Salvation is the beginning to a potentially wild adventure. God has massive plans for you and all of His children. The challenge lies in if we’re willing to answer the call. Contrary to popular belief, God did not create us just to overcome problem after problem. We are not meant to be just barely clinging to the hope of Christ. In order to undertake whatever call that has been placed on your life, you must undergo the changes and growing pains that come along with it.
As a kid, I would accompany my family back to Maryland to visit relatives. Being a crab state, I remember watching my great grandmother prepare the crabs, AKA sticking these none the wiser crabs into their heated doom. Once the water got hot, you could hear the crabs scrambling to get out of the pot. When we are going through changes and growing periods, it can feel like you’re a crab in a boiling pot of water, desperately trying to get out before you meet your doom. But, unlike the crab, what lies in store for us is not our doom, but our freedom from whatever binds us in life.
Changing Your Tune
Growing pains are typically a mental shift rather than a physical one. To understand and accept the plan God has in place for you, you first must accept that He wants a victorious life for you. Victory comes in many forms, not just the “million dollars and fancy houses”. Victory can be over your health, sobriety, relationships, and so on. Instead of trying to ‘get out of the boiling pot’, lean on God and lean into the discipline of making changes. As my dad says often, “You eat the elephant one bite at a time”. So the next time you feel the boiling temptation of going off course, consult God, accept His plan, and take calculated steps to get there. His Ways are ultimately and infinitely far better than ours.
1Who is this who comes from Edom, from the city of Bozrah, with his clothing stained red? Who is this in royal robes, marching in his great strength? “It is I, the LORD, announcing your salvation! It is I, the LORD, who has the power to save!”
2Why are your clothes so red, as if you have been treading out grapes?
3“I have been treading the winepress alone; no one was there to help me. In my anger I have trampled my enemies as if they were grapes. In my fury I have trampled my foes. Their blood has stained my clothes.
4For the time has come for me to avenge my people, to ransom them from their oppressors.
5I was amazed to see that no one intervened to help the oppressed. So I myself stepped in to save them with my strong arm, and my wrath sustained me.
6I crushed the nations in my anger and made them stagger and fall to the ground, spilling their blood upon the earth.”
7I will tell of the LORD ’s unfailing love. I will praise the LORD for all he has done. I will rejoice in his great goodness to Israel, which he has granted according to his mercy and love.
8He said, “They are my very own people. Surely they will not betray me again.” And he became their Savior.
9In all their suffering he also suffered, and he personally rescued them. In his love and mercy he redeemed them. He lifted them up and carried them through all the years.
10But they rebelled against him and grieved his Holy Spirit. So he became their enemy and fought against them.
11Then they remembered those days of old when Moses led his people out of Egypt. They cried out, “Where is the one who brought Israel through the sea, with Moses as their shepherd? Where is the one who sent his Holy Spirit to be among his people?
12Where is the one whose power was displayed when Moses lifted up his hand— the one who divided the sea before them, making himself famous forever?
13Where is the one who led them through the bottom of the sea? They were like fine stallions racing through the desert, never stumbling.
14As with cattle going down into a peaceful valley, the Spirit of the LORD gave them rest. You led your people, LORD, and gained a magnificent reputation.”
15LORD, look down from heaven; look from your holy, glorious home, and see us. Where is the passion and the might you used to show on our behalf? Where are your mercy and compassion now?
16Surely you are still our Father! Even if Abraham and Jacob would disown us, LORD, you would still be our Father. You are our Redeemer from ages past.
17LORD, why have you allowed us to turn from your path? Why have you given us stubborn hearts so we no longer fear you? Return and help us, for we are your servants, the tribes that are your special possession.
18How briefly your holy people possessed your holy place, and now our enemies have destroyed it.
19Sometimes it seems as though we never belonged to you, as though we had never been known as your people.
“Though we believe without seeing, there is nothing blind about following Jesus.”~TB
When you don’t have a relationship with God it’s easy to think that those who do just blindly follow the teachings of Christ. As if Christians live some cherry pie existence, blissfully and ignorantly enjoying life without troubles. Oh, but if they only knew. Having a an authentic relationship with Christ requires you to ask questions, have doubts, air grievances, complain, moan, mumble, etc. No, to follow Christ isn’t blind, it requires you to keep your eyes and ears open to experience the wisdom that only comes from Him.
