FEBRUARY 26-28

Genesis 16:1-12 - Ishmael and His Descendants (the Arab Nation)

Verse 1: "Now Sarai
[Sarah] Abram's [Abraham's] wife bare him no children [was childless]: and she had an handmaid [a servant], an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar."

Verse 2: "And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing
[i.e., God has prevented me from becoming pregnant]: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened [listened] to the voice of Sarai."

Verses 3-4: "And Sarai Abram's wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife. And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived
[got pregnant]: and when she [Hagar] saw [realized] that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes [i.e., she hated Sarah]."

Verse 5: "And
[blaming him for her problems,] Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong be upon thee: I have given my maid into thy bosom [for marriage and sex]; and when she [Hagar] saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes [she hated me]: the LORD judge between me and thee [between you and me]."

Verse 6: "But Abram said unto Sarai, Behold, thy maid
[referring to Hagar's fate] is in thy hand; do to her as it pleaseth thee. And when Sarai dealt hardly [harshly, cruelly, unkindly] with her [Hagar], she fled from her face [Hagar ran away from home]."

Verse 7: "And the angel of the LORD
[probably referring to an appearance of Jesus Christ, the Son of God] found her [Hagar] by a fountain of water in the wilderness [the uninhabited land between Egypt and Canaan], by the fountain in [on] the way to Shur."

Verses 8-9: "And he
[the angel] said, Hagar, Sarai's maid, whence camest thou [where did you come from]? and whither wilt thou go [where will you go]? And she said, I flee from the face [presence] of my mistress Sarai. And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Return to thy mistress [Sarah], and submit thyself under her hands [humble yourself, and serve and obey her]."

Verse 10: "And the angel of the LORD said unto her
[Hagar], I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, [so] that it shall not be numbered for multitude [meaning she would have so many offspring, or descendants, that they couldn't be counted because of their large number]."

Verse 11: "And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child
[you are pregnant], and shalt bear [give birth to] a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard [about] thy affliction [your pain and suffering]."

Verse 12: "And he
[Ishmael] will be a wild man [fierce, untamed (uncontrollable), violent]; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand [will be] against him [i.e., his descendants will always be at war with other people]; and he shall dwell [live] [in Saudi Arabia and other countries in the Middle East, especially in Bible times] in the presence of all his brethren [relatives]."

FEBRUARY 25

Matthew 26:41
[In the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus said to Peter, James, and John, who went there with him and had fallen asleep while he prayed]: "Watch [be on your guard] and pray [to God], that ye enter not into temptation [that you won't yield to or be overcome by temptation to sin; in this case, referring to future events, like Peter denying three times that he knew Jesus]: the spirit [your mind and heart] indeed is willing [to bear the trials of your faith], but the flesh [human nature] is weak."

Jesus' advice to his disciples also applies to us.

FEBRUARY 24

2 Corinthians 9:7: "Every man
[and woman and child] according as he [or she] purposeth in his [or her] heart [i.e., in whatever way (including how much) he or she wants to give to others--money, assistance, gifts, etc.], so let him [or her] give; not grudgingly [unwillingly], or of necessity [because he or she has to do it]: for God loveth a cheerful giver."

Giving should be done voluntarily and cheerfully.

FEBRUARY 23

2 Peter 3:9: "The Lord
[Jesus Christ] is not slack concerning [is not slow in fulfilling or keeping] his promise [to return to earth--see note below*], as some men [people] count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward [he is patient toward us], not willing that any[one] should perish [be tormented in hell], but that all [everyone] should come to repentance [should change their minds, from rejection of Christ to faith in Christ, and be saved]."

One of these days, without advance warning, Jesus will come to earth a second time … and then it will be too late to be saved. Consequently, if you want to be saved (and live in heaven when you die), you should do it now.

For a detailed explanation of the plan of salvation, please read one or more of the gospel tracts on my website. You'll find them here: https://www.mansioninheaven.com/PrintableGospelTracts.html.
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*Jesus' return to earth (referred to as "the second coming") is explained in the following articles:

-- "What is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ?"
    (https://www.gotquestions.org/second-coming-Jesus-Christ.html)
-- "What is the difference between the Rapture and the Second Coming?"
    (https://www.gotquestions.org/difference-Rapture-Second-Coming.html)
-- "What is the end times timeline?"
    (https://www.gotquestions.org/end-times-timeline.html)
-- "Surviving the end times - what do I need to know?"
    (https://www.gotquestions.org/surviving-end-times.html)

FEBRUARY 22

Isaiah 55:10-11 - The Gospel is Never Preached in Vain
Speaking through his prophet Isaiah, God said:

Verse 10: "For as the rain cometh down [from heaven, meaning the clouds in the sky], and the snow [also comes down] from heaven, and returneth not thither [they don't go back up in the same form (i.e., as rain and snow)], but [they] watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth [plants and flowers] and [cause them to] bud [sprout, germinate], [so] that it may give seed to the sower, and [provide] bread to the eater [food for animals and people]:"

Verse 11: "So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth
[referring to the gospel and truth, as revealed in the Bible]: it shall not return unto me void [empty, without results], but it shall accomplish that which I [God] please [take pleasure in, intend], and it shall prosper [succeed, thrive, flourish] in the thing [purpose] whereto [to which] I sent it."

FEBRUARY 21

Isaiah 55:8-9
[This concerns everything, but mainly forgiveness, especially the forgiveness of sin]: "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens [the visible heaven, or starry skies] are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher [greater] than your ways, and [so are] my thoughts [higher, or greater] than your thoughts."

Albert Barnes has some excellent examples of human forgiveness versus God's forgiveness in his commentary on verse 8, which says, in part:

"1. People find it difficult to pardon at all. They harbor malice; they seek revenge; they are slow to forgive an injury. Not so with God. He harbors no malice; he has no desire of revenge; he has no reluctance to forgive.

"2. It may refer to the number of offences. People, if they forgive once, are slow to forgive a second time, and still more reluctant to forgive a third time, and if the offence is often repeated they refuse to forgive altogether. Not so with God. No matter how often we have violated his law, yet be can multiply forgiveness in proportion to our faults.

"3. The number of the offenders. People may pardon one or a few who injure them, but if the number is greatly increased, their compassions are closed, and they feel that the world is arrayed against them. Not so with God. No matter how numerous the offenders - though they embrace the inhabitants of the whole world - yet he can extend forgiveness to them all.

"4. In regard to the aggravation of offences. People forgive a slight injury. However, if it is aggravated, they are slow to pardon. But not so with God. No matter bow aggravated the offence, he is ready to forgive. It may be added:

"5. That his thoughts in regard to the mode of pardon are far above ours. The plan of forgiveness through a Redeemer - the scheme of pardon so fully illustrated in Isaiah 53:1-12, and on which the reasoning of the prophet here is based - is as far above any of the modes of pardon among people, as the heavens are above the earth. The scheme which contemplated the incarnation of the Son of God; which proffered forgiveness only through his substituted sufferings, and in virtue of his bitter death, was one which man could not have thought of, and which surpasses all the schemes and plans of people. In this respect, God's ways are not, our ways, and his thoughts are not our thoughts."

