“So you’re spiritually mature, great! Now, step aside and let others pass theirs instead of trying to do the work for them.”~TB
The longer you spend with God, the more you understand how complex yet simple His love and teachings are. Like a game of chess, it takes a lifetime to study God’s ways. Even still, the wisest of us all will never truly and fully understand the miraculousness that is God. Depending on where you are on the spectrum, God will use you for His purpose, but friends, do your job and nothing more, as we all learn at a different pace.
Everyone goes through trials and tests at their own pace. Some learn faster than others. And some need to retake certain tests before they ace the exam. No person’s journey is superior to another’s, no matter how quickly they learn. If you are a quick learner, be a help and not a hindrance.
Helping others is part of the journey that is being a Christ-follower. This means encouraging the downtrodden, aiding those enduring hard times, and giving mercy to one another. It’s great to help, but when helping turns into servitude, you’re doing too much.
Yes, it’s natural to want to step in so that loved ones do not endure pain. However, everyone needs to go through their own tests so that they can learn the lessons and grow closer to God in the process. When you overstep in “helping” you’re actually hinder the person’s growth and maturity. Assist when necessary and let others develop accordingly.
Is your help a hindrance?
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1Don’t envy evil people or desire their company.
2For their hearts plot violence, and their words always stir up trouble.
3A house is built by wisdom and becomes strong through good sense.
4Through knowledge its rooms are filled with all sorts of precious riches and valuables.
5The wise are mightier than the strong, and those with knowledge grow stronger and stronger.
6So don’t go to war without wise guidance; victory depends on having many advisers.
7Wisdom is too lofty for fools. Among leaders at the city gate, they have nothing to say.
8A person who plans evil will get a reputation as a troublemaker.
9The schemes of a fool are sinful; everyone detests a mocker.
10If you fail under pressure, your strength is too small.
11Rescue those who are unjustly sentenced to die; save them as they stagger to their death.
12Don’t excuse yourself by saying, “Look, we didn’t know.” For God understands all hearts, and he sees you. He who guards your soul knows you knew. He will repay all people as their actions deserve.
13My child, eat honey, for it is good, and the honeycomb is sweet to the taste.
14In the same way, wisdom is sweet to your soul. If you find it, you will have a bright future, and your hopes will not be cut short.
15Don’t wait in ambush at the home of the godly, and don’t raid the house where the godly live.
16The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again. But one disaster is enough to overthrow the wicked.
17Don’t rejoice when your enemies fall; don’t be happy when they stumble.
18For the LORD will be displeased with you and will turn his anger away from them.
19Don’t fret because of evildoers; don’t envy the wicked.
20For evil people have no future; the light of the wicked will be snuffed out.
21My child, fear the LORD and the king. Don’t associate with rebels,
22for disaster will hit them suddenly. Who knows what punishment will come from the LORD and the king?
23Here are some further sayings of the wise: It is wrong to show favoritism when passing judgment.
24A judge who says to the wicked, “You are innocent,” will be cursed by many people and denounced by the nations.
25But it will go well for those who convict the guilty; rich blessings will be showered on them.
26An honest answer is like a kiss of friendship.
27Do your planning and prepare your fields before building your house.
28Don’t testify against your neighbors without cause; don’t lie about them.
29And don’t say, “Now I can pay them back for what they’ve done to me! I’ll get even with them!”
30I walked by the field of a lazy person, the vineyard of one with no common sense.
31I saw that it was overgrown with nettles. It was covered with weeds, and its walls were broken down.
32Then, as I looked and thought about it, I learned this lesson:
33A little extra sleep, a little more slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest—
34then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit; scarcity will attack you like an armed robber.
“There are levels to developing a relationship with God. The more you grow in your walk with God the more you level up in Christ” ~TB
The moment we accept Christ we are reborn as infants in desperate need of care from our Father. Like a loving parent, he feeds us milk to encourage and help us grow stronger in our faith so that day by day we level up in faith, maturing in our walk.
