“When you believe that God’s ideas are better than your’s, then you’ve arrived.”~Jon Barnes
God gave us free will, which means that we are free to carry out our own plans. Thing is, between the flesh, the world, and the opposition, we don’t always make the best decisions. If you’re tired of hitting your head against the wall, doing things that don’t give you peace or contentment, try letting God be your GPS.
Allowing God to direct your steps is like being in the driver’s seat of a self-operating vehicle. You first have to have the faith that God knows better than you. Then you have to let His will be done in lieu of your own. Friends, as a control freak, I completely understand how difficult that is.
God’s plan is way cooler, way better, way more Devine than anything we could ever cook up. It’s mustering up the faith and stillness to allow His Plan to work that is the hard part. When we understand that we must ignore our foolish plans and adopt His, God can work wonders in our lives.
Which ideas are you listening to?
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1Listen to me, all you in distant lands! Pay attention, you who are far away! The LORD called me before my birth; from within the womb he called me by name.
2He made my words of judgment as sharp as a sword. He has hidden me in the shadow of his hand. I am like a sharp arrow in his quiver.
3He said to me, “You are my servant, Israel, and you will bring me glory.”
4I replied, “But my work seems so useless! I have spent my strength for nothing and to no purpose. Yet I leave it all in the LORD ’s hand; I will trust God for my reward.”
5And now the LORD speaks— the one who formed me in my mother’s womb to be his servant, who commissioned me to bring Israel back to him. The LORD has honored me, and my God has given me strength.
6He says, “You will do more than restore the people of Israel to me. I will make you a light to the Gentiles, and you will bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.”
7The LORD, the Redeemer and Holy One of Israel, says to the one who is despised and rejected by the nations, to the one who is the servant of rulers: “Kings will stand at attention when you pass by. Princes will also bow low because of the LORD, the faithful one, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.”
8This is what the LORD says: “At just the right time, I will respond to you. On the day of salvation I will help you. I will protect you and give you to the people as my covenant with them. Through you I will reestablish the land of Israel and assign it to its own people again.
9I will say to the prisoners, ‘Come out in freedom,’ and to those in darkness, ‘Come into the light.’ They will be my sheep, grazing in green pastures and on hills that were previously bare.
10They will neither hunger nor thirst. The searing sun will not reach them anymore. For the LORD in his mercy will lead them; he will lead them beside cool waters.
11And I will make my mountains into level paths for them. The highways will be raised above the valleys.
12See, my people will return from far away, from lands to the north and west, and from as far south as Egypt. ”
13Sing for joy, O heavens! Rejoice, O earth! Burst into song, O mountains! For the LORD has comforted his people and will have compassion on them in their suffering.
14Yet Jerusalem says, “The LORD has deserted us; the Lord has forgotten us.”
15“Never! Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for the child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you!
16See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands. Always in my mind is a picture of Jerusalem’s walls in ruins.
17Soon your descendants will come back, and all who are trying to destroy you will go away.
18Look around you and see, for all your children will come back to you. As surely as I live,” says the LORD, “they will be like jewels or bridal ornaments for you to display.
19“Even the most desolate parts of your abandoned land will soon be crowded with your people. Your enemies who enslaved you will be far away.
20The generations born in exile will return and say, ‘We need more room! It’s crowded here!’
21Then you will think to yourself, ‘Who has given me all these descendants? For most of my children were killed, and the rest were carried away into exile. I was left here all alone. Where did all these people come from? Who bore these children? Who raised them for me?’”
22This is what the Sovereign LORD says: “See, I will give a signal to the godless nations. They will carry your little sons back to you in their arms; they will bring your daughters on their shoulders.
23Kings and queens will serve you and care for all your needs. They will bow to the earth before you and lick the dust from your feet. Then you will know that I am the LORD . Those who trust in me will never be put to shame.”
24Who can snatch the plunder of war from the hands of a warrior? Who can demand that a tyrant let his captives go?
25But the LORD says, “The captives of warriors will be released, and the plunder of tyrants will be retrieved. For I will fight those who fight you, and I will save your children.
26I will feed your enemies with their own flesh. They will be drunk with rivers of their own blood. All the world will know that I, the LORD, am your Savior and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Israel. ”
“God’s blueprint for our lives is far better than our own.”~TB
Pursuing plans without consulting God is like building a house that’s not up to code. You’ll end up with a crooked foundation, busted plumbing, or worse trying to combine a faulty blueprint with someone else’s blueprint. More to the point, when we try and show our “handy work” to God, we end up offended that He doesn’t co-sign our convoluted workmanship.
Up to Code
When you’re tired of failing inspections, it’s time to go to God, the Holy Home Inspector. If you ask Him for an assessment on your blueprint, He will show you all of the ways of which your does not measure up. Instead of trying to make corrections on a faulty home, ask God for His blueprint for your life. His plans will result in a lifelong, sustainable dwelling.
Are you ready to accept your true blueprint or does shoddy workmanship cut it?
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1“Look at my servant, whom I strengthen. He is my chosen one, who pleases me. I have put my Spirit upon him. He will bring justice to the nations.
2He will not shout or raise his voice in public.
3He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle. He will bring justice to all who have been wronged.
4He will not falter or lose heart until justice prevails throughout the earth. Even distant lands beyond the sea will wait for his instruction. ”
5God, the LORD, created the heavens and stretched them out. He created the earth and everything in it. He gives breath to everyone, life to everyone who walks the earth. And it is he who says,
6“I, the LORD, have called you to demonstrate my righteousness. I will take you by the hand and guard you, and I will give you to my people, Israel, as a symbol of my covenant with them. And you will be a light to guide the nations.