(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/isaiah-55.html, "Verse 8")

FEBRUARY 20

Proverbs 20:1: "Wine is a mocker
[it causes stupid behavior], strong drink is raging [it causes bad behavior]: and whosoever is deceived thereby [whoever is fooled, led astray, or misled by intoxicating beverages] is not wise."

In other words, those who drink too much sometimes do foolish things, which causes others to ridicule or make fun of them. It can also cause tempers to flare, which usually results in arguments or fights, such as barroom brawls.

Salem Bible Church has an excellent commentary on this verse, including an explanation of how wine was used in Bible times (as a water purifier, medicine, etc.) and examples of the stupid things that people do when they're drunk. If you want to read it, here's the link: www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-20-index/proverbs-20_1/.

FEBRUARY 19

1 Corinthians 13:12
[In a letter to the church at Corinth, the apostle Paul wrote]: "For now [while we're here on earth,] we see through a glass [such as a foggy mirror or frosted window], darkly [imperfectly]; but then [when we get to heaven,] [we'll see clearly because we'll be] face to face [with everything and everyone]: now I know [about people and things] in part; but then shall I know [all about them] even as also [just as] I am known [in a personal way by God]."

In this verse, Paul was explaining to Christians the difference between earthly and heavenly knowledge and understanding.

FEBRUARY 18

Psalm 119:18
[A prayer to God, probably from King David]: "Open thou mine eyes [my spiritual eyes], [so] that I may behold [read and understand] wondrous things out of thy law [the wonderful, delightful, marvelous things that are written in the Bible]."

In commenting on spiritual blindness, T. Guthrie (in Speaking to the Heart) wrote:

"III. The eyes of the blind being opened, they behold wondrous things out of the law of God. Open a blind man's eyes. With what amazement, happiness, overflowing joy, will he gaze, nor tire gazing, on all above and around him, from the sun blazing in heaven to the tiniest flower that springs in beauty at his feet! And let God open a sinner's eyes, the Bible will seem to him a new book, and he seem to himself a new creature. He will see his heart, and wonder at its wickedness. He will see the Saviour, and wonder at His love. He will see how God has spared him, and wonder at His longsuffering. He will see salvation as the one thing needful, and wonder he could have taken a night's rest, ventured to close his eyes in sleep, till he had found peace with God."

(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/psalms/119-18.html, "Sermon Bible Commentary")

FEBRUARY 17

Proverbs 17:23: "A wicked man
[person] taketh a gift out of the bosom [from a hidden pocket, meaning that he or she offers or accepts bribes (money, gifts, promises, etc.)] to pervert the ways of judgment [to prevent justice from taking place or secrets from being revealed]."

Bad people give and take bribes.

Salem Bible Church has a good commentary on this verse. In it, Pastor Delany says, "Every offer of a bribe… every temptation to be dishonest is a test of our character."

If you want to read the commentary, here's the link: www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-17-index/proverbs-17_23/.

FEBRUARY 16

Romans 3:28
[In a letter to the Christians in Rome, the apostle Paul wrote]: "Therefore [referring to what he said in the preceding verses (i.e., that we are all sinners and can't save ourselves)] we conclude that a man [person] is justified [declared righteous in God's sight, or saved] by faith [in the Lord Jesus Christ; i.e., by believing that Jesus died on the cross to pay for our sins and by receiving him as Savior] without the deeds of the law [of Moses, referring to God's moral law; in other words, we're saved by faith, not by doing good works or obeying the Ten Commandments]."

It goes without saying that everyone, especially Christians, should always obey the law and do good deeds. However, the point of the above verse is that we can only be saved (born again) through faith (by believing that Jesus shed his blood on the cross to pay for our sins and by trusting him as Savior), not by doing good things. Paul confirms this fact and tells us why in the following verses:

-- Ephesians 2:8-9: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."

Justification by faith is explained very well in the following article: "Why is justification by faith such an important doctrine?" If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/justification-by-faith.html.

FEBRUARY 15

Proverbs 15:16: "Better is
[having a] little [money] with the fear of the LORD than [having] great treasure [lots of money] [without the fear of God,] and trouble therewith [having trouble along with it]."

According to Pastor Delany of Salem Bible Church, this is one of the "better than" proverbs that help us make good decisions. Here, we're told that it's better to choose a little with the fear of God than a lot without it.

In paragraph 4 of his commentary on this verse, Pastor asks us to consider what we would do if faced with the following options:

"b. When you have been out of work and are desperate for a job, and have an opportunity for a good job IF you embellish your resume… would you do it?"

"c. Or, your boss offers you a promotion with a huge pay increase, BUT it requires working every Sunday."

Although some people in the Bible were rich and did fear God (King Solomon is one of them), many others chose great treasure instead of the fear of God. In paragraph 5, the commentary says:

"e. Treasures obtained by abandoning the fear of the Lord come with strings attached… a heavy price…
"→ Consider Lot-choosing the land that was lush: Sodom. He had to flee for his life.
"→ Consider Achan who coveted riches and was stoned to death.
"→ Consider Gehazi, the servant of Elisha who did not fear God but chose mammon-and was smitten with leprosy!
"→ Consider Ananias and Saphira-who did not fear God, but coveted wealth… and were struck dead by God. THEN the church walked in the fear of God and was multiplied!"

If you want to read the commentary, here's the link: www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-15-index/proverbs-15_16/.

FEBRUARY 14

Ephesians 5:25: "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ
[Jesus] also loved the church [which includes all believers (saved people, born-again Christians)], and gave himself for it [which happened when Jesus willingly sacrificed his life on the cross to redeem, or save, the members of his church from hell and give them eternal life in heaven];"

Following the example of Jesus and his church, Christian husbands should do their best to love, support, and protect their wives and help them get saved.

You may be wondering what the "church" is and why it's sometimes called the "bride of Christ." The following articles should answer those questions:

-- "What is the church?"
    (https://www.gotquestions.org/what-is-the-church.html)
-- "What does it mean that the church is the bride of Christ?"
    (https://www.gotquestions.org/bride-of-Christ.html)

Another article ("What is eros love?") describes the different kinds of love (eros, philia, storge, and agapé) found in the Bible. If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/eros-love.html.

FEBRUARY 13

Jeremiah 17:9-10 - We Can't Fool God!

Verse 9: "The heart
[or mind, which is the source of our thoughts and actions, emotions, desires, etc.] is deceitful [dishonest, untrustworthy, misleading] above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? [Answer: Nobody but God.]"

Verse 10: "I the LORD search
[examine] the heart, I try the reins [test the people], even to give [rewards or punishment to] every man [and woman and child] according to his [or her] ways, and according to the fruit of his [or her] doings."

In other words, God knows our hearts (our true character) and judges us--and will reward, discipline, correct, and/or punish us--according to everything that we think, say, and do during the course of our lives.

Unsaved people must pay (be punished) for their own sins, so when they die, they end up in hell and the lake of fire:

-- Revelation 20:12-14: "And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God [on judgment day]; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death."

-- Revelation 21:8: "But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death."

-- Revelation: 20:15: "And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."

