“God isn’t interested in your formalities, your buildings, your ornaments, your performances, or your pandering. He’s interested in the motives of your heart.”~TB
Keep your religious spirit, your virtue-signaling goodness, and moral superiority to yourself. God wants none of it. You cry when religious buildings are destroyed, but you care not for the people He placed in your charge! What good is a building if the people are wicked? Friends, the church is not merely a place, it is within your heart. As He dwells within us, our actions, hearts, and minds must exude His presence. Putting on your Sunday best and turning up your nose at the “heathens” is not Biblical. Well, it is in the Bible, but those people paved the road to Hell.
It’s amazing how quickly the religious mobilize when their image is at stake. Let’s not worry about the exceedingly poor living conditions or the slave wages people are forced to accept. Why do you perform such blasphemous self-promoting acts in the name of God? How impactful is a mission if your actual neighbor is suffering? Truly, you must understand that your deeds are not for Him, they are for yourself. Every formality and hypocritical act performed is a mockery to God. Friends, the state of the world is in disarray! Because the nation has abandoned Him, He will abandon the nation. So cling tightly to your possessions and your neatly adorned items. They are all you have left and soon they too will abandon you.
What are the true motives in your heart?
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1O my people, listen to my instructions. Open your ears to what I am saying,
2for I will speak to you in a parable. I will teach you hidden lessons from our past—
3stories we have heard and known, stories our ancestors handed down to us.
4We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the LORD, about his power and his mighty wonders.
5For he issued his laws to Jacob; he gave his instructions to Israel. He commanded our ancestors to teach them to their children,
6so the next generation might know them— even the children not yet born— and they in turn will teach their own children.
7So each generation should set its hope anew on God, not forgetting his glorious miracles and obeying his commands.
8Then they will not be like their ancestors— stubborn, rebellious, and unfaithful, refusing to give their hearts to God.
9The warriors of Ephraim, though armed with bows, turned their backs and fled on the day of battle.
10They did not keep God’s covenant and refused to live by his instructions.
11They forgot what he had done— the great wonders he had shown them,
12the miracles he did for their ancestors on the plain of Zoan in the land of Egypt.
13For he divided the sea and led them through, making the water stand up like walls!
14In the daytime he led them by a cloud, and all night by a pillar of fire.
15He split open the rocks in the wilderness to give them water, as from a gushing spring.
16He made streams pour from the rock, making the waters flow down like a river!
17Yet they kept on sinning against him, rebelling against the Most High in the desert.
18They stubbornly tested God in their hearts, demanding the foods they craved.
19They even spoke against God himself, saying, “God can’t give us food in the wilderness.
20Yes, he can strike a rock so water gushes out, but he can’t give his people bread and meat.”
21When the LORD heard them, he was furious. The fire of his wrath burned against Jacob. Yes, his anger rose against Israel,
22for they did not believe God or trust him to care for them.
23But he commanded the skies to open; he opened the doors of heaven.
24He rained down manna for them to eat; he gave them bread from heaven.
25They ate the food of angels! God gave them all they could hold.
26He released the east wind in the heavens and guided the south wind by his mighty power.
27He rained down meat as thick as dust— birds as plentiful as the sand on the seashore!
28He caused the birds to fall within their camp and all around their tents.
29The people ate their fill. He gave them what they craved.
30But before they satisfied their craving, while the meat was yet in their mouths,
31the anger of God rose against them, and he killed their strongest men. He struck down the finest of Israel’s young men.
32But in spite of this, the people kept sinning. Despite his wonders, they refused to trust him.
33So he ended their lives in failure, their years in terror.
34When God began killing them, they finally sought him. They repented and took God seriously.
35Then they remembered that God was their rock, that God Most High was their redeemer.
36But all they gave him was lip service; they lied to him with their tongues.
37Their hearts were not loyal to him. They did not keep his covenant.
38Yet he was merciful and forgave their sins and did not destroy them all. Many times he held back his anger and did not unleash his fury!
39For he remembered that they were merely mortal, gone like a breath of wind that never returns.
40Oh, how often they rebelled against him in the wilderness and grieved his heart in that dry wasteland.
41Again and again they tested God’s patience and provoked the Holy One of Israel.
42They did not remember his power and how he rescued them from their enemies.
43They did not remember his miraculous signs in Egypt, his wonders on the plain of Zoan.
44For he turned their rivers into blood, so no one could drink from the streams.
45He sent vast swarms of flies to consume them and hordes of frogs to ruin them.
