DECEMBER 31

Philippians 2:5-8 - A Lesson in Humility and Obedience:

Verse 5: "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus
[in other words, follow the example of Jesus, God's Son, concerning humility and obedience]:"

Verses 6-7: "Who
[referring to Jesus], being in the form of God [having the same splendor (magnificent appearance) and majesty as God the Father], thought it not robbery to be equal with God [note: it wasn't robbery because Jesus is equal with God--see note below*]: But made himself of no reputation [he laid aside his majesty and glory], and [willingly] took upon him the form of a servant [the body of a human being, in a lowly position in life], and was made in the likeness of men:"

Verse 8: "And being found in fashion as a man, he
[Jesus] humbled himself [to God and to everyone he came in contact with on earth], and became obedient [to God's will] unto [until] death, even the [long-lasting, extremely painful, and humiliating] death of the cross [so that sinners could be saved from hell and the lake of fire--see note below**]."
_________________________

*The Godhead, or Trinity, consists of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (i.e., one God in three persons), all of whom--according to 1 John 5:7--are equal: "For there are three that bear record in heaven, [God] the Father, the Word [Jesus Christ, the Son], and the Holy Ghost [Holy Spirit]: and these three [persons] are one [God]."

**During the crucifixion, Jesus became the sacrifice for our sins. For more information on this subject, read the following article: "Why did Jesus have to die?" Here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/why-Jesus-die.html.

Because of Jesus' sacrifice for sin, you can have eternal life.
If you believe that Jesus died on the cross to pay for your sins and that he was buried and rose again, all you must do is ask him (through prayer) to come into your heart and save you so you can go to heaven when you die.

(For detailed instructions on the plan of salvation, read one or more of the tracts in the "Printable Gospel Tracts" section of my website. Here's a direct link to that page: https://www.mansioninheaven.com/PrintableGospelTracts.html.)

DECEMBER 30

1 Thessalonians 2:18
[In a letter to the church of the Thessalonians, the apostle Paul (with Silas and Timothy) wrote]: "Wherefore we would have come unto you [visited you], even I Paul, [would have visited you] once and again [several times]; but Satan hindered us [prevented or stopped us from doing so]."

If Satan can stop an apostle of God from doing his job, he can surely prevent unsaved people and Christians from doing things that they want or need to do.

DECEMBER 29

1 Peter 4:17
[A warning from the apostle Peter]: "For the time is come that judgment [calamities, trials and testing, persecution, correction] must begin at the house [household, family] of God [referring to the church, or the people of God (i.e., born-again Christians)]: and if it first begin at [with] us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God [what worse punishment and suffering will unsaved people (unbelievers) experience in heaven on judgment day]?"

In other words, according to Albert Barnes: "… [T]he judgments which God brings upon his own people make it certain that the wicked will be punished. If he does not spare his own people, why should he spare others? … [T]he punishment of the wicked is merely delayed." (Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/1-peter-4.html, "Verse 17")

DECEMBER 28

Proverbs 28:27: "He
[or she] that giveth unto the poor [people, meaning those who are poor through no fault of their own] shall not lack [blessings, and--for Christians--rewards in heaven]: but he [or she] that hideth his [or her] eyes [from, or willfully disregards/ignores the plight (unfortunate situation) of, poor people] shall have many a curse [from people and/or God] [including--for Christians--the loss of heavenly rewards]."

In his commentary on this verse, Pastor Delany of Salem Bible Church says: "Our proverb encourages generosity towards the poor… and consequences for our action or inaction."

Here is an excerpt from the commentary:

"6. Often, people are living in poverty through NO FAULT of their own.

"a. A person may be in poverty because he happened to be born in a poor country-ruled by a dishonest and greedy dictator who abuses his power and keeps the nation's wealth for himself.

"b. A person may be in poverty because he became sick and unable to work, or perhaps his company fell on hard times and laid him off.

"c. There are lots reasons for poverty. We should not be quick to judge the poor until we have walked in their moccasins."

According to the commentary:

"7. This proverb encourages us to be generous in our giving to the poor. This principle is seen in every age."

-- For "Israel under LAW," the commentary includes Bible verses stating that we should "RELIEVE the poor," "DEFEND the poor," and "BE GENEROUS to the poor."

-- For the "Church under GRACE," Bible verses are included to show that we should "REMEMBER the poor," "DO GOOD," "SUPPORT the weak," "SEND RELIEF," "CONTRIBUTE," and "SHOW COMPASSION."

Regarding the phrase shall not lack, the commentary says:

"1. Here we see a slight dispensational distinction."

"2. Under the Law, those who obeyed could expect blessings for obedience in this life."

"3. In the age of grace, we are also promised blessing for obedience and for giving to the poor. However, the blessing is not promised for this life but rather, heavenly rewards."

The phrase shall have many a curse also has "dispensational ramifications." In the Old Testament, disobeying the law of Moses resulted in a cursed (trouble-filled) life on earth. In the New Testament, the age of grace, it results in a loss of heavenly rewards.

If you want to read the rest of the commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-28-index/proverbs-28_27/.

DECEMBER 26-27

John 1:14
[The apostle John wrote]: "And the Word [the living Word--Jesus Christ, Son of God (or God the Son), and second person of the Trinity] was made flesh [became a human being], and dwelt [lived on earth] among us [the Jewish people], (and we [referring to Peter, James, and John when they witnessed the transfiguration of Jesus--see note below*] beheld [observed, saw] his [Jesus'] [heavenly] glory [i.e., the magnificence of his divine nature, or the way that he appears in heaven], the glory as of the only [person on earth who was ever] begotten of [brought forth directly from God] the Father,) [see note below**] [and who (referring to Jesus) is] full of grace and truth."
_________________________

*For information about the transfiguration, read "What is the meaning and importance of the transfiguration?" Here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/transfiguration.html.

**When Jesus was conceived by the Holy Ghost and born of the virgin Mary, he retained (kept) his divine nature and thus became both God and man.

DECEMBER 24-25

Luke 2:8-14 - Birth of Jesus:

Verse 8: "And there were in the same country
[referring to Judea, the area around Bethlehem, where Mary and Joseph had gone to pay their taxes,] shepherds abiding [dwelling, living, residing] in the field, keeping watch over their flock [of sheep] by night [to prevent them from straying (wandering) and to protect them from harm]."

Verse 9: "And, lo, the angel of the Lord
[perhaps Gabriel] came upon [appeared to] them [the shepherds], and the glory of the Lord [an extremely bright light] shone round about them: and they were sore afraid [frightened, terrified, filled with fear]."

Verses 10-12: "And the angel said unto them
[the shepherds], Fear not [don't be afraid]: for, behold, I bring you good tidings [news] of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David [i.e., Bethlehem] a Saviour, which is [Jesus] Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe [baby, infant] wrapped in swaddling clothes [see note below*], lying in a manger [a feeding trough for horses and cattle]."

Verses 13-14: "And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude
[large number] of the heavenly host [angels] praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest [heavens], and on earth peace, [and] good will toward men."
_________________________

*Definition of swaddling clothes, according to online dictionaries: Narrow bands of cloth formerly wrapped around a newborn child to restrain its movements and quiet it.

The following article explains why Mary wrapped her son in swaddling clothes: "What does it mean that baby Jesus was wrapped in swaddling clothes?" If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/swaddling-clothes.html.

DECEMBER 23

Isaiah 9:6
[What the prophet Isaiah saw in his vision of future events]: "For unto us [for our benefit] a child [Jesus, the Messiah, the Son of God] is born [of the virgin Mary], unto us a son is given [as a gift from God the Father]: and the government shall be upon his shoulder [because he will eventually be King]:

and his
[Jesus'] name shall be called
Wonderful
[because he will inspire wonder, amazement, adoration],
Counsellor
[because he will have great wisdom and be qualified to guide and direct the human race],
The mighty God
[because he will be 'God in the flesh'--see note below*],
The everlasting Father
[because he will rule over his people forever],
The Prince of Peace
[because he will be the true source of peace]."
_________________________

*For an explanation of the meaning of the phrase God in the flesh, see the following article: "Is Jesus God in the flesh?" Here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/God-in-the-flesh.html.

DECEMBER 20-22

Matthew 1:18-25 - Birth of Jesus:

Verse 18: "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise
[in this manner]: When as his mother [the virgin] Mary was espoused [engaged to be married] to Joseph, before they came together [as husband and wife], she was found [to be] with child of the Holy Ghost [i.e., she was found to be pregnant with baby Jesus, whom the Holy Spirit had created (formed) in her womb]."

Verse 19: "Then Joseph her
[future] husband, being a just [kind, tender, merciful] man, and not willing to make her a publick example [unwilling to embarrass Mary, humiliate her publicly, or cause her harm--see note below*], was minded to put her away privily [privately, or separate himself from her; in other words, he considered breaking off their engagement]."

Verses 20-22: "But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord
[probably Gabriel] appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son [descendant] of [King] David, fear not [don't be afraid] to take unto thee Mary [as] thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of [by] the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth [give birth to] a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins [which was Jesus' main reason for coming to earth]."

Verse 23: "Now all this was done,
[so] that it might be fulfilled [brought about] which was spoken of the Lord [and prophesied] by the prophet [Isaiah--see verse quoted below**], saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us."

Verses 24-25: "Then Joseph being raised from sleep
[having been awakened] did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him [instructed], and took unto him [Mary as] his wife: And knew her not [they didn't have sex] till [until after] she had brought forth [given birth to] her firstborn [oldest] son: and he called his name JESUS."
_______________

*Thankfully, we don't live in Bible days because, as Albert Barnes noted in his commentary on verse 19:

"… Adultery has always been considered a crime of a very heinous nature. In Egypt, it was punished by cutting off the nose of the adulteress; in Persia, the nose and ears were cut off; in Judea, the punishment was death by stoning … This punishment was also inflicted where the person was not married, but betrothed … In this case, therefore, the regular punishment would have been death [for Mary] in this painful and ignominious manner. Yet Joseph was a religious man - mild and tender; and he was not willing to complain of her to the magistrate, and expose her to death, but sought to avoid the shame, and to put her away privately."

(Source for quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/matthew-1.html, "Verse 19")

**Isaiah 7:14: "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."

DECEMBER 19

Revelation 13:16-18 - Mark of the Beast
This event will occur in the not-too-distant future--after the rapture of the saints (when all born-again Christians are taken to heaven) and during the seven-year tribulation that those who have been left behind on the earth will endure.

Verse 16: "And he [the second beast, or false prophet] causeth all [people, or makes everyone], both small and great [young and old, short and tall, humble and powerful, etc.], rich and poor, free and bond [i.e., people who enjoy freedom, and those who are in bondage (e.g., imprisoned, enslaved) and have no freedom], to receive a mark [to have a mark (perhaps a tattoo--see note below*) stamped or imprinted] in their right hand, or in their foreheads:"

Verse 17: "And that no man
[or woman or child] might [be allowed to] buy or sell, save [except] he [or she] that had the mark, or the name of the beast [the Antichrist], or the number of his [the Antichrist's] name [imprinted on his or her body]."

Verse 18: "Here is wisdom
[required]. Let him [or her] that hath understanding count the number of the beast [the Antichrist]: for it is the number of a man; and his [the Antichrist's] number is Six hundred threescore and six [666--see note below*]."
_________________________

*For more information on the mark of the beast and 666, read one or more of the following articles:

-- "What is the image of the beast?"
     https://www.gotquestions.org/image-of-the-beast.html

-- "What is the mark of the beast?"
     https://www.gotquestions.org/mark-beast.html

-- "What is the meaning of 666"?
     https://www.gotquestions.org/meaning-of-666.html

-- "Is it possible for a person to get the mark of the beast today?"
     https://www.gotquestions.org/mark-of-the-beast-today.html

-- "Will there be a second chance for salvation after the Rapture?"
     https://www.gotquestions.org/second-chance-rapture.html

-- "What are tribulation saints?"
     https://www.gotquestions.org/tribulation-saints.html

DECEMBER 17-18

Proverbs 17:21: "He
[or she] that begetteth [conceives, produces, becomes the parent of] a fool [a child who is disobedient and rebellious and makes the wrong choices in life] doeth it to his [or her--meaning the parent's] sorrow: and the father [or mother] of a fool hath no joy [when thinking about his or her foolish child's problems and/or ruined life]."

Pastor Jim Delany of Salem Bible Church says that the second part of the verse, referring to the father of a fool having no joy:

"… doesn't mean that he [the father] has no joy in his life at all … It means that he derives no joy from the condition of his son."

Regarding sorrow, he says that:

"… this sorrow doesn't go away when they [the children] move out on their own. A father will always be a father to his son… throughout his adult life too."

Pastor's Delany's commentary on verse 21 is combined with the one for verse 25. If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-17-index/proverbs-17_21_25/.

DECEMBER 16

Ephesians 4:28: "Let him
[or her] that stole steal no more: but rather let him [or her] labour [be employed, get a job, make an honest living], working with his [or her] hands [doing] the thing which is good [referring to things that will benefit others], [so] that he [or she] may have [enough (money, etc.) left over] to give to him [or her] that needeth [or, in other words, to help those who are unable to help themselves]."

Commenting on this verse, Albert Barnes said:

"Let him that stole steal no more - Theft, like lying, was, and is, almost a universal vice among the pagan. The practice of pilfering prevails in, probably, every pagan community, and no property is safe which is not guarded, or so locked up as to be inaccessible. Hence, as the Christian converts at Ephesus had been long addicted to it, there was danger that they would fall into it again; and hence the necessity of special cautions on that head. We are not to suppose that 'pilfering' was a common vice in the church, but the cautions on this point proceed on the principle that, where a man has been long in the habit of a particular sin, he is in great danger of falling into it again. Hence, we caution the man who has been intemperate against the least indulgence in intoxicating drinks; we exhort him not to touch that which would be so strong a temptation to him. The object of the apostle was to show that the gospel requires holy living in all its friends, and to entreat Christians at Ephesus in a special manner to avoid the vices of the surrounding pagan.

"But rather let him labour - Let him seek the means of living in an honest manner, by his own industry, rather than by wronging others.

"Working with his hands - Pursuing some honest employment. Paul was not ashamed to labor with "his own hands" … and no man is dishonored by labor. God made man for toil … and employment is essential to the happiness of the race. No man, who is 'able' to support himself, has a 'right' to depend on others …

"That he may have to give to him that needeth - … Not merely that may have the means of support, but that he may have it in his power to aid others. The reason and propriety of this is obvious. The human race is one great brotherhood. A considerable part 'cannot' labor to support themselves. They are too old, or too young; or they are crippled, or feeble, or laid on beds of sickness. If others do not divide with them the avails of their labors, they will perish. We are required to laboar [labor] in order that we may have the privilege of contributing to their comfort. Learn from this verse:

"(1) That every Christian should have some calling, business, or profession, by which he may support himself. The Saviour was carpenter; Paul a tentmaker; and no man is disgraced by being able to build a house or to construct a tent.

"(2) Christianity promotes industry. It is rare that an idle man becomes a Christian; but if he does, religion makes him industrious just in proportion as it has influence over his mind. To talk of a 'lazy Christian,' is about the same as to talk of burning water or freezing fire.

"(3) Christians should have some 'useful' and 'honest' employment. They should work 'that which is good.' They should not pursue an employment which will necessarily injure others. No man has a right to place a nuisance under the window of his neighbor; nor has he any 'more' right to pursue an employment that shall lead his neighbor into sin or ruin him. An honest employment benefits everybody. A good farmer is a benefit to his neighborhood and country; and a good shoemaker, blacksmith, weaver, cabinetmaker, watchmaker, machinist, is a blessing to the community. He injures no one; he benefits all. How is it with the distiller, and the vender of alcoholic drinks? He benefits no one; he injures every body. Every quart of intoxicating drink that is taken from his house does evil somewhere - evil, and only evil, and that continually. No one is made better, or richer; no one is made more moral or industrious; no one is helped on the way to heaven by it. Thousands are helped on the way to hell by it, who are already in the path; and thousands are 'induced' to walk in the way to death who, but for that distillery, store, or tavern, might have walked in the way to heaven. Is this then 'working that which is good?' Would [the apostle] Paul have done it? Would Jesus do it? Strange, that by a professing Christian it was ever done! See a striking instance of the way in which the Ephesian Christians acted when they were first converted, in … Acts 19:19 [see note below for quote*] …

(4) the main business of a Christian is not to 'make money,' and to become rich. It is that he may have the means of benefiting others. Beyond what he needs for himself, his poor, and sick, and aged, and afflicted brother and friend has a claim on his earnings - and they should be liberally bestowed.

(5) we should labor in 'order' that we may have the means of doing good to others. It should be just as much a matter of plan and purpose to do this, as it is to labor in order to buy a coat, or to build a house, or to live comfortably, or to have the means of a decent burial. Yet how few are those who have any such end in view, or who pursue their daily toil definitely, 'that they may have something to give away!' The world will be soon converted when all Christians make that the purpose of life …"

(Source for quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/ephesians-4.html,, "Verse 28")
_________________________

*Acts 19:19: "Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver."

DECEMBER 15

Proverbs 15:9: "The way
[of life, or lifestyles] of the wicked [people--those who are sinful, disobedient, rebellious, immoral, etc.] is an abomination [a disgusting thing] unto the LORD: but he [God] loveth him [or her] that followeth after righteousness [obeys the Bible]".

The Salem Bible Church commentary sums up this verse as follows: "If a man is walking in the way of sin, rebellion, and unbelief, no prayer, no sacrifice, no thought could ever endear him to God. Nothing on that way is acceptable to the Lord."

If you want to read the commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-15-index/proverbs-15_9/.

DECEMBER 14

Proverbs 14:2: "He
[or she] that walketh in his [or her] uprightness [i.e., the person who lives an obedient, godly life] [shows by his or her actions that he or she] feareth the LORD: but he [or she] that is perverse [crooked, dishonest, unjust] in his [or her] ways [shows by his or her actions that he or she] despiseth [hates] him [God]."

A well-known saying illustrates the meaning of this verse; i.e., "Actions speak louder than words." If Christians say they love God but don't show it, who will believe them (including God)?

According to Pastor Jim Delany of Salem Bible Church, "A person's behavior is often a reflection of his attitude towards God."

In paragraph 1 at the top of his commentary on this verse, Pastor Delany lists some characteristics of people who fear God. They include:

-- Knowing the difference between right and wrong and choosing to do right.
-- Reading, studying, and obeying the Bible.
-- Hating every form of evil (including pride, arrogance, a bad mouth, etc.).
-- Staying out of trouble by avoiding stupid and dangerous behavior.
-- Being content.
-- Not meddling or being envious of others.

If you're interesting in reading the commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-14-index/proverbs-14_2/.

DECEMBER 13

Matthew 6:34: "Take therefore no thought for the morrow
[don't be anxious about tomorrow]: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself [in other words, don't worry about bad things that might happen tomorrow, or in the future, because it's useless for us to worry about things that we can't change]. Sufficient unto the day is the evil [or trouble] thereof [i.e., each day has its own problems]."

Naturally, like everyone else, Christians should plan ahead for normal future events, such as saving for retirement; however, we shouldn't worry needlessly about problems that may occur someday, because we are assured by the Bible that when we trust God for guidance, protection, and help, he will take care of our daily needs. We must learn to stop worrying and leave the future in his hands.

DECEMBER 12

Proverbs 12:25: "Heaviness
[a consuming or controlling type of worry, fear, anxiety] in the heart [or mind] of man [a person] maketh it [the heart] stoop [sink to a lower place; i.e., weighs it down, causing sadness, discouragement, and/or depression]: but a good [kind, compassionate, encouraging] word [or promise or message--that is read in or quoted from the Bible, sung in a Christian song or hymn, spoken by a friend, relative, pastor, coworker, etc.] maketh it [the heart] glad."

Salem Bible Church has a good commentary on this verse, including many examples of where we can find "good words" in the Bible (specific verses are quoted) to bring comfort, peace, and joy to others. If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-12-index/proverbs-12_25/.

DECEMBER 10-11

Luke 1:30-35 - Exciting News for the Virgin Mary: She Was Chosen to Give Birth to God's Son
When Elisabeth was six months pregnant with John the Baptist, an angel was sent to the city of Nazareth to deliver an important message to Elisabeth's cousin Mary, a virgin who was betrothed to (engaged to marry) a man named Joseph.

Verses 30-31: "And the angel [Gabriel] said unto her [the virgin Mary], Fear not [don't be afraid], Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive [a child] in thy womb, and bring forth [give birth to] a son [who is the promised Messiah of Israel and Savior of the world], and shalt call his name JESUS [meaning 'Jehovah (the Lord) is Salvation']."

Verses 32-33: "He
[Jesus] shall be great [in word and deed, power, wisdom, influence, etc.], and shall be called the Son of the Highest [the Son of God]: and the Lord God shall give unto him [Jesus] the throne [kingdom] of his father [referring to Jesus' ancestor, King] David [note: Mary and Joseph (Jesus' future mother and 'father') were both related to King David, which meant that Jesus would also be a descendant of David and consequently could inherit his throne]: And he [Jesus] shall reign [rule] over the house of Jacob [the descendants of Jacob, also known as the children of Israel,] for ever; and of his kingdom [both on earth and in heaven, which includes born-again Christians] there shall be no end."

Verse 34: "Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be
[how can I become pregnant and bear a child], seeing [that] I know not [have not had sexual relations with] a man?"

Verse 35: "And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost
[Holy Spirit] shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest [i.e., the most high God] shall overshadow thee [meaning that Jesus would be created supernaturally, by the power of God--see note below*]: therefore also that holy thing [infant, child] which shall be born of thee [i.e., Jesus] shall be called the Son of God [in regard to his human nature]."
_________________________

*Definition of overshadow, according to Strong's Concordance:"Used of the Holy Spirit exerting creative energy upon the womb of the virgin Mary and impregnating it (a use of the word which seems to have been drawn from the familiar OT [Old Testament] idea of a cloud as symbolising the immediate presence and power of God)" (Source: http://www.godrules.net/library/kjvstrongs/kjvstrongsluk1.htm, "1:35")

DECEMBER 9

Psalm 105:1
[This verse was originally directed to the people of Israel, but it applies to Christians as well]: "O give thanks [and praise] unto the LORD; call upon his name [see note below*] [in worship and in prayer]: make known his deeds among the people [tell everyone what wonderful things he has done] [so they can thank and praise him too]."
_________________________

*LORD is commonly used in the Old Testament in place of God's name. The following article explains why: "What do LORD, GOD, Lord, God, etc., stand for in the Bible? Why are they used in place of God's name?" If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/LORD-GOD-Lord-God.html.

DECEMBER 8

Proverbs 8:35-36
[Wisdom (God's wisdom personified, or speaking like a person) says]: "For whoso[ever] findeth me [Wisdom] [i.e., whoever searches for Wisdom, finds it, and does what it says] findeth life [a good, long, happy life … one that is worth living], and shall obtain favour of [blessings from] the LORD. But he [or she] that sinneth against me [by refusing to follow my (Wisdom's) lead or take my advice] wrongeth his [or her] own soul: all they that hate me [Wisdom] love death."

In his Bible study on these verses, Pastor Jim Delany of Salem Bible Church says:

"a. … the life that listens with the ears and the heart to Lady Wisdom is the life that will be blessed by God.

"b. If we refuse to follow the way of God's wisdom… we are refusing His blessing in our life!

"c. This is all our choice."

In paragraph 1, under "Life and Favor," he goes on to say:

"h. We act on our feelings way too often. We are by nature impatient.
" Sometimes we decide and then pray.
" On other occasions, we pray and then decide… which can be just as bad!
" What God wants us to do is to pray… and wait for an answer! Don't pray… and then go ahead and do what we have already decided to do!
" That is the way of the flesh… acting on feelings and impulses.
" God is able to guide us… incline our mind and heart… to use His Word… to work IN us both to will and to do of HIS good pleasure.
" The one who truly FINDS wisdom is the one who waits at the posts of Lady Wisdom's doorposts… waiting to KNOW what is the right way to go… the right thing to do… the right and wise decision to make.
" Ex. [Exodus] 29:42 - the priests waited at the door of the tabernacle to hear the word of the Lord!
" THEN we need to act and obey-even if the way seems tough… even if the way of wisdom involves suffering… crosses to bear…"

Included in the commentary are examples of ways that people "wrong their own souls" (hurt themselves--through alcoholism, sexual immorality, gambling, bad parenting, gossip, laziness, etc.) by rejecting and disobeying God's counsel and choosing, instead, to do bad things.

If you want to read more of the commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-8-index/proverbs-8_35-36/.

DECEMBER 7

Galatians 2:16
[In a letter to the churches of Galatia, the apostle Paul wrote]: "Knowing that a man [or woman or child] is not justified [considered righteous, or acceptable in God's sight] by the works of the law [by obeying the law of Moses (ceremonial, moral, and judicial)--see note below*], but by the faith of Jesus Christ [by accepting his death as full payment for our sins], even we [Jewish Christians, to whom the letter was addressed, but this applies to all other Christians, too] have believed [placed our trust] in [the Lord] Jesus Christ [as Savior], [so] that we might be justified [born again, or saved] by the faith of [in] Christ, and not by the works of the law [i.e., good works, good deeds]: for by the works of the law shall no flesh [no person, Jew or Gentile] be justified."

In other words, we are justified by faith (believing in Jesus), not by works (obeying the law).

How to be saved the Bible way:
If you believe that Jesus Christ (Son of God, Messiah) died on the cross to pay for your sins and that he was buried and rose again, all you need to do is ask him (through prayer) to come into your heart and save you so you can go to heaven when you die.

For detailed instructions on the plan of salvation, read one or more of the tracts in the "Printable Gospel Tracts" section of my website. Here's a direct link to that page:
https://www.mansioninheaven.com/PrintableGospelTracts.html.
_________________________

*The article entitled "What is the difference between the ceremonial law, the moral law, and the judicial law in the Old Testament?" explains the various parts of the law of Moses. If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/ceremonial-law.html.

DECEMBER 6

1 John 4:1-3 - The Apostle John's Advice for Christians
In these verses, we're told how to recognize and avoid false teachers:

Verse 1: "Beloved [a term of endearment], believe not every spirit [don't believe or trust everyone who claims to be sent from God and led (influenced, guided) by the Holy Spirit], but try [examine, test] the spirits [to see] whether they are of [from] God [in other words, examine the person's religious doctrines (beliefs) and 'works' or 'fruit' (things that he or she has done because of those doctrines) to see if they conform to (agree with, follow) the Bible]: [the reason you must 'try the spirits' is] because many false prophets [false teachers and preachers--see note below*] are gone out [from Satan] into the world."

Verse 2: "Hereby know ye
[this is how you can recognize] the [Holy] Spirit of God: Every spirit that [makes a person] confesseth [confess or proclaim] that Jesus Christ [the Son of God] is come [to earth] in the flesh [as a human being, which means he is both God and man] is of [from] God:"

Verse 3: "And every spirit that confesseth not
[does not confess] that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist [the spirit of error that exists in false teachers, who are forerunners of (or who come before) the real antichrist, who will be revealed after the rapture (the taking away to heaven) of born-again Christians], whereof ye have heard that it [the anti-Christian spirit, or 'the spirit of antichrist'] should come [to earth]; and even now [in New Testament times, when these verses were written] already is it in the world."

According to Albert Barnes, we can try the spirits by comparing "… the doctrines which they [preachers and other religious teachers] professed to hold with what was revealed, and by the fruits of their doctrines in their lives. If they taught what God had taught in his word, and if their lives corresponded with his requirements, and if their doctrines agreed with what had been inculcated [repeatedly taught] by those who were admitted to be true apostles …, they [the Christians] were to receive them [the preachers and teachers] as what they professed to be. If not, they were to reject them, and hold them to be impostors."

(Source for Barnes quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/1-john-4.html, "Verse 1")

In his commentary, John Gill points out that "… whoever owns and declares this system of truth [referring to the person and office of Jesus Christ; i.e., that he is the Son of God (with a human nature), Messiah, Savior of mankind, prophet, priest, King, etc.], 'is of God'; not that everyone that assents unto this, or preaches it, is born of God; a man may believe, and confess all this, as the devils themselves do, and yet be destitute of [not have] the grace of God; but the spirit, or doctrine, which contains these things in it, is certainly of God, or comes from him; or whoever brings these truths with him, and preaches them, he is, so far as he does so, on the side of God and truth, and to be regarded."

(Source for above quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/1-john/4-2.html, "John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible")
_________________________

*For more information about false prophets, read "How can I recognize a false teacher / false prophet?" Here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/false-teachers.html..

**A GotQuestions.org article answers the following question: "How can Jesus be both God and man at the same time?" You can read it here: https://www.gotquestions.org/Jesus-God-man.html.

DECEMBER 5

Proverbs 5:21: "For the ways of man
[mankind] are before the eyes of the LORD [i.e., everything that we think, say, and do, both publicly and privately, is seen by God], and he [God] pondereth all [of] his ['man's'] goings [which means that God carefully considers--and eventually will judge--all of our actions]."

Pastor Delany of Salem Bible Church says we should be pay attention to what we're doing because God is always watching us.

The pastor's commentary on this verse is combined with verses 18-20, on the subject of sexual immorality. If you want to read it, click on the link to the commentary (https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-5-index/proverbs-5_18-21/) and scroll down the page to verse 21, which is near the bottom. The verse itself is in fancy type and highlighted.

DECEMBER 4

Hebrews 1:13-14 - Duties of Angels

Verse 13: "But to which of the angels said he
[God] at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool [until your enemies are conquered, vanquished, brought under control or subjection]? [Answer: God said it to none of them--see note below*]

Verse 14: Are they [the angels] not all ministering spirits [see note below**], sent forth to minister for [serve, help, care for, and protect] them who shall be heirs of salvation [those who will someday inherit (be given, receive) eternal life; i.e., born-again Christians, who have become part of the family of God (children of God) through adoption]?"
_________________________

*The promise in verse 13, as recorded in the Bible,

-- Psalm 110:1: "The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool."

 was made by God to his Son, Jesus Christ (the Messiah), not to the angels.


**According to Matthew Henry, angels "… are spirits, without bodies or inclination to bodies, and yet they can assume bodies, and appear in them, when God pleases …" (Source: https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/hebrews/1.html, "Verses 4-14," "v. 13, v. 14")

In his commentary on verse 14, Albert Barnes lists some of the things that angels do:

"(1) They feel a deep interest in man …
"(2) they feel a special interest in all that relates to the redemption [salvation] of man …
"(3) they appear for the defense and protection of the people of God …
"(4) angels are sent to give us strength to resist temptation …
"(5) they support us in affliction …
"(6) they attend dying saints [i.e., born-again Christians], and conduct them to glory [heaven] …"

The above points, including references to many specific Bible verses, are discussed in Mr. Barnes' commentary on verse 14. If you want to read it, here's the link:
https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/hebrews-1.html.

DECEMBER 1-3

Genesis 9:8-17 - God's Promise to Noah After the Flood Ended:

Verses 8-10: "And God spake unto
[spoke to] Noah, and to his sons [Shem, Ham, and Japheth] [who were] with him [in the ark], saying, And I, behold, I establish my covenant [agreement] with you, and with your seed [offspring, descendants] [who come] after you; And with every living creature that is with you [in the ark], of the fowl [birds and flying insects], of the cattle [domestic animals], and of every beast of the earth [wild animal] [that is] with you [in the ark]; from all that go out of the ark, to every beast of the earth."

Verses 11-13: "And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh
[living things] be cut off [destroyed] any more by the waters of a [worldwide] flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth. And God said, This is the token [symbol, sign] of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual [never-ending] generations [i.e., continuing forever]; I do set my [rain]bow in the cloud, and it [the rainbow] shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth."

Verses 14-16: "And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the
[rain]bow shall be seen in the cloud: And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh. And the [rain]bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth."

Verse 17: "And God said unto Noah, This
[rainbow] is the token [symbol, sign] of the covenant [agreement], which I have established between me and all flesh [all living things--people, animals, birds, insects] that is upon the earth."


Previous Verses
December 2018
DECEMBER 31

Philippians 2:5-8 - A Lesson in Humility and Obedience:

Verse 5: "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus
[in other words, follow the example of Jesus, God's Son, concerning humility and obedience]:"

Verses 6-7: "Who
[referring to Jesus], being in the form of God [having the same splendor (magnificent appearance) and majesty as God the Father], thought it not robbery to be equal with God [note: it wasn't robbery because Jesus is equal with God--see note below*]: But made himself of no reputation [he laid aside his majesty and glory], and [willingly] took upon him the form of a servant [the body of a human being, in a lowly position in life], and was made in the likeness of men:"

Verse 8: "And being found in fashion as a man, he
[Jesus] humbled himself [to God and to everyone he came in contact with on earth], and became obedient [to God's will] unto [until] death, even the [long-lasting, extremely painful, and humiliating] death of the cross [so that sinners could be saved from hell and the lake of fire--see note below**]."
_________________________

*The Godhead, or Trinity, consists of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (i.e., one God in three persons), all of whom--according to 1 John 5:7--are equal: "For there are three that bear record in heaven, [God] the Father, the Word [Jesus Christ, the Son], and the Holy Ghost [Holy Spirit]: and these three [persons] are one [God]."

**During the crucifixion, Jesus became the sacrifice for our sins. For more information on this subject, read the following article: "Why did Jesus have to die?" Here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/why-Jesus-die.html.

Because of Jesus' sacrifice for sin, you can have eternal life.
If you believe that Jesus died on the cross to pay for your sins and that he was buried and rose again, all you must do is ask him (through prayer) to come into your heart and save you so you can go to heaven when you die.

(For detailed instructions on the plan of salvation, read one or more of the tracts in the "Printable Gospel Tracts" section of my website. Here's a direct link to that page: https://www.mansioninheaven.com/PrintableGospelTracts.html.)

DECEMBER 30

1 Thessalonians 2:18
[In a letter to the church of the Thessalonians, the apostle Paul (with Silas and Timothy) wrote]: "Wherefore we would have come unto you [visited you], even I Paul, [would have visited you] once and again [several times]; but Satan hindered us [prevented or stopped us from doing so]."

If Satan can stop an apostle of God from doing his job, he can surely prevent unsaved people and Christians from doing things that they want or need to do.

DECEMBER 29

1 Peter 4:17
[A warning from the apostle Peter]: "For the time is come that judgment [calamities, trials and testing, persecution, correction] must begin at the house [household, family] of God [referring to the church, or the people of God (i.e., born-again Christians)]: and if it first begin at [with] us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God [what worse punishment and suffering will unsaved people (unbelievers) experience in heaven on judgment day]?"

In other words, according to Albert Barnes: "… [T]he judgments which God brings upon his own people make it certain that the wicked will be punished. If he does not spare his own people, why should he spare others? … [T]he punishment of the wicked is merely delayed." (Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/1-peter-4.html, "Verse 17")

DECEMBER 28

Proverbs 28:27: "He
[or she] that giveth unto the poor [people, meaning those who are poor through no fault of their own] shall not lack [blessings, and--for Christians--rewards in heaven]: but he [or she] that hideth his [or her] eyes [from, or willfully disregards/ignores the plight (unfortunate situation) of, poor people] shall have many a curse [from people and/or God] [including--for Christians--the loss of heavenly rewards]."

In his commentary on this verse, Pastor Delany of Salem Bible Church says: "Our proverb encourages generosity towards the poor… and consequences for our action or inaction."

Here is an excerpt from the commentary:

"6. Often, people are living in poverty through NO FAULT of their own.

"a. A person may be in poverty because he happened to be born in a poor country-ruled by a dishonest and greedy dictator who abuses his power and keeps the nation's wealth for himself.

"b. A person may be in poverty because he became sick and unable to work, or perhaps his company fell on hard times and laid him off.

"c. There are lots reasons for poverty. We should not be quick to judge the poor until we have walked in their moccasins."

According to the commentary:

"7. This proverb encourages us to be generous in our giving to the poor. This principle is seen in every age."

-- For "Israel under LAW," the commentary includes Bible verses stating that we should "RELIEVE the poor," "DEFEND the poor," and "BE GENEROUS to the poor."

-- For the "Church under GRACE," Bible verses are included to show that we should "REMEMBER the poor," "DO GOOD," "SUPPORT the weak," "SEND RELIEF," "CONTRIBUTE," and "SHOW COMPASSION."

Regarding the phrase shall not lack, the commentary says:

"1. Here we see a slight dispensational distinction."

"2. Under the Law, those who obeyed could expect blessings for obedience in this life."

"3. In the age of grace, we are also promised blessing for obedience and for giving to the poor. However, the blessing is not promised for this life but rather, heavenly rewards."

The phrase shall have many a curse also has "dispensational ramifications." In the Old Testament, disobeying the law of Moses resulted in a cursed (trouble-filled) life on earth. In the New Testament, the age of grace, it results in a loss of heavenly rewards.

If you want to read the rest of the commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-28-index/proverbs-28_27/.

DECEMBER 26-27

John 1:14
[The apostle John wrote]: "And the Word [the living Word--Jesus Christ, Son of God (or God the Son), and second person of the Trinity] was made flesh [became a human being], and dwelt [lived on earth] among us [the Jewish people], (and we [referring to Peter, James, and John when they witnessed the transfiguration of Jesus--see note below*] beheld [observed, saw] his [Jesus'] [heavenly] glory [i.e., the magnificence of his divine nature, or the way that he appears in heaven], the glory as of the only [person on earth who was ever] begotten of [brought forth directly from God] the Father,) [see note below**] [and who (referring to Jesus) is] full of grace and truth."
_________________________

*For information about the transfiguration, read "What is the meaning and importance of the transfiguration?" Here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/transfiguration.html.

**When Jesus was conceived by the Holy Ghost and born of the virgin Mary, he retained (kept) his divine nature and thus became both God and man.

DECEMBER 24-25

Luke 2:8-14 - Birth of Jesus:

Verse 8: "And there were in the same country
[referring to Judea, the area around Bethlehem, where Mary and Joseph had gone to pay their taxes,] shepherds abiding [dwelling, living, residing] in the field, keeping watch over their flock [of sheep] by night [to prevent them from straying (wandering) and to protect them from harm]."

Verse 9: "And, lo, the angel of the Lord
[perhaps Gabriel] came upon [appeared to] them [the shepherds], and the glory of the Lord [an extremely bright light] shone round about them: and they were sore afraid [frightened, terrified, filled with fear]."

Verses 10-12: "And the angel said unto them
[the shepherds], Fear not [don't be afraid]: for, behold, I bring you good tidings [news] of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David [i.e., Bethlehem] a Saviour, which is [Jesus] Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe [baby, infant] wrapped in swaddling clothes [see note below*], lying in a manger [a feeding trough for horses and cattle]."

Verses 13-14: "And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude
[large number] of the heavenly host [angels] praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest [heavens], and on earth peace, [and] good will toward men."
_________________________

*Definition of swaddling clothes, according to online dictionaries: Narrow bands of cloth formerly wrapped around a newborn child to restrain its movements and quiet it.

The following article explains why Mary wrapped her son in swaddling clothes: "What does it mean that baby Jesus was wrapped in swaddling clothes?" If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/swaddling-clothes.html.

DECEMBER 23

Isaiah 9:6
[What the prophet Isaiah saw in his vision of future events]: "For unto us [for our benefit] a child [Jesus, the Messiah, the Son of God] is born [of the virgin Mary], unto us a son is given [as a gift from God the Father]: and the government shall be upon his shoulder [because he will eventually be King]:

and his
[Jesus'] name shall be called
Wonderful
[because he will inspire wonder, amazement, adoration],
Counsellor
[because he will have great wisdom and be qualified to guide and direct the human race],
The mighty God
[because he will be 'God in the flesh'--see note below*],
The everlasting Father
[because he will rule over his people forever],
The Prince of Peace
[because he will be the true source of peace]."
_________________________

*For an explanation of the meaning of the phrase God in the flesh, see the following article: "Is Jesus God in the flesh?" Here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/God-in-the-flesh.html.

DECEMBER 20-22

Matthew 1:18-25 - Birth of Jesus:

Verse 18: "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise
[in this manner]: When as his mother [the virgin] Mary was espoused [engaged to be married] to Joseph, before they came together [as husband and wife], she was found [to be] with child of the Holy Ghost [i.e., she was found to be pregnant with baby Jesus, whom the Holy Spirit had created (formed) in her womb]."

Verse 19: "Then Joseph her
[future] husband, being a just [kind, tender, merciful] man, and not willing to make her a publick example [unwilling to embarrass Mary, humiliate her publicly, or cause her harm--see note below*], was minded to put her away privily [privately, or separate himself from her; in other words, he considered breaking off their engagement]."

Verses 20-22: "But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord
[probably Gabriel] appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son [descendant] of [King] David, fear not [don't be afraid] to take unto thee Mary [as] thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of [by] the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth [give birth to] a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins [which was Jesus' main reason for coming to earth]."

Verse 23: "Now all this was done,
[so] that it might be fulfilled [brought about] which was spoken of the Lord [and prophesied] by the prophet [Isaiah--see verse quoted below**], saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us."

Verses 24-25: "Then Joseph being raised from sleep
[having been awakened] did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him [instructed], and took unto him [Mary as] his wife: And knew her not [they didn't have sex] till [until after] she had brought forth [given birth to] her firstborn [oldest] son: and he called his name JESUS."
_______________

*Thankfully, we don't live in Bible days because, as Albert Barnes noted in his commentary on verse 19:

"… Adultery has always been considered a crime of a very heinous nature. In Egypt, it was punished by cutting off the nose of the adulteress; in Persia, the nose and ears were cut off; in Judea, the punishment was death by stoning … This punishment was also inflicted where the person was not married, but betrothed … In this case, therefore, the regular punishment would have been death [for Mary] in this painful and ignominious manner. Yet Joseph was a religious man - mild and tender; and he was not willing to complain of her to the magistrate, and expose her to death, but sought to avoid the shame, and to put her away privately."

(Source for quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/matthew-1.html, "Verse 19")

**Isaiah 7:14: "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."

DECEMBER 19

Revelation 13:16-18 - Mark of the Beast
This event will occur in the not-too-distant future--after the rapture of the saints (when all born-again Christians are taken to heaven) and during the seven-year tribulation that those who have been left behind on the earth will endure.

Verse 16: "And he [the second beast, or false prophet] causeth all [people, or makes everyone], both small and great [young and old, short and tall, humble and powerful, etc.], rich and poor, free and bond [i.e., people who enjoy freedom, and those who are in bondage (e.g., imprisoned, enslaved) and have no freedom], to receive a mark [to have a mark (perhaps a tattoo--see note below*) stamped or imprinted] in their right hand, or in their foreheads:"

Verse 17: "And that no man
[or woman or child] might [be allowed to] buy or sell, save [except] he [or she] that had the mark, or the name of the beast [the Antichrist], or the number of his [the Antichrist's] name [imprinted on his or her body]."

Verse 18: "Here is wisdom
[required]. Let him [or her] that hath understanding count the number of the beast [the Antichrist]: for it is the number of a man; and his [the Antichrist's] number is Six hundred threescore and six [666--see note below*]."
_________________________

*For more information on the mark of the beast and 666, read one or more of the following articles:

-- "What is the image of the beast?"
     https://www.gotquestions.org/image-of-the-beast.html

-- "What is the mark of the beast?"
     https://www.gotquestions.org/mark-beast.html

-- "What is the meaning of 666"?
     https://www.gotquestions.org/meaning-of-666.html

-- "Is it possible for a person to get the mark of the beast today?"
     https://www.gotquestions.org/mark-of-the-beast-today.html

-- "Will there be a second chance for salvation after the Rapture?"
     https://www.gotquestions.org/second-chance-rapture.html

-- "What are tribulation saints?"
     https://www.gotquestions.org/tribulation-saints.html

DECEMBER 17-18

Proverbs 17:21: "He
[or she] that begetteth [conceives, produces, becomes the parent of] a fool [a child who is disobedient and rebellious and makes the wrong choices in life] doeth it to his [or her--meaning the parent's] sorrow: and the father [or mother] of a fool hath no joy [when thinking about his or her foolish child's problems and/or ruined life]."

Pastor Jim Delany of Salem Bible Church says that the second part of the verse, referring to the father of a fool having no joy:

"… doesn't mean that he [the father] has no joy in his life at all … It means that he derives no joy from the condition of his son."

Regarding sorrow, he says that:

"… this sorrow doesn't go away when they [the children] move out on their own. A father will always be a father to his son… throughout his adult life too."

Pastor's Delany's commentary on verse 21 is combined with the one for verse 25. If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-17-index/proverbs-17_21_25/.

DECEMBER 16

Ephesians 4:28: "Let him
[or her] that stole steal no more: but rather let him [or her] labour [be employed, get a job, make an honest living], working with his [or her] hands [doing] the thing which is good [referring to things that will benefit others], [so] that he [or she] may have [enough (money, etc.) left over] to give to him [or her] that needeth [or, in other words, to help those who are unable to help themselves]."

Commenting on this verse, Albert Barnes said:

"Let him that stole steal no more - Theft, like lying, was, and is, almost a universal vice among the pagan. The practice of pilfering prevails in, probably, every pagan community, and no property is safe which is not guarded, or so locked up as to be inaccessible. Hence, as the Christian converts at Ephesus had been long addicted to it, there was danger that they would fall into it again; and hence the necessity of special cautions on that head. We are not to suppose that 'pilfering' was a common vice in the church, but the cautions on this point proceed on the principle that, where a man has been long in the habit of a particular sin, he is in great danger of falling into it again. Hence, we caution the man who has been intemperate against the least indulgence in intoxicating drinks; we exhort him not to touch that which would be so strong a temptation to him. The object of the apostle was to show that the gospel requires holy living in all its friends, and to entreat Christians at Ephesus in a special manner to avoid the vices of the surrounding pagan.

"But rather let him labour - Let him seek the means of living in an honest manner, by his own industry, rather than by wronging others.

"Working with his hands - Pursuing some honest employment. Paul was not ashamed to labor with "his own hands" … and no man is dishonored by labor. God made man for toil … and employment is essential to the happiness of the race. No man, who is 'able' to support himself, has a 'right' to depend on others …

"That he may have to give to him that needeth - … Not merely that may have the means of support, but that he may have it in his power to aid others. The reason and propriety of this is obvious. The human race is one great brotherhood. A considerable part 'cannot' labor to support themselves. They are too old, or too young; or they are crippled, or feeble, or laid on beds of sickness. If others do not divide with them the avails of their labors, they will perish. We are required to laboar [labor] in order that we may have the privilege of contributing to their comfort. Learn from this verse:

"(1) That every Christian should have some calling, business, or profession, by which he may support himself. The Saviour was carpenter; Paul a tentmaker; and no man is disgraced by being able to build a house or to construct a tent.

"(2) Christianity promotes industry. It is rare that an idle man becomes a Christian; but if he does, religion makes him industrious just in proportion as it has influence over his mind. To talk of a 'lazy Christian,' is about the same as to talk of burning water or freezing fire.

"(3) Christians should have some 'useful' and 'honest' employment. They should work 'that which is good.' They should not pursue an employment which will necessarily injure others. No man has a right to place a nuisance under the window of his neighbor; nor has he any 'more' right to pursue an employment that shall lead his neighbor into sin or ruin him. An honest employment benefits everybody. A good farmer is a benefit to his neighborhood and country; and a good shoemaker, blacksmith, weaver, cabinetmaker, watchmaker, machinist, is a blessing to the community. He injures no one; he benefits all. How is it with the distiller, and the vender of alcoholic drinks? He benefits no one; he injures every body. Every quart of intoxicating drink that is taken from his house does evil somewhere - evil, and only evil, and that continually. No one is made better, or richer; no one is made more moral or industrious; no one is helped on the way to heaven by it. Thousands are helped on the way to hell by it, who are already in the path; and thousands are 'induced' to walk in the way to death who, but for that distillery, store, or tavern, might have walked in the way to heaven. Is this then 'working that which is good?' Would [the apostle] Paul have done it? Would Jesus do it? Strange, that by a professing Christian it was ever done! See a striking instance of the way in which the Ephesian Christians acted when they were first converted, in … Acts 19:19 [see note below for quote*] …

(4) the main business of a Christian is not to 'make money,' and to become rich. It is that he may have the means of benefiting others. Beyond what he needs for himself, his poor, and sick, and aged, and afflicted brother and friend has a claim on his earnings - and they should be liberally bestowed.

(5) we should labor in 'order' that we may have the means of doing good to others. It should be just as much a matter of plan and purpose to do this, as it is to labor in order to buy a coat, or to build a house, or to live comfortably, or to have the means of a decent burial. Yet how few are those who have any such end in view, or who pursue their daily toil definitely, 'that they may have something to give away!' The world will be soon converted when all Christians make that the purpose of life …"

(Source for quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/ephesians-4.html,, "Verse 28")
_________________________

*Acts 19:19: "Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver."

DECEMBER 15

Proverbs 15:9: "The way
[of life, or lifestyles] of the wicked [people--those who are sinful, disobedient, rebellious, immoral, etc.] is an abomination [a disgusting thing] unto the LORD: but he [God] loveth him [or her] that followeth after righteousness [obeys the Bible]".

The Salem Bible Church commentary sums up this verse as follows: "If a man is walking in the way of sin, rebellion, and unbelief, no prayer, no sacrifice, no thought could ever endear him to God. Nothing on that way is acceptable to the Lord."

If you want to read the commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-15-index/proverbs-15_9/.

DECEMBER 14

Proverbs 14:2: "He
[or she] that walketh in his [or her] uprightness [i.e., the person who lives an obedient, godly life] [shows by his or her actions that he or she] feareth the LORD: but he [or she] that is perverse [crooked, dishonest, unjust] in his [or her] ways [shows by his or her actions that he or she] despiseth [hates] him [God]."

A well-known saying illustrates the meaning of this verse; i.e., "Actions speak louder than words." If Christians say they love God but don't show it, who will believe them (including God)?

According to Pastor Jim Delany of Salem Bible Church, "A person's behavior is often a reflection of his attitude towards God."

In paragraph 1 at the top of his commentary on this verse, Pastor Delany lists some characteristics of people who fear God. They include:

-- Knowing the difference between right and wrong and choosing to do right.
-- Reading, studying, and obeying the Bible.
-- Hating every form of evil (including pride, arrogance, a bad mouth, etc.).
-- Staying out of trouble by avoiding stupid and dangerous behavior.
-- Being content.
-- Not meddling or being envious of others.

If you're interesting in reading the commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-14-index/proverbs-14_2/.

DECEMBER 13

Matthew 6:34: "Take therefore no thought for the morrow
[don't be anxious about tomorrow]: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself [in other words, don't worry about bad things that might happen tomorrow, or in the future, because it's useless for us to worry about things that we can't change]. Sufficient unto the day is the evil [or trouble] thereof [i.e., each day has its own problems]."

Naturally, like everyone else, Christians should plan ahead for normal future events, such as saving for retirement; however, we shouldn't worry needlessly about problems that may occur someday, because we are assured by the Bible that when we trust God for guidance, protection, and help, he will take care of our daily needs. We must learn to stop worrying and leave the future in his hands.

DECEMBER 12

Proverbs 12:25: "Heaviness
[a consuming or controlling type of worry, fear, anxiety] in the heart [or mind] of man [a person] maketh it [the heart] stoop [sink to a lower place; i.e., weighs it down, causing sadness, discouragement, and/or depression]: but a good [kind, compassionate, encouraging] word [or promise or message--that is read in or quoted from the Bible, sung in a Christian song or hymn, spoken by a friend, relative, pastor, coworker, etc.] maketh it [the heart] glad."

Salem Bible Church has a good commentary on this verse, including many examples of where we can find "good words" in the Bible (specific verses are quoted) to bring comfort, peace, and joy to others. If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-12-index/proverbs-12_25/.

DECEMBER 10-11

Luke 1:30-35 - Exciting News for the Virgin Mary: She Was Chosen to Give Birth to God's Son
When Elisabeth was six months pregnant with John the Baptist, an angel was sent to the city of Nazareth to deliver an important message to Elisabeth's cousin Mary, a virgin who was betrothed to (engaged to marry) a man named Joseph.

Verses 30-31: "And the angel [Gabriel] said unto her [the virgin Mary], Fear not [don't be afraid], Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive [a child] in thy womb, and bring forth [give birth to] a son [who is the promised Messiah of Israel and Savior of the world], and shalt call his name JESUS [meaning 'Jehovah (the Lord) is Salvation']."

Verses 32-33: "He
[Jesus] shall be great [in word and deed, power, wisdom, influence, etc.], and shall be called the Son of the Highest [the Son of God]: and the Lord God shall give unto him [Jesus] the throne [kingdom] of his father [referring to Jesus' ancestor, King] David [note: Mary and Joseph (Jesus' future mother and 'father') were both related to King David, which meant that Jesus would also be a descendant of David and consequently could inherit his throne]: And he [Jesus] shall reign [rule] over the house of Jacob [the descendants of Jacob, also known as the children of Israel,] for ever; and of his kingdom [both on earth and in heaven, which includes born-again Christians] there shall be no end."

Verse 34: "Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be
[how can I become pregnant and bear a child], seeing [that] I know not [have not had sexual relations with] a man?"

Verse 35: "And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost
[Holy Spirit] shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest [i.e., the most high God] shall overshadow thee [meaning that Jesus would be created supernaturally, by the power of God--see note below*]: therefore also that holy thing [infant, child] which shall be born of thee [i.e., Jesus] shall be called the Son of God [in regard to his human nature]."
_________________________

*Definition of overshadow, according to Strong's Concordance:"Used of the Holy Spirit exerting creative energy upon the womb of the virgin Mary and impregnating it (a use of the word which seems to have been drawn from the familiar OT [Old Testament] idea of a cloud as symbolising the immediate presence and power of God)" (Source: http://www.godrules.net/library/kjvstrongs/kjvstrongsluk1.htm, "1:35")

DECEMBER 9

Psalm 105:1
[This verse was originally directed to the people of Israel, but it applies to Christians as well]: "O give thanks [and praise] unto the LORD; call upon his name [see note below*] [in worship and in prayer]: make known his deeds among the people [tell everyone what wonderful things he has done] [so they can thank and praise him too]."
_________________________

*LORD is commonly used in the Old Testament in place of God's name. The following article explains why: "What do LORD, GOD, Lord, God, etc., stand for in the Bible? Why are they used in place of God's name?" If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/LORD-GOD-Lord-God.html.

DECEMBER 8

Proverbs 8:35-36
[Wisdom (God's wisdom personified, or speaking like a person) says]: "For whoso[ever] findeth me [Wisdom] [i.e., whoever searches for Wisdom, finds it, and does what it says] findeth life [a good, long, happy life … one that is worth living], and shall obtain favour of [blessings from] the LORD. But he [or she] that sinneth against me [by refusing to follow my (Wisdom's) lead or take my advice] wrongeth his [or her] own soul: all they that hate me [Wisdom] love death."

In his Bible study on these verses, Pastor Jim Delany of Salem Bible Church says:

"a. … the life that listens with the ears and the heart to Lady Wisdom is the life that will be blessed by God.

"b. If we refuse to follow the way of God's wisdom… we are refusing His blessing in our life!

"c. This is all our choice."

In paragraph 1, under "Life and Favor," he goes on to say:

"h. We act on our feelings way too often. We are by nature impatient.
" Sometimes we decide and then pray.
" On other occasions, we pray and then decide… which can be just as bad!
" What God wants us to do is to pray… and wait for an answer! Don't pray… and then go ahead and do what we have already decided to do!
" That is the way of the flesh… acting on feelings and impulses.
" God is able to guide us… incline our mind and heart… to use His Word… to work IN us both to will and to do of HIS good pleasure.
" The one who truly FINDS wisdom is the one who waits at the posts of Lady Wisdom's doorposts… waiting to KNOW what is the right way to go… the right thing to do… the right and wise decision to make.
" Ex. [Exodus] 29:42 - the priests waited at the door of the tabernacle to hear the word of the Lord!
" THEN we need to act and obey-even if the way seems tough… even if the way of wisdom involves suffering… crosses to bear…"

Included in the commentary are examples of ways that people "wrong their own souls" (hurt themselves--through alcoholism, sexual immorality, gambling, bad parenting, gossip, laziness, etc.) by rejecting and disobeying God's counsel and choosing, instead, to do bad things.

If you want to read more of the commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-8-index/proverbs-8_35-36/.

DECEMBER 7

Galatians 2:16
[In a letter to the churches of Galatia, the apostle Paul wrote]: "Knowing that a man [or woman or child] is not justified [considered righteous, or acceptable in God's sight] by the works of the law [by obeying the law of Moses (ceremonial, moral, and judicial)--see note below*], but by the faith of Jesus Christ [by accepting his death as full payment for our sins], even we [Jewish Christians, to whom the letter was addressed, but this applies to all other Christians, too] have believed [placed our trust] in [the Lord] Jesus Christ [as Savior], [so] that we might be justified [born again, or saved] by the faith of [in] Christ, and not by the works of the law [i.e., good works, good deeds]: for by the works of the law shall no flesh [no person, Jew or Gentile] be justified."

In other words, we are justified by faith (believing in Jesus), not by works (obeying the law).

How to be saved the Bible way:
If you believe that Jesus Christ (Son of God, Messiah) died on the cross to pay for your sins and that he was buried and rose again, all you need to do is ask him (through prayer) to come into your heart and save you so you can go to heaven when you die.

For detailed instructions on the plan of salvation, read one or more of the tracts in the "Printable Gospel Tracts" section of my website. Here's a direct link to that page:
https://www.mansioninheaven.com/PrintableGospelTracts.html.
_________________________

*The article entitled "What is the difference between the ceremonial law, the moral law, and the judicial law in the Old Testament?" explains the various parts of the law of Moses. If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/ceremonial-law.html.

DECEMBER 6

1 John 4:1-3 - The Apostle John's Advice for Christians
In these verses, we're told how to recognize and avoid false teachers:

Verse 1: "Beloved [a term of endearment], believe not every spirit [don't believe or trust everyone who claims to be sent from God and led (influenced, guided) by the Holy Spirit], but try [examine, test] the spirits [to see] whether they are of [from] God [in other words, examine the person's religious doctrines (beliefs) and 'works' or 'fruit' (things that he or she has done because of those doctrines) to see if they conform to (agree with, follow) the Bible]: [the reason you must 'try the spirits' is] because many false prophets [false teachers and preachers--see note below*] are gone out [from Satan] into the world."

Verse 2: "Hereby know ye
[this is how you can recognize] the [Holy] Spirit of God: Every spirit that [makes a person] confesseth [confess or proclaim] that Jesus Christ [the Son of God] is come [to earth] in the flesh [as a human being, which means he is both God and man] is of [from] God:"

Verse 3: "And every spirit that confesseth not
[does not confess] that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist [the spirit of error that exists in false teachers, who are forerunners of (or who come before) the real antichrist, who will be revealed after the rapture (the taking away to heaven) of born-again Christians], whereof ye have heard that it [the anti-Christian spirit, or 'the spirit of antichrist'] should come [to earth]; and even now [in New Testament times, when these verses were written] already is it in the world."

According to Albert Barnes, we can try the spirits by comparing "… the doctrines which they [preachers and other religious teachers] professed to hold with what was revealed, and by the fruits of their doctrines in their lives. If they taught what God had taught in his word, and if their lives corresponded with his requirements, and if their doctrines agreed with what had been inculcated [repeatedly taught] by those who were admitted to be true apostles …, they [the Christians] were to receive them [the preachers and teachers] as what they professed to be. If not, they were to reject them, and hold them to be impostors."

(Source for Barnes quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/1-john-4.html, "Verse 1")

In his commentary, John Gill points out that "… whoever owns and declares this system of truth [referring to the person and office of Jesus Christ; i.e., that he is the Son of God (with a human nature), Messiah, Savior of mankind, prophet, priest, King, etc.], 'is of God'; not that everyone that assents unto this, or preaches it, is born of God; a man may believe, and confess all this, as the devils themselves do, and yet be destitute of [not have] the grace of God; but the spirit, or doctrine, which contains these things in it, is certainly of God, or comes from him; or whoever brings these truths with him, and preaches them, he is, so far as he does so, on the side of God and truth, and to be regarded."

(Source for above quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/1-john/4-2.html, "John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible")
_________________________

*For more information about false prophets, read "How can I recognize a false teacher / false prophet?" Here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/false-teachers.html..

**A GotQuestions.org article answers the following question: "How can Jesus be both God and man at the same time?" You can read it here: https://www.gotquestions.org/Jesus-God-man.html.

DECEMBER 5

Proverbs 5:21: "For the ways of man
[mankind] are before the eyes of the LORD [i.e., everything that we think, say, and do, both publicly and privately, is seen by God], and he [God] pondereth all [of] his ['man's'] goings [which means that God carefully considers--and eventually will judge--all of our actions]."

Pastor Delany of Salem Bible Church says we should be pay attention to what we're doing because God is always watching us.

The pastor's commentary on this verse is combined with verses 18-20, on the subject of sexual immorality. If you want to read it, click on the link to the commentary (https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-5-index/proverbs-5_18-21/) and scroll down the page to verse 21, which is near the bottom. The verse itself is in fancy type and highlighted.

DECEMBER 4

Hebrews 1:13-14 - Duties of Angels

Verse 13: "But to which of the angels said he
[God] at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool [until your enemies are conquered, vanquished, brought under control or subjection]? [Answer: God said it to none of them--see note below*]

Verse 14: Are they [the angels] not all ministering spirits [see note below**], sent forth to minister for [serve, help, care for, and protect] them who shall be heirs of salvation [those who will someday inherit (be given, receive) eternal life; i.e., born-again Christians, who have become part of the family of God (children of God) through adoption]?"
_________________________

*The promise in verse 13, as recorded in the Bible,

-- Psalm 110:1: "The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool."

 was made by God to his Son, Jesus Christ (the Messiah), not to the angels.


**According to Matthew Henry, angels "… are spirits, without bodies or inclination to bodies, and yet they can assume bodies, and appear in them, when God pleases …" (Source: https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/hebrews/1.html, "Verses 4-14," "v. 13, v. 14")

In his commentary on verse 14, Albert Barnes lists some of the things that angels do:

"(1) They feel a deep interest in man …
"(2) they feel a special interest in all that relates to the redemption [salvation] of man …
"(3) they appear for the defense and protection of the people of God …
"(4) angels are sent to give us strength to resist temptation …
"(5) they support us in affliction …
"(6) they attend dying saints [i.e., born-again Christians], and conduct them to glory [heaven] …"

The above points, including references to many specific Bible verses, are discussed in Mr. Barnes' commentary on verse 14. If you want to read it, here's the link:
https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/hebrews-1.html.

DECEMBER 1-3

Genesis 9:8-17 - God's Promise to Noah After the Flood Ended:

Verses 8-10: "And God spake unto
[spoke to] Noah, and to his sons [Shem, Ham, and Japheth] [who were] with him [in the ark], saying, And I, behold, I establish my covenant [agreement] with you, and with your seed [offspring, descendants] [who come] after you; And with every living creature that is with you [in the ark], of the fowl [birds and flying insects], of the cattle [domestic animals], and of every beast of the earth [wild animal] [that is] with you [in the ark]; from all that go out of the ark, to every beast of the earth."

Verses 11-13: "And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh
[living things] be cut off [destroyed] any more by the waters of a [worldwide] flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth. And God said, This is the token [symbol, sign] of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual [never-ending] generations [i.e., continuing forever]; I do set my [rain]bow in the cloud, and it [the rainbow] shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth."

Verses 14-16: "And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the
[rain]bow shall be seen in the cloud: And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh. And the [rain]bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth."

Verse 17: "And God said unto Noah, This
[rainbow] is the token [symbol, sign] of the covenant [agreement], which I have established between me and all flesh [all living things--people, animals, birds, insects] that is upon the earth."


Previous Verses: