“God respects a humble honest attempt over the deceptively sweet sounds of empty promises.”~TB
It’s easy to have goals. It’s a whole different ball game to create a plan to achieve said goal and then go off and execute it. We’ve all known (and have been guilty of) someone who claims to want to improve, yet fails to cultivate the discipline to follow through. Someone wants to write a book yet fails to create an outline or even begin writing at all. We do the same thing with God. Many Christians claim to want to know Him, but then the idea of having to change behaviors, change thought patterns, or regularly pick up the Bible stops them in their tracks. Discipline of any kind is tough in the beginning. But without it, change is impossible. The beauty of pursuing a relationship with God is that only one of you is flawed and the other perfect. And trust me, that unconditional thing goes a long way.
God isn’t looking for perfection, He’s looking for obedience and an honest effort. So when we make mistakes, have doubts, go through humbling moments, though point is to get back up, acknowledge our shortcomings and ask God to make up the difference in our effort to walk the path of righteousness. It doesn’t matter how many times you have to get up, repent, and move on, but just like a kid trying to learn how to ride a bicycle, just keep trying. And by doing so time and time again, you begin to understand how God personally sees you and how valuable you are to Him. So the next time you feel like phoning it in, remember God’s grace and put in the effort.
Does your effort match your mouth?
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1Listen, Ethiopia —land of fluttering sails that lies at the headwaters of the Nile,
2that sends ambassadors in swift boats down the river. Go, swift messengers! Take a message to a tall, smooth-skinned people, who are feared far and wide for their conquests and destruction, and whose land is divided by rivers.
3All you people of the world, everyone who lives on the earth— when I raise my battle flag on the mountain, look! When I blow the ram’s horn, listen!
4For the LORD has told me this: “I will watch quietly from my dwelling place— as quietly as the heat rises on a summer day, or as the morning dew forms during the harvest.”
5Even before you begin your attack, while your plans are ripening like grapes, the LORD will cut off your new growth with pruning shears. He will snip off and discard your spreading branches.
6Your mighty army will be left dead in the fields for the mountain vultures and wild animals. The vultures will tear at the corpses all summer. The wild animals will gnaw at the bones all winter.
7At that time the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will receive gifts from this land divided by rivers, from this tall, smooth-skinned people, who are feared far and wide for their conquests and destruction. They will bring the gifts to Jerusalem, where the LORD of Heaven’s Armies dwells.
“Walking with Christ does not mean your life becomes perfect. It does make you approach life differently, however.”~TB
A couple weeks ago, I wrapped up a road trip where I visited 31 states within 50 days. During my trip, I experienced many setbacks, car troubles, delays, theft, etc. I also got to see many wonderful aspects that each state uniquely had to offer. I’m not sharing this to brag or seem interesting (Trust me, I’m not), but the experience taught me one thing: there’s always something. In life, no matter how Christlike or not, everyone has their share of ups and downs, triumphs and failures, joy and suffering. Accepting Christ doesn’t necessarily change your circumstances. However, it does change how you see and react to life’s challenges. When you know and trust that God is in control, you focus less on the storm and more on your Maker.
Sit Back, Relax
When I was a kid and my siblings and I were traveling with my dad, I’d often ask where we were going. 100% of the time I was either met with “You’ll see when we get there,” or, “Sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride”. As a kid, this frustrated me because I wanted to know. Now, I look back and laugh, because I still ask those questions, but they’re now directed to my Father in Heaven. He too gives me similar answers. I’m still working on the patience angle, but hey, trial and error. I say all this to say, we choose how we navigate our lives. No, God doesn’t promise a ‘pain free’ life, but if you allow Him to work within you, you can begin to see life differently. And that change in perspective makes all the difference on the decisions and choices you make day to day. Life will never be perfect, but with God, you can learn how to enjoy the ride.
Are you different?
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1Send lambs from Sela as tribute to the ruler of the land. Send them through the desert to the mountain of beautiful Zion.
2The women of Moab are left like homeless birds at the shallow crossings of the Arnon River.
3“Help us,” they cry. “Defend us against our enemies. Protect us from their relentless attack. Do not betray us now that we have escaped.
4Let our refugees stay among you. Hide them from our enemies until the terror is past.” When oppression and destruction have ended and enemy raiders have disappeared,
5then God will establish one of David’s descendants as king. He will rule with mercy and truth. He will always do what is just and be eager to do what is right.