7You will open the eyes of the blind. You will free the captives from prison, releasing those who sit in dark dungeons.
8“I am the LORD ; that is my name! I will not give my glory to anyone else, nor share my praise with carved idols.
9Everything I prophesied has come true, and now I will prophesy again. I will tell you the future before it happens.”
10Sing a new song to the LORD ! Sing his praises from the ends of the earth! Sing, all you who sail the seas, all you who live in distant coastlands.
11Join in the chorus, you desert towns; let the villages of Kedar rejoice! Let the people of Sela sing for joy; shout praises from the mountaintops!
12Let the whole world glorify the LORD ; let it sing his praise.
13The LORD will march forth like a mighty hero; he will come out like a warrior, full of fury. He will shout his battle cry and crush all his enemies.
14He will say, “I have long been silent; yes, I have restrained myself. But now, like a woman in labor, I will cry and groan and pant.
15I will level the mountains and hills and blight all their greenery. I will turn the rivers into dry land and will dry up all the pools.
16I will lead blind Israel down a new path, guiding them along an unfamiliar way. I will brighten the darkness before them and smooth out the road ahead of them. Yes, I will indeed do these things; I will not forsake them.
17But those who trust in idols, who say, ‘You are our gods,’ will be turned away in shame.
18“Listen, you who are deaf! Look and see, you blind!
19Who is as blind as my own people, my servant? Who is as deaf as my messenger? Who is as blind as my chosen people, the servant of the LORD ?
20You see and recognize what is right but refuse to act on it. You hear with your ears, but you don’t really listen.”
21Because he is righteous, the LORD has exalted his glorious law.
22But his own people have been robbed and plundered, enslaved, imprisoned, and trapped. They are fair game for anyone and have no one to protect them, no one to take them back home.
23Who will hear these lessons from the past and see the ruin that awaits you in the future?
24Who allowed Israel to be robbed and hurt? It was the LORD, against whom we sinned, for the people would not walk in his path, nor would they obey his law.
25Therefore, he poured out his fury on them and destroyed them in battle. They were enveloped in flames, but they still refused to understand. They were consumed by fire, but they did not learn their lesson
“Thank God that His plans far supersede our own.”~TB
I had planned to move to Eugene OR after my travels. I loved the location, the river, and the coffee shops that were literally everywhere. I felt for sureit was the place for me to be. In spite of my best efforts, I could not find a place in my desired location before my move in date. I even came close to finding a home that was right next to a friend I had made during my visit earlier this year. Even though in my mind, it was perfect scenario, it didn’t pan out. Instead, after some convincing from my parents, they encouraged me to move back to Las Vegas.
In my limited vision, all I could see was that my plans were dashed and that Vegas was not the place for me. But what I’ve come to know is that being back in Las Vegas is exactly where I’m supposed to be. For starters, my family is here. Having dinners with my nephews is something I would not trade for the world. Secondly, sunlight. I need daily walks in sunlight or I feel like a zombie. In Eugene, it rains more than it doesn’t. I would’ve eventually been so miserable. My point in saying all of this is, had my original plans worked out, I would’ve suffered. But instead, I have many things to be thankful for in a city I didn’t want to be in. I laugh and thank God for His infinite vision as opposed to my shortsighted plans. It also makes me reflect on how many perceived failures we all put on our backs because things didn’t work out as we had hoped. So, the next time you think about the ways your plans haven’t worked, remember that God’s plans and timing take into account the things we do not understand.
Whose plans are better; God’s or yours?
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1Look, a righteous king is coming! And honest princes will rule under him.
2Each one will be like a shelter from the wind and a refuge from the storm, like streams of water in the desert and the shadow of a great rock in a parched land.
3Then everyone who has eyes will be able to see the truth, and everyone who has ears will be able to hear it.
4Even the hotheads will be full of sense and understanding. Those who stammer will speak out plainly.
5In that day ungodly fools will not be heroes. Scoundrels will not be respected.
6For fools speak foolishness and make evil plans. They practice ungodliness and spread false teachings about the LORD . They deprive the hungry of food and give no water to the thirsty.
7The smooth tricks of scoundrels are evil. They plot crooked schemes. They lie to convict the poor, even when the cause of the poor is just.
8But generous people plan to do what is generous, and they stand firm in their generosity.
9Listen, you women who lie around in ease. Listen to me, you who are so smug.
10In a short time—just a little more than a year— you careless ones will suddenly begin to care. For your fruit crops will fail, and the harvest will never take place.
11Tremble, you women of ease; throw off your complacency. Strip off your pretty clothes, and put on burlap to show your grief.
12Beat your breasts in sorrow for your bountiful farms and your fruitful grapevines.
13For your land will be overgrown with thorns and briers. Your joyful homes and happy towns will be gone.
14The palace and the city will be deserted, and busy towns will be empty. Wild donkeys will frolic and flocks will graze in the empty forts and watchtowers
15until at last the Spirit is poured out on us from heaven. Then the wilderness will become a fertile field, and the fertile field will yield bountiful crops.
16Justice will rule in the wilderness and righteousness in the fertile field.
17And this righteousness will bring peace. Yes, it will bring quietness and confidence forever.
18My people will live in safety, quietly at home. They will be at rest.
19Even if the forest should be destroyed and the city torn down,
20the LORD will greatly bless his people. Wherever they plant seed, bountiful crops will spring up. Their cattle and donkeys will graze freely.
