Bad Intel

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Seek God’s Counsel to search the motives of your heart, because a determined mind can make the case for any argument.”~TB

Secondhand Information

When you allow someone else to inform your relationship, or lack there of, with Christ, you’re relying on secondhand information. Like listening to the rumors about someone you don’t know, the information you are receiving may be distorted or false. For this reason, you must test everything you hear against the Truth, which is written in the Bible.You don’t need a middle man to find Christ. Yes, getting insights from wise people is well and good, but friends, you must test the wise because they are human too. More to the point, fleshly people will always give their take on how to compromise the Truth. In these “modern times” many are quick to split hairs, diluting the truth to circumvent obedience. If you’re looking to justify your actions, you don’t have to look hard to find a consenting viewpoint. For the best and accurate information go straight to the source

Cite Your Source

If you find that the people you seek counsel from give you questionable advice, cross reference that intel with the Truth of the Bible. Applying the wisdom found in the Bible is the only way to get the honest intel. In order to achieve this, you must always check the motivations of your heart. When your motives are pure humility is a byproduct. Even when we screw up, there is the call to return to the Lord. When your motives are wicked, you find ways to justify your wickedness, placing the blame externally instead of taking responsibility of your actions. The Living Word does not change, even as humanity changes from generation to generation. When you carefully study the Word with an open and honest heart, you will find that the information applies to your life in every stage you’re in. We are called to continually study the Word not for obedience’s sake, but for the eternal wisdom that it provides. The Bible teaches you relational wisdom. If you allow him, God will share the Truth with you.

Today’s Question

Are you acting on Bad Intel because you refuse to do your own Biblical research?

Enjoy today’s Reading

Proverbs 22

1 Choose a good reputation over great riches; being held in high esteem is better than silver or gold.
2 The rich and poor have this in common: The LORD made them both.
3 A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.
4 True humility and fear of the LORD lead to riches, honor, and long life.
5 Corrupt people walk a thorny, treacherous road; whoever values life will avoid it.
6 Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.
7 Just as the rich rule the poor, so the borrower is servant to the lender.
8Those who plant injustice will harvest disaster, and their reign of terror will come to an end.
9 Blessed are those who are generous, because they feed the poor.
10 Throw out the mocker, and fighting goes, too. Quarrels and insults will disappear.
11 Whoever loves a pure heart and gracious speech will have the king as a friend.
12 The LORD preserves those with knowledge, but he ruins the plans of the treacherous.
13 The lazy person claims, “There’s a lion out there! If I go outside, I might be killed!”
14 The mouth of an immoral woman is a dangerous trap; those who make the LORD angry will fall into it.
15 A youngster’s heart is filled with foolishness, but physical discipline will drive it far away.
16 A person who gets ahead by oppressing the poor or by showering gifts on the rich will end in poverty.
17 Listen to the words of the wise; apply your heart to my instruction.
18 For it is good to keep these sayings in your heart and always ready on your lips.
19 I am teaching you today—yes, you— so you will trust in the LORD .
20 I have written thirty sayings for you, filled with advice and knowledge.
21 In this way, you may know the truth and take an accurate report to those who sent you.
22Don’t rob the poor just because you can, or exploit the needy in court.
23 For the LORD is their defender. He will ruin anyone who ruins them.
24 Don’t befriend angry people or associate with hot-tempered people,
25 or you will learn to be like them and endanger your soul.
26 Don’t agree to guarantee another person’s debt or put up security for someone else.
27 If you can’t pay it, even your bed will be snatched from under you.
28Don’t cheat your neighbor by moving the ancient boundary markers set up by previous generations.
29 Do you see any truly competent workers? They will serve kings rather than working for ordinary people.