6We have heard about proud Moab— about its pride and arrogance and rage. But all that boasting has disappeared.
7The entire land of Moab weeps. Yes, everyone in Moab mourns for the cakes of raisins from Kir-hareseth. They are all gone now.
8The farms of Heshbon are abandoned; the vineyards at Sibmah are deserted. The rulers of the nations have broken down Moab— that beautiful grapevine. Its tendrils spread north as far as the town of Jazer and trailed eastward into the wilderness. Its shoots reached so far west that they crossed over the Dead Sea.
9So now I weep for Jazer and the vineyards of Sibmah; my tears will flow for Heshbon and Elealeh. There are no more shouts of joy over your summer fruits and harvest.
10Gone now is the gladness, gone the joy of harvest. There will be no singing in the vineyards, no more happy shouts, no treading of grapes in the winepresses. I have ended all their harvest joys.
11My heart’s cry for Moab is like a lament on a harp. I am filled with anguish for Kir-hareseth.
12The people of Moab will worship at their pagan shrines, but it will do them no good. They will cry to the gods in their temples, but no one will be able to save them.
13The LORD has already said these things about Moab in the past.
14But now the LORD says, “Within three years, counting each day, the glory of Moab will be ended. From its great population, only a feeble few will be left alive.”
“Stay close to God so that you do not get unplugged from His wisdom.”~TB
If you’re not careful, life has a way of getting you off track in your relationship with Christ. Whether it’s just life circumstances, poor decisions, or the opposition rocking your boat, taking your eyes off of the Truth is a recipe for disaster. When we stop looking to God for the answers, we begin to make up answers that generally leave us worse off than before. Friends, don’t lean on your human made solutions to the challenges in your life. When we struggle to find God in the midst of our situations, it’s a sign that we’re not going to the source material— the Bible— to know the Truth.
Recognize that there are patterns and cycles in life, and no matter what, our faith and reliance in God is the only key to success! The devil may poke and prod, making you feel uneasy and alone, but when you’re plugged into God, you know the difference. This is why reading the Bible daily is so important. It’s not just a task that you check off to get a pat on the head from God. No, it possesses the tools and weapons to prepare and protect you from the world and the opposition. Don’t fall for the smoke and mirrors of the evil one. Rest on the Truth of the Word to stay plugged in.
Are you plugged into Christ or plugged into chaos and uncertainty?
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Song of Solomon
1Where has your lover gone, O woman of rare beauty? Which way did he turn so we can help you find him?
2My lover has gone down to his garden, to his spice beds, to browse in the gardens and gather the lilies.
3I am my lover’s, and my lover is mine. He browses among the lilies.
4You are beautiful, my darling, like the lovely city of Tirzah. Yes, as beautiful as Jerusalem, as majestic as an army with billowing banners.
5Turn your eyes away, for they overpower me. Your hair falls in waves, like a flock of goats winding down the slopes of Gilead.
6Your teeth are as white as sheep that are freshly washed. Your smile is flawless, each tooth matched with its twin.
7Your cheeks are like rosy pomegranates behind your veil.
8Even among sixty queens and eighty concubines and countless young women,
9I would still choose my dove, my perfect one— the favorite of her mother, dearly loved by the one who bore her. The young women see her and praise her; even queens and royal concubines sing her praises:
10“Who is this, arising like the dawn, as fair as the moon, as bright as the sun, as majestic as an army with billowing banners?”
11I went down to the grove of walnut trees and out to the valley to see the new spring growth, to see whether the grapevines had budded or the pomegranates were in bloom.
12Before I realized it, my strong desires had taken me to the chariot of a noble man.
13Return, return to us, O maid of Shulam. Come back, come back, that we may see you again. Young Man Why do you stare at this young woman of Shulam, as she moves so gracefully between two lines of dancers?
“God will send you to unexpected places not to punish you, but to remind you of your purpose and who made you.”~TB
I made an unexpected trip to Tennessee about 2 weeks ago. I had plans to go to Virginia, but things happened to deter that plan. The woman that was hosting me was a kind and gregarious lady, very interested in spirits, practicing all faiths, witchcraft, and ‘healing’. Now, I’m not one to be shy about telling people when they’re wrong, but for the sake of getting along, I politely nodded and moved on the subject. Interestingly enough, she kept prompting me to share what I believed.