46He gave their crops to caterpillars; their harvest was consumed by locusts.
47He destroyed their grapevines with hail and shattered their sycamore-figs with sleet.
48He abandoned their cattle to the hail, their livestock to bolts of lightning.
49He loosed on them his fierce anger— all his fury, rage, and hostility. He dispatched against them a band of destroying angels.
50He turned his anger against them; he did not spare the Egyptians’ lives but ravaged them with the plague.
51He killed the oldest son in each Egyptian family, the flower of youth throughout the land of Egypt.
52But he led his own people like a flock of sheep, guiding them safely through the wilderness.
53He kept them safe so they were not afraid; but the sea covered their enemies.
54He brought them to the border of his holy land, to this land of hills he had won for them.
55He drove out the nations before them; he gave them their inheritance by lot. He settled the tribes of Israel into their homes.
56But they kept testing and rebelling against God Most High. They did not obey his laws.
57They turned back and were as faithless as their parents. They were as undependable as a crooked bow.
58They angered God by building shrines to other gods; they made him jealous with their idols.
59When God heard them, he was very angry, and he completely rejected Israel.
60Then he abandoned his dwelling at Shiloh, the Tabernacle where he had lived among the people.
61He allowed the Ark of his might to be captured; he surrendered his glory into enemy hands.
62He gave his people over to be butchered by the sword, because he was so angry with his own people—his special possession.
63Their young men were killed by fire; their young women died before singing their wedding songs.
64Their priests were slaughtered, and their widows could not mourn their deaths.
65Then the Lord rose up as though waking from sleep, like a warrior aroused from a drunken stupor.
66He routed his enemies and sent them to eternal shame.
67But he rejected Joseph’s descendants; he did not choose the tribe of Ephraim.
68He chose instead the tribe of Judah, and Mount Zion, which he loved.
69There he built his sanctuary as high as the heavens, as solid and enduring as the earth.
70He chose his servant David, calling him from the sheep pens.
71He took David from tending the ewes and lambs and made him the shepherd of Jacob’s descendants— God’s own people, Israel.
72He cared for them with a true heart and led them with skillful hands.
“Notice how water travels in circles, currents, streams, oceans, ice, and steam to cut, clean, maintain, and deliver God’s message of sustenance and salvation.” ~ Jon Barnes
While hiking and traveling around the world, I noticed how the water keeps moving from the mountains into the seas.Like air, it never stops doing its job of cleaning, circulating, and rotating.No one can control the weather or its purpose, as it brings what the planet needs from God. Travel with God to get what you need and help others along the way.
Notice how the water cuts into the land in such an artistic way that the Hand of God can be seen on the ground as well as in the sky, clouds, and Heavens.Things are always moving, painting, blowing, and flowing like orchestrated musical visual notes of God’s daily compositions of all styles, with all cultures, and all creation.Wash away negative attitudes and cut new opportunities with your smile.
The art of God’s Ways can clearly be seen anywhere you go if you open up your eyes and mind to see His DNA and thumbprints on all things.It is quite overwhelming because I would take pictures and videos of everything all of the time.I had to leave my camera home so that I could just enjoy my mind, body, heart, spirit, senses, and eyes to capture the wonder and splendor of God’s Creations, Science, and Art to let God’s blessings and glory circle around my being.
Are you studying, sharing, and appreciating God’s Art Forms on a daily basis or are you walking around incarcerated with electronics, cell phones, TVs, movies, and technology of artificial life?
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For the choir director: A psalm of David, regarding the time Saul sent soldiers to watch David’s house in order to kill him. To be sung to the tune “Do Not Destroy!”
1 Rescue me from my enemies, O God. Protect me from those who have come to destroy me. 2 Rescue me from these criminals; save me from these murderers. 3 They have set an ambush for me. Fierce enemies are out there waiting, Lord, though I have not sinned or offended them. 4 I have done nothing wrong, yet they prepare to attack me. Wake up! See what is happening and help me! 5 O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, wake up and punish those hostile nations. Show no mercy to wicked traitors. Interlude
6 They come out at night, snarling like vicious dogs as they prowl the streets. 7 Listen to the filth that comes from their mouths; their words cut like swords. “After all, who can hear us?” they sneer. 8 But Lord, you laugh at them. You scoff at all the hostile nations. 9 You are my strength; I wait for you to rescue me, for you, O God, are my fortress. 10 In his unfailing love, my God will stand with me. He will let me look down in triumph on all my enemies.