As we mature, God weans us off of milk and begins to feed us meat. The tests, lessons, and trials become more complex, but rest assured God has given us sufficient time to develop the Biblical teeth to consume His word. Through careful study and application, we begin to connect the dots as we ascend to a deeper level of faith.
The devil wants us to believe that the turbulence we experience as we grow is a sign that we are failing. Don’t give up, because this is not so! The truth in the matter is that the evil one has no real dominion or power over us, resist him and he has no choice but to flee. Once you recognize this fundamental truth, you then can begin to enjoy the meat.
Are you leveling up to enjoy God’s filet mignon or has the devil tricked you into believing it is spoiled meat?
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1I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from him. 2He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will never be shaken. 3So many enemies against one man— all of them trying to kill me. To them I’m just a broken-down wall or a tottering fence. 4They plan to topple me from my high position. They delight in telling lies about me. They praise me to my face but curse me in their hearts. Interlude 5Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. 6He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken. 7My victory and honor come from God alone. He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me. 8O my people, trust in him at all times. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge. Interlude 9Common people are as worthless as a puff of wind, and the powerful are not what they appear to be. If you weigh them on the scales, together they are lighter than a breath of air. 10Don’t make your living by extortion or put your hope in stealing. And if your wealth increases, don’t make it the center of your life. 11God has spoken plainly, and I have heard it many times: Power, O God, belongs to you; 12unfailing love, O Lord, is yours. Surely you repay all people according to what they have done.
“Your life is boring when you have accomplished nothing with what God has given you because you buried your talents in the dirt and wasted the time of development and mentoring.”~Jon Barnes
Walking with God is exciting with new adventures to face at every hand.There is no time to be boring while walking by faith, not by sight!The success of each mission is granted by each step you take in the right direction, as new doors open and close for your protection, growth, and maturity. There is no need for you to live in a spiritual house that is boarded up.
Master the board game of boring by bringing your fresh ideas to God for approval. His guidance and confidence in your abilities to do good things will overwhelm you.Just pick one of the great ideas God has given you and finish the job.Practice makes perfect so play the game every day and listen to what God has to say.Your playground will become more interesting, fresh, and new each morning.
Let God put a big, permanent smile on your face, as you love everyone around you, particularly your enemies, and enjoy the transformation of lives right before your very eyes.That smile you have will make everyone else smile and work to do a better job.
Remain diligent and focused in your best effort and you’ll be remembered for the quality of work you produced.
Is your life boring because God is not present in your lifestyle?
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For the choir director: A psalm[a] of David, regarding the time the Philistines seized him in Gath. To be sung to the tune “Dove on Distant Oaks.”
1 O God, have mercy on me, for people are hounding me. My foes attack me all day long. 2 I am constantly hounded by those who slander me, and many are boldly attacking me. 3 But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you. 4 I praise God for what he has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me?
5 They are always twisting what I say; they spend their days plotting to harm me. 6 They come together to spy on me— watching my every step, eager to kill me. 7 Don’t let them get away with their wickedness; in your anger, O God, bring them down.
8 You keep track of all my sorrows.[b] You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.
9 My enemies will retreat when I call to you for help. This I know: God is on my side! 10 I praise God for what he has promised; yes, I praise the Lord for what he has promised. 11 I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me?
12 I will fulfill my vows to you, O God, and will offer a sacrifice of thanks for your help. 13 For you have rescued me from death; you have kept my feet from slipping. So now I can walk in your presence, O God, in your life-giving light.
“The movement of the ocean and breath of life are similar and you have to back off to pay attention to the rhythms, similarities, and differences of life and the environment to make proper adjustments.” ~ Jon Barnes
You need time to back off from work to pay attention to the life of your spouse and family to make adjustments and become sensitive to their personal needs.You can work yourself into sickness if you are not careful in balancing your time, recreation, and habits.Create a balanced diet of good activities to improve your life, just like eating a well-balanced meal.It takes work and effort to rest in God’s plans and hands while navigating sensitive issues.Often I Back Off and reflect with God.