Pulling a Jonah
During our chat, I was annoyed because I didn’t really feel like having this conversation. Days prior, I was in Charlotte NC on a hike and someone had smashed my driver side window and stole my wallet, laptop, guitar, and a few meaningful items that I cannot replicate. It was a very deflating experience, especially being so far from home. Needless to say, I wasn’t in the mood for sharing the Good News. But something in this woman’s eyes made me realize that she wasn’t looking for a debate, but rather the Truth. I felt the gentle nudge to do my part. So I shared it with her.
I found out that my host wasn’t always into witchcraft and multiple faiths. She was a believer that fell through hard times and walked away. During this conversation, I was reminded that we all get weary, and the opposition will always push us to the brink to get us to walk away from the Truth. I also realized that me running into this woman was not only for her benefit, but for my own. As Christ followers know, it can be tough during times and some battles can seem unfair and punitive. I say all this to say, that whenever you’re going through an intense struggle or bouts of depressing lows, in those moments, look for the reminders of who you are and who you belong to. He’s with you in all things and is there to guide you if you choose to seek Him.
Are you checking your reminders?
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1As you enter the house of God, keep your ears open and your mouth shut. It is evil to make mindless offerings to God.
2Don’t make rash promises, and don’t be hasty in bringing matters before God. After all, God is in heaven, and you are here on earth. So let your words be few.
3Too much activity gives you restless dreams; too many words make you a fool.
4When you make a promise to God, don’t delay in following through, for God takes no pleasure in fools. Keep all the promises you make to him.
5It is better to say nothing than to make a promise and not keep it.
6Don’t let your mouth make you sin. And don’t defend yourself by telling the Temple messenger that the promise you made was a mistake. That would make God angry, and he might wipe out everything you have achieved.
7Talk is cheap, like daydreams and other useless activities. Fear God instead.
8Don’t be surprised if you see a poor person being oppressed by the powerful and if justice is being miscarried throughout the land. For every official is under orders from higher up, and matters of justice get lost in red tape and bureaucracy.
9Even the king milks the land for his own profit!
10Those who love money will never have enough. How meaningless to think that wealth brings true happiness!
11The more you have, the more people come to help you spend it. So what good is wealth—except perhaps to watch it slip through your fingers!
12People who work hard sleep well, whether they eat little or much. But the rich seldom get a good night’s sleep.
13There is another serious problem I have seen under the sun. Hoarding riches harms the saver.
14Money is put into risky investments that turn sour, and everything is lost. In the end, there is nothing left to pass on to one’s children.
15We all come to the end of our lives as naked and empty-handed as on the day we were born. We can’t take our riches with us.
16And this, too, is a very serious problem. People leave this world no better off than when they came. All their hard work is for nothing—like working for the wind.
17Throughout their lives, they live under a cloud—frustrated, discouraged, and angry.
18Even so, I have noticed one thing, at least, that is good. It is good for people to eat, drink, and enjoy their work under the sun during the short life God has given them, and to accept their lot in life.
19And it is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life—this is indeed a gift from God.
20God keeps such people so busy enjoying life that they take no time to brood over the past.
“Hiking with God is like walking a guided path designed for you to see, experience, learn, and develop new skills to share with others about your spiritual, mental, physical, and love growth.”~ Jon Barnes
Ironically, the location and journey start from within your heart of daily repentance, prayer, and communication with God so that you don’t get distracted and lost on the trail of life. Then share this love. These instructions, trail maps, and rules of the hiking game give us proper preparation, on the job training, and teaching skills for the future generations to love others as well.
I enjoy talking and writing about the trail because these stories are real, full of adventures that describe how it feels to walk with God on a daily basis.Even though our experiences are unique, God’s trail is the same path, His Thumb, but with your individual fingerprint on it, which was created by Him.
God’s destination for your path is clear that all should go to heaven on this trail, but many will stray off the hiking trail to blindly fall off into the cliff, full of smoke, false directions, and a hot pit called hell.Those who love trust and follow God will stay on the hiking trail, learn, grow, pay attention, and walk through the Pearly Gates, because of their obedience and love connection with their Heavenly Father.
Do you see God on all of your hiking destinations or are you lost in the blinding smoke of lies from your trip?
