“You’re either giving a Cain or an Abel offering; there is no in-between.”~TB
I have assisted my dad with this blog for almost 4 years. At first, I started as the editor/poster, adding the role of ‘writer’ along the way. In the beginning, it was my job to suss out the errors and formatting– general editor stuff. Occasionally, my father or mother would politely ask me to check my work. Back then, I thought what I was doing was the stuff of legends. I was assisting my father (and God), sacrificing my precious time for their pursuits. So naturally, as a foolish young person, I didn’t really take their feedback seriously and kept on my way. It was until a couple of weeks ago when I was formatting the blog posts for my dad’s upcoming books, that I had discovered not only was there a ton of errors the work was amazingly shoddy given my abilities.
Change with Humility
As I read the older blogs, the sting of conviction hit my gut as my mind recalled all of the editing conversations I had had with my dad years ago. See, he wasn’t forceful or persistent with the comments and yet, I would shove the notes aside as if my work was precise and perfect. Oh, youth! I was foolish to believe that I was helping my father and God when in reality it was they who were helping (and still are) me. As I laughed and repented for my foolishness, I was immediately reminded of the story of Cain and Abel. In the story of Cain and Abel, Abel did his best with his offering, and Cain perceived that his offering was great when it was not. But unlike the arrogance that blinds humans, God sees all and knows all.
Perception is not Reality
The jealousy that Cain felt towards Abel had nothing to do with his brother, but really it was Cain’s unwillingness to take responsibility for the crap that he himself presented to God. At that moment I realized, my work– or rather offering to God– was that of a Cain offering. In my arrogance, I believed that what I was doing was phenomenal, but really it was shoddy and unacceptable. Friends, we either give our best offering to God– an Abel offering. Or, we give our ‘meh’ offering to God– a Cain offering. Deep within our hearts, we know when we give which, so do not fool yourself into thinking God cannot spot the difference. Instead of devouring our brothers and sisters because of our lazy, corrupt thinking, spend your days working honestly as if God is standing next to you so that your daily offerings are deemed acceptable to the Lord.
Are you giving an honest offering or are you honestly fooling yourself?
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1King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came with all the armies from the kingdoms he ruled, and he fought against Jerusalem and the towns of Judah. At that time this message came to Jeremiah from the LORD :
2“Go to King Zedekiah of Judah, and tell him, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: I am about to hand this city over to the king of Babylon, and he will burn it down.
3You will not escape his grasp but will be captured and taken to meet the king of Babylon face to face. Then you will be exiled to Babylon.
4“‘But listen to this promise from the LORD, O Zedekiah, king of Judah. This is what the LORD says: You will not be killed in war
5but will die peacefully. People will burn incense in your memory, just as they did for your ancestors, the kings who preceded you. They will mourn for you, crying, “Alas, our master is dead!” This I have decreed, says the LORD .’”
6So Jeremiah the prophet delivered the message to King Zedekiah of Judah.
7At this time the Babylonian army was besieging Jerusalem, Lachish, and Azekah—the only fortified cities of Judah not yet captured.
8This message came to Jeremiah from the LORD after King Zedekiah made a covenant with the people, proclaiming freedom for the slaves.
9He had ordered all the people to free their Hebrew slaves—both men and women. No one was to keep a fellow Judean in bondage.
10The officials and all the people had obeyed the king’s command,
11but later they changed their minds. They took back the men and women they had freed, forcing them to be slaves again.
12So the LORD gave them this message through Jeremiah:
13“This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: I made a covenant with your ancestors long ago when I rescued them from their slavery in Egypt.
14I told them that every Hebrew slave must be freed after serving six years. But your ancestors paid no attention to me.
15Recently you repented and did what was right, following my command. You freed your slaves and made a solemn covenant with me in the Temple that bears my name.
16But now you have shrugged off your oath and defiled my name by taking back the men and women you had freed, forcing them to be slaves once again.
