“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?
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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.
“Wherever God sends you, whatever job He gives you, be sure to follow through.”~TB
In the eyes of man, God’s ways and plans for your future may appear to be foolish to your peers. If He’s given you a purpose or a plan, follow through. Because we are unable to understand the infinite perspective of God, we can talk ourselves out of amazing opportunities. Of course, with these opportunities comes the potential for great setbacks.
The devil will always try and find a way to disrupt the joy and peace in your life. This is especially true when you are operating in an assignment from the Lord. My point in saying this is that obstacles will always happen. It’s why we must arm ourselves with the Word so that when opposition comes, we know to avert our gaze and focus on the task at hand. Friends, life is easy for no one, persevere anyway.
So, no matter how obscure or miraculous your work for God is, follow through and finish well. Avoid the pitfalls and traps laid out by the evil one. The truth is, his distractions cannot harm you, there merely exist to get you to fumble your task. Learn to ignore the noise. When you walk and talk with God regularly, you build up the discernment to finish the job. Develop your relationship with Christ to follow through with the call He’s placed on your life.
Are you following through or full of excuses?
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1O LORD, rescue me from evil people. Protect me from those who are violent,
2those who plot evil in their hearts and stir up trouble all day long.
3Their tongues sting like a snake; the venom of a viper drips from their lips. Interlude
4O LORD, keep me out of the hands of the wicked. Protect me from those who are violent, for they are plotting against me.
5The proud have set a trap to catch me; they have stretched out a net; they have placed traps all along the way. Interlude
6I said to the LORD, “You are my God!” Listen, O LORD, to my cries for mercy!
7O Sovereign LORD, the strong one who rescued me, you protected me on the day of battle.
8LORD, do not let evil people have their way. Do not let their evil schemes succeed, or they will become proud. Interlude
9Let my enemies be destroyed by the very evil they have planned for me.
10Let burning coals fall down on their heads. Let them be thrown into the fire or into watery pits from which they can’t escape.
11Don’t let liars prosper here in our land. Cause great disasters to fall on the violent.
12But I know the LORD will help those they persecute; he will give justice to the poor.
13Surely righteous people are praising your name; the godly will live in your presence.
“It is important to talk about the stories that matter in your life so that your children’s children may benefit from wisdom, with the limited amount of time we have left on this earth.” ! Jon Barnes
I now see why Bible stories, studies, prayer, and service is so important to learn and share, because they are needed in our daily lives thinking, working, negotiating, and practicing good deeds in our lives. Stop blaming the churches for your personal failure and lack of interest in God. Blame yourself and your pride for walking away from God, like Adam and Eve. Your excuses and explanations are merely lies of old.
What matters now is that you pick up the plow and farm your own land, pulling up your own weeds and making it look grand. Your farm, the charm and harvest will grow and go the farthest when God matters in your life, you will sleep well each night! One thing is for certain, your were born and will die beyond this life’s curtain and you cannot talk about, live, or believe in God, whom you do not want to love and know. Fake Christianity is clearly for show. If you have the Spirit of God in your life, The Great I AM Matters Now and you will know, walking in God’s ways, you will go.
Meanings unfold from stories of old, as you live, breathe and experience the things in life often untold. When you keep reading them again and again, you will walk and learn of the deep dark secrets within, as you dive into the great depths of the mind of God, traveling with Jesus, Our Savior and Lord! The story is God is your Friend and Father with the Bible as an instructional Gardener!
Does God always have to push you into a corner to get you to see the big picture in His Story or are your senses closed to His Love, Mercy, and Glory?
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Joseph’s Silver Cup
44 When his brothers were ready to leave, Joseph gave these instructions to his palace manager: “Fill each of their sacks with as much grain as they can carry, and put each man’s money back into his sack.2 Then put my personal silver cup at the top of the youngest brother’s sack, along with the money for his grain.” So the manager did as Joseph instructed him.
3 The brothers were up at dawn and were sent on their journey with their loaded donkeys.4 But when they had gone only a short distance and were barely out of the city, Joseph said to his palace manager, “Chase after them and stop them. When you catch up with them, ask them, ‘Why have you repaid my kindness with such evil?5 Why have you stolen my master’s silver cup,[a] which he uses to predict the future? What a wicked thing you have done!’”
6 When the palace manager caught up with the men, he spoke to them as he had been instructed.
7 “What are you talking about?” the brothers responded. “We are your servants and would never do such a thing!8 Didn’t we return the money we found in our sacks? We brought it back all the way from the land of Canaan. Why would we steal silver or gold from your master’s house?9 If you find his cup with any one of us, let that man die. And all the rest of us, my lord, will be your slaves.”
