FEBRUARY 21

1 John 4:7-8 - Christians Should "Love One Another"
In a letter to born-again Christians, the apostle John wrote:

Verse 7: "Beloved [dearly loved ones], let us love one another: for [because] [true brotherly (Christian)] love is of [comes from] God; and every one that loveth [his or her fellow Christians] is born of God [has been regenerated, or born again--see note below*], and knoweth God [personally, meaning he or she has received (trusted) God's Son, Jesus, as personal Savior]."

Verse 8: "He
[or she] that loveth not [does not love] [other Christians] knoweth not [does not know] God; for God is love."
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*In his commentary on verse 7, concerning the phrase and every one that loveth is born of God , Albert Barnes wrote:

"… everyone who has true love to Christians as such, or true brotherly love, is a true Christian. This cannot mean that everyone that loves his wife and children, his classmate, his partner in business, or his friend - his house, or his farms, or his horses, or his hounds [dogs], is a child of God; it must be understood as referring to the point under discussion. A man may have a great deal of natural affection toward his kindred [relatives]; a great deal of benevolence [kindness] in his character toward the poor and needy, and still he may have none of the love to which John refers. He may have no real love to God, to the Saviour, or to the children of God [born-again Christians] as such; and it would be absurd for such a one to argue because he loves his wife and children that therefore he loves God, or is born again."

(Source for above quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/1-john-4.html, "Verse 7")

FEBRUARY 20

Philippians 1:6
[In a letter, the apostle Paul said to born-again Christians]: "Being confident of this very thing, that he [God] which hath begun a good work in you [when you got saved; i.e., changing you from the inside out--see note below*] will perform it [will continue to perfect that good work, as long as you are alive,] until the day of Jesus Christ [when believers, both living and dead, are taken to heaven in the rapture--see note below**]:"
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*A good Bible verse to illustrate how people are changed when they get saved is 2 Corinthians 5:17: "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."

**The concept of the rapture is explained in the following article: "What is the rapture of the church?" If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/rapture-of-the-church.html.

Note:
Dr. Thomas Constable has an excellent commentary on this verse, including references to many Bible verses regarding the rapture and what is known as the "perseverance of saints." In part, it says:

"What was the good work to which Paul referred? If he had in mind only the generosity of his original readers, he may have meant that good work. However, as I have suggested, he seems to have had a much broader concept in mind, namely, what the work of the gospel produces: salvation. Who had begun this good work of salvation? It could only be God. Paul was confident that God would finish what He had begun in his beloved Philippians.

"In the New Testament, God has revealed that salvation is a process. It involves justification, when a sinner trusts Jesus Christ as his or her Savior. It includes progressive sanctification that occurs from the time of justification to the Christian's death or the Rapture. And it culminates in glorification, when the redeemed sinner finally sees Jesus Christ and experiences transformation into His image. Paul was confident that just as surely as God had justified the Philippians He would also continue to sanctify and eventually glorify them. Whereas we have a hand in the process of sanctification and can affect it by our obedience or disobedience, God alone justifies us. Regardless of our carnality [sinfulness] or spirituality He will also glorify us ( 1 Corinthians 15:50-57).

"The aspect of sanctification that Paul had in view, considering Philippians 1:5, was the Philippians' partnership with him in the work of propagating [spreading] the gospel. He was confident that God would continue His sanctifying work in them so they might become even more effective partners with him in this great task.

"This verse does not teach that God will keep all Christians persevering in the faith and in good works faithfully until they die. Believers can and do resist, oppose, and limit God's sanctifying work in them ( Ephesians 4:30; 1 Thessalonians 5:19). Perseverance in faith and good works is not automatic for the Christian. The New Testament writers consistently urged us to persevere recognizing that some Christians will not do so ( Titus 2:11-13; Hebrews 2:1; Hebrews 4:1; Hebrews 6:1-8; et al.). Even some of Paul's fellow workers did not persevere faithfully ( 1 Timothy 1:18-20; 2 Timothy 2:17-18; 2 Timothy 4:10). Even though some Christians do not persevere in faith and good works, God will persevere in bringing them to glory (i.e, will glorify them) … Thus it is God who perseveres in the work of salvation, not necessarily man.