The Truth is, though we cannot see in the natural world, God guides us spiritually, helping us to see in other ways. Through Him, we are connected to each other. Through those relationships, we can see how God impacts each and everyone of us. Of course, you must see, hear, and ask these things of God so that you too can see the patterns of His love through us. It is so important to have honest communication with your brothers and sisters in Christ, so that the babes develop their sight and that the wise don’t go blind from bitterness in the trenches. It is the Truth of the Lord that removes the scales of the world to see what is really going on.
Are you blinded by the world?
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Song of Solomon 3
1One night as I lay in bed, I yearned for my lover. I yearned for him, but he did not come.
2So I said to myself, “I will get up and roam the city, searching in all its streets and squares. I will search for the one I love.” So I searched everywhere but did not find him.
3The watchmen stopped me as they made their rounds, and I asked, “Have you seen the one I love?”
4Then scarcely had I left them when I found my love! I caught and held him tightly, then I brought him to my mother’s house, into my mother’s bed, where I had been conceived.
5Promise me, O women of Jerusalem, by the gazelles and wild deer, not to awaken love until the time is right.
6Who is this sweeping in from the wilderness like a cloud of smoke? Who is it, fragrant with myrrh and frankincense and every kind of spice?
7Look, it is Solomon’s carriage, surrounded by sixty heroic men, the best of Israel’s soldiers.
8They are all skilled swordsmen, experienced warriors. Each wears a sword on his thigh, ready to defend the king against an attack in the night.
9King Solomon’s carriage is built of wood imported from Lebanon.
10Its posts are silver, its canopy gold; its cushions are purple. It was decorated with love by the young women of Jerusalem.
11Come out to see King Solomon, young women of Jerusalem. He wears the crown his mother gave him on his wedding day, his most joyous day
“The enemy will always attack you in your weakest area. The beauty of this is that you know his strategy.”~TB
The devil’s job is to get you off task, off focus, and offline so that you reject the truth and do his bidding. As such, his sneaky underhanded tactics are visceral, jarring, and strategic. He will use any deceptive practice that is the most effective in getting you to stumble. Now, this may seem discouraging. Your weaknesses and footholds will always be where he’ll hit you the hardest. It’s not his job to make your walk with Christ easy, in fact, it’s the total opposite. While you may experience attacks, setbacks, and discouragement, the devil’s unfair play makes it easy to recognize his strategy. Further, if the devil is messing with you so intensely, know it’s because you’re disrupting his plans for discord and destruction. He’ll never go after the lukewarm, so stand firm in Christ and keep moving.
Knowing how the opposition will attack you is like having his playbook to prepare against his moves. Take stock of your weaknesses, vices, and footholds. Knowing your greatest areas of opportunity is the first step in discerning how the opposition is going to attack you. When you experience opposition of any kind, take a step back, calm your feelings, and observe what is going on around you. Remember who made you and that He is available to help you always. Ask God for help in revealing the playing field and the best plan of action to rise above the opposition’s nonsense. Know that the evil one cannot take your salvation and standing with Christ. The best plan of attack is to acknowledge your weak points, ask God for help, and do the work in improving your walk with Christ. Remember, in times of trouble, double down in your faith and not your own understanding. Though you may stumble, God will not let you fall.
Are you using the playbook or are you falling prey to the oppositions dirty tactics?
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1These are more proverbs of Solomon, collected by the advisers of King Hezekiah of Judah.
2It is God’s privilege to conceal things and the king’s privilege to discover them.
3No one can comprehend the height of heaven, the depth of the earth, or all that goes on in the king’s mind!
4Remove the impurities from silver, and the sterling will be ready for the silversmith.
5Remove the wicked from the king’s court, and his reign will be made secure by justice.
6Don’t demand an audience with the king or push for a place among the great.
7It’s better to wait for an invitation to the head table than to be sent away in public disgrace. Just because you’ve seen something,
8don’t be in a hurry to go to court. For what will you do in the end if your neighbor deals you a shameful defeat?
9When arguing with your neighbor, don’t betray another person’s secret.
10Others may accuse you of gossip, and you will never regain your good reputation.
11Timely advice is lovely, like golden apples in a silver basket.
12To one who listens, valid criticism is like a gold earring or other gold jewelry.
13Trustworthy messengers refresh like snow in summer. They revive the spirit of their employer.
14A person who promises a gift but doesn’t give it is like clouds and wind that bring no rain.
15Patience can persuade a prince, and soft speech can break bones.
16Do you like honey? Don’t eat too much, or it will make you sick!
17Don’t visit your neighbors too often, or you will wear out your welcome.