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2 Chronicles 20
War with Surrounding Nations
20 After this, the armies of the Moabites, Ammonites, and some of the Meunites[a] declared war on Jehoshaphat.2 Messengers came and told Jehoshaphat, “A vast army from Edom[b] is marching against you from beyond the Dead Sea.[c] They are already at Hazazon-tamar.” (This was another name for En-gedi.)
3 Jehoshaphat was terrified by this news and begged the Lord for guidance. He also ordered everyone in Judah to begin fasting.4 So people from all the towns of Judah came to Jerusalem to seek the Lord’s help.
5 Jehoshaphat stood before the community of Judah and Jerusalem in front of the new courtyard at the Temple of the Lord.6 He prayed, “O Lord, God of our ancestors, you alone are the God who is in heaven. You are ruler of all the kingdoms of the earth. You are powerful and mighty; no one can stand against you!7 O our God, did you not drive out those who lived in this land when your people Israel arrived? And did you not give this land forever to the descendants of your friend Abraham?8 Your people settled here and built this Temple to honor your name.9 They said, ‘Whenever we are faced with any calamity such as war,[d]plague, or famine, we can come to stand in your presence before this Temple where your name is honored. We can cry out to you to save us, and you will hear us and rescue us.’
10 “And now see what the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir are doing. You would not let our ancestors invade those nations when Israel left Egypt, so they went around them and did not destroy them.11 Now see how they reward us! For they have come to throw us out of your land, which you gave us as an inheritance.12 O our God, won’t you stop them? We are powerless against this mighty army that is about to attack us. We do not know what to do, but we are looking to you for help.”
13 As all the men of Judah stood before the Lord with their little ones, wives, and children,14 the Spirit of the Lord came upon one of the men standing there. His name was Jahaziel son of Zechariah, son of Benaiah, son of Jeiel, son of Mattaniah, a Levite who was a descendant of Asaph.
15 He said, “Listen, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Listen, King Jehoshaphat! This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.16 Tomorrow, march out against them. You will find them coming up through the ascent of Ziz at the end of the valley that opens into the wilderness of Jeruel.17 But you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the Lord’s victory. He is with you, O people of Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Go out against them tomorrow, for the Lord is with you!”
18 Then King Jehoshaphat bowed low with his face to the ground. And all the people of Judah and Jerusalem did the same, worshiping the Lord.19 Then the Levites from the clans of Kohath and Korah stood to praise the Lord, the God of Israel, with a very loud shout.
20 Early the next morning the army of Judah went out into the wilderness of Tekoa. On the way Jehoshaphat stopped and said, “Listen to me, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be able to stand firm. Believe in his prophets, and you will succeed.”
21 After consulting the people, the king appointed singers to walk ahead of the army, singing to the Lord and praising him for his holy splendor. This is what they sang:
“Give thanks to the Lord; his faithful love endures forever!”
22 At the very moment they began to sing and give praise, the Lord caused the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir to start fighting among themselves.23 The armies of Moab and Ammon turned against their allies from Mount Seir and killed every one of them. After they had destroyed the army of Seir, they began attacking each other.24 So when the army of Judah arrived at the lookout point in the wilderness, all they saw were dead bodies lying on the ground as far as they could see. Not a single one of the enemy had escaped.
25 King Jehoshaphat and his men went out to gather the plunder. They found vast amounts of equipment, clothing,[e] and other valuables—more than they could carry. There was so much plunder that it took them three days just to collect it all!26 On the fourth day they gathered in the Valley of Blessing,[f] which got its name that day because the people praised and thanked the Lord there. It is still called the Valley of Blessing today.
27 Then all the men returned to Jerusalem, with Jehoshaphat leading them, overjoyed that the Lord had given them victory over their enemies.28 They marched into Jerusalem to the music of harps, lyres, and trumpets, and they proceeded to the Temple of the Lord.
29 When all the surrounding kingdoms heard that the Lord himself had fought against the enemies of Israel, the fear of God came over them.30 So Jehoshaphat’s kingdom was at peace, for his God had given him rest on every side.
Summary of Jehoshaphat’s Reign
31 So Jehoshaphat ruled over the land of Judah. He was thirty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-five years. His mother was Azubah, the daughter of Shilhi.
32 Jehoshaphat was a good king, following the ways of his father, Asa. He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight.33 During his reign, however, he failed to remove all the pagan shrines, and the people never fully committed themselves to follow the God of their ancestors.
