It’s human nature to think that just because you have the tools in your possession, you’re solid. Some of us spend a lifetime collecting the world’s best and shiniest tools only to let them sit and gather dust. It doesn’t necessarily matter if you ever use them, having them is what counts. We put these tools on display so that our peers can see how “prepared” and amazing we are, yet when it comes down to it, we’ve probably never even read the instruction manual to most of it. Oh man, with that kind of thinking, it’s no wonder why we struggle as a collective to discern the truth from the fake, good from evil, and so on. Yes, having the tools is a step in the right direction, but how effective can they be if you don’t ever use them?
I could have a state of the art gym in my house. However, if I don’t actually use it, how effective is just having the stuff around? The same concept can be applied to us and the Bible. Ask yourself, how much are you actually reading it? How often are you applying its wisdom to your life? If we spend more time binge-watching our favorite shows or zoning out to our preferred method of escapism, can we really blame the tools? Friends, it’s time that we put our tools to the test and use them to our advantage. The Living Word has a host of benefits that will serve you well all through your life. That said, you can only find that out if you use it.
Are you collecting God’s tools or are you using them?
Enjoy the reading
1This message came to Jeremiah from the LORD early in the reign of Zedekiah son of Josiah, king of Judah.
2This is what the LORD said to me: “Make a yoke, and fasten it on your neck with leather straps.
3Then send messages to the kings of Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre, and Sidon through their ambassadors who have come to see King Zedekiah in Jerusalem.
4Give them this message for their masters: ‘This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says:
5With my great strength and powerful arm I made the earth and all its people and every animal. I can give these things of mine to anyone I choose.
6Now I will give your countries to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, who is my servant. I have put everything, even the wild animals, under his control.
7All the nations will serve him, his son, and his grandson until his time is up. Then many nations and great kings will conquer and rule over Babylon.
8So you must submit to Babylon’s king and serve him; put your neck under Babylon’s yoke! I will punish any nation that refuses to be his slave, says the LORD . I will send war, famine, and disease upon that nation until Babylon has conquered it.
9“‘Do not listen to your false prophets, fortune-tellers, interpreters of dreams, mediums, and sorcerers who say, “The king of Babylon will not conquer you.”
10They are all liars, and their lies will lead to your being driven out of your land. I will drive you out and send you far away to die.
11But the people of any nation that submits to the king of Babylon will be allowed to stay in their own country to farm the land as usual. I, the LORD, have spoken!’”
12Then I repeated this same message to King Zedekiah of Judah. “If you want to live, submit to the yoke of the king of Babylon and his people.
13Why do you insist on dying—you and your people? Why should you choose war, famine, and disease, which the LORD will bring against every nation that refuses to submit to Babylon’s king?
14Do not listen to the false prophets who keep telling you, ‘The king of Babylon will not conquer you.’ They are liars.
15This is what the LORD says: ‘I have not sent these prophets! They are telling you lies in my name, so I will drive you from this land. You will all die—you and all these prophets, too.’”
16Then I spoke to the priests and the people and said, “This is what the LORD says: ‘Do not listen to your prophets who claim that soon the gold articles taken from my Temple will be returned from Babylon. It is all a lie!
17Do not listen to them. Surrender to the king of Babylon, and you will live. Why should this whole city be destroyed?
18If they really are prophets and speak the LORD ’s messages, let them pray to the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. Let them pray that the articles remaining in the LORD ’s Temple and in the king’s palace and in the palaces of Jerusalem will not be carried away to Babylon!’
19“For the LORD of Heaven’s Armies has spoken about the pillars in front of the Temple, the great bronze basin called the Sea, the water carts, and all the other ceremonial articles.
20King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon left them here when he exiled Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, to Babylon, along with all the other nobles of Judah and Jerusalem.
21Yes, this is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says about the precious things still in the Temple, in the palace of Judah’s king, and in Jerusalem:
22‘They will all be carried away to Babylon and will stay there until I send for them,’ says the LORD . ‘Then I will bring them back to Jerusalem again.’”
“Don’t be fooled by the guise of self-reliance because only God can allow our seeds to grow.”~TB
In the eyes of man, we applaud the idea that we can achieve anything based on our own merit. With our two hands, grit, and determination, we have everything we need. To the world, success happens by yourself on your own accord. Friends, while we have to play an active role in our lives, the belief that we don’t need anyone or anything is a fallacy. It conveniently leaves out our Maker and how His hand dictates the events that play out in our lives.
When you know who actually runs the show, you recognize how needy and dependent you actually are. In life, we need Christ to show us the way, to approve of our plans so that we build our lives on the firm foundation of God. Being and believing that you are indeed God-Made allows you to receive His instructions. It also encourages you to engage with the Body of Christ– the people around you– as you know it takes a village to succeed. So rather than relying on your flesh, rely on the One who first called you His so you can truly see what you are made of.
When the time comes to give your account, who do you want to vouch for you; yourself or Christ?
Enjoy the reading
1The LORD gave another message to Jeremiah. He said,
2“Go to the entrance of the LORD ’s Temple, and give this message to the people: ‘O Judah, listen to this message from the LORD ! Listen to it, all of you who worship here!
3This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: “‘Even now, if you quit your evil ways, I will let you stay in your own land.
4But don’t be fooled by those who promise you safety simply because the LORD ’s Temple is here. They chant, “The LORD ’s Temple is here! The LORD ’s Temple is here!”
