Rebuked

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Hi Peeps,
Today’s Quote
“Since the wicked are trapped in their own deed, how much more are God’s good people rewarded for the work of faith and honest actions of love?”    Jon Barnes

Marvelous

Fix your eyes daily on the marvelous wonders of God, His Ways, and creations to keep your minds fresh, filled with faith, love, and hope.  Be ready to do the work. Know that God’s rewards will blow your mind in Heaven and nothing that you can say or think will compare or be accurate in imagining such splendor and spectacular lifestyle of Spirit, Awe, and Wonder!

Appeared

God will appear in all the things you do and surround you with His love and favor.   The level of support and assistance will rock your world and sing into the heavens to declare your loyalty and love for God.  All of creation will witness who you are in God and they will know your place in Him as you do.

Absent

When God is absent from your life, evil surrounds you and it is known by all.  Since you continue to do dumb things, there is no hiding who you are and what you do.  Calamity follows your thoughts and actions at every turn and your children act like you do.  God’s words, work, and faith are far from your life and lips.  You will not be absent in your eternal reward of hell and judgment.
Today’s Question
Where is your confusion coming from?
Enjoy The Reading

Job 26 

Job’s Ninth Speech: A Response to Bildad

26 Then Job spoke again:
“How you have helped the powerless!
    How you have saved the weak!
How you have enlightened my stupidity!
    What wise advice you have offered!
Where have you gotten all these wise sayings?
    Whose spirit speaks through you?
“The dead tremble—
    those who live beneath the waters.
The underworld[a] is naked in God’s presence.
    The place of destruction[b] is uncovered.
God stretches the northern sky over empty space
    and hangs the earth on nothing.
He wraps the rain in his thick clouds,
    and the clouds don’t burst with the weight.
He covers the face of the moon,[c]
    shrouding it with his clouds.
10 He created the horizon when he separated the waters;
    he set the boundary between day and night.
11 The foundations of heaven tremble;
    they shudder at his rebuke.
12 By his power the sea grew calm.
    By his skill he crushed the great sea monster.[d]
13 His Spirit made the heavens beautiful,
    and his power pierced the gliding serpent.
14 These are just the beginning of all that he does,
    merely a whisper of his power.
    Who, then, can comprehend the thunder of his power?”
 
Love,
 
Jonathan

Employable

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Hi Peeps,
Today’s Quote
“I implore you to become self-employed with your own ideas, concepts, and business to change and improve your lifestyle of love, charity, and hope.” ~  Jon Barnes

Explore

Your motives should explore new and higher possibilities in truth, justice, and love with God when you ask, learn, and follow his rules of wisdom and knowledge.  Self-employment teaches you to focus, fact find and produce the best goods and services with your name on it.  Who you are will match the quality of what you say, do, make, and sell.

Expire

Many of us give up too soon, following the easy way out, only to find out that you are now the slave because of your disobedience to God, following the lust of your flesh, the greed of your eyes, and ease of sin.  Expire those old ways of evil. I say that it is easier to do what God would have you to do the right way the first time.  Stop being nice to the devil.  He’s not your friend.

Expel

Expel the idea that you have to sit around waiting for someone to take care of you.  Get busy making a difference and standing up for what is right.  Stop following the crowd with your thinking, follow God with His solutions and ideas.  Your success will vibrate at a higher frequency with brighter colors in love.
Today’s Question
Does the love of God vibrate and radiate from your heart with laughter, enjoyment, and thanksgiving or are you the thief in the night, killing and destroying everything that is around you for a dollar?
Enjoy The Reading
 

2 Chronicles 15 

Asa’s Religious Reforms

15 Then the Spirit of God came upon Azariah son of Oded, and he went out to meet King Asa as he was returning from the battle. “Listen to me, Asa!” he shouted. “Listen, all you people of Judah and Benjamin! The Lord will stay with you as long as you stay with him! Whenever you seek him, you will find him. But if you abandon him, he will abandon you. For a long time Israel was without the true God, without a priest to teach them, and without the Law to instruct them. But whenever they were in trouble and turned to the Lord, the God of Israel, and sought him out, they found him.
“During those dark times, it was not safe to travel. Problems troubled the people of every land. Nation fought against nation, and city against city, for God was troubling them with every kind of problem. But as for you, be strong and courageous, for your work will be rewarded.”
When Asa heard this message from Azariah the prophet,[a] he took courage and removed all the detestable idols from the land of Judah and Benjamin and in the towns he had captured in the hill country of Ephraim. And he repaired the altar of the Lord, which stood in front of the entry room of the Lord’s Temple.
Then Asa called together all the people of Judah and Benjamin, along with the people of Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon who had settled among them. For many from Israel had moved to Judah during Asa’s reign when they saw that the Lord his God was with him. 10 The people gathered at Jerusalem in late spring,[b] during the fifteenth year of Asa’s reign.
11 On that day they sacrificed to the Lord 700 cattle and 7,000 sheep and goats from the plunder they had taken in the battle. 12 Then they entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their ancestors, with all their heart and soul. 13 They agreed that anyone who refused to seek the Lord, the God of Israel, would be put to death—whether young or old, man or woman. 14 They shouted out their oath of loyalty to the Lord with trumpets blaring and rams’ horns sounding. 15 All in Judah were happy about this covenant, for they had entered into it with all their heart. They earnestly sought after God, and they found him. And the Lordgave them rest from their enemies on every side.
16 King Asa even deposed his grandmother[c] Maacah from her position as queen mother because she had made an obscene Asherah pole. He cut down her obscene pole, broke it up, and burned it in the Kidron Valley. 17 Although the pagan shrines were not removed from Israel, Asa’s heart remained completely faithful throughout his life. 18 He brought into the Temple of God the silver and gold and the various items that he and his father had dedicated.
19 So there was no more war until the thirty-fifth year of Asa’s reign.

Love,

Jonathan

Trend

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

Treat

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

Setter

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

Message

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

Ahaz Rules in Judah

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

Faith Likes

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Hi Peeps,
Today’s Quote
“The actions of your faith like the work and lifestyle you live and the fruit of your choices and labor are self-evident, pleasing to God and helpful to others.” ~ Jon Barnes

Hired

You will always have a job when your quality, integrity, and honorable workflows from you. People will notice complement your thoughtfulness, helpfulness, honesty, and competence; whether you believe it or not. It takes work to make sure your talent, character, and lifestyle match what you preach.  Eyes are always upon you and your reputation will follow you as well.

Worker Bees

Real people get the work done because they are honest, caring, and full of love. They don’t need a lot of instructions since they see the need. Their willingness to help is not a quality to be taken advantage of. However, God sees and rewards their quality of labor and character.  Your character is not based on the things you have and how much money you make. By default, your motives from the heart automatically manifest your character and work ethic.

Works

Continue to do the good works each day and enjoy the wonderful blessings that God will shine on you.  Notice and be thankful for the near misses in car accidents, harmful plots, corruption, greed, and lust of the eyes that can befall us. Stay true to the cause of justice, love, honesty, and faithfulness.  God will reward your loving work. Enjoy the Good Work, mercy, and grace in your life.
Today’s Question
Does your good work follow you, as you walk, work, and live by faith?
Enjoy The Reading

2 Samuel 20 

The Revolt of Sheba

20 There happened to be a troublemaker there named Sheba son of Bicri, a man from the tribe of Benjamin. Sheba blew a ram’s horn and began to chant:
“Down with the dynasty of David!
    We have no interest in the son of Jesse.
Come on, you men of Israel,
    back to your homes!”
So all the men of Israel deserted David and followed Sheba son of Bicri. But the men of Judah stayed with their king and escorted him from the Jordan River to Jerusalem.
When David came to his palace in Jerusalem, he took the ten concubines he had left to look after the palace and placed them in seclusion. Their needs were provided for, but he no longer slept with them. So each of them lived like a widow until she died.
Then the king told Amasa, “Mobilize the army of Judah within three days, and report back at that time.” So Amasa went out to notify Judah, but it took him longer than the time he had been given.
Then David said to Abishai, “Sheba son of Bicri is going to hurt us more than Absalom did. Quick, take my troops and chase after him before he gets into a fortified town where we can’t reach him.”
So Abishai and Joab,[a] together with the king’s bodyguard[b] and all the mighty warriors, set out from Jerusalem to go after Sheba. As they arrived at the great stone in Gibeon, Amasa met them. Joab was wearing his military tunic with a dagger strapped to his belt. As he stepped forward to greet Amasa, he slipped the dagger from its sheath.[c]
“How are you, my cousin?” Joab said and took him by the beard with his right hand as though to kiss him. 10 Amasa didn’t notice the dagger in his left hand, and Joab stabbed him in the stomach with it so that his insides gushed out onto the ground. Joab did not need to strike again, and Amasa soon died. Joab and his brother Abishai left him lying there and continued after Sheba.
11 One of Joab’s young men shouted to Amasa’s troops, “If you are for Joab and David, come and follow Joab.” 12 But Amasa lay in his blood in the middle of the road, and Joab’s man saw that everyone was stopping to stare at him. So he pulled him off the road into a field and threw a cloak over him. 13 With Amasa’s body out of the way, everyone went on with Joab to capture Sheba son of Bicri.
14 Meanwhile, Sheba traveled through all the tribes of Israel and eventually came to the town of Abel-beth-maacah. All the members of his own clan, the Bicrites,[d]assembled for battle and followed him into the town. 15 When Joab’s forces arrived, they attacked Abel-beth-maacah. They built a siege ramp against the town’s fortifications and began battering down the wall. 16 But a wise woman in the town called out to Joab, “Listen to me, Joab. Come over here so I can talk to you.” 17 As he approached, the woman asked, “Are you Joab?”
“I am,” he replied.
So she said, “Listen carefully to your servant.”
“I’m listening,” he said.
18 Then she continued, “There used to be a saying, ‘If you want to settle an argument, ask advice at the town of Abel.’ 19 I am one who is peace loving and faithful in Israel. But you are destroying an important town in Israel.[e] Why do you want to devour what belongs to the Lord?”
20 And Joab replied, “Believe me, I don’t want to devour or destroy your town!21 That’s not my purpose. All I want is a man named Sheba son of Bicri from the hill country of Ephraim, who has revolted against King David. If you hand over this one man to me, I will leave the town in peace.”
“All right,” the woman replied, “we will throw his head over the wall to you.”22 Then the woman went to all the people with her wise advice, and they cut off Sheba’s head and threw it out to Joab. So he blew the ram’s horn and called his troops back from the attack. They all returned to their homes, and Joab returned to the king at Jerusalem.
23 Now Joab was the commander of the army of Israel. Benaiah son of Jehoiada was captain of the king’s bodyguard. 24 Adoniram[f] was in charge of forced labor. Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud was the royal historian. 25 Sheva was the court secretary. Zadok and Abiathar were the priests. 26 And Ira, a descendant of Jair, was David’s personal priest.
Love,
Jonathan

Behaviors

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  Hi Peeps
Today’s Quote
“As you age, you should have developed good habits and behaviors that will carry you for the rest of your life in God’s Will. It is the job of the next generation to pick out those habits and improve upon them.”  ~ Jon Barnes

Personal

Practicing who you are is personal. Your character is developed on your own, with your own thoughts that are focused on God’s Love or the devil’s workshop. Your job is to know what you are thinking to stay focused on who you love, God or wickedness.  Your actions spin in control or out of control, based on your steps towards or away from God.

Selection

You choose and select from the menu of life because God has given us this option to be who we are and to run our personal race. Each person is an Olympic athlete unto God and your training schedule, diet, thoughts, routines, and good works are logged on His Holy iPad.  There is a delete button at the gate of Heaven for many people who choose behaviors that are not consistent with the fruit of the Spirit. 

Members

Members of God’s Olympic Team are all Gold Medalists who improved their personal walk over time, did the work, kept the faith, helped others, followed God’s Olympic Manual and rules of the games.  Our lives passed the Olympic test of Commandment, Procedures, and Consistent Love for honest repentance and improvements towards God in our brief moments in time. The time you’ve spent doing what you do, defined your behaviors towards God and your Olympic Holy Metal and passport into Heaven.
Today’s Question
Do you behave like an Olympic Champion for God or did you give up and quit your training?
Enjoy Your Reading

Judges 19 

A Levite and His Concubine

19 In those days Israel had no king.
Now a Levite who lived in a remote area in the hill country of Ephraim took a concubine from Bethlehem in Judah. But she was unfaithful to him. She left him and went back to her parents’ home in Bethlehem, Judah. After she had been there four months, her husband went to her to persuade her to return. He had with him his servant and two donkeys. She took him into her parents’ home, and when her father saw him, he gladly welcomed him. His father-in-law, the woman’s father, prevailed on him to stay; so he remained with him three days, eating and drinking, and sleeping there.
On the fourth day they got up early and he prepared to leave, but the woman’s father said to his son-in-law, “Refresh yourself with something to eat; then you can go.” So the two of them sat down to eat and drink together. Afterward the woman’s father said, “Please stay tonight and enjoy yourself.” And when the man got up to go, his father-in-law persuaded him, so he stayed there that night. On the morning of the fifth day, when he rose to go, the woman’s father said, “Refresh yourself. Wait till afternoon!” So the two of them ate together.
Then when the man, with his concubine and his servant, got up to leave, his father-in-law, the woman’s father, said, “Now look, it’s almost evening. Spend the night here; the day is nearly over. Stay and enjoy yourself. Early tomorrow morning you can get up and be on your way home.” 10 But, unwilling to stay another night, the man left and went toward Jebus (that is, Jerusalem), with his two saddled donkeys and his concubine.
11 When they were near Jebus and the day was almost gone, the servant said to his master, “Come, let’s stop at this city of the Jebusites and spend the night.”
12 His master replied, “No. We won’t go into any city whose people are not Israelites. We will go on to Gibeah.” 13 He added, “Come, let’s try to reach Gibeah or Ramah and spend the night in one of those places.” 14 So they went on, and the sun set as they neared Gibeah in Benjamin. 15 There they stopped to spend the night. They went and sat in the city square, but no one took them in for the night.
16 That evening an old man from the hill country of Ephraim, who was living in Gibeah (the inhabitants of the place were Benjamites), came in from his work in the fields. 17 When he looked and saw the traveler in the city square, the old man asked, “Where are you going? Where did you come from?”
18 He answered, “We are on our way from Bethlehem in Judah to a remote area in the hill country of Ephraim where I live. I have been to Bethlehem in Judah and now I am going to the house of the Lord.[a] No one has taken me in for the night.19 We have both straw and fodder for our donkeys and bread and wine for ourselves your servants—me, the woman and the young man with us. We don’t need anything.”
20 “You are welcome at my house,” the old man said. “Let me supply whatever you need. Only don’t spend the night in the square.” 21 So he took him into his house and fed his donkeys. After they had washed their feet, they had something to eat and drink.
22 While they were enjoying themselves, some of the wicked men of the city surrounded the house. Pounding on the door, they shouted to the old man who owned the house, “Bring out the man who came to your house so we can have sex with him.”
23 The owner of the house went outside and said to them, “No, my friends, don’t be so vile. Since this man is my guest, don’t do this outrageous thing. 24 Look, here is my virgin daughter, and his concubine. I will bring them out to you now, and you can use them and do to them whatever you wish. But as for this man, don’t do such an outrageous thing.”
25 But the men would not listen to him. So the man took his concubine and sent her outside to them, and they raped her and abused her throughout the night, and at dawn they let her go. 26 At daybreak the woman went back to the house where her master was staying, fell down at the door and lay there until daylight.
27 When her master got up in the morning and opened the door of the house and stepped out to continue on his way, there lay his concubine, fallen in the doorway of the house, with her hands on the threshold. 28 He said to her, “Get up; let’s go.” But there was no answer. Then the man put her on his donkey and set out for home.
29 When he reached home, he took a knife and cut up his concubine, limb by limb, into twelve parts and sent them into all the areas of Israel. 30 Everyone who saw it was saying to one another, “Such a thing has never been seen or done, not since the day the Israelites came up out of Egypt. Just imagine! We must do something! So speak up!”
Love,
Jonathan

Simply Put

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Hi Peeps,
Today’s Quote
“The Truth needs no apologies so enjoy your walk with God in Spirit and in Truth, with all the love you can spread around.” ~ Jon Barnes

Mistakes Made

We all make mistakes and when they are honest ones, God understands and will forgive your repentance, because He sees your true intentions.  It is the mistakes that are secretly and intentionally made that becomes questionable in your motives, understanding, and forward motion in Christ. Just as God is quick to see your honesty and reward you in heaven, He is just as quick to cast you down into the fiery pit of hell, if you believe God to be a fool.

Quickly Make

Make your adjustments daily so that you stay on track and in the Will of God by following His simple procedures and commandment for your Christian lifestyle.  Copy and do what God says, not what I think or say.  Let God be the beginning and end of your faith, belief, love, kindness,  and prayers.

Resolutions

Humility teaches you to be quiet and listen to the older generations so that you can benefit from their improvements and their mistakes. As a result, your ability to love grows in the direction of God’s Commandments of honoring your parents and doing God’s Will, not your will.
Today’s Question
Why are you standing in God’s way, hiding from the truth, by not doing the reading and work?
Enjoy The Reading
 

Judges 12 

Jephthah and Ephraim

12 The Ephraimite forces were called out, and they crossed over to Zaphon.They said to Jephthah, “Why did you go to fight the Ammonites without calling us to go with you? We’re going to burn down your house over your head.”
Jephthah answered, “I and my people were engaged in a great struggle with the Ammonites, and although I called, you didn’t save me out of their hands. When I saw that you wouldn’t help, I took my life in my hands and crossed over to fight the Ammonites, and the Lord gave me the victory over them. Now why have you come up today to fight me?”
Jephthah then called together the men of Gilead and fought against Ephraim. The Gileadites struck them down because the Ephraimites had said, “You Gileadites are renegades from Ephraim and Manasseh.” The Gileadites captured the fords of the Jordan leading to Ephraim, and whenever a survivor of Ephraim said, “Let me cross over,” the men of Gilead asked him, “Are you an Ephraimite?” If he replied, “No,” they said, “All right, say ‘Shibboleth.’” If he said, “Sibboleth,” because he could not pronounce the word correctly, they seized him and killed him at the fords of the Jordan. Forty-two thousand Ephraimites were killed at that time.
Jephthah led[a] Israel six years. Then Jephthah the Gileadite died and was buried in a town in Gilead.

Ibzan, Elon and Abdon

After him, Ibzan of Bethlehem led Israel. He had thirty sons and thirty daughters. He gave his daughters away in marriage to those outside his clan, and for his sons he brought in thirty young women as wives from outside his clan. Ibzan led Israel seven years. 10 Then Ibzan died and was buried in Bethlehem.
11 After him, Elon the Zebulunite led Israel ten years. 12 Then Elon died and was buried in Aijalon in the land of Zebulun.
13 After him, Abdon son of Hillel, from Pirathon, led Israel. 14 He had forty sons and thirty grandsons, who rode on seventy donkeys. He led Israel eight years. 15 Then Abdon son of Hillel died and was buried at Pirathon in Ephraim, in the hill country of the Amalekites.
Love,
Jonathan

Don’t See

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Hi Peeps,
Today’s Quote
“Your Greed, Lust, and Pride does not allow you to appreciate, experience, and see what your Father God Provides for you right before your very Eyes.” ~ Jon Barnes

Think

You have developed a lifetime worth of bad habits, full of fat repetitious behavior, based on your own thoughts, ideas, traditions, and works that are evil, selfish, or wrong, because God’s ways of love are missing in your mind! Your wicked heart makes every excuse to block the mind, body, and soul to use God’s Good work and ways of righteousness.

Thank

You should thank God for the devil’s process, so that you may learn from God and clean up your mess and allow your heart to process the truth. Thank God for a mind that listens to develop a loving heart that transitions into a repenting, mature, masterpiece of God’s Working Spit Art, which will allow you access into the Gate of Heaven.

Thunk

Avoiding and running from your clean up job with Love is not progress, because the richness of Lust, Pride and Greed has an empty thunk sound of need, in the trunk of your soul, ringing for eternity in want. All the power, money, fame, talent, and fake feelings of bliss, is just a technological misappropriation of true love, with a hollow front. Trumped by your own empty shell games, your greed has been sold and now returns to claim your evil soul’s remains in the thunk, trumped sound of Hell and perpetual pain.
Today’s Question
How can you see the truth in God’s Love, since you are using the devil’s eyes of Lust, Greed, and Pride?
Enjoy Today’s Reading

Genesis 29

Jacob Arrives at Paddan-Aram

29 Then Jacob hurried on, finally arriving in the land of the east. He saw a well in the distance. Three flocks of sheep and goats lay in an open field beside it, waiting to be watered. But a heavy stone covered the mouth of the well.
It was the custom there to wait for all the flocks to arrive before removing the stone and watering the animals. Afterward the stone would be placed back over the mouth of the well. Jacob went over to the shepherds and asked, “Where are you from, my friends?”
“We are from Haran,” they answered.
“Do you know a man there named Laban, the grandson of Nahor?” he asked.
“Yes, we do,” they replied.
“Is he doing well?” Jacob asked.
“Yes, he’s well,” they answered. “Look, here comes his daughter Rachel with the flock now.”
Jacob said, “Look, it’s still broad daylight—too early to round up the animals. Why don’t you water the sheep and goats so they can get back out to pasture?”
“We can’t water the animals until all the flocks have arrived,” they replied. “Then the shepherds move the stone from the mouth of the well, and we water all the sheep and goats.”
Jacob was still talking with them when Rachel arrived with her father’s flock, for she was a shepherd. 10 And because Rachel was his cousin—the daughter of Laban, his mother’s brother—and because the sheep and goats belonged to his uncle Laban, Jacob went over to the well and moved the stone from its mouth and watered his uncle’s flock. 11 Then Jacob kissed Rachel, and he wept aloud. 12 He explained to Rachel that he was her cousin on her father’s side—the son of her aunt Rebekah. So Rachel quickly ran and told her father, Laban.
13 As soon as Laban heard that his nephew Jacob had arrived, he ran out to meet him. He embraced and kissed him and brought him home. When Jacob had told him his story, 14 Laban exclaimed, “You really are my own flesh and blood!”

Jacob Marries Leah and Rachel

After Jacob had stayed with Laban for about a month, 15 Laban said to him, “You shouldn’t work for me without pay just because we are relatives. Tell me how much your wages should be.”
16 Now Laban had two daughters. The older daughter was named Leah, and the younger one was Rachel. 17 There was no sparkle in Leah’s eyes,[a] but Rachel had a beautiful figure and a lovely face. 18 Since Jacob was in love with Rachel, he told her father, “I’ll work for you for seven years if you’ll give me Rachel, your younger daughter, as my wife.”
19 “Agreed!” Laban replied. “I’d rather give her to you than to anyone else. Stay and work with me.” 20 So Jacob worked seven years to pay for Rachel. But his love for her was so strong that it seemed to him but a few days.
21 Finally, the time came for him to marry her. “I have fulfilled my agreement,” Jacob said to Laban. “Now give me my wife so I can sleep with her.”
22 So Laban invited everyone in the neighborhood and prepared a wedding feast.23 But that night, when it was dark, Laban took Leah to Jacob, and he slept with her. 24 (Laban had given Leah a servant, Zilpah, to be her maid.)
25 But when Jacob woke up in the morning—it was Leah! “What have you done to me?” Jacob raged at Laban. “I worked seven years for Rachel! Why have you tricked me?”
26 “It’s not our custom here to marry off a younger daughter ahead of the firstborn,” Laban replied. 27 “But wait until the bridal week is over; then we’ll give you Rachel, too—provided you promise to work another seven years for me.”
28 So Jacob agreed to work seven more years. A week after Jacob had married Leah, Laban gave him Rachel, too. 29 (Laban gave Rachel a servant, Bilhah, to be her maid.) 30 So Jacob slept with Rachel, too, and he loved her much more than Leah. He then stayed and worked for Laban the additional seven years.

Jacob’s Many Children

31 When the Lord saw that Leah was unloved, he enabled her to have children, but Rachel could not conceive. 32 So Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben,[b] for she said, “The Lord has noticed my misery, and now my husband will love me.”
33 She soon became pregnant again and gave birth to another son. She named him Simeon,[c] for she said, “The Lord heard that I was unloved and has given me another son.”
34 Then she became pregnant a third time and gave birth to another son. He was named Levi,[d] for she said, “Surely this time my husband will feel affection for me, since I have given him three sons!”
35 Once again Leah became pregnant and gave birth to another son. She named him Judah,[e] for she said, “Now I will praise the Lord!” And then she stopped having children.
Love,
Jonathan