"Paul's reference to the day of Christ Jesus as the culmination of the Lord's work of salvation in the believer points to the day when He will return for His own [people, meaning born-again Christians]: the Rapture. There are at least18 references to this day in the New Testament ( Romans 13:12; 1 Corinthians 1:8; 1 Corinthians 3:13; 1 Corinthians 5:5; 1 Corinthians 15:51; 2 Corinthians 1:14; Philippians 1:6; Philippians 1:10; Philippians 2:16; Philippians 3:11; Philippians 3:20-21; 1 Thessalonians 4:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:4; 2 Thessalonians 1:10; 2 Timothy 1:12; 2 Timothy 1:18; 2 Timothy 4:8).
"The expression is similar to the 'day of the Lord' ( 1 Thessalonians 5:2) and the OT [Old Testament] 'day of Jehovah' ( Amos 5:18-20). However, in contrast to the OT emphasis on judgment, the 'day of Christ Jesus' is mentioned in all cases with reference to the NT [New Testament] church. It will be the time when Christ returns for his church, salvation is finally completed, and believers' works are examined and the believer rewarded' [at the Judgment Seat of Christ] …

"This is one of the most comforting verses in the Bible for Christians. Our getting to heaven safely does not depend on us, on our ability to hold on and to persevere faithfully to the end of our lives. The Lord will see to it that we reach heaven safely in spite of our failures and shortcomings. Salvation is God's work, not man's ( Jonah 2:9). As surely as He [God] has already delivered us from the penalty of sin ( Romans 5:1), He will one day deliver us from the presence of sin (cf. Romans 8:31-39) …"

(Source for above quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/philippians/1-6.html, "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable")

FEBRUARY 19

Acts 4:12 - The Only Way to Heaven: Jesus Christ
After Peter had, 'in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth' (i.e., by Jesus' power and authority), healed a grown man who had been lame (crippled) from birth (which could be considered "salvation" in a physical sense), the apostle stood before the chief priests and elders and said:

"Neither is there salvation [in a spiritual sense, meaning deliverance from God's eternal punishment for sin,] in [through] any other [person or thing except the Lord Jesus Christ]: for there is none [no] other name [or person or authority] under heaven given among men [mankind] [except the name (or person or authority) of Jesus], whereby [by which] we must be saved [from hell]."

The question "What is salvation?" is answered by GotQuestions.org in the following article: "What is the Christian doctrine of salvation?" If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/Christian-doctrine-salvation.html.

Would you like to be saved from hell?
If you believe that Jesus Christ (God's Son) died on the cross to pay for your sins and that he was buried and rose again, all you need to do is sincerely ask him, through prayer (either silently or out loud), to come into your heart and save you so you can go to heaven when you die.

Note:
Detailed explanations of the plan of salvation can be found in the "Printable Gospel Tracts" section of my website. Here's a direct link to that page:
https://www.mansioninheaven.com/PrintableGospelTracts.html.

FEBRUARY 18

Luke 6:38: "Give
[to others, especially the poor and needy], and it shall be given unto you [in return]; good measure [full measure, as when you fill a measuring cup to the brim with solid food, like figs or grapes], pressed down, and shaken together [to make room for more], and running over [overflowing], shall men [and women and children] give into your bosom [to you--see note below*]. For with the same measure [amount of goodness or kindness] that ye mete withal [measure out, give to others] it shall be measured to you again [given back to you]."

In other words, God will make sure that our charitable deeds are repaid.
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*According to the commentary by Albert Barnes, "… The word 'bosom' here has reference to a custom among Oriental nations of making the bosom or front part of their garments large, so that articles could be carried in them, answering the purpose of our pockets …" (Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/luke-6.html, "Verses 20-49")

FEBRUARY 17

Proverbs 17:13: "Whoso
[whoever] rewardeth [returns, repays] evil [bad actions] for good [deeds or kindness], evil [things, such as illness, accidents, money problems, etc.] shall not depart [go away, be removed] from his [or her] house [household, or family]."

Ingratitude (ungratefulness) is a sin and will be punished by God.

In his commentary on this verse, Pastor Jim Delany of Salem Bible Church gives several ways in which people may reward evil for good, using King David as his prime example (i.e., the story of David's adultery with Bathsheba and the subsequent murder of her husband, Uriah). He also explains the difference between karma and the judgment of God.

If you want to read Pastor Delany's commentary, here's the link:
https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-17-index/proverbs-17_13/.

