left his wine and went out into the palace garden. But Haman, realizing that the king had already decided his fate, stayed behind to beg Queen Esther for his life.
8 Just as the king returned from the palace garden to the banquet hall, Haman was falling on the couch where Esther was reclining.
The king exclaimed, “Will he even molest the queen while she is with me in the house?”
As soon as the word left the king’s mouth, they covered Haman’s face.9 Then Harbona, one of the eunuchs attending the king, said, “A pole reaching to a height of fifty cubits[b] stands by Haman’s house. He had it set up for Mordecai, who spoke up to help the king.”
The king said, “Impale him on it!”10 So they impaled Haman on the pole he had set up for Mordecai. Then the king’s fury subsided.
“Being ready to do the job God has for you takes many hours, days, weeks, months, years, and decades of preparation, practice, and experience, to make the kind of impact you are capable of achieving for the Kingdom.”~Jon Barnes
Don’t be in such a hurry to master your talents, gifts, and ideas without putting in the proper amount of time, commitment, and dedication that is required to help yourself and others properly.Our systems and communities are failing because we rush past the poor, homeless, helpless as if they do not exist and create rules and laws that are contrary to God’s laws and commandments.
When you feel like you are always running, rushing, and trying to keep up, try doing fewer things with better quality, love, and enthusiasm.Following God’s ways is a choice.You are known for doing the best job that is complete, accurate, and honest in the sight of God.You don’t get credit for doing 1/2 the job. Get full credit for being obedient!
Many are guilty of stopping in the middle of a job, goal, or idea to never finish a task or lesson.When you ask yourself, why did you stop, give yourself an honest answer and stop blaming everyone else for your laziness and disobedience?True love improves, grows, and sustains inner beauty unseen to the naked eyes.Outer beauty is an empty shell that will fade away so there is no need to worship it.
Do you think God is satisfied with your laziness and vanity?
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Esther Becomes Queen
2 But after Xerxes’ anger had subsided, he began thinking about Vashti and what she had done and the decree he had made.2 So his personal attendants suggested, “Let us search the empire to find beautiful young virgins for the king.3 Let the king appoint agents in each province to bring these beautiful young women into the royal harem at the fortress of Susa. Hegai, the king’s eunuch in charge of the harem, will see that they are all given beauty treatments.4 After that, the young woman who most pleases the king will be made queen instead of Vashti.” This advice was very appealing to the king, so he put the plan into effect.
5 At that time there was a Jewish man in the fortress of Susa whose name was Mordecai son of Jair. He was from the tribe of Benjamin and was a descendant of Kish and Shimei.6 His family[a] had been among those who, with King Jehoiachin[b]of Judah, had been exiled from Jerusalem to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar.7 This man had a very beautiful and lovely young cousin, Hadassah, who was also called Esther. When her father and mother died, Mordecai adopted her into his family and raised her as his own daughter.
8 As a result of the king’s decree, Esther, along with many other young women, was brought to the king’s harem at the fortress of Susa and placed in Hegai’s care.9 Hegai was very impressed with Esther and treated her kindly. He quickly ordered a special menu for her and provided her with beauty treatments. He also assigned her seven maids specially chosen from the king’s palace, and he moved her and her maids into the best place in the harem.
10 Esther had not told anyone of her nationality and family background, because Mordecai had directed her not to do so.11 Every day Mordecai would take a walk near the courtyard of the harem to find out about Esther and what was happening to her.
12 Before each young woman was taken to the king’s bed, she was given the prescribed twelve months of beauty treatments—six months with oil of myrrh, followed by six months with special perfumes and ointments.13 When it was time for her to go to the king’s palace, she was given her choice of whatever clothing or jewelry she wanted to take from the harem.14 That evening she was taken to the king’s private rooms, and the next morning she was brought to the second harem,[c] where the king’s wives lived. There she would be under the care of Shaashgaz, the king’s eunuch in charge of the concubines. She would never go to the king again unless he had especially enjoyed her and requested her by name.
15 Esther was the daughter of Abihail, who was Mordecai’s uncle. (Mordecai had adopted his younger cousin Esther.) When it was Esther’s turn to go to the king, she accepted the advice of Hegai, the eunuch in charge of the harem. She asked for nothing except what he suggested, and she was admired by everyone who saw her.
