Follow Through

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Wherever God sends you, whatever job He gives you, be sure to follow through.”~TB

Unorthodox

In the eyes of man, God’s ways and plans for your future may appear to be foolish to your peers. If He’s given you a purpose or a plan, follow through. Because we are unable to understand the infinite perspective of God, we can talk ourselves out of amazing opportunities. Of course, with these opportunities comes the potential for great setbacks.

Obstacles

The devil will always try and find a way to disrupt the joy and peace in your life. This is especially true when you are operating in an assignment from the Lord. My point in saying this is that obstacles will always happen. It’s why we must arm ourselves with the Word so that when opposition comes, we know to avert our gaze and focus on the task at hand. Friends, life is easy for no one, persevere anyway.

Finish Well

So, no matter how obscure or miraculous your work for God is, follow through and finish well. Avoid the pitfalls and traps laid out by the evil one. The truth is, his distractions cannot harm you, there merely exist to get you to fumble your task. Learn to ignore the noise. When you walk and talk with God regularly, you build up the discernment to finish the job. Develop your relationship with Christ to follow through with the call He’s placed on your life.

 

Today’s Question

Are you following through or full of excuses?

Enjoy the reading

Psalm 140

1 O LORD, rescue me from evil people. Protect me from those who are violent, 
2 those who plot evil in their hearts and stir up trouble all day long.
3 Their tongues sting like a snake; the venom of a viper drips from their lips. Interlude 
4 O LORD, keep me out of the hands of the wicked. Protect me from those who are violent, for they are plotting against me. 
5 The proud have set a trap to catch me; they have stretched out a net; they have placed traps all along the way. Interlude 
6 I said to the LORD, “You are my God!” Listen, O LORD, to my cries for mercy! 
7 O Sovereign LORD, the strong one who rescued me, you protected me on the day of battle. 
8LORD, do not let evil people have their way. Do not let their evil schemes succeed, or they will become proud. Interlude 
9 Let my enemies be destroyed by the very evil they have planned for me. 
10 Let burning coals fall down on their heads. Let them be thrown into the fire or into watery pits from which they can’t escape. 
11 Don’t let liars prosper here in our land. Cause great disasters to fall on the violent. 
12 But I know the LORD will help those they persecute; he will give justice to the poor. 
13 Surely righteous people are praising your name; the godly will live in your presence.

Accidental

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Hi Peeps,
Today’s Quote
“Accidents will happen, but you can minimize your risk by paying close attention to what God is saying, teaching, and showing you from the beginning of your life, so that you can benefit from the blessings that you will not miss, during your entire lifetime.” ~ Jon Barnes

Seek

God wants to see if you will quite your path and assignment or if you are just an accident waiting to happen, sleeping in the corner, on the job. Yes, you are being tested all of the time and your daily actions seek to expose the truth in your life to God!  You are exposed all of the time unto The Lord! The demands of God with His Commandment are real and you must do your part, which is no accident.

Find

Finding God is cool, but keeping His Commandments of love must be your honest passion and not a Ponzi Scheme. Fake Christians, beware!  If loving God is not your passions, you are an accident waiting to happen.  Pray that your love for God burns hot forever and that your love for Him is no accident, which cannot be bought, sold, or stolen from by wicked.

Finalized

The completion of a goal, task, job, practice, or assignment for God will give you the experience of learning how God finalizes His Deals for you in life, because of your obedience, not just your sacrifices. Once you finally learn to walk in the steps and organized systems God has placed before you, miracles unfold in a timely fashion because of your obedience and open doors placed in front of you. Your best plans and creations will seem like accidents waiting to happen because they are God’s ideas and plans for your life to complete. Your Good Godly Ideas are NOT your own.
Today’s Question
Did you finalize the deal to love God with all of your heart or are you (accidentally) faking it, like you do with people?
Enjoy The Reading