FEBRUARY 15-16

Acts 23:1-5 - The Apostle Paul Appears Before Ananias and the Sanhedrin

Verse 1: "And Paul, earnestly beholding
[looking intently at the members of] the council [Sanhedrin--see note below*], said, Men and brethren [brothers--in this case, referring to his fellow Jews], I have lived [my life] in all good conscience before God until this day [meaning he had always done what he believed was right, both before and after becoming a Christian]."

Verse 2: "And the high priest Ananias commanded them that stood by him
[those who stood near Paul] to smite [slap, punch, hit] him [Paul] on the mouth."

Verse 3: "Then said Paul unto him
[Ananias], God shall smite thee [punish you], thou [you] whited [whitewashed] wall [a phrase meaning 'you hypocrite']: for sittest thou [aren't you, as head of the council, supposed] to judge me after [according to] the law [of Moses], and [instead you] commandest [command, order] me to be smitten [struck] contrary to [in violation of] the law?"

Verse 4: "And they that stood by
[nearby] said [to Paul], Revilest thou [why are you verbally attacking] God's high priest?"

Verse 5: "Then said Paul, I wist not
[did not know], brethren, that he [Ananias] was the high priest [probably because, when this story took place, Ananias was not really the high priest but was only filling in as high priest while that office was vacant--see note below**]: for it is written [in Exodus 22:28], Thou shalt [you shall] not speak evil of [say bad things about] the ruler of thy [your] people."

According to the Bible, we need to respect our leaders, both good and bad, because of the offices that they hold. If Ananias had been the true high priest (i.e., officially appointed to that office), Paul wouldn't have spoken to him that way.
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*For background information on the Sanhedrin, see the article entitled "What was the Sanhedrin?" Here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/Sanhedrin.html.

**For an explanation of why Ananias was not considered by Paul to be the high priest when this story took place, see Albert Barnes' commentary on verses 2 and 5 (https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/acts-23.html).

FEBRUARY 14

1 John 3:18
[In a letter directed to all born-again Christians, both children and adults, the apostle John wrote]: "My little children [in Christ], let us not [only] love in word, neither in tongue [i.e., not just by saying that we love someone]; but [also] in deed and in truth [i.e., by doing things which show that our professed love is sincere and real]."

According to Charles Spurgeon, "Love that consists only of words is utterly worthless[;] if it is true love, it must prove itself by kind deeds and gracious actions." (Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/1-john-3.html, "Verses 10-24")

FEBRUARY 12-13

Romans 14:20-23 - We Should Listen to Our Consciences and Not Offend Others
In the Old Testament, under the law of Moses, Jewish people were forbidden from eating certain foods. After Jesus' death and resurrection, the ceremonial part of the law no longer applied to Christians. Most people comprehended (understood) that fact. However, in the church at Rome, some Jewish people thought that the aforementioned "forbidden" foods were still "off limit" to them, even though they were saved. In the following verses, the apostle Paul addresses those concerns:

Verse 20: "For [on account of] meat [food] destroy not [don't destroy] the work of God [i.e., what the Holy Spirit is doing in the hearts of believers (born-again Christians)]. All things indeed are pure [lawful (permitted) to be eaten]; but it is evil [a bad thing] for that man [or woman or child] who eateth with offence [who, by example, convinces another Christian to go against his (or her) conscience and do something that he (or she) thinks is not right]."

Verse 21: "It is good
[or right or better] neither to eat flesh [meaning meat, especially of sacrificed animals (in Bible times)--things that 'Jewish' converts regarded as unclean], nor to drink wine, nor [to do] any thing whereby [by which] thy [your] [Christian] brother [or sister] stumbleth [trips, stumbles], or is offended, or is made weak [in the faith, or spiritually weak]."

Verse 22: "Hast thou
[do you have] faith [confidence concerning the subject being discussed (i.e., food, drink, etc.)? [If so,] have it to thyself before [keep it private between you and] God. Happy is he [or she] that condemneth not himself [or herself] in [or 'does not condemn himself (or herself) or disapprove of'] that thing which he [or she] alloweth."

Verse 23: "And he
[or she] that doubteth [does not do something with a clear conscience] is damned [full of guilt and blame] if he [or she] eat[s] [something that he (or she) is not sure that he (or she) should eat], because he [or she] eateth not of faith [confidence that it is right] [or 'because he (or she) doubts that what he (or she) eats is permitted']: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin."