5But I will be merciful only if you stop your evil thoughts and deeds and start treating each other with justice;
6only if you stop exploiting foreigners, orphans, and widows; only if you stop your murdering; and only if you stop harming yourselves by worshiping idols.
7Then I will let you stay in this land that I gave to your ancestors to keep forever.
8“‘Don’t be fooled into thinking that you will never suffer because the Temple is here. It’s a lie!
9Do you really think you can steal, murder, commit adultery, lie, and burn incense to Baal and all those other new gods of yours,
10and then come here and stand before me in my Temple and chant, “We are safe!”—only to go right back to all those evils again?
11Don’t you yourselves admit that this Temple, which bears my name, has become a den of thieves? Surely I see all the evil going on there. I, the LORD, have spoken!
12“‘Go now to the place at Shiloh where I once put the Tabernacle that bore my name. See what I did there because of all the wickedness of my people, the Israelites.
13While you were doing these wicked things, says the LORD, I spoke to you about it repeatedly, but you would not listen. I called out to you, but you refused to answer.
14So just as I destroyed Shiloh, I will now destroy this Temple that bears my name, this Temple that you trust in for help, this place that I gave to you and your ancestors.
15And I will send you out of my sight into exile, just as I did your relatives, the people of Israel. ’
16“Pray no more for these people, Jeremiah. Do not weep or pray for them, and don’t beg me to help them, for I will not listen to you.
17Don’t you see what they are doing throughout the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem?
18No wonder I am so angry! Watch how the children gather wood and the fathers build sacrificial fires. See how the women knead dough and make cakes to offer to the Queen of Heaven. And they pour out liquid offerings to their other idol gods!
19Am I the one they are hurting?” asks the LORD . “Most of all, they hurt themselves, to their own shame.”
20So this is what the Sovereign LORD says: “I will pour out my terrible fury on this place. Its people, animals, trees, and crops will be consumed by the unquenchable fire of my anger.”
21This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: “Take your burnt offerings and your other sacrifices and eat them yourselves!
22When I led your ancestors out of Egypt, it was not burnt offerings and sacrifices I wanted from them.
23This is what I told them: ‘Obey me, and I will be your God, and you will be my people. Do everything as I say, and all will be well!’
24“But my people would not listen to me. They kept doing whatever they wanted, following the stubborn desires of their evil hearts. They went backward instead of forward.
25From the day your ancestors left Egypt until now, I have continued to send my servants, the prophets—day in and day out.
26But my people have not listened to me or even tried to hear. They have been stubborn and sinful—even worse than their ancestors.
27“Tell them all this, but do not expect them to listen. Shout out your warnings, but do not expect them to respond.
28Say to them, ‘This is the nation whose people will not obey the LORD their God and who refuse to be taught. Truth has vanished from among them; it is no longer heard on their lips.
29Shave your head in mourning, and weep alone on the mountains. For the LORD has rejected and forsaken this generation that has provoked his fury.’
30“The people of Judah have sinned before my very eyes,” says the LORD . “They have set up their abominable idols right in the Temple that bears my name, defiling it.
31They have built pagan shrines at Topheth, the garbage dump in the valley of Ben-Hinnom, and there they burn their sons and daughters in the fire. I have never commanded such a horrible deed; it never even crossed my mind to command such a thing!
32So beware, for the time is coming,” says the LORD, “when that garbage dump will no longer be called Topheth or the valley of Ben-Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter. They will bury the bodies in Topheth until there is no more room for them.
33The bodies of my people will be food for the vultures and wild animals, and no one will be left to scare them away.
34I will put an end to the happy singing and laughter in the streets of Jerusalem. The joyful voices of bridegrooms and brides will no longer be heard in the towns of Judah. The land will lie in complete desolation.
“Consider it as joy when you suffer for what is right. God will balance the scales in all things.”~TB
Through the Fire
If we believe that the Bible is accurate and true, we must accept the trouble that is a byproduct of following God’s will in our lives. When you are working for the Lord, giving Him your best, don’t be surprised when evil people seek to throw you in the fire. While it is human to want to crawl out of the pit, fearing for your safety, rest assured God is with you, keeping you from being burned.
In your time of waiting for man-made judgment take comfort in knowing that God has declared you not guilty on all accounts. The devil will always make your waiting time appear more dire and severe than it truly is. Looking back at certain trials of my life while the waiting period was insanely frustrating, scary, and uncertain to my eyes, I realize as I sit here today, I was never harmed! So, if you are working for the Lord, being a humble servant, opposition and persecution are par for the course but know that God has the final say in the end and He will restore all that and more to those who remain faithful.
Are you not guilty or are you falsely accusing those who are?
Enjoy the reading
1“Run for your lives, you people of Benjamin! Get out of Jerusalem! Sound the alarm in Tekoa! Send up a signal at Beth-hakkerem! A powerful army is coming from the north, coming with disaster and destruction.
2O Jerusalem, you are my beautiful and delicate daughter— but I will destroy you!
3Enemies will surround you, like shepherds camped around the city. Each chooses a place for his troops to devour.
4They shout, ‘Prepare for battle! Attack at noon!’ ‘No, it’s too late; the day is fading, and the evening shadows are falling.’
5‘Well then, let’s attack at night and destroy her palaces!’”
6This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: “Cut down the trees for battering rams. Build siege ramps against the walls of Jerusalem. This is the city to be punished, for she is wicked through and through.
7She spouts evil like a fountain. Her streets echo with the sounds of violence and destruction. I always see her sickness and sores.