Jesus has already paid for the sins of all born-again Christians, so after salvation, we may occasionally need to be disciplined or corrected by God, but we'll never be sent to hell or the lake of fire. This is explained in the article entitled "Does God punish us when we sin?" If you want to read it, here's the link:
https://www.gotquestions.org/God-punish-sin.html.

FEBRUARY 12

Matthew 7:24-27 - Build Your House Upon a Firm Foundation (the "Spiritual Rock," Jesus)
Near the end of his sermon on the mount (which can be found in the book of Matthew, Chapters 5-7), Jesus said:

Verses 24-25: "Therefore whosoever [whoever] heareth these sayings of mine [referring to everything that Jesus taught during his time on earth, not only what was preached during his sermon on the mount], and doeth them [obeys his words, does what Jesus says], I will liken him unto [Jesus will compare him (or her) to] a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended [came down from the sky], and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not [it didn't fall down, or collapse]: for it was founded [built] upon a rock."

Verses 26-27: "And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not
[does not obey Jesus' words, or do what he says], shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it."

GotQuestions.org has an article that answers the question, "What does it mean that the wise man built his house upon a rock?" If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/wise-man-built-house-rock.html.

FEBRUARY 11

Luke 16:15: "And he
[Jesus] said unto them [the Pharisees*], Ye [you] are they which justify yourselves [attempt to appear just, or righteous (morally right)] before men [people]; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed [respected and admired] among men [human beings] is abomination [disgusting and hated] in the sight of God [see note below**]."
_________________________

*Pharisees were members of a religious sect (group) who considered themselves to be more righteous than other Jews. They believed in strict observance of religious ceremonies and practices and in adherence to oral laws and traditions. They also believed in an afterlife and the coming of a Messiah. Jesus made the above statement because they had mocked him (made fun of something he said) while he was preaching to his disciples (followers).

**According to Albert Barnes, "… There are many things esteemed among people which are 'not' abomination in the sight of God; as, for example, truth, parental and filial affection, industry, etc. But many things, much sought and admired, 'are' hateful in his sight. The love of wealth and show, ambition and pride, frivolous and splendid vices, and all the wickedness that people contrive to 'gild' and to make appear like virtue - external acts that 'appear' well while the heart is evil - are abominable in the sight of God, and 'should be' in the sight of people …"

(Source for quote:
https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/luke-16.html, "Verse 14-15")

FEBRUARY 10

Psalm 11:5: "The LORD trieth the righteous
[God puts Christians through trials to prove their sincerity, love, and faithfulness to him]: but the wicked [morally bad or evil person] and him [or her] that loveth violence his soul [i.e., God] hateth."

God allows Christians to go through difficult times to test their faith, but he punishes wicked and violent people.

FEBRUARY 9

2 Corinthians 5:10
[In a letter to the Corinthian church, the apostle Paul (along with Timothy) wrote]: "For we [born-again Christians] must all appear [in heaven] before the judgment seat of [Jesus] Christ; [so] that every one may receive [rewards, or what is due, for] the things [that were] done in his [or her] body, according to that [which] he [or she] hath done [on earth, during his or her lifetime], whether it be good [meaningful] or bad [worthless] [to God]."

During this judgment, all born-again Christians will receive rewards (in the form of crowns), or will lose rewards, based on their obedience to God's word and how faithfully and selflessly (unselfishly) they served God after they got saved.

There is an excellent explanation of this verse in an article entitled "Judgment Seat of Christ." If you want to read it, here's the link: http://www.raptureready.com/judgment-seat-of-christ/.

One Bible commentator wrote: "The judgment seat of Christ might be compared to a commencement ceremony. At graduation there is some measure of disappointment and remorse that one did not do better and work harder. However, at such an event the overwhelming emotion is joy, not remorse. The graduates do not leave the auditorium weeping because they did not earn better grades. Rather, they are thankful that they have been graduated, and they are grateful for what they did achieve …"

(Source for quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/2-corinthians/5-10.html, "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable")

FEBRUARY 8

John 5:39
[Jesus said to the Jews]: "Search the scriptures [carefully study the books of the Bible (or, in this case, the Old Testament, since the New Testament had not yet been written when Jesus spoke these words)]; for [because] in them [the scriptures] ye think ye have eternal life [see note below*]: and they [the scriptures] are they which testify [bear witness] of me [i.e., they prove that I (Jesus) am the Son of God and Messiah]."
_______________

*According to Matthew Henry, at the time that Jesus told them to 'Search the scriptures,' many Jews thought they could gain eternal life by simply reading, studying, and memorizing scripture. This is what his commentary says:

"… It was a common but corrupt saying among them [the Jews], He that has the words of the law has eternal life; they thought they were sure of heaven if they could say by heart, or rather by rote, such and such passages of scripture as they were directed to by the tradition of the elders …"

(Source: https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/john/5.html, "Verses 31-47," "v. 39")

The Jews may have been sincere in their belief that they could get to heaven by memorizing scripture, but they were mistaken. According to the Bible, the only way that a person can be saved is through faith in Christ (i.e., by trusting Jesus as his or her personal Savior). This is stated in different ways throughout the Bible. The following example from the New Testament tells us that salvation is a gift from God and is received by faith:

-- Ephesians 2:8-9: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."

If you want to trust Jesus as your personal Savior but don't know how, please read one or more of the gospel tracts on my website. You'll find them here: https://www.mansioninheaven.com/PrintableGospelTracts.html.

FEBRUARY 7

Proverbs 27:4: "Wrath
[extreme anger, rage] is cruel [without compassion, merciless], and anger is outrageous [intense, overwhelming, and perhaps even uncontrollable]; but who is able to stand before envy [jealousy, especially in a love relationship]?"

The answer to the above question is "No one," since envy is more powerful than wrath. In fact, according to Pastor Jim Delany of Salem Bible Church, envy "can easily become overwhelming and overpowering and results in all kinds of evil works you never thought yourself capable of."

Pastor Delany's commentary on this verse includes many examples of anger, wrath, and envy, with explanations of how those feelings affect us and what to do about them. Here's an excerpt from paragraph 4 on the topic of envy:

"a. When the heart is healthy and wholesome, it has a healthy effect on the body.

"b. When the heart is sick… decayed… rotten with a sin like envy, it too has an effect on the body…
" It is not like medicine, but more like a poison… a disease.
" Envy is like a disease that eats away at your insides.
" It is a killer. It destroys relationships.
" The way to deal with poison in the system is not to tolerate it, but to get rid of it. Deal with it. See it as sin and confess it and forsake it."

If you want to read more of the commentary, here's the link: www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-27-index/proverbs-27_4/

This is how another Bible commentary explained why envy is worse than anger and wrath: "… The angry man avows his anger; the envious or jealous craftily hides it until he gets his opportunity. The angry may possibly be appeased in course of time; the envious or jealous becomes only more exasperated. Envy or jealousy penetrates more deeply, creeps slowly, and cannot be eradicated …"

(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/proverbs/27-4.html, "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged")

FEBRUARY 6

Proverbs 6:6-11 - Lessons From the Ant and the Sluggard (Lazy Person)

Verses 6-8: "Go to
[observe, watch] the ant, thou sluggard [lazy person]; consider her ways [learn from the ant], and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler [without having someone to tell her what to do (i.e., doing things by instinct), the ant], Provideth her meat [searches for food] in the summer, and gathereth her food in the [time of] harvest."