 

Fortify

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Fortify your mind like the walls of Jericho, so that you will rely on God’s perfect peace in all of the relationships within your life.”~TB

God First

When you’ve mastered your mind, you begin to understand how truly helpless you are without God. Friends, your foundation has to begin and end with Him. More to the point, loving God above all else is key to loving anyone at all! Experiencing God’s love informs you on how to properly love your brothers and sisters. You cannot truly love someone if you don’t know God’s love. His love is the only infinite and unyielding love there is! Mold your love after the love of Christ and watch how your relationships change. Because God freely loves and forgives, take those same principles and apply them to every relationship in your life. There will be times of mal-intent. There will be times of friendly fire. No matter the case, when God is first in your life, His Truth will reign supreme, giving you the peace and understanding of what it takes to truly love your neighbor.

Weak Walls

If you love yourself more than you love God, it will show. But, what does that look like? You love yourself more than God when you allow the influence of external factors dictate your mindset, behavior, etc., overriding your connection to Him. Your mind left undisciplined, will lead you to believe that you are the master and commander of this show. Friends, don’t fall for the lies of your ego and the opposition. The devil knows how to use a weak-minded person and he will use you to cause destruction. Because you are weak, you will gladly participate in his foolishness, as you blindly do his bidding, causing chaos amongst God’s people. Fortunately for us, all things work for Christ and even in your weak-mindedness, God uses it to His benefit. Our strength lies in our weakness because God makes up the difference when we fall short. Remember who loved you first so that you rule your mind accordingly.

Today’s Question

Are you giving your weak mind permission to wreak havoc in your life?

Enjoy the reading

Proverbs 18

1 Unfriendly people care only about themselves; they lash out at common sense. 
2 Fools have no interest in understanding; they only want to air their own opinions. 
3 Doing wrong leads to disgrace, and scandalous behavior brings contempt. 
4 Wise words are like deep waters; wisdom flows from the wise like a bubbling brook. 
5 It is not right to acquit the guilty or deny justice to the innocent. 
6 Fools’ words get them into constant quarrels; they are asking for a beating. 
7 The mouths of fools are their ruin; they trap themselves with their lips. 
8 Rumors are dainty morsels that sink deep into one’s heart. 
9 A lazy person is as bad as someone who destroys things. 
10 The name of the LORD is a strong fortress; the godly run to him and are safe. 
11 The rich think of their wealth as a strong defense; they imagine it to be a high wall of safety. 
12Haughtiness goes before destruction; humility precedes honor. 
13Spouting off before listening to the facts is both shameful and foolish. 
14The human spirit can endure a sick body, but who can bear a crushed spirit?
15 Intelligent people are always ready to learn. Their ears are open for knowledge. 
16 Giving a gift can open doors; it gives access to important people! 
17 The first to speak in court sounds right— until the cross-examination begins. 
18 Flipping a coin can end arguments; it settles disputes between powerful opponents. 
19 An offended friend is harder to win back than a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with bars. 
20 Wise words satisfy like a good meal; the right words bring satisfaction. 
21 The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences. 
22 The man who finds a wife finds a treasure, and he receives favor from the LORD . 
23 The poor plead for mercy; the rich answer with insults. 
24 There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.

Reconcile Your Fears

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Fear of the Lord is Good. Fear of other things, not so much.”~TB

Growth over Comfort

There are practical fears and then fears that are so debilitating that they stop you in your tracks.  Most common fears come from trying to control something that is out of your grasp. Friends, in any given situation, do what you can do, and let God handle the rest. Those times will probably call for you to step out in faith which is uncomfortable. Choose growth over comfort, as God is showing you how to rely on Him.

In His Hands

When you read the Bible, you will know that all things come from God and nothing is out of His domain. So, if that is the truth, why should any of us be afraid? If God has given you a task, be quick to finish so that your fears won’t hinder your movements. Fear is such a great tool for the enemy because it cripples the mind with minimal effort. Don’t let a virus in the mind corrupt the life that God has for you. Reconcile your fears and know that God is in control.

Today’s Question

Are you at the wheel or is fear driving your vessel?

