“Judge your own actions so that they may align up with God’s purpose and continue in the faith of love or be destroyed.”~ Jon Barnes
“God is selective in whom He chooses to Go to Heaven, but He doesn’t select who Goes to Hell. Your personal actions of disobedience to God will condemn you to the bottomless pit.” ~ Jon Barnes
Jesus Washes His Disciples’ Feet
Jesus Predicts His Betrayal
Jesus Predicts Peter’s Denial
“God is a never-ending well of which we can draw from. His stability and consistency will always bring us peace, joy, and contentment, quenching our thirst.”~TB
I recently met up with an old friend of mine. We exchanged hilarious stories about our family holiday events over coffee. One of the things I enjoy about our conversations is the candor about family dynamics. While the people in our lives don’t inherently intend to emotionally drain us, sometimes they lack the foundational stability to refrain from those negative habits. More to the point, if you don’t know where to go to for emotional/spiritual stability, those exchanges can leave you feeling depleted, weary, and drained.
Friends, if you only rely on the emotional support of other human beings, you’re in for a long and bumpy ride. Many of us are participating in selfish, emotional vampire behaviors, taking from others and giving nothing in return. I feel for younger generations who are being brainwashed by the latest trends and societal behaviors. Most of what people are being taught is self-centered, indulgent and careless. This isn’t to be mean, it’s just an observation of a broken world doubling down on soul-sucking lifestyles. If you’re feeling depleted, listless, and in a rut, it’s time to learn where to draw your water from. Hanging out with God on a daily basis is beneficial for the renewal of your spirit.
Consulting God on the day to day is like getting your daily water from the best well out there. It provides the water you need to go about your day with the spiritual rejuvenation that can only come from Christ. There’s plenty for everyone and the benefits are unlimited. When you lay your burdens down before God, you relieve yourself from the toxic junk of the world. By doing so, you know not to dump on other people, repeating the toxic cycle. If you’re weary, call out to Him so that He can restore you. Drink from the Holy Well so that you do not thirst for makeshift beverages of the world. We cannot change the people that we interact with only the daily. However when we get our Daily Water from God’s Well, those interactions hold less of an impact.
Are you drinking from His Well or is the soda of the world more appealing?
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“The devil is like an annoying noisy upstairs neighbor. Don’t let him take your peace.”~TB
It is incredibly important for you to remember that the devil is a one hit wonder. His song entices you to take your eyes off the prize that is Christ. He’ll go about it in different ways, but rest assured, it’s the same song, different pitch. Think of him like the frustrating neighbor who cranks up the music because they know it bothers you. Their actions may be annoying, but the secret, rather, the truth is in how you deal with the situation. He can’t do anything to you that can truly affect you. You can however, do his bidding by being the weakest link.
Everyone at one point or another has been the weakest link in any relationship. If you’re the weakest link, it can transpire in a few ways. You cause arguments on arbitrary issues. You’re too legalistic or litigious without balancing your judgement with mercy and grace. You refuse to apologize when you’re wrong. Even worse, you get mad at the person you’ve wronged! To stop being the weakest link, we all have to reflect on our behavior with honesty and humility. Ask yourself, if you love the person that you’re fighting with, is winning the argument that big of a deal? What do you stand to gain if you win the battle but lose the relationship? In those instances, only the devil wins, which is the point!
If you indeed find yourself in the weakest link seat, have a chat with God. There’s a good chance that our issues are ones that we’ve been dealing with for a long time. When you lean on God, you learn to put the sword down and stop fighting. When speaking with God, He will tell you that you’re quarrel isn’t with man, it’s with the opposition. However, you must acknowledge your weak link behavior and that takes some work. No one likes to admit that our number 2’s stink. But they do! So when you embrace humility and recognize that the goal isn’t to be right or to stir discord within your family, friends, or community, you stop being the devil’s plaything. Just ask and you shall receive.
Are you ready to stop being the devil’s pawn or do you enjoy disturbing the peace?
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“Don’t be so quick to fall in love with only the outcome. It will make you hate the process.”~TB
God will provide you with a vision for your destiny here on earth. This is meant to inspire and give you hope to develop yourself and your relationship in Christ. Inspiration, when put in the right context empowers you to move in ways you could never conceive. When you put your faith in Christ and in the vision He gives you, great things are possible. On the other hand, if you basque in the potential of what could be without doing the work to make it happen, you will remain stuck in the ‘what if’ because you failed to do the process.