In the above verses, the apostle Paul is teaching us that:

-- We should always try to be a good influence on others. One way is by not doing things that will offend other people, weaken their faith, or cause them to sin. We can also keep our opinions to ourselves.

-- If our conscience tells us that something is wrong, we shouldn't do it.
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At the end of his commentary on Chapter 14 of Romans, Albert Barnes wrote:

"In this chapter (14--see https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans+14&version=KJV) we have a remarkably fine discussion of the nature of Christian charity. Differences of 'opinion' will arise, and people will be divided into various sects [religious groups]; but if the rules which are laid down in this chapter were followed, the contentions, and altercations, and strifes among Christians would cease. Had these rules been applied to the controversies about rites [religious ceremonies], and forms, and festivals, that have arisen, peace might have been preserved. Amid all such differences, the great question is, whether there is true love to the Lord Jesus. If there is, the apostle teaches us that we have no right to judge a [Christian] brother, or despise him, or contend harshly with him. Our object should be to promote peace, to aid him in his efforts to become holy, and to seek to build him up in holy faith."

(Source for above quote:
https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/romans-14.html, "Verse 23")

FEBRUARY 4-11

Acts 26:19-32 - The Apostle Paul Appears Before King Agrippa After Being Arrested

Verses 19-20
[After telling the story of his conversion, which occurred when Jesus appeared to him on the road to Damascus and told him to become a minister and preach the gospel, Paul (formerly known as Saul) said]: "Whereupon [after that happened], O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: But [I] shewed [explained] first unto them [the Jews] of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles [non-Jews], that they should repent [change their way of thinking and acknowledge the truth about sin and salvation] and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance [do things that prove they have repented and are saved]."

Verses 21-23: "For these causes
[reasons (i.e., because Paul had told the people to repent, turn to God, and do works meet for repentance] the Jews caught [captured] me [Paul] in the temple, and went about [attempted, tried] to kill me. Having therefore obtained help of [from] God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to [those who are] small and great [meaning everyone--young and old, rich and poor, etc.], saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say [prophesy] [in the Old Testament] should come [to pass, or take place--i.e.,]: That [Jesus] Christ [the Messiah] should suffer, and that he should be the first [person] that [who] should rise from the dead [to die no more], and should shew [show] [spiritual] light [or 'bring the message of salvation'] unto the [Jewish] people, and to the Gentiles."

Verses 24-26: "And as he
[Paul] thus spake for [defended] himself, Festus [the Roman governor] said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself [you are not in your right mind]; much learning doth [does] make thee [you] mad [mentally ill, insane]. But he [Paul] said, I am not mad [crazy--see Note 1 below], most noble Festus; but [I] speak forth the words of truth and soberness [soundness of mind]. For [because] the king [Agrippa] knoweth of these things, before whom [referring to the king] also I speak freely [openly, boldly]: for I am persuaded [convinced] that none of these things are hidden from him [the king]; for this thing [Paul's conversion to Christianity] was not done in a corner [a secret place]."

Verses 27-29: "King Agrippa, believest thou
[do you believe] the prophets [referring to their prophecies respecting the character, sufferings, and death of the Messiah]? I know that thou believest [them--see Note 2 below]. Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest [you have almost persuaded] me to be [become] a Christian [see Note 3 below]. And Paul said, I would [pray] to God, that not only thou [you], but also all that hear me this day, were both almost [Christians], and altogether [were Christians] such as I am [just like me], except [for] these bonds [physical restraints, like ropes or chains]."

Verses 30-32: "And when he
[Paul] had thus spoken, the king [Agrippa] rose [stood] up, and [so did] the governor [Festus], and [so did] Bernice [the king's sister], and they that sat with them: And when they were gone aside [out of the room], they talked between themselves, saying, This man [Paul] doeth [does, or has done] nothing worthy of death or of bonds. Then said [King] Agrippa unto Festus, This man [Paul] might have been set at liberty [given his freedom], if he had not appealed unto [Nero] Caesar [the Roman emperor]."
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NOTE 1: In his commentary on verse 25, when talking about how Christians are sometimes viewed as crazy, Albert Barnes said:

"… All people know that if there is an eternity, it is right to prepare for it; if there is a God, it is proper to serve him; if a Saviour died for us, we should love him; if [there is] a hell, we should avoid it; if [there is] a heaven, we should seek it …"

In Mr. Barnes' opinion: "… One of the best ways of convicting sinners is to appeal to them just as Paul did to Agrippa …"