Enjoy the reading

Psalm 145

1 I will exalt you, my God and King, and praise your name forever and ever. 
2 I will praise you every day; yes, I will praise you forever. 
3 Great is the LORD ! He is most worthy of praise! No one can measure his greatness. 
4 Let each generation tell its children of your mighty acts; let them proclaim your power. 
5 I will meditate on your majestic, glorious splendor and your wonderful miracles. 
6 Your awe-inspiring deeds will be on every tongue; I will proclaim your greatness. 
7 Everyone will share the story of your wonderful goodness; they will sing with joy about your righteousness. 
8 The LORD is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. 
9 The LORD is good to everyone. He showers compassion on all his creation. 
10 All of your works will thank you, LORD, and your faithful followers will praise you. 
11 They will speak of the glory of your kingdom; they will give examples of your power. 
12They will tell about your mighty deeds and about the majesty and glory of your reign. 
13 For your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. You rule throughout all generations. The LORD always keeps his promises; he is gracious in all he does. 
14 The LORD helps the fallen and lifts those bent beneath their loads. 
15 The eyes of all look to you in hope; you give them their food as they need it. 
16 When you open your hand, you satisfy the hunger and thirst of every living thing. 
17 The LORD is righteous in everything he does; he is filled with kindness. 
18 The LORD is close to all who call on him, yes, to all who call on him in truth. 
19 He grants the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cries for help and rescues them. 
20 The LORD protects all those who love him, but he destroys the wicked. 
21 I will praise the LORD, and may everyone on earth bless his holy name forever and ever.

First Aid

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Hi Peeps,
Today’s Quote
“When troubles come your way, break out your spiritual first aid kit.”~TB

Ailments

You know that your body is capable of getting ill. The same thing occurs within a lackadaisical spirit. When you’re sick, you take medicine to feel better. When you’re spiritually ill, you must rely on the Word and your relationship in Christ. There will be periods of spiritual unrest in which the opposition will find any weakness to cause your spiritual ailments. There is a remedy, which must be applied and practiced each and every day.

Spiritual Vitamins

An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Reading the Bible each day keeps the devil at bay. Being a follower of Christ is not a passive endeavor and you must take your spiritual vitamins– applying the teachings of God– daily to receive the maximum impact of Christ. Friends, this relationship has so many nutrients and healing properties if you take the time to apply them daily.

Today’s Question

Are you taking your Holy holistic supplements of Christ or are you ok with the synthetic remedies of the world?

Enjoy the reading

Psalm 118

1 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever. 
2 Let all Israel repeat: “His faithful love endures forever.” 
3 Let Aaron’s descendants, the priests, repeat: “His faithful love endures forever.”
4 Let all who fear the LORD repeat: “His faithful love endures forever.” 
5In my distress I prayed to the LORD, and the LORD answered me and set me free. 
6 The LORD is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me? 
7 Yes, the LORD is for me; he will help me. I will look in triumph at those who hate me. 
8 It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in people. 
9 It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes. 
10 Though hostile nations surrounded me, I destroyed them all with the authority of the LORD . 
11 Yes, they surrounded and attacked me, but I destroyed them all with the authority of the LORD . 
12They swarmed around me like bees; they blazed against me like a crackling fire. But I destroyed them all with the authority of the LORD . 
13 My enemies did their best to kill me, but the LORD rescued me. 
14 The LORD is my strength and my song; he has given me victory. 
15 Songs of joy and victory are sung in the camp of the godly. The strong right arm of the LORD has done glorious things! 
16 The strong right arm of the LORD is raised in triumph. The strong right arm of the LORD has done glorious things! 
17 I will not die; instead, I will live to tell what the LORD has done. 
18 The LORD has punished me severely, but he did not let me die. 
19 Open for me the gates where the righteous enter, and I will go in and thank the LORD . 
20 These gates lead to the presence of the LORD, and the godly enter there. 
21 I thank you for answering my prayer and giving me victory! 
22The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone. 
23This is the LORD ’s doing, and it is wonderful to see. 
24 This is the day the LORD has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it. 
25 Please, LORD, please save us. Please, LORD, please give us success. 
26 Bless the one who comes in the name of the LORD . We bless you from the house of the LORD . 
27 The LORD is God, shining upon us. Take the sacrifice and bind it with cords on the altar. 
28 You are my God, and I will praise you! You are my God, and I will exalt you! 
29 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.