“There are times where plans are delayed because we forgot something and God is giving us a chance to make it up.”~TB
My dog, Abbey, absolutely loves going on walks. Whenever I open the drawer where her leash is kept, she runs straight for the door, anticipating an outing. There are times where I get to the parking lot stairs and realize that I’ve forgotten my phone or wallet, and we have to walk back to my door. If we have to turn around before going out, Abbey will anchor herself to the floor refusing to move, because she thinks we’re no longer going for the walk. After a few tugs, I’ll get her to come along, I’ll retrieve whatever I’ve forgotten and then we’re off to go on the walk. Then as if it’s a surprise, she becomes excited again that we’re going for the walk after all! Every single time this happens ( it happens a lot, I’m really forgetful.) the same behavior occurs and the other day, it made me realize there are times where I will do that with God too. How many times have you refused to change course because you thought your plans were being dashed? If we don’t reflect on our behaviors and circumstances, we can miss the tools and skills we need to progress to the next stage. If you’ve stalled, seek God to find our why. There is most certainly a purpose.
Delay is not Denial
I’ll be honest, I’m not the biggest fan of Christian colloquialisms— often because the people using them are trying to circumvent honest or good behavior (a different story for a different day). But, I will say that God will delay a change in course if we haven’t done the work to make it to the next step. For example, you can’t just run a marathon if you haven’t even trained to complete a 5k. God gives each of us a dream, purpose, or goal. And with those wonderful plans comes the responsibility of tilling your soil to fulfill that purpose. Many times we fail to actualize God’s plans for us because we either allow people to discourage such “crazy ideas” or we didn’t condition ourselves to prepare for the road less traveled. I’m thankful that He gives us a lifetime to answer our specific call. So the next time things aren’t going according to plan, look for the lessons or tools you may have forgotten along the way. Don’t worry, you haven’t been left behind, just delayed. God hasn’t forgotten the vision He planted in you, He’s just giving you time to catch up.
Are you learning during your delay or are you missing the point?
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1This message came to me concerning Babylon—the desert by the sea : Disaster is roaring down on you from the desert, like a whirlwind sweeping in from the Negev.
2I see a terrifying vision: I see the betrayer betraying, the destroyer destroying. Go ahead, you Elamites and Medes, attack and lay siege. I will make an end to all the groaning Babylon caused.
3My stomach aches and burns with pain. Sharp pangs of anguish are upon me, like those of a woman in labor. I grow faint when I hear what God is planning; I am too afraid to look.
4My mind reels and my heart races. I longed for evening to come, but now I am terrified of the dark.
5Look! They are preparing a great feast. They are spreading rugs for people to sit on. Everyone is eating and drinking. But quick! Grab your shields and prepare for battle. You are being attacked!
6Meanwhile, the Lord said to me, “Put a watchman on the city wall. Let him shout out what he sees.
7He should look for chariots drawn by pairs of horses, and for riders on donkeys and camels. Let the watchman be fully alert.”
8Then the watchman called out, “Day after day I have stood on the watchtower, my lord. Night after night I have remained at my post.
9Now at last—look! Here comes a man in a chariot with a pair of horses!” Then the watchman said, “Babylon is fallen, fallen! All the idols of Babylon lie broken on the ground!”
10O my people, threshed and winnowed, I have told you everything the LORD of Heaven’s Armies has said, everything the God of Israel has told me.
11This message came to me concerning Edom : Someone from Edom keeps calling to me, “Watchman, how much longer until morning? When will the night be over?”
12The watchman replies, “Morning is coming, but night will soon return. If you wish to ask again, then come back and ask.”
13This message came to me concerning Arabia: O caravans from Dedan, hide in the deserts of Arabia.
14O people of Tema, bring water to these thirsty people, food to these weary refugees.
15They have fled from the sword, from the drawn sword, from the bent bow and the terrors of battle.
16The Lord said to me, “Within a year, counting each day, all the glory of Kedar will come to an end.
17Only a few of its courageous archers will survive. I, the LORD, the God of Israel, have spoken!”
“God takes impossible missions and turns them into the best options and plays for His Team.” ~ Jon Barnes
God has given us life with options to follow. You only have two options with a 50% chance of getting it right. Many will fail by making the wrong choice, even when the deck is stacked 100% in their favor, with God’s Universal DNA, fingerprints, and images all over the place. We are all made in His Image and it is our option to believe and live by God’s design, wisdom, and understanding. Execute your option playbook from the Bible.
You don’t have to follow the devil because it is optional. Your choice condemns or sets you free in God, because of your love and interest in pleasing Him. I am not the person to please. I can only be happy for you in the choice you make, one way or the other. Refuse to live in a state of sadness when others make such bad decisions for their own lives. Pray and let them choose their fate and allow your life to be a testimony of your faith with words, actions, good deeps, and honest integrity from God’s Blessings. Perhaps they will see the light and respond to God.
Nothing is impossible with God, with His Word, in His Plans for those who love and follow His Foot Steps. All options are in your favor because you are doing your part, regardless of the situation. Believing and doing what God says can only be a great thing in your life since God rewards good people even more for doing the work of faith. Nothing is impossible for God to do, with all of the options in His Hand. Why gamble on the devil, his evil plans, and wicked ways of old?
Do you feel empowered by God when you read, study, and love what He says, from doing your homework and studying your personal options in Christ?