Judges 1 

Israel Fights the Remaining Canaanites

After the death of Joshua, the Israelites asked the Lord, “Who of us is to go up first to fight against the Canaanites?”
The Lord answered, “Judah shall go up; I have given the land into their hands.”
The men of Judah then said to the Simeonites their fellow Israelites, “Come up with us into the territory allotted to us, to fight against the Canaanites. We in turn will go with you into yours.” So the Simeonites went with them.
When Judah attacked, the Lord gave the Canaanites and Perizzites into their hands, and they struck down ten thousand men at Bezek. It was there that they found Adoni-Bezek and fought against him, putting to rout the Canaanites and Perizzites. Adoni-Bezek fled, but they chased him and caught him, and cut off his thumbs and big toes.
Then Adoni-Bezek said, “Seventy kings with their thumbs and big toes cut off have picked up scraps under my table. Now God has paid me back for what I did to them.” They brought him to Jerusalem, and he died there.
The men of Judah attacked Jerusalem also and took it. They put the city to the sword and set it on fire.
After that, Judah went down to fight against the Canaanites living in the hill country, the Negev and the western foothills. 10 They advanced against the Canaanites living in Hebron (formerly called Kiriath Arba) and defeated Sheshai, Ahiman and Talmai. 11 From there they advanced against the people living in Debir(formerly called Kiriath Sepher).
12 And Caleb said, “I will give my daughter Aksah in marriage to the man who attacks and captures Kiriath Sepher.” 13 Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother, took it; so Caleb gave his daughter Aksah to him in marriage.
14 One day when she came to Othniel, she urged him[a] to ask her father for a field. When she got off her donkey, Caleb asked her, “What can I do for you?”
15 She replied, “Do me a special favor. Since you have given me land in the Negev, give me also springs of water.” So Caleb gave her the upper and lower springs.
16 The descendants of Moses’ father-in-law, the Kenite, went up from the City of Palms[b] with the people of Judah to live among the inhabitants of the Desert of Judah in the Negev near Arad.
17 Then the men of Judah went with the Simeonites their fellow Israelites and attacked the Canaanites living in Zephath, and they totally destroyed[c] the city. Therefore it was called Hormah.[d] 18 Judah also took[e] Gaza, Ashkelon and Ekron—each city with its territory.
19 The Lord was with the men of Judah. They took possession of the hill country,but they were unable to drive the people from the plains, because they had chariots fitted with iron. 20 As Moses had promised, Hebron was given to Caleb, who drove from it the three sons of Anak. 21 The Benjamites, however, did not drive out the Jebusites, who were living in Jerusalem; to this day the Jebusites live there with the Benjamites.
22 Now the tribes of Joseph attacked Bethel, and the Lord was with them. 23 When they sent men to spy out Bethel (formerly called Luz), 24 the spies saw a man coming out of the city and they said to him, “Show us how to get into the city and we will see that you are treated well.” 25 So he showed them, and they put the city to the sword but spared the man and his whole family. 26 He then went to the land of the Hittites, where he built a city and called it Luz, which is its name to this day.
27 But Manasseh did not drive out the people of Beth Shan or Taanach or Dor or Ibleam or Megiddo and their surrounding settlements, for the Canaanites were determined to live in that land. 28 When Israel became strong, they pressed the Canaanites into forced labor but never drove them out completely. 29 Nor did Ephraim drive out the Canaanites living in Gezer, but the Canaanites continued to live there among them. 30 Neither did Zebulun drive out the Canaanites living in Kitron or Nahalol, so these Canaanites lived among them, but Zebulun did subject them to forced labor. 31 Nor did Asher drive out those living in Akko or Sidon or Ahlab or Akzib or Helbah or Aphek or Rehob. 32 The Asherites lived among the Canaanite inhabitants of the land because they did not drive them out. 33 Neither did Naphtali drive out those living in Beth Shemesh or Beth Anath; but the Naphtalites too lived among the Canaanite inhabitants of the land, and those living in Beth Shemesh and Beth Anath became forced laborers for them. 34 The Amorites confined the Danites to the hill country, not allowing them to come down into the plain. 35 And the Amorites were determined also to hold out in Mount Heres, Aijalon and Shaalbim, but when the power of the tribes of Joseph increased, they too were pressed into forced labor. 36 The boundary of the Amorites was from Scorpion Pass to Sela and beyond.
Love,
Jonathan