17“Therefore, this is what the LORD says: Since you have not obeyed me by setting your countrymen free, I will set you free to be destroyed by war, disease, and famine. You will be an object of horror to all the nations of the earth.
18Because you have broken the terms of our covenant, I will cut you apart just as you cut apart the calf when you walked between its halves to solemnize your vows.
19Yes, I will cut you apart, whether you are officials of Judah or Jerusalem, court officials, priests, or common people—for you have broken your oath.
20I will give you to your enemies, and they will kill you. Your bodies will be food for the vultures and wild animals.
21“I will hand over King Zedekiah of Judah and his officials to the army of the king of Babylon. And although they have left Jerusalem for a while,
22I will call the Babylonian armies back again. They will fight against this city and will capture it and burn it down. I will see to it that all the towns of Judah are destroyed, with no one living there.”
“Calmly work through your own issues with God so that your personal relationships will thrive, grow, and help others in need.” ~ Jon Barnes
Since you don’t know how much you can help someone in need, maintain a position of excellence to share with others at all times. Don’t worry about the rejection you will receive from some people for being competent, kind, good, honest, and, fair. Be prepared to give the best answer, pointing to biblical references so that people can find the resources of truth to study for themselves. Giving these resources of self-help is crucial to calm people in the midst of the storms in life.
Accent the obedient nature of good people who follow God’s vision and notice the rewards for doing so. Persecution is not punishment, but the process of excellence. Winning the war against evil is the goal, not winning your personal battles to do wicked things or to receive ill-gotten gain. Accent the truth in God at all times. God’s Love in Truth and in Spirit, He will fight the battles for you. Calmly point to these facts and try to relax.
I am always excited about the new things God will show me and I am always willing to share these new experiences with everyone. Remaining calm is not always easy for me to do. Betrayal, deception, and fake news is all around us. Nevertheless, it is my prayer that people share the love of God in a way that is honest, helpful, hopeful, and full of love so that the next generation become better fathers and mothers of the future. Being persecuted for doing good work is a good thing!
Will your children become better parents based on your example?
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Jesus Heals a Man Born Blind
9 As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. 2 “Rabbi,” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?”
3 “It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him.4 We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us. The night is coming, and then no one can work.5 But while I am here in the world, I am the light of the world.”
6 Then he spit on the ground, made mud with the saliva, and spread the mud over the blind man’s eyes.7 He told him, “Go wash yourself in the pool of Siloam” (Siloam means “sent”). So the man went and washed and came back seeing!
8 His neighbors and others who knew him as a blind beggar asked each other, “Isn’t this the man who used to sit and beg?”9 Some said he was, and others said, “No, he just looks like him!”
But the beggar kept saying, “Yes, I am the same one!”
10 They asked, “Who healed you? What happened?”
11 He told them, “The man they call Jesus made mud and spread it over my eyes and told me, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam and wash yourself.’ So I went and washed, and now I can see!”
12 “Where is he now?” they asked.
“I don’t know,” he replied.
13 Then they took the man who had been blind to the Pharisees,14 because it was on the Sabbath that Jesus had made the mud and healed him.15 The Pharisees asked the man all about it. So he told them, “He put the mud over my eyes, and when I washed it away, I could see!”
16 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man Jesus is not from God, for he is working on the Sabbath.” Others said, “But how could an ordinary sinner do such miraculous signs?” So there was a deep division of opinion among them.
17 Then the Pharisees again questioned the man who had been blind and demanded, “What’s your opinion about this man who healed you?”
The man replied, “I think he must be a prophet.”
18 The Jewish leaders still refused to believe the man had been blind and could now see, so they called in his parents.19 They asked them, “Is this your son? Was he born blind? If so, how can he now see?”
20 His parents replied, “We know this is our son and that he was born blind,21 but we don’t know how he can see or who healed him. Ask him. He is old enough to speak for himself.”22 His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders, who had announced that anyone saying Jesus was the Messiah would be expelled from the synagogue.23 That’s why they said, “He is old enough. Ask him.”