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Mordecai Persuades Esther to Help
4 When Mordecai learned of all that had been done, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the city, wailing loudly and bitterly.2 But he went only as far as the king’s gate, because no one clothed in sackcloth was allowed to enter it.3 In every province to which the edict and order of the king came, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, weeping and wailing. Many lay in sackcloth and ashes.
4 When Esther’s eunuchs and female attendants came and told her about Mordecai, she was in great distress. She sent clothes for him to put on instead of his sackcloth, but he would not accept them.5 Then Esther summoned Hathak, one of the king’s eunuchs assigned to attend her, and ordered him to find out what was troubling Mordecai and why.
6 So Hathak went out to Mordecai in the open square of the city in front of the king’s gate.7 Mordecai told him everything that had happened to him, including the exact amount of money Haman had promised to pay into the royal treasury for the destruction of the Jews.8 He also gave him a copy of the text of the edict for their annihilation, which had been published in Susa, to show to Esther and explain it to her, and he told him to instruct her to go into the king’s presence to beg for mercy and plead with him for her people.
9 Hathak went back and reported to Esther what Mordecai had said.10 Then she instructed him to say to Mordecai,11 “All the king’s officials and the people of the royal provinces know that for any man or woman who approaches the king in the inner court without being summoned the king has but one law: that they be put to death unless the king extends the gold scepter to them and spares their lives. But thirty days have passed since I was called to go to the king.”
12 When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai,13 he sent back this answer: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape.14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”
15 Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai:16 “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.”
17 So Mordecai went away and carried out all of Esther’s instructions.
“God gives us senses, thoughts, and judgment to navigate around the complex and simple questions we all face on a daily basis.” ~ Jon Barnes
Boldly follow the answers God gives you when to move forward by stepping on the Rock of Christ that is centered in your path.You are invisible in the Hands of God and the wicked cannot touch you or your mission of integrity. Believe and know that God is in control.
Divert evil plans from intersecting your path by being proactive in God’s ways.There is no need to compromise your steps by giving the devil a GPS on your mission.Keep the wicked guessing and wondering about why, what, where, when, and how you work for God.
Don’t allow your disobedience to cause sickness, envy, strife, and sin to come into your lifestyle of hope and good choices.Directly dismiss foolishness and complete the job that is in your hands.Your self-analysis is all you need in God to see your way into and through your destiny.
Are you following the motions of your self-diagnostics into the direction of Christ or did the devil bribe you with the distraction of money, lust, greed, power, stuff, and envy?
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The People Confess Their Sins
9 On October 31[a] the people assembled again, and this time they fasted and dressed in burlap and sprinkled dust on their heads.2 Those of Israelite descent separated themselves from all foreigners as they confessed their own sins and the sins of their ancestors.3 They remained standing in place for three hours[b] while the Book of the Law of the Lord their God was read aloud to them. Then for three more hours they confessed their sins and worshiped the Lord their God.4 The Levites—Jeshua, Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani, and Kenani—stood on the stairway of the Levites and cried out to the Lord their God with loud voices.
5 Then the leaders of the Levites—Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabneiah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah—called out to the people: “Stand up and praise the Lord your God, for he lives from everlasting to everlasting!” Then they prayed:
“May your glorious name be praised! May it be exalted above all blessing and praise!
6 “You alone are the Lord. You made the skies and the heavens and all the stars. You made the earth and the seas and everything in them. You preserve them all, and the angels of heaven worship you.
7 “You are the Lord God, who chose Abram and brought him from Ur of the Chaldeans and renamed him Abraham.8 When he had proved himself faithful, you made a covenant with him to give him and his descendants the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Jebusites, and Girgashites. And you have done what you promised, for you are always true to your word.
9 “You saw the misery of our ancestors in Egypt, and you heard their cries from beside the Red Sea.[c]10 You displayed miraculous signs and wonders against Pharaoh, his officials, and all his people, for you knew how arrogantly they were treating our ancestors. You have a glorious reputation that has never been forgotten.11 You divided the sea for your people so they could walk through on dry land! And then you hurled their enemies into the depths of the sea. They sank like stones beneath the mighty waters.12 You led our ancestors by a pillar of cloud during the day and a pillar of fire at night so that they could find their way.
13 “You came down at Mount Sinai and spoke to them from heaven. You gave them regulations and instructions that were just, and decrees and commands that were good.14 You instructed them concerning your holy Sabbath. And you commanded them, through Moses your servant, to obey all your commands, decrees, and instructions.
15 “You gave them bread from heaven when they were hungry and water from the rock when they were thirsty. You commanded them to go and take possession of the land you had sworn to give them.
16 “But our ancestors were proud and stubborn, and they paid no attention to your commands.17 They refused to obey and did not remember the miracles you had done for them. Instead, they became stubborn and appointed a leader to take them back to their slavery in Egypt.[d] But you are a God of forgiveness, gracious and merciful, slow to become angry, and rich in unfailing love. You did not abandon them,18 even when they made an idol shaped like a calf and said, ‘This is your god who brought you out of Egypt!’ They committed terrible blasphemies.
19 “But in your great mercy you did not abandon them to die in the wilderness. The pillar of cloud still led them forward by day, and the pillar of fire showed them the way through the night.20 You sent your good Spirit to instruct them, and you did not stop giving them manna from heaven or water for their thirst.21 For forty years you sustained them in the wilderness, and they lacked nothing. Their clothes did not wear out, and their feet did not swell!
22 “Then you helped our ancestors conquer kingdoms and nations, and you placed your people in every corner of the land.[e] They took over the land of King Sihon of Heshbon and the land of King Og of Bashan.23 You made their descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and brought them into the land you had promised to their ancestors.