Before the vision can be achieved, the work needed to complete the job has to be done. Don’t compare your work or your vision to the work and vision of others. You will only see the fruits (or lack thereof) of their labor, but you fail to see what they did (or did not do) to get there. The same understanding can be applied to your relationship with God. It is a 1 on 1 relationship that takes intentional development over time. Friends, spending time with God daily is not for His benefit, it is for yours! Having a talk with God is not an “optional” endeavor, but rather the necessary process of spiritual growth. You would not give a calculus test to a 3rd grader. In the same way, God cannot bestow gifts and glory to those who are not connected to Him. Submit to the process to actualize the outcome.
Whenever you see your brothers and sisters in Christ succeed, be it in life, money, spiritual growth, etc., remember that they too had to go through a process. The outcome can only be attained if you do the work. It’s as simple as that. If you’re trying to save money, limit your unnecessary spending. If you’re trying to learn a new language, study, daily. If you seek the wisdom of God, walk with Him always. Friends, success is not by accident and there are no overnight victories. Some days will be easier than others. Even on the hard days, the process is still there, so get to work! The point is, though salvation is freely given, you must actively and intentionally seek God. No, not just on the hour of church on Sunday, that is supplemental. Fall in love with the process so that you can experience the outcome.
Are you in love with the process or are you in love with avoiding the work?
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“Copying someone else’s faith without putting in the effort to have a personal relationship with God is like plagiarizing an F paper.”~TB
No pastor, preacher, prophet, or human can build a relationship with God for you. Sure, they can lead and encourage you to the Source, but you have to put in the effort. The foundation of your faith has to be your direct connection with Him. If you don’t turn off all of the worldly distractions and spend your time with God, there is no way you can grow in faith. Be honest with yourselves to create a foundation that is rooted in the Truth. The path to God is simple. The discipline to follow the simple path, well, that depends on you.
Doubt Happens by Cheating
Following God in an ostentatiously flawed world is challenging. There are so many people who criticize, disparage and doubt God. When people behave this way, it’s because they themselves have not done the personal work to get to know Him. When you copy their fake ideas and agenda, it’s no wonder you fall prey to their doubt. You cheated and tried to gain access using the incorrect answers. If you don’t study for a test, how do you expect to know the right answers from the wrong ones? More to the point, if you don’t know God, how do you expect to understand His answers and reject the incorrect human answers? You can’t, which is why your faith sucks. There is none!
We are all idiot sinners, destined to continue being flawed, which is the exact reason you must cultivate your own connection to the Lord. Sure, we improve as we walk closer with Him, but we will never be perfect. People will always fall short, so if you copy their external faith, you only see the human side of a spiritual relationship. Because you cannot hear their conversations with God, you only see the flaws. On the outside, of course, it looks busted! Because you copied the wrong answers for a test that is uniquely yours. My test is different than your test. Your test is different than mine. But we all have the same studying tools available to learn and understand how to pass our own personal tests. Keep your eyes on your own paper.
Are you studying for your Holy exam or are you copying the answers of a failed test?
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“The reign of the wicked has come to an end. Because you hardened your heart to the Lord, He will snuff you like a candle”~TB
This is your judgment:
Because you have crushed the poor, the oppressed, and the helpless, God will crush you like a vintner pressing grapes. Because you built your home off of the backs of slaves, God will enslave your mind and you will toil in confusion, ultimately causing your own demise. The very ideas and schemes that created your wealth will create your everlasting poverty. You will spend the rest of your natural life begging for help from whom you’ve oppressed. It will be humiliating and you will lose heart. You wicked child, why did you turn your back to the Lord? He loves you so, yet you rejected Him and consecrated with evil and witchcraft! Not only did you follow evil yourself, but you seduced your bedfellows to follow too! Your sins will not go unanswered.
House of Cards
The palace of evil that you stole for yourself crumbles down around you. Like a house of cards, your facade and fake lifestyle fall away, revealing your ugly soul. Your ill-gotten gains slip through your greedy fingers like sand in an hourglass. Your vile pride will turn into soul-crushing fear, which will eat at your spirit. Oh, how I fear for you who tolerate and embrace Jezebel and her repulsive ways. I’d pray for you, but I am not allowed. I tried to warn you, to spare you from suffering. Why did you prey upon the innocent? Why did you enslave your brothers and sisters? Why did you not heed the message? God gave you many chances. He even spoke to you directly but you did not listen! He even sent me to you and you mocked Him! Now the time has come to reap what you’ve sown.