Too much access to many things is not always good.You can become consumed with stuff and options to ignore God’s simplistic plans. It is a challenge to pick what is necessary, good, evil, or wasteful.Monitor the heart rate, pulse, and motives of a situation to determine it’s value, validity, and vantage point.When less is more, you have reached the top of the bell curve in your understanding and usefulness, when implementing God’s advice.
Maturity and wisdom in God are needed to master and balanced efforts in life and it is nice to have wise old people to listen to stories, ideas, and methods that have worked in the past.Then you will be able to use technology, wisdom, and common sense in the same sentence to state your case, finish projects, hit targets, and connect generations to God.
Do you know the difference between resting in God or just being lazy and consumed in foolishness?
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Ezra Arrives in Jerusalem
7 Many years later, during the reign of King Artaxerxes of Persia,[a] there was a man named Ezra. He was the son[b] of Seraiah, son of Azariah, son of Hilkiah,2 son of Shallum, son of Zadok, son of Ahitub,3 son of Amariah, son of Azariah, son[c] of Meraioth,4 son of Zerahiah, son of Uzzi, son of Bukki,5 son of Abishua, son of Phinehas, son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the high priest.[d]6 This Ezra was a scribe who was well versed in the Law of Moses, which the Lord, the God of Israel, had given to the people of Israel. He came up to Jerusalem from Babylon, and the king gave him everything he asked for, because the gracious hand of the Lord his God was on him.7 Some of the people of Israel, as well as some of the priests, Levites, singers, gatekeepers, and Temple servants, traveled up to Jerusalem with him in the seventh year of King Artaxerxes’ reign.
8 Ezra arrived in Jerusalem in August[e] of that year.9 He had arranged to leave Babylon on April 8, the first day of the new year,[f] and he arrived at Jerusalem on August 4,[g] for the gracious hand of his God was on him.10 This was because Ezra had determined to study and obey the Law of the Lord and to teach those decrees and regulations to the people of Israel.
Artaxerxes’ Letter to Ezra
11 King Artaxerxes had given a copy of the following letter to Ezra, the priest and scribe who studied and taught the commands and decrees of the Lord to Israel:
12 [h]“From Artaxerxes, the king of kings, to Ezra the priest, the teacher of the law of the God of heaven. Greetings.
13 “I decree that any of the people of Israel in my kingdom, including the priests and Levites, may volunteer to return to Jerusalem with you.14 I and my council of seven hereby instruct you to conduct an inquiry into the situation in Judah and Jerusalem, based on your God’s law, which is in your hand.15 We also commission you to take with you silver and gold, which we are freely presenting as an offering to the God of Israel who lives in Jerusalem.
16 “Furthermore, you are to take any silver and gold that you may obtain from the province of Babylon, as well as the voluntary offerings of the people and the priests that are presented for the Temple of their God in Jerusalem.17 These donations are to be used specifically for the purchase of bulls, rams, male lambs, and the appropriate grain offerings and liquid offerings, all of which will be offered on the altar of the Temple of your God in Jerusalem.18 Any silver and gold that is left over may be used in whatever way you and your colleagues feel is the will of your God.
19 “But as for the cups we are entrusting to you for the service of the Temple of your God, deliver them all to the God of Jerusalem.20 If you need anything else for your God’s Temple or for any similar needs, you may take it from the royal treasury.
21 “I, Artaxerxes the king, hereby send this decree to all the treasurers in the province west of the Euphrates River[i]: ‘You are to give Ezra, the priest and teacher of the law of the God of heaven, whatever he requests of you.22 You are to give him up to 7,500 pounds[j] of silver, 500 bushels[k] of wheat, 550 gallons of wine, 550 gallons of olive oil,[l] and an unlimited supply of salt.23 Be careful to provide whatever the God of heaven demands for his Temple, for why should we risk bringing God’s anger against the realm of the king and his sons?24 I also decree that no priest, Levite, singer, gatekeeper, Temple servant, or other worker in this Temple of God will be required to pay tribute, customs, or tolls of any kind.’