Bully

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“The devil is just a big insecure bully with a pathetic bag of tricks to scare you into submission. Stay rooted in the Word to see how harmless he truly is.” ~TB

Tom Foolery

Friends don’t fret over the nonsense that the evil one will try to sell you. Expect to question your thoughts, behavior, and external oppressive obstacles. He will not fight fair and you will be tried. But remember, we are strengthened in the Lord and He will fight on our behalf. Of course, evil is terrified of this fact and will try to distort this fact.  Rest in the Truth that God has already won.

Do Your Part

Don’t forget, we are all one body in Christ, which means how we navigate our trials is a collective effort. Mature believers, when you don’t stand up to the injustices, enslavement, and poor treatment from corrupt leaders, you are allowing the innocent to be trampled by such nonsense. Why are you so afraid to hold evil to the fire of the Truth? Do you think he is mightier than God? Resist him so that generations will see the Truth in action.

Today’s Question

Are you standing up against evil or are you numbing yourself in fear of a beaten foe?

Enjoy the reading

 

Psalm 75

1 We thank you, O God! We give thanks because you are near. People everywhere tell of your wonderful deeds. 
2 God says, “At the time I have planned, I will bring justice against the wicked. 
3 When the earth quakes and its people live in turmoil, I am the one who keeps its foundations firm. Interlude 
4 “I warned the proud, ‘Stop your boasting!’ I told the wicked, ‘Don’t raise your fists! 
5 Don’t raise your fists in defiance at the heavens or speak with such arrogance.’” 
6 For no one on earth—from east or west, or even from the wilderness— should raise a defiant fist. 
7 It is God alone who judges; he decides who will rise and who will fall. 
8 For the LORD holds a cup in his hand that is full of foaming wine mixed with spices. He pours out the wine in judgment, and all the wicked must drink it, draining it to the dregs. 
9 But as for me, I will always proclaim what God has done; I will sing praises to the God of Jacob. 
10 For God says, “I will break the strength of the wicked, but I will increase the power of the godly.”

Mad

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Hi Peeps,
Today’s Quote
“Stop getting mad at each new challenge, as if you don’t have a solution that fits.”  ~ Jon Barnes

Energize

Wasted energy on being upset will not help you learn, grow, and think on the good things God has planned for you.  The opposite occurs, with your anger stealing all of your hopes, dreams, love, and energy to do good work.  Many of us lose out on time, success, and love because we chose to live with a negative cloud over our heads and in our hearts.  For many, it rains everywhere they go!

Prayer

Occupy your mind, body, heart, spirit, and soul with prayers to God when you are happy, sad, mad, confessed, and unsure of what actions to take.  Talk to God whenever you like.  This step of prayer is the key to unlock the mysteries of faith in action.  The work you do will bring great results that will blow your mind and keep God smiling upon your life.  Your problems will escalate when you stop talking and praying to God.

Faith

By faith we give, love, help, serve, learn, live, and grow into the wonderful people God would have us to become.  This light from God connects to us, flows through us, and reconnects to all of the people you come in contact with.  What people do with this light becomes their choice to make and you cannot be mad at their choices.
Today’s Question
Are you using your energy to get the work done or are you always critical, upset, and mad at the world and God?
Enjoy The Reading
 

Psalm 47 

For the choir director: A psalm of the descendants of Korah.