(Source for above quotes:
https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/acts-26.html, "Verse 25")


NOTE 2:
Paul knew that King Agrippa "believed" because, as Albert Barnes explains:

"I know that thou believest - Agrippa was a Jew; and, as such, he of course believed the prophets. Perhaps, too, from what Paul knew of his personal character, he might confidently affirm that he professed to be a believer. Instead, therefore, of waiting for his answer, Paul anticipated it, and said that he knew that Agrippa professed to believe all these prophecies respecting the Messiah. His design is evident. It is:

"(1) To meet the charge of derangement, and to bring in the testimony of Agrippa, who well understood the subject, to the importance and the truth of what he was saying.

"(2) to press on the conscience of his royal hearer the evidence of the Christian religion, and to secure, if possible, his conversion. 'Since thou believest the prophecies, and since I have shown that they are fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth; that he corresponds in person, character, and work, with the prophets, it follows that his religion is true.' Paul lost no opportunity in pressing the truth on every class of people. He had such a conviction of the truth of Christianity that he was deterred by no rank, station, or office; by no fear of the rich, the great, and the learned; but everywhere urged the evidence of that religion as indisputable. In this lay the secret of no small part of his success. A man who really believes the truth will be ready to defend it. A man who truly loves religion will not be ashamed of it anywhere."

(Source for above quote:
https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/acts-26.html, "Verse 27")


NOTE 3:
Regarding the fact that the Paul had "almost persuaded" King Agrippa to become a Christian, Mr. Barnes writes:

"On this deeply interesting case we may observe:

"(1) That there are many in the same situation as Agrippa- many who are almost, but not altogether, persuaded to be Christians. They are found among:

"(a)Those who have been religiously educated;

"(b)Those who are convinced by argument of the truth of Christianity;

"(c)Those whose consciences are awakened, and who feel their guilt, and the necessity of some better portion than this world can furnish.

"(2) such persons are deterred from being altogether Christians by the following, among other causes:

"(a)By the love of sin - the love of sin in general, or some particular sin which they are not willing to abandon;

"(b)By the fear of shame, persecution, or contempt, if they become Christians;
"(c)By the temptations of the world - its cares, vanities, and allurements- which are often presented most strongly in just this state of mind;

"(d)By the love of office, the pride of rank and power, as in the case of Agrippa;

"(e)By a disposition, like Felix, to delay to a more favorable time the work of religion, until life has wasted away, and death approaches, and it is too late, and the unhappy man dies almost a Christian.

"(3) this state of mind is one of special interest and special danger. It is not one of safety, and it is not one that implies any certainty that the 'almost Christian' will ever be saved. There is no reason to believe that Agrippa ever became fully persuaded to become a Christian. To be almost persuaded to do a thing which we ought to do, and yet not to do it, is the very position of guilt and danger. And it is no wonder that many are brought to this point - the turning-point, the crisis of life - and then lose their anxiety, and die in their sins. May the God of grace keep us from resting in being almost persuaded to be Christians! May every one who shall read this account of Agrippa be admonished by his convictions, and be alarmed by the fact that he then paused, and that his convictions there ended! And may every one resolve by the help of God to forsake every thing that prevents his becoming an entire believer, and without delay embrace the Son of God as his Saviour!"

(Source for above quote:
https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/acts-26.html, "Verse 28")

FEBRUARY 3

Psalm 139:23-24
[King David's prayer to God]: "Search me, O God, and know [what is in] my heart: try [test] me, and know my thoughts [everything that I think about]: And see if there be any wicked way in me [referring to anything that would alienate David from (or cause him to be unfaithful to) God, such as idolatry], and lead me in the way [the right and good way, that leads to] everlasting [life in heaven] [or, perhaps, 'keep me on the right path forever']."

King David wanted to live a life that was pleasing to God, so he asked for God's help in keeping him on the right track.

FEBRUARY 2

1 Timothy 1:15: "This is a faithful
[true] saying, and worthy of all acceptation [worthy to be believed by all people] that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I [the apostle Paul] am chief [first, or one of the worst (of pardoned sinners, or those who have accepted God's gift of eternal life)--see note below*]."
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*Prior to his conversion to Christianity (i.e., before he got saved and became a preacher of the gospel), Paul was a blasphemer (meaning he took the Lord's name in vain), and he also persecuted (harassed, threatened, etc.) and murdered Christians.