34 The rest of the events of Jehoshaphat’s reign, from beginning to end, are recorded in The Record of Jehu Son of Hanani, which is included in The Book of the Kings of Israel.
35 Some time later King Jehoshaphat of Judah made an alliance with King Ahaziah of Israel, who was very wicked.[g]36 Together they built a fleet of trading ships[h] at the port of Ezion-geber.37 Then Eliezer son of Dodavahu from Mareshah prophesied against Jehoshaphat. He said, “Because you have allied yourself with King Ahaziah, the Lord will destroy your work.” So the ships met with disaster and never put out to sea.
“A line is a connection of historical dots that point to a story that you need to learn in order to grow and understand how all things are for the Good of God’s purpose, in which your place in heaven is sealed on that dotted line.” ~ Jon Barnes
God’s creations are on His timeline that only exist for us since time begins and ends with Him.Our dots tend not to come together because we are too busy being disconnected, preoccupied, mesmerized, and enslaved to our own devices, dishonesty, and deception.Balance your time, turn off the electronics and connect with God, people, nature, and relaxation to create a better lifestyle.
God intends for us to have a good time while we do good work spreading love, kindness, wisdom, and understanding to the next generation.Your personal line should be connected to God and His agenda and not your own ideas of fake relaxation.Rotate you energy and organize your efforts to live for God and see the miracles each day in your life.Otherwise, you are blind and see nothing, but what the devil wants you to see and do.
The images of violence, lust, greed, and evil thoughts are not the things we need to feed our minds and bodies from digital media and bad family examples.Your lifestyle should perpetuate the Good that you live, practice, and prove to show the results to your family so that they can follow you and what you have learned from God.Draw out the way that you walk with God so that others may clearly follow God’s ways, wisdom, works, and words.Your drawings should look exactly like the Bible of Christ and God’s Historical commandments.
Do the drawings in your life look like satan or like the teachings of Jesus?
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2 Chronicles 4
Furnishings for the Temple
4 Solomon[a] also made a bronze altar 30 feet long, 30 feet wide, and 15 feet high.[b]2 Then he cast a great round basin, 15 feet across from rim to rim, called the Sea. It was 7 1⁄2 feet deep and about 45 feet in circumference.[c]3 It was encircled just below its rim by two rows of figures that resembled oxen. There were about six oxen per foot[d] all the way around, and they were cast as part of the basin.
4 The Sea was placed on a base of twelve bronze oxen, all facing outward. Three faced north, three faced west, three faced south, and three faced east, and the Sea rested on them.5 The walls of the Sea were about three inches[e] thick, and its rim flared out like a cup and resembled a water lily blossom. It could hold about 16,500 gallons[f] of water.
6 He also made ten smaller basins for washing the utensils for the burnt offerings. He set five on the south side and five on the north. But the priests washed themselves in the Sea.
7 He then cast ten gold lampstands according to the specifications that had been given, and he put them in the Temple. Five were placed against the south wall, and five were placed against the north wall.
8 He also built ten tables and placed them in the Temple, five along the south wall and five along the north wall. Then he molded 100 gold basins.
9 He then built a courtyard for the priests, and also the large outer courtyard. He made doors for the courtyard entrances and overlaid them with bronze.10 The great bronze basin called the Sea was placed near the southeast corner of the Temple.
11 Huram-abi also made the necessary washbasins, shovels, and bowls.
So at last Huram-abi completed everything King Solomon had assigned him to make for the Temple of God:
12 the two pillars; the two bowl-shaped capitals on top of the pillars; the two networks of interwoven chains that decorated the capitals; 13 the 400 pomegranates that hung from the chains on the capitals (two rows of pomegranates for each of the chain networks that decorated the capitals on top of the pillars); 14 the water carts holding the basins; 15 the Sea and the twelve oxen under it; 16 the ash buckets, the shovels, the meat hooks, and all the related articles.
Huram-abi made all these things of burnished bronze for the Temple of the Lord, just as King Solomon had directed.17 The king had them cast in clay molds in the Jordan Valley between Succoth and Zarethan.[g]18 Solomon used such great quantities of bronze that its weight could not be determined.