Come, everyone! Clap your hands!
    Shout to God with joyful praise!
For the Lord Most High is awesome.
    He is the great King of all the earth.
He subdues the nations before us,
    putting our enemies beneath our feet.
He chose the Promised Land as our inheritance,
    the proud possession of Jacob’s descendants, whom he loves. Interlude
God has ascended with a mighty shout.
    The Lord has ascended with trumpets blaring.
Sing praises to God, sing praises;
    sing praises to our King, sing praises!
For God is the King over all the earth.
    Praise him with a psalm.
God reigns above the nations,
    sitting on his holy throne.
The rulers of the world have gathered together
    with the people of the God of Abraham.
For all the kings of the earth belong to God.
    He is highly honored everywhere.

Love,

Jonathan

Advancement

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Hi Peeps,
Today’s Quote
“Use God’s viewpoint as an opportunity of faith to love, learn, grow, and go about the business of sharing, caring, building, and giving your best work to advance your future.”  ~  Jon Barnes

Spring

Spring out of bed, from your prayer closet of faith, knowing that the day will be full of wonderful opportunities to serve, shine, and make a difference in your own family, community, and job.  Your body, mind, and soul should be a reflection of the Spirit of God that is in you to do excellent work.

Winter

Winterize your home, ideas, and actions to improve your mindset, purpose, and personal energy-saving strategies for sustained success, health, wealth, and growth.  The rotations from the seasons are a visual, artistic landscape of fresh ideas that God gives us in following and managing our time, language, actions, and love.  Exercise your faith in this manner and enjoy the views.

Summer

Fall into summer with the best body, mind, and level of energy because you managed to shed the leaves of fat from your body each year.  Holding onto crumbled up old bags of leaves, as stored up fat around your stomach is not the design for your body shape.  Work out each day and naturally thin out the waste that you are carrying all year long.
Today’s Question
Are you keeping a new visualization of yourself in God to adapt to the changing seasons of life or are you holding onto all of the fat that is holding your mental, physical, and spiritual health hostage?
Enjoy The Reading
 

Psalm 43 

Declare me innocent, O God!
    Defend me against these ungodly people.
    Rescue me from these unjust liars.
For you are God, my only safe haven.
    Why have you tossed me aside?
Why must I wander around in grief,
    oppressed by my enemies?
Send out your light and your truth;
    let them guide me.
Let them lead me to your holy mountain,
    to the place where you live.
There I will go to the altar of God,
    to God—the source of all my joy.
I will praise you with my harp,
    O God, my God!
Why am I discouraged?
    Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
    I will praise him again—
    my Savior and my God!
Love,
 
Jonathan

One

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Hi Peeps,
Today’s Quote
“The best way to do something is to aim straight for the target that is meant for you, which is the easiest method and direction of travel that God is navigating in your life.”  ~  Jon Barnes

Straight

Straight from the heart, God teaches us all the things we need to know when we respect, acknowledge, share, and thank Him for the love from His Biblical Teachings.  You cannot take God’s own Words, Work, and World to create new fake stories up for your own causes, which enslaves people in traditions of evil behavior.  Do not become distracted by wicked people and their smiling lies.  Question what you are doing and who you are following.

Navigation

Make sure you have and read your own set of instructions from God so that your mental, spiritual, and physical navigation systems are not offline.  Avoiding all other misguided directions, actions, and mistakes can make your life a lot easier, more interesting, with time to explore new things.  You don’t want to be caught driving in the middle of nowhere without a source of God’s directions, resources, transportation, and sustenance to keep you spiritual and physically alive.

Sustenance

It is impossible to remain healthy by eating what the devil gives you for food, thoughts, imitation faith, and counterfeit love.  He is not the author or target of our faith and love because he is NOT God.  The devil will mix up the bad with the good so that your targets becomes a distorted blur to weaken your mind, body, and resolve. Let God sustain you in all things by focusing all that you are and have upon God’s love, grace, mercy, and faith.  This work of love in your life will connect you to the real, true, and only ONE TARGET – JESUS! 
Today’s Question
Did the devil target you as a weak minded person who will follow anything, anybody, anyhow, and anywhere that is away from God? 
 
