APRIL 30

Ecclesiastes 7:8: "Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof
[i.e., sometimes bad things that happen turn into good]: and the [person who is] patient in spirit is better than the [person who is] proud in spirit [which means that it's better to be patient than proud]."

One Bible commentator told the following story to illustrate the above verse:

"The lion was caught in the toils of the hunter. The more he tugged, the more his feet got entangled; when a little mouse heard his roaring, and said that if his majesty would not hurt him, he thought he could release him. At first the king of beasts took no notice of such a contemptible ally; but at last, like other proud spirits in trouble, he allowed his tiny friend to do as he pleased. So one by one the mouse nibbled through the cords till he had set free first one foot and then another, and then all the four, and with a growl of hearty gratitude the king of the forest acknowledged that the patient in spirit is sometimes stronger than the proud in spirit …"

(Source for above quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/ecclesiastes/7-8.html, "The Biblical Illustrator," "The power of patience")

APRIL 29

Psalm 53:1: "The fool
[in this case, a person with no conscience] hath said in his heart [has thought, or said to himself or herself], There is no God. Corrupt [dishonest and immoral] are they [the fools], and [they] have done abominable iniquity [bad things]: there is none [no one, including 'good' people] that doeth good [things] [in other words, everyone has sinned]."

Usually, people believe there is no God because they don't want to worry about being punished for their sins. Unfortunately, on judgment day, when they know for sure that their assumption was wrong--that there really is a God and that they are accountable (answerable) to him--it will be too late.

Note: The following verse is almost exactly like the one quoted above:

-- Psalm 14:1: "{To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.} The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good."

APRIL 28

Proverbs 28:1: "The wicked
[referring to people who do bad things (lie, steal, cheat, etc.) and have guilty consciences] flee [run away or hide] when no man pursueth [when nobody is chasing or following them, intending to capture them, kill them, etc.; in other words, they flee from perceived, or imagined, danger]: but the righteous [i.e., honest, 'good' people, especially born-again, or saved, people, who obey the law and consequently do not have guilty consciences] are [as] bold [brave, fearless, courageous, confident] as a [young] lion."

Near the end of his commentary on the above verse, Pastor Jim Delany of Salem Bible Church said: "God gives boldness to righteous men. He gives the boldness to stand when they need to stand; boldness to face danger; boldness to deal with difficult situations; boldness to deal with difficult people."

If you want to read more of his commentary, here's the link: www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-28-index/proverbs-28_1/.

APRIL 27

Ephesians 6:1: "Children, obey your parents in the Lord
[according to the Bible, which is the word of God]: for this is right."

Albert Barnes has an excellent commentary on this verse. This is most of what it says:

"Obey your parents - … It is particularly important:

"(1) Because the good order of a family, and hence of the community, depends on it; no community or family being prosperous where there is not due subordination in the household.

"(2) because the welfare of the child depends on it; it being of the highest importance that a child should be early taught obedience to 'law,' as no one can be prosperous or happy who is not thus obedient.

"(3) because the child is not competent as yet; to 'reason' on what is right, or qualified to direct himself; and, while that is the case, he must be subject to the will of some other person.

"(4) because the parent, by his age and experience, is to be presumed to be qualified to direct and guide a child. The love which God has implanted in the heart of a parent for a child secures, in general, the administration of this domestic government in such a way as not to injure the child. A father will not, unless under strong passion or the excitement of intoxication, abuse his authority. He loves the child too much. He desires his welfare; and the placing of the child under the authority of the parent is about the same thing in regard to the welfare of the child, as it would be to endow the child at once with all the wisdom and experience of the parent himself.

"(5) it is important, because the family government is designed to be an imitation of the government of God. The government of God is what a perfect family government would be; and to accustom a child to be obedient to a parent, is designed to be one method of leading him to be obedient to God. No child that is disobedient to a parent will be obedient to God; and that child that is most obedient to a father and mother will be most likely to become a Christian, and an heir of heaven. And it may be observed, in general, that no disobedient child is virtuous, prosperous, or happy. Everyone foresees the ruin of such a child; and most of the cases of crime that lead to the penitentiary, or the gallows, commence by disobedience to parents.

"In the Lord - That is, as far as their commandments agree with those of God, and no further. No parent can have a right to require a child to steal, or lie, or cheat, or assist him in committing murder, or in doing any other wrong thing. No parent has a right to forbid a child to pray, to read the Bible, to worship God, or to make a profession of religion … and in all cases, God is to be obeyed rather than man. When a parent, however, is opposed to a child; when he expresses an unwillingness that a child should attend a particular church, or make a profession of religion, such opposition should in all cases be a sufficient reason for the child to pause and re-examine the subject. he should pray much, and think much, and inquire much, before, in any case, he acts contrary to the will of a father or mother; and, when he does do it, he should state to them, with great gentleness and kindness, that he believes he ought to love and serve God.

"For this is right - It is right:

"(1)because it is so appointed by God as a duty;

"(2)because children owe a debt of gratitude to their parents for what they have done for them;

"(3)because it will be for the good of the children themselves, and for the welfare of society."

(Source for above quote:
https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/ephesians-6.html, "Verse 1")

APRIL 26

Ephesians 6:2-3: "Honour thy father and mother
[obey your parents, and treat them with kindness and respect]; which is the first commandment [of God] with promise [see note below*]; [do this (honor your parents) so] That [generally speaking, or in most cases] it may be well with thee [you], and thou mayest [you may] live long on the earth."

Regarding the reference to a long life in the above verses, Albert Barnes says, in paragraph (2) of his commentary:

"[I]t is still true that obedience to parents is conducive to length of life, and that those who are most obedient in early life, other things being equal, have the best prospect of living long. This occurs because:

"(a) obedient children are saved from the vices and crimes which shorten life. No parent will command his child to be a drunkard, a gambler, a spendthrift, a pirate, or a murderer. But these vices and crimes, resulting in most cases from disobedience to parents, all shorten life; and they who early commit them are certain of on early grave. No child who disobeys a parent can have any 'security' that he will not fall a victim to such vices and crimes.

"(b) Obedience to parents is connected with virtuous habits that are conducive to long life. It will make a child industrious, temperate, sober; it will lead him to restrain and govern his wild passions; it will lead him to form habits of self-government which will in future life save him from the snares of vice and temptation.

"(c) Many a life is lost early by disobeying a parent. A child disobeys a father and goes into a dramshop [place where alcoholic beverages are sold--bar, tavern, liquor store, etc.]; or he goes to sea; or he becomes the companion of the wicked - and he may be wrecked at sea, or his character on land may be wrecked forever. Of disobedient children there is perhaps not one in a hundred that ever reaches an honored old age.

"(d) We may still believe that God, in his providence, will watch over those who are obedient to a father and mother. If he [God] regards a falling sparrow … he will not be unmindful of an obedient child; if he numbers the hairs of the head … he will not be regardless of the little boy that honors him by obeying a father and mother."

(Source for above quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/ephesians-6.html, "Verse 3")
_________________________

*Honour thy father and mother is actually number five of the Ten Commandments, which were written on two tablets of stone with the 'finger of God' and given to Moses on Mount Sinai:

-- Exodus 31:18: "And he [God] gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God."

but it is the first commandment with a special promise. The actual commandment can be found here:

-- Exodus 20;12: "Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee."

-- Deuteronomy 5:16: "Honour thy father and thy mother, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee."

APRIL 25

Ephesians 6:4: "And, ye fathers
[and mothers], provoke not your children to wrath [don't make your children angry by saying mean things, having unreasonable rules, punishing from anger rather than love, etc.]: but bring them up in the nurture [training and education, instruction, discipline] and admonition [counsel, warning] of the Lord."

Albert Barnes makes some very good points in his excellent commentary on this verse. Here are excerpts from the sections on wrath and admonition:

"Provoke not your children to wrath - That is, by unreasonable commands; by needless severity; by the manifestation of anger. So govern them, and so punish them - if punishment is necessary - that they shall not lose their confidence in you, but shall love you. The apostle here has hit on the very danger to which parents are most exposed in the government of their children. It is that of souring their temper; of making them feel that the parent is under the influence of anger, and that it is right for them to be so too. This is done:

"(1) when the commands of a parent are unreasonable and severe. The spirit of a child then becomes irritated, and he is 'discouraged;' …

"(2) when a parent is evidently 'excited' when he punishes a child. The child then feels:

"(a)that if his 'father' is angry, it is not wrong for him to be angry; and,

"(b)the very fact of anger in a parent kindles anger in his bosom - just as it does when two men are contending.