24 So for the second time they called in the man who had been blind and told him, “God should get the glory for this, because we know this man Jesus is a sinner.”
25 “I don’t know whether he is a sinner,” the man replied. “But I know this: I was blind, and now I can see!”
26 “But what did he do?” they asked. “How did he heal you?”
27 “Look!” the man exclaimed. “I told you once. Didn’t you listen? Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples, too?”
28 Then they cursed him and said, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses!29 We know God spoke to Moses, but we don’t even know where this man comes from.”
30 “Why, that’s very strange!” the man replied. “He healed my eyes, and yet you don’t know where he comes from?31 We know that God doesn’t listen to sinners, but he is ready to hear those who worship him and do his will.32 Ever since the world began, no one has been able to open the eyes of someone born blind.33 If this man were not from God, he couldn’t have done it.”
34 “You were born a total sinner!” they answered. “Are you trying to teach us?” And they threw him out of the synagogue.
35 When Jesus heard what had happened, he found the man and asked, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”
36 The man answered, “Who is he, sir? I want to believe in him.”
37 “You have seen him,” Jesus said, “and he is speaking to you!”
38 “Yes, Lord, I believe!” the man said. And he worshiped Jesus.
39 Then Jesus told him, “I entered this world to render judgment—to give sight to the blind and to show those who think they see that they are blind.”
40 Some Pharisees who were standing nearby heard him and asked, “Are you saying we’re blind?”
41 “If you were blind, you wouldn’t be guilty,” Jesus replied. “But you remain guilty because you claim you can see.
“Family is like a tapestry where each member is a fiber. Individually not as impressive, but woven together, quite formidable.”~TB
I communicate with my parents almost every day. My dad and I will usually have talks after he gets out of school where we talk about God, opera, theories and everything else in between. I’ve had people praise how amazing my relationship with my parents is, but oh friends, it wasn’t always so. What people see from the outside is the culmination of years of work, trial and error.
There were a few years where my dad and I could not throw together a few sentences to each other without getting offended. Yeah, it wasn’t pretty. Looking back, it’s probably because we’re so similar. But, I have to thank God that we never gave up on each other, and eventually we hashed things out, cried, hugged, and moved on. These days, if we’re annoying one another, it’s probably because one of us needs a nap or needs to eat.
I like to think of God as a Master Artist, creating a unique and exquisite tapestry that are families. Each member is a specific thread or fiber, providing a layer of complexity and beauty to the tapestry. Sometimes those fibers snag and if you don’t allow the Master Artist to patch things up, what once was a beautiful woven creation becomes a frayed and tattered garment. Families argue, we don’t always treat each other as we should and in those moments, the opposition will whisper in your ear all of the reasons you should leave or not forgive.
Friends, remember that the devil’s job is to separate us and keep us on opposing sides. It’s easier to cause problems individually than in a unit. Divide and conquer, it’s an effective strategy. But if we can look at each other as God looks at us, we can look past the offenses, learn how to forgive and not look for the reasons to leave, but remember the reasons worth staying. My relationship with my family will never be perfect. I’m prone to putting my foot in my mouth, ha. But, even in the tough days, I try and focus on the gorgeous tapestry that is my family and my, what an amazing creation from the Master Artist. He’s done a great work in you and your family too.
Are you admiring your family tapestry or are you not able to see past the fray?
Enjoy the reading
1Soon after this, Merodach-baladan son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent Hezekiah his best wishes and a gift. He had heard that Hezekiah had been very sick and that he had recovered.
2Hezekiah was delighted with the Babylonian envoys and showed them everything in his treasure-houses—the silver, the gold, the spices, and the aromatic oils. He also took them to see his armory and showed them everything in his royal treasuries! There was nothing in his palace or kingdom that Hezekiah did not show them.
3Then Isaiah the prophet went to King Hezekiah and asked him, “What did those men want? Where were they from?” Hezekiah replied, “They came from the distant land of Babylon.”