18Telling lies about others is as harmful as hitting them with an ax, wounding them with a sword, or shooting them with a sharp arrow.
19Putting confidence in an unreliable person in times of trouble is like chewing with a broken tooth or walking on a lame foot.
20Singing cheerful songs to a person with a heavy heart is like taking someone’s coat in cold weather or pouring vinegar in a wound.
21If your enemies are hungry, give them food to eat. If they are thirsty, give them water to drink.
22You will heap burning coals of shame on their heads, and the LORD will reward you.
23As surely as a north wind brings rain, so a gossiping tongue causes anger!
24It’s better to live alone in the corner of an attic than with a quarrelsome wife in a lovely home.
25Good news from far away is like cold water to the thirsty.
26If the godly give in to the wicked, it’s like polluting a fountain or muddying a spring.
27It’s not good to eat too much honey, and it’s not good to seek honors for yourself.
28A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls.
“I’m slowly learning how to adjust my lens and settings on my camera of life as things change like seasonsso that I can clearly see the different colors, texture, shapes, and sizes to live God’s wonderful lifestyle on this Green Earth.”~ Jon Barnes
Occasionally, you’ll see a rainbow on a wonderfully clear day and enjoy the contrast before, during, and after the storm. The real challenge is to enjoy all aspects of the lesson God is teaching you through each cycle and test. Smile and be pleasant through your daily struggles and always try to be kind in your challenging moments.Each day you will be challenged, so expect this and meet your challenges with the angelic staff of God in your hands, the Bible in your heart, Scriptures on your tongue and Holy Spirit chapters scrolling in your mind at all times, with prayer and thanksgiving to God.
The rain does not activate or deactivate your fervent prayers, mindset, heart set, or bridled tongue during the stormy or sunny days of the week. Challenges adjust to God and His plans as they will adjust to you, as you follow God in His Plans. Miraculous, unexpected changes will be made right before your eyes. The problem stems from putting your plans ahead of God and not recognizing the main stage of events. The smaller stages are off to the side and must be completed after you tend to the main event and execute God’s Plan. God’s Plans are never rained out or canceled due to bad weather, as each activity has a test to pass or you’ll be stuck in the same activities.
The sun can shine through the storm at any minute, as God sees fit, and you will enjoy the rainbow at all stages of your life when you are kind while walking with God. Your loving smile and face should always look like Jesus is taking care of it all and by faith, weather conditions are an asset, not a threat. There is no need to fear wickedness when God is with you.Keep your spiritual settings adjusted to God’s lens so that you can always see His Rainbow wherever you may go and share that spirit of hope and love with each step you take. Bless God!
Did you adjust your lens to see God and His Rainbow permanently in your repentance, faith, work, walk, talk, thinking, praying, fasting, and thanksgiving?
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11 “You must love the Lord your God and always obey his requirements, decrees, regulations, and commands.2 Keep in mind that I am not talking now to your children, who have never experienced the discipline of the Lord your God or seen his greatness and his strong hand and powerful arm.3 They didn’t see the miraculous signs and wonders he performed in Egypt against Pharaoh and all his land.4 They didn’t see what the Lord did to the armies of Egypt and to their horses and chariots—how he drowned them in the Red Sea[a] as they were chasing you. He destroyed them, and they have not recovered to this very day!
5 “Your children didn’t see how the Lord cared for you in the wilderness until you arrived here.6 They didn’t see what he did to Dathan and Abiram (the sons of Eliab, a descendant of Reuben) when the earth opened its mouth in the Israelite camp and swallowed them, along with their households and tents and every living thing that belonged to them.7 But you have seen the Lord perform all these mighty deeds with your own eyes!
The Blessings of Obedience
8 “Therefore, be careful to obey every command I am giving you today, so you may have strength to go in and take over the land you are about to enter.9 If you obey, you will enjoy a long life in the land the Lord swore to give to your ancestors and to you, their descendants—a land flowing with milk and honey!10 For the land you are about to enter and take over is not like the land of Egypt from which you came, where you planted your seed and made irrigation ditches with your foot as in a vegetable garden.11 Rather, the land you will soon take over is a land of hills and valleys with plenty of rain—12 a land that the Lord your God cares for. He watches over it through each season of the year!
13 “If you carefully obey the commands I am giving you today, and if you love the Lord your God and serve him with all your heart and soul,14 then he will send the rains in their proper seasons—the early and late rains—so you can bring in your harvests of grain, new wine, and olive oil.15 He will give you lush pastureland for your livestock, and you yourselves will have all you want to eat.