"If he submits in the case, it is only because the parent is the 'strongest,' not because he is 'right,' and the child cherishes 'anger,' while he yields to power. There is no principle of parental government more important than that a father should command his own temper when he inflicts punishment. He should punish a child not because he is 'angry,' but because it is 'right;' not because it has become a matter of 'personal contest,' but because God requires that he should do it, and the welfare of the child demands it. The moment when a child seem that a parent punishes him under the influence of anger, that moment the child will be likely to be angry too - and his anger will be as proper as that of the parent. And yet, how often is punishment inflicted in this manner! And how often does the child feel that the parent punished him simply because he was the 'strongest,' not because it was 'right;' and how often is the mind of a child left with a strong conviction that wrong has been done him by the punishment which he has received, rather than with repentance for the wrong that he has himself done."

"And admonition - … The sense here is, that they were to put them in mind of the Lord - of his existence, perfections, law, and claims on their hearts and lives. This command is positive, and is in accordance with all the requirements of the Bible on the subject. No one can doubt that the Bible enjoins on parents the duty of endeavoring to train up their children in the ways of religion, and of making it the grand purpose of this life to prepare them for heaven. It has been often objected that children should be left on religious subjects to form their own opinions when they are able to judge for themselves. Infidels and irreligious people always oppose or neglect the duty here enjoined; and the plea commonly is, that to teach religion to children is to make them prejudiced; to destroy their independence of mind; and to prevent their judging as impartially on so important a subject as they ought to. In reply to this, and in defense of the requirements of the Bible on the subject, we may remark:

"(1) That to suffer a child to grow up without any instruction in religion, is about the same as to suffer a garden to lie without any culture. Such a garden would soon be overrun with weeds, and briars, and thorns - but not sooner, or more certainly, than the mind of a child would.

"(2) people do instruct their children in a great many things, and why should they not in religion? They teach them how to behave in company; the art of farming; the way to make or use tools; how to make money; how to avoid the arts of the cunning seducer. But why should it not be said that all this tends to destroy their independence, and to make them prejudiced? Why not leave their minds open and free, and suffer them to form their own judgments about farming and the mechanic arts when their minds are matured?

"(3) people do inculcate their own sentiments in religion. An infidel is not usually 'very' anxious to conceal his views from his children. People teach by example; by incidental remarks; by the 'neglect' of that which they regard as of no value. A man who does not pray, is teaching his children not to pray; he who neglects the public worship of God, is teaching his children to neglect it; he who does not read the Bible, is teaching his children not to read it. Such is the constitution of things, that it is impossible for a parent not to inculcate his own religious views on his children. Since this is so, all that the Bible requires is, that his instructions should be right.

"(4) to inculcate the truths of religion is not to make the mind narrow, prejudiced, and indisposed to perceive the truth. Religion makes the mind candid, conscientious, open to conviction, ready to follow the truth. Superstition, bigotry, infidelity, and 'all' error and falsehood, make the mind narrow and prejudiced.

"(5) if a man does not teach his children truth, others will teach them 'error.' The young sceptic that the child meets in the street; the artful infidel; the hater of God; the unprincipled stranger; 'will' teach the child. But is it not better for a parent to teach his child the 'truth' than for a stranger to teach him error?

"(6) Religion is the most important of all subjects, and 'therefore' it is of most importance that children on that subject should he taught truth. Of whom can God so properly require this as of a parent? If it be asked 'in what way' a parent is to bring up his children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, I answer:

"1.By directly inculcating the doctrines and duties of religion - just as he does anything else that he regards as of value.

"2.By placing them in the Sunday school, where he may have a guarantee that they will be taught the truth.

"3.By 'conducting' them - not merely 'sending' them - to the sanctuary, that they may be taught in the house of God.

"4.By example - all teaching being valueless without that.

"5.By prayer for the divine aid in his efforts, and for the salvation of their souls. These duties are plain, simple, easy to be performed, and are such as a man 'knows' he ought to perform. If neglected, and the soul of the child be lost, a parent has a most fearful account to render to God."

(Source for above quotes: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/ephesians-6.html, "Verse 4")

APRIL 24

Isaiah 40:8: "The grass withereth
[dries up], the flower fadeth [loses its color and dies]: but the word of our God [as recorded in the Bible] shall stand [strong, reliable, and true … and its wisdom, promises, etc.,  may be counted on and trusted in] for ever."

Earthly things are just temporary, but spiritual things are eternal.

Commenting on the flowers from her daughter's wedding, which had begun to wither and fade, Karol Ladd wrote on her blog: "… Certainly flowers are wonderful to enjoy, but they are also a reminder of how temporary most things are in life. We need to build our lives on what is lasting. The principles in God's word will never fade away, and when we walk according to His ways we experience beauty in life. In our current culture some of God's principles are frowned upon, yet their truth stands the test of time …" (Source: https://positivewomanconnection.com/2010/06/14/flowers-fade-but/)

APRIL 23

Leviticus 19:31: "Regard not
[turn away from] them that have familiar spirits [people who have demonic (evil) spirits that serve them (also known as 'spirit guides'), especially when they are in the business of contacting the dead], neither [and don't] seek after wizards [associate or consult with people, such as magicians, sorcerers, fortune tellers, etc., who use supernatural power to influence the course of events or predict the future], to be defiled [corrupted, polluted, or made dirty or unclean] by them: I am the LORD your God."

According to Matthew Henry, this verse is "[a] caution against all communion with witches, and those that were in league with familiar spirits: 'Regard them not, seek not after them, be not in fear of any evil from them nor in hopes of any good from them. Regard not their threatenings, or promises, or predictions; seek not to them for discovery or advice, for, if you do, you are defiled by it, and rendered abominable both to God and your own consciences.' This was the sin that completed Saul's wickedness, for which he was rejected of God …"

Source for quote: https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/leviticus/19.html, "Verses 30-37")

APRIL 21-22

Luke 10:38-42 - Jesus Tells Martha What She Needs to Do

Verse 38: "Now it came to pass, as they
[Jesus and his disciples] went [on their way to Jerusalem], that he [Jesus (and his disciples)] entered into a certain village [called Bethany]: and a certain woman named Martha [who was the sister of Mary and Lazarus] received him [and his disciples, kindly and hospitably,] into her house."

Verse 39: "And she
[Martha] had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word [listened to his preaching and teaching]."

Verse 40: "But Martha was cumbered about much serving
[was very busy preparing food for her guests and making sure they were comfortable], and came to him [Jesus], and said, Lord, dost thou not care [don't you care] that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me [ask her to come and help me]."

Verses 41-42: "And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art
[you are] careful [anxious, full of care] and troubled [worried, distracted] about many things [i.e., providing 'food for the body']: But one thing is needful [needed]: and Mary hath chosen that good part [i.e., 'food for the soul,' referring to salvation, plus a love for God and an interest in his kingdom], which shall not be taken away from her."

Regarding these verses, James Burton Coffman said: "Much of the failure of modern Christianity lies in the fact that Christians are busy with all kinds of things, many of them important and necessary, of course; but yet they have no time for the word of the Lord." (Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/luke/10-41.html, "Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible")

In addition, Albert Barnes ended his commentary on these verses by saying:

"From this interesting narrative we learn:

"1. That the cares of this life are dangerous, even when they seem to be most lawful and commendable. Nothing of a worldly nature could have been more proper than to provide for the Lord Jesus and supply his wants. Yet even 'for this,' because it too much engrossed her mind, the Lord Jesus gently reproved Martha. So a care for our families may be the means of our neglecting religion and losing our souls.

"2. It is of more importance to attend to the instructions of the Lord Jesus than to be engaged in the affairs of the world. The one will abide forever; the other will be but for a little time.

"3. There 'are' times when it is proper to suspend worldly employments, and to attend to the affairs of the soul. It 'was' proper for Mary to do it. It would have been proper for Martha to have done it. It 'is' proper for all on the Sabbath and at other occasional seasons - seasons of prayer and for searching the word of God - to suspend worldly concerns and to attend to religion.

"4. If attention to religion be omitted at 'the proper time,' it will always be omitted. If Mary had neglected to hear Jesus 'then,' she might never have heard him.