19 Solomon also made all the furnishings for the Temple of God:
the gold altar; the tables for the Bread of the Presence; 20 the lampstands and their lamps of solid gold, to burn in front of the Most Holy Place as prescribed; 21 the flower decorations, lamps, and tongs—all of the purest gold; 22 the lamp snuffers, bowls, ladles, and incense burners—all of solid gold; the doors for the entrances to the Most Holy Place and the main room of the Temple, overlaid with gold.
“Too often our attention is on the hype, sales pitch, glamour, and stardom, event, projects, goals, and things; only to realize that we missed the fine print or simple details staring us in the face from God’s message.”~Jon Barnes
Experiences from old wise people that are passed down to the next generations carry many possible solutions to future problems and we have to be open to listening on both sides of the fence.Slow down and take the time you need to get this job done right the first time to connect generations with God’s wisdom.Many of us just want it now by picking people’s pockets, half doing a good job, wanting full payment for subpar work, and giving slave labor wages for hard work. The older generation has a responsibility to teach, learn and listen to the next generation to connect facts, not hype.
The worst thing that can happen is that you are legally enslaved to a system of self-corruption, mismanagement, greed, poverty, and the likes of which you don’t even know that you are enslaved.May God pull the wool from over your eyes so that you begin following the riches of God’s Love and reverse your enslaved future that is following evil into the darkness of hell will all of your money and cheap ideas.The Bible is clear on all of these issues of wickedness, deceit, lying, cheating, killing, stealing,fornication, and infidelity. Know your place and your motives and then line them up with God’s plan.
If your mind is fashioned and patterned after following the flesh of your heart, wickedness, and desires then your spirit has lost the war and you don’t know or love God.Since you are following your own ways, lust, and desires, God’s future plan for your soul is an everlasting fire.Like the sun burns nonstop from the beginning of time when God set things in motion, eternity will be even longer for your daily pain of disobedience and sin.
Is this the price you want to pay for the hype you are living with or will you let God change your heart and fix your mind?
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David Takes a Census
21 Satan rose up against Israel and caused David to take a census of the people of Israel.2 So David said to Joab and the commanders of the army, “Take a census of all the people of Israel—from Beersheba in the south to Dan in the north—and bring me a report so I may know how many there are.”
3 But Joab replied, “May the Lord increase the number of his people a hundred times over! But why, my lord the king, do you want to do this? Are they not all your servants? Why must you cause Israel to sin?”
4 But the king insisted that they take the census, so Joab traveled throughout all Israel to count the people. Then he returned to Jerusalem5 and reported the number of people to David. There were 1,100,000 warriors in all Israel who could handle a sword, and 470,000 in Judah.6 But Joab did not include the tribes of Levi and Benjamin in the census because he was so distressed at what the king had made him do.
Judgment for David’s Sin
7 God was very displeased with the census, and he punished Israel for it.8 Then David said to God, “I have sinned greatly by taking this census. Please forgive my guilt for doing this foolish thing.”
9 Then the Lord spoke to Gad, David’s seer. This was the message:10 “Go and say to David, ‘This is what the Lord says: I will give you three choices. Choose one of these punishments, and I will inflict it on you.’”
11 So Gad came to David and said, “These are the choices the Lord has given you.12 You may choose three years of famine, three months of destruction by the sword of your enemies, or three days of severe plague as the angel of the Lord brings devastation throughout the land of Israel. Decide what answer I should give the Lord who sent me.”
13 “I’m in a desperate situation!” David replied to Gad. “But let me fall into the hands of the Lord, for his mercy is very great. Do not let me fall into human hands.”
14 So the Lord sent a plague upon Israel, and 70,000 people died as a result.15 And God sent an angel to destroy Jerusalem. But just as the angel was preparing to destroy it, the Lordrelented and said to the death angel, “Stop! That is enough!” At that moment the angel of the Lord was standing by the threshing floor of Araunah[a] the Jebusite.
16 David looked up and saw the angel of the Lord standing between heaven and earth with his sword drawn, reaching out over Jerusalem. So David and the leaders of Israel put on burlap to show their deep distress and fell face down on the ground.17 And David said to God, “I am the one who called for the census! I am the one who has sinned and done wrong! But these people are as innocent as sheep—what have they done? O Lord my God, let your anger fall against me and my family, but do not destroy your people.”
David Builds an Altar
18 Then the angel of the Lord told Gad to instruct David to go up and build an altar to the Lordon the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.19 So David went up to do what the Lord had commanded him through Gad.20 Araunah, who was busy threshing wheat at the time, turned and saw the angel there. His four sons, who were with him, ran away and hid.21 When Araunah saw David approaching, he left his threshing floor and bowed before David with his face to the ground.