16 “But be careful. Don’t let your heart be deceived so that you turn away from the Lord and serve and worship other gods.17 If you do, the Lord’s anger will burn against you. He will shut up the sky and hold back the rain, and the ground will fail to produce its harvests. Then you will quickly die in that good land the Lord is giving you.
18 “So commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these words of mine. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders.19 Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.20 Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates,21 so that as long as the sky remains above the earth, you and your children may flourish in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors.
22 “Be careful to obey all these commands I am giving you. Show love to the Lordyour God by walking in his ways and holding tightly to him.23 Then the Lord will drive out all the nations ahead of you, though they are much greater and stronger than you, and you will take over their land.24 Wherever you set foot, that land will be yours. Your frontiers will stretch from the wilderness in the south to Lebanon in the north, and from the Euphrates River in the east to the Mediterranean Sea in the west.[b]25 No one will be able to stand against you, for the Lord your God will cause the people to fear and dread you, as he promised, wherever you go in the whole land.
26 “Look, today I am giving you the choice between a blessing and a curse!27 You will be blessed if you obey the commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today.28 But you will be cursed if you reject the commands of the Lord your God and turn away from him and worship gods you have not known before.
29 “When the Lord your God brings you into the land and helps you take possession of it, you must pronounce the blessing at Mount Gerizim and the curse at Mount Ebal.30 (These two mountains are west of the Jordan River in the land of the Canaanites who live in the Jordan Valley,[c] near the town of Gilgal, not far from the oaks of Moreh.)31 For you are about to cross the Jordan River to take over the land the Lord your God is giving you. When you take that land and are living in it,32 you must be careful to obey all the decrees and regulations I am giving you today.
“Don’t allow yourselves to become frozen in fear by your trials as they are a stealthy attack to stop you from doing good.” ~Taryn Barnes
When we allow fear to plague our hearts and minds, we stop relying on God and start obsessing over our personal circumstances. Like ice coursing through our veins, our progress, and good works come to a halt, frozen in time, while evil enjoys the temporary setback. Though there are times where we lose battles, we must always remember the war has already been won.
Melt away your fear by remembering who made you. We are all capable of finishing our race in victory when we lean on God’s principles and not our own understanding. When we focus on the forest and not the individual trees, then we can see the stumbling ice blocks for what they really are, desperate attempts from a losing team.
Question of the day
Are you using the heat lamp of God’s word to melt away your fear?
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Numbers 20 NIV
Water From the Rock
1In the first month the whole Israelite community arrived at the Desert of Zin, and they stayed at Kadesh. There Miriam died and was buried. 2Now there was no water for the community, and the people gathered in opposition to Moses and Aaron. 3They quarreled with Moses and said, “If only we had died when our brothers fell dead before the LORD! 4Why did you bring the LORD’s community into this wilderness, that we and our livestock should die here? 5Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to this terrible place? It has no grain or figs, grapevines or pomegranates. And there is no water to drink!” 6Moses and Aaron went from the assembly to the entrance to the tent of meeting and fell facedown, and the glory of the LORD appeared to them. 7The LORD said to Moses, 8“Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink.”9So Moses took the staff from the LORD’s presence, just as he commanded him. 10He and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, “Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?” 11Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank.12But the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.” 13These were the waters of Meribah, where the Israelites quarreled with the LORD and where he was proved holy among them.
Edom Denies Israel Passage
14Moses sent messengers from Kadesh to the king of Edom, saying: “This is what your brother Israel says: You know about all the hardships that have come on us. 15Our ancestors went down into Egypt, and we lived there many years. The Egyptians mistreated us and our ancestors, 16but when we cried out to the LORD, he heard our cry and sent an angel and brought us out of Egypt. “Now we are here at Kadesh, a town on the edge of your territory. 17Please let us pass through your country. We will not go through any field or vineyard, or drink water from any well. We will travel along the King’s Highway and not turn to the right or to the left until we have passed through your territory.” 18But Edom answered: “You may not pass through here; if you try, we will march out and attack you with the sword.” 19The Israelites replied: “We will go along the main road, and if we or our livestock drink any of your water, we will pay for it. We only want to pass through on foot—nothing else.” 20Again they answered: “You may not pass through.” Then Edom came out against them with a large and powerful army. 21Since Edom refused to let them go through their territory, Israel turned away from them.
The Death of Aaron
22The whole Israelite community set out from Kadesh and came to Mount Hor. 23At Mount Hor, near the border of Edom, the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, 24“Aaron will be gathered to his people. He will not enter the land I give the Israelites, because both of you rebelled against my command at the waters of Meribah. 25Get Aaron and his son Eleazar and take them up Mount Hor. 26Remove Aaron’s garments and put them on his son Eleazar, for Aaron will be gathered to his people; he will die there.” 27Moses did as the LORD commanded: They went up Mount Hor in the sight of the whole community. 28Moses removed Aaron’s garments and put them on his son Eleazar. And Aaron died there on top of the mountain. Then Moses and Eleazar came down from the mountain, 29and when the whole community learned that Aaron had died, all the Israelites mourned for him thirty days.
“When you pass your test, it is fun learning something new about yourself, as God reveal and heals your flaws to build your character, insight, and wisdom with Love and challenges.” ~ Jon Barnes
Every second you live brings about new challenges and opportunities to love people. God loves everyone, particularly those who love Him back! Since God’s love created all things and our being, the challenge is to remember we didn’t create ourselves or the Universe.
Melt your mind with God and begin to think like Him to enjoy your victory status of humility, honesty, and integrity with your good work and faith. Melt this mind set with your job and lifestyle to obey and please God each day locally and globally.
The sound of your success is in each step you take with God each day, with thanksgiving and awe. Enjoying the little times shared will add up to a lifetime of splendor and amazement to reflect upon. Continue to do what works and avoid the stuff that doesn’t.
Are you prepared for victory or are you preparing for a losing battle of lust, greed, wickedness, and destruction?
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The Lord Reveals Himself at Sinai
19 Exactly two months after the Israelites left Egypt,[a] they arrived in the wilderness of Sinai.2 After breaking camp at Rephidim, they came to the wilderness of Sinai and set up camp there at the base of Mount Sinai.
3 Then Moses climbed the mountain to appear before God. The Lord called to him from the mountain and said, “Give these instructions to the family of Jacob; announce it to the descendants of Israel:4 ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians. You know how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself.5 Now if you will obey me and keep my covenant, you will be my own special treasure from among all the peoples on earth; for all the earth belongs to me.6 And you will be my kingdom of priests, my holy nation.’ This is the message you must give to the people of Israel.”
7 So Moses returned from the mountain and called together the elders of the people and told them everything the Lord had commanded him.8 And all the people responded together, “We will do everything the Lord has commanded.” So Moses brought the people’s answer back to the Lord.
9 Then the Lord said to Moses, “I will come to you in a thick cloud, Moses, so the people themselves can hear me when I speak with you. Then they will always trust you.”
Moses told the Lord what the people had said.10 Then the Lord told Moses, “Go down and prepare the people for my arrival. Consecrate them today and tomorrow, and have them wash their clothing.11 Be sure they are ready on the third day, for on that day the Lord will come down on Mount Sinai as all the people watch.12 Mark off a boundary all around the mountain. Warn the people, ‘Be careful! Do not go up on the mountain or even touch its boundaries. Anyone who touches the mountain will certainly be put to death.13 No hand may touch the person or animal that crosses the boundary; instead, stone them or shoot them with arrows. They must be put to death.’ However, when the ram’s horn sounds a long blast, then the people may go up on the mountain.[b]”
14 So Moses went down to the people. He consecrated them for worship, and they washed their clothes.15 He told them, “Get ready for the third day, and until then abstain from having sexual intercourse.”
16 On the morning of the third day, thunder roared and lightning flashed, and a dense cloud came down on the mountain. There was a long, loud blast from a ram’s horn, and all the people trembled.17 Moses led them out from the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain.18 All of Mount Sinai was covered with smoke because the Lord had descended on it in the form of fire. The smoke billowed into the sky like smoke from a brick kiln, and the whole mountain shook violently.19 As the blast of the ram’s horn grew louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God thundered his reply.20 The Lord came down on the top of Mount Sinai and called Moses to the top of the mountain. So Moses climbed the mountain.
21 Then the Lord told Moses, “Go back down and warn the people not to break through the boundaries to see the Lord, or they will die.22 Even the priests who regularly come near to the Lord must purify themselves so that the Lord does not break out and destroy them.”
23 “But Lord,” Moses protested, “the people cannot come up to Mount Sinai. You already warned us. You told me, ‘Mark off a boundary all around the mountain to set it apart as holy.’”
24 But the Lord said, “Go down and bring Aaron back up with you. In the meantime, do not let the priests or the people break through to approach the Lord, or he will break out and destroy them.”
25 So Moses went down to the people and told them what the Lord had said.