Relative

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“If  God thinks we’re all that and a bag of chips, then the opinions that we hold of each other don’t really matter.”~TB

Dumb Judgment

A few years ago, I was helping my dad out by teaching his elementary school kids music a few kids at a time. This way, each kid could get some individualized attention on how to improve and whatnot. There was one kid who wasn’t quite getting it though I believed I was providing the best instruction possible. In my head, I figured he just couldn’t get it and wrote him off (I still worked with him, but I didn’t have high hopes). A few minutes later, my dad comes in checking out our progress. He goes through the kids that got it and stops to listen to the trumpet kid. My dad broke down the music and showed the kid how to play in a way that he understood. Moments later, the kid sounded like he knew what he was doing after all! Surprised, I immediately felt terrible for failing to see the potential that my dad saw. I’m grateful that teacher’s like my dad exist, because they see the value in every student, not just the ones they understand. More to the point, that experience showed me how dismissive we can be when we don’t see the value in each other. I’ll give you another example.

It’s Relative

Last year, I decided to work with a startup in the financial services industry. The pay was significantly lower than my general fee, but since there was a lot of work to be done, I took it (On a side note, never work for less than you’re worth, if you can and never work with cheap people, it will not end well). Admittedly, I didn’t put my best foot forward, but the work was still good by any standard. The content manager quickly came back and told me my grammar was terrible and my rate didn’t justify the quality of work (I had negotiated a slightly higher rate). We parted ways and I was relieved because I knew the deal was crap. Funnily enough, I signed a contract with Stanford University a mere few days later. Ironic, right? I share these stories to say that man’s standards and evaluations of one another are utter crap. Basically, this stuff is all relative. Some may sing your praises while others won’t think you’re worth more than a hill of beans. But God, however has the ultimate judgment and He values you more than another other creation. Think about that.

True Value

Maybe someone in your life made you feel like you weren’t worth much. Well, they’re wrong. No matter what state you’re in God loves you more than anything else in this world. So what if that person at work can’t see it? So what if the person you admire doesn’t value what you bring to the table? Your value, your worth does not come from man, so let people have their opinions and keep it moving. Plus if someone cannot see how wonderfully God made you, then clearly they are not meant to be in your life, and that’s totally ok. Society will tell you to adjust yourself to the standards of others. That mentality is utter crap because it produces fake people living a fake lifestyle. If you have to change your personality, clothes, or whatever to be likable or authentic, trust me friends, you are neither. So the next time you’re feeling low because of the flawed evaluations of your peers, pick up the Word and read all of the amazing things God has done through His people to give us the ultimate gift. You won’t be able to help but feel amazing.

Today’s Question

Do you base your worth in relation to man or in relation to your Creator?

Enjoy the reading

Isaiah 22

1 This message came to me concerning Jerusalem—the Valley of Vision : What is happening? Why is everyone running to the rooftops?
2 The whole city is in a terrible uproar. What do I see in this reveling city? Bodies are lying everywhere, killed not in battle but by famine and disease.
3 All your leaders have fled. They surrendered without resistance. The people tried to slip away, but they were captured, too.
4 That’s why I said, “Leave me alone to weep; do not try to comfort me. Let me cry for my people as I watch them being destroyed.”
5 Oh, what a day of crushing defeat! What a day of confusion and terror brought by the Lord, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, upon the Valley of Vision! The walls of Jerusalem have been broken, and cries of death echo from the mountainsides.
6 Elamites are the archers, with their chariots and charioteers. The men of Kir hold up the shields.
7 Chariots fill your beautiful valleys, and charioteers storm your gates.
8Judah’s defenses have been stripped away. You run to the armory for your weapons.
9You inspect the breaks in the walls of Jerusalem. You store up water in the lower pool.
10 You survey the houses and tear some down for stone to strengthen the walls.
11 Between the city walls, you build a reservoir for water from the old pool. But you never ask for help from the One who did all this. You never considered the One who planned this long ago.
12 At that time the Lord, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, called you to weep and mourn. He told you to shave your heads in sorrow for your sins and to wear clothes of burlap to show your remorse.
13But instead, you dance and play; you slaughter cattle and kill sheep. You feast on meat and drink wine. You say, “Let’s feast and drink, for tomorrow we die!”
14 The LORD of Heaven’s Armies has revealed this to me: “Till the day you die, you will never be forgiven for this sin.” That is the judgment of the Lord, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.
15 This is what the Lord, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, said to me: “Confront Shebna, the palace administrator, and give him this message:
16 “Who do you think you are, and what are you doing here, building a beautiful tomb for yourself— a monument high up in the rock?
17 For the LORD is about to hurl you away, mighty man. He is going to grab you,
18 crumple you into a ball, and toss you away into a distant, barren land. There you will die, and your glorious chariots will be broken and useless. You are a disgrace to your master!
19 “Yes, I will drive you out of office,” says the LORD . “I will pull you down from your high position.
20 And then I will call my servant Eliakim son of Hilkiah to replace you.
21 I will dress him in your royal robes and will give him your title and your authority. And he will be a father to the people of Jerusalem and Judah.
22 I will give him the key to the house of David—the highest position in the royal court. When he opens doors, no one will be able to close them; when he closes doors, no one will be able to open them.
23 He will bring honor to his family name, for I will drive him firmly in place like a nail in the wall.
24 They will give him great responsibility, and he will bring honor to even the lowliest members of his family. ”
25 But the LORD of Heaven’s Armies also says: “The time will come when I will pull out the nail that seemed so firm. It will come out and fall to the ground. Everything it supports will fall with it. I, the LORD, have spoken!”

