Proven

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“God allows us to go through tough experiences to share with others.”~TB

Babes

Last week, I came across an article written by a fellow freelance writer. She had a catchy title, so curiously, I clicked. The first sentence began, “After 3 weeks of freelancing, I’ve come to learn… and I’m here to teach you…”

Three.Weeks. I was incredulous. How someone can believe they have the authority, understanding, or mastery of anything let alone running a freelance business is beyond me. It reminded me of the passage in 1 Timothy about why new believers shouldn’t be leaders and how the Devil would cause them to fall. It made me chuckle as I remembered a conversation I had with my father some years ago.

Faith Without Deeds

A few years back, God downloaded the Truth into my brain and I arrogantly shared with my Dad the “secret” to Christianity and following God. My father— who is ever patient and long-suffering with me— nodded and listened carefully to my “all knowing theories and agreed that what I said had made Biblical sense. He was kind enough to let life’s teachable moments fill in the gaps of my arrogant ways. The thing is, it’s easy to understand God’s truth, at least the “mechanics” of it. But, to hold onto that truth while you are tested, while you endure hardship, while you suffer persecution, now that’s a whole other animal. See, I knew the Truth, but had no experience applying it. As fate would have it, not too long after our conversation, I went through some of the toughest years of my life.

The Process

I was broken down, pruned, fired in the kiln, spiritually crushed, and eventually put back together. In that time I had to make a choice: either press on or give up God altogether. For me, though at times I wanted to quit, I knew too much and I couldn’t go back to my old selfish ways. At the time, I didn’t understand why I went through such an oppressive period, but a random conversation with a woman in Tennessee made me understand why God’s children have to go through a foundation building process.

Experience

I talked about this a month or so ago, but while I was traveling, I stayed at an Airbnb in Tennessee with a hospitable lady. She had a free spirit “all gods are the same” type of mentality, which I didn’t push back on. At the time I was travel-worn and just wanted to catch my breath. What was interesting was that she kept asking me what I believed and why. And as I mentioned earlier, I was in no mood to have that conversation, but I could feel God prodding me to answer this woman, and so I did. At the time, I was more concerned with sharing about God’s Truth and not necessarily my subject matter expertise. To be honest, I didn’t know why me of all people would be the one share Biblical information. I certainly didn’t feel (And still don’t) qualified to know or share anything after the crazy past few years. However, after reading that freelance writer’s blog, remembering the conversation with my dad, and recalling the conversation in Tennessee, I finally got my answer why. Experience. It’s easy to know the Truth untested, but to believe it after a hard life exam, you’ve gotten some subject matter experience under your belt.

We

No, I’m not some wise person who has unique God-given experiences (at least I don’t think, I do have grey hair, however). I believe that those who have been through the refiner’s fire have something to share with those who are in the process. We can encourage those going through tough times because we’ve had to endure struggles of our own and have lived to tell the tale. The woman in Tennessee was asking some legitimate theological questions and had I not gone through such a crappy few years having to rely solely on God, I would not have been able to give meaningful answers. I say all of this to say that if you have gone through the process, have gone through the fire, and can still choose God above yourself, you too have answers to share with those seeking Him. It’s a team effort.

Today’s Question

What’s your experience to share?