24 “They went in and took possession of the land. You subdued whole nations before them. Even the Canaanites, who inhabited the land, were powerless! Your people could deal with these nations and their kings as they pleased.25 Our ancestors captured fortified cities and fertile land. They took over houses full of good things, with cisterns already dug and vineyards and olive groves and fruit trees in abundance. So they ate until they were full and grew fat and enjoyed themselves in all your blessings.
26 “But despite all this, they were disobedient and rebelled against you. They turned their backs on your Law, they killed your prophets who warned them to return to you, and they committed terrible blasphemies.27 So you handed them over to their enemies, who made them suffer. But in their time of trouble they cried to you, and you heard them from heaven. In your great mercy, you sent them liberators who rescued them from their enemies.
28 “But as soon as they were at peace, your people again committed evil in your sight, and once more you let their enemies conquer them. Yet whenever your people turned and cried to you again for help, you listened once more from heaven. In your wonderful mercy, you rescued them many times!
29 “You warned them to return to your Law, but they became proud and obstinate and disobeyed your commands. They did not follow your regulations, by which people will find life if only they obey. They stubbornly turned their backs on you and refused to listen.30 In your love, you were patient with them for many years. You sent your Spirit, who warned them through the prophets. But still they wouldn’t listen! So once again you allowed the peoples of the land to conquer them.31 But in your great mercy, you did not destroy them completely or abandon them forever. What a gracious and merciful God you are!
32 “And now, our God, the great and mighty and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of unfailing love, do not let all the hardships we have suffered seem insignificant to you. Great trouble has come upon us and upon our kings and leaders and priests and prophets and ancestors—all of your people—from the days when the kings of Assyria first triumphed over us until now.33 Every time you punished us you were being just. We have sinned greatly, and you gave us only what we deserved.34 Our kings, leaders, priests, and ancestors did not obey your Law or listen to the warnings in your commands and laws.35 Even while they had their own kingdom, they did not serve you, though you showered your goodness on them. You gave them a large, fertile land, but they refused to turn from their wickedness.
36 “So now today we are slaves in the land of plenty that you gave our ancestors for their enjoyment! We are slaves here in this good land.37 The lush produce of this land piles up in the hands of the kings whom you have set over us because of our sins. They have power over us and our livestock. We serve them at their pleasure, and we are in great misery.”
The People Agree to Obey
38 [f]The people responded, “In view of all this,[g] we are making a solemn promise and putting it in writing. On this sealed document are the names of our leaders and Levites and priests.”
“Following directions is a mindset and skilled trait that takes disciple, courage, faith, honesty, and obedience to God first and then to others.” ~Jon Barnes
You are charged with following the directions and guideline that God has set.Do not put your directions, ideas, and wisdom before or ahead of God’s Purpose and Plans.Disobedience comes in many forms and ways of self-destruction. Do not hide, live, or dwell among the evil, but be clear and honest in your directions and actions you take for God’s Glory and Honor.
Become changed and transformed in the fresh approach God has for your life.Yesterday is gone and today is new.Kindly leave yesterday behind and move forward with a better attitude, approach, and work ethic.Self-improvement is a good thing, so take charge of your own personal changes.
The good energy that you channel will go a long way as you deflect negative energy from draining your productivity.Positively charged thoughts and actions will destroy the negative plans from evil people before they can develop their simple plots.Your victory in Jesus is in how well you follow God’s directions and plans for your life.
Can you be quiet enough to listen and follow directions?
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1 These are the memoirs of Nehemiah son of Hacaliah.
Nehemiah’s Concern for Jerusalem
In late autumn, in the month of Kislev, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes’ reign,[a] I was at the fortress of Susa.2 Hanani, one of my brothers, came to visit me with some other men who had just arrived from Judah. I asked them about the Jews who had returned there from captivity and about how things were going in Jerusalem.
3 They said to me, “Things are not going well for those who returned to the province of Judah. They are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem has been torn down, and the gates have been destroyed by fire.”
4 When I heard this, I sat down and wept. In fact, for days I mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of heaven.5 Then I said,
“O Lord, God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps his covenant of unfailing love with those who love him and obey his commands,6 listen to my prayer! Look down and see me praying night and day for your people Israel. I confess that we have sinned against you. Yes, even my own family and I have sinned!7 We have sinned terribly by not obeying the commands, decrees, and regulations that you gave us through your servant Moses.
8 “Please remember what you told your servant Moses: ‘If you are unfaithful to me, I will scatter you among the nations.9 But if you return to me and obey my commands and live by them, then even if you are exiled to the ends of the earth,[b] I will bring you back to the place I have chosen for my name to be honored.’
10 “The people you rescued by your great power and strong hand are your servants.11 O Lord, please hear my prayer! Listen to the prayers of those of us who delight in honoring you. Please grant me success today by making the king favorable to me.[c] Put it into his heart to be kind to me.”
“Waiting for the next step by faith is as important as looking, accepting, and taking that next step of faith to complete each unexpected step with God.”~ Jon Barnes
What happens next are the steps you must take today to complete your mission for today.Tomorrow’s steps will be ready for you tomorrow.Your list of steps and things to do is a plan of action that is subject to change on the spot since God knows the future and path you are taking.Trust God to hook you up and not yourself.Stop worrying and follow His plan as it comes.
Future plans must stand the test of time in your heart and mind to bake like a cake until it’s time to put candles on it. Short term and long term plans begin to look alike because you are aligned with what God wants you to do and your flexibility of obedience is amazing.God’s miracles and rewards are stunning each day so document your story as proof to yourself, how God exists in your life.Pay close attention to Him and not yourself.
These baby steps are a major accomplishment for you, but they are miracles to each person you help along the way, by faith, because they can see the hand of God on your life, as it touches others.You were in the right place at the right time to minister to people, whether you realize it or not.What you stand for and how you present the Gospel of Jesus with your personal movements, thoughts, and actions is like publicly reading the Bible aloud in the street, at home, work, or on vacation.The next step is another presentation.
Did you miss the next step into God or are you still stumbling, falling, or broken into pieces, with nothing to present for God?
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2 Chronicles 9
Visit of the Queen of Sheba
9 When the queen of Sheba heard of Solomon’s fame, she came to Jerusalem to test him with hard questions. She arrived with a large group of attendants and a great caravan of camels loaded with spices, large quantities of gold, and precious jewels. When she met with Solomon, she talked with him about everything she had on her mind.2 Solomon had answers for all her questions; nothing was too hard for him to explain to her.3 When the queen of Sheba realized how wise Solomon was, and when she saw the palace he had built,4 she was overwhelmed. She was also amazed at the food on his tables, the organization of his officials and their splendid clothing, the cup-bearers and their robes, and the burnt offerings[a]Solomon made at the Temple of the Lord.
5 She exclaimed to the king, “Everything I heard in my country about your achievements[b]and wisdom is true!6 I didn’t believe what was said until I arrived here and saw it with my own eyes. In fact, I had not heard the half of your great wisdom! It is far beyond what I was told.7 How happy your people must be! What a privilege for your officials to stand here day after day, listening to your wisdom!8 Praise the Lord your God, who delights in you and has placed you on the throne as king to rule for him. Because God loves Israel and desires this kingdom to last forever, he has made you king over them so you can rule with justice and righteousness.”
9 Then she gave the king a gift of 9,000 pounds[c] of gold, great quantities of spices, and precious jewels. Never before had there been spices as fine as those the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.
10 (In addition, the crews of Hiram and Solomon brought gold from Ophir, and they also brought red sandalwood[d] and precious jewels.11 The king used the sandalwood to make steps[e] for the Temple of the Lord and the royal palace, and to construct lyres and harps for the musicians. Never before had such beautiful things been seen in Judah.)
12 King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba whatever she asked for—gifts of greater value than the gifts she had given him. Then she and all her attendants returned to their own land.
Solomon’s Wealth and Splendor
13 Each year Solomon received about 25 tons[f] of gold.14 This did not include the additional revenue he received from merchants and traders. All the kings of Arabia and the governors of the provinces also brought gold and silver to Solomon.
15 King Solomon made 200 large shields of hammered gold, each weighing more than 15 pounds.[g]16 He also made 300 smaller shields of hammered gold, each weighing more than 7 1⁄2 pounds.[h] The king placed these shields in the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon.
17 Then the king made a huge throne, decorated with ivory and overlaid with pure gold.18 The throne had six steps, with a footstool of gold. There were armrests on both sides of the seat, and the figure of a lion stood on each side of the throne.19 There were also twelve other lions, one standing on each end of the six steps. No other throne in all the world could be compared with it!
20 All of King Solomon’s drinking cups were solid gold, as were all the utensils in the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon. They were not made of silver, for silver was considered worthless in Solomon’s day!
21 The king had a fleet of trading ships of Tarshish manned by the sailors sent by Hiram.[i]Once every three years the ships returned, loaded with gold, silver, ivory, apes, and peacocks.[j]
22 So King Solomon became richer and wiser than any other king on earth.23 Kings from every nation came to consult him and to hear the wisdom God had given him.24 Year after year everyone who visited brought him gifts of silver and gold, clothing, weapons, spices, horses, and mules.
25 Solomon had 4,000 stalls for his horses and chariots, and he had 12,000 horses.[k] He stationed some of them in the chariot cities, and some near him in Jerusalem.26 He ruled over all the kings from the Euphrates River[l] in the north to the land of the Philistines and the border of Egypt in the south.27 The king made silver as plentiful in Jerusalem as stone. And valuable cedar timber was as common as the sycamore-fig trees that grow in the foothills of Judah.[m]28 Solomon’s horses were imported from Egypt[n] and many other countries.
Summary of Solomon’s Reign
29 The rest of the events of Solomon’s reign, from beginning to end, are recorded in The Record of Nathan the Prophet, and The Prophecy of Ahijah from Shiloh, and also in The Visions of Iddo the Seer, concerning Jeroboam son of Nebat.30 Solomon ruled in Jerusalem over all Israel for forty years.31 When he died, he was buried in the City of David, named for his father. Then his son Rehoboam became the next king.
“Out of all the people God has created from the beginning of time, you are among the few that are chosen, because you have answered the Call of Love from God with truth and obedience.” ~ Jon Barnes
God knows all of His Children and has given a Universe of physical, scientific, linguistic, and spiritual support to easily spread His Love to all of His Creation. It is so obvious that God is in control that sinners are completely blinded by their evil and acceptance of sin in their lives by choice. Believers must not become blind to God’s truth about following His Commandments. God already knows that you are potentially a fool unto yourself, by choice and still He loves you enough to give you a lifetime of chances to figure out that, God is your Father, The Creator. Follow Him.