16 Esther was taken to King Xerxes at the royal palace in early winter[d] of the seventh year of his reign.17 And the king loved Esther more than any of the other young women. He was so delighted with her that he set the royal crown on her head and declared her queen instead of Vashti.18 To celebrate the occasion, he gave a great banquet in Esther’s honor for all his nobles and officials, declaring a public holiday for the provinces and giving generous gifts to everyone.
19 Even after all the young women had been transferred to the second harem[e] and Mordecai had become a palace official,[f]20 Esther continued to keep her family background and nationality a secret. She was still following Mordecai’s directions, just as she did when she lived in his home.
Mordecai’s Loyalty to the King
21 One day as Mordecai was on duty at the king’s gate, two of the king’s eunuchs, Bigthana[g] and Teresh—who were guards at the door of the king’s private quarters—became angry at King Xerxes and plotted to assassinate him.22 But Mordecai heard about the plot and gave the information to Queen Esther. She then told the king about it and gave Mordecai credit for the report.23 When an investigation was made and Mordecai’s story was found to be true, the two men were impaled on a sharpened pole. This was all recorded in The Book of the History of King Xerxes’ Reign.
“When you give to people from out of the love that is in your heart from God, healing, blessings, and understanding flows from your actions and words with patience, clarity, purpose, and direction.” ~ Jon Barnes
God’s training methods are unique, effective and efficiently original. Like fingerprints, each lesson God instructs has its own weight, merit, and purpose to fulfill. God’s word gives power to simplicity, honesty, and character to the obedient child who listens. Recognize when God’s methods are being applied to your life and give God credit and thanks for your blessings.
Lessons are practiced and mastered many times before the test of battle. Daily preparation of your fate hangs in the balance of your continued cooperation with the Spirit of God and His Commandments. Don’t underestimate the power of obedience in the hands of a giving servant, who is willing to do the work, standing up for what is right.
Lifelong learners continue to develop their gifts for The Lord so that they may use them in service of the Kingdom and service of others. Training new leaders with opportunities to serve to give the next generation a fighting chance to know who God is, by practicing their faith.It is important to model and teach the next generation about God, so they do not forget the stories and blessings.
How do you inspire the next generation to hold onto God’s Commandments?
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1 Samuel 19
Saul Tries to Kill David
19 Saul now urged his servants and his son Jonathan to assassinate David. But Jonathan, because of his strong affection for David,2 told him what his father was planning. “Tomorrow morning,” he warned him, “you must find a hiding place out in the fields.3 I’ll ask my father to go out there with me, and I’ll talk to him about you. Then I’ll tell you everything I can find out.”
4 The next morning Jonathan spoke with his father about David, saying many good things about him. “The king must not sin against his servant David,” Jonathan said. “He’s never done anything to harm you. He has always helped you in any way he could.5 Have you forgotten about the time he risked his life to kill the Philistine giant and how the Lord brought a great victory to all Israel as a result? You were certainly happy about it then. Why should you murder an innocent man like David? There is no reason for it at all!”
6 So Saul listened to Jonathan and vowed, “As surely as the Lord lives, David will not be killed.”
7 Afterward Jonathan called David and told him what had happened. Then he brought David to Saul, and David served in the court as before.
8 War broke out again after that, and David led his troops against the Philistines. He attacked them with such fury that they all ran away.
9 But one day when Saul was sitting at home, with spear in hand, the tormenting spirit[a] from the Lord suddenly came upon him again. As David played his harp,10 Saul hurled his spear at David. But David dodged out of the way, and leaving the spear stuck in the wall, he fled and escaped into the night.
Michal Saves David’s Life
11 Then Saul sent troops to watch David’s house. They were told to kill David when he came out the next morning. But Michal, David’s wife, warned him, “If you don’t escape tonight, you will be dead by morning.”12 So she helped him climb out through a window, and he fled and escaped.13 Then she took an idol[b] and put it in his bed, covered it with blankets, and put a cushion of goat’s hair at its head.
14 When the troops came to arrest David, she told them he was sick and couldn’t get out of bed.
15 But Saul sent the troops back to get David. He ordered, “Bring him to me in his bed so I can kill him!”16 But when they came to carry David out, they discovered that it was only an idol in the bed with a cushion of goat’s hair at its head.