Enjoy the reading

Isaiah 29

1 “What sorrow awaits Ariel, the City of David. Year after year you celebrate your feasts.
2 Yet I will bring disaster upon you, and there will be much weeping and sorrow. For Jerusalem will become what her name Ariel means— an altar covered with blood.
3 I will be your enemy, surrounding Jerusalem and attacking its walls. I will build siege towers and destroy it.
4 Then deep from the earth you will speak; from low in the dust your words will come. Your voice will whisper from the ground like a ghost conjured up from the grave.
5 “But suddenly, your ruthless enemies will be crushed like the finest of dust. Your many attackers will be driven away like chaff before the wind. Suddenly, in an instant,
6 I, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, will act for you with thunder and earthquake and great noise, with whirlwind and storm and consuming fire.
7 All the nations fighting against Jerusalem will vanish like a dream! Those who are attacking her walls will vanish like a vision in the night.
8 A hungry person dreams of eating but wakes up still hungry. A thirsty person dreams of drinking but is still faint from thirst when morning comes. So it will be with your enemies, with those who attack Mount Zion.”
9Are you amazed and incredulous? Don’t you believe it? Then go ahead and be blind. You are stupid, but not from wine! You stagger, but not from liquor!
10 For the LORD has poured out on you a spirit of deep sleep. He has closed the eyes of your prophets and visionaries.
11 All the future events in this vision are like a sealed book to them. When you give it to those who can read, they will say, “We can’t read it because it is sealed.”
12 When you give it to those who cannot read, they will say, “We don’t know how to read.”
13 And so the Lord says, “These people say they are mine. They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. And their worship of me is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote.
14 Because of this, I will once again astound these hypocrites with amazing wonders. The wisdom of the wise will pass away, and the intelligence of the intelligent will disappear.”
15 What sorrow awaits those who try to hide their plans from the LORD, who do their evil deeds in the dark! “The LORD can’t see us,” they say. “He doesn’t know what’s going on!”
16 How foolish can you be? He is the Potter, and he is certainly greater than you, the clay! Should the created thing say of the one who made it, “He didn’t make me”? Does a jar ever say, “The potter who made me is stupid”?
17 Soon—and it will not be very long— the forests of Lebanon will become a fertile field, and the fertile field will yield bountiful crops.
18 In that day the deaf will hear words read from a book, and the blind will see through the gloom and darkness.
19 The humble will be filled with fresh joy from the LORD . The poor will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.
20 The scoffer will be gone, the arrogant will disappear, and those who plot evil will be killed.
21 Those who convict the innocent by their false testimony will disappear. A similar fate awaits those who use trickery to pervert justice and who tell lies to destroy the innocent.
22 That is why the LORD, who redeemed Abraham, says to the people of Israel, “My people will no longer be ashamed or turn pale with fear.
23 For when they see their many children and all the blessings I have given them, they will recognize the holiness of the Holy One of Jacob. They will stand in awe of the God of Israel.
24 Then the wayward will gain understanding, and complainers will accept instruction

Reminder

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“God will send you to unexpected places not to punish you, but to remind you of your purpose and who made you.”~TB

Detour

I made an unexpected trip to Tennessee about 2 weeks ago. I had plans to go to Virginia, but things happened to deter that plan. The woman that was hosting me was a kind and gregarious lady, very interested in spirits, practicing all faiths, witchcraft, and ‘healing’. Now, I’m not one to be shy about telling people when they’re wrong, but for the sake of getting along, I  politely nodded and moved on the subject. Interestingly enough, she kept prompting me to share what I believed.

Pulling a Jonah

During our chat, I was annoyed because I didn’t really feel like having this conversation. Days prior, I was in Charlotte NC on a hike and someone had smashed my driver side window and stole my wallet, laptop, guitar, and a few meaningful items that I cannot replicate. It was a very deflating experience, especially being so far from home. Needless to say, I wasn’t in the mood for sharing the Good News. But something in this woman’s eyes made me realize that she wasn’t looking for a debate, but rather the Truth. I felt the gentle nudge to do my part. So I shared it with her.

Sharing Stories

I found out that my host wasn’t always into witchcraft and multiple faiths. She was a believer that fell through hard times and walked away. During this conversation, I was reminded that we all get weary, and the opposition will always push us to the brink to get us to walk away from the Truth. I also realized that me running into this woman was not only for her benefit, but for my own. As Christ followers know, it can be tough during times and some battles can seem unfair and punitive. I say all this to say, that whenever you’re going through an intense struggle or bouts of depressing lows, in those moments, look for the reminders of who you are and who you belong to. He’s with you in all things and is there to guide you if you choose to seek Him.

Today’s Quote

Are you checking your reminders?