Comfortably Dumb

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

Don’t be comforted by the sweet empty words of the world for there is one truth and many falsehoods. Make no mistake, there is nothing more detestable than a false Christian.~TB

Sweet Nothings

Christians have become lazy and complacent, pretending as if being preached at for an hour a week is what following Jesus is all about. We dumb ourselves down when we fail to cultivate a personal relationship with God. You cannot successfully navigate a fallen world when you are too lazy to pick up the Bible.  Like a calf being fattened for slaughter, we minimize our sin, creating false personas to appease our peers with our “pure christian lifestyle”. Do not be fooled, God is not an accessory, nor is He a trinket we can use to tout superiority over nonbelievers.

Inconvenient Truth

God created man; man did not create God. We must fit into His plan and not the other way around. Walking the path of Jesus is filled with rejection and criticism from the world. True Christianity calls for us to take up the cross daily and examine our own hearts and minds. Stop waiting for someone to tell you who God is and go straight to the Source. There is only one way to enter His kingdom and that is through the sacrifice of His son, Jesus. No “universe”, “energy source”, or “good vibes” can help you. Don’t be the fool at the pearly gates with one of those excuses. There is no excuse for ignorance.

 

Today’s Question

When are you going to give up your way to follow His way?
Enjoy the reading

Psalm 60

1 You have rejected us, O God, and broken our defenses. You have been angry with us; now restore us to your favor. 2 You have shaken our land and split it open. Seal the cracks, for the land trembles. 3 You have been very hard on us, making us drink wine that sent us reeling.4 But you have raised a banner for those who fear you— a rallying point in the face of attack. Interlude 5 Now rescue your beloved people. Answer and save us by your power. 6 God has promised this by his holiness: “I will divide up Shechem with joy. I will measure out the valley of Succoth. 7 Gilead is mine, and Manasseh, too. Ephraim, my helmet, will produce my warriors, and Judah, my scepter, will produce my kings. 8 But Moab, my washbasin, will become my servant, and I will wipe my feet on Edom and shout in triumph over Philistia.” 9 Who will bring me into the fortified city? Who will bring me victory over Edom? 10 Have you rejected us, O God? Will you no longer march with our armies? 11 Oh, please help us against our enemies, for all human help is useless. 12 With God’s help we will do mighty things, for he will trample down our foes.

Asked

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Hi Peeps,
Today’s Quote
“I asked students about their opinions of my book that I wrote and why they would like to read it and I was enlightened by their response and overwhelming curiosity to know more about me, their teacher.”  ~  Jon Barnes

Passed

I cracked open a box of my book, passed them out to my students and let them read the back cover to learn more about, my past, accomplishments, and future goals.  We sat in a circle, reading silently for a few minutes and then we re-read the material aloud, taking turns.

Speaking

I was able to speak about things, ask questions and answer questions as we read.  The feeling in the room was very upbeat and full of discovery, research, and fact-finding about Mr. Barnes, his past, and future.  My life is an open book, being read in a classroom to help kids see themselves, find answers, ask questions, and develop new skills of learning, growing, helping, and loving, while learning music.

Reward

Because they did such a great job reading, asking questions, and giving me their honest opinions about the experience of having an author/ teacher/ famous musician, business person, and grandparent in their mist, I taught them how to play the drum set.  Everyone seems to love beating on the drums, pounding out their problems in life and making some noise with the cymbal crash.  Having the power of the sticks, books, and knowledge in your hands can be invigorating. 
Today’s Question
Are you overwhelmingly curious about God to learn as much as you can from Him by staying in His presence, obeying His directions, and reading about Him as much as possible?
Enjoy The Reading
 

Psalm 24 

A psalm of David.