25 “And you, Ezra, are to use the wisdom your God has given you to appoint magistrates and judges who know your God’s laws to govern all the people in the province west of the Euphrates River. Teach the law to anyone who does not know it.26 Anyone who refuses to obey the law of your God and the law of the king will be punished immediately, either by death, banishment, confiscation of goods, or imprisonment.”
Ezra Praises the Lord
27 Praise the Lord, the God of our ancestors, who made the king want to beautify the Temple of the Lord in Jerusalem!28 And praise him for demonstrating such unfailing love to me by honoring me before the king, his council, and all his mighty nobles! I felt encouraged because the gracious hand of the Lord my God was on me. And I gathered some of the leaders of Israel to return with me to Jerusalem.
“Grandma was honest, killing the negative actions of people with kindness, love, long-suffering, meekness, maturity, prayer, faith, and love; which is a quality she transferred to me from God.” ~ Jon Barnes
You cannot accept something good from God that you didn’t give consent to receive. So, take what is yours. You cannot receive something you don’t believe. Believe what is yours. Accept the invitation of faith by activating your love towards God so that your actions of faith births your good works! Accept the work of your faith and it’s full measure.
How can you believe in God without faith to be born again, by the Spirit of God. Christ is the only way, granny would say. We accept God’s information and conditions based on our obedience and love. I chose to listen and accept the lifestyle of my grandma. You can love, trust, and believe God, except you choose not too.
You cannot believe in God or trust Him when your lifestyle practices the opposite commandments of what is in the bible. I chose to do what my grandma did, by following God. Your belief is not valid or correct and will not be accepted by God when you are a hypocrite. My Grandma taught me how to avoid being a hypocrite by showing and doing the work of love, faith, and godly actions. Develop your heart, mind, ways, faith, and work after the examples of Jesus.
Did you know you cannot hide secrets or thoughts from God?
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The Appointed Festivals
23 The Lord said to Moses,2 “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. These are the Lord’s appointed festivals, which you are to proclaim as official days for holy assembly.
3 “You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of complete rest, an official day for holy assembly. It is the Lord’s Sabbath day, and it must be observed wherever you live.
4 “In addition to the Sabbath, these are the Lord’s appointed festivals, the official days for holy assembly that are to be celebrated at their proper times each year.
Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread
5 “The Lord’s Passover begins at sundown on the fourteenth day of the first month.[a]6 On the next day, the fifteenth day of the month, you must begin celebrating the Festival of Unleavened Bread. This festival to the Lord continues for seven days, and during that time the bread you eat must be made without yeast.7 On the first day of the festival, all the people must stop their ordinary work and observe an official day for holy assembly.8 For seven days you must present special gifts to the Lord. On the seventh day the people must again stop all their ordinary work to observe an official day for holy assembly.”
Celebration of First Harvest
9 Then the Lord said to Moses,10 “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. When you enter the land I am giving you and you harvest its first crops, bring the priest a bundle of grain from the first cutting of your grain harvest.11 On the day after the Sabbath, the priest will lift it up before the Lord so it may be accepted on your behalf.12 On that same day you must sacrifice a one-year-old male lamb with no defects as a burnt offering to the Lord.13 With it you must present a grain offering consisting of four quarts[b] of choice flour moistened with olive oil. It will be a special gift, a pleasing aroma to the Lord. You must also offer one quart[c] of wine as a liquid offering.14 Do not eat any bread or roasted grain or fresh kernels on that day until you bring this offering to your God. This is a permanent law for you, and it must be observed from generation to generation wherever you live.
The Festival of Harvest
15 “From the day after the Sabbath—the day you bring the bundle of grain to be lifted up as a special offering—count off seven full weeks.16 Keep counting until the day after the seventh Sabbath, fifty days later. Then present an offering of new grain to the Lord.17 From wherever you live, bring two loaves of bread to be lifted up before the Lord as a special offering. Make these loaves from four quarts of choice flour, and bake them with yeast. They will be an offering to the Lord from the first of your crops.18 Along with the bread, present seven one-year-old male lambs with no defects, one young bull, and two rams as burnt offerings to the Lord. These burnt offerings, together with the grain offerings and liquid offerings, will be a special gift, a pleasing aroma to the Lord.19 Then you must offer one male goat as a sin offering and two one-year-old male lambs as a peace offering.