11 Don’t kill them, for my people soon forget such lessons; stagger them with your power, and bring them to their knees, O Lord our shield. 12 Because of the sinful things they say, because of the evil that is on their lips, let them be captured by their pride, their curses, and their lies. 13 Destroy them in your anger! Wipe them out completely! Then the whole world will know that God reigns in Israel. Interlude
14 My enemies come out at night, snarling like vicious dogs as they prowl the streets. 15 They scavenge for food but go to sleep unsatisfied.
16 But as for me, I will sing about your power. Each morning I will sing with joy about your unfailing love. For you have been my refuge, a place of safety when I am in distress. 17 O my Strength, to you I sing praises, for you, O God, are my refuge, the God who shows me unfailing love.
“Doing the work of faith one day a year is not good enough, because God will hold you accountable for the 365 days in a year to judge what you have done.” ~Jon Barnes
God is not about to throw out his math skills of accountability and assessment of your character, nature, and measure of faith in your personal work and walk with God during your lifetime.Your repentance and connection to God with the Blood of Christ will teach you how to remain holy and separated unto God.However, it only takes a second for you to choose and cut that tie and bond with God, based on your choice and wicked behavior.
You must keep your lamp full with the Spirit of God in your heart and life so that your light keeps shining now and forever.This unlimited amount of love that God has supernaturally given you will sustain you in all times if you are a true believer.You will run your race with all that you have to prove your loyalty to God.He will sustain, teach, and test you each day and God’s training is thorough.
God’s accounting on your life is none of my business. God’s accounting in my life is none of your business.His judgment will condemn or correspond to your faith walk, facts, and records to account for your life.One Day, you will be seen as you are and God will decide if you are worthy.Strive to be worthy at all times and humble your causes into the Hands of God and His Righteousness.
Will The Blood of Christ save you, if you are a habitual thief, liar, cheater, and an evil person, pretending to be a true Christian or do you really think God is as stupid as you are?
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Elihu Responds to Job’s Friends
32 Job’s three friends refused to reply further to him because he kept insisting on his innocence.
2 Then Elihu son of Barakel the Buzite, of the clan of Ram, became angry. He was angry because Job refused to admit that he had sinned and that God was right in punishing him.3 He was also angry with Job’s three friends, for they made God[a]appear to be wrong by their inability to answer Job’s arguments.4 Elihu had waited for the others to speak to Job because they were older than he.5 But when he saw that they had no further reply, he spoke out angrily.6 Elihu son of Barakel the Buzite said,
“I am young and you are old, so I held back from telling you what I think. 7 I thought, ‘Those who are older should speak, for wisdom comes with age.’ 8 But there is a spirit[b] within people, the breath of the Almighty within them, that makes them intelligent. 9 Sometimes the elders are not wise. Sometimes the aged do not understand justice. 10 So listen to me, and let me tell you what I think.
11 “I have waited all this time, listening very carefully to your arguments, listening to you grope for words. 12 I have listened, but not one of you has refuted Job or answered his arguments. 13 And don’t tell me, ‘He is too wise for us. Only God can convince him.’ 14 If Job had been arguing with me, I would not answer with your kind of logic! 15 You sit there baffled, with nothing more to say. 16 Should I continue to wait, now that you are silent? Must I also remain silent? 17 No, I will say my piece. I will speak my mind. 18 For I am full of pent-up words, and the spirit within me urges me on. 19 I am like a cask of wine without a vent, like a new wineskin ready to burst! 20 I must speak to find relief, so let me give my answers. 21 I won’t play favorites or try to flatter anyone. 22 For if I tried flattery, my Creator would soon destroy me.
“Enjoying the peace and quietness of a nature walk on a path in the forest is a reminder of God’s beautiful talent and creative designs from age to age into infinity.” ~Jon Barnes
While walking, I see things that I want to remember and I take many pictures to look at and share.Perhaps I’ll start drawing and painting these great pictures in the future.Balancing exercises, fun activities, and stress reduction brings on life’s rewards because you are responsible for your happiness, health, and good habits.
The joy of living and mastering God’s lifestyle choices gives a refreshing outlook that is personal, like the warmth of the rising sun in the morning.Darkness cannot be found in these open skies and your liberty in God is as free as the wind. Take what God provides.
Notice how much better you feel with a clear conscious of doing your own good work while appreciating God’s Good Work and biblical training.Your studies, the work, and wisdom you receive are full of bright light, love, and longevity.Let your long-suffering be counted as Joy, as life’s lessons directly prove your fate and faith in God.
