“Though we believe without seeing, there is nothing blind about following Jesus.”~TB
When you don’t have a relationship with God it’s easy to think that those who do just blindly follow the teachings of Christ. As if Christians live some cherry pie existence, blissfully and ignorantly enjoying life without troubles. Oh, but if they only knew. Having a an authentic relationship with Christ requires you to ask questions, have doubts, air grievances, complain, moan, mumble, etc. No, to follow Christ isn’t blind, it requires you to keep your eyes and ears open to experience the wisdom that only comes from Him.
The Truth is, though we cannot see in the natural world, God guides us spiritually, helping us to see in other ways. Through Him, we are connected to each other. Through those relationships, we can see how God impacts each and everyone of us. Of course, you must see, hear, and ask these things of God so that you too can see the patterns of His love through us. It is so important to have honest communication with your brothers and sisters in Christ, so that the babes develop their sight and that the wise don’t go blind from bitterness in the trenches. It is the Truth of the Lord that removes the scales of the world to see what is really going on.
Are you blinded by the world?
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Song of Solomon 3
1One night as I lay in bed, I yearned for my lover. I yearned for him, but he did not come.
2So I said to myself, “I will get up and roam the city, searching in all its streets and squares. I will search for the one I love.” So I searched everywhere but did not find him.
3The watchmen stopped me as they made their rounds, and I asked, “Have you seen the one I love?”
4Then scarcely had I left them when I found my love! I caught and held him tightly, then I brought him to my mother’s house, into my mother’s bed, where I had been conceived.
5Promise me, O women of Jerusalem, by the gazelles and wild deer, not to awaken love until the time is right.
6Who is this sweeping in from the wilderness like a cloud of smoke? Who is it, fragrant with myrrh and frankincense and every kind of spice?
7Look, it is Solomon’s carriage, surrounded by sixty heroic men, the best of Israel’s soldiers.
8They are all skilled swordsmen, experienced warriors. Each wears a sword on his thigh, ready to defend the king against an attack in the night.
9King Solomon’s carriage is built of wood imported from Lebanon.
10Its posts are silver, its canopy gold; its cushions are purple. It was decorated with love by the young women of Jerusalem.
11Come out to see King Solomon, young women of Jerusalem. He wears the crown his mother gave him on his wedding day, his most joyous day
“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.
“God will release you from your bondage, but you must leave your mindset of captivity.”~TB
Vital lies occur when you tell yourself not to expect better ot that your chains aren’t so bad. When you’ve felt trapped for prolonged periods of time, a survivalist mentality sets in. In times of trouble, many rely on their own understanding and not God’s, often doing more harm than good! Don’t lean on your broken thinking unless you wish to remain enslaved. Friends, God did not call you to live in fear or captivity. In order to move past the wilderness, you have to throw off old behavior and cling to the Truth.
The Israelites took 40 years instead of 11 days because they did not trust in the Lord nor did they abandon their old ways. The wilderness is no longer a physical desert, but a negative cyclical spiral within the mind. In Christ you can overcome this, but you must face your reality. Ask yourself, how long with you allow a broken mindset hinder your reliance on Christ? What could you accomplish if you stepped out in faith and left your chains? God has set you free, but you must act on it. If you do not know where to start, ask Him and He will show you.
Are you letting broken chains hold you in the wilderness?
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1The sayings of King Lemuel contain this message, which his mother taught him.
2O my son, O son of my womb, O son of my vows,
3do not waste your strength on women, on those who ruin kings.
4It is not for kings, O Lemuel, to guzzle wine. Rulers should not crave alcohol.
5For if they drink, they may forget the law and not give justice to the oppressed.
6Alcohol is for the dying, and wine for those in bitter distress.
7Let them drink to forget their poverty and remember their troubles no more.
8Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed.
9Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.
10Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies.
11Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life.
12She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.
13She finds wool and flax and busily spins it.
14She is like a merchant’s ship, bringing her food from afar.
15She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household and plan the day’s work for her servant girls.
16She goes to inspect a field and buys it; with her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17She is energetic and strong, a hard worker.
18She makes sure her dealings are profitable; her lamp burns late into the night.
19Her hands are busy spinning thread, her fingers twisting fiber.