It is best that your plans should line up and follow the schematics of God’s Plans and steps for you to take so that your life makes sense to you, friends, and your family.By following God’s ways and thoughts, you will be able to lead and guide your family business and the fruit of it should be good fruit. Learning how to run your own home and business will help you to balance and help out other people as needed. The practice and skill set mastered at home can be used abroad to help others. If your home is a mess, so are you!
Most people do not know anything about the perfect plans and stories of God.Ignoring truth and embracing lies are among the foundations of evil and wicked behavior. This deviant behavior defies all of God’s laws in an effort to overthrow God’s Plans, to no avail. Do not follow wicked people. Enjoy the plans God has for you by looking for specific ways that He communicates to you. When you follow God’s Plans, He will communicate and show you many amazing adventures and miracles.
Did you take the perfect plan that God has placed in your life or did you reject the quality care and love God has for you?
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2 Samuel 19
Joab Rebukes the King
19 [a]Word soon reached Joab that the king was weeping and mourning for Absalom.2 As all the people heard of the king’s deep grief for his son, the joy of that day’s victory was turned into deep sadness.3 They crept back into the town that day as though they were ashamed and had deserted in battle.4 The king covered his face with his hands and kept on crying, “O my son Absalom! O Absalom, my son, my son!”
5 Then Joab went to the king’s room and said to him, “We saved your life today and the lives of your sons, your daughters, and your wives and concubines. Yet you act like this, making us feel ashamed of ourselves.6 You seem to love those who hate you and hate those who love you. You have made it clear today that your commanders and troops mean nothing to you. It seems that if Absalom had lived and all of us had died, you would be pleased.7 Now go out there and congratulate your troops, for I swear by the Lord that if you don’t go out, not a single one of them will remain here tonight. Then you will be worse off than ever before.”
8 So the king went out and took his seat at the town gate, and as the news spread throughout the town that he was there, everyone went to him.
Meanwhile, the Israelites who had supported Absalom fled to their homes.9 And throughout all the tribes of Israel there was much discussion and argument going on. The people were saying, “The king rescued us from our enemies and saved us from the Philistines, but Absalom chased him out of the country.10 Now Absalom, whom we anointed to rule over us, is dead. Why not ask David to come back and be our king again?”
11 Then King David sent Zadok and Abiathar, the priests, to say to the elders of Judah, “Why are you the last ones to welcome back the king into his palace? For I have heard that all Israel is ready.12 You are my relatives, my own tribe, my own flesh and blood! So why are you the last ones to welcome back the king?”13 And David told them to tell Amasa, “Since you are my own flesh and blood, like Joab, may God strike me and even kill me if I do not appoint you as commander of my army in his place.”
14 Then Amasa[b] convinced all the men of Judah, and they responded unanimously. They sent word to the king, “Return to us, and bring back all who are with you.”
David’s Return to Jerusalem
15 So the king started back to Jerusalem. And when he arrived at the Jordan River, the people of Judah came to Gilgal to meet him and escort him across the river.16 Shimei son of Gera, the man from Bahurim in Benjamin, hurried across with the men of Judah to welcome King David.17 A thousand other men from the tribe of Benjamin were with him, including Ziba, the chief servant of the house of Saul, and Ziba’s fifteen sons and twenty servants. They rushed down to the Jordan to meet the king.18 They crossed the shallows of the Jordan to bring the king’s household across the river, helping him in every way they could.
David’s Mercy to Shimei
As the king was about to cross the river, Shimei fell down before him.19 “My lord the king, please forgive me,” he pleaded. “Forget the terrible thing your servant did when you left Jerusalem. May the king put it out of his mind.20 I know how much I sinned. That is why I have come here today, the very first person in all Israel[c] to greet my lord the king.”
21 Then Abishai son of Zeruiah said, “Shimei should die, for he cursed the Lord’s anointed king!”
22 “Who asked your opinion, you sons of Zeruiah!” David exclaimed. “Why have you become my adversary[d] today? This is not a day for execution, for today I am once again the king of Israel!”23 Then, turning to Shimei, David vowed, “Your life will be spared.”
David’s Kindness to Mephibosheth
24 Now Mephibosheth,[e] Saul’s grandson, came down from Jerusalem to meet the king. He had not cared for his feet, trimmed his beard, or washed his clothes since the day the king left Jerusalem.25 “Why didn’t you come with me, Mephibosheth?” the king asked him.
26 Mephibosheth replied, “My lord the king, my servant Ziba deceived me. I told him, ‘Saddle my donkey[f] so I can go with the king.’ For as you know I am crippled.27 Ziba has slandered me by saying that I refused to come. But I know that my lord the king is like an angel of God, so do what you think is best.28 All my relatives and I could expect only death from you, my lord, but instead you have honored me by allowing me to eat at your own table! What more can I ask?”
29 “You’ve said enough,” David replied. “I’ve decided that you and Ziba will divide your land equally between you.”
30 “Give him all of it,” Mephibosheth said. “I am content just to have you safely back again, my lord the king!”
David’s Kindness to Barzillai
31 Barzillai of Gilead had come down from Rogelim to escort the king across the Jordan.32 He was very old—eighty years of age—and very wealthy. He was the one who had provided food for the king during his stay in Mahanaim.33 “Come across with me and live in Jerusalem,” the king said to Barzillai. “I will take care of you there.”
34 “No,” he replied, “I am far too old to go with the king to Jerusalem.35 I am eighty years old today, and I can no longer enjoy anything. Food and wine are no longer tasty, and I cannot hear the singers as they sing. I would only be a burden to my lord the king.36 Just to go across the Jordan River with the king is all the honor I need!37 Then let me return again to die in my own town, where my father and mother are buried. But here is your servant, my son Kimham. Let him go with my lord the king and receive whatever you want to give him.”