17 “Why have you betrayed me like this and let my enemy escape?” Saul demanded of Michal.
“I had to,” Michal replied. “He threatened to kill me if I didn’t help him.”
18 So David escaped and went to Ramah to see Samuel, and he told him all that Saul had done to him. Then Samuel took David with him to live at Naioth.19 When the report reached Saul that David was at Naioth in Ramah,20 he sent troops to capture him. But when they arrived and saw Samuel leading a group of prophets who were prophesying, the Spirit of God came upon Saul’s men, and they also began to prophesy.21 When Saul heard what had happened, he sent other troops, but they, too, prophesied! The same thing happened a third time.22 Finally, Saul himself went to Ramah and arrived at the great well in Secu. “Where are Samuel and David?” he demanded.
“They are at Naioth in Ramah,” someone told him.
23 But on the way to Naioth in Ramah the Spirit of God came even upon Saul, and he, too, began to prophesy all the way to Naioth!24 He tore off his clothes and lay naked on the ground all day and all night, prophesying in the presence of Samuel. The people who were watching exclaimed, “What? Is even Saul a prophet?”
“Are you singing to God from your heart of praise and worship or are your reciting the words, going through the motions with distractions of ulterior motives?” ~ Jon Barnes
Respect the gifts that God has given you by finding your voice in the will of God and working your talents to serve the kingdom and not your lust for fame, money, and fortune. God will make you famous in the job that He has for you to do because it will help enlighten all the people who know and come in contact with you. Your reputation will be full of God’s purpose and not your own. By honoring God, you honor your parents and following all of the commandments God has given us. In addition, you earn God’s Respect to pass His Tests.
People tend to be lazy to use excuses, distractions, and issues of the past to cloud their judgment, waste their time, and become less effective in the ministry. Holding onto our hurts and not forgiving people is not the song you should be singing to God! Complaining is not worshiping God or helping to find solutions.Stay focused on the songs of righteousness, which are sung from the fruit of the Spirit of God. Be quiet long enough to hear God’s Voice and rejoice in the joy of the Lord and what he has done for you.
We are not thankful when we complain and play the victim card with all of our problems that we created ourselves. When we don’t discipline ourselves to finish our own work, cooking good food, drinking water, exercising, resting, learning, cleaning, organizing, planning, and following God’s suggestions, we tend to find ourselves extremely unhappy, with all the stuff (junk) we have and hoard in our closets, houses, garages, and storage units. Sing unto God a new song of giving, sharing, caring, listening, learning, teaching, loving, and being content with God’s plan and not your own imaginations.
Each day, do you spend at least 24 minutes praying, reading, meditating, listening, walking, or loving God and if not did you ask yourself who are you serving God or the devil?
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17 Now a man named Micah from the hill country of Ephraim2 said to his mother, “The eleven hundred shekels[a] of silver that were taken from you and about which I heard you utter a curse—I have that silver with me; I took it.”
Then his mother said, “The Lord bless you, my son!”
3 When he returned the eleven hundred shekels of silver to his mother, she said, “I solemnly consecrate my silver to the Lord for my son to make an image overlaid with silver. I will give it back to you.”
4 So after he returned the silver to his mother, she took two hundred shekels[b] of silver and gave them to a silversmith, who used them to make the idol. And it was put in Micah’s house.
5 Now this man Micah had a shrine, and he made an ephod and some household gods and installed one of his sons as his priest.6 In those days Israel had no king;everyone did as they saw fit.
7 A young Levite from Bethlehem in Judah, who had been living within the clan of Judah,8 left that town in search of some other place to stay. On his way[c] he came to Micah’s house in the hill country of Ephraim.
9 Micah asked him, “Where are you from?”
“I’m a Levite from Bethlehem in Judah,” he said, “and I’m looking for a place to stay.”
10 Then Micah said to him, “Live with me and be my father and priest, and I’ll give you ten shekels[d] of silver a year, your clothes and your food.”11 So the Levite agreed to live with him, and the young man became like one of his sons to him.12 Then Micah installed the Levite, and the young man became his priest and lived in his house.13 And Micah said, “Now I know that the Lord will be good to me, since this Levite has become my priest.”