4“What did they see in your palace?” asked Isaiah. “They saw everything,” Hezekiah replied. “I showed them everything I own—all my royal treasuries.”
5Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Listen to this message from the LORD of Heaven’s Armies:
6‘The time is coming when everything in your palace—all the treasures stored up by your ancestors until now—will be carried off to Babylon. Nothing will be left,’ says the LORD .
7‘Some of your very own sons will be taken away into exile. They will become eunuchs who will serve in the palace of Babylon’s king.’”
8Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “This message you have given me from the LORD is good.” For the king was thinking, “At least there will be peace and security during my lifetime.”
“Words have meanings, but your actions tell the true story, motives, results from the test of your love, that communicates the intentions of your heart.” ~ Jon Barnes
You can lie to yourself but you cannot lie to the fruit of your actions. You can say the words of repentance and keep doing the opposite based on your wonderful ability to cognitively lie to your mind and enslave your heart with evil. Your words mean nothing until you activate your faith, obey God, and connect with His Results and Plans. You are not a part of God’s Plan unless you work in God’s Plan.Planning to fail is like ignoring God’s lifestyle, Commandments, and stories. Planning for success is like doing the good work within God’s Plan and seeing the results of the seeds, work, fruit, trees, and crops of your labor.
Your children are your crops and you must work the soil with your hands and the sweat of your brow, with pain and suffering, until you die.You will learn and feel what God experience when mankind does not listen to Biblical Instructions, just like your children disobey you. We truly get the experience of God as we raise our kids, teach others, and help those in need.The patience and long-suffering gained in this transaction, helps you to see and understand the meanings hidden in the biblical stories of old and true motives of God.
You cannot live the life of your child or make their decisions to know God, learn or improve an individual’s right standing with God. We must have the faith to work on our relationship and connect with God on our own merit. Value is placed on your words as you complete the work of each test you must take. Balancing work, faith, action, practice, and studies will look easy from the sidelines until you have to do the work. Many fail God’s vocabulary test and quizzes because they do not study or commit to the 10 Commandments and the word meanings. Let the true meanings of your words and work speak the Gospel of your life in your actions for all to see around you.
Do you know your 10 Commandments?
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Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread
16 “In honor of the Lord your God, celebrate the Passover each year in the early spring, in the month of Abib,[a] for that was the month in which the Lord your God brought you out of Egypt by night.2 Your Passover sacrifice may be from either the flock or the herd, and it must be sacrificed to the Lord your God at the designated place of worship—the place he chooses for his name to be honored.3 Eat it with bread made without yeast. For seven days the bread you eat must be made without yeast, as when you escaped from Egypt in such a hurry. Eat this bread—the bread of suffering—so that as long as you live you will remember the day you departed from Egypt.4 Let no yeast be found in any house throughout your land for those seven days. And when you sacrifice the Passover lamb on the evening of the first day, do not let any of the meat remain until the next morning.
5 “You may not sacrifice the Passover in just any of the towns that the Lord your God is giving you.6 You must offer it only at the designated place of worship—the place the Lord your God chooses for his name to be honored. Sacrifice it there in the evening as the sun goes down on the anniversary of your exodus from Egypt.7 Roast the lamb and eat it in the place the Lord your God chooses. Then you may go back to your tents the next morning.8 For the next six days you may not eat any bread made with yeast. On the seventh day proclaim another holy day in honor of the Lord your God, and no work may be done on that day.
The Festival of Harvest
9 “Count off seven weeks from when you first begin to cut the grain at the time of harvest.10 Then celebrate the Festival of Harvest[b] to honor the Lord your God. Bring him a voluntary offering in proportion to the blessings you have received from him.11 This is a time to celebrate before the Lord your God at the designated place of worship he will choose for his name to be honored. Celebrate with your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, the Levites from your towns, and the foreigners, orphans, and widows who live among you.12 Remember that you were once slaves in Egypt, so be careful to obey all these decrees.