Verse 9: "How long wilt thou
[will you] sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep [wake up and get up]? "

Verses 10-11: "Yet a little sleep, a little slumber
[a period of light sleep (dozing) or inactivity], a little folding of the hands [bringing the hands together] to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth [i.e., step by step, or gradually], and thy want [your inability to have--or buy--the things that you want or need] [shall come suddenly and unexpectedly,] as an armed man [as when a robber attacks a defenseless person and steals his or her possessions]."

According to Pastor Delany of Salem Bible Church, the above verses are about using our time wisely and changing bad habits.

This is what the pastor said in his commentary in response to the question "How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard?" in verse 9:

"HOW LONG is a good question! Every once in a while, it might do us all good to chart out what we do with our time…

" How long do we sleep?
" How long do we lie on the couch and vegetate?
" How long do we sit in front of the TV or computer?
" How long do we spend reading the Word? In prayer?
" After making a chart of how our time is spent, we might see some areas that need prioritizing… rearranging…"

If  you want to read one or both of the commentaries, here are the links:

Verses 6-8: www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-6-index/proverbs-6_6-8/
Verses 9-11: www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-6-index/proverbs-6_9-11/

FEBRUARY 5

Romans 12:18: "If it be possible, as much as lieth in you
[as long as it's within your power (ability) to do so], live peaceably [peacefully, in peace] with all men [with everyone]."

Regarding the phrase as much as lieth in you, Albert Barnes said: "This implies two things:

"(1) We are to do our utmost endeavors to preserve peace, and to appease the anger and malice of others.

"(2) we are not to 'begin' or to 'originate' a quarrel.

"So far as 'we' are concerned, we are to seek peace. But then it does not always depend on us. Others may oppose and persecute us; they will hate religion, and may slander, revile, and otherwise injure us; or they may commence an assault on our persons or property. For 'their' assaults we are not answerable; but we are answerable for our conduct toward them; and on no occasion are we to commence a warfare with them. It may not be 'possible' to prevent their injuring and opposing us; but it is possible not to begin a contention with them; and 'when they' have commenced a strife, to seek peace, and to evince a Christian spirit. This command doubtless extends to everything connected with strife; and means that we are not to 'provoke' them to controversy, or to prolong it when it is commenced … If all Christians would follow this command, if they would never 'provoke' to controversy, if they would injure no man by slander or by unfair dealing, if they would compel none to prosecute them in law by lack of punctuality in payment of debts or honesty in business, if they would do nothing to irritate, or to prolong a controversy when it is commenced, it would put an end to no small part of the strife that exists in the world."

(Source:
https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/romans-12.html, "Verse 18")

FEBRUARY 4

Psalm 30:4-5: "Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his
[you born-again Christians], and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness [compassion, goodness, kindness, mercy]. For his [God's] anger endureth [lasts] but a moment [only for a short time]; in his favour is life [both physical life (on earth) and eternal life (in heaven)]: weeping [crying, due to sorrow or grief] may endure for a night [it's only temporary], but joy cometh in the morning [which means that, for Christians, sadness will soon give way to (be followed or replaced by) happiness]."

FEBRUARY 3

Revelation 12:7-9 - Satan and His Angels Are Thrown Out of Heaven
This was part of what the apostle John saw when God gave him a heavenly vision of events that occurred in the past and will occur in the future:

Verses 7-8: "And there was war in heaven: Michael [the archangel, an angel of high rank] and his angels [i.e., the good angels who reported to him] fought against the dragon [Satan]; and the dragon fought and [so did] his [followers--the evil, or rebellious] angels, And [Satan and the bad angels] prevailed not [did not win]; neither was their place found any more in heaven."

Verse 9: "And the great dragon
[Satan] was cast [thrown] out [of heaven], that old serpent [as he had appeared to Eve in the Garden of Eden], [who is also] called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth [hides the truth from and misleads (tricks, fools) everyone in] the whole world [and, thus, leads us into error and sin]: he [Satan] was cast out into the earth, and his angels [who are now called demons] were cast out [of heaven] with him."

FEBRUARY 2

Mark 10:46-52 - Jesus Heals Blind Bartimaeus:

Verse 46: "And they
[Jesus and his disciples] came to Jericho: and as he [Jesus] went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people [a large crowd], blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side [sat on the side of the road,] begging."

Verses 47-48: "And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth
[who was passing by], he began to cry out [shout], and say, [because he believed that Jesus was the Messiah,] Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me. And many [people] charged him [told Bartimaeus] that he should hold his peace [be quiet]: but he cried the more a great deal [shouted even louder], Thou son of David, have mercy on me."

Verses 49-50: "And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort
[cheer up], rise [get up]; he [Jesus] calleth thee. And he [the blind man], casting away his garment [throwing off his loose outer clothing or covering, such as a cape, coat, or blanket], rose, and came to Jesus."

Verses 51-52: "And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee
[what would you have me do for you]?  The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight. And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole [your faith has healed you, spiritually and physically; i.e., it has saved you and restored your sight]. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way [to Jerusalem]."

Concerning the phrase thy faith hath made thee whole in verse 52, one Bible commentator wrote: "Bartimæus' faith was shown, (1) by his going to Jesus; (2) by his belief that Jesus was the Messiah; (3) by persevering against opposition; (4) by casting away all that hindered; (5) by obeying Jesus when he was called; (6) by following and praising him after he was cured." (Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/mark/10-52.html, "People's New Testament")

FEBRUARY 1

Luke 18:9-14 - Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector

Verse 9: "And he
[Jesus] spake this parable [told this story] unto certain [men] which trusted in themselves [who believed that because of their good works] that they were righteous, and [who] despised [hated] others:"

Verse 10: "Two men went up into the temple
[which was located on a hill in Jerusalem] to pray; the one [was] a Pharisee [member of a religious group that taught strict observance of Jewish tradition], and the other [was] a publican [tax collector]."

Verses 11-12: "The Pharisee stood and prayed thus
[like this] with [respect to] himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners [those who take things from others through force or threats], unjust [those who are not fair or honest in their dealings], adulterers [men who are unfaithful to their wives], or even as this publican [who is an admitted sinner]. I fast [go without food] twice in the week [on Monday and Thursday, per Jewish custom], I give tithes [a tenth] of all that I possess [to you (God), via the temple]."

Verse 13: "And the publican, standing afar off
[at a distance from the temple], would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven [would not look up, due to his feelings of guilt, shame, and sorrow], but smote upon his breast [struck (hit) his chest], saying, God be merciful to me a sinner."

Verse 14: "I
[Jesus] tell you, this man [the publican] went down to his house justified [approved and accepted by God, meaning that God had answered his prayer and forgiven his sins] rather than the other [man--the Pharisee]: for [because] every one that exalteth himself [thinks or speaks highly of himself or herself, due to pride] shall be abased [brought low, made humble] [by God]; and he [or she] that humbleth himself [or herself] shall be exalted [lifted up, honored] [by God]."