20 “The priest will lift up the two lambs as a special offering to the Lord, together with the loaves representing the first of your crops. These offerings, which are holy to the Lord, belong to the priests.21 That same day will be proclaimed an official day for holy assembly, a day on which you do no ordinary work. This is a permanent law for you, and it must be observed from generation to generation wherever you live.[d]
22 “When you harvest the crops of your land, do not harvest the grain along the edges of your fields, and do not pick up what the harvesters drop. Leave it for the poor and the foreigners living among you. I am the Lord your God.”
The Festival of Trumpets
23 The Lord said to Moses,24 “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. On the first day of the appointed month in early autumn,[e] you are to observe a day of complete rest. It will be an official day for holy assembly, a day commemorated with loud blasts of a trumpet.25 You must do no ordinary work on that day. Instead, you are to present special gifts to the Lord.”
The Day of Atonement
26 Then the Lord said to Moses,27 “Be careful to celebrate the Day of Atonement on the tenth day of that same month—nine days after the Festival of Trumpets.[f]You must observe it as an official day for holy assembly, a day to deny yourselves[g] and present special gifts to the Lord.28 Do no work during that entire day because it is the Day of Atonement, when offerings of purification are made for you, making you right with[h] the Lord your God.29 All who do not deny themselves that day will be cut off from God’s people.30 And I will destroy anyone among you who does any work on that day.31 You must not do any work at all! This is a permanent law for you, and it must be observed from generation to generation wherever you live.32 This will be a Sabbath day of complete rest for you, and on that day you must deny yourselves. This day of rest will begin at sundown on the ninth day of the month and extend until sundown on the tenth day.”
The Festival of Shelters
33 And the Lord said to Moses,34 “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. Begin celebrating the Festival of Shelters[i] on the fifteenth day of the appointed month—five days after the Day of Atonement.[j] This festival to the Lordwill last for seven days.35 On the first day of the festival you must proclaim an official day for holy assembly, when you do no ordinary work.36 For seven days you must present special gifts to the Lord. The eighth day is another holy day on which you present your special gifts to the Lord. This will be a solemn occasion, and no ordinary work may be done that day.
37 (“These are the Lord’s appointed festivals. Celebrate them each year as official days for holy assembly by presenting special gifts to the Lord—burnt offerings, grain offerings, sacrifices, and liquid offerings—each on its proper day.38 These festivals must be observed in addition to the Lord’s regular Sabbath days, and the offerings are in addition to your personal gifts, the offerings you give to fulfill your vows, and the voluntary offerings you present to the Lord.)
39 “Remember that this seven-day festival to the Lord—the Festival of Shelters—begins on the fifteenth day of the appointed month,[k] after you have harvested all the produce of the land. The first day and the eighth day of the festival will be days of complete rest.40 On the first day gather branches from magnificent trees[l]—palm fronds, boughs from leafy trees, and willows that grow by the streams. Then celebrate with joy before the Lord your God for seven days.41 You must observe this festival to the Lord for seven days every year. This is a permanent law for you, and it must be observed in the appointed month[m] from generation to generation.42 For seven days you must live outside in little shelters. All native-born Israelites must live in shelters.43 This will remind each new generation of Israelites that I made their ancestors live in shelters when I rescued them from the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.”
44 So Moses gave the Israelites these instructions regarding the annual festivals of the Lord.
“The Joy of Deliverance is sweet in the morning as you wake up fresh, refreshed, and complete, ready to do the preparation, studying, research, and good work, into the next page turn with a new test to pass!” ~ Jon Barnes
Full of Joy
Stay full of Joy, while working on your next project; Always remember how God keeps blessing you to move forward into new excitement and challenges. Count it all as Joy and laugh at the devil’s best shots, because they don’t count, because the sun is shining on your face this morning from God! When you face can feel the fullness of the sun, with God’s smile in your heart, The Spirit of God’s Joy will smile to burn up the face of evil!