Do you think that God appreciates an honest, obedient Christian?
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9 On the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, the edict commanded by the king was to be carried out. On this day the enemies of the Jews had hoped to overpower them, but now the tables were turned and the Jews got the upper hand over those who hated them.2 The Jews assembled in their cities in all the provinces of King Xerxes to attack those determined to destroy them. No one could stand against them, because the people of all the other nationalities were afraid of them.3 And all the nobles of the provinces, the satraps, the governors and the king’s administrators helped the Jews, because fear of Mordecai had seized them.4 Mordecai was prominent in the palace; his reputation spread throughout the provinces, and he became more and more powerful.
5 The Jews struck down all their enemies with the sword, killing and destroying them, and they did what they pleased to those who hated them.6 In the citadel of Susa, the Jews killed and destroyed five hundred men.7 They also killed Parshandatha, Dalphon, Aspatha,8 Poratha, Adalia, Aridatha,9 Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai and Vaizatha,10 the ten sons of Haman son of Hammedatha, the enemy of the Jews. But they did not lay their hands on the plunder.
11 The number of those killed in the citadel of Susa was reported to the king that same day.12 The king said to Queen Esther, “The Jews have killed and destroyed five hundred men and the ten sons of Haman in the citadel of Susa. What have they done in the rest of the king’s provinces? Now what is your petition? It will be given you. What is your request? It will also be granted.”
13 “If it pleases the king,” Esther answered, “give the Jews in Susa permission to carry out this day’s edict tomorrow also, and let Haman’s ten sons be impaled on poles.”
14 So the king commanded that this be done. An edict was issued in Susa, and they impaled the ten sons of Haman.15 The Jews in Susa came together on the fourteenth day of the month of Adar, and they put to death in Susa three hundred men, but they did not lay their hands on the plunder.
16 Meanwhile, the remainder of the Jews who were in the king’s provinces also assembled to protect themselves and get relief from their enemies. They killed seventy-five thousand of them but did not lay their hands on the plunder.17 This happened on the thirteenth day of the month of Adar, and on the fourteenth they rested and made it a day of feasting and joy.
18 The Jews in Susa, however, had assembled on the thirteenth and fourteenth, and then on the fifteenth they rested and made it a day of feasting and joy.
19 That is why rural Jews—those living in villages—observe the fourteenth of the month of Adar as a day of joy and feasting, a day for giving presents to each other.
20 Mordecai recorded these events, and he sent letters to all the Jews throughout the provinces of King Xerxes, near and far,21 to have them celebrate annually the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar22 as the time when the Jews got relief from their enemies, and as the month when their sorrow was turned into joy and their mourning into a day of celebration. He wrote them to observe the days as days of feasting and joy and giving presents of food to one another and gifts to the poor.
23 So the Jews agreed to continue the celebration they had begun, doing what Mordecai had written to them.24 For Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of all the Jews, had plotted against the Jews to destroy them and had cast the pur (that is, the lot) for their ruin and destruction.25 But when the plot came to the king’s attention,[a] he issued written orders that the evil scheme Haman had devised against the Jews should come back onto his own head, and that he and his sons should be impaled on poles.26 (Therefore these days were called Purim, from the word pur.) Because of everything written in this letter and because of what they had seen and what had happened to them,27 the Jews took it on themselves to establish the custom that they and their descendants and all who join them should without fail observe these two days every year, in the way prescribed and at the time appointed.28 These days should be remembered and observed in every generation by every family, and in every province and in every city. And these days of Purim should never fail to be celebrated by the Jews—nor should the memory of these days die out among their descendants.
29 So Queen Esther, daughter of Abihail, along with Mordecai the Jew, wrote with full authority to confirm this second letter concerning Purim.30 And Mordecai sent letters to all the Jews in the 127 provinces of Xerxes’ kingdom—words of goodwill and assurance—31 to establish these days of Purim at their designated times, as Mordecai the Jew and Queen Esther had decreed for them, and as they had established for themselves and their descendants in regard to their times of fastingand lamentation.32 Esther’s decree confirmed these regulations about Purim, and it was written down in the records.
“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
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.
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.
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.
Are you in an unforced loving relationship with God and people or are you oppressed by wickedness an disobedience of your own doing?
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Nehemiah Defends the Oppressed
5 About this time some of the men and their wives raised a cry of protest against their fellow Jews.2 They were saying, “We have such large families. We need more food to survive.”