8Listen to this warning, Jerusalem, or I will turn from you in disgust. Listen, or I will turn you into a heap of ruins, a land where no one lives.”
9This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: “Even the few who remain in Israel will be picked over again, as when a harvester checks each vine a second time to pick the grapes that were missed.”
10To whom can I give warning? Who will listen when I speak? Their ears are closed, and they cannot hear. They scorn the word of the LORD . They don’t want to listen at all.
11So now I am filled with the LORD ’s fury. Yes, I am tired of holding it in! “I will pour out my fury on children playing in the streets and on gatherings of young men, on husbands and wives and on those who are old and gray.
12Their homes will be turned over to their enemies, as will their fields and their wives. For I will raise my powerful fist against the people of this land,” says the LORD .
13“From the least to the greatest, their lives are ruled by greed. From prophets to priests, they are all frauds.
14They offer superficial treatments for my people’s mortal wound. They give assurances of peace when there is no peace.
15Are they ashamed of their disgusting actions? Not at all—they don’t even know how to blush! Therefore, they will lie among the slaughtered. They will be brought down when I punish them,” says the LORD .
16This is what the LORD says: “Stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it. Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls. But you reply, ‘No, that’s not the road we want!’
17I posted watchmen over you who said, ‘Listen for the sound of the alarm.’ But you replied, ‘No! We won’t pay attention!’
18“Therefore, listen to this, all you nations. Take note of my people’s situation.
19Listen, all the earth! I will bring disaster on my people. It is the fruit of their own schemes, because they refuse to listen to me. They have rejected my word.
20There’s no use offering me sweet frankincense from Sheba. Keep your fragrant calamus imported from distant lands! I will not accept your burnt offerings. Your sacrifices have no pleasing aroma for me.”
21Therefore, this is what the LORD says: “I will put obstacles in my people’s path. Fathers and sons will both fall over them. Neighbors and friends will die together.”
22This is what the LORD says: “Look! A great army coming from the north! A great nation is rising against you from far-off lands.
23They are armed with bows and spears. They are cruel and show no mercy. They sound like a roaring sea as they ride forward on horses. They are coming in battle formation, planning to destroy you, beautiful Jerusalem. ”
24We have heard reports about the enemy, and we wring our hands in fright. Pangs of anguish have gripped us, like those of a woman in labor.
25Don’t go out to the fields! Don’t travel on the roads! The enemy’s sword is everywhere and terrorizes us at every turn!
26Oh, my people, dress yourselves in burlap and sit among the ashes. Mourn and weep bitterly, as for the loss of an only son. For suddenly the destroying armies will be upon you!
27“Jeremiah, I have made you a tester of metals, that you may determine the quality of my people.
28They are the worst kind of rebel, full of slander. They are as hard as bronze and iron, and they lead others into corruption.
29The bellows fiercely fan the flames to burn out the corruption. But it does not purify them, for the wickedness remains.
30I will label them ‘Rejected Silver,’ for I, the LORD, am discarding them.”
“Don’t try and change God’s message with your dynamic thoughts, speeches, wardrobe, homes, facilities, talent, and stuff. Simply state His Words of Truth, justice, mercy, and love with your actions and honest intentions.” ~ Jon Barnes
God is always trying to tell us what to do, but we play dumb, deaf, and ignorant to the facts, knowledge, and wisdom that is given to us. We lie to ourselves so that we can lie to God, by shutting down all of our spiritual and natural senses of justice, fairness, honor, and love. Our fake love is like fake news that spreads fearlessly throughout our heart, mind, body, soul, and spirit. Being fearlessly stupid is not the dynamic goal God has intended for you. Clean up your mess and keep God’s message clear and clean in your heart so that you use pure love from God with your spouse, family, friends, and enemies.
Technology is just a tool, like stuff, and money. You must not replace God’s ole’ fashioned love, stories, wisdom, and power with your own industrious insight of arrogance and pride. Left unto ourselves, we all can paint a perfect picture of what we think is cool or good in our own minds, but God knows your heart and all of the problems you have not corrected with HIM. I cannot fix your heart, but God will if you open up to listen to His Spirit more clearly. Become more industrious in your commitment to your God and family to become a better friend to others.
There is no doubt that our love for each other will help prove to others in this world that the love of God is in our hearts because we can honestly communicate our feeling and actions of faith properly at home, church, work, and among ourselves. By lifting each other up, washing each other’s feet, and scratching each other’s backs, you can feel the love that reciprocates God’s true intentions in your lifestyle choices. Your good works of faith can never be erased when you finish the daily race.
If you are a man who does not take care of your children, how do you expect to go to heaven and should God, Your Father, treat you like you did your children?
Enjoy The Reading
Epilogue: Jesus Appears to Seven Disciples
21 Later, Jesus appeared again to the disciples beside the Sea of Galilee. This is how it happened. 2 Several of the disciples were there—Simon Peter, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples.
3 Simon Peter said, “I’m going fishing.”
“We’ll come, too,” they all said. So they went out in the boat, but they caught nothing all night.
4 At dawn Jesus was standing on the beach, but the disciples couldn’t see who he was.5 He called out, “Fellows, have you caught any fish?”
“No,” they replied.
6 Then he said, “Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you’ll get some!” So they did, and they couldn’t haul in the net because there were so many fish in it.
7 Then the disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, “It’s the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his tunic (for he had stripped for work), jumped into the water, and headed to shore.8 The others stayed with the boat and pulled the loaded net to the shore, for they were only about a hundred yards from shore.9 When they got there, they found breakfast waiting for them—fish cooking over a charcoal fire, and some bread.