Regarding the above verse, one Bible commentator asked, "Was Paul really the worst sinner of all time (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:9; Ephesians 3:8)?"

He answered his own question as follows: "Obviously many people have lived longer in a more depraved condition than Paul did. He became a Christian relatively early in his adult life. Perhaps the apostle meant that he was the 'foremost' sinner in the sense that his sin of aggressively tearing down the work that God was building up was the worst kind of sin. It was much worse than simply ignoring God and going one"s own way …"

(Source for above quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/1-timothy/1-15.html, "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable")
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Note: If you're a sinner who wants to be saved, you'll find instructions in most 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.

FEBRUARY 1

Leviticus 20:6 - Witchcraft
This was God's message to the children of Israel, delivered by Moses:

Verse 6: "And the soul [person] that turneth [who goes] after such as have familiar spirits [referring to people, like mediums and fortune-tellers, who use their 'demon servants' (demons who obey and serve them) to communicate with the dead and predict the future], and [the 'soul' who goes] after wizards [referring to people with magic powers, such as magicians and sorcerers], to go a whoring after them [to seek their knowledge, advice, or help], I [God] will even set my face against that soul [i.e., the person committing 'spiritual adultery' by consulting with Satan's followers], and will cut him [or her] off [or separate him (or her)] from among his [or her] people."

God hates witchcraft. This is his warning to everyone (not just the Israelites) to stay away from people involved in it.


Previous Verses
February 2020
FEBRUARY 21

1 John 4:7-8 - Christians Should "Love One Another"
In a letter to born-again Christians, the apostle John wrote:

Verse 7: "Beloved [dearly loved ones], let us love one another: for [because] [true brotherly (Christian)] love is of [comes from] God; and every one that loveth [his or her fellow Christians] is born of God [has been regenerated, or born again--see note below*], and knoweth God [personally, meaning he or she has received (trusted) God's Son, Jesus, as personal Savior]."

Verse 8: "He
[or she] that loveth not [does not love] [other Christians] knoweth not [does not know] God; for God is love."
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*In his commentary on verse 7, concerning the phrase and every one that loveth is born of God , Albert Barnes wrote:

"… everyone who has true love to Christians as such, or true brotherly love, is a true Christian. This cannot mean that everyone that loves his wife and children, his classmate, his partner in business, or his friend - his house, or his farms, or his horses, or his hounds [dogs], is a child of God; it must be understood as referring to the point under discussion. A man may have a great deal of natural affection toward his kindred [relatives]; a great deal of benevolence [kindness] in his character toward the poor and needy, and still he may have none of the love to which John refers. He may have no real love to God, to the Saviour, or to the children of God [born-again Christians] as such; and it would be absurd for such a one to argue because he loves his wife and children that therefore he loves God, or is born again."

(Source for above quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/1-john-4.html, "Verse 7")

FEBRUARY 20

Philippians 1:6
[In a letter, the apostle Paul said to born-again Christians]: "Being confident of this very thing, that he [God] which hath begun a good work in you [when you got saved; i.e., changing you from the inside out--see note below*] will perform it [will continue to perfect that good work, as long as you are alive,] until the day of Jesus Christ [when believers, both living and dead, are taken to heaven in the rapture--see note below**]:"
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*A good Bible verse to illustrate how people are changed when they get saved is 2 Corinthians 5:17: "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."

**The concept of the rapture is explained in the following article: "What is the rapture of the church?" If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/rapture-of-the-church.html.

Note:
Dr. Thomas Constable has an excellent commentary on this verse, including references to many Bible verses regarding the rapture and what is known as the "perseverance of saints." In part, it says:

"What was the good work to which Paul referred? If he had in mind only the generosity of his original readers, he may have meant that good work. However, as I have suggested, he seems to have had a much broader concept in mind, namely, what the work of the gospel produces: salvation. Who had begun this good work of salvation? It could only be God. Paul was confident that God would finish what He had begun in his beloved Philippians.

"In the New Testament, God has revealed that salvation is a process. It involves justification, when a sinner trusts Jesus Christ as his or her Savior. It includes progressive sanctification that occurs from the time of justification to the Christian's death or the Rapture. And it culminates in glorification, when the redeemed sinner finally sees Jesus Christ and experiences transformation into His image. Paul was confident that just as surely as God had justified the Philippians He would also continue to sanctify and eventually glorify them. Whereas we have a hand in the process of sanctification and can affect it by our obedience or disobedience, God alone justifies us. Regardless of our carnality [sinfulness] or spirituality He will also glorify us ( 1 Corinthians 15:50-57).

"The aspect of sanctification that Paul had in view, considering Philippians 1:5, was the Philippians' partnership with him in the work of propagating [spreading] the gospel. He was confident that God would continue His sanctifying work in them so they might become even more effective partners with him in this great task.

"This verse does not teach that God will keep all Christians persevering in the faith and in good works faithfully until they die. Believers can and do resist, oppose, and limit God's sanctifying work in them ( Ephesians 4:30; 1 Thessalonians 5:19). Perseverance in faith and good works is not automatic for the Christian. The New Testament writers consistently urged us to persevere recognizing that some Christians will not do so ( Titus 2:11-13; Hebrews 2:1; Hebrews 4:1; Hebrews 6:1-8; et al.). Even some of Paul's fellow workers did not persevere faithfully ( 1 Timothy 1:18-20; 2 Timothy 2:17-18; 2 Timothy 4:10). Even though some Christians do not persevere in faith and good works, God will persevere in bringing them to glory (i.e, will glorify them) … Thus it is God who perseveres in the work of salvation, not necessarily man.

"Paul's reference to the day of Christ Jesus as the culmination of the Lord's work of salvation in the believer points to the day when He will return for His own [people, meaning born-again Christians]: the Rapture. There are at least18 references to this day in the New Testament ( Romans 13:12; 1 Corinthians 1:8; 1 Corinthians 3:13; 1 Corinthians 5:5; 1 Corinthians 15:51; 2 Corinthians 1:14; Philippians 1:6; Philippians 1:10; Philippians 2:16; Philippians 3:11; Philippians 3:20-21; 1 Thessalonians 4:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:4; 2 Thessalonians 1:10; 2 Timothy 1:12; 2 Timothy 1:18; 2 Timothy 4:8).
"The expression is similar to the 'day of the Lord' ( 1 Thessalonians 5:2) and the OT [Old Testament] 'day of Jehovah' ( Amos 5:18-20). However, in contrast to the OT emphasis on judgment, the 'day of Christ Jesus' is mentioned in all cases with reference to the NT [New Testament] church. It will be the time when Christ returns for his church, salvation is finally completed, and believers' works are examined and the believer rewarded' [at the Judgment Seat of Christ] …

"This is one of the most comforting verses in the Bible for Christians. Our getting to heaven safely does not depend on us, on our ability to hold on and to persevere faithfully to the end of our lives. The Lord will see to it that we reach heaven safely in spite of our failures and shortcomings. Salvation is God's work, not man's ( Jonah 2:9). As surely as He [God] has already delivered us from the penalty of sin ( Romans 5:1), He will one day deliver us from the presence of sin (cf. Romans 8:31-39) …"

(Source for above quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/philippians/1-6.html, "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable")

FEBRUARY 19

Acts 4:12 - The Only Way to Heaven: Jesus Christ
After Peter had, 'in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth' (i.e., by Jesus' power and authority), healed a grown man who had been lame (crippled) from birth (which could be considered "salvation" in a physical sense), the apostle stood before the chief priests and elders and said:

"Neither is there salvation [in a spiritual sense, meaning deliverance from God's eternal punishment for sin,] in [through] any other [person or thing except the Lord Jesus Christ]: for there is none [no] other name [or person or authority] under heaven given among men [mankind] [except the name (or person or authority) of Jesus], whereby [by which] we must be saved [from hell]."

The question "What is salvation?" is answered by GotQuestions.org in the following article: "What is the Christian doctrine of salvation?" If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/Christian-doctrine-salvation.html.

Would you like to be saved from hell?
If you believe that Jesus Christ (God's Son) died on the cross to pay for your sins and that he was buried and rose again, all you need to do is sincerely ask him, through prayer (either silently or out loud), to come into your heart and save you so you can go to heaven when you die.

Note:
Detailed explanations of the plan of salvation can be found in the "Printable Gospel Tracts" section of my website. Here's a direct link to that page:
https://www.mansioninheaven.com/PrintableGospelTracts.html.

FEBRUARY 18

Luke 6:38: "Give
[to others, especially the poor and needy], and it shall be given unto you [in return]; good measure [full measure, as when you fill a measuring cup to the brim with solid food, like figs or grapes], pressed down, and shaken together [to make room for more], and running over [overflowing], shall men [and women and children] give into your bosom [to you--see note below*]. For with the same measure [amount of goodness or kindness] that ye mete withal [measure out, give to others] it shall be measured to you again [given back to you]."

In other words, God will make sure that our charitable deeds are repaid.
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*According to the commentary by Albert Barnes, "… The word 'bosom' here has reference to a custom among Oriental nations of making the bosom or front part of their garments large, so that articles could be carried in them, answering the purpose of our pockets …" (Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/luke-6.html, "Verses 20-49")

FEBRUARY 17

Proverbs 17:13: "Whoso
[whoever] rewardeth [returns, repays] evil [bad actions] for good [deeds or kindness], evil [things, such as illness, accidents, money problems, etc.] shall not depart [go away, be removed] from his [or her] house [household, or family]."

Ingratitude (ungratefulness) is a sin and will be punished by God.

In his commentary on this verse, Pastor Jim Delany of Salem Bible Church gives several ways in which people may reward evil for good, using King David as his prime example (i.e., the story of David's adultery with Bathsheba and the subsequent murder of her husband, Uriah). He also explains the difference between karma and the judgment of God.

If you want to read Pastor Delany's commentary, here's the link:
https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-17-index/proverbs-17_13/.

FEBRUARY 15-16

Acts 23:1-5 - The Apostle Paul Appears Before Ananias and the Sanhedrin

Verse 1: "And Paul, earnestly beholding
[looking intently at the members of] the council [Sanhedrin--see note below*], said, Men and brethren [brothers--in this case, referring to his fellow Jews], I have lived [my life] in all good conscience before God until this day [meaning he had always done what he believed was right, both before and after becoming a Christian]."

Verse 2: "And the high priest Ananias commanded them that stood by him
[those who stood near Paul] to smite [slap, punch, hit] him [Paul] on the mouth."

Verse 3: "Then said Paul unto him
[Ananias], God shall smite thee [punish you], thou [you] whited [whitewashed] wall [a phrase meaning 'you hypocrite']: for sittest thou [aren't you, as head of the council, supposed] to judge me after [according to] the law [of Moses], and [instead you] commandest [command, order] me to be smitten [struck] contrary to [in violation of] the law?"

Verse 4: "And they that stood by
[nearby] said [to Paul], Revilest thou [why are you verbally attacking] God's high priest?"

Verse 5: "Then said Paul, I wist not
[did not know], brethren, that he [Ananias] was the high priest [probably because, when this story took place, Ananias was not really the high priest but was only filling in as high priest while that office was vacant--see note below**]: for it is written [in Exodus 22:28], Thou shalt [you shall] not speak evil of [say bad things about] the ruler of thy [your] people."

According to the Bible, we need to respect our leaders, both good and bad, because of the offices that they hold. If Ananias had been the true high priest (i.e., officially appointed to that office), Paul wouldn't have spoken to him that way.
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*For background information on the Sanhedrin, see the article entitled "What was the Sanhedrin?" Here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/Sanhedrin.html.

**For an explanation of why Ananias was not considered by Paul to be the high priest when this story took place, see Albert Barnes' commentary on verses 2 and 5 (https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/acts-23.html).

FEBRUARY 14

1 John 3:18
[In a letter directed to all born-again Christians, both children and adults, the apostle John wrote]: "My little children [in Christ], let us not [only] love in word, neither in tongue [i.e., not just by saying that we love someone]; but [also] in deed and in truth [i.e., by doing things which show that our professed love is sincere and real]."

According to Charles Spurgeon, "Love that consists only of words is utterly worthless[;] if it is true love, it must prove itself by kind deeds and gracious actions." (Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/1-john-3.html, "Verses 10-24")

FEBRUARY 12-13

Romans 14:20-23 - We Should Listen to Our Consciences and Not Offend Others
In the Old Testament, under the law of Moses, Jewish people were forbidden from eating certain foods. After Jesus' death and resurrection, the ceremonial part of the law no longer applied to Christians. Most people comprehended (understood) that fact. However, in the church at Rome, some Jewish people thought that the aforementioned "forbidden" foods were still "off limit" to them, even though they were saved. In the following verses, the apostle Paul addresses those concerns:

Verse 20: "