3 Others said, “We have mortgaged our fields, vineyards, and homes to get food during the famine.”
4 And others said, “We have had to borrow money on our fields and vineyards to pay our taxes.5 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.”
6 When I heard their complaints, I was very angry.7 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.
8 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.
9 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.
“From the beginning, both Adam and Eve had a major problem dealing with God’s wealth, riches, integrity, and honor, because they chose to become disobedient, greedy, and evil, just like satan.” ~ Jon Barnes
When perfection is not good enough, the richness of greed and evil has no limits and is doomed to the grave of hell forever, being full of pride, greed, lust, and lies. The obvious Truth of God is just not good enough, so the plot to overthrow God is always present in the small minds of human beings. The spirit of evil has been made for the day of evil and the Spirit of Good has been made for the Day of Good, which both falls on the same day.
We have been doomed since the beginning of time because of our unbelief in God’s lifestyle of love, sharing, caring, and abundance management. Our sinful nature cannot handle the truth of God’s kindness, mercy, and free universal provisions and access to the wealth of life, gifts, and choices in which we were all created and born with. However, our choice to take and steal from God is written in the Scriptures of the Bible Stories to give you an accurate account of how foolish many have become and will be.
Few will choose God’s lifestyle of honest love, peace, forgiveness, repentance, faithfulness, joyfulness, patience, long-suffering, self-control and meekness that is gentle and more powerful than anything we could comprehend. The Blood of Jesus, crucifixion death and resurrection saving Power is the method of repentance that God’s solution has mandated for mankind’s sacrifice and atonement for our sins. The Faith, Belief, and Works from the Connection of God’s Holy Spirit is the Stamp of Approval and Seal of Verification that few will hold onto, as they walk through the Gates of Heaven. No other path exists for My Kind, but through the hope of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, of whom God is well pleased.
Did you copy that trail of wisdom and path of salvation into God’s Heart?
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Joshua 4 New Living Translation
Memorials to the Jordan Crossing
4 When all the people had crossed the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua,2 “Now choose twelve men, one from each tribe.3 Tell them, ‘Take twelve stones from the very place where the priests are standing in the middle of the Jordan. Carry them out and pile them up at the place where you will camp tonight.’”
4 So Joshua called together the twelve men he had chosen—one from each of the tribes of Israel.5 He told them, “Go into the middle of the Jordan, in front of the Ark of the Lord your God. Each of you must pick up one stone and carry it out on your shoulder—twelve stones in all, one for each of the twelve tribes of Israel.6 We will use these stones to build a memorial. In the future your children will ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’7 Then you can tell them, ‘They remind us that the Jordan River stopped flowing when the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant went across.’ These stones will stand as a memorial among the people of Israel forever.”
8 So the men did as Joshua had commanded them. They took twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan River, one for each tribe, just as the Lord had told Joshua. They carried them to the place where they camped for the night and constructed the memorial there.
9 Joshua also set up another pile of twelve stones in the middle of the Jordan, at the place where the priests who carried the Ark of the Covenant were standing. And they are there to this day.
10 The priests who were carrying the Ark stood in the middle of the river until all of the Lord’s commands that Moses had given to Joshua were carried out. Meanwhile, the people hurried across the riverbed.11 And when everyone was safely on the other side, the priests crossed over with the Ark of the Lord as the people watched.
12 The armed warriors from the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh led the Israelites across the Jordan, just as Moses had directed.13 These armed men—about 40,000 strong—were ready for battle, and the Lordwas with them as they crossed over to the plains of Jericho.
14 That day the Lord made Joshua a great leader in the eyes of all the Israelites, and for the rest of his life they revered him as much as they had revered Moses.
15 The Lord had said to Joshua,16 “Command the priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant[a] to come up out of the riverbed.”17 So Joshua gave the command.18 As soon as the priests carrying the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant came up out of the riverbed and their feet were on high ground, the water of the Jordan returned and overflowed its banks as before.
19 The people crossed the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month.[b] Then they camped at Gilgal, just east of Jericho.20 It was there at Gilgal that Joshua piled up the twelve stones taken from the Jordan River.
21 Then Joshua said to the Israelites, “In the future your children will ask, ‘What do these stones mean?’22 Then you can tell them, ‘This is where the Israelites crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’23 For the Lord your God dried up the river right before your eyes, and he kept it dry until you were all across, just as he did at the Red Sea[c] when he dried it up until we had all crossed over.24 He did this so all the nations of the earth might know that the Lord’s hand is powerful, and so you might fear the Lord your God forever.”