Enjoy The Reading
 

Psalm 41 

For the choir director: A psalm of David.

Oh, the joys of those who are kind to the poor!
    The Lord rescues them when they are in trouble.
The Lord protects them
    and keeps them alive.
He gives them prosperity in the land
    and rescues them from their enemies.
The Lord nurses them when they are sick
    and restores them to health.
“O Lord,” I prayed, “have mercy on me.
    Heal me, for I have sinned against you.”
But my enemies say nothing but evil about me.
    “How soon will he die and be forgotten?” they ask.
They visit me as if they were my friends,
    but all the while they gather gossip,
    and when they leave, they spread it everywhere.
All who hate me whisper about me,
    imagining the worst.
“He has some fatal disease,” they say.
    “He will never get out of that bed!”
Even my best friend, the one I trusted completely,
    the one who shared my food, has turned against me.
10 Lord, have mercy on me.
    Make me well again, so I can pay them back!
11 I know you are pleased with me,
    for you have not let my enemies triumph over me.
12 You have preserved my life because I am innocent;
    you have brought me into your presence forever.
13 Praise the Lord, the God of Israel,
    who lives from everlasting to everlasting.
Amen and amen!

Love,

Jonathan

Caution

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Hi Peeps,
Today’s Quote
“Caution yourself before you speak negatively about things so that you can learn to see the good that is happening all around you, every second of the day.”  ~  Jon Barnes

Distractions

Negativity is a distraction that takes your mind, thoughts, words, and deeds off of the work of faith.  Make things better with your situation and people will copy you and become inspired, because of your lifestyle and preparation.  Shut down the negative attitude approach and open up the mouth of positivity, so that we all speak better blessings into the future.

Keep

Enjoy keeping your mind, mouth, and actions, on what God has for you to do by doing wonderful things each day, all of the time.  As a habit, you will develop wonderful skills to last a lifetime of fun, discovery, service, and respect for God’s plan for your life.  The challenges in life will keep coming, but your solutions are better than any problem you will face. God is the Solution!

Down

Don’t go down the street with wicked people trying to find trouble.  Stay with who you are and become better at being yourself.  As an individual, there is no need to copy the negative distractions and actions of others.  Use your words, works, and faith to define your destiny of positive living and be the blessing to others.
Today’s Question
Are you a blessing to God or a blessing to the devil?

Psalm 33 

Let the godly sing for joy to the Lord;
    it is fitting for the pure to praise him.
Praise the Lord with melodies on the lyre;
    make music for him on the ten-stringed harp.
Sing a new song of praise to him;
    play skillfully on the harp, and sing with joy.
For the word of the Lord holds true,
    and we can trust everything he does.
He loves whatever is just and good;
    the unfailing love of the Lord fills the earth.
The Lord merely spoke,
    and the heavens were created.
He breathed the word,
    and all the stars were born.
He assigned the sea its boundaries
    and locked the oceans in vast reservoirs.
Let the whole world fear the Lord,
    and let everyone stand in awe of him.
For when he spoke, the world began!
    It appeared at his command.
10 The Lord frustrates the plans of the nations
    and thwarts all their schemes.
11 But the Lord’s plans stand firm forever;
    his intentions can never be shaken.
12 What joy for the nation whose God is the Lord,
    whose people he has chosen as his inheritance.
13 The Lord looks down from heaven
    and sees the whole human race.
14 From his throne he observes
    all who live on the earth.
15 He made their hearts,
    so he understands everything they do.
16 The best-equipped army cannot save a king,
    nor is great strength enough to save a warrior.
17 Don’t count on your warhorse to give you victory—
    for all its strength, it cannot save you.
18 But the Lord watches over those who fear him,
    those who rely on his unfailing love.
19 He rescues them from death
    and keeps them alive in times of famine.
20 We put our hope in the Lord.
    He is our help and our shield.
21 In him our hearts rejoice,
    for we trust in his holy name.
22 Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord,
    for our hope is in you alone.