Freely

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Hi Peeps,
Today’s Quote
“What you do for free each day is that type of work you should be doing and people will love the quality of your love so much that they will gladly pay you well for what you do and what you know!” ~ Jon Barnes

Blessings

The blessings of God is in your life when you can see the honest balance of power and organization of faith in your personal walk and work for God.  We don’t need titles to serve people with kindness, gladness, meekness, and humility. The truth about God is easy and simple.  We do need the love of God to flow and blow down strongholds of evil that can block your good path when you are off task. Quickly accept God’s information and blessings that can come from family, friends, and enemies, but it is hard to do this when you are talking all of the time, which leaves you no time to recognize or receive the blessings. Close your mouth and pray more.

Be Quiet

Get to work and be quiet!  I receive more blessing from cleaning, fixing, teaching, helping, and loving than talking and giving my opinions about life. I do not know anything, but God’s wisdom, because I threw my own fake thoughts of lies, lust, greed, power, and junk away. When I do talk, I am pointing to scriptures and stories that I know and continue to read each day to stay fit and spiritually in shape. I do not quote scriptures, I share the stories of them and live the example of what I have learned from them.  Talk is cheap and useless without real love and action. Talking without good actions, motives, and intentions is called lying!

Freely Give

Freely give your tithes and offerings to God from you first fruits and 10 Percent of your increase and help to build and maintain a better church than your parents.  New ideas are needed to attract new people and we can maintain the fundamental message and purpose of our mission from God, without compromise too. Our wisdom sits inside of growth, practice, sharing, loving, and caring for one another, which is always free and Good People are always willing to pay for that kind of excellence. Don’t be a cheapskate with your time, money, tithes, and offerings to God. Otherwise, you are paying for evil by default, because you are robbing God and financing the devil with your personal actions and thoughts.
Today’s Question
What is in your wallet BOC Bank of Christ or BOS Bank of satan?
Enjoy The Reading
 

Deuteronomy 19

Cities of Refuge

19 “When the Lord your God destroys the nations whose land he is giving you, you will take over their land and settle in their towns and homes. Then you must set apart three cities of refuge in the land the Lord your God is giving you. Survey the territory,[a] and divide the land the Lord your God is giving you into three districts, with one of these cities in each district. Then anyone who has killed someone can flee to one of the cities of refuge for safety.
“If someone kills another person unintentionally, without previous hostility, the slayer may flee to any of these cities to live in safety. For example, suppose someone goes into the forest with a neighbor to cut wood. And suppose one of them swings an ax to chop down a tree, and the ax head flies off the handle, killing the other person. In such cases, the slayer may flee to one of the cities of refuge to live in safety.
“If the distance to the nearest city of refuge is too far, an enraged avenger might be able to chase down and kill the person who caused the death. Then the slayer would die unfairly, since he had never shown hostility toward the person who died.That is why I am commanding you to set aside three cities of refuge.
“And if the Lord your God enlarges your territory, as he swore to your ancestors, and gives you all the land he promised them, you must designate three additional cities of refuge. (He will give you this land if you are careful to obey all the commands I have given you—if you always love the Lord your God and walk in his ways.) 10 That way you will prevent the death of innocent people in the land the Lord your God is giving you as your special possession. You will not be held responsible for the death of innocent people.
11 “But suppose someone is hostile toward a neighbor and deliberately ambushes and murders him and then flees to one of the cities of refuge. 12 In that case, the elders of the murderer’s hometown must send agents to the city of refuge to bring him back and hand him over to the dead person’s avenger to be put to death.13 Do not feel sorry for that murderer! Purge from Israel the guilt of murdering innocent people; then all will go well with you.

Concern for Justice

14 “When you arrive in the land the Lord your God is giving you as your special possession, you must never steal anyone’s land by moving the boundary markers your ancestors set up to mark their property.
15 “You must not convict anyone of a crime on the testimony of only one witness. The facts of the case must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.
16 “If a malicious witness comes forward and accuses someone of a crime, 17 then both the accuser and accused must appear before the Lord by coming to the priests and judges in office at that time. 18 The judges must investigate the case thoroughly. If the accuser has brought false charges against his fellow Israelite,19 you must impose on the accuser the sentence he intended for the other person. In this way, you will purge such evil from among you. 20 Then the rest of the people will hear about it and be afraid to do such an evil thing. 21 You must show no pity for the guilty! Your rule should be life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.
Love,
Jonathan

Relocation

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Hi Peeps,
Today’s Quote
Growth pains from job promotions, graduations, relationships, and faith teaches you how to focus on the good page turns in life, up into the next step of destiny, after you have successfully passed the test in God’s plan.” ~ Jon Barnes

Test

In order to be a successful follower of Christ, you must simply pass each test and learn from your mistakes, like children playing on the playground. Each year you move to a new grade, level, and place of understanding to practice the lessons of love from God! Pay close attention to the good habits you form and continue to shed bad or questionable habits.

Teach

Teach yourself to be faithful to practice the commandments and laws to the best of your ability, as if you are working directly for God. Embrace these good habits to grow a better you, better mind, body and soul. Thank God for giving you a chance to see the light of love in your life, to share with others, and live the lifestyle of hope. Teach what you have learned from God by doing the work.

Task

Your new task is to ask God, what should I do about my life, my next move, and my present position. The homework and research that you do will bring good fruit because you are still doing the good work!  Count each task as step of joy, peace, happiness, love, and faith, which will sustain and prepare you for the next step.  Mastering God’s language of love, faith and work will give you an understanding and drive to become bilingual and sensitive to other cultures,  as you relocate and negotiate new moves.
Today’s Question
Are you scared to research, relocate and learn new languages to improve your faith, work, walk, and love for God or would you rather stay where you are and complain all of the time?
Enjoy Today’s Reading

John 18

Jesus Is Betrayed and Arrested

18 After saying these things, Jesus crossed the Kidron Valley with his disciples and entered a grove of olive trees. Judas, the betrayer, knew this place, because Jesus had often gone there with his disciples. The leading priests and Pharisees had given Judas a contingent of Roman soldiers and Temple guards to accompany him. Now with blazing torches, lanterns, and weapons, they arrived at the olive grove.
Jesus fully realized all that was going to happen to him, so he stepped forward to meet them. “Who are you looking for?” he asked.
“Jesus the Nazarene,”[a] they replied.
I am he,”[b] Jesus said. (Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them.) As Jesus said I am he,” they all drew back and fell to the ground! Once more he asked them, “Who are you looking for?”
And again they replied, “Jesus the Nazarene.”
“I told you that I am he,” Jesus said. “And since I am the one you want, let these others go.” He did this to fulfill his own statement: “I did not lose a single one of those you have given me.”[c]
10 Then Simon Peter drew a sword and slashed off the right ear of Malchus, the high priest’s slave. 11 But Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword back into its sheath. Shall I not drink from the cup of suffering the Father has given me?”

Jesus at the High Priest’s House

12 So the soldiers, their commanding officer, and the Temple guards arrested Jesus and tied him up. 13 First they took him to Annas, since he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest at that time.[d] 14 Caiaphas was the one who had told the other Jewish leaders, “It’s better that one man should die for the people.”

Peter’s First Denial

15 Simon Peter followed Jesus, as did another of the disciples. That other disciple was acquainted with the high priest, so he was allowed to enter the high priest’s courtyard with Jesus. 16 Peter had to stay outside the gate. Then the disciple who knew the high priest spoke to the woman watching at the gate, and she let Peter in. 17 The woman asked Peter, “You’re not one of that man’s disciples, are you?”
“No,” he said, “I am not.”
18 Because it was cold, the household servants and the guards had made a charcoal fire. They stood around it, warming themselves, and Peter stood with them, warming himself.

The High Priest Questions Jesus

19 Inside, the high priest began asking Jesus about his followers and what he had been teaching them. 20 Jesus replied, “Everyone knows what I teach. I have preached regularly in the synagogues and the Temple, where the people[e] gather. I have not spoken in secret. 21 Why are you asking me this question? Ask those who heard me. They know what I said.”
22 Then one of the Temple guards standing nearby slapped Jesus across the face. “Is that the way to answer the high priest?” he demanded.
23 Jesus replied, “If I said anything wrong, you must prove it. But if I’m speaking the truth, why are you beating me?”
24 Then Annas bound Jesus and sent him to Caiaphas, the high priest.

Peter’s Second and Third Denials

25 Meanwhile, as Simon Peter was standing by the fire warming himself, they asked him again, “You’re not one of his disciples, are you?”
He denied it, saying, “No, I am not.”
26 But one of the household slaves of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Didn’t I see you out there in the olive grove with Jesus?” 27 Again Peter denied it. And immediately a rooster crowed.

Jesus’ Trial before Pilate

28 Jesus’ trial before Caiaphas ended in the early hours of the morning. Then he was taken to the headquarters of the Roman governor.[f] His accusers didn’t go inside because it would defile them, and they wouldn’t be allowed to celebrate the Passover. 29 So Pilate, the governor, went out to them and asked, “What is your charge against this man?”
30 “We wouldn’t have handed him over to you if he weren’t a criminal!” they retorted.
31 “Then take him away and judge him by your own law,” Pilate told them.
“Only the Romans are permitted to execute someone,” the Jewish leaders replied.32 (This fulfilled Jesus’ prediction about the way he would die.[g])
33 Then Pilate went back into his headquarters and called for Jesus to be brought to him. “Are you the king of the Jews?” he asked him.
34 Jesus replied, “Is this your own question, or did others tell you about me?”
35 “Am I a Jew?” Pilate retorted. “Your own people and their leading priests brought you to me for trial. Why? What have you done?”
36 Jesus answered, “My Kingdom is not an earthly kingdom. If it were, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish leaders. But my Kingdom is not of this world.”
37 Pilate said, “So you are a king?”
Jesus responded, “You say I am a king. Actually, I was born and came into the world to testify to the truth. All who love the truth recognize that what I say is true.”
38 “What is truth?” Pilate asked. Then he went out again to the people and told them, “He is not guilty of any crime. 39 But you have a custom of asking me to release one prisoner each year at Passover. Would you like me to release this ‘King of the Jews’?”
40 But they shouted back, “No! Not this man. We want Barabbas!” (Barabbas was a revolutionary.)
Love,
Jonathan

Your Job

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Hi Peeps,
Today’s Quote
“In any job, work like it is your last day, your last check, and your last chance to show people your character, integrity, wit, love, sensitivity, toughness, fairness, and quality you bring to the table each day, which positively affected the lives of everyone around you; Don’t be a lazy liar.” ~ Jon Barnes

It Is

It is your job to show everyone what you are made of and your humility will push you forward and up God’s ladder of personal success, access, and achievement.  Simply doing a great job is good enough to reap what you have sown. Keep doing your good jobs and deeds, especially when people mistreat you. God will fix the rest. Do your part and be faithful as a good steward.

It Is Not

It is not possible to do two jobs at once, so you cannot do someone else’s job and expect to complete your level of quality work as well.  Know your box and over deliver with quality and set the standard of excellence in your life, along with the people around you.  They are watching you and so is God. I don’t have time to judge the quality of work from other people. The work is judgement unto itself.

“A” Note

People will copy, the quality standards that you set, if you stay committed to your job. A simple note is to practice and play what you preach.  Make sure you are getting credit for practicing God’s lifestyle of love and responsibility in your job each day, by finishing well and completing your assignments. Prosperity that is not earned has no value or added benefit to a soul that is lost and bound for hell.
Today’s question
Did you complete your job as if God was standing over you to approve each step, with a smile and a nod of acceptance?
Enjoy Today’s Reading

1 Peter 2

Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.