38 “Good,” the king agreed. “Kimham will go with me, and I will help him in any way you would like. And I will do for you anything you want.”39 So all the people crossed the Jordan with the king. After David had blessed Barzillai and kissed him, Barzillai returned to his own home.
40 The king then crossed over to Gilgal, taking Kimham with him. All the troops of Judah and half the troops of Israel escorted the king on his way.
An Argument over the King
41 But all the men of Israel complained to the king, “The men of Judah stole the king and didn’t give us the honor of helping take you, your household, and all your men across the Jordan.”
42 The men of Judah replied, “The king is one of our own kinsmen. Why should this make you angry? We haven’t eaten any of the king’s food or received any special favors!”
43 “But there are ten tribes in Israel,” the others replied. “So we have ten times as much right to the king as you do. What right do you have to treat us with such contempt? Weren’t we the first to speak of bringing him back to be our king again?” The argument continued back and forth, and the men of Judah spoke even more harshly than the men of Israel.
“Error messages pop up from God all of the time, but if we do not listen, read, or look at the lessons and solutions to our problems, we continue in error in our hearts.” ~ Jon Barnes
God gives us solutions in our messages and circumstances. When we pay attention to the lesson plan, our answers are plain and simple. Following Gods plans are rewarding and complete, which builds up our faith, love, and service in the Lord. Read, practice, listen, and perform the work needed along with your faith and reduce the number of error messages in each day.
Follow God’s programming and watch the channels he provides naturally in your life. There is no need to watch TV and computer programming all of the time. Minimize your distractions and enjoy the hand of God upon your work.
Gently give information, corrections, and words of wisdom, as we share God’s error messages and program formats. Consider when you made silly mistakes and errors as a babe in Christ.Mature people are needed to share real experiences and winning solutions that have been battle tested with works of faith. Do not pass on your errors as facts to be a stumbling block for others.
Did you read and fix all of your error messages from your Bible reading?
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1 Samuel 30
David Destroys the Amalekites
30 Three days later, when David and his men arrived home at their town of Ziklag, they found that the Amalekites had made a raid into the Negev and Ziklag; they had crushed Ziklag and burned it to the ground.2 They had carried off the women and children and everyone else but without killing anyone.
3 When David and his men saw the ruins and realized what had happened to their families,4 they wept until they could weep no more.5 David’s two wives, Ahinoam from Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal from Carmel, were among those captured.6 David was now in great danger because all his men were very bitter about losing their sons and daughters, and they began to talk of stoning him. But David found strength in the Lord his God.
7 Then he said to Abiathar the priest, “Bring me the ephod!” So Abiathar brought it.8 Then David asked the Lord, “Should I chase after this band of raiders? Will I catch them?”
And the Lord told him, “Yes, go after them. You will surely recover everything that was taken from you!”
9 So David and his 600 men set out, and they came to the brook Besor.10 But 200 of the men were too exhausted to cross the brook, so David continued the pursuit with 400 men.
11 Along the way they found an Egyptian man in a field and brought him to David. They gave him some bread to eat and water to drink.12 They also gave him part of a fig cake and two clusters of raisins, for he hadn’t had anything to eat or drink for three days and nights. Before long his strength returned.
13 “To whom do you belong, and where do you come from?” David asked him.
“I am an Egyptian—the slave of an Amalekite,” he replied. “My master abandoned me three days ago because I was sick.14 We were on our way back from raiding the Kerethites in the Negev, the territory of Judah, and the land of Caleb, and we had just burned Ziklag.”
15 “Will you lead me to this band of raiders?” David asked.
The young man replied, “If you take an oath in God’s name that you will not kill me or give me back to my master, then I will guide you to them.”
16 So he led David to them, and they found the Amalekites spread out across the fields, eating and drinking and dancing with joy because of the vast amount of plunder they had taken from the Philistines and the land of Judah.17 David and his men rushed in among them and slaughtered them throughout that night and the entire next day until evening. None of the Amalekites escaped except 400 young men who fled on camels.18 David got back everything the Amalekites had taken, and he rescued his two wives.19 Nothing was missing: small or great, son or daughter, nor anything else that had been taken. David brought everything back.20 He also recovered all the flocks and herds, and his men drove them ahead of the other livestock. “This plunder belongs to David!” they said.
21 Then David returned to the brook Besor and met up with the 200 men who had been left behind because they were too exhausted to go with him. They went out to meet David and his men, and David greeted them joyfully.22 But some evil troublemakers among David’s men said, “They didn’t go with us, so they can’t have any of the plunder we recovered. Give them their wives and children, and tell them to be gone.”
23 But David said, “No, my brothers! Don’t be selfish with what the Lord has given us. He has kept us safe and helped us defeat the band of raiders that attacked us.24 Who will listen when you talk like this? We share and share alike—those who go to battle and those who guard the equipment.”25 From then on David made this a decree and regulation for Israel, and it is still followed today.
26 When he arrived at Ziklag, David sent part of the plunder to the elders of Judah, who were his friends. “Here is a present for you, taken from the Lord’s enemies,” he said.
27 The gifts were sent to the people of the following towns David had visited: Bethel, Ramoth-negev, Jattir,28 Aroer, Siphmoth, Eshtemoa,29 Racal,[a] the towns of the Jerahmeelites, the towns of the Kenites,30 Hormah, Bor-ashan, Athach,31 Hebron, and all the other places David and his men had visited.