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.
    The world and all its people belong to him.
For he laid the earth’s foundation on the seas
    and built it on the ocean depths.
Who may climb the mountain of the Lord?
    Who may stand in his holy place?
Only those whose hands and hearts are pure,
    who do not worship idols
    and never tell lies.
They will receive the Lord’s blessing
    and have a right relationship with God their savior.
Such people may seek you
    and worship in your presence, O God of Jacob.[a] Interlude
Open up, ancient gates!
    Open up, ancient doors,
    and let the King of glory enter.
Who is the King of glory?
    The Lord, strong and mighty;
    the Lord, invincible in battle.
Open up, ancient gates!
    Open up, ancient doors,
    and let the King of glory enter.
10 Who is the King of glory?
    The Lord of Heaven’s Armies—
    he is the King of glory. Interlude
Love,
 
Jonathan

Enjoyment

girl-1245835_1920.jpgHi Peeps,
Today’s Quote
“Recognize and enjoy the personal ministry God has given to you to help all the people around you when you travel during the day.” ~ Jon Barnes

Discipleship

Find positive words and works to share with people, by faith in doing the scriptures and not merely quoting them. Plain talk goes a long way with regular people.  Meet them in the context of their life’s experiences so that you can connect to their world with God’s knowledge and love.  This balance of wisdom and information requires that you practice what you preach. Many people are lying to themselves and God because they refuse to hold up the high standards of Biblical content, by changing laws, stories, and commandments to fit their own agendas.

Commandments

I only follow God’s commandments and not my own agenda. It is just not profitable for me to focus on my own ideas, money, timing, and logic. As a result, I have become more sensitive to move in the direction that God places in front of me and I’ll find and see the opportunity that has my name on it. I then use all of the commandments to integrate into the conversations or situations that may arise and my biblical content is sprinkled all over my thought processes.

Sprinklers

My sprinkler system of love enjoys watering the grass to preserve the green fresh look on life and God’s plans. I’m just a helper, messenger, and student of The Lord. My goal is to take the classes, enjoy the lectures, do the homework, pass the test, quizzes, and final exam.  God is the best teacher and He provides a world of opportunities for you to succeed in Him if you are interested.
Today’s Question
Are you interested in being taught by God with joy and the fruit of the Spirit or are you trying to seal your fate in hell? 
Enjoy The Reading

1 Kings 9

The Lord’s Response to Solomon

So Solomon finished building the Temple of the Lord, as well as the royal palace. He completed everything he had planned to do. Then the Lord appeared to Solomon a second time, as he had done before at Gibeon. The Lord said to him,
“I have heard your prayer and your petition. I have set this Temple apart to be holy—this place you have built where my name will be honored forever. I will always watch over it, for it is dear to my heart.
“As for you, if you will follow me with integrity and godliness, as David your father did, obeying all my commands, decrees, and regulations, then I will establish the throne of your dynasty over Israel forever. For I made this promise to your father, David: ‘One of your descendants will always sit on the throne of Israel.’
“But if you or your descendants abandon me and disobey the commands and decrees I have given you, and if you serve and worship other gods, then I will uproot Israel from this land that I have given them. I will reject this Temple that I have made holy to honor my name. I will make Israel an object of mockery and ridicule among the nations. And though this Temple is impressive now, all who pass by will be appalled and will gasp in horror. They will ask, ‘Why did the Lord do such terrible things to this land and to this Temple?’
“And the answer will be, ‘Because his people abandoned the Lord their God, who brought their ancestors out of Egypt, and they worshiped other gods instead and bowed down to them. That is why the Lord has brought all these disasters on them.’”

Solomon’s Agreement with Hiram

10 It took Solomon twenty years to build the Lord’s Temple and his own royal palace. At the end of that time, 11 he gave twenty towns in the land of Galilee to King Hiram of Tyre. (Hiram had previously provided all the cedar and cypress timber and gold that Solomon had requested.) 12 But when Hiram came from Tyre to see the towns Solomon had given him, he was not at all pleased with them.13 “What kind of towns are these, my brother?” he asked. So Hiram called that area Cabul (which means “worthless”), as it is still known today. 14 Nevertheless, Hiram paid[a] Solomon 9,000 pounds[b] of gold.

Solomon’s Many Achievements

15 This is the account of the forced labor that King Solomon conscripted to build the Lord’s Temple, the royal palace, the supporting terraces,[c] the wall of Jerusalem, and the cities of Hazor, Megiddo, and Gezer. 16 (Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, had attacked and captured Gezer, killing the Canaanite population and burning it down. He gave the city to his daughter as a wedding gift when she married Solomon. 17 So Solomon rebuilt the city of Gezer.) He also built up the towns of Lower Beth-horon, 18 Baalath, and Tamar[d] in the wilderness within his land. 19 He built towns as supply centers and constructed towns where his chariots and horses[e] could be stationed. He built everything he desired in Jerusalem and Lebanon and throughout his entire realm.
20 There were still some people living in the land who were not Israelites, including Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. 21 These were descendants of the nations whom the people of Israel had not completely destroyed.[f] So Solomon conscripted them as slaves, and they serve as forced laborers to this day. 22 But Solomon did not conscript any of the Israelites for forced labor. Instead, he assigned them to serve as fighting men, government officials, officers and captains in his army, commanders of his chariots, and charioteers.23 Solomon appointed 550 of them to supervise the people working on his various projects.
24 Solomon moved his wife, Pharaoh’s daughter, from the City of David to the new palace he had built for her. Then he constructed the supporting terraces.
25 Three times each year Solomon presented burnt offerings and peace offerings on the altar he had built for the Lord. He also burned incense to the Lord. And so he finished the work of building the Temple.
26 King Solomon also built a fleet of ships at Ezion-geber, a port near Elath[g] in the land of Edom, along the shore of the Red Sea.[h] 27 Hiram sent experienced crews of sailors to sail the ships with Solomon’s men. 28 They sailed to Ophir and brought back to Solomon some sixteen tons[i] of gold.
Love,
Jonathan

Eyes On Your Own Paper

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Keep your eyes on your own paper, allowing others to accomplish their tasks while you’re completing yours”

Learn

We each have different assignments, of which we all must learn how to do on our own accord. Study your assignments wholeheartedly, preparing for your best work as if God was sitting next to you. There is a great sense of satisfaction when you do your best leaving all of the good work on the table. While helping your neighbor is an important part of life, we must allow each person to study their assignment, lest we deprive them of mastering their work, while also hindering our progress on our own tasks. Fortunately God provides us many tools and resources that we all can study from.

Test

God is a savvy teacher, ensuring that our work is uniquely specific to each individual. Your test will look different than those around you, which is why we all must study for our own exam. Knowing the answers to your neighbor’s test will do you no good as your answers are from your personal homework. So keep your eyes focused on your own paper so that you can ace your exam.

Question of the day

Did you study your personal assignment to have the right answers to your test?

Enjoy today’s reading

The Water of Cleansing

1 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron: 2 “This is a requirement of the law that the LORD has commanded: Tell the Israelites to bring you a red heifer without defect or blemish and that has never been under a yoke. 3 Give it to Eleazar the priest; it is to be taken outside the camp and slaughtered in his presence.4 Then Eleazar the priest is to take some of its blood on his finger and sprinkle it seven times toward the front of the tent of meeting. 5 While he watches, the heifer is to be burned—its hide, flesh, blood and intestines. 6 The priest is to take some cedar wood, hyssop and scarlet wool and throw them onto the burning heifer. 7 After that, the priest must wash his clothes and bathe himself with water. He may then come into the camp, but he will be ceremonially unclean till evening. 8 The man who burns it must also wash his clothes and bathe with water, and he too will be unclean till evening. 9 “A man who is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer and put them in a ceremonially clean place outside the camp. They are to be kept by the Israelite community for use in the water of cleansing; it is for purification from sin. 10The man who gathers up the ashes of the heifer must also wash his clothes, and he too will be unclean till evening. This will be a lasting ordinance both for the Israelites and for the foreigners residing among them. 11 “Whoever touches a human corpse will be unclean for seven days. 12 They must purify themselves with the water on the third day and on the seventh day; then they will be clean. But if they do not purify themselves on the third and seventh days, they will not be clean. 13 If they fail to purify themselves after touching a human corpse, they defile the LORD’s tabernacle. They must be cut off from Israel. Because the water of cleansing has not been sprinkled on them, they are unclean; their uncleanness remains on them. 14 “This is the law that applies when a person dies in a tent: Anyone who enters the tent and anyone who is in it will be unclean for seven days, 15 and every open container without a lid fastened on it will be unclean. 16“Anyone out in the open who touches someone who has been killed with a sword or someone who has died a natural death, or anyone who touches a human bone or a grave, will be unclean for seven days. 17 “For the unclean person, put some ashes from the burned purification offering into a jar and pour fresh water over them. 18 Then a man who is ceremonially clean is to take some hyssop, dip it in the water and sprinkle the tent and all the furnishings and the people who were there. He must also sprinkle anyone who has touched a human bone or a grave or anyone who has been killed or anyone who has died a natural death. 19 The man who is clean is to sprinkle those who are unclean on the third and seventh days, and on the seventh day he is to purify them. Those who are being cleansed must wash their clothes and bathe with water, and that evening they will be clean. 20 But if those who are unclean do not purify themselves, they must be cut off from the community, because they have defiled the sanctuary of the LORD. The water of cleansing has not been sprinkled on them, and they are unclean. 21 This is a lasting ordinance for them. “The man who sprinkles the water of cleansing must also wash his clothes, and anyone who touches the water of cleansing will be unclean till evening. 22 Anything that an unclean person touches becomes unclean, and anyone who touches it becomes unclean till evening.”