You face looks like Joy because you are looking and working ahead into God’s Kingdom plan and you are not looking back into the past of failure and mistakes. Having passed the tests of old, your maturity presses on forward from feelings into the power from God in your obedience to Him! Don’t be a killjoy because you failed the test. Study and take it again until you pass it!
Do the happy dance each day as you walk and talk with God about your faith, ideas, goals, and assignments so that you may complete them and not grow weary in your good deeds. You work for God, not people, so Joy Dance on the head of satan each morning. Bless God for the mind and heart to listen and follow God’s lifestyle of faith, love, and charity.
Is God with you and your Joy each day, where ever you Go or did you give up the fight in the test?
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Joseph in Potiphar’s House
39 When Joseph was taken to Egypt by the Ishmaelite traders, he was purchased by Potiphar, an Egyptian officer. Potiphar was captain of the guard for Pharaoh, the king of Egypt.
2 The Lord was with Joseph, so he succeeded in everything he did as he served in the home of his Egyptian master.3 Potiphar noticed this and realized that the Lord was with Joseph, giving him success in everything he did.4 This pleased Potiphar, so he soon made Joseph his personal attendant. He put him in charge of his entire household and everything he owned.5 From the day Joseph was put in charge of his master’s household and property, the Lord began to bless Potiphar’s household for Joseph’s sake. All his household affairs ran smoothly, and his crops and livestock flourished.6 So Potiphar gave Joseph complete administrative responsibility over everything he owned. With Joseph there, he didn’t worry about a thing—except what kind of food to eat!
Joseph was a very handsome and well-built young man,7 and Potiphar’s wife soon began to look at him lustfully. “Come and sleep with me,” she demanded.
8 But Joseph refused. “Look,” he told her, “my master trusts me with everything in his entire household.9 No one here has more authority than I do. He has held back nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How could I do such a wicked thing? It would be a great sin against God.”
10 She kept putting pressure on Joseph day after day, but he refused to sleep with her, and he kept out of her way as much as possible.11 One day, however, no one else was around when he went in to do his work.12 She came and grabbed him by his cloak, demanding, “Come on, sleep with me!” Joseph tore himself away, but he left his cloak in her hand as he ran from the house.
13 When she saw that she was holding his cloak and he had fled,14 she called out to her servants. Soon all the men came running. “Look!” she said. “My husband has brought this Hebrew slave here to make fools of us! He came into my room to rape me, but I screamed.15 When he heard me scream, he ran outside and got away, but he left his cloak behind with me.”
16 She kept the cloak with her until her husband came home.17 Then she told him her story. “That Hebrew slave you’ve brought into our house tried to come in and fool around with me,” she said.18 “But when I screamed, he ran outside, leaving his cloak with me!”
Joseph Put in Prison
19 Potiphar was furious when he heard his wife’s story about how Joseph had treated her.20 So he took Joseph and threw him into the prison where the king’s prisoners were held, and there he remained.21 But the Lord was with Joseph in the prison and showed him his faithful love. And the Lord made Joseph a favorite with the prison warden.22 Before long, the warden put Joseph in charge of all the other prisoners and over everything that happened in the prison.23 The warden had no more worries, because Joseph took care of everything. The Lord was with him and caused everything he did to succeed.
“Maturity is when you refuse to take a step in the wrong direction because you are Happily, Willingly, and Blindly doing the Good Work God has created you to do, with no excuses, exceptions, explanations, or murmurings!” ~ Jon Barnes
After you have passed your test, maturity comes in the morning with Joy, having completed a passing grade on your last assignment. If you keep failing the test from God, you will keep taking the same test over and over again until you pass it. Take Joy in learning to focus on doing your own work well for God, passing your tests, and listening to Him, The Word, and His Lectures, without trying to debate nonsense. This is how you live your Dream.