"5. Piety is the chief thing needed. Other things will perish. We shall soon die. All that we can gain we must leave. But the 'soul' will live. There is a judgment-seat; there is a heaven; there is a hell; and 'all' that is needful to prepare us to die, and to make us happy forever, is to be a friend of Jesus, and to listen to his teaching.

"6. Piety is the chief ornament in a female. It sweetens every other virtue; adorns every other grace; gives new loveliness to the tenderness, mildness, and grace of the female character. Nothing is more lovely than a female sitting at the feet of the meek and lowly Jesus, like Mary; nothing more unlovely than entire absorption in the affairs of the world, like Martha. The most lovely female is she who has most of the spirit of Jesus; the least amiable, she who neglects her soul - who is proud, frivolous, thoughtless, envious, and unlike the meek and lowly Redeemer. At his feet are peace, purity, joy. Everywhere else an alluring and wicked world steals the affections and renders us vain, frivolous, wicked, proud, and unwilling to die."

(Source for Barnes' quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/luke-10.html, "Verse 42")

APRIL 20

Proverbs 20:3: "It is an honour for a man
[or woman or child] to cease from strife [in other words, wise people will refuse to become involved in arguments and quarrels about unimportant matters]: but every fool will be meddling [interfering, or taking part, in situations involving controversy and strife]."

Pastor Jim Delany of Salem Bible Church says that strife in the above verse does not apply to normal, everyday disagreements or differences of opinion between individuals or groups of people, but to what happens when someone tries to stir up trouble because of them. In his commentary, he gives examples of normal differences of opinion and how they can develop into heated arguments, and he tells what we can do to act as peacemakers and cease from strife.

If you want to read Pastor Delany's commentary, here's the link: www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-20-index/proverbs-20_3/.

In another commentary on the same verse, Matthew Poole says:

"To cease from strife; either to prevent it, or, if it be begun, to put an end to it …

"Will be meddling, to wit, with matters of strife; he is always ready to begin strife, and obstinate in the continuance of it."

(Source for quote:
https://www.studylight.org/commentary/proverbs/20-3.html, "Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible")

APRIL 19

Proverbs 19:1: "Better is the poor
[person] that walketh in his [or her] integrity [referring to someone who is honest and has a good moral compass, or lives a good, wholesome, moral lifestyle], than he [or she] that is perverse [corrupt] in his [or her] lips [meaning he or she distorts the truth, or what he or she says shows a lack of good sense, judgment, or discretion], and is a fool."

According to Pastor Jim Delany, or Salem Bible Church, a poor person of integrity is better than a rich person without integrity.

If you want to read Pastor Delany's commentary on this verse, here's the link: www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-19-index/proverbs-19_1/.

Matthew Henry's commentary says: "… What will be the shame of a rich man, notwithstanding all his pomp. If he have a shallow head and an evil tongue, if he is perverse in his lips and is a fool, if he is a wicked man and gets what he has by fraud and oppression, he is a fool, and an honest poor man is to be preferred far before him." (Source: https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/proverbs/19.html, "Verse 1")

APRIL 18

Titus 2:11-12 - How God Wants Us to Live

Verse 11: "For the grace
[kindness, unmerited (undeserved) favor] of God that bringeth salvation [i.e., the plan of salvation] hath appeared [has been revealed] to all men [to all people or classes of people--males/females, masters/servants, old/young, rich/poor, wise/foolish, etc.],"

Verse 12: "Teaching us
[i.e., the grace of God teaches us] that, denying [renouncing, rejecting, giving up, refusing to be associated with] ungodliness [all things contrary to God, including atheism, idolatry, and false religions] and worldly lusts [such as ambition, pride, or a desire for riches, pleasure, honor, etc.], we should live soberly [calmly, seriously (by exercising self-control)], righteously [justly, fairly (by treating people in a way that is considered morally right)], and godly [by honoring and obeying God], in this present world;"

APRIL 17

Proverbs 17:15: "He
[or she] that justifieth the wicked [excuses wickedness (evil, sinful behavior), or declares a criminal or bad person to be righteous, or 'good'], and he [or she] that condemneth the just [condemns (expresses strong disapproval of, or sentences to punishment) a morally upright or innocent person], even they both [referring to people who justify the wicked and condemn the just] are abomination [a disgusting or repulsive thing] to the LORD."

According to the Bible commentaries that I read, the above verse pertains mainly to injustice in our legal system--when bad people are intentionally set free and innocent people are sent to prison--but it also refers to the "court" of public opinion (i.e., when we call evil good, and good evil).

Once again, the commentary by Pastor Delany of Salem Bible Church is excellent and contains many examples of unintentional injustice (honest mistakes due to human error) and intentional injustice (things done on purpose to pervert the law), both inside and outside the courtroom. If you want to read it, here's the link: www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-17-index/proverbs-17_15/.

APRIL 16

Ephesians 4:29: "Let no corrupt communication
[obscene, filthy, offensive words] proceed out of your mouth, but [only] that which is good to [for] the use of edifying [instructing or benefitting, especially morally and/or spiritually; uplifting, encouraging] [others], [so] that it may minister [supply] grace [kindness, goodwill] unto the hearers."

This is what several well-known Bible commentators said about corrupt communication:

Matthew Henry:

"Filthy and unclean words and discourse are poisonous and infectious, as putrid rotten meat: they proceed from and prove a great deal of corruption in the heart of the speaker, and tend to corrupt the minds and manners of others who hear them; and therefore Christians should beware of all such discourse …"

(Source: https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/ephesians/4.html, "Verses 17-32," "v. 29")

Charles Spurgeon:

"I have heard unthinking people say, 'Well, if it is in your heart, you may as well speak it; it is better out than in.' I do not agree with them! If you had a barrel of whiskey in your house, that would certainly be a bad thing to be in your possession; but it would not do any hurt so long as you kept it unopened, so that nobody could get at it, for the mischief arises when people begin to drink it. Undoubtedly, it is an evil thing for you to have anything that is corrupt in your heart, but it will not be mischievous to other people until it begins to come out; so, 'let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth,'"

(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/ephesians-4.html, "Ephesians 4:29")

Albert Barnes:

"(3) [I]ts importance [referring to the admonition (advice or warning) to not say bad things] will be seen from the 'influence' of such corrupt communications. 'The passage of an impure thought through the mind leaves pollution behind it;' the expression of such a thought deepens the pollution on the soul, and corrupts others. It is like retaining an offensive carcase above ground, to pollute the air, and to diffuse pestilence and death, which should at once be buried out of sight. A Christian should be pure in his conversation. His Master was pure. His God is pure. The heaven to which he goes is pure. The religion which he professes is pure. Never should he indulge himself in an obscene allusion: never should he retail [relate] anecdotes of an obscene character, or smile when they are retailed [related] by others. Never should he indulge in a jest having a double meaning; never should be listen to a song of this character. If those with whom he associates have not sufficient respect for themselves and him to abstain from such corrupt and corrupting allusions, he should at once leave them."

(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/ephesians-4.html, "Verse 29")

APRIL 15

Proverbs 15:8: "The sacrifice of the wicked
[referring to religious things that are done by both saved and unsaved people whose hearts are not right with God and/or other people] is an abomination [a disgusting or repulsive thing] to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright [person, referring to born-again Christians who try to live their lives in a way that is acceptable and pleasing to God] is his [God's] delight."

Salem Bible Church has a good commentary on this verse. Here are some highlights:

Sacrifices

"God knows what's going on in the mind as the sacrifice is offered."

"The wicked mind can devise all kinds of reasons to offer sacrifice to God: an attempt to atone for our sin; to restore fellowship = a lack of confidence in the blood of Christ; a cloak for maliciousness; pretense; pride; showmanship; to be seen of men…"

Prayer

"God is not impressed with a room full of people here at our prayer meetings… if we are harboring SIN in our hearts at the same time we come to the throne of grace in prayer!"

"If we behave in a wicked way-even our prayers are an abomination to God."

"It is not that God is unable to hear the prayers of the wicked, or that He is ignorant of what they are saying in their prayers. He knows their hearts."

"It is that God CHOOSES not to hear them… BECAUSE He knows their heart!"

If you want to read more of the commentary, here's the link: www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-15-index/proverbs-15_8b/.