Enjoy the reading

Ecclesiastes 5

1 As you enter the house of God, keep your ears open and your mouth shut. It is evil to make mindless offerings to God.
2 Don’t make rash promises, and don’t be hasty in bringing matters before God. After all, God is in heaven, and you are here on earth. So let your words be few.
3 Too much activity gives you restless dreams; too many words make you a fool.
4 When you make a promise to God, don’t delay in following through, for God takes no pleasure in fools. Keep all the promises you make to him.
5 It is better to say nothing than to make a promise and not keep it.
6 Don’t let your mouth make you sin. And don’t defend yourself by telling the Temple messenger that the promise you made was a mistake. That would make God angry, and he might wipe out everything you have achieved.
7 Talk is cheap, like daydreams and other useless activities. Fear God instead.
8 Don’t be surprised if you see a poor person being oppressed by the powerful and if justice is being miscarried throughout the land. For every official is under orders from higher up, and matters of justice get lost in red tape and bureaucracy.
9 Even the king milks the land for his own profit!
10 Those who love money will never have enough. How meaningless to think that wealth brings true happiness!
11The more you have, the more people come to help you spend it. So what good is wealth—except perhaps to watch it slip through your fingers!
12 People who work hard sleep well, whether they eat little or much. But the rich seldom get a good night’s sleep.
13 There is another serious problem I have seen under the sun. Hoarding riches harms the saver.
14Money is put into risky investments that turn sour, and everything is lost. In the end, there is nothing left to pass on to one’s children.
15We all come to the end of our lives as naked and empty-handed as on the day we were born. We can’t take our riches with us.
16And this, too, is a very serious problem. People leave this world no better off than when they came. All their hard work is for nothing—like working for the wind.
17 Throughout their lives, they live under a cloud—frustrated, discouraged, and angry.
18 Even so, I have noticed one thing, at least, that is good. It is good for people to eat, drink, and enjoy their work under the sun during the short life God has given them, and to accept their lot in life.
19 And it is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life—this is indeed a gift from God.
20 God keeps such people so busy enjoying life that they take no time to brood over the past.

 

Battle-Tested

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Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“We have to go through the refiner’s fire not to prove to God that we’re worthy, but to help us understand the truth in all of its glory”~TB

 

Tested

We endure testing and trials because it strengthens our reliance on God and the Truth that He is the end all be all. When you live the truth, you begin to recognize the signs of warfare, relying on the Word to still your heart to walk through the valley of the shadow of death. Friends, look around you, darkness is real and you have to use the Biblical tools to guard your hearts, minds, and bodies. Make no mistake, if you are asleep at the wheel, you allow someone else to drive your fate.

Proven

There is a difference between clinging to salvation and being used by Christ. In the early stages of the walk, we are timid and fearful, only because we have yet to fully embrace God’s truth in all of its glory. As you become battle-tested, you recognize your role with the understanding that He is working through you. You will know if you pass the test when you are able to stand firm against evil in the midst of battle. Peace will come upon you in the trenches when you truly comprehend that God is with you wherever you go, especially when you are in the eye of the storm.

Today’s Question

Are you battle-tested or are you AWOL on the sidelines?

Enjoy the reading

Psalm 76

1 God is honored in Judah; his name is great in Israel. 2 Jerusalem is where he lives; Mount Zion is his home. 3 There he has broken the fiery arrows of the enemy, the shields and swords and weapons of war. Interlude4 You are glorious and more majestic than the everlasting mountains. 5Our boldest enemies have been plundered. They lie before us in the sleep of death. No warrior could lift a hand against us. 6 At the blast of your breath, O God of Jacob, their horses and chariots lay still. 7 No wonder you are greatly feared! Who can stand before you when your anger explodes? 8 From heaven you sentenced your enemies; the earth trembled and stood silent before you. 9 You stand up to judge those who do evil, O God, and to rescue the oppressed of the earth. Interlude 10Human defiance only enhances your glory, for you use it as a weapon. 11Make vows to the LORD your God, and keep them. Let everyone bring tribute to the Awesome One. 12 For he breaks the pride of princes, and the kings of the earth fear him.

Surprise

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Hi Peeps,
Today’s Quote
“I am always Simply Surprised by the efforts of persistence and the fruit of good labor that always brings good results to people who practice honesty and integrity in their walk with nature, people and God!” ~ Jon Barnes

Faith Walk

There will be resistance, temptation, and challenges of growing in grace, mercy, meekness, and kindness, as we gently walk through new doors of unknown territory, where body language, work, and motives, means more than your words, money, and intellect.  The fruit of the Spirit tastes the same in all countries and will yield a wonderful crop for those who dare to follow in God’s Foot Steps! Don’t over step or mis-step your balance of Faith in God.

Naturally

It is not natural for people to have blind faith in God, whom they cannot see, yet we all have the senses to know that God made and provides us all with love and provisions to live. Since God has not changed His track record of love and kindness towards man, it would naturally be prudent for us to get on board with God’s Plans before our time is up. You should not be surprised by the outcome of your work, faith, and love for God, naturally.

Surprise

Your time will be up soon as no one lives forever on this side of life. Since your soul does live forever, perhaps it’s best to understand what forever is and where the two locations and destinations are housed.  Since God is a Good Father, He has prepared holding tanks, like earth called, Heaven and Hell. His obedient Good Children in right standing will flow through the Pearly Gates, based on God’s Judgement and connection upon your life. Hell is an equal opportunity employer of those who choose not to be in good standings with the flow of God, His Grace, Mercy, or Power of Redemption, Repentance, and Commandments. The story plays out just like the ones you read in the Bible.
Today’s Question
Will you be surprised about your journey’s end or did you prepare for the inevitable? 
Enjoy The Reading

Genesis 46

Jacob’s Journey to Egypt

46 So Jacob[a] set out for Egypt with all his possessions. And when he came to Beersheba, he offered sacrifices to the God of his father, Isaac. During the night God spoke to him in a vision. “Jacob! Jacob!” he called.
“Here I am,” Jacob replied.
“I am God,[b] the God of your father,” the voice said. “Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make your family into a great nation. I will go with you down to Egypt, and I will bring you back again. You will die in Egypt, but Joseph will be with you to close your eyes.”
So Jacob left Beersheba, and his sons took him to Egypt. They carried him and their little ones and their wives in the wagons Pharaoh had provided for them.They also took all their livestock and all the personal belongings they had acquired in the land of Canaan. So Jacob and his entire family went to Egypt—sons and grandsons, daughters and granddaughters—all his descendants.
These are the names of the descendants of Israel—the sons of Jacob—who went to Egypt:
Reuben was Jacob’s oldest son. The sons of Reuben were Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi.
10 The sons of Simeon were Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jakin, Zohar, and Shaul. (Shaul’s mother was a Canaanite woman.)
11 The sons of Levi were Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.
12 The sons of Judah were Er, Onan, Shelah, Perez, and Zerah (though Er and Onan had died in the land of Canaan). The sons of Perez were Hezron and Hamul.
13 The sons of Issachar were Tola, Puah,[c] Jashub,[d] and Shimron.
14 The sons of Zebulun were Sered, Elon, and Jahleel.
15 These were the sons of Leah and Jacob who were born in Paddan-aram, in addition to their daughter, Dinah. The number of Jacob’s descendants (male and female) through Leah was thirty-three.
16 The sons of Gad were Zephon,[e] Haggi, Shuni, Ezbon, Eri, Arodi, and Areli.
17 The sons of Asher were Imnah, Ishvah, Ishvi, and Beriah. Their sister was Serah. Beriah’s sons were Heber and Malkiel.
18 These were the sons of Zilpah, the servant given to Leah by her father, Laban. The number of Jacob’s descendants through Zilpah was sixteen.
19 The sons of Jacob’s wife Rachel were Joseph and Benjamin.
20 Joseph’s sons, born in the land of Egypt, were Manasseh and Ephraim. Their mother was Asenath, daughter of Potiphera, the priest of On.[f]
21 Benjamin’s sons were Bela, Beker, Ashbel, Gera, Naaman, Ehi, Rosh, Muppim, Huppim, and Ard.
22 These were the sons of Rachel and Jacob. The number of Jacob’s descendants through Rachel was fourteen.
23 The son of Dan was Hushim.
24 The sons of Naphtali were Jahzeel, Guni, Jezer, and Shillem.
25 These were the sons of Bilhah, the servant given to Rachel by her father, Laban. The number of Jacob’s descendants through Bilhah was seven.
26 The total number of Jacob’s direct descendants who went with him to Egypt, not counting his sons’ wives, was sixty-six. 27 In addition, Joseph had two sons[g]who were born in Egypt. So altogether, there were seventy[h] members of Jacob’s family in the land of Egypt.

Jacob’s Family Arrives in Goshen

28 As they neared their destination, Jacob sent Judah ahead to meet Joseph and get directions to the region of Goshen. And when they finally arrived there,29 Joseph prepared his chariot and traveled to Goshen to meet his father, Jacob. When Joseph arrived, he embraced his father and wept, holding him for a long time. 30 Finally, Jacob said to Joseph, “Now I am ready to die, since I have seen your face again and know you are still alive.”
31 And Joseph said to his brothers and to his father’s entire family, “I will go to Pharaoh and tell him, ‘My brothers and my father’s entire family have come to me from the land of Canaan. 32 These men are shepherds, and they raise livestock. They have brought with them their flocks and herds and everything they own.’”
33 Then he said, “When Pharaoh calls for you and asks you about your occupation,34 you must tell him, ‘We, your servants, have raised livestock all our lives, as our ancestors have always done.’ When you tell him this, he will let you live here in the region of Goshen, for the Egyptians despise shepherds.”
Love,
Jonathan

Graduation

 

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Hi Peeps,
Today’s Quote
“After years of learning, reading, studying, practicing, growing, and loving, you are now ready to inspire and do the Good Work yourself, which is to love God with all of your heart, mind, body, and soul, along with loving your neighbor as yourself.” ~ Jon Barnes

Pass

Few will pass the test of reading, studying, learning, following, and doing the simple instructions of practicing their faith in God. Many will reject the preaching, teaching, examples, miracles, and commandments of God, by creating fake news, fakes gods, fake religions, fake laws, and fake lifestyles to satisfy and worship greed, lust, things, power, and other evil spirits doomed for The Fire Pit.

Certification 

When you reject God’s love and lifestyle from entering into your heart, you close the narrow door into heaven, because you refuse to repent, change, and follow God’s suggestions. You cannot get into heaven unless you follow Christ, who will certify that you completed assignments, quizzes, test, lectures, projects, or relevant work that was necessary to fulfill the requirements and credits. You cannot buy your certification.

Resurrection

Jesus obeyed His Father and follow the program of instructions that was given to Him. He chose to get the Doctorate Certification, being the first and only to graduate with Magna Cum Laude sacrificial lamb skinned degree, with the shedding of His Blood on the cross, for our sins on Calvary.  The blood of Christ washes away our sins as we repent, learn, comply, and apply the commandments and lifestyle set before us.
Today’s Question
Are you following your own lifestyle to hell or are you connected to the Blood of the Lamb to certify your graduation credentials and lifestyle of God’s ways and order?
Enjoy Today’s Reading

John 15

The Vine and the Branches

15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.

The World Hates the Disciples

18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20 Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’[b] If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.21 They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father as well. 24 If I had not done among them the works no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. As it is, they have seen, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. 25 But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.’[c]

The Work of the Holy Spirit

26 “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me. 27 And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.
Love,
Jonathan

Special

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Hi Peeps,
Today’s Quote
“Each of us are special, unique, and gifted with a purpose, a dream, and a destiny to fill through the assignments you will complete for God and man: Good or bad!”  ~ Jon Barnes

Live

Live in your unique abilities to learn, love, grow and share God’s grace and mercy with others to complete your God given assignments.  Do not give up on doing all the good you are to accomplish in your work and charity. Your life’s story should paint that picture of your face, not my face.

Dream

Here is a personal example. As a teenager, I was in a car with a music group driving home from a church gig, late at night.  I was in the back seat dreaming that we crashed on the bridge and when I made a loud noise, it woke everyone up and we drove safely onto the bridge home. God will keep you around to fulfill your job that He has for you, so get to work.  Jesus will inspect your job so do it well. Otherwise your job is with the devil, doomed to damnation and hell.  Is this your dream?

Testing

God will test drive your car to see if you will go the distance or if you are a lemon from the lot! It is your choice to be a lemon or a special car that you take good care of by following the instructions and maintenance, church, bible studies, helps, and love schedules.  Each test drive determines how long the life of your car will be and it is up to God and His timeline of events to determine the length of your existence. Beware that you don’t break your own special car with neglect, disobedience, and arrogance.
Today’s Question
How was your test drive today?
Enjoy The Reading

Revelation 15

Seven Angels With Seven Plagues

15 I saw in heaven another great and marvelous sign: seven angels with the seven last plagues—last, because with them God’s wrath is completed. And I saw what looked like a sea of glass glowing with fire and, standing beside the sea, those who had been victorious over the beast and its image and over the number of its name. They held harps given them by God and sang the song of God’s servant Moses and of the Lamb:
“Great and marvelous are your deeds,
    Lord God Almighty.
Just and true are your ways,
    King of the nations.[a]
Who will not fear you, Lord,
    and bring glory to your name?
For you alone are holy.
All nations will come
    and worship before you,
for your righteous acts have been revealed.”[b]
After this I looked, and I saw in heaven the temple—that is, the tabernacle of the covenant law—and it was opened. Out of the temple came the seven angels with the seven plagues. They were dressed in clean, shining linen and wore golden sashes around their chests. Then one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls filled with the wrath of God, who lives for ever and ever. And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from his power, and no one could enter the temple until the seven plagues of the seven angels were completed.
 
Love,
Jonathan