The Festival of Shelters
13 “You must observe the Festival of Shelters[c] for seven days at the end of the harvest season, after the grain has been threshed and the grapes have been pressed.14 This festival will be a happy time of celebrating with your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, and the Levites, foreigners, orphans, and widows from your towns.15 For seven days you must celebrate this festival to honor the Lord your God at the place he chooses, for it is he who blesses you with bountiful harvests and gives you success in all your work. This festival will be a time of great joy for all.
16 “Each year every man in Israel must celebrate these three festivals: the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the Festival of Harvest, and the Festival of Shelters. On each of these occasions, all men must appear before the Lord your God at the place he chooses, but they must not appear before the Lord without a gift for him.17 All must give as they are able, according to the blessings given to them by the Lordyour God.
Justice for the People
18 “Appoint judges and officials for yourselves from each of your tribes in all the towns the Lord your God is giving you. They must judge the people fairly.19 You must never twist justice or show partiality. Never accept a bribe, for bribes blind the eyes of the wise and corrupt the decisions of the godly.20 Let true justice prevail, so you may live and occupy the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
21 “You must never set up a wooden Asherah pole beside the altar you build for the Lord your God.22 And never set up sacred pillars for worship, for the Lord your God hates them.
“When your mom tells you what to do and perhaps it seems impossible to understand the simple lesson, it is the child’s job to honor the parent by making the right choices in completing the task, as God leads and guides you.” ~ Jon Barnes
Your obedience to your parents is as if God is talking to you and the Word of God is a balanced circle that will not contradict itself. With all the good that you do, God will protect you in your obedience and provide a way of escape, to deliver and accomplish the task and goals.The proof is in the quality product that you deliver with your mind, work, and hands. Shortcuts, confusion, and the lack of attention to detail will not cut it. Always strive to do a fantastic job for your parents and teachers to the best of your ability.
The Work Ethics
There is a reason why you should listen to your mom and learn the lessons the first time. You waste a lot of time being stubborn and hardheaded.This is why God said to honor them, period! People who don’t honor their parents make fools of themselves, chasing their tails, like a dog. You are not a dog, so change your behavior and work ethic.Do more with less, because you listened the first time and completed the simple task that your mom asked! Your failure is marked by your incomplete jobs and excuses. You must work.
Abilities and insights improve with experience you gain from doing your best with what you have in front of you.Your wasteful attitude and lack of respect for your resources and the people around you paint the picture of your future success. Since you are smarter than everyone, your lack of productivity shows the fruit of your labor. Humility brings about abilities, yet seen in God. Arrogance brings about the fragrance of poo and fraud. Complete the simple tasks and assignments and the great ones will follow.
Did you wrap your mind around what your mother said, so God can bless you?
Enjoy Today’s Reading
A New Copy of the Covenant
10 “At that time the Lord said to me, ‘Chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones. Also make a wooden Ark—a sacred chest to store them in. Come up to me on the mountain,2 and I will write on the tablets the same words that were on the ones you smashed. Then place the tablets in the Ark.’
3 “So I made an Ark of acacia wood and cut two stone tablets like the first two. Then I went up the mountain with the tablets in my hand.4 Once again the Lordwrote the Ten Commandments[a] on the tablets and gave them to me. They were the same words the Lord had spoken to you from the heart of the fire on the day you were assembled at the foot of the mountain.5 Then I turned and came down the mountain and placed the tablets in the Ark of the Covenant, which I had made, just as the Lord commanded me. And the tablets are still there in the Ark.”
6 (The people of Israel set out from the wells of the people of Jaakan[b] and traveled to Moserah, where Aaron died and was buried. His son Eleazar ministered as high priest in his place.7 Then they journeyed to Gudgodah, and from there to Jotbathah, a land with many brooks and streams.8 At that time the Lord set apart the tribe of Levi to carry the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant, and to stand before the Lord as his ministers, and to pronounce blessings in his name. These are their duties to this day.9 That is why the Levites have no share of property or possession of land among the other Israelite tribes. The Lord himself is their special possession, as the Lord your God told them.)