Previous Verses
February 2018
FEBRUARY 26-28

Genesis 16:1-12 - Ishmael and His Descendants (the Arab Nation)

Verse 1: "Now Sarai
[Sarah] Abram's [Abraham's] wife bare him no children [was childless]: and she had an handmaid [a servant], an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar."

Verse 2: "And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing
[i.e., God has prevented me from becoming pregnant]: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened [listened] to the voice of Sarai."

Verses 3-4: "And Sarai Abram's wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife. And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived
[got pregnant]: and when she [Hagar] saw [realized] that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes [i.e., she hated Sarah]."

Verse 5: "And
[blaming him for her problems,] Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong be upon thee: I have given my maid into thy bosom [for marriage and sex]; and when she [Hagar] saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes [she hated me]: the LORD judge between me and thee [between you and me]."

Verse 6: "But Abram said unto Sarai, Behold, thy maid
[referring to Hagar's fate] is in thy hand; do to her as it pleaseth thee. And when Sarai dealt hardly [harshly, cruelly, unkindly] with her [Hagar], she fled from her face [Hagar ran away from home]."

Verse 7: "And the angel of the LORD
[probably referring to an appearance of Jesus Christ, the Son of God] found her [Hagar] by a fountain of water in the wilderness [the uninhabited land between Egypt and Canaan], by the fountain in [on] the way to Shur."

Verses 8-9: "And he
[the angel] said, Hagar, Sarai's maid, whence camest thou [where did you come from]? and whither wilt thou go [where will you go]? And she said, I flee from the face [presence] of my mistress Sarai. And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Return to thy mistress [Sarah], and submit thyself under her hands [humble yourself, and serve and obey her]."

Verse 10: "And the angel of the LORD said unto her
[Hagar], I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, [so] that it shall not be numbered for multitude [meaning she would have so many offspring, or descendants, that they couldn't be counted because of their large number]."

Verse 11: "And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child
[you are pregnant], and shalt bear [give birth to] a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard [about] thy affliction [your pain and suffering]."

Verse 12: "And he
[Ishmael] will be a wild man [fierce, untamed (uncontrollable), violent]; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand [will be] against him [i.e., his descendants will always be at war with other people]; and he shall dwell [live] [in Saudi Arabia and other countries in the Middle East, especially in Bible times] in the presence of all his brethren [relatives]."

FEBRUARY 25

Matthew 26:41
[In the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus said to Peter, James, and John, who went there with him and had fallen asleep while he prayed]: "Watch [be on your guard] and pray [to God], that ye enter not into temptation [that you won't yield to or be overcome by temptation to sin; in this case, referring to future events, like Peter denying three times that he knew Jesus]: the spirit [your mind and heart] indeed is willing [to bear the trials of your faith], but the flesh [human nature] is weak."

Jesus' advice to his disciples also applies to us.

FEBRUARY 24

2 Corinthians 9:7: "Every man
[and woman and child] according as he [or she] purposeth in his [or her] heart [i.e., in whatever way (including how much) he or she wants to give to others--money, assistance, gifts, etc.], so let him [or her] give; not grudgingly [unwillingly], or of necessity [because he or she has to do it]: for God loveth a cheerful giver."

Giving should be done voluntarily and cheerfully.

FEBRUARY 23

2 Peter 3:9: "The Lord
[Jesus Christ] is not slack concerning [is not slow in fulfilling or keeping] his promise [to return to earth--see note below*], as some men [people] count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward [he is patient toward us], not willing that any[one] should perish [be tormented in hell], but that all [everyone] should come to repentance [should change their minds, from rejection of Christ to faith in Christ, and be saved]."

One of these days, without advance warning, Jesus will come to earth a second time … and then it will be too late to be saved. Consequently, if you want to be saved (and live in heaven when you die), you should do it now.

For a detailed explanation of the plan of salvation, please read one or more of the gospel tracts on my website. You'll find them here: https://www.mansioninheaven.com/PrintableGospelTracts.html.
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*Jesus' return to earth (referred to as "the second coming") is explained in the following articles:

-- "What is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ?"
    (https://www.gotquestions.org/second-coming-Jesus-Christ.html)
-- "What is the difference between the Rapture and the Second Coming?"
    (https://www.gotquestions.org/difference-Rapture-Second-Coming.html)
-- "What is the end times timeline?"
    (https://www.gotquestions.org/end-times-timeline.html)
-- "Surviving the end times - what do I need to know?"
    (https://www.gotquestions.org/surviving-end-times.html)

FEBRUARY 22

Isaiah 55:10-11 - The Gospel is Never Preached in Vain
Speaking through his prophet Isaiah, God said:

Verse 10: "For as the rain cometh down [from heaven, meaning the clouds in the sky], and the snow [also comes down] from heaven, and returneth not thither [they don't go back up in the same form (i.e., as rain and snow)], but [they] watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth [plants and flowers] and [cause them to] bud [sprout, germinate], [so] that it may give seed to the sower, and [provide] bread to the eater [food for animals and people]:"

Verse 11: "So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth
[referring to the gospel and truth, as revealed in the Bible]: it shall not return unto me void [empty, without results], but it shall accomplish that which I [God] please [take pleasure in, intend], and it shall prosper [succeed, thrive, flourish] in the thing [purpose] whereto [to which] I sent it."

FEBRUARY 21

Isaiah 55:8-9
[This concerns everything, but mainly forgiveness, especially the forgiveness of sin]: "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens [the visible heaven, or starry skies] are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher [greater] than your ways, and [so are] my thoughts [higher, or greater] than your thoughts."

Albert Barnes has some excellent examples of human forgiveness versus God's forgiveness in his commentary on verse 8, which says, in part:

"1. People find it difficult to pardon at all. They harbor malice; they seek revenge; they are slow to forgive an injury. Not so with God. He harbors no malice; he has no desire of revenge; he has no reluctance to forgive.

"2. It may refer to the number of offences. People, if they forgive once, are slow to forgive a second time, and still more reluctant to forgive a third time, and if the offence is often repeated they refuse to forgive altogether. Not so with God. No matter how often we have violated his law, yet be can multiply forgiveness in proportion to our faults.

"3. The number of the offenders. People may pardon one or a few who injure them, but if the number is greatly increased, their compassions are closed, and they feel that the world is arrayed against them. Not so with God. No matter how numerous the offenders - though they embrace the inhabitants of the whole world - yet he can extend forgiveness to them all.

"4. In regard to the aggravation of offences. People forgive a slight injury. However, if it is aggravated, they are slow to pardon. But not so with God. No matter bow aggravated the offence, he is ready to forgive. It may be added:

"5. That his thoughts in regard to the mode of pardon are far above ours. The plan of forgiveness through a Redeemer - the scheme of pardon so fully illustrated in Isaiah 53:1-12, and on which the reasoning of the prophet here is based - is as far above any of the modes of pardon among people, as the heavens are above the earth. The scheme which contemplated the incarnation of the Son of God; which proffered forgiveness only through his substituted sufferings, and in virtue of his bitter death, was one which man could not have thought of, and which surpasses all the schemes and plans of people. In this respect, God's ways are not, our ways, and his thoughts are not our thoughts."