10 “Bring some of the fish you’ve just caught,” Jesus said.11 So Simon Peter went aboard and dragged the net to the shore. There were 153 large fish, and yet the net hadn’t torn.
12 “Now come and have some breakfast!” Jesus said. None of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord.13 Then Jesus served them the bread and the fish.14 This was the third time Jesus had appeared to his disciples since he had been raised from the dead.
15 After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?[e]”
“Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.”
“Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him.
16 Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
“Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know I love you.”
“Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said.
17 A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep.
18 “I tell you the truth, when you were young, you were able to do as you liked; you dressed yourself and went wherever you wanted to go. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others[f] will dress you and take you where you don’t want to go.”19 Jesus said this to let him know by what kind of death he would glorify God. Then Jesus told him, “Follow me.”
20 Peter turned around and saw behind them the disciple Jesus loved—the one who had leaned over to Jesus during supper and asked, “Lord, who will betray you?”21 Peter asked Jesus, “What about him, Lord?”
22 Jesus replied, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? As for you, follow me.”23 So the rumor spread among the community of believers that this disciple wouldn’t die. But that isn’t what Jesus said at all. He only said, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?”
24 This disciple is the one who testifies to these events and has recorded them here. And we know that his account of these things is accurate.
25 Jesus also did many other things. If they were all written down, I suppose the whole world could not contain the books that would be written.
“Be confident about how people perceive and know who you are, what you are doing, and how you serve God because they can tell if you are a fraud when they test you.” ~ Jon Barnes
Become successful at loving God and you will be spiritually and naturally rich and not an evil fraud. Money does not measure your richness with God because it is like dirt to Him. The streets of Heaven are paved with treasures unseen. Your family and the people around you will admire your faith, work ethic, and talent that God has blessed you with. People will become jealous and they will try to treat you badly for doing a good job. Count it all as Joy.
There is no need to brag about your accomplishments with serving God because it is obvious. The simplicity of obedience means the most to God and it is the foundation of your faith in Jesus. Pray that you stay connected and humble in the Love of God, with your faith, actions, words, work, and service to others. Quality Love builds confidence that you can naturally be proud of and feel good about, just like a Dad who takes good care of his kids and family. The truth always rises to the top of who you are in Christ.
I get this jolly feeling of joy when I see my children obey God’s commandments, talk about bible stories, and improve their lives. It is more joyful to see this happen with my grandchildren as well. Continue to share and reflect on these things to enjoy the lifestyle God has blessed you with. Teach the next generation by example, daily practice, and discussions with gladness and success. This way of life should be natural, unforced, and encouraged for generational transfer of wisdom, love, and understanding with good common sense, family values, ethics, morals, and discipline.
Are you happy about working for God and going to Heaven or would you rather go to hell by worshiping something else?
Enjoy The Reading
Jesus, the True Vine
15 “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.3 You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you.4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.
5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.6 Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned.7 But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!8 When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.
9 “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love.10 When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.11 I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!12 This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.13 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.14 You are my friends if you do what I command.15 I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me.16 You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name.17 This is my command: Love each other.
The World’s Hatred
18 “If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. 19 The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you.20 Do you remember what I told you? ‘A slave is not greater than the master.’ Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you.21 They will do all this to you because of me, for they have rejected the one who sent me.22 They would not be guilty if I had not come and spoken to them. But now they have no excuse for their sin.23 Anyone who hates me also hates my Father.24 If I hadn’t done such miraculous signs among them that no one else could do, they would not be guilty. But as it is, they have seen everything I did, yet they still hate me and my Father.25 This fulfills what is written in their Scriptures: ‘They hated me without cause.’
26 “But I will send you the Advocate—the Spirit of truth. He will come to you from the Father and will testify all about me.27 And you must also testify about me because you have been with me from the beginning of my ministry.
“God is selective in whom He chooses to Go to Heaven, but He doesn’t select who Goes to Hell. Your personal actions of disobedience to God will condemn you to the bottomless pit.” ~ Jon Barnes
Determine in your heart, mind, body, and spirit to follow Christ in all that you do so that The Blood of Jesus is upon your life and soul. When you resist God’s Commandments and laws and replace them with your own laws of deceit, power, greed, lust, and lawlessness, you will be rejected at the Gates of Heaven. Determine your destination with diligence, faith and your work for God.
Sincerely consider what is at stake with your mindset, decisions, and methods of service, which is once in a lifetime opportunity to please God, your Heavenly Father. Prove to yourself that you are committed to doing the sincere work of faith, by caring for your family and others. God requires all of us to balance our love for Him with service steps of love in wisdom. Sincerely line up your life with the lifestyle of faith in God and you will do the work automatically because you love God in Spirit and in Truth.
It is delightful to know that few of you will read the Bible and do the work of The Lord, as it is painful to know that most of you will not read the Bible and connect with God’s agenda. Otherwise, the kingdom of God would become full of the many devilish followers of lies, lust, and sin. Find your way to Christ before it is too late. I am thankful that I have made my choice to select God’s Ways of Love, Truth, and Justice.
Have you made a real commitment to follow Jesus or are you following all of the other types of religious false gods, myths, and legends?
Enjoy The Reading
Jesus Washes His Disciples’ Feet
13 Before the Passover celebration, Jesus knew that his hour had come to leave this world and return to his Father. He had loved his disciples during his ministry on earth, and now he loved them to the very end. 2 It was time for supper, and the devil had already prompted Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus.3 Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God.4 So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist,5 and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him.