10 “As for me, I stayed on the mountain in the Lord’s presence for forty days and nights, as I had done the first time. And once again the Lord listened to my pleas and agreed not to destroy you.11 Then the Lord said to me, ‘Get up and resume the journey, and lead the people to the land I swore to give to their ancestors, so they may take possession of it.’
A Call to Love and Obedience
12 “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you? He requires only that you fear the Lord your God, and live in a way that pleases him, and love him and serve him with all your heart and soul.13 And you must always obey the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good.
14 “Look, the highest heavens and the earth and everything in it all belong to the Lord your God.15 Yet the Lord chose your ancestors as the objects of his love. And he chose you, their descendants, above all other nations, as is evident today.16 Therefore, change your hearts[c] and stop being stubborn.
17 “For the Lord your God is the God of gods and Lord of lords. He is the great God, the mighty and awesome God, who shows no partiality and cannot be bribed.18 He ensures that orphans and widows receive justice. He shows love to the foreigners living among you and gives them food and clothing.19 So you, too, must show love to foreigners, for you yourselves were once foreigners in the land of Egypt.20 You must fear the Lord your God and worship him and cling to him. Your oaths must be in his name alone.21 He alone is your God, the only one who is worthy of your praise, the one who has done these mighty miracles that you have seen with your own eyes.22 When your ancestors went down into Egypt, there were only seventy of them. But now the Lord your God has made you as numerous as the stars in the sky!
“God uses people to be living sacrifices of His Good Works to help others understand truth, love commitment, honesty, integrity, long-suffering, and wisdom, as we all give and take, reap and sow, come and go. Dead people don’t bury themselves!” ~ Jon Barnes
Honor Your Parents
People should honor their parents because life was given to them and it seems obvious to be thankful for being alive, nurtured, and cared for as a child. Respectfully, we should honor God in this manner for Fathering humanity providing for our needs. What I don’t understand is how can people sacrifice themselves to evil ways, intentionally hurting their parents and themselves. Why commit to nonsense? It makes no sense. Stop lying to yourself and do better, expect better, and be better!
Your nonsense makes no sense and it brings shame to the door steps of your parents, family, loved ones, friends and, especially God, who can see all that you do. Making a mistake is one thing, but living your daily lives in the same mistakes day after day is completely wrong, selfish, destructive, and counterproductive to building up your family or God’s Kingdom. When you are unsure about something, ask your parents and then ask God to confirm the truth.
We all have the common sense to know right from wrong. Each day try to fix a problem. Start off small and work your way up to the big ones– don’t forget to ask for help and pray. Don’t push people away when you see they are trying to assist you in your time of need. Don’t let your arrogance and pride steal your soul, directing it straight to hell. Your obedience to God should not reflect worldly roman like sacrifices of evil games to the death. Let your living sacrifices of Good Grace and Mercy Honor God and not yourself.
Will God approve of your personal sacrifice or are you copying the ways of evil people, a slave to sin?
Enjoy today’s reading
Romans 8New International Version (NIV)
Life Through the Spirit
1Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. 3For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, 4in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. 9You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. 11And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. 12Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. 14For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
Present Suffering and Future Glory
18I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. 22We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. 26In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. 28And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
More Than Conquerors
31What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.
34Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
“When you want to learn something, you will pray and ask God to show you how. Often times, God uses Good Parents to teach and model solutions to your problems, needs, and desires.” ~ Jon Barnes
Asking God is like asking your Dad. Sit. Look. Listen. Learn. Then pray and ask questions for clarity, as you obey and do what you are told. Many years ago in junior high school, I was asked to pray for my basketball team in the huddle, before the final game. I didn’t, because I was too embarrassed. Then the truth came out when my friend said, ” but Jon, your grandfather is a minister and you know how to pray!” My friend immediately jumped in and said the prayer himself! I was ashamed, and it is one of the few moments I’ll never forget in life. Are you ashamed of God, your Father? Show Me Your Faith!