Once you have accepted that you are arrogant, wrong, judgmental, lazy, and full of talk, then you will stay focused enough to see the fruits of your labor, without going backwards into your old sinful nature. Take comfort in the fact that you are at the door of comfort, ready to walk therein. Stay honest and positive and God will positively stay with you. Don’t stop the process and progress God has set you in. Stay upon the Rock of Comfort by obeying God and not your own selfish thoughts of slavery and deceit.
When you half do the good work, you get half the credit and half the comfort, because you gave the other half to the devil. Complete your good work and receive full credit and reward for passing your test. Get that “A” if you can! I really understand this from experience, as I use to be a terrible student, in college, until I got mad at my laziness and started to consistently work on ME! Repent and crucify your selfish heart, thoughts, actions, and ways. Just do it, God’s Way, for best results!
Did you pass the last test of Maturity or are you trying to write a book about your failures, like the devil, lying to people about your fake success?
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37 So Jacob settled again in the land of Canaan, where his father had lived as a foreigner.
2 This is the account of Jacob and his family. When Joseph was seventeen years old, he often tended his father’s flocks. He worked for his half brothers, the sons of his father’s wives Bilhah and Zilpah. But Joseph reported to his father some of the bad things his brothers were doing.
3 Jacob[a] loved Joseph more than any of his other children because Joseph had been born to him in his old age. So one day Jacob had a special gift made for Joseph—a beautiful robe.[b]4 But his brothers hated Joseph because their father loved him more than the rest of them. They couldn’t say a kind word to him.
5 One night Joseph had a dream, and when he told his brothers about it, they hated him more than ever.6 “Listen to this dream,” he said.7 “We were out in the field, tying up bundles of grain. Suddenly my bundle stood up, and your bundles all gathered around and bowed low before mine!”
8 His brothers responded, “So you think you will be our king, do you? Do you actually think you will reign over us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dreams and the way he talked about them.
9 Soon Joseph had another dream, and again he told his brothers about it. “Listen, I have had another dream,” he said. “The sun, moon, and eleven stars bowed low before me!”
10 This time he told the dream to his father as well as to his brothers, but his father scolded him. “What kind of dream is that?” he asked. “Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow to the ground before you?”11 But while his brothers were jealous of Joseph, his father wondered what the dreams meant.
12 Soon after this, Joseph’s brothers went to pasture their father’s flocks at Shechem.13 When they had been gone for some time, Jacob said to Joseph, “Your brothers are pasturing the sheep at Shechem. Get ready, and I will send you to them.”
“I’m ready to go,” Joseph replied.
14 “Go and see how your brothers and the flocks are getting along,” Jacob said. “Then come back and bring me a report.” So Jacob sent him on his way, and Joseph traveled to Shechem from their home in the valley of Hebron.
15 When he arrived there, a man from the area noticed him wandering around the countryside. “What are you looking for?” he asked.
16 “I’m looking for my brothers,” Joseph replied. “Do you know where they are pasturing their sheep?”
17 “Yes,” the man told him. “They have moved on from here, but I heard them say, ‘Let’s go on to Dothan.’” So Joseph followed his brothers to Dothan and found them there.
Joseph Sold into Slavery
18 When Joseph’s brothers saw him coming, they recognized him in the distance. As he approached, they made plans to kill him.19 “Here comes the dreamer!” they said.20 “Come on, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns. We can tell our father, ‘A wild animal has eaten him.’ Then we’ll see what becomes of his dreams!”
21 But when Reuben heard of their scheme, he came to Joseph’s rescue. “Let’s not kill him,” he said.22 “Why should we shed any blood? Let’s just throw him into this empty cistern here in the wilderness. Then he’ll die without our laying a hand on him.” Reuben was secretly planning to rescue Joseph and return him to his father.
23 So when Joseph arrived, his brothers ripped off the beautiful robe he was wearing.24 Then they grabbed him and threw him into the cistern. Now the cistern was empty; there was no water in it.25 Then, just as they were sitting down to eat, they looked up and saw a caravan of camels in the distance coming toward them. It was a group of Ishmaelite traders taking a load of gum, balm, and aromatic resin from Gilead down to Egypt.