10 “That’s fair,” the man replied. “But only the one who stole the cup will be my slave. The rest of you may go free.”
11 They all quickly took their sacks from the backs of their donkeys and opened them.12 The palace manager searched the brothers’ sacks, from the oldest to the youngest. And the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack!13 When the brothers saw this, they tore their clothing in despair. Then they loaded their donkeys again and returned to the city.
14 Joseph was still in his palace when Judah and his brothers arrived, and they fell to the ground before him.15 “What have you done?” Joseph demanded. “Don’t you know that a man like me can predict the future?”
16 Judah answered, “Oh, my lord, what can we say to you? How can we explain this? How can we prove our innocence? God is punishing us for our sins. My lord, we have all returned to be your slaves—all of us, not just our brother who had your cup in his sack.”
17 “No,” Joseph said. “I would never do such a thing! Only the man who stole the cup will be my slave. The rest of you may go back to your father in peace.”
Judah Speaks for His Brothers
18 Then Judah stepped forward and said, “Please, my lord, let your servant say just one word to you. Please, do not be angry with me, even though you are as powerful as Pharaoh himself.
19 “My lord, previously you asked us, your servants, ‘Do you have a father or a brother?’20 And we responded, ‘Yes, my lord, we have a father who is an old man, and his youngest son is a child of his old age. His full brother is dead, and he alone is left of his mother’s children, and his father loves him very much.’
21 “And you said to us, ‘Bring him here so I can see him with my own eyes.’22 But we said to you, ‘My lord, the boy cannot leave his father, for his father would die.’23 But you told us, ‘Unless your youngest brother comes with you, you will never see my face again.’
24 “So we returned to your servant, our father, and told him what you had said.25 Later, when he said, ‘Go back again and buy us more food,’26 we replied, ‘We can’t go unless you let our youngest brother go with us. We’ll never get to see the man’s face unless our youngest brother is with us.’
27 “Then my father said to us, ‘As you know, my wife had two sons,28 and one of them went away and never returned. Doubtless he was torn to pieces by some wild animal. I have never seen him since.29 Now if you take his brother away from me, and any harm comes to him, you will send this grieving, white-haired man to his grave.[b]’
30 “And now, my lord, I cannot go back to my father without the boy. Our father’s life is bound up in the boy’s life.31 If he sees that the boy is not with us, our father will die. We, your servants, will indeed be responsible for sending that grieving, white-haired man to his grave.32 My lord, I guaranteed to my father that I would take care of the boy. I told him, ‘If I don’t bring him back to you, I will bear the blame forever.’
33 “So please, my lord, let me stay here as a slave instead of the boy, and let the boy return with his brothers.34 For how can I return to my father if the boy is not with me? I couldn’t bear to see the anguish this would cause my father!”
“Evil has enslaved you when your wicked actions hide behind good word like business, morals, values, ethics, and love, in which your motives changed their original true meaning.”~Jon Barnes
People say one thing but they mean something different is the that next level of evil and corruption, which brings shame and destruction to a nation.
Distractions from fake news will keep people occupied, while greed picks the pockets of the people every where, creating wars and rumors of wars. The real news is that evil people are in power, changing good laws, and regulating Chaos, meaningless statement, and false plans.
The bible paints a clear picture and we have a choice to live in the land of where our hearts love God or the devil.
Which direction did your heart travel into and why; What motivated you?
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Abram Rescues Lot
14 About this time war broke out in the region. King Amraphel of Babylonia,[a]King Arioch of Ellasar, King Kedorlaomer of Elam, and King Tidal of Goiim2 fought against King Bera of Sodom, King Birsha of Gomorrah, King Shinab of Admah, King Shemeber of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (also called Zoar).
3 This second group of kings joined forces in Siddim Valley (that is, the valley of the Dead Sea[b]).4 For twelve years they had been subject to King Kedorlaomer, but in the thirteenth year they rebelled against him.
5 One year later Kedorlaomer and his allies arrived and defeated the Rephaites at Ashteroth-karnaim, the Zuzites at Ham, the Emites at Shaveh-kiriathaim,6 and the Horites at Mount Seir, as far as El-paran at the edge of the wilderness.7 Then they turned back and came to En-mishpat (now called Kadesh) and conquered all the territory of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites living in Hazazon-tamar.