“I hiked and climbed to the highest point in the mountains of San Juan Bautista with friends, near the famous mission and you could see the entire valley; 360 degrees of God’s Creation, provision, and love for life.” ~ Jon Barnes
Before hiking, I was thankful to get in the Jacuzzi and heated pool to swim and Thank God for an amazing school year of teaching, learning, giving, and loving the thousands of students, teachers, people, and parents over the years. It is fruitful to be a blessing to others, before you can be a blessing to yourself.
During the many years as an educator, I have studied and learned how God wants me to teach and learn from all of the good things and people around me. Reading the bible has taught me to focus and give back to the community with a purpose, poise, and passion of truth from God. I try to stay connected to improve my lifestyle and ability to serve others.
As a result, you can see, taste, touch, smell, sense, and digest the awesomeness of God, after walking in the daily hikes with Him. It is great to report that you don’t slip and fall when God is holding your hand. The problem occurs when people remove their hands from the Hand of God! I choose to walk and hold His Hand.
Are you climbing the mountain with God to see what you are missing?
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The Birth of Isaac
21 The Lord kept his word and did for Sarah exactly what he had promised.2 She became pregnant, and she gave birth to a son for Abraham in his old age. This happened at just the time God had said it would.3 And Abraham named their son Isaac.4 Eight days after Isaac was born, Abraham circumcised him as God had commanded.5 Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac was born.
6 And Sarah declared, “God has brought me laughter.[a] All who hear about this will laugh with me.7 Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse a baby? Yet I have given Abraham a son in his old age!”
Hagar and Ishmael Are Sent Away
8 When Isaac grew up and was about to be weaned, Abraham prepared a huge feast to celebrate the occasion.9 But Sarah saw Ishmael—the son of Abraham and her Egyptian servant Hagar—making fun of her son, Isaac.[b]10 So she turned to Abraham and demanded, “Get rid of that slave woman and her son. He is not going to share the inheritance with my son, Isaac. I won’t have it!”
11 This upset Abraham very much because Ishmael was his son.12 But God told Abraham, “Do not be upset over the boy and your servant. Do whatever Sarah tells you, for Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted.13 But I will also make a nation of the descendants of Hagar’s son because he is your son, too.”
14 So Abraham got up early the next morning, prepared food and a container of water, and strapped them on Hagar’s shoulders. Then he sent her away with their son, and she wandered aimlessly in the wilderness of Beersheba.
15 When the water was gone, she put the boy in the shade of a bush.16 Then she went and sat down by herself about a hundred yards[c] away. “I don’t want to watch the boy die,” she said, as she burst into tears.
17 But God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, “Hagar, what’s wrong? Do not be afraid! God has heard the boy crying as he lies there.18 Go to him and comfort him, for I will make a great nation from his descendants.”
19 Then God opened Hagar’s eyes, and she saw a well full of water. She quickly filled her water container and gave the boy a drink.
20 And God was with the boy as he grew up in the wilderness. He became a skillful archer,21 and he settled in the wilderness of Paran. His mother arranged for him to marry a woman from the land of Egypt.
Abraham’s Covenant with Abimelech
22 About this time, Abimelech came with Phicol, his army commander, to visit Abraham. “God is obviously with you, helping you in everything you do,” Abimelech said.23 “Swear to me in God’s name that you will never deceive me, my children, or any of my descendants. I have been loyal to you, so now swear that you will be loyal to me and to this country where you are living as a foreigner.”
24 Abraham replied, “Yes, I swear to it!”25 Then Abraham complained to Abimelech about a well that Abimelech’s servants had taken by force from Abraham’s servants.
26 “This is the first I’ve heard of it,” Abimelech answered. “I have no idea who is responsible. You have never complained about this before.”
27 Abraham then gave some of his sheep, goats, and cattle to Abimelech, and they made a treaty.28 But Abraham also took seven additional female lambs and set them off by themselves.29 Abimelech asked, “Why have you set these seven apart from the others?”
30 Abraham replied, “Please accept these seven lambs to show your agreement that I dug this well.”31 Then he named the place Beersheba (which means “well of the oath”), because that was where they had sworn the oath.
32 After making their covenant at Beersheba, Abimelech left with Phicol, the commander of his army, and they returned home to the land of the Philistines.33 Then Abraham planted a tamarisk tree at Beersheba, and there he worshiped the Lord, the Eternal God.[d]34 And Abraham lived as a foreigner in Philistine country for a long time.