26 Judah said to his brothers, “What will we gain by killing our brother? We’d have to cover up the crime.[c]27 Instead of hurting him, let’s sell him to those Ishmaelite traders. After all, he is our brother—our own flesh and blood!” And his brothers agreed.28 So when the Ishmaelites, who were Midianite traders, came by, Joseph’s brothers pulled him out of the cistern and sold him to them for twenty pieces[d] of silver. And the traders took him to Egypt.
29 Some time later, Reuben returned to get Joseph out of the cistern. When he discovered that Joseph was missing, he tore his clothes in grief.30 Then he went back to his brothers and lamented, “The boy is gone! What will I do now?”
31 Then the brothers killed a young goat and dipped Joseph’s robe in its blood.32 They sent the beautiful robe to their father with this message: “Look at what we found. Doesn’t this robe belong to your son?”
33 Their father recognized it immediately. “Yes,” he said, “it is my son’s robe. A wild animal must have eaten him. Joseph has clearly been torn to pieces!”34 Then Jacob tore his clothes and dressed himself in burlap. He mourned deeply for his son for a long time.35 His family all tried to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. “I will go to my grave[e] mourning for my son,” he would say, and then he would weep.
36 Meanwhile, the Midianite traders[f] arrived in Egypt, where they sold Joseph to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. Potiphar was captain of the palace guard.
“True love is tested, each day, when you work, learn, make mistakes, forgive, repent, and forget the problems of the past, which renders evil powerless in your life.” ~ Jon Barnes
Mastering sin is the result of WIP, work in process, towards maturity in true love, which patiently waits for the harvest of sowing all the love seeds in your hands. Don’t eat them.
An emotional hoarder collects, saves, and piles up all of their frustrations, problems, and personal issues to a point where they cannot function normally around people in regular relationships.
When you center your heart, mind, and body, around God’s ways, there is not time to hold onto problems. Your time will be well spent, cleaning, helping, and sowing love seeds of solutions in the world.
Is your love working or are you hoarding it?
Enjoy Today’s Reading
The Call of Abram
12 The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you.2 I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others.3 I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.”
4 So Abram departed as the Lord had instructed, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he left Haran.5 He took his wife, Sarai, his nephew Lot, and all his wealth—his livestock and all the people he had taken into his household at Haran—and headed for the land of Canaan. When they arrived in Canaan,6 Abram traveled through the land as far as Shechem. There he set up camp beside the oak of Moreh. At that time, the area was inhabited by Canaanites.
7 Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “I will give this land to your descendants.[a]” And Abram built an altar there and dedicated it to the Lord, who had appeared to him.8 After that, Abram traveled south and set up camp in the hill country, with Bethel to the west and Ai to the east. There he built another altar and dedicated it to the Lord, and he worshiped the Lord.9 Then Abram continued traveling south by stages toward the Negev.
Abram and Sarai in Egypt
10 At that time a severe famine struck the land of Canaan, forcing Abram to go down to Egypt, where he lived as a foreigner.11 As he was approaching the border of Egypt, Abram said to his wife, Sarai, “Look, you are a very beautiful woman.12 When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife. Let’s kill him; then we can have her!’13 So please tell them you are my sister. Then they will spare my life and treat me well because of their interest in you.”
14 And sure enough, when Abram arrived in Egypt, everyone noticed Sarai’s beauty.15 When the palace officials saw her, they sang her praises to Pharaoh, their king, and Sarai was taken into his palace.16 Then Pharaoh gave Abram many gifts because of her—sheep, goats, cattle, male and female donkeys, male and female servants, and camels.
17 But the Lord sent terrible plagues upon Pharaoh and his household because of Sarai, Abram’s wife.18 So Pharaoh summoned Abram and accused him sharply. “What have you done to me?” he demanded. “Why didn’t you tell me she was your wife?19 Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ and allow me to take her as my wife? Now then, here is your wife. Take her and get out of here!”20 Pharaoh ordered some of his men to escort them, and he sent Abram out of the country, along with his wife and all his possessions.