Your evil deeds that were done in darkness will now shine bright in the light. You will drink the wretched cup of poison you’ve created for yourself. What once made you beautiful will make you repugnant. Everyone will see you for who you really are, and they will recoil from your hideousness. There is nowhere to hide, you’ve made your bed. You will go mad from your embarrassment and shame, and it will all be done in public. Did you really think God would allow your reign forever? You and your bedfellows will be cast out into the wilderness, where your crown of thorns will slip from your face and pierce your eyes. Your blindness and punishment are set in stone, but this judgment will not last forever.
Do not look to me for a good word, because I have none. Though this brings me no joy, I can no longer intercede for you. You will not escape your fate. But God is merciful! If you leave your Jezebel ways and repent, God will spare you from the ultimate judgment. But because you sacrificed your inheritance for self-idolatry and self-worship, what was supposed to be yours will go to the next in line. Your descendants will not suffer from your wickedness for they are innocent of your crimes. God has spared them and they will flourish and will pick up their cross and will run their race, in spite of you. This will eat at you until your last breath. The damage to your earthly inheritance has been done. Turn back to the Lord, so that your eternal resting place is secured.
Will you give up the spirit of Jezebel or will you suffer her fate?
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“Who told you to remain in your brokeness? Surely that message was not from God.”~TB
The biggest lie the devil wants you to believe is that you are broken and that you will never overcome your circumstance. It doesn’t help matters when you look to other broken people, cling to their broken solutions, and wallow together in your self-imposed exile. Friends, these lies aren’t from God. The Bible is so important because it helps you navigate these falsehoods. The truth is, you are wonderfully made in Him and His power and spirit lie within you. When you remain in your ignorance, you suffer the atrocities of this world, because you are following the wicked.
Without God, you are like a leaky clay pot, trying to use human understanding to patch your holes! In your stupor, you leak all over the place, infecting one another with evil solutions that magnify your brokenness. Reject those lies that plague your mind and you will find your way to the truth. Look to the Word and you will find that when you rely on God’s Truth, He encapsulates your leaky vessel, sealing any brokenness that once was. In God, your leaky vessel is no more as you have become set aside as His vessel. Once He has claimed you, rest in the truth that He has set you free.
Are you still holding onto your brokenness or are you ready to receive your Holy repairs?
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“The strength of your character and obedient spirit will bring about an amazing partnership with Christ, being in the center of love, life, and God’s Will.” ~ Jon Barnes
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For Jeduthun, the choir director: A psalm of David.
and not sin in what I say.
I will hold my tongue
when the ungodly are around me.”
2 But as I stood there in silence—
not even speaking of good things—
the turmoil within me grew worse.
3 The more I thought about it,
the hotter I got,
igniting a fire of words:
4 “Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be.
Remind me that my days are numbered—
how fleeting my life is.
5 You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand.
My entire lifetime is just a moment to you;
at best, each of us is but a breath.” Interlude
and all our busy rushing ends in nothing.
We heap up wealth,
not knowing who will spend it.
7 And so, Lord, where do I put my hope?
My only hope is in you.
8 Rescue me from my rebellion.
Do not let fools mock me.
9 I am silent before you; I won’t say a word,
for my punishment is from you.
10 But please stop striking me!
I am exhausted by the blows from your hand.
11 When you discipline us for our sins,
you consume like a moth what is precious to us.
Each of us is but a breath. Interlude
Listen to my cries for help!
Don’t ignore my tears.
For I am your guest—
a traveler passing through,
as my ancestors were before me.
13 Leave me alone so I can smile again
before I am gone and exist no more.
“Sometimes you need to rest from all of your hard work so that your mind, body, heart, spirit, and soul can enjoy the fruits of your labor.” ~ Jon Barnes
For the choir director: A psalm of David.
He shouts with joy because you give him victory.
2 For you have given him his heart’s desire;
you have withheld nothing he requested. Interlude
You placed a crown of finest gold on his head.
4 He asked you to preserve his life,
and you granted his request.
The days of his life stretch on forever.
5 Your victory brings him great honor,
and you have clothed him with splendor and majesty.
6 You have endowed him with eternal blessings
and given him the joy of your presence.
7 For the king trusts in the Lord.
The unfailing love of the Most High will keep him from stumbling.
Your strong right hand will seize all who hate you.
9 You will throw them in a flaming furnace
when you appear.
The Lord will consume them in his anger;
fire will devour them.
10 You will wipe their children from the face of the earth;
they will never have descendants.
11 Although they plot against you,
their evil schemes will never succeed.
12 For they will turn and run
when they see your arrows aimed at them.
13 Rise up, O Lord, in all your power.
With music and singing we celebrate your mighty acts.