The Living Stone and a Chosen People

As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house[a] to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For in Scripture it says:
“See, I lay a stone in Zion,
    a chosen and precious cornerstone,
and the one who trusts in him
    will never be put to shame.”[b]
Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe,
“The stone the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone,”[c]
and,
“A stone that causes people to stumble
    and a rock that makes them fall.”[d]
They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for.
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Living Godly Lives in a Pagan Society

11 Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires,which wage war against your soul. 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people.16 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. 17 Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.
18 Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. 19 For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. 20 But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.
22 “He committed no sin,
    and no deceit was found in his mouth.”[e]
23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” 25 For “you were like sheep going astray,”[f] but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
 
Love,
 
Jonathan

Off Task Off Line

 

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Hi Peeps,
Quote of the day
” I love poetry to tell a story and engage the reader to embrace creation and Glory! ‘ ~  Jon Barnes
 

Too Much

You have too much work and too much time
Too busy looking at me and looking at mine
Never getting it done and never on time
Your hands are too clean and not about the grind
You say one thing, yet you do the next
What you did, was not your best
Sprinkle a little here and sparkle a little there
You only gave an inch and you just don’t care
Your looks don’t matter and your skin doesn’t count
Your heart really matters, guiding your mind about
Am I white or are you black in the reflection of time,
Is it your red blood you spilled or is it mine
How can the same blood come from all of our veins
I can use yours, you can use mind, when the types are the same
Too many negative thoughts too many lies
Our souls look the same to God when we die
Were you off task and off line with yours and mine
Will you give God the correct answer at the end of your time
Right now, did you talk with God, repent, change, and give thanks?
Why Are you so eager to do evil and throw it all in the tank?
You don’t care and it is too much
So sad your heart of stone and you don’t give a cup!
Enjoy Today’s Reading

Luke 11New International Version (NIV)

Jesus’ Teaching on Prayer

11 One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”
He said to them, “When you pray, say:
“‘Father,[a]
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.[b]
Give us each day our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins,
    for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.[c]
And lead us not into temptation.[d]’”
Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity[e] he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.
“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
11 “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for[f] a fish, will give him a snake instead?12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

Jesus and Beelzebul

14 Jesus was driving out a demon that was mute. When the demon left, the man who had been mute spoke, and the crowd was amazed. 15 But some of them said, “By Beelzebul, the prince of demons, he is driving out demons.” 16 Others tested him by asking for a sign from heaven.
17 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them: “Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall. 18 If Satan is divided against himself, how can his kingdom stand? I say this because you claim that I drive out demons by Beelzebul. 19 Now if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your followers drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. 20 But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
21 “When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are safe.22 But when someone stronger attacks and overpowers him, he takes away the armor in which the man trusted and divides up his plunder.
23 “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.
24 “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ 25 When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. 26 Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first.”
27 As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.”
28 He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”

The Sign of Jonah

29 As the crowds increased, Jesus said, “This is a wicked generation. It asks for a sign,but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah. 30 For as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so also will the Son of Man be to this generation. 31 The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with the people of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom; and now something greater than Solomon is here. 32 The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and now something greater than Jonah is here.

The Lamp of the Body

33 “No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light. 34 Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy,[g] your whole body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy,[h] your body also is full of darkness. 35 See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness. 36 Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be just as full of light as when a lamp shines its light on you.”

Woes on the Pharisees and the Experts in the Law

37 When Jesus had finished speaking, a Pharisee invited him to eat with him; so he went in and reclined at the table. 38 But the Pharisee was surprised when he noticed that Jesus did not first wash before the meal.
39 Then the Lord said to him, “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. 40 You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? 41 But now as for what is inside you—be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you.
42 “Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone.
43 “Woe to you Pharisees, because you love the most important seats in the synagogues and respectful greetings in the marketplaces.
44 “Woe to you, because you are like unmarked graves, which people walk over without knowing it.”
45 One of the experts in the law answered him, “Teacher, when you say these things, you insult us also.”
46 Jesus replied, “And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them.
47 “Woe to you, because you build tombs for the prophets, and it was your ancestors who killed them. 48 So you testify that you approve of what your ancestors did; they killed the prophets, and you build their tombs. 49 Because of this, God in his wisdom said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and others they will persecute.’ 50 Therefore this generation will be held responsible for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world, 51 from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be held responsible for it all.
52 “Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering.”
53 When Jesus went outside, the Pharisees and the teachers of the law began to oppose him fiercely and to besiege him with questions, 54 waiting to catch him in something he might say.
Jonathan