6 When Jesus came to Simon Peter, Peter said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
7 Jesus replied, “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.”
8 “No,” Peter protested, “you will never ever wash my feet!”
Jesus replied, “Unless I wash you, you won’t belong to me.”
9 Simon Peter exclaimed, “Then wash my hands and head as well, Lord, not just my feet!”
10 Jesus replied, “A person who has bathed all over does not need to wash, except for the feet, to be entirely clean. And you disciples are clean, but not all of you.”11 For Jesus knew who would betray him. That is what he meant when he said, “Not all of you are clean.”
12 After washing their feet, he put on his robe again and sat down and asked, “Do you understand what I was doing?13 You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because that’s what I am.14 And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet.15 I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.16 I tell you the truth, slaves are not greater than their master. Nor is the messenger more important than the one who sends the message.17 Now that you know these things, God will bless you for doing them.
Jesus Predicts His Betrayal
18 “I am not saying these things to all of you; I know the ones I have chosen. But this fulfills the Scripture that says, ‘The one who eats my food has turned against me.’ 19 I tell you this beforehand, so that when it happens you will believe that I am the Messiah.20 I tell you the truth, anyone who welcomes my messenger is welcoming me, and anyone who welcomes me is welcoming the Father who sent me.”
21 Now Jesus was deeply troubled, and he exclaimed, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me!”
22 The disciples looked at each other, wondering whom he could mean.23 The disciple Jesus loved was sitting next to Jesus at the table.24 Simon Peter motioned to him to ask, “Who’s he talking about?”25 So that disciple leaned over to Jesus and asked, “Lord, who is it?”
26 Jesus responded, “It is the one to whom I give the bread I dip in the bowl.” And when he had dipped it, he gave it to Judas, son of Simon Iscariot.27 When Judas had eaten the bread, Satan entered into him. Then Jesus told him, “Hurry and do what you’re going to do.”28 None of the others at the table knew what Jesus meant.29 Since Judas was their treasurer, some thought Jesus was telling him to go and pay for the food or to give some money to the poor.30 So Judas left at once, going out into the night.
Jesus Predicts Peter’s Denial
31 As soon as Judas left the room, Jesus said, “The time has come for the Son of Man to enter into his glory, and God will be glorified because of him. 32 And since God receives glory because of the Son, he will give his own glory to the Son, and he will do so at once.33 Dear children, I will be with you only a little longer. And as I told the Jewish leaders, you will search for me, but you can’t come where I am going.34 So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
36 Simon Peter asked, “Lord, where are you going?”
And Jesus replied, “You can’t go with me now, but you will follow me later.”
37 “But why can’t I come now, Lord?” he asked. “I’m ready to die for you.”
38 Jesus answered, “Die for me? I tell you the truth, Peter—before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.
“It is a fantastic feeling when people tell you that your children and grandchildren are doing a great job honoring God with their good work, lifestyles, and choices.” ~ Jon Barnes
You can rejoice, laugh, and smile after you have put in all of the hard work, sweat, and tears of joy while working in the trenches by yourself because your family will copy you and make you proud. The quality of work put in your obedience to God will give you great success with Jesus our Lord! Laugh and be thankful. Others may join you with your good cheer or frown in the sorrow of their laziness of love.
Since people really understand God’s Truth, notice how many will poke holes at your belief system, God’s Word, and your lifestyle. Evil people will always find ways to change God’s laws to benefit their evil lifestyle, which is the very reason that they know the biblical stories better than you good people. This is their normal, so smile and be resourceful with few words and lots of spiritual action ordained by God in your personal obedience with God’s Love and Spirit. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist, but you must be honest with God.
People who talk less and do more tend to be more likable, effective, honest, and to the point. God loves the truthful simplicity of love, life, and spiritual growth. Strive to carry the character and characteristics of Christ in your life so that God likes what you are doing. He knows how to bless you beyond your wildest imagination so that you don’t have to build an empire or legacy of proof. Having God on your side is all the empire, legacy, money, and love that you’ll ever need. How fantastic is that?
Can you live a fantastic life with the hope of eternal salvation with lies, fake news, and false hopes in your own fanciful, man-made, makeshift belief system?
Enjoy The Reading
Jesus Anointed at Bethany
12 Six days before the Passover celebration began, Jesus arrived in Bethany, the home of Lazarus—the man he had raised from the dead. 2 A dinner was prepared in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, and Lazarus was among those who ate with him.3 Then Mary took a twelve-ounce jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard, and she anointed Jesus’ feet with it, wiping his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance.
4 But Judas Iscariot, the disciple who would soon betray him, said,5 “That perfume was worth a year’s wages. It should have been sold and the money given to the poor.”6 Not that he cared for the poor—he was a thief, and since he was in charge of the disciples’ money, he often stole some for himself.
7 Jesus replied, “Leave her alone. She did this in preparation for my burial.8 You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”
9 When all the people heard of Jesus’ arrival, they flocked to see him and also to see Lazarus, the man Jesus had raised from the dead.10 Then the leading priests decided to kill Lazarus, too,11 for it was because of him that many of the people had deserted them and believed in Jesus.
Jesus’ Triumphant Entry
12 The next day, the news that Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem swept through the city. A large crowd of Passover visitors 13 took palm branches and went down the road to meet him. They shouted,
Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hail to the King of Israel!”