APRIL 14

John 14:15
[During the last supper, with his twelve disciples, prior to his crucifixion (death on the cross), after Judas (the traitor) had left the room, Jesus said]: "If ye love me, keep [obey] my commandments."

The above statement also applies to all Christians.

By reading the Bible, we learn what Jesus said to do and not do. We prove our love for him by readily (willingly) following his teachings.

APRIL 13

Proverbs 13:5: "A righteous man
[a just, lawful person] hateth lying: but a wicked man [or woman or child, especially one who repeatedly tells lies] is loathsome [detestable, disgusting], and cometh to shame.

Here's a good illustration from a Bible commentary of the consequences of lying:

"There is no knowing the effects of a lie even in this world. Said a lady, 'I told once for all the fashionable lie of having my servant announce at the door that I was not at home. At night my husband said, " Mrs.       died to-day." It went through me like cold steel. She had made me promise that I would be at her bedside at the last hour, as she had something of great importance to disclose. "And," said my husband, "she died in great distress to see you, having sent three times, only to learn that you were not at home." How I loathed myself! No more lies for me!'"

(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/proverbs/13-5.html, "The Biblical Illustrator," "Lying hateful")


Note: There is no commentary for this verse on the Salem Bible Church website.

APRIL 12

Matthew 22:36-40 - The Most Important Commandments
While Jesus was preaching, one of the Pharisees (a lawyer, or interpreter and teacher of the Mosaic law) asked him:

Verse 36: "Master [or teacher--a title for Jesus], which is the great [greatest] commandment in the law [of Moses, especially the Ten Commandments]?"

Verses 37-38: "Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind
[you should love God supremely--above everything else]. This is the first and great [most important] commandment [which is quoted from Deuteronomy 6:5--see note below*]."

Verse 39: "And the second
[commandment, quoted from Leviticus 19:18--see note below**] is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself [you should love everyone else as much as you love yourself]."

Verse 40: "On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets
[which means that love is the basis of the teachings of the Old Testament]."
_________________________

*Deuteronomy 6:5: "And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might."

**Leviticus 19:18: "Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD."

APRIL 11

Luke 9:49-50: "And John
[one of the original twelve disciples/apostles] answered [Jesus] and said, Master, we saw one [person] casting out devils in thy [your] name [perhaps he was one of John the Baptist's disciples, or one of the seventy men whom Jesus had sent out to perform miracles]; and we forbad him [told him not to do it], because he followeth not with us [he doesn't associate with us and is not part of our group]. And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not [don't tell him he can't cast out devils (demons)]: for he [or she] that is not against us is for us."

APRIL 10

John 8:44 - Children of the Devil: "Like Father, Like Son"
To some Pharisees (members of a religious group), who claimed to be descendants of Abraham, and children of God, but who hated Jesus and wanted to kill him, Jesus said:

"Ye are of [you are from] your father the devil [i.e., you have the same temper, disposition, and spirit as Satan does], and the lusts [desires or wishes] of your father ye will do [which means you are influenced by the devil and willingly do what he wants you to do … or, as the saying goes, 'Like father, like son'].

"He
[Satan] was a murderer from the beginning [of the world, from the time that he tempted Adam and Eve to sin and, as a result, brought physical and spiritual death to the human race, and also when he caused Cain to kill his brother, Abel], and [he] abode not [did not continue] in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he [the devil] speaketh [tells] a lie, he speaketh of his own [accord]: for he [Satan] is a liar, and the father of it [referring to lying itself; in other words, Satan is the originator of all lies]."

APRIL 9

Isaiah 42:8: "I am the LORD
[Yahweh, or Jehovah--the one true God]: that is my name: and my glory [honor] will I not give [not allow to be given] to another [person or 'god'], neither [will I allow] my praise to [be given to] graven images [idols]."

APRIL 7-8

Galatians 6:7-8 - Reaping What We Sow

Verse 7: "Be not deceived
[don't be misled or fooled]; God is not mocked [he won't be disrespected, dishonored, or ignored]: for whatsoever a man [or woman or child] soweth, that shall he [or she] also reap [as when a farmer scatters/plants seeds and harvests a crop]."

Verse 8: "For he
[or she] that soweth to his [or her] flesh [i.e., those who engage in things like smoking, drinking, gambling, drug abuse, adultery, fornication, pornography, overeating, etc.) to satisfy a craving for pleasure] shall of the flesh reap corruption [sorrow or distress, disease, death]; but he [or she] that soweth to the Spirit [of God; i.e., those who follow the leading of the Holy Spirit] shall of the [Holy] Spirit reap life everlasting [eternal life]."

In verse 8, sowing to the flesh means having a desire to fulfill the lusts of the flesh, and sowing to the Spirit means being guided by the Holy Spirit, which results in salvation and living the kind of life that exhibits the fruit of the Spirit. The Bible describes these two things as follows:

Sowing to the Flesh = Works of the Flesh

Galatians 5:19-21: "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God."

Sowing to the Spirit = Salvation, and Fruit of the Spirit

Galatians 5:22-23 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law."

APRIL 6

Galatians 6:10
[Advice to born-again Christians, from the apostle Paul's letter to the Christian churches in Galatia]: "As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men [and women and children], especially unto them who are of the household of faith [i.e., the Christian faith, meaning those who have trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior]."

APRIL 4-5

Romans 10:1-4 - We Must All be Saved
God's Way
The apostle Paul wrote this in his letter to the Christians in Rome:

Verse 1: "Brethren [fellow Christians], my heart's desire [sincere wish] and prayer to God for Israel [the Jewish nation] is, that they might be saved [from the sin of unbelief and the consequences of sin (i.e., punishment in hell)--in other words, he wants them to be 'born again']."

Verses 2-3: "For I
[Paul] bear them record [bear witness, or give evidence] that they [the Jewish people] have a zeal of [great energy and enthusiasm for] God, but not according to [true and correct] knowledge. For they [the Jews] being ignorant of God's righteousness [not understanding the gospel (God's simple plan of salvation), i.e., that sinners are justified (made righteous, or acceptable, in God's sight) by grace through faith in Jesus Christ], and going about to establish their own righteousness [through good works and obedience to the law of Moses], have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God."

Verse 4: "For
[faith in] Christ [Jesus] is the end of the [moral] law [referring to the Ten Commandments] [see note below*] for righteousness [justification, or acceptance by God] to every one that believeth [on, or trusts in, him--Jesus, the Messiah and Son of God--for salvation]."

We should follow Paul's example and pray for the salvation of Israel, and also for own country and the people we love.
_________________________

*According to Albert Barnes, the phrase Christ is the end of the law in verse 4 means that "… perfect obedience to the Law would accomplish justification before God, secure his favor and eternal life. The same end is now accomplished by faith in Christ." [Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/romans-10.html, "Verse 4"]

APRIL 3

1 Corinthians 7:8-9
[At a time when the Christian church at Corinth was undergoing persecution and trials, the apostle Paul wrote]: "I say therefore to the unmarried [men and women] and [to] widows [and widowers--i.e., those whose spouses have died], It is good for them if they abide [remain unmarried] even as I [am]. But if they cannot contain [control] [their sexual thoughts and actions, or resist temptation], let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn [with lust, which means have an overwhelming desire or craving for sex]."

APRIL 1-2

Matthew 28:1-9 - Resurrection of Jesus

Verse 1: "In the end of the
[weekly] sabbath [which took place every Saturday], as it began to dawn toward [Sunday,] the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary [i.e., wife of Cleopas, and mother of James and Joses] to see the sepulchre [the tomb in which Jesus had been buried]."

Verses 2-4: "And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended
[came down] from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door [of the sepulchre], and sat upon it. His countenance [outward appearance] was [bright and shining] like lightning, and his raiment [clothing] [was as] white as snow: And for fear of him the keepers [the Roman soldiers who were guarding the tomb] did shake [tremble], and became as dead men [they probably fainted from fright, because they were terrified by what had just happened]."

Verses 5-7: "And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen
[from the dead], as he said. Come, see the place [in the sepulchre] where the Lord [referring to Jesus' body] lay [had been placed]. And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he [Jesus] goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you."

Verses 8-9: "And they
[the women] departed [left] quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word [good news] [that Jesus was alive]. And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail [a salutation, or greeting, meaning 'rejoice']. And they came and held him by the feet [i.e., they lay face down on the ground, touching his feet, showing respect, honor, love, and affection,], and worshipped him."



Previous Verses
April 2018
APRIL 30

Ecclesiastes 7:8: "Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof
[i.e., sometimes bad things that happen turn into good]: and the [person who is] patient in spirit is better than the [person who is] proud in spirit [which means that it's better to be patient than proud]."

One Bible commentator told the following story to illustrate the above verse:

"The lion was caught in the toils of the hunter. The more he tugged, the more his feet got entangled; when a little mouse heard his roaring, and said that if his majesty would not hurt him, he thought he could release him. At first the king of beasts took no notice of such a contemptible ally; but at last, like other proud spirits in trouble, he allowed his tiny friend to do as he pleased. So one by one the mouse nibbled through the cords till he had set free first one foot and then another, and then all the four, and with a growl of hearty gratitude the king of the forest acknowledged that the patient in spirit is sometimes stronger than the proud in spirit …"

(Source for above quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/ecclesiastes/7-8.html, "The Biblical Illustrator," "The power of patience")

APRIL 29

Psalm 53:1: "The fool
[in this case, a person with no conscience] hath said in his heart [has thought, or said to himself or herself], There is no God. Corrupt [dishonest and immoral] are they [the fools], and [they] have done abominable iniquity [bad things]: there is none [no one, including 'good' people] that doeth good [things] [in other words, everyone has sinned]."

Usually, people believe there is no God because they don't want to worry about being punished for their sins. Unfortunately, on judgment day, when they know for sure that their assumption was wrong--that there really is a God and that they are accountable (answerable) to him--it will be too late.

Note: The following verse is almost exactly like the one quoted above:

-- Psalm 14:1: "{To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.} The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good."

APRIL 28

Proverbs 28:1: "The wicked
[referring to people who do bad things (lie, steal, cheat, etc.) and have guilty consciences] flee [run away or hide] when no man pursueth [when nobody is chasing or following them, intending to capture them, kill them, etc.; in other words, they flee from perceived, or imagined, danger]: but the righteous [i.e., honest, 'good' people, especially born-again, or saved, people, who obey the law and consequently do not have guilty consciences] are [as] bold [brave, fearless, courageous, confident] as a [young] lion."

Near the end of his commentary on the above verse, Pastor Jim Delany of Salem Bible Church said: "God gives boldness to righteous men. He gives the boldness to stand when they need to stand; boldness to face danger; boldness to deal with difficult situations; boldness to deal with difficult people."

If you want to read more of his commentary, here's the link: www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-28-index/proverbs-28_1/.

APRIL 27

Ephesians 6:1: "Children, obey your parents in the Lord
[according to the Bible, which is the word of God]: for this is right."

Albert Barnes has an excellent commentary on this verse. This is most of what it says:

"Obey your parents - … It is particularly important:

"(1) Because the good order of a family, and hence of the community, depends on it; no community or family being prosperous where there is not due subordination in the household.

"(2) because the welfare of the child depends on it; it being of the highest importance that a child should be early taught obedience to 'law,' as no one can be prosperous or happy who is not thus obedient.

"(3) because the child is not competent as yet; to 'reason' on what is right, or qualified to direct himself; and, while that is the case, he must be subject to the will of some other person.

"(4) because the parent, by his age and experience, is to be presumed to be qualified to direct and guide a child. The love which God has implanted in the heart of a parent for a child secures, in general, the administration of this domestic government in such a way as not to injure the child. A father will not, unless under strong passion or the excitement of intoxication, abuse his authority. He loves the child too much. He desires his welfare; and the placing of the child under the authority of the parent is about the same thing in regard to the welfare of the child, as it would be to endow the child at once with all the wisdom and experience of the parent himself.

"(5) it is important, because the family government is designed to be an imitation of the government of God. The government of God is what a perfect family government would be; and to accustom a child to be obedient to a parent, is designed to be one method of leading him to be obedient to God. No child that is disobedient to a parent will be obedient to God; and that child that is most obedient to a father and mother will be most likely to become a Christian, and an heir of heaven. And it may be observed, in general, that no disobedient child is virtuous, prosperous, or happy. Everyone foresees the ruin of such a child; and most of the cases of crime that lead to the penitentiary, or the gallows, commence by disobedience to parents.

"In the Lord - That is, as far as their commandments agree with those of God, and no further. No parent can have a right to require a child to steal, or lie, or cheat, or assist him in committing murder, or in doing any other wrong thing. No parent has a right to forbid a child to pray, to read the Bible, to worship God, or to make a profession of religion … and in all cases, God is to be obeyed rather than man. When a parent, however, is opposed to a child; when he expresses an unwillingness that a child should attend a particular church, or make a profession of religion, such opposition should in all cases be a sufficient reason for the child to pause and re-examine the subject. he should pray much, and think much, and inquire much, before, in any case, he acts contrary to the will of a father or mother; and, when he does do it, he should state to them, with great gentleness and kindness, that he believes he ought to love and serve God.

"For this is right - It is right:

"(1)because it is so appointed by God as a duty;

"(2)because children owe a debt of gratitude to their parents for what they have done for them;

"(3)because it will be for the good of the children themselves, and for the welfare of society."

(Source for above quote:
https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/ephesians-6.html, "Verse 1")

APRIL 26

Ephesians 6:2-3: "Honour thy father and mother
[obey your parents, and treat them with kindness and respect]; which is the first commandment [of God] with promise [see note below*]; [do this (honor your parents) so] That [generally speaking, or in most cases] it may be well with thee [you], and thou mayest [you may] live long on the earth."

Regarding the reference to a long life in the above verses, Albert Barnes says, in paragraph (2) of his commentary:

"[I]t is still true that obedience to parents is conducive to length of life, and that those who are most obedient in early life, other things being equal, have the best prospect of living long. This occurs because:

"(a) obedient children are saved from the vices and crimes which shorten life. No parent will command his child to be a drunkard, a gambler, a spendthrift, a pirate, or a murderer. But these vices and crimes, resulting in most cases from disobedience to parents, all shorten life; and they who early commit them are certain of on early grave. No child who disobeys a parent can have any 'security' that he will not fall a victim to such vices and crimes.

"(b) Obedience to parents is connected with virtuous habits that are conducive to long life. It will make a child industrious, temperate, sober; it will lead him to restrain and govern his wild passions; it will lead him to form habits of self-government which will in future life save him from the snares of vice and temptation.

"(c) Many a life is lost early by disobeying a parent. A child disobeys a father and goes into a dramshop [place where alcoholic beverages are sold--bar, tavern, liquor store, etc.]; or he goes to sea; or he becomes the companion of the wicked - and he may be wrecked at sea, or his character on land may be wrecked forever. Of disobedient children there is perhaps not one in a hundred that ever reaches an honored old age.

"(d) We may still believe that God, in his providence, will watch over those who are obedient to a father and mother. If he [God] regards a falling sparrow … he will not be unmindful of an obedient child; if he numbers the hairs of the head … he will not be regardless of the little boy that honors him by obeying a father and mother."

(Source for above quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/ephesians-6.html, "Verse 3")
_________________________

*Honour thy father and mother is actually number five of the Ten Commandments, which were written on two tablets of stone with the 'finger of God' and given to Moses on Mount Sinai:

-- Exodus 31:18: "And he [God] gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God."

but it is the first commandment with a special promise. The actual commandment can be found here:

-- Exodus 20;12: "Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee."

-- Deuteronomy 5:16: "Honour thy father and thy mother, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee."

APRIL 25

Ephesians 6:4: "And, ye fathers
[and mothers], provoke not your children to wrath [don't make your children angry by saying mean things, having unreasonable rules, punishing from anger rather than love, etc.]: but bring them up in the nurture [training and education, instruction, discipline] and admonition [counsel, warning] of the Lord."

Albert Barnes makes some very good points in his excellent commentary on this verse. Here are excerpts from the sections on wrath and admonition:

"Provoke not your children to wrath - That is, by unreasonable commands; by needless severity; by the manifestation of anger. So govern them, and so punish them - if punishment is necessary - that they shall not lose their confidence in you, but shall love you. The apostle here has hit on the very danger to which parents are most exposed in the government of their children. It is that of souring their temper; of making them feel that the parent is under the influence of anger, and that it is right for them to be so too. This is done:

"(1) when the commands of a parent are unreasonable and severe. The spirit of a child then becomes irritated, and he is 'discouraged;' …

"(2) when a parent is evidently 'excited' when he punishes a child. The child then feels:

"(a)that if his 'father' is angry, it is not wrong for him to be angry; and,

"(b)the very fact of anger in a parent kindles anger in his bosom - just as it does when two men are contending.

"If he submits in the case, it is only because the parent is the 'strongest,' not because he is 'right,' and the child cherishes 'anger,' while he yields to power. There is no principle of parental government more important than that a father should command his own temper when he inflicts punishment. He should punish a child not because he is 'angry,' but because it is 'right;' not because it has become a matter of 'personal contest,' but because God requires that he should do it, and the welfare of the child demands it. The moment when a child seem that a parent punishes him under the influence of anger, that moment the child will be likely to be angry too - and his anger will be as proper as that of the parent. And yet, how often is punishment inflicted in this manner! And how often does the child feel that the parent punished him simply because he was the 'strongest,' not because it was 'right;' and how often is the mind of a child left with a strong conviction that wrong has been done him by the punishment which he has received, rather than with repentance for the wrong that he has himself done."

"And admonition - … The sense here is, that they were to put them in mind of the Lord - of his existence, perfections, law, and claims on their hearts and lives. This command is positive, and is in accordance with all the requirements of the Bible on the subject. No one can doubt that the Bible enjoins on parents the duty of endeavoring to train up their children in the ways of religion, and of making it the grand purpose of this life to prepare them for heaven. It has been often objected that children should be left on religious subjects to form their own opinions when they are able to judge for themselves. Infidels and irreligious people always oppose or neglect the duty here enjoined; and the plea commonly is, that to teach religion to children is to make them prejudiced; to destroy their independence of mind; and to prevent their judging as impartially on so important a subject as they ought to. In reply to this, and in defense of the requirements of the Bible on the subject, we may remark:

"(1) That to suffer a child to grow up without any instruction in religion, is about the same as to suffer a garden to lie without any culture. Such a garden would soon be overrun with weeds, and briars, and thorns - but not sooner, or more certainly, than the mind of a child would.

"(2) people do instruct their children in a great many things, and why should they not in religion? They teach them how to behave in company; the art of farming; the way to make or use tools; how to make money; how to avoid the arts of the cunning seducer. But why should it not be said that all this tends to destroy their independence, and to make them prejudiced? Why not leave their minds open and free, and suffer them to form their own judgments about farming and the mechanic arts when their minds are matured?

"(3) people do inculcate their own sentiments in religion. An infidel is not usually 'very' anxious to conceal his views from his children. People teach by example; by incidental remarks; by the 'neglect' of that which they regard as of no value. A man who does not pray, is teaching his children not to pray; he who neglects the public worship of God, is teaching his children to neglect it; he who does not read the Bible, is teaching his children not to read it. Such is the constitution of things, that it is impossible for a parent not to inculcate his own religious views on his children. Since this is so, all that the Bible requires is, that his instructions should be right.

"(4) to inculcate the truths of religion is not to make the mind narrow, prejudiced, and indisposed to perceive the truth. Religion makes the mind candid, conscientious, open to conviction, ready to follow the truth. Superstition, bigotry, infidelity, and 'all' error and falsehood, make the mind narrow and prejudiced.

"(5) if a man does not teach his children truth, others will teach them 'error.' The young sceptic that the child meets in the street; the artful infidel; the hater of God; the unprincipled stranger; 'will' teach the child. But is it not better for a parent to teach his child the 'truth' than for a stranger to teach him error?

"(6) Religion is the most important of all subjects, and 'therefore' it is of most importance that children on that subject should he taught truth. Of whom can God so properly require this as of a parent? If it be asked 'in what way' a parent is to bring up his children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, I answer:

"1.By directly inculcating the doctrines and duties of religion - just as he does anything else that he regards as of value.

"2.By placing them in the Sunday school, where he may have a guarantee that they will be taught the truth.

"3.By 'conducting' them - not merely 'sending' them - to the sanctuary, that they may be taught in the house of God.

"4.By example - all teaching being valueless without that.

"5.By prayer for the divine aid in his efforts, and for the salvation of their souls. These duties are plain, simple, easy to be performed, and are such as a man 'knows' he ought to perform. If neglected, and the soul of the child be lost, a parent has a most fearful account to render to God."

(Source for above quotes: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/ephesians-6.html, "Verse 4")

APRIL 24

Isaiah 40:8: "The grass withereth
[dries up], the flower fadeth [loses its color and dies]: but the word of our God [as recorded in the Bible] shall stand [strong, reliable, and true … and its wisdom, promises, etc.,  may be counted on and trusted in] for ever."

Earthly things are just temporary, but spiritual things are eternal.

Commenting on the flowers from her daughter's wedding, which had begun to wither and fade, Karol Ladd wrote on her blog: "… Certainly flowers are wonderful to enjoy, but they are also a reminder of how temporary most things are in life. We need to build our lives on what is lasting. The principles in God's word will never fade away, and when we walk according to His ways we experience beauty in life. In our current culture some of God's principles are frowned upon, yet their truth stands the test of time …" (Source: https://positivewomanconnection.com/2010/06/14/flowers-fade-but/)

APRIL 23

Leviticus 19:31: "Regard not
[turn away from] them that have familiar spirits [people who have demonic (evil) spirits that serve them (also known as 'spirit guides'), especially when they are in the business of contacting the dead], neither [and don't] seek after wizards [associate or consult with people, such as magicians, sorcerers, fortune tellers, etc., who use supernatural power to influence the course of events or predict the future], to be defiled [corrupted, polluted, or made dirty or unclean] by them: I am the LORD your God."

According to Matthew Henry, this verse is "[a] caution against all communion with witches, and those that were in league with familiar spirits: 'Regard them not, seek not after them, be not in fear of any evil from them nor in hopes of any good from them. Regard not their threatenings, or promises, or predictions; seek not to them for discovery or advice, for, if you do, you are defiled by it, and rendered abominable both to God and your own consciences.' This was the sin that completed Saul's wickedness, for which he was rejected of God …"

Source for quote: https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/leviticus/19.html, "Verses 30-37")

APRIL 21-22

Luke 10:38-42 - Jesus Tells Martha What She Needs to Do

Verse 38: "Now it came to pass, as they
[Jesus and his disciples] went [on their way to Jerusalem], that he [Jesus (and his disciples)] entered into a certain village [called Bethany]: and a certain woman named Martha [who was the sister of Mary and Lazarus] received him [and his disciples, kindly and hospitably,] into her house."

Verse 39: "And she
[Martha] had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word [listened to his preaching and teaching]."

Verse 40: "But Martha was cumbered about much serving
[was very busy preparing food for her guests and making sure they were comfortable], and came to him [Jesus], and said, Lord, dost thou not care [don't you care] that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me [ask her to come and help me]."

Verses 41-42: "And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art
[you are] careful [anxious, full of care] and troubled [worried, distracted] about many things [i.e., providing 'food for the body']: But one thing is needful [needed]: and Mary hath chosen that good part [i.e., 'food for the soul,' referring to salvation, plus a love for God and an interest in his kingdom], which shall not be taken away from her."

Regarding these verses, James Burton Coffman said: "Much of the failure of modern Christianity lies in the fact that Christians are busy with all kinds of things, many of them important and necessary, of course; but yet they have no time for the word of the Lord." (Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/luke/10-41.html, "Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible")

In addition, Albert Barnes ended his commentary on these verses by saying:

"From this interesting narrative we learn:

"1. That the cares of this life are dangerous, even when they seem to be most lawful and commendable. Nothing of a worldly nature could have been more proper than to provide for the Lord Jesus and supply his wants. Yet even 'for this,' because it too much engrossed her mind, the Lord Jesus gently reproved Martha. So a care for our families may be the means of our neglecting religion and losing our souls.

"2. It is of more importance to attend to the instructions of the Lord Jesus than to be engaged in the affairs of the world. The one will abide forever; the other will be but for a little time.

"3. There 'are' times when it is proper to suspend worldly employments, and to attend to the affairs of the soul. It 'was' proper for Mary to do it. It would have been proper for Martha to have done it. It 'is' proper for all on the Sabbath and at other occasional seasons - seasons of prayer and for searching the word of God - to suspend worldly concerns and to attend to religion.

"4. If attention to religion be omitted at 'the proper time,' it will always be omitted. If Mary had neglected to hear Jesus 'then,' she might never have heard him.

"5. Piety is the chief thing needed. Other things will perish. We shall soon die. All that we can gain we must leave. But the 'soul' will live. There is a judgment-seat; there is a heaven; there is a hell; and 'all' that is needful to prepare us to die, and to make us happy forever, is to be a friend of Jesus, and to listen to his teaching.

"6. Piety is the chief ornament in a female. It sweetens every other virtue; adorns every other grace; gives new loveliness to the tenderness, mildness, and grace of the female character. Nothing is more lovely than a female sitting at the feet of the meek and lowly Jesus, like Mary; nothing more unlovely than entire absorption in the affairs of the world, like Martha. The most lovely female is she who has most of the spirit of Jesus; the least amiable, she who neglects her soul - who is proud, frivolous, thoughtless, envious, and unlike the meek and lowly Redeemer. At his feet are peace, purity, joy. Everywhere else an alluring and wicked world steals the affections and renders us vain, frivolous, wicked, proud, and unwilling to die."

(Source for Barnes' quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/luke-10.html, "Verse 42")

APRIL 20

Proverbs 20:3: "It is an honour for a man
[or woman or child] to cease from strife [in other words, wise people will refuse to become involved in arguments and quarrels about unimportant matters]: but every fool will be meddling [interfering, or taking part, in situations involving controversy and strife]."

Pastor Jim Delany of Salem Bible Church says that strife in the above verse does not apply to normal, everyday disagreements or differences of opinion between individuals or groups of people, but to what happens when someone tries to stir up trouble because of them. In his commentary, he gives examples of normal differences of opinion and how they can develop into heated arguments, and he tells what we can do to act as peacemakers and cease from strife.

If you want to read Pastor Delany's commentary, here's the link: www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-20-index/proverbs-20_3/.

In another commentary on the same verse, Matthew Poole says:

"To cease from strife; either to prevent it, or, if it be begun, to put an end to it …

"Will be meddling, to wit, with matters of strife; he is always ready to begin strife, and obstinate in the continuance of it."

(Source for quote:
https://www.studylight.org/commentary/proverbs/20-3.html, "Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible")

APRIL 19

Proverbs 19:1: "Better is the poor
[person] that walketh in his [or her] integrity [referring to someone who is honest and has a good moral compass, or lives a good, wholesome, moral lifestyle], than he [or she] that is perverse [corrupt] in his [or her] lips [meaning he or she distorts the truth, or what he or she says shows a lack of good sense, judgment, or discretion], and is a fool."

According to Pastor Jim Delany, or Salem Bible Church, a poor person of integrity is better than a rich person without integrity.

If you want to read Pastor Delany's commentary on this verse, here's the link: www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-19-index/proverbs-19_1/.

Matthew Henry's commentary says: "… What will be the shame of a rich man, notwithstanding all his pomp. If he have a shallow head and an evil tongue, if he is perverse in his lips and is a fool, if he is a wicked man and gets what he has by fraud and oppression, he is a fool, and an honest poor man is to be preferred far before him." (Source: https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/proverbs/19.html, "Verse 1")

APRIL 18

Titus 2:11-12 - How God Wants Us to Live

Verse 11: "For the grace
[kindness, unmerited (undeserved) favor] of God that bringeth salvation [i.e., the plan of salvation] hath appeared [has been revealed] to all men [to all people or classes of people--males/females, masters/servants, old/young, rich/poor, wise/foolish, etc.],"

Verse 12: "Teaching us
[i.e., the grace of God teaches us] that, denying [renouncing, rejecting, giving up, refusing to be associated with] ungodliness [all things contrary to God, including atheism, idolatry, and false religions] and worldly lusts [such as ambition, pride, or a desire for riches, pleasure, honor, etc.], we should live soberly [calmly, seriously (by exercising self-control)], righteously [justly, fairly (by treating people in a way that is considered morally right)], and godly [by honoring and obeying God], in this present world;"

APRIL 17

Proverbs 17:15: "He
[or she] that justifieth the wicked [excuses wickedness (evil, sinful behavior), or declares a criminal or bad person to be righteous, or 'good'], and he [or she] that condemneth the just [condemns (expresses strong disapproval of, or sentences to punishment) a morally upright or innocent person], even they both [referring to people who justify the wicked and condemn the just] are abomination [a disgusting or repulsive thing] to the LORD."

According to the Bible commentaries that I read, the above verse pertains mainly to injustice in our legal system--when bad people are intentionally set free and innocent people are sent to prison--but it also refers to the "court" of public opinion (i.e., when we call evil good, and good evil).

Once again, the commentary by Pastor Delany of Salem Bible Church is excellent and contains many examples of unintentional injustice (honest mistakes due to human error) and intentional injustice (things done on purpose to pervert the law), both inside and outside the courtroom. If you want to read it, here's the link: www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-17-index/proverbs-17_15/.

APRIL 16

Ephesians 4:29: "Let no corrupt communication
[obscene, filthy, offensive words] proceed out of your mouth, but [only] that which is good to [for] the use of edifying [instructing or benefitting, especially morally and/or spiritually; uplifting, encouraging] [others], [so] that it may minister [supply] grace [kindness, goodwill] unto the hearers."

This is what several well-known Bible commentators said about corrupt communication:

Matthew Henry:

"Filthy and unclean words and discourse are poisonous and infectious, as putrid rotten meat: they proceed from and prove a great deal of corruption in the heart of the speaker, and tend to corrupt the minds and manners of others who hear them; and therefore Christians should beware of all such discourse …"

(Source: https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/ephesians/4.html, "Verses 17-32," "v. 29")

Charles Spurgeon:

"I have heard unthinking people say, 'Well, if it is in your heart, you may as well speak it; it is better out than in.' I do not agree with them! If you had a barrel of whiskey in your house, that would certainly be a bad thing to be in your possession; but it would not do any hurt so long as you kept it unopened, so that nobody could get at it, for the mischief arises when people begin to drink it. Undoubtedly, it is an evil thing for you to have anything that is corrupt in your heart, but it will not be mischievous to other people until it begins to come out; so, 'let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth,'"

(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/ephesians-4.html, "Ephesians 4:29")

Albert Barnes:

"(3) [I]ts importance [referring to the admonition (advice or warning) to not say bad things] will be seen from the 'influence' of such corrupt communications. 'The passage of an impure thought through the mind leaves pollution behind it;' the expression of such a thought deepens the pollution on the soul, and corrupts others. It is like retaining an offensive carcase above ground, to pollute the air, and to diffuse pestilence and death, which should at once be buried out of sight. A Christian should be pure in his conversation. His Master was pure. His God is pure. The heaven to which he goes is pure. The religion which he professes is pure. Never should he indulge himself in an obscene allusion: never should he retail [relate] anecdotes of an obscene character, or smile when they are retailed [related] by others. Never should he indulge in a jest having a double meaning; never should be listen to a song of this character. If those with whom he associates have not sufficient respect for themselves and him to abstain from such corrupt and corrupting allusions, he should at once leave them."

(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/ephesians-4.html, "Verse 29")

APRIL 15

Proverbs 15:8: "The sacrifice of the wicked
[referring to religious things that are done by both saved and unsaved people whose hearts are not right with God and/or other people] is an abomination [a disgusting or repulsive thing] to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright [person, referring to born-again Christians who try to live their lives in a way that is acceptable and pleasing to God] is his [God's] delight."

Salem Bible Church has a good commentary on this verse. Here are some highlights:

Sacrifices

"God knows what's going on in the mind as the sacrifice is offered."

"The wicked mind can devise all kinds of reasons to offer sacrifice to God: an attempt to atone for our sin; to restore fellowship = a lack of confidence in the blood of Christ; a cloak for maliciousness; pretense; pride; showmanship; to be seen of men…"

Prayer

"God is not impressed with a room full of people here at our prayer meetings… if we are harboring SIN in our hearts at the same time we come to the throne of grace in prayer!"

"If we behave in a wicked way-even our prayers are an abomination to God."

"It is not that God is unable to hear the prayers of the wicked, or that He is ignorant of what they are saying in their prayers. He knows their hearts."

"It is that God CHOOSES not to hear them… BECAUSE He knows their heart!"

If you want to read more of the commentary, here's the link: www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-15-index/proverbs-15_8b/.

APRIL 14

John 14:15
[During the last supper, with his twelve disciples, prior to his crucifixion (death on the cross), after Judas (the traitor) had left the room, Jesus said]: "If ye love me, keep [obey] my commandments."

The above statement also applies to all Christians.

By reading the Bible, we learn what Jesus said to do and not do. We prove our love for him by readily (willingly) following his teachings.

APRIL 13

Proverbs 13:5: "A righteous man
[a just, lawful person] hateth lying: but a wicked man [or woman or child, especially one who repeatedly tells lies] is loathsome [detestable, disgusting], and cometh to shame.

Here's a good illustration from a Bible commentary of the consequences of lying:

"There is no knowing the effects of a lie even in this world. Said a lady, 'I told once for all the fashionable lie of having my servant announce at the door that I was not at home. At night my husband said, " Mrs.       died to-day." It went through me like cold steel. She had made me promise that I would be at her bedside at the last hour, as she had something of great importance to disclose. "And," said my husband, "she died in great distress to see you, having sent three times, only to learn that you were not at home." How I loathed myself! No more lies for me!'"

(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/proverbs/13-5.html, "The Biblical Illustrator," "Lying hateful")


Note: There is no commentary for this verse on the Salem Bible Church website.

APRIL 12

Matthew 22:36-40 - The Most Important Commandments
While Jesus was preaching, one of the Pharisees (a lawyer, or interpreter and teacher of the Mosaic law) asked him:

Verse 36: "Master [or teacher--a title for Jesus], which is the great [greatest] commandment in the law [of Moses, especially the Ten Commandments]?"

Verses 37-38: "Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind
[you should love God supremely--above everything else]. This is the first and great [most important] commandment [which is quoted from Deuteronomy 6:5--see note below*]."

Verse 39: "And the second
[commandment, quoted from Leviticus 19:18--see note below**] is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself [you should love everyone else as much as you love yourself]."

Verse 40: "On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets
[which means that love is the basis of the teachings of the Old Testament]."
_________________________

*Deuteronomy 6:5: "And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might."

**Leviticus 19:18: "Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD."

APRIL 11

Luke 9:49-50: "And John
[one of the original twelve disciples/apostles] answered [Jesus] and said, Master, we saw one [person] casting out devils in thy [your] name [perhaps he was one of John the Baptist's disciples, or one of the seventy men whom Jesus had sent out to perform miracles]; and we forbad him [told him not to do it], because he followeth not with us [he doesn't associate with us and is not part of our group]. And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not [don't tell him he can't cast out devils (demons)]: for he [or she] that is not against us is for us."

APRIL 10

John 8:44 - Children of the Devil: "Like Father, Like Son"
To some Pharisees (members of a religious group), who claimed to be descendants of Abraham, and children of God, but who hated Jesus and wanted to kill him, Jesus said:

"Ye are of [you are from] your father the devil [i.e., you have the same temper, disposition, and spirit as Satan does], and the lusts [desires or wishes] of your father ye will do [which means you are influenced by the devil and willingly do what he wants you to do … or, as the saying goes, 'Like father, like son'].

"He
[Satan] was a murderer from the beginning [of the world, from the time that he tempted Adam and Eve to sin and, as a result, brought physical and spiritual death to the human race, and also when he caused Cain to kill his brother, Abel], and [he] abode not [did not continue] in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he [the devil] speaketh [tells] a lie, he speaketh of his own [accord]: for he [Satan] is a liar, and the father of it [referring to lying itself; in other words, Satan is the originator of all lies]."

APRIL 9

Isaiah 42:8: "I am the LORD
[Yahweh, or Jehovah--the one true God]: that is my name: and my glory [honor] will I not give [not allow to be given] to another [person or 'god'], neither [will I allow] my praise to [be given to] graven images [idols]."

APRIL 7-8

Galatians 6:7-8 - Reaping What We Sow

Verse 7: "Be not deceived
[don't be misled or fooled]; God is not mocked [he won't be disrespected, dishonored, or ignored]: for whatsoever a man [or woman or child] soweth, that shall he [or she] also reap [as when a farmer scatters/plants seeds and harvests a crop]."

Verse 8: "For he
[or she] that soweth to his [or her] flesh [i.e., those who engage in things like smoking, drinking, gambling, drug abuse, adultery, fornication, pornography, overeating, etc.) to satisfy a craving for pleasure] shall of the flesh reap corruption [sorrow or distress, disease, death]; but he [or she] that soweth to the Spirit [of God; i.e., those who follow the leading of the Holy Spirit] shall of the [Holy] Spirit reap life everlasting [eternal life]."

In verse 8, sowing to the flesh means having a desire to fulfill the lusts of the flesh, and sowing to the Spirit means being guided by the Holy Spirit, which results in salvation and living the kind of life that exhibits the fruit of the Spirit. The Bible describes these two things as follows:

Sowing to the Flesh = Works of the Flesh

Galatians 5:19-21: "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God."

Sowing to the Spirit = Salvation, and Fruit of the Spirit

Galatians 5:22-23 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law."

APRIL 6

Galatians 6:10
[Advice to born-again Christians, from the apostle Paul's letter to the Christian churches in Galatia]: "As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men [and women and children], especially unto them who are of the household of faith [i.e., the Christian faith, meaning those who have trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior]."

APRIL 4-5

Romans 10:1-4 - We Must All be Saved
God's Way
The apostle Paul wrote this in his letter to the Christians in Rome:

Verse 1: "Brethren [fellow Christians], my heart's desire [sincere wish] and prayer to God for Israel [the Jewish nation] is, that they might be saved [from the sin of unbelief and the consequences of sin (i.e., punishment in hell)--in other words, he wants them to be 'born again']."

Verses 2-3: "For I
[Paul] bear them record [bear witness, or give evidence] that they [the Jewish people] have a zeal of [great energy and enthusiasm for] God, but not according to [true and correct] knowledge. For they [the Jews] being ignorant of God's righteousness [not understanding the gospel (God's simple plan of salvation), i.e., that sinners are justified (made righteous, or acceptable, in God's sight) by grace through faith in Jesus Christ], and going about to establish their own righteousness [through good works and obedience to the law of Moses], have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God."

Verse 4: "For
[faith in] Christ [Jesus] is the end of the [moral] law [referring to the Ten Commandments] [see note below*] for righteousness [justification, or acceptance by God] to every one that believeth [on, or trusts in, him--Jesus, the Messiah and Son of God--for salvation]."

We should follow Paul's example and pray for the salvation of Israel, and also for own country and the people we love.
_________________________

*According to Albert Barnes, the phrase Christ is the end of the law in verse 4 means that "… perfect obedience to the Law would accomplish justification before God, secure his favor and eternal life. The same end is now accomplished by faith in Christ." [Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/romans-10.html, "Verse 4"]

APRIL 3

1 Corinthians 7:8-9
[At a time when the Christian church at Corinth was undergoing persecution and trials, the apostle Paul wrote]: "I say therefore to the unmarried [men and women] and [to] widows [and widowers--i.e., those whose spouses have died], It is good for them if they abide [remain unmarried] even as I [am]. But if they cannot contain [control] [their sexual thoughts and actions, or resist temptation], let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn [with lust, which means have an overwhelming desire or craving for sex]."

APRIL 1-2

Matthew 28:1-9 - Resurrection of Jesus

Verse 1: "In the end of the
[weekly] sabbath [which took place every Saturday], as it began to dawn toward [Sunday,] the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary [i.e., wife of Cleopas, and mother of James and Joses] to see the sepulchre [the tomb in which Jesus had been buried]."

Verses 2-4: "And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended
[came down] from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door [of the sepulchre], and sat upon it. His countenance [outward appearance] was [bright and shining] like lightning, and his raiment [clothing] [was as] white as snow: And for fear of him the keepers [the Roman soldiers who were guarding the tomb] did shake [tremble], and became as dead men [they probably fainted from fright, because they were terrified by what had just happened]."

Verses 5-7: "And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen
[from the dead], as he said. Come, see the place [in the sepulchre] where the Lord [referring to Jesus' body] lay [had been placed]. And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he [Jesus] goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you."

Verses 8-9: "And they
[the women] departed [left] quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word [good news] [that Jesus was alive]. And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail [a salutation, or greeting, meaning 'rejoice']. And they came and held him by the feet [i.e., they lay face down on the ground, touching his feet, showing respect, honor, love, and affection,], and worshipped him."


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