20She extends a helping hand to the poor and opens her arms to the needy.
21She has no fear of winter for her household, for everyone has warm clothes.
22She makes her own bedspreads. She dresses in fine linen and purple gowns.
23Her husband is well known at the city gates, where he sits with the other civic leaders.
24She makes belted linen garments and sashes to sell to the merchants.
25She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.
26When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness.
27She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness.
28Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her:
29“There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!”
30Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the LORD will be greatly praised.
31Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.
“God promised a peaceful life, not a perfect life, so it’s important to understand the difference.”~TB
When you follow the world too closely, it can lull you into a false sense of how life is “supposed” to go. Society tells you to follow certain practices, go to school, get a job, buy a house, join the HOA, build a family, etc. These rules seem fine because it gives you a sense of “what to do”. However, these superficial guidelines can make the blind feel a false sense of control or security that lies outside of God. Ironically, what this world teaches you is not rooted in Biblical principle, because the only guaranteed thing in life is God and nothing else. Blindly following this “checklist life” will bring you disillusionment and discontent because this path is the exact opposite of what Christ teaches.
The Impossible Quest for Perfection
Yes, it is important to be part of the community. Yes, one must have a job and educate themselves. None of these goals are inherently wrong. That said, life in this world is a journey and not a successive one at that. The world teaches you that life happens in an upward slope. The Bible teaches you that hills, valleys, and plateaus are normal. If you take the world’s guidelines to heart, prepare for a depressing reality because perfection is impossible! At least, for humanity. Just look at Job, Jonah, Joseph, David, and all of the stories in the Bible. Friends, even God’s favorite people in the Word faced trial after trial, setback after setback, before they experienced any kind of success. And, even after they achieved great things, they still faced opposition. So friends, do not strive for perfection, or the picturesque falsehoods of the world. Strive for peace, which can be found in the teachings of the Lord.
Your life does not have to be perfect to experience God’s perfect peace. No, this type of peace comes from a deep and lengthy time with God Himself. Friends, we cannot learn all that Christ has to teach us unless we take the necessary time to spend sitting at His feet. Through God, you learn that life is messy. Through Him, you learn that He controls all. And, if you rely on His wisdom, you will see that He is in the midst of all facets of your life. Know that He is always an umbrella when life and opposition bring inclement weather. Spending time in His presence strengthens your understanding that the world is a broken and misguided place and that you need to possess the lens of Christ in order to see through the falsehoods. So the next time you’re feeling down because life isn’t perfect, ask God to teach you how to sit in perfect peace.
What is stopping you from living in perfect peace?
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1Whoever stubbornly refuses to accept criticism will suddenly be destroyed beyond recovery.
2When the godly are in authority, the people rejoice. But when the wicked are in power, they groan.
3The man who loves wisdom brings joy to his father, but if he hangs around with prostitutes, his wealth is wasted.
4A just king gives stability to his nation, but one who demands bribes destroys it.
5To flatter friends is to lay a trap for their feet.
6Evil people are trapped by sin, but the righteous escape, shouting for joy.
7The godly care about the rights of the poor; the wicked don’t care at all.
8Mockers can get a whole town agitated, but the wise will calm anger.
9If a wise person takes a fool to court, there will be ranting and ridicule but no satisfaction.
10The bloodthirsty hate blameless people, but the upright seek to help them.
11Fools vent their anger, but the wise quietly hold it back.
12If a ruler pays attention to liars, all his advisers will be wicked.
13The poor and the oppressor have this in common— the LORD gives sight to the eyes of both.
14If a king judges the poor fairly, his throne will last forever.
15To discipline a child produces wisdom, but a mother is disgraced by an undisciplined child.
16When the wicked are in authority, sin flourishes, but the godly will live to see their downfall.
17Discipline your children, and they will give you peace of mind and will make your heart glad.
18When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild. But whoever obeys the law is joyful.
19Words alone will not discipline a servant; the words may be understood, but they are not heeded.
20There is more hope for a fool than for someone who speaks without thinking.
21A servant pampered from childhood will become a rebel.
22An angry person starts fights; a hot-tempered person commits all kinds of sin.
23Pride ends in humiliation, while humility brings honor.
24If you assist a thief, you only hurt yourself. You are sworn to tell the truth, but you dare not testify.
25Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the LORD means safety.
26Many seek the ruler’s favor, but justice comes from the LORD .
27The righteous despise the unjust; the wicked despise the godly
“Keep your identity in Christ, so when trials occur, you know who to lean on.”~TB
Leading a life Christ-filled life is not without its challenges, obstacles, and trials. If you’re wrapped up in your human-made identity, pride will be your downfall. Unchecked pride can manifest itself in many different ways, depending on the person and the situation. Your pride may lead you to take on too many things, leaving you feeling overworked, underappreciated, etc. Pride can also lead you into judgment and temptation. Pride can also cause you to covet that which is not yours, the list goes on and on. When your identity is built on man-made designs, you will feel empty, broken, and confused because your fragile image will eventually break.
L’eggo Your Ego
Let go of your pride and ego to recognize your true identity, a Child of God. When you focus on all He has done, you begin to realize that you will never measure up to the perfection that is Christ. Fortunately, He isn’t asking for perfection, but rather, obedience. When you understand this fundamental truth, all other fake identities fall to the wayside because you know that being called His is infinitely worth more than any worldly title man can create. Lean into God’s grace, wisdom, and mercy instead of your own. In your true identity, the opinions of man are loud, obnoxious noise compared to His Perfect Peace. Let your identity in Christ shine brightly to bear witness of His unfailing love.
Do you know your identity in Christ or do you identify as stupid?
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1I love the LORD because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy.
2Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!
3Death wrapped its ropes around me; the terrors of the grave overtook me. I saw only trouble and sorrow.
4Then I called on the name of the LORD : “Please, LORD, save me!”
5How kind the LORD is! How good he is! So merciful, this God of ours!
6The LORD protects those of childlike faith; I was facing death, and he saved me.
7Let my soul be at rest again, for the LORD has been good to me.
8He has saved me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling.
9And so I walk in the LORD ’s presence as I live here on earth!
10I believed in you, so I said, “I am deeply troubled, LORD .”
11In my anxiety I cried out to you, “These people are all liars!”
12What can I offer the LORD for all he has done for me?
13I will lift up the cup of salvation and praise the LORD ’s name for saving me.
14I will keep my promises to the LORD in the presence of all his people.
15The LORD cares deeply when his loved ones die.
16O LORD, I am your servant; yes, I am your servant, born into your household; you have freed me from my chains.
17I will offer you a sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the LORD .
18I will fulfill my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people—
19in the house of the LORD in the heart of Jerusalem. Praise the LORD !
“You can see that God looks for people like you to give the message of hope, life, light, salvation, repentance, and honesty with the work of your faith, not the work of your fraudulent lies and evil subtle motives.” ~ Jon Barnes
Cut to the point and hit the target of love as you share truth in the work that you do. Buy, pay for, and use your own resources to reassure that your commitment to God and His causes will go forth from your heart, mind, body, thoughts, spirit, hands, and lips. Enjoy how the devil bleeds stupidity in the presence of God and His awesome power of justice.
Take the time to see the complete story of how things unfold because you are supernaturally paying close attention to what God is doing, saying, and leading you into the truth of all things. Stand with God and stop siding with the devil in your compromises, actions, thoughts, and motives. Right choices bring about the best fruit in your life and work that you do for justice, people, The Kingdom, and God.
Deliver the devil’s head in a silver platter each day, by constantly cutting with his head with God’s Biblical Content, stories, wisdom, understanding, and sharp sword. Stop being afraid to share, give, live, expect, and walk in your faith, humility, and bold gifts of God’s love. See, know, and believe that the power of God’s love is like no other, unstoppable, unmeasurable, unmistakable, and unquantifiable.
Do you act like a servant working for God with the heart of a King or Queen or do you act like a king or queen of fools with wicked works, behaviors, visions, and thoughts?
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1 O Lord, why do you stand so far away? Why do you hide when I am in trouble? 2 The wicked arrogantly hunt down the poor. Let them be caught in the evil they plan for others. 3 For they brag about their evil desires; they praise the greedy and curse the Lord.
4 The wicked are too proud to seek God. They seem to think that God is dead. 5 Yet they succeed in everything they do. They do not see your punishment awaiting them. They sneer at all their enemies. 6 They think, “Nothing bad will ever happen to us! We will be free of trouble forever!”
7 Their mouths are full of cursing, lies, and threats.[a] Trouble and evil are on the tips of their tongues. 8 They lurk in ambush in the villages, waiting to murder innocent people. They are always searching for helpless victims. 9 Like lions crouched in hiding, they wait to pounce on the helpless. Like hunters they capture the helpless and drag them away in nets. 10 Their helpless victims are crushed; they fall beneath the strength of the wicked. 11 The wicked think, “God isn’t watching us! He has closed his eyes and won’t even see what we do!”
12 Arise, O Lord! Punish the wicked, O God! Do not ignore the helpless! 13 Why do the wicked get away with despising God? They think, “God will never call us to account.” 14 But you see the trouble and grief they cause. You take note of it and punish them. The helpless put their trust in you. You defend the orphans.
15 Break the arms of these wicked, evil people! Go after them until the last one is destroyed. 16 The Lord is king forever and ever! The godless nations will vanish from the land. 17 Lord, you know the hopes of the helpless. Surely you will hear their cries and comfort them. 18 You will bring justice to the orphans and the oppressed, so mere people can no longer terrify them.
“There is enough on your plate to do your job, work, planning, reading, studying, eating, andexercising well, so that your relationship with God and others improve as you age, for all to see and tell.” ~Jon Barnes
Many are called but few are chosen because we are so busy sticking forks into people’s eyes with the mean things we say and do.Close your mouth, get to work, exercise your faith, eat less, and use your fork properly.Stop blaming everyone for your own problems, faults, and lack of focus. Stick a fork in your balloon of pride and do what God says, by not being lazy or foolish.
Expect what God says to work for you in your life, otherwise, you are not eating and chewing your spiritual food correctly.The more you chew on God’s work, the better you will understand and digest the milk, meat, vegetables, and potatoes.Drink and keep lots of Holy Water, with the Blood of Jesus to keep yourself clean after each meal.
Bless your food, give thanks, close your mouth, chew your food, stop complaining, and talking about negative stuff all of the time.Wipe your face and hands during and after your meal and be thankful for what you have and the improvements of progress.Take the time to finish what God has on your plate and stop eating from the plate of others.No need to be greedy, gaining weight, being nosey, and doing incomplete work.
Will your relationship with God, your spouse, family, friends, and enemies improve because your plate is cleaned each day by obeying God and finishing your own work?
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40 Then the Lord said to Job,
2 “Do you still want to argue with the Almighty? You are God’s critic, but do you have the answers?”
Job Responds to the Lord
3 Then Job replied to the Lord,
4 “I am nothing—how could I ever find the answers? I will cover my mouth with my hand. 5 I have said too much already. I have nothing more to say.”
The Lord Challenges Job Again
6 Then the Lord answered Job from the whirlwind:
7 “Brace yourself like a man, because I have some questions for you, and you must answer them.
8 “Will you discredit my justice and condemn me just to prove you are right? 9 Are you as strong as God? Can you thunder with a voice like his? 10 All right, put on your glory and splendor, your honor and majesty. 11 Give vent to your anger. Let it overflow against the proud. 12 Humiliate the proud with a glance; walk on the wicked where they stand. 13 Bury them in the dust. Imprison them in the world of the dead. 14 Then even I would praise you, for your own strength would save you.
15 “Take a look at Behemoth,[a] which I made, just as I made you. It eats grass like an ox. 16 See its powerful loins and the muscles of its belly. 17 Its tail is as strong as a cedar. The sinews of its thighs are knit tightly together. 18 Its bones are tubes of bronze. Its limbs are bars of iron. 19 It is a prime example of God’s handiwork, and only its Creator can threaten it. 20 The mountains offer it their best food, where all the wild animals play. 21 It lies under the lotus plants,[b] hidden by the reeds in the marsh. 22 The lotus plants give it shade among the willows beside the stream. 23 It is not disturbed by the raging river, not concerned when the swelling Jordan rushes around it. 24 No one can catch it off guard or put a ring in its nose and lead it away.
“Christ gives you a free passport to fly around the world with God’s Holy Spirit so that you can see how the New and Old Testaments in the Bible fit together with freedom and liberty for all to comprehend.” ~ Jon Barnes
We can get a better understanding of cultures as we compare them to biblical cultures of the past.The Holy Spirit gives you a passport to visualize, compare and analyze historical documentation with today’s cultures to make your adjustments.You can see the similarities and differences as if nothing has changed.
The Bible gives you a key to unlock the door to understand why the Holy Spirit is needed to navigate time, history, purpose, and God’s Planning for travel and doing good works.Being led and guided by God makes your journey fun, interesting, and full of adventures.You will be challenged and tested each day, so be ready.
Your Holy PassPort is stamped as you visit new places, cultures, and continents to shine the light of love onto the world.This physical and digital movement if full of wisdom, technology, and insight.Continue to spread the connections of hope, love, charity, and fairness around the world, as you notice the economic and spiritual sides to different cultures, places, and people.
Are you increasing in wisdom as you travel about with God stamping your Holy PassPort?
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2 Chronicles 24
Joash Repairs the Temple
24 Joash was seven years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem forty years. His mother was Zibiah from Beersheba.2 Joash did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight throughout the lifetime of Jehoiada the priest.3 Jehoiada chose two wives for Joash, and he had sons and daughters.
4 At one point Joash decided to repair and restore the Temple of the Lord.5 He summoned the priests and Levites and gave them these instructions: “Go to all the towns of Judah and collect the required annual offerings, so that we can repair the Temple of your God. Do not delay!” But the Levites did not act immediately.
6 So the king called for Jehoiada the high priest and asked him, “Why haven’t you demanded that the Levites go out and collect the Temple taxes from the towns of Judah and from Jerusalem? Moses, the servant of the Lord, levied this tax on the community of Israel in order to maintain the Tabernacle of the Covenant.[a]”
7 Over the years the followers of wicked Athaliah had broken into the Temple of God, and they had used all the dedicated things from the Temple of the Lord to worship the images of Baal.
8 So now the king ordered a chest to be made and set outside the gate leading to the Temple of the Lord.9 Then a proclamation was sent throughout Judah and Jerusalem, telling the people to bring to the Lord the tax that Moses, the servant of God, had required of the Israelites in the wilderness.10 This pleased all the leaders and the people, and they gladly brought their money and filled the chest with it.
11 Whenever the chest became full, the Levites would carry it to the king’s officials. Then the court secretary and an officer of the high priest would come and empty the chest and take it back to the Temple again. This went on day after day, and a large amount of money was collected.12 The king and Jehoiada gave the money to the construction supervisors, who hired masons and carpenters to restore the Temple of the Lord. They also hired metalworkers, who made articles of iron and bronze for the Lord’s Temple.
13 The men in charge of the renovation worked hard and made steady progress. They restored the Temple of God according to its original design and strengthened it.14 When all the repairs were finished, they brought the remaining money to the king and Jehoiada. It was used to make various articles for the Temple of the Lord—articles for worship services and for burnt offerings, including ladles and other articles made of gold and silver. And the burnt offerings were sacrificed continually in the Temple of the Lord during the lifetime of Jehoiada the priest.
15 Jehoiada lived to a very old age, finally dying at 130.16 He was buried among the kings in the City of David, because he had done so much good in Israel for God and his Temple.
Jehoiada’s Reforms Reversed
17 But after Jehoiada’s death, the leaders of Judah came and bowed before King Joash and persuaded him to listen to their advice.18 They decided to abandon the Temple of the Lord, the God of their ancestors, and they worshiped Asherah poles and idols instead! Because of this sin, divine anger fell on Judah and Jerusalem.19 Yet the Lord sent prophets to bring them back to him. The prophets warned them, but still the people would not listen.
20 Then the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah son of Jehoiada the priest. He stood before the people and said, “This is what God says: Why do you disobey the Lord’s commands and keep yourselves from prospering? You have abandoned the Lord, and now he has abandoned you!”
21 Then the leaders plotted to kill Zechariah, and King Joash ordered that they stone him to death in the courtyard of the Lord’s Temple.22 That was how King Joash repaid Jehoiada for his loyalty—by killing his son. Zechariah’s last words as he died were, “May the Lord see what they are doing and avenge my death!”
The End of Joash’s Reign
23 In the spring of the year[b] the Aramean army marched against Joash. They invaded Judah and Jerusalem and killed all the leaders of the nation. Then they sent all the plunder back to their king in Damascus.24 Although the Arameans attacked with only a small army, the Lordhelped them conquer the much larger army of Judah. The people of Judah had abandoned the Lord, the God of their ancestors, so judgment was carried out against Joash.
25 The Arameans withdrew, leaving Joash severely wounded. But his own officials plotted to kill him for murdering the son[c] of Jehoiada the priest. They assassinated him as he lay in bed. Then he was buried in the City of David, but not in the royal cemetery.26 The assassins were Jozacar,[d] the son of an Ammonite woman named Shimeath, and Jehozabad, the son of a Moabite woman named Shomer.[e]
27 The account of the sons of Joash, the prophecies about him, and the record of his restoration of the Temple of God are written in The Commentary on the Book of the Kings. His son Amaziah became the next king.
“Bring the fiery storm of God’s Love with you wherever you go and fire up the love of inspiration and joy with everything you touch.” ~ Jon Barnes
There should be a trail of smoke with your name on it, that shows the heat of love and happiness in the air because you left it there.People should wonder, what is going on over there thinking, “who started this amazing fire of love, hope, charity, and kindness”? Leave this gift of light that is full of life and smoke out the evil mess that is around you. The darkness cannot comprehend your light from God. Be the fire that lights up the place with excellence, balance, common sense, creativity, and consistency.
Your movement and process of wisdom should heat up the minds of others so that you can see the spiritual smoke coming from out of their ears. Pique their interest by burning up the lazy thinking, slow synapses, and excessive fat that can clog arteries of hope, love, and justice. Be the person that stops injustice because your method of giving and loving is superior to the wicked ways of many people. Pack the heat from God.
The fire of God’s Loving Truth always burns Hot and it is extremely refreshing to see the good results of organization, fairness, and faith ignited by Hot Love and Compassion. People become compelled to have you around and work alongside you because your truth is from God. There is no substitute for real fire for God because molecules are permanently changed in the burning process. Become the fire of God or get burned!
Can you afford to sit waiting on the sidelines of hopelessness and inaction of faith?
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1 Kings 17
Elijah Fed by Ravens
17 Now Elijah, who was from Tishbe in Gilead, told King Ahab, “As surely as the Lord, the God of Israel, lives—the God I serve—there will be no dew or rain during the next few years until I give the word!”
2 Then the Lord said to Elijah,3 “Go to the east and hide by Kerith Brook, near where it enters the Jordan River.4 Drink from the brook and eat what the ravens bring you, for I have commanded them to bring you food.”
5 So Elijah did as the Lord told him and camped beside Kerith Brook, east of the Jordan.6 The ravens brought him bread and meat each morning and evening, and he drank from the brook.7 But after a while the brook dried up, for there was no rainfall anywhere in the land.
The Widow at Zarephath
8 Then the Lord said to Elijah,9 “Go and live in the village of Zarephath, near the city of Sidon. I have instructed a widow there to feed you.”
10 So he went to Zarephath. As he arrived at the gates of the village, he saw a widow gathering sticks, and he asked her, “Would you please bring me a little water in a cup?”11 As she was going to get it, he called to her, “Bring me a bite of bread, too.”
12 But she said, “I swear by the Lord your God that I don’t have a single piece of bread in the house. And I have only a handful of flour left in the jar and a little cooking oil in the bottom of the jug. I was just gathering a few sticks to cook this last meal, and then my son and I will die.”
13 But Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid! Go ahead and do just what you’ve said, but make a little bread for me first. Then use what’s left to prepare a meal for yourself and your son.14 For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: There will always be flour and olive oil left in your containers until the time when the Lordsends rain and the crops grow again!”
15 So she did as Elijah said, and she and Elijah and her family continued to eat for many days.16 There was always enough flour and olive oil left in the containers, just as the Lord had promised through Elijah.
17 Some time later the woman’s son became sick. He grew worse and worse, and finally he died.18 Then she said to Elijah, “O man of God, what have you done to me? Have you come here to point out my sins and kill my son?”
19 But Elijah replied, “Give me your son.” And he took the child’s body from her arms, carried him up the stairs to the room where he was staying, and laid the body on his bed.20 Then Elijah cried out to the Lord, “O Lord my God, why have you brought tragedy to this widow who has opened her home to me, causing her son to die?”
21 And he stretched himself out over the child three times and cried out to the Lord, “O Lord my God, please let this child’s life return to him.”22 The Lord heard Elijah’s prayer, and the life of the child returned, and he revived!23 Then Elijah brought him down from the upper room and gave him to his mother. “Look!” he said. “Your son is alive!”
24 Then the woman told Elijah, “Now I know for sure that you are a man of God, and that the Lord truly speaks through you.”
“There are plenty of mad people who ignore God’s warnings and pretend to be wise with wickedness, but God has a special reward and place for them.” ~ Jon Barnes
Mad people enjoy imitating other mad people and they love each other’s company. Are you one of them? Of course, you’re not because you’re reading this and working on improving your status with God. Each day we potentially grow to get better with grace and love and it is fascinating to see the improvements. Keep improving.
By doing what God asks, you begin to understand a little more about the big picture of life and love. We experience rays of hope, love, grace, and mercy from the cracks of darkness and suddenly, the sun shines and blots out all the evil and darkness. It all seems slow, gradual, but life ends quicker than you think.
You should be concerned when you are not improving your understanding and walk with God. God is always expanding and improving perfection. I don’t have to understand how this happens, but I believe it to be true. Each life has a purpose and meaning from God, otherwise, you may grow mad.
Do you recognize the signs of Madness with the absence of God in the lives of people?
Enjoy Today’s Reading
1 Samuel 24
David Spares Saul’s Life
24 [a]After Saul returned from fighting the Philistines, he was told that David had gone into the wilderness of En-gedi.2 So Saul chose 3,000 elite troops from all Israel and went to search for David and his men near the rocks of the wild goats.
3 At the place where the road passes some sheepfolds, Saul went into a cave to relieve himself. But as it happened, David and his men were hiding farther back in that very cave!
4 “Now’s your opportunity!” David’s men whispered to him. “Today the Lord is telling you, ‘I will certainly put your enemy into your power, to do with as you wish.’” So David crept forward and cut off a piece of the hem of Saul’s robe.
5 But then David’s conscience began bothering him because he had cut Saul’s robe.6 He said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do this to my lord the king. I shouldn’t attack the Lord’s anointed one, for the Lord himself has chosen him.”7 So David restrained his men and did not let them kill Saul.
After Saul had left the cave and gone on his way,8 David came out and shouted after him, “My lord the king!” And when Saul looked around, David bowed low before him.
9 Then he shouted to Saul, “Why do you listen to the people who say I am trying to harm you?10 This very day you can see with your own eyes it isn’t true. For the Lord placed you at my mercy back there in the cave. Some of my men told me to kill you, but I spared you. For I said, ‘I will never harm the king—he is the Lord’s anointed one.’11 Look, my father, at what I have in my hand. It is a piece of the hem of your robe! I cut it off, but I didn’t kill you. This proves that I am not trying to harm you and that I have not sinned against you, even though you have been hunting for me to kill me.
12 “May the Lord judge between us. Perhaps the Lord will punish you for what you are trying to do to me, but I will never harm you.13 As that old proverb says, ‘From evil people come evil deeds.’ So you can be sure I will never harm you.14 Who is the king of Israel trying to catch anyway? Should he spend his time chasing one who is as worthless as a dead dog or a single flea?15 May the Lord therefore judge which of us is right and punish the guilty one. He is my advocate, and he will rescue me from your power!”
16 When David had finished speaking, Saul called back, “Is that really you, my son David?” Then he began to cry.17 And he said to David, “You are a better man than I am, for you have repaid me good for evil.18 Yes, you have been amazingly kind to me today, for when the Lordput me in a place where you could have killed me, you didn’t do it.19 Who else would let his enemy get away when he had him in his power? May the Lord reward you well for the kindness you have shown me today.20 And now I realize that you are surely going to be king, and that the kingdom of Israel will flourish under your rule.21 Now swear to me by the Lordthat when that happens you will not kill my family and destroy my line of descendants!”
22 So David promised this to Saul with an oath. Then Saul went home, but David and his men went back to their stronghold.