Ask God Again
Asking God is like asking your Mom. Stand, watch, pay close attention, and do the best job you can. Then pray that you don’t become a lazy, lustful, lying, thief– living a lifestyle that is all wrong, because of your disobedience, arrogance, hard head, and stiff neck. Many years ago, I would get into trouble intentionally and I didn’t care. Well, God zapped me and nothing would go right in my life, so I changed. Guess what, things started to go right as I became more obedient and do my best work. Laziness is a choice. Show Me Your Work!
Once you have the experience, knowledge, and wisdom, you can pass it on to help your children and other people. I realized that I couldn’t read well in high school, so I started to take my cousins to the Enoch Pratt Library in Baltimore, as often as I could, for years. No one told me to do this, maybe it was God! I would also quiz them in math, while eating grapes. If they said the correct answer, they received a grape! It was God who taught me how to become an expert teacher, before I could read well. Ironically, I should have been the one getting tutoring at the library, but God honored my heart, faith, and desire to help my family to do better! Show Me Your Results.
What Good are you and where is your love, if you can’t learn and accept the Truth from God, your parents and others, to pass along valuable information to your family, friends, and enemies? You will be Tested!
Enjoy The Reading.
Luke 23New International Version (NIV)
23 Then the whole assembly rose and led him off to Pilate.2 And they began to accuse him, saying, “We have found this man subverting our nation. He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar and claims to be Messiah, a king.”
3 So Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
“You have said so,” Jesus replied.
4 Then Pilate announced to the chief priests and the crowd, “I find no basis for a charge against this man.”
5 But they insisted, “He stirs up the people all over Judea by his teaching. He started in Galilee and has come all the way here.”
6 On hearing this, Pilate asked if the man was a Galilean.7 When he learned that Jesus was under Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at that time.
8 When Herod saw Jesus, he was greatly pleased, because for a long time he had been wanting to see him. From what he had heard about him, he hoped to see him perform a sign of some sort.9 He plied him with many questions, but Jesus gave him no answer.10 The chief priests and the teachers of the law were standing there, vehemently accusing him.11 Then Herod and his soldiers ridiculed and mocked him. Dressing him in an elegant robe, they sent him back to Pilate.12 That day Herod and Pilate became friends—before this they had been enemies.
13 Pilate called together the chief priests, the rulers and the people,14 and said to them, “You brought me this man as one who was inciting the people to rebellion. I have examined him in your presence and have found no basis for your charges against him.15 Neither has Herod, for he sent him back to us; as you can see, he has done nothing to deserve death.16 Therefore, I will punish him and then release him.” [a]
18 But the whole crowd shouted, “Away with this man! Release Barabbas to us!”19 (Barabbas had been thrown into prison for an insurrection in the city, and for murder.)
20 Wanting to release Jesus, Pilate appealed to them again.21 But they kept shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”
22 For the third time he spoke to them: “Why? What crime has this man committed? I have found in him no grounds for the death penalty. Therefore I will have him punished and then release him.”
23 But with loud shouts they insistently demanded that he be crucified, and their shouts prevailed.24 So Pilate decided to grant their demand.25 He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, the one they asked for, and surrendered Jesus to their will.
The Crucifixion of Jesus
26 As the soldiers led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus.27 A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him.28 Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children.29 For the time will come when you will say, ‘Blessed are the childless women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’30 Then
“‘they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” and to the hills, “Cover us!”’[b]
31 For if people do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”
32 Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed.33 When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left.34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”[c] And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
35 The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.”
36 The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar37 and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”
38 There was a written notice above him, which read: this is the king of the jews.
39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”
40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence?41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”
42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.[d]”
43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
The Death of Jesus
44 It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon,45 for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two.46 Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”[e] When he had said this, he breathed his last.
47 The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.”48 When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away.49 But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.
The Burial of Jesus
50 Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man,51 who had not consented to their decision and action. He came from the Judean town of Arimathea, and he himself was waiting for the kingdom of God.52 Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body.53 Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid.54 It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.
55 The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it.56 Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.