22 David said to Araunah, “Let me buy this threshing floor from you at its full price. Then I will build an altar to the Lord there, so that he will stop the plague.”
23 “Take it, my lord the king, and use it as you wish,” Araunah said to David. “I will give the oxen for the burnt offerings, and the threshing boards for wood to build a fire on the altar, and the wheat for the grain offering. I will give it all to you.”
24 But King David replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on buying it for the full price. I will not take what is yours and give it to the Lord. I will not present burnt offerings that have cost me nothing!”25 So David gave Araunah 600 pieces of gold[b] in payment for the threshing floor.
26 David built an altar there to the Lord and sacrificed burnt offerings and peace offerings. And when David prayed, the Lord answered him by sending fire from heaven to burn up the offering on the altar.27 Then the Lord spoke to the angel, who put the sword back into its sheath.
28 When David saw that the Lord had answered his prayer, he offered sacrifices there at Araunah’s threshing floor.29 At that time the Tabernacle of the Lord and the altar of burnt offering that Moses had made in the wilderness were located at the place of worship in Gibeon.30 But David was not able to go there to inquire of God, because he was terrified by the drawn sword of the angel of the Lord.
“Following evil leadership is not an excuse to behave so wickedly against God and His commandments since you have a personal choice and commitment to make.” ~ Jon Barnes
Fighting against the good things that God has established is never the direction to follow.Do not follow leaders and people in these directions and paths. Travel in the direction that makes sense to God and it will all make sense to you after you obey the instruction.Stop fighting against God’s Good Instructions and intentions.
It becomes difficult to break the bad habits of doing the wrong things because your body and mind crave the things you feed it.Learn to feed your body and mind what God wants you to eat.The more junk you give it the more junk you want and your life stores up this mess of fat, which becomes hard to get rid of.Follow God to the Holy Gym and start working out with your personal trainer.He has time for everyone if you go to the Real Gym of spiritual exercises and follow the program.
Applying new techniques and repetitious sets of God’s personal exercises will get your spiritual and physical body in shape for the good work you are committed too as well.Being fit is half the battle and being obedient is the other half. Just a few moves each day will change your lifestyle, perspective, friends, enemies, and future, as the light of God will shine from your life.God will make you the leader of your own lifestyle when you love Him and His Ways.
Is it really that difficult to follow God and His good rules of simplicity?
2 Kings 24
24 During Jehoiakim’s reign, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon invaded the land of Judah. Jehoiakim surrendered and paid him tribute for three years but then rebelled.2 Then the Lord sent bands of Babylonian,[a] Aramean, Moabite, and Ammonite raiders against Judah to destroy it, just as the Lord had promised through his prophets.3 These disasters happened to Judah because of the Lord’s command. He had decided to banish Judah from his presence because of the many sins of Manasseh,4 who had filled Jerusalem with innocent blood. The Lord would not forgive this.
5 The rest of the events in Jehoiakim’s reign and all his deeds are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Judah.6 When Jehoiakim died, his son Jehoiachin became the next king.
7 The king of Egypt did not venture out of his country after that, for the king of Babylon captured the entire area formerly claimed by Egypt—from the Brook of Egypt to the Euphrates River.
Jehoiachin Rules in Judah
8 Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. His mother was Nehushta, the daughter of Elnathan from Jerusalem.9 Jehoiachin did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, just as his father had done.
10 During Jehoiachin’s reign, the officers of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came up against Jerusalem and besieged it.11 Nebuchadnezzar himself arrived at the city during the siege.12 Then King Jehoiachin, along with the queen mother, his advisers, his commanders, and his officials, surrendered to the Babylonians.
In the eighth year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, he took Jehoiachin prisoner.13 As the Lord had said beforehand, Nebuchadnezzar carried away all the treasures from the Lord’s Temple and the royal palace. He stripped away[b] all the gold objects that King Solomon of Israel had placed in the Temple.14 King Nebuchadnezzar took all of Jerusalem captive, including all the commanders and the best of the soldiers, craftsmen, and artisans—10,000 in all. Only the poorest people were left in the land.