(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/isaiah-55.html, "Verse 8")

FEBRUARY 20

Proverbs 20:1: "Wine is a mocker
[it causes stupid behavior], strong drink is raging [it causes bad behavior]: and whosoever is deceived thereby [whoever is fooled, led astray, or misled by intoxicating beverages] is not wise."

In other words, those who drink too much sometimes do foolish things, which causes others to ridicule or make fun of them. It can also cause tempers to flare, which usually results in arguments or fights, such as barroom brawls.

Salem Bible Church has an excellent commentary on this verse, including an explanation of how wine was used in Bible times (as a water purifier, medicine, etc.) and examples of the stupid things that people do when they're drunk. If you want to read it, here's the link: www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-20-index/proverbs-20_1/.

FEBRUARY 19

1 Corinthians 13:12
[In a letter to the church at Corinth, the apostle Paul wrote]: "For now [while we're here on earth,] we see through a glass [such as a foggy mirror or frosted window], darkly [imperfectly]; but then [when we get to heaven,] [we'll see clearly because we'll be] face to face [with everything and everyone]: now I know [about people and things] in part; but then shall I know [all about them] even as also [just as] I am known [in a personal way by God]."

In this verse, Paul was explaining to Christians the difference between earthly and heavenly knowledge and understanding.

FEBRUARY 18

Psalm 119:18
[A prayer to God, probably from King David]: "Open thou mine eyes [my spiritual eyes], [so] that I may behold [read and understand] wondrous things out of thy law [the wonderful, delightful, marvelous things that are written in the Bible]."

In commenting on spiritual blindness, T. Guthrie (in Speaking to the Heart) wrote:

"III. The eyes of the blind being opened, they behold wondrous things out of the law of God. Open a blind man's eyes. With what amazement, happiness, overflowing joy, will he gaze, nor tire gazing, on all above and around him, from the sun blazing in heaven to the tiniest flower that springs in beauty at his feet! And let God open a sinner's eyes, the Bible will seem to him a new book, and he seem to himself a new creature. He will see his heart, and wonder at its wickedness. He will see the Saviour, and wonder at His love. He will see how God has spared him, and wonder at His longsuffering. He will see salvation as the one thing needful, and wonder he could have taken a night's rest, ventured to close his eyes in sleep, till he had found peace with God."

(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/psalms/119-18.html, "Sermon Bible Commentary")

FEBRUARY 17

Proverbs 17:23: "A wicked man
[person] taketh a gift out of the bosom [from a hidden pocket, meaning that he or she offers or accepts bribes (money, gifts, promises, etc.)] to pervert the ways of judgment [to prevent justice from taking place or secrets from being revealed]."

Bad people give and take bribes.

Salem Bible Church has a good commentary on this verse. In it, Pastor Delany says, "Every offer of a bribe… every temptation to be dishonest is a test of our character."

If you want to read the commentary, here's the link: www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-17-index/proverbs-17_23/.

FEBRUARY 16

Romans 3:28
[In a letter to the Christians in Rome, the apostle Paul wrote]: "Therefore [referring to what he said in the preceding verses (i.e., that we are all sinners and can't save ourselves)] we conclude that a man [person] is justified [declared righteous in God's sight, or saved] by faith [in the Lord Jesus Christ; i.e., by believing that Jesus died on the cross to pay for our sins and by receiving him as Savior] without the deeds of the law [of Moses, referring to God's moral law; in other words, we're saved by faith, not by doing good works or obeying the Ten Commandments]."

It goes without saying that everyone, especially Christians, should always obey the law and do good deeds. However, the point of the above verse is that we can only be saved (born again) through faith (by believing that Jesus shed his blood on the cross to pay for our sins and by trusting him as Savior), not by doing good things. Paul confirms this fact and tells us why in the following verses:

-- Ephesians 2:8-9: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."

Justification by faith is explained very well in the following article: "Why is justification by faith such an important doctrine?" If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/justification-by-faith.html.

FEBRUARY 15

Proverbs 15:16: "Better is
[having a] little [money] with the fear of the LORD than [having] great treasure [lots of money] [without the fear of God,] and trouble therewith [having trouble along with it]."

According to Pastor Delany of Salem Bible Church, this is one of the "better than" proverbs that help us make good decisions. Here, we're told that it's better to choose a little with the fear of God than a lot without it.

In paragraph 4 of his commentary on this verse, Pastor asks us to consider what we would do if faced with the following options:

"b. When you have been out of work and are desperate for a job, and have an opportunity for a good job IF you embellish your resume… would you do it?"

"c. Or, your boss offers you a promotion with a huge pay increase, BUT it requires working every Sunday."

Although some people in the Bible were rich and did fear God (King Solomon is one of them), many others chose great treasure instead of the fear of God. In paragraph 5, the commentary says:

"e. Treasures obtained by abandoning the fear of the Lord come with strings attached… a heavy price…
"→ Consider Lot-choosing the land that was lush: Sodom. He had to flee for his life.
"→ Consider Achan who coveted riches and was stoned to death.
"→ Consider Gehazi, the servant of Elisha who did not fear God but chose mammon-and was smitten with leprosy!
"→ Consider Ananias and Saphira-who did not fear God, but coveted wealth… and were struck dead by God. THEN the church walked in the fear of God and was multiplied!"

If you want to read the commentary, here's the link: www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-15-index/proverbs-15_16/.

FEBRUARY 14

Ephesians 5:25: "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ
[Jesus] also loved the church [which includes all believers (saved people, born-again Christians)], and gave himself for it [which happened when Jesus willingly sacrificed his life on the cross to redeem, or save, the members of his church from hell and give them eternal life in heaven];"

Following the example of Jesus and his church, Christian husbands should do their best to love, support, and protect their wives and help them get saved.

You may be wondering what the "church" is and why it's sometimes called the "bride of Christ." The following articles should answer those questions:

-- "What is the church?"
    (https://www.gotquestions.org/what-is-the-church.html)
-- "What does it mean that the church is the bride of Christ?"
    (https://www.gotquestions.org/bride-of-Christ.html)

Another article ("What is eros love?") describes the different kinds of love (eros, philia, storge, and agapé) found in the Bible. If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/eros-love.html.

FEBRUARY 13

Jeremiah 17:9-10 - We Can't Fool God!

Verse 9: "The heart
[or mind, which is the source of our thoughts and actions, emotions, desires, etc.] is deceitful [dishonest, untrustworthy, misleading] above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? [Answer: Nobody but God.]"

Verse 10: "I the LORD search
[examine] the heart, I try the reins [test the people], even to give [rewards or punishment to] every man [and woman and child] according to his [or her] ways, and according to the fruit of his [or her] doings."

In other words, God knows our hearts (our true character) and judges us--and will reward, discipline, correct, and/or punish us--according to everything that we think, say, and do during the course of our lives.

Unsaved people must pay (be punished) for their own sins, so when they die, they end up in hell and the lake of fire:

-- Revelation 20:12-14: "And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God [on judgment day]; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death."

-- Revelation 21:8: "But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death."

-- Revelation: 20:15: "And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."

Jesus has already paid for the sins of all born-again Christians, so after salvation, we may occasionally need to be disciplined or corrected by God, but we'll never be sent to hell or the lake of fire. This is explained in the article entitled "Does God punish us when we sin?" If you want to read it, here's the link:
https://www.gotquestions.org/God-punish-sin.html.

FEBRUARY 12

Matthew 7:24-27 - Build Your House Upon a Firm Foundation (the "Spiritual Rock," Jesus)
Near the end of his sermon on the mount (which can be found in the book of Matthew, Chapters 5-7), Jesus said:

Verses 24-25: "Therefore whosoever [whoever] heareth these sayings of mine [referring to everything that Jesus taught during his time on earth, not only what was preached during his sermon on the mount], and doeth them [obeys his words, does what Jesus says], I will liken him unto [Jesus will compare him (or her) to] a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended [came down from the sky], and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not [it didn't fall down, or collapse]: for it was founded [built] upon a rock."

Verses 26-27: "And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not
[does not obey Jesus' words, or do what he says], shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it."

GotQuestions.org has an article that answers the question, "What does it mean that the wise man built his house upon a rock?" If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/wise-man-built-house-rock.html.

FEBRUARY 11

Luke 16:15: "And he
[Jesus] said unto them [the Pharisees*], Ye [you] are they which justify yourselves [attempt to appear just, or righteous (morally right)] before men [people]; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed [respected and admired] among men [human beings] is abomination [disgusting and hated] in the sight of God [see note below**]."
_________________________

*Pharisees were members of a religious sect (group) who considered themselves to be more righteous than other Jews. They believed in strict observance of religious ceremonies and practices and in adherence to oral laws and traditions. They also believed in an afterlife and the coming of a Messiah. Jesus made the above statement because they had mocked him (made fun of something he said) while he was preaching to his disciples (followers).

**According to Albert Barnes, "… There are many things esteemed among people which are 'not' abomination in the sight of God; as, for example, truth, parental and filial affection, industry, etc. But many things, much sought and admired, 'are' hateful in his sight. The love of wealth and show, ambition and pride, frivolous and splendid vices, and all the wickedness that people contrive to 'gild' and to make appear like virtue - external acts that 'appear' well while the heart is evil - are abominable in the sight of God, and 'should be' in the sight of people …"

(Source for quote:
https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/luke-16.html, "Verse 14-15")

FEBRUARY 10

Psalm 11:5: "The LORD trieth the righteous
[God puts Christians through trials to prove their sincerity, love, and faithfulness to him]: but the wicked [morally bad or evil person] and him [or her] that loveth violence his soul [i.e., God] hateth."

God allows Christians to go through difficult times to test their faith, but he punishes wicked and violent people.

FEBRUARY 9

2 Corinthians 5:10
[In a letter to the Corinthian church, the apostle Paul (along with Timothy) wrote]: "For we [born-again Christians] must all appear [in heaven] before the judgment seat of [Jesus] Christ; [so] that every one may receive [rewards, or what is due, for] the things [that were] done in his [or her] body, according to that [which] he [or she] hath done [on earth, during his or her lifetime], whether it be good [meaningful] or bad [worthless] [to God]."

During this judgment, all born-again Christians will receive rewards (in the form of crowns), or will lose rewards, based on their obedience to God's word and how faithfully and selflessly (unselfishly) they served God after they got saved.

There is an excellent explanation of this verse in an article entitled "Judgment Seat of Christ." If you want to read it, here's the link: http://www.raptureready.com/judgment-seat-of-christ/.

One Bible commentator wrote: "The judgment seat of Christ might be compared to a commencement ceremony. At graduation there is some measure of disappointment and remorse that one did not do better and work harder. However, at such an event the overwhelming emotion is joy, not remorse. The graduates do not leave the auditorium weeping because they did not earn better grades. Rather, they are thankful that they have been graduated, and they are grateful for what they did achieve …"

(Source for quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/2-corinthians/5-10.html, "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable")

FEBRUARY 8

John 5:39
[Jesus said to the Jews]: "Search the scriptures [carefully study the books of the Bible (or, in this case, the Old Testament, since the New Testament had not yet been written when Jesus spoke these words)]; for [because] in them [the scriptures] ye think ye have eternal life [see note below*]: and they [the scriptures] are they which testify [bear witness] of me [i.e., they prove that I (Jesus) am the Son of God and Messiah]."
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*According to Matthew Henry, at the time that Jesus told them to 'Search the scriptures,' many Jews thought they could gain eternal life by simply reading, studying, and memorizing scripture. This is what his commentary says:

"… It was a common but corrupt saying among them [the Jews], He that has the words of the law has eternal life; they thought they were sure of heaven if they could say by heart, or rather by rote, such and such passages of scripture as they were directed to by the tradition of the elders …"

(Source: https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/john/5.html, "Verses 31-47," "v. 39")

The Jews may have been sincere in their belief that they could get to heaven by memorizing scripture, but they were mistaken. According to the Bible, the only way that a person can be saved is through faith in Christ (i.e., by trusting Jesus as his or her personal Savior). This is stated in different ways throughout the Bible. The following example from the New Testament tells us that salvation is a gift from God and is received by faith:

-- Ephesians 2:8-9: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."

If you want to trust Jesus as your personal Savior but don't know how, please read one or more of the gospel tracts on my website. You'll find them here: https://www.mansioninheaven.com/PrintableGospelTracts.html.

FEBRUARY 7

Proverbs 27:4: "Wrath
[extreme anger, rage] is cruel [without compassion, merciless], and anger is outrageous [intense, overwhelming, and perhaps even uncontrollable]; but who is able to stand before envy [jealousy, especially in a love relationship]?"

The answer to the above question is "No one," since envy is more powerful than wrath. In fact, according to Pastor Jim Delany of Salem Bible Church, envy "can easily become overwhelming and overpowering and results in all kinds of evil works you never thought yourself capable of."

Pastor Delany's commentary on this verse includes many examples of anger, wrath, and envy, with explanations of how those feelings affect us and what to do about them. Here's an excerpt from paragraph 4 on the topic of envy:

"a. When the heart is healthy and wholesome, it has a healthy effect on the body.

"b. When the heart is sick… decayed… rotten with a sin like envy, it too has an effect on the body…
" It is not like medicine, but more like a poison… a disease.
" Envy is like a disease that eats away at your insides.
" It is a killer. It destroys relationships.
" The way to deal with poison in the system is not to tolerate it, but to get rid of it. Deal with it. See it as sin and confess it and forsake it."

If you want to read more of the commentary, here's the link: www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-27-index/proverbs-27_4/

This is how another Bible commentary explained why envy is worse than anger and wrath: "… The angry man avows his anger; the envious or jealous craftily hides it until he gets his opportunity. The angry may possibly be appeased in course of time; the envious or jealous becomes only more exasperated. Envy or jealousy penetrates more deeply, creeps slowly, and cannot be eradicated …"

(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/proverbs/27-4.html, "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged")

FEBRUARY 6

Proverbs 6:6-11 - Lessons From the Ant and the Sluggard (Lazy Person)

Verses 6-8: "Go to
[observe, watch] the ant, thou sluggard [lazy person]; consider her ways [learn from the ant], and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler [without having someone to tell her what to do (i.e., doing things by instinct), the ant], Provideth her meat [searches for food] in the summer, and gathereth her food in the [time of] harvest."

Verse 9: "How long wilt thou
[will you] sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep [wake up and get up]? "

Verses 10-11: "Yet a little sleep, a little slumber
[a period of light sleep (dozing) or inactivity], a little folding of the hands [bringing the hands together] to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth [i.e., step by step, or gradually], and thy want [your inability to have--or buy--the things that you want or need] [shall come suddenly and unexpectedly,] as an armed man [as when a robber attacks a defenseless person and steals his or her possessions]."

According to Pastor Delany of Salem Bible Church, the above verses are about using our time wisely and changing bad habits.

This is what the pastor said in his commentary in response to the question "How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard?" in verse 9:

"HOW LONG is a good question! Every once in a while, it might do us all good to chart out what we do with our time…

" How long do we sleep?
" How long do we lie on the couch and vegetate?
" How long do we sit in front of the TV or computer?
" How long do we spend reading the Word? In prayer?
" After making a chart of how our time is spent, we might see some areas that need prioritizing… rearranging…"

If  you want to read one or both of the commentaries, here are the links:

Verses 6-8: www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-6-index/proverbs-6_6-8/
Verses 9-11: www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-6-index/proverbs-6_9-11/

FEBRUARY 5

Romans 12:18: "If it be possible, as much as lieth in you
[as long as it's within your power (ability) to do so], live peaceably [peacefully, in peace] with all men [with everyone]."

Regarding the phrase as much as lieth in you, Albert Barnes said: "This implies two things:

"(1) We are to do our utmost endeavors to preserve peace, and to appease the anger and malice of others.

"(2) we are not to 'begin' or to 'originate' a quarrel.

"So far as 'we' are concerned, we are to seek peace. But then it does not always depend on us. Others may oppose and persecute us; they will hate religion, and may slander, revile, and otherwise injure us; or they may commence an assault on our persons or property. For 'their' assaults we are not answerable; but we are answerable for our conduct toward them; and on no occasion are we to commence a warfare with them. It may not be 'possible' to prevent their injuring and opposing us; but it is possible not to begin a contention with them; and 'when they' have commenced a strife, to seek peace, and to evince a Christian spirit. This command doubtless extends to everything connected with strife; and means that we are not to 'provoke' them to controversy, or to prolong it when it is commenced … If all Christians would follow this command, if they would never 'provoke' to controversy, if they would injure no man by slander or by unfair dealing, if they would compel none to prosecute them in law by lack of punctuality in payment of debts or honesty in business, if they would do nothing to irritate, or to prolong a controversy when it is commenced, it would put an end to no small part of the strife that exists in the world."

(Source:
https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/romans-12.html, "Verse 18")

FEBRUARY 4

Psalm 30:4-5: "Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his
[you born-again Christians], and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness [compassion, goodness, kindness, mercy]. For his [God's] anger endureth [lasts] but a moment [only for a short time]; in his favour is life [both physical life (on earth) and eternal life (in heaven)]: weeping [crying, due to sorrow or grief] may endure for a night [it's only temporary], but joy cometh in the morning [which means that, for Christians, sadness will soon give way to (be followed or replaced by) happiness]."

FEBRUARY 3

Revelation 12:7-9 - Satan and His Angels Are Thrown Out of Heaven
This was part of what the apostle John saw when God gave him a heavenly vision of events that occurred in the past and will occur in the future:

Verses 7-8: "And there was war in heaven: Michael [the archangel, an angel of high rank] and his angels [i.e., the good angels who reported to him] fought against the dragon [Satan]; and the dragon fought and [so did] his [followers--the evil, or rebellious] angels, And [Satan and the bad angels] prevailed not [did not win]; neither was their place found any more in heaven."

Verse 9: "And the great dragon
[Satan] was cast [thrown] out [of heaven], that old serpent [as he had appeared to Eve in the Garden of Eden], [who is also] called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth [hides the truth from and misleads (tricks, fools) everyone in] the whole world [and, thus, leads us into error and sin]: he [Satan] was cast out into the earth, and his angels [who are now called demons] were cast out [of heaven] with him."

FEBRUARY 2

Mark 10:46-52 - Jesus Heals Blind Bartimaeus:

Verse 46: "And they
[Jesus and his disciples] came to Jericho: and as he [Jesus] went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people [a large crowd], blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side [sat on the side of the road,] begging."

Verses 47-48: "And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth
[who was passing by], he began to cry out [shout], and say, [because he believed that Jesus was the Messiah,] Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me. And many [people] charged him [told Bartimaeus] that he should hold his peace [be quiet]: but he cried the more a great deal [shouted even louder], Thou son of David, have mercy on me."

Verses 49-50: "And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort
[cheer up], rise [get up]; he [Jesus] calleth thee. And he [the blind man], casting away his garment [throwing off his loose outer clothing or covering, such as a cape, coat, or blanket], rose, and came to Jesus."

Verses 51-52: "And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee
[what would you have me do for you]?  The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight. And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole [your faith has healed you, spiritually and physically; i.e., it has saved you and restored your sight]. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way [to Jerusalem]."

Concerning the phrase thy faith hath made thee whole in verse 52, one Bible commentator wrote: "Bartimæus' faith was shown, (1) by his going to Jesus; (2) by his belief that Jesus was the Messiah; (3) by persevering against opposition; (4) by casting away all that hindered; (5) by obeying Jesus when he was called; (6) by following and praising him after he was cured." (Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/mark/10-52.html, "People's New Testament")

FEBRUARY 1

Luke 18:9-14 - Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector

Verse 9: "And he
[Jesus] spake this parable [told this story] unto certain [men] which trusted in themselves [who believed that because of their good works] that they were righteous, and [who] despised [hated] others:"

Verse 10: "Two men went up into the temple
[which was located on a hill in Jerusalem] to pray; the one [was] a Pharisee [member of a religious group that taught strict observance of Jewish tradition], and the other [was] a publican [tax collector]."

Verses 11-12: "The Pharisee stood and prayed thus
[like this] with [respect to] himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners [those who take things from others through force or threats], unjust [those who are not fair or honest in their dealings], adulterers [men who are unfaithful to their wives], or even as this publican [who is an admitted sinner]. I fast [go without food] twice in the week [on Monday and Thursday, per Jewish custom], I give tithes [a tenth] of all that I possess [to you (God), via the temple]."

Verse 13: "And the publican, standing afar off
[at a distance from the temple], would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven [would not look up, due to his feelings of guilt, shame, and sorrow], but smote upon his breast [struck (hit) his chest], saying, God be merciful to me a sinner."

Verse 14: "I
[Jesus] tell you, this man [the publican] went down to his house justified [approved and accepted by God, meaning that God had answered his prayer and forgiven his sins] rather than the other [man--the Pharisee]: for [because] every one that exalteth himself [thinks or speaks highly of himself or herself, due to pride] shall be abased [brought low, made humble] [by God]; and he [or she] that humbleth himself [or herself] shall be exalted [lifted up, honored] [by God]."

Previous Verses: