“Follow your productivity trail with God’s path to see where the joys of walking with God shall be experienced and do not fall weary of the evil traps set by satan.” ~ Jon Barnes
“In case of emergencies (or in everyday life), tap into the Holy Humor of God.”~TB
The Divine Chuckle
God has to have the greatest sense of humor of all time. Just look at us, we are a funny bunch. I’m sure He looks down at us, and has a good chuckle from time to time. And if you learn how, you too can get in on the joke. The older I get, the more I’m convinced that when we endure trying times, in those moments we are able to experience the the kindness and humor of God. If you take a step back and look, you can begin to see God in His kindness and mercy, rather than the Old Testament look we tend to view Him as. Take the holidays and family, for example. Many of us in the Western part of the world are wrapping up the holiday season, which means time spent with your family– for better or worse.
Family can bring the greatest sense of joy. They can also provide the greatest amount of strife as those closest to us know (consciously or otherwise) how to get under our skin. Family functions will always have a sort of dysfunction because we’re all flesh-bag beings who are severely imperfect, and no amount of strategically choreographed photos can change that. Be that as it may, the art of seeing the humor in discord serves two purposes. 1.) You learn not to pick up the sword and you can disarm a brewing battle. 2.) It’s a fun way to take the sting out of the situation. Like the gauge of a pressure cooker, Holy laughter alleviates the boiling pot of tension in family gatherings, safely dismantling a lethal weapon, repurposing it into a fun endeavor.
For Better or Worse
This life is full of hills and valleys, highs and lows. If you can’t find the humor or absurdity in situations, friends it’s going to be a long and arduous venture. So the next time Uncle Frank (no offense to the Franks of the world) makes an insensitive comment or your cousin asks to borrow a couple bucks from you, have a laugh with God, and let the moments float on by as punch lines of your Holy Comedy Routine. The more you learn to chuckle and roll with the punches, the less opportunities are available for the opposition to sow seeds of discord. Remember, when in doubt, have a chuckle with God and laugh it out.
Are you able to see God’s Humor or are you the butt of the joke?
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“Your ability to see things from Christ’s ultimately depends on your vantage point.”~TB
We are all given senses and common sense to understand how to navigate the ways of this world. We are also given the choice to be in relationship with our Father in Heaven so that he can give us the Biblical compass to lead lives that bring honor to Him. Using Christ’s compass sharpens our senses, giving us the ability to see things from a Christ-like perspective. Alternatively, using your own vantage point will give you a finite and inaccurate understanding of a flawed world. But friends, just because we are broken does not mean that God’s perspective is. Understand this distinction.
Man’s viewpoint is flawed and judgmental as we are unable to fully understand or practice mercy, grace and forgiveness in our own right. To the undisciplined and untrained, behaviors like submission and forgiveness seem foolish. That is because the ego and flesh tells us that our understanding of right and wrong is correct! From a legalistic standpoint, everything is black and white. In this mindset, it’s ok to judge and condemn your neighbors, family, and friends when they screw up or offend. It’s ok to rob and enslave the naive because they ‘should’ know better and technically you did not break the law. But don’t be fooled, the wicked may seem successful, but according to who’s vantage point?
Friend’s God’s ways are infinite and never fully understood by man. We lack the ability! Fortunately, what is true and what we can rely on is that this life is not as unpredictable as we like to believe. Look at all of the stories in the Bible. If you read them enough, you will see the behaviors and patterns from old have the same themes of your own. Just adopt God’s vantage point, and you will see that His people do the same good, dumb, shameful, repentant deeds since Adam and Eve. These are the same stories, just different people and different times. So in whatever you do, take His vantage point so that you can see the world and its people as God sees you.
How does the view look from where’ you’re sitting?
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“Being made new in Christ means rejecting your old ways and adopting the lifestyle of Christ”~TB
Now that the Truth has been revealed to you, you are marked, cemented in God’s stable. This means that you have to reject previous sins, thoughts, and actions. The same behavior that got you into a turbulent lifestyle cannot remain when you are made new in Christ. You can try to cling onto your past life, but what you will find is the behavior of yesterday will never grant you the peace you experience in Christ. This is because the Holy Spirit within you can never find satisfaction in the fleshly sinful practices of man. No, it requires Biblical fuel to thrive. Save yourself some time and headache by adopting the principles and behaviors of Christ.
Freedom in Christ means existing in the Holy peace that a Christlike mentality brings. This can only happen when you let your guard down and allow Him to lead your life. If you can continually check your ego and pride at the door, you will eventually see that what you were trying to defend was not yours to defend at all! Allow God to handle your affairs. Live in peace among one another and do not let the judgments of man dictate your perception of the Lord. Focus on Him to learn how to Biblically move in this world and you will see that life isn’t as chaotic and random as the world would let you believe.
Are you hitting your head trying to keep a dead lifestyle or are you reading to adopt your new life?
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“Why waste time arguing with fools? If the message is falling on deaf ears clearly it’s not intended for them.”~TB
This world is full of fools who are willing to believe stupid things due to their blatant disobedience. They seek any justification to stay in their stupor and will look for supporters high and low. Friends, let the wicked have this world, they’ve made their choice. When you fight with the willfully deaf, you are engaging in a battle that isn’t meant to be won. Instead, you’ve wasted your resources and energy on a futile effort. Focus your efforts on yourself and your service for God. He will instruct your steps if you allow Him to. Don’t let the evil one deceive you by distracting you with dumb people. It’s a trap, keep your eyes peeled and sidestep the noise.
It’s important to understand that we aren’t here to change hearts and minds. That’s God’s job. We are here to live and speak the Truth. Though we may be part of that plan, our job is the mirror the Truth to the best of our abilities and let God handle the God stuff. He knows how to handle that far better than humans, so let’s just stick to our holy occupations. When you focus your efforts and habits, you will see that your honest, Biblical deeds yield more fruit than arguing with an idiot who is souled out for the devil. Do not engage with them. If you practice kindness and humility, their own deeds will heap coals on their heads, without you having to do a thing.
Are you wasting your time on stupid stuff or are you focusing on your personal holy employment?
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“Don’t root your faith in man, because the roots will not take hold. For a firmly rooted foundation, look to God.”~TB
When you base your faith solely on the actions of your brothers and sisters in Christ, you will be disappointed time and time again. Humans are imperfect, prone to sin, and fundamentally flawed. Even the wisest will fall prey to their wickedness. So what happens when the wise fall? All of a sudden you begin to question your Creator over the misdeeds of your leaders. How foolish! It is arrogant and naive to hold God accountable for the actions of man. Free will gives us the choice to obey or disobey. When your faith is rooted in man, what you thought was firmly planted gets ripped away by the gentlest breeze. Plant your seeds accordingly.
When you place your faith in God and God alone, He opens your eyes to the Truth, planting you firmly in His Holy Garden where you are permanently rooted. With that Truth, you begin to crave discipline and obedience. Forgiveness becomes easier and you give it as freely as He freely forgives you. When the wise fall, as they do, you understand that it happens and that the transgression is between them and God. You begin to experience the joy of minding your own relationship with God rather than rationalizing your shortcomings because “other people are doing it too”. Tend to your Holy roots by reading the Word and walking close to the Lord. Watch how it changes your world view.
Are your roots planted in the Holy Garden or are they shallowly rooted in foolishness?
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“Great teachers have learned to buffer, package, and deliver difficult concepts, ideas, and standards from God’s Holy Word so that people, students, and families can understand why we all must follow, do, and teach the truth.”
2 Chronicles 36
Jehoahaz King of Judah
Jehoiakim King of Judah
Jehoiachin King of Judah
Zedekiah King of Judah
The Fall of Jerusalem
“We can talk ourselves out of our blessings with a despondent attitude and mindset for stepping away from our work, choices, time, and money because our low spirit does not want to pay the cost of studying, learning, or improving with God’s lifecycle.” ~ Jon Barnes
Allotment for Ephraim and Manasseh
“God’s timing is strategic and purposeful, so enjoy the beauty and opportunity of today and forget the anxiety of tomorrow.”
In the Now
Trials require us to fully rely on His plan, leaning on His understanding and not our own. Today you may be facing uncomfortable circumstances that may have you looking anxiously toward tomorrow. Remember, He sees you and He hears you. He know’s where you’ve been, where you are, and where you’re going. Be present, patient, and hopeful in each moment, taking comfort in the fact that enduring tough situations brings resilience, steadfastness, and is the key to walking through the fire unharmed. Our faith is tested, strengthened and ultimately renewed when we pass our Biblical exams. When you maintain your peace and joy in turbulent waters, you find the answers to the test, moving you forward in your journey with God.
Question of the day
Are you focused on controlling the Know or on finding joy in the Now?
“I am becoming less sensitive to the things I hear and see and more sensitive to what God is showing and teaching me in all things with patience, kindness, long-suffering, contentment and thanksgiving.