8 Then the rebel kings of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, and Bela (also called Zoar) prepared for battle in the valley of the Dead Sea.[c]9 They fought against King Kedorlaomer of Elam, King Tidal of Goiim, King Amraphel of Babylonia, and King Arioch of Ellasar—four kings against five.10 As it happened, the valley of the Dead Sea was filled with tar pits. And as the army of the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, some fell into the tar pits, while the rest escaped into the mountains.11 The victorious invaders then plundered Sodom and Gomorrah and headed for home, taking with them all the spoils of war and the food supplies.12 They also captured Lot—Abram’s nephew who lived in Sodom—and carried off everything he owned.
13 But one of Lot’s men escaped and reported everything to Abram the Hebrew, who was living near the oak grove belonging to Mamre the Amorite. Mamre and his relatives, Eshcol and Aner, were Abram’s allies.
14 When Abram heard that his nephew Lot had been captured, he mobilized the 318 trained men who had been born into his household. Then he pursued Kedorlaomer’s army until he caught up with them at Dan.15 There he divided his men and attacked during the night. Kedorlaomer’s army fled, but Abram chased them as far as Hobah, north of Damascus.16 Abram recovered all the goods that had been taken, and he brought back his nephew Lot with his possessions and all the women and other captives.
Melchizedek Blesses Abram
17 After Abram returned from his victory over Kedorlaomer and all his allies, the king of Sodom went out to meet him in the valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley).
18 And Melchizedek, the king of Salem and a priest of God Most High,[d] brought Abram some bread and wine.19 Melchizedek blessed Abram with this blessing:
“Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. 20 And blessed be God Most High, who has defeated your enemies for you.”
Then Abram gave Melchizedek a tenth of all the goods he had recovered.
21 The king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give back my people who were captured. But you may keep for yourself all the goods you have recovered.”
22 Abram replied to the king of Sodom, “I solemnly swear to the Lord, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth,23 that I will not take so much as a single thread or sandal thong from what belongs to you. Otherwise you might say, ‘I am the one who made Abram rich.’24 I will accept only what my young warriors have already eaten, and I request that you give a fair share of the goods to my allies—Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre.”
“God activates changes to help us mark movement in time and motion in His Language of Love, Creation, and Life; so that you may know God’s Love Chords.” ~ Jon Barnes
Changes are fundamental, biblical chord patterns used to create meaningful life sounds that are connected to meanings and words, which are used to communicate daily truth of our existence to God. Without the “A” minor triad in place, from the “A” minor scale as a base (bass), ABCDEFG, the musical alphabet has no meaning to you and God’s holy trinity of structure and musical movement. The universal language is more than just words. Beware of the fiery tritone whip that is made out of three fiery cords, twisted together, burning to drive evil people away, into the hot pit of pride.
You study music as a language of philosophy, chemistry, math, science, art, architecture, technology, Love, economics, agriculture, medicine politics, education, spirit, and life to understand the flow of God through sound and silence. Words come from the source of sound! You can track the details of God’s Spirit in the sounds of His Voice, Music, and Presence that connects to your personal Holy Spirit Wave File. This connection cannot be explained, but experience. With this connection, you know God, by being plugged into His TV. Netfix is not your God!
Without sound, there is no voice and without words there is no choice. When we repent, we respond and sound out to God that we love Him, which activates and connect with His Heavenly Musical DNA of Spiritual Movement (HMDNA) that is out of this world. All things are made from God’s DNA and finger paintings of music that changes each second. God’s creativity is infinite. You must learn and practice the sounds of God, based on His musical laws and structure, not just random noise! Learn the skills of God and practice your sounds, words, changes and chords.
Do You Hear What I Hear, do you see what I see, do you know what I know and did you learn it from God?
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Jesus Teaches Nicodemus
3 Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council.2 He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signsyou are doing if God were not with him.”
3 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.[a]”
4 “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”
5 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit.6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit[b] gives birth to spirit.7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You[c] must be born again.’8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”[d]
9 “How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.
10 “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things?11 Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony.12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things?13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man.[e]14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,[f]15 that everyone who believesmay have eternal life in him.”[g]
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
John Testifies Again About Jesus
22 After this, Jesus and his disciples went out into the Judean countryside, where he spent some time with them, and baptized.23 Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were coming and being baptized.24 (This was before John was put in prison.)25 An argument developed between some of John’s disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing.26 They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan—the one you testified about—look, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.”
27 To this John replied, “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven.28 You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.’29 The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete.30 He must become greater; I must become less.”[h]
31 The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all.32 He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony.33 Whoever has accepted it has certified that God is truthful.34 For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God[i]gives the Spirit without limit.35 The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands.36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.