15 Nebuchadnezzar led King Jehoiachin away as a captive to Babylon, along with the queen mother, his wives and officials, and all Jerusalem’s elite.16 He also exiled 7,000 of the best troops and 1,000 craftsmen and artisans, all of whom were strong and fit for war.17 Then the king of Babylon installed Mattaniah, Jehoiachin’s[c] uncle, as the next king, and he changed Mattaniah’s name to Zedekiah.
Zedekiah Rules in Judah
18 Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eleven years. His mother was Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah from Libnah.19 But Zedekiah did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, just as Jehoiakim had done.20 These things happened because of the Lord’s anger against the people of Jerusalem and Judah, until he finally banished them from his presence and sent them into exile.
“Minimize your risk by obeying God and avoid your exposure to great loss and suffering by listening and reading more, yet talking less.” ~ Jon Barnes
Calculate the mileage of your steps each day that you walk towards God and minimize the steps you take backward. When you feel like you are moving in the wrong direction, stop, look forward and step into God’s Will for your life, in a forward motion.When you are doing your thing, you are stepping backward; when you are doing God’s work, you are stepping forward.
Stepping out on faith is full of adventure and has a set time to mature with the work you put into what you believe. If God is in what you are doing, the fruit will look and taste wonderful. If you produced rotten fruit, perhaps you stepped in some cow poop. Let go of the hurt, forgive, forget, and learn more about what God is trying to teach you from each test you pass or fail. The same test will step out again until you have mastered the lesson and you will have to pass it before moving forward.
Yes, you have to look at where you are stepping into. Why, what, when, and how will help determine your success when walking with God.When we allow God to lead, guide and direct our paths, our steps are ordered by faith and our actions are inspired, calculated, and executed with our faith in God. Your balanced steps are in order and your life makes sense to you and God.
Did you just step into Heaven or Hell?
Enjoy The Reading
Samson’s Vengeance on the Philistines
15 Later on, at the time of wheat harvest, Samson took a young goat and went to visit his wife. He said, “I’m going to my wife’s room.” But her father would not let him go in.
2 “I was so sure you hated her,” he said, “that I gave her to your companion. Isn’t her younger sister more attractive? Take her instead.”
3 Samson said to them, “This time I have a right to get even with the Philistines; I will really harm them.”4 So he went out and caught three hundred foxes and tied them tail to tail in pairs. He then fastened a torch to every pair of tails,5 lit the torches and let the foxes loose in the standing grain of the Philistines. He burned up the shocks and standing grain, together with the vineyards and olive groves.
6 When the Philistines asked, “Who did this?” they were told, “Samson, the Timnite’s son-in-law, because his wife was given to his companion.”
So the Philistines went up and burned her and her father to death.7 Samson said to them, “Since you’ve acted like this, I swear that I won’t stop until I get my revenge on you.”8 He attacked them viciously and slaughtered many of them. Then he went down and stayed in a cave in the rock of Etam.
9 The Philistines went up and camped in Judah, spreading out near Lehi.10 The people of Judah asked, “Why have you come to fight us?”
“We have come to take Samson prisoner,” they answered, “to do to him as he did to us.”
11 Then three thousand men from Judah went down to the cave in the rock of Etam and said to Samson, “Don’t you realize that the Philistines are rulers over us? What have you done to us?”
He answered, “I merely did to them what they did to me.”
12 They said to him, “We’ve come to tie you up and hand you over to the Philistines.”
Samson said, “Swear to me that you won’t kill me yourselves.”
13 “Agreed,” they answered. “We will only tie you up and hand you over to them. We will not kill you.” So they bound him with two new ropes and led him up from the rock.14 As he approached Lehi, the Philistines came toward him shouting. The Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon him. The ropes on his arms became like charred flax, and the bindings dropped from his hands.15 Finding a fresh jawbone of a donkey, he grabbed it and struck down a thousand men.
16 Then Samson said,
“With a donkey’s jawbone I have made donkeys of them.[a] With a donkey’s jawbone I have killed a thousand men.”
17 When he finished speaking, he threw away the jawbone; and the place was called Ramath Lehi.[b]
18 Because he was very thirsty, he cried out to the Lord, “You have given your servant this great victory. Must I now die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?”19 Then God opened up the hollow place in Lehi, and water came out of it. When Samson drank, his strength returned and he revived. So the springwas called En Hakkore,[c] and it is still there in Lehi.
20 Samson led[d] Israel for twenty years in the days of the Philistines.