14 Jesus found a young donkey and rode on it, fulfilling the prophecy that said:
15 “Don’t be afraid, people of Jerusalem.
Look, your King is coming,
riding on a donkey’s colt.”
16 His disciples didn’t understand at the time that this was a fulfillment of prophecy. But after Jesus entered into his glory, they remembered what had happened and realized that these things had been written about him.
17 Many in the crowd had seen Jesus call Lazarus from the tomb, raising him from the dead, and they were telling others about it.18 That was the reason so many went out to meet him—because they had heard about this miraculous sign.19 Then the Pharisees said to each other, “There’s nothing we can do. Look, everyone has gone after him!”
Jesus Predicts His Death
20 Some Greeks who had come to Jerusalem for the Passover celebration 21 paid a visit to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee. They said, “Sir, we want to meet Jesus.”22 Philip told Andrew about it, and they went together to ask Jesus.
23 Jesus replied, “Now the time has come for the Son of Man to enter into his glory.24 I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives.25 Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity.26 Anyone who wants to serve me must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me.
27 “Now my soul is deeply troubled. Should I pray, ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But this is the very reason I came!28 Father, bring glory to your name.”
Then a voice spoke from heaven, saying, “I have already brought glory to my name, and I will do so again.” 29 When the crowd heard the voice, some thought it was thunder, while others declared an angel had spoken to him.
30 Then Jesus told them, “The voice was for your benefit, not mine.31 The time for judging this world has come, when Satan, the ruler of this world, will be cast out.32 And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.”33 He said this to indicate how he was going to die.
34 The crowd responded, “We understood from Scripture that the Messiah would live forever. How can you say the Son of Man will die? Just who is this Son of Man, anyway?”
35 Jesus replied, “My light will shine for you just a little longer. Walk in the light while you can, so the darkness will not overtake you. Those who walk in the darkness cannot see where they are going.36 Put your trust in the light while there is still time; then you will become children of the light.”
After saying these things, Jesus went away and was hidden from them.
The Unbelief of the People
37 But despite all the miraculous signs Jesus had done, most of the people still did not believe in him. 38 This is exactly what Isaiah the prophet had predicted:
“Lord, who has believed our message?
To whom has the Lord revealed his powerful arm?”
39 But the people couldn’t believe, for as Isaiah also said,
40 “The Lord has blinded their eyes
and hardened their hearts—
so that their eyes cannot see,
and their hearts cannot understand,
and they cannot turn to me
and have me heal them.”
41 Isaiah was referring to Jesus when he said this, because he saw the future and spoke of the Messiah’s glory.42 Many people did believe in him, however, including some of the Jewish leaders. But they wouldn’t admit it for fear that the Pharisees would expel them from the synagogue.43 For they loved human praise more than the praise of God.
44 Jesus shouted to the crowds, “If you trust me, you are trusting not only me, but also God who sent me.45 For when you see me, you are seeing the one who sent me.46 I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark.47 I will not judge those who hear me but don’t obey me, for I have come to save the world and not to judge it.48 But all who reject me and my message will be judged on the day of judgment by the truth I have spoken.49 I don’t speak on my own authority. The Father who sent me has commanded me what to say and how to say it.50 And I know his commands lead to eternal life; so I say whatever the Father tells me to say.”
“Find a way to channel your efforts and energy into what God would like for you to do and stay focused happily in a harmonious way.” ~ Jon Barnes
Find the hilarious things in life to laugh at while you work, so that you stay focused to keep working on your projects. Expect and know that everyone will not always like what you are doing. If God has not given you a project to work on for Him, you should be concerned about what you are doing with your time. Peacefully ask God what you should be doing and do the work.
Quietly and patiently be a part of the good solutions to problems and let people enjoy the benefit of having you around. Remember the job, message, and story that God givens you to share, relate, and respond to people, problems, and events. Give people access to God’s ways. These examples contain clues of happiness, success, and solutions to follow you around the world.
Use your instinct to follow God’s incentives, instructions, and intuition because God can see your motives from your heart. The Spirit will guide your heart, mind, and body. He will give you extra courage, support, clues, and cues to get the good work done. By exercising your faith, your fate is in good hands with God. If you do poor work and remain disobedient, you will harmoniously reap what you have sown.
Will you let God patiently map out your plans, work, exercises, activities, provisions, and family’s lifestyle in a harmonious way or will you become disobedient and naturally sabotage your future blessings?
Enjoy The Reading
The Good Shepherd and His Sheep
10 “I tell you the truth, anyone who sneaks over the wall of a sheepfold, rather than going through the gate, must surely be a thief and a robber! 2 But the one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.4 After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice.5 They won’t follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don’t know his voice.”
6 Those who heard Jesus use this illustration didn’t understand what he meant,7 so he explained it to them: “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep.8 All who came before me were thieves and robbers. But the true sheep did not listen to them.9 Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures.10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.
11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep.12 A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock.13 The hired hand runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t really care about the sheep.
14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me,15 just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep.16 I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd.
17 “The Father loves me because I sacrifice my life so I may take it back again.18 No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded.”
19 When he said these things, the people were again divided in their opinions about him.20 Some said, “He’s demon possessed and out of his mind. Why listen to a man like that?”21 Others said, “This doesn’t sound like a man possessed by a demon! Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”
Jesus Claims to Be the Son of God
22 It was now winter, and Jesus was in Jerusalem at the time of Hanukkah, the Festival of Dedication. 23 He was in the Temple, walking through the section known as Solomon’s Colonnade.24 The people surrounded him and asked, “How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”
25 Jesus replied, “I have already told you, and you don’t believe me. The proof is the work I do in my Father’s name.26 But you don’t believe me because you are not my sheep.27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me,29 for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand.30 The Father and I are one.”
31 Once again the people picked up stones to kill him.32 Jesus said, “At my Father’s direction I have done many good works. For which one are you going to stone me?”
33 They replied, “We’re stoning you not for any good work, but for blasphemy! You, a mere man, claim to be God.”
34 Jesus replied, “It is written in your own Scriptures that God said to certain leaders of the people, ‘I say, you are gods!’35 And you know that the Scriptures cannot be altered. So if those people who received God’s message were called ‘gods,’36 why do you call it blasphemy when I say, ‘I am the Son of God’? After all, the Father set me apart and sent me into the world.37 Don’t believe me unless I carry out my Father’s work.38 But if I do his work, believe in the evidence of the miraculous works I have done, even if you don’t believe me. Then you will know and understand that the Father is in me, and I am in the Father.”
39 Once again they tried to arrest him, but he got away and left them.40 He went beyond the Jordan River near the place where John was first baptizing and stayed there awhile.41 And many followed him. “John didn’t perform miraculous signs,” they remarked to one another, “but everything he said about this man has come true.”42 And many who were there believed in Jesus.
“Calmly work through your own issues with God so that your personal relationships will thrive, grow, and help others in need.” ~ Jon Barnes
Since you don’t know how much you can help someone in need, maintain a position of excellence to share with others at all times. Don’t worry about the rejection you will receive from some people for being competent, kind, good, honest, and, fair. Be prepared to give the best answer, pointing to biblical references so that people can find the resources of truth to study for themselves. Giving these resources of self-help is crucial to calm people in the midst of the storms in life.
Accent the obedient nature of good people who follow God’s vision and notice the rewards for doing so. Persecution is not punishment, but the process of excellence. Winning the war against evil is the goal, not winning your personal battles to do wicked things or to receive ill-gotten gain. Accent the truth in God at all times. God’s Love in Truth and in Spirit, He will fight the battles for you. Calmly point to these facts and try to relax.
I am always excited about the new things God will show me and I am always willing to share these new experiences with everyone. Remaining calm is not always easy for me to do. Betrayal, deception, and fake news is all around us. Nevertheless, it is my prayer that people share the love of God in a way that is honest, helpful, hopeful, and full of love so that the next generation become better fathers and mothers of the future. Being persecuted for doing good work is a good thing!
Will your children become better parents based on your example?
Enjoy The Reading
Jesus Heals a Man Born Blind
9 As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. 2 “Rabbi,” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?”
3 “It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him.4 We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us. The night is coming, and then no one can work.5 But while I am here in the world, I am the light of the world.”
6 Then he spit on the ground, made mud with the saliva, and spread the mud over the blind man’s eyes.7 He told him, “Go wash yourself in the pool of Siloam” (Siloam means “sent”). So the man went and washed and came back seeing!
8 His neighbors and others who knew him as a blind beggar asked each other, “Isn’t this the man who used to sit and beg?”9 Some said he was, and others said, “No, he just looks like him!”
But the beggar kept saying, “Yes, I am the same one!”
10 They asked, “Who healed you? What happened?”
11 He told them, “The man they call Jesus made mud and spread it over my eyes and told me, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam and wash yourself.’ So I went and washed, and now I can see!”
12 “Where is he now?” they asked.
“I don’t know,” he replied.
13 Then they took the man who had been blind to the Pharisees,14 because it was on the Sabbath that Jesus had made the mud and healed him.15 The Pharisees asked the man all about it. So he told them, “He put the mud over my eyes, and when I washed it away, I could see!”
16 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man Jesus is not from God, for he is working on the Sabbath.” Others said, “But how could an ordinary sinner do such miraculous signs?” So there was a deep division of opinion among them.
17 Then the Pharisees again questioned the man who had been blind and demanded, “What’s your opinion about this man who healed you?”
The man replied, “I think he must be a prophet.”
18 The Jewish leaders still refused to believe the man had been blind and could now see, so they called in his parents.19 They asked them, “Is this your son? Was he born blind? If so, how can he now see?”
20 His parents replied, “We know this is our son and that he was born blind,21 but we don’t know how he can see or who healed him. Ask him. He is old enough to speak for himself.”22 His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders, who had announced that anyone saying Jesus was the Messiah would be expelled from the synagogue.23 That’s why they said, “He is old enough. Ask him.”
24 So for the second time they called in the man who had been blind and told him, “God should get the glory for this, because we know this man Jesus is a sinner.”
25 “I don’t know whether he is a sinner,” the man replied. “But I know this: I was blind, and now I can see!”
26 “But what did he do?” they asked. “How did he heal you?”
27 “Look!” the man exclaimed. “I told you once. Didn’t you listen? Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples, too?”
28 Then they cursed him and said, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses!29 We know God spoke to Moses, but we don’t even know where this man comes from.”
30 “Why, that’s very strange!” the man replied. “He healed my eyes, and yet you don’t know where he comes from?31 We know that God doesn’t listen to sinners, but he is ready to hear those who worship him and do his will.32 Ever since the world began, no one has been able to open the eyes of someone born blind.33 If this man were not from God, he couldn’t have done it.”
34 “You were born a total sinner!” they answered. “Are you trying to teach us?” And they threw him out of the synagogue.
35 When Jesus heard what had happened, he found the man and asked, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”
36 The man answered, “Who is he, sir? I want to believe in him.”
37 “You have seen him,” Jesus said, “and he is speaking to you!”
38 “Yes, Lord, I believe!” the man said. And he worshiped Jesus.
39 Then Jesus told him, “I entered this world to render judgment—to give sight to the blind and to show those who think they see that they are blind.”
40 Some Pharisees who were standing nearby heard him and asked, “Are you saying we’re blind?”
41 “If you were blind, you wouldn’t be guilty,” Jesus replied. “But you remain guilty because you claim you can see.
“Each day has its own highs and lows so you might as well enjoy the ride.”~TB
I’ve been in the same place/space for over 3 months, which is about the longest time I’ve been in one spot since September 2018 when I made the wild/impromptu plan to travel the US. It was a wacky year of sorts filled with interesting people, places, and adventures. There were amazing wins and amazing losses but through it, all God never left me and I came out unharmed! I took a bunch of pictures to document my travels (which I used a couple for this post) and as I look back at them– recalling different events at various places– the only thing I’d change would be to worry less and take more pictures.
Moments in Time
Compared to eternity, life is ridiculously short. Unfortunately, many of us are so worried/focused on one thing or another, we fail to enjoy the life that God gave us. The good news is that God promises peace and not perfection, so if you’re willing to walk in faith, you can experience it. Looking back at these photos, I laugh, because if I had known what I do now, I would’ve chilled out quite a bit. But, that’s how life works, we have to make the best of what we have, practice Christ-like behaviors to one another, and enjoy the moments in time that are afforded to us. I don’t 100% know what tomorrow brings, but I do know that if we trust in God’s peace rather than our own we can learn to take the picture today instead of lamenting about tomorrow
Are you experiencing God’s peace today or your anxiety about tomorrow?
Enjoy the reading
1This is what the LORD says: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Could you build me a temple as good as that? Could you build me such a resting place?
2My hands have made both heaven and earth; they and everything in them are mine. I, the LORD, have spoken! “I will bless those who have humble and contrite hearts, who tremble at my word.
3But those who choose their own ways— delighting in their detestable sins— will not have their offerings accepted. When such people sacrifice a bull, it is no more acceptable than a human sacrifice. When they sacrifice a lamb, it’s as though they had sacrificed a dog! When they bring an offering of grain, they might as well offer the blood of a pig. When they burn frankincense, it’s as if they had blessed an idol.
4I will send them great trouble— all the things they feared. For when I called, they did not answer. When I spoke, they did not listen. They deliberately sinned before my very eyes and chose to do what they know I despise.”
5Hear this message from the LORD, all you who tremble at his words: “Your own people hate you and throw you out for being loyal to my name. ‘Let the LORD be honored!’ they scoff. ‘Be joyful in him!’ But they will be put to shame.
6What is all the commotion in the city? What is that terrible noise from the Temple? It is the voice of the LORD taking vengeance against his enemies.
7“Before the birth pains even begin, Jerusalem gives birth to a son.
8Who has ever seen anything as strange as this? Who ever heard of such a thing? Has a nation ever been born in a single day? Has a country ever come forth in a mere moment? But by the time Jerusalem’s birth pains begin, her children will be born.
9Would I ever bring this nation to the point of birth and then not deliver it?” asks the LORD . “No! I would never keep this nation from being born,” says your God.
10“Rejoice with Jerusalem! Be glad with her, all you who love her and all you who mourn for her.
11Drink deeply of her glory even as an infant drinks at its mother’s comforting breasts.”
12This is what the LORD says: “I will give Jerusalem a river of peace and prosperity. The wealth of the nations will flow to her. Her children will be nursed at her breasts, carried in her arms, and held on her lap.
13I will comfort you there in Jerusalem as a mother comforts her child.”
14When you see these things, your heart will rejoice. You will flourish like the grass! Everyone will see the LORD ’s hand of blessing on his servants— and his anger against his enemies.
15See, the LORD is coming with fire, and his swift chariots roar like a whirlwind. He will bring punishment with the fury of his anger and the flaming fire of his hot rebuke.
16The LORD will punish the world by fire and by his sword. He will judge the earth, and many will be killed by him.
17“Those who ‘consecrate’ and ‘purify’ themselves in a sacred garden with its idol in the center—feasting on pork and rats and other detestable meats—will come to a terrible end,” says the LORD .
18“I can see what they are doing, and I know what they are thinking. So I will gather all nations and peoples together, and they will see my glory.
19I will perform a sign among them. And I will send those who survive to be messengers to the nations—to Tarshish, to the Libyans and Lydians (who are famous as archers), to Tubal and Greece, and to all the lands beyond the sea that have not heard of my fame or seen my glory. There they will declare my glory to the nations.
20They will bring the remnant of your people back from every nation. They will bring them to my holy mountain in Jerusalem as an offering to the LORD . They will ride on horses, in chariots and wagons, and on mules and camels,” says the LORD .
21“And I will appoint some of them to be my priests and Levites. I, the LORD, have spoken!
22“As surely as my new heavens and earth will remain, so will you always be my people, with a name that will never disappear,” says the LORD .
23“All humanity will come to worship me from week to week and from month to month.
24And as they go out, they will see the dead bodies of those who have rebelled against me. For the worms that devour them will never die, and the fire that burns them will never go out. All who pass by will view them with utter horror.”