Love,

Jonathan

Forced

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Hi Peeps,
Today’s Quote
“Since God understands all of the creation everywhere, learning from nature and the forest of life shouldn’t be forced upon you, since God is the author of how it functions and how we should behave in and with it.” ~  Jon Barnes

Force

Each animal, plant, insect, and person have its unique thing, plan, and purpose assigned to its function and we should naturally learn about these ways.  How we fit in and connect is an example of mastering our destiny in God. There are two directions to follow.

Forced

The nature of the natural Force of God is Unforced, which allows us to choose our own fate, even though God already Knows It.  From the beginning of time, you still have the option to choose that fate,  even though God knows your choice and options before you even make up your mind.

Forestry

When you do your homework to master the parameters of the forest God has created, it becomes easier to see the truth and manage our responsibilities in a loving relationship with God and people.
Today’s Question
Are you in an unforced loving relationship with God and people or are you oppressed by wickedness an disobedience of your own doing? 
Enjoy The Reading
 

Nehemiah 5 

Nehemiah Defends the Oppressed

About this time some of the men and their wives raised a cry of protest against their fellow Jews. They were saying, “We have such large families. We need more food to survive.”
Others said, “We have mortgaged our fields, vineyards, and homes to get food during the famine.”
And others said, “We have had to borrow money on our fields and vineyards to pay our taxes. We belong to the same family as those who are wealthy, and our children are just like theirs. Yet we must sell our children into slavery just to get enough money to live. We have already sold some of our daughters, and we are helpless to do anything about it, for our fields and vineyards are already mortgaged to others.”
When I heard their complaints, I was very angry. After thinking it over, I spoke out against these nobles and officials. I told them, “You are hurting your own relatives by charging interest when they borrow money!” Then I called a public meeting to deal with the problem.
At the meeting I said to them, “We are doing all we can to redeem our Jewish relatives who have had to sell themselves to pagan foreigners, but you are selling them back into slavery again. How often must we redeem them?” And they had nothing to say in their defense.
Then I pressed further, “What you are doing is not right! Should you not walk in the fear of our God in order to avoid being mocked by enemy nations? 10 I myself, as well as my brothers and my workers, have been lending the people money and grain, but now let us stop this business of charging interest. 11 You must restore their fields, vineyards, olive groves, and homes to them this very day. And repay the interest you charged when you lent them money, grain, new wine, and olive oil.”
12 They replied, “We will give back everything and demand nothing more from the people. We will do as you say.” Then I called the priests and made the nobles and officials swear to do what they had promised.
13 I shook out the folds of my robe and said, “If you fail to keep your promise, may God shake you like this from your homes and from your property!”
The whole assembly responded, “Amen,” and they praised the Lord. And the people did as they had promised.
14 For the entire twelve years that I was governor of Judah—from the twentieth year to the thirty-second year of the reign of King Artaxerxes[a]—neither I nor my officials drew on our official food allowance. 15 The former governors, in contrast, had laid heavy burdens on the people, demanding a daily ration of food and wine, besides forty pieces[b] of silver. Even their assistants took advantage of the people. But because I feared God, I did not act that way.
16 I also devoted myself to working on the wall and refused to acquire any land. And I required all my servants to spend time working on the wall. 17 I asked for nothing, even though I regularly fed 150 Jewish officials at my table, besides all the visitors from other lands! 18 The provisions I paid for each day included one ox, six choice sheep or goats, and a large number of poultry. And every ten days we needed a large supply of all kinds of wine. Yet I refused to claim the governor’s food allowance because the people already carried a heavy burden.
19 Remember, O my God, all that I have done for these people, and bless me for it.
Love,
Jonathan