“You create your own headaches based on your diet, stress level, perception of reality in how you live and tell your personal story of bad works and little faith.” ~ Jon Barnes
How you interpret your experience will give you insight or confusion. If you are confused, you are looking at things in the wrong context, and you need help listening to someone with experience to help you logically understand deep, truthful, common sense. Good people usually have experiences that will help paint pictures of context of God’s real stories.
The Bible is a very logical, simple, and practical guidebook to reduce the headaches in your life, if you apply the information with honesty and truth. Things in life become illogical when you lie, cheat and steal your way to the top of the corporate world public, non-profit, profit, educational, governmental, and private sectors.
Control your interpretations by focusing on the true meaning of your life and how scripture is applied to assist you in love, understanding, and wisdom. Happiness helps your mood when you show God’s love to everyone you meet, which reduces your stress and anxiety.
Did you notice how your good works improves your faith and reduces stress and headaches?
Enjoy Today’s Reading.
1 Timothy 4
4 The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.2 Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.3 They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth.4 For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving,5 because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.
6 If you point these things out to the brothers and sisters,[a] you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished on the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed.7 Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly.8 For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.9 This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance.10 That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people,and especially of those who believe.
11 Command and teach these things.12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching.14 Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you.
15 Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress.16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.
“I’m learning to say and do what I mean, without hiding behind mean, jolly jokes, mysterious motives, and mindless murmurings, intentionally hurting the feelings of others.” ~ Jon Barnes
Most of my jokes are directed at myself, to make me laugh and become reminded of how far I’ve traveled in learning about personal growth, self reflection and observation. I notice how other people handle their problems, provide feedback, and draw their own conclusions. As a result, I map out how I would handle that problem, which helps me to prepare for similar situations, should this problem occur in the future. The joke is on me, so that I develop better building material to withstand the bombs people can throw onto personal bridges. Preparation makes sense.
Say what you mean and mean what you say, while being kind, gentle, and humble. I don’t have all of the answers, and I can only share my experiences as a tool of references. Your vantage point is to have enough good information and resources to combat the issues you will face and decisions you must make. My job is not to live for you, but to encourage and support your Good Lifestyle and choices. Staying connected to God and His Commandments will be the voice of your opinion, from your actions, before you can say a word. The pen is mightier than the sword.
Say what you mean without being mean, malicious, vindictive or harsh. Emotions tend to drive people and their destiny, leaving their mind, body, spirit, and God out of the process. The devil then takes your meaning and twists it all around to stop real communication, love, and respect for the Good Life. In confusion, you kill yourself in the battle of smoke and mirrors, created by your own evil, thinking that you are doing Good. The joke is on you, as you watch your bridge blow up, right in front of you, with your own, self-inflicted TNT or atomic bomb! Close your mouth and save your bridge, is my new motto.
Since you are so smart and quick to speak, did your mouth disqualify you from winning your race and Good Standing with God?
Enjoy Today’s Reading.
1 Corinthians 9New International Version (NIV)
Paul’s Rights as an Apostle
9 Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not the result of my work in the Lord?2 Even though I may not be an apostle to others, surely I am to you! For you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.
3 This is my defense to those who sit in judgment on me.4 Don’t we have the right to food and drink?5 Don’t we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Cephas[a]?6 Or is it only I and Barnabaswho lack the right to not work for a living?
7 Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat its grapes? Who tends a flock and does not drink the milk?8 Do I say this merely on human authority? Doesn’t the Law say the same thing?9 For it is written in the Law of Moses: “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.”[b] Is it about oxen that God is concerned?10 Surely he says this for us, doesn’t he? Yes, this was written for us, because whoever plows and threshes should be able to do so in the hope of sharing in the harvest.11 If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you?12 If others have this right of support from you, shouldn’t we have it all the more?
But we did not use this right. On the contrary, we put up with anything rather than hinder the gospel of Christ.
13 Don’t you know that those who serve in the temple get their food from the temple, and that those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar?14 In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.
15 But I have not used any of these rights. And I am not writing this in the hope that you will do such things for me, for I would rather die than allow anyone to deprive me of this boast.16 For when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, since I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!17 If I preach voluntarily, I have a reward; if not voluntarily, I am simply discharging the trust committed to me.18 What then is my reward? Just this: that in preaching the gospel I may offer it free of charge,and so not make full use of my rights as a preacher of the gospel.
Paul’s Use of His Freedom
19 Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible.20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law),so as to win those under the law.21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law.22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.
The Need for Self-Discipline
24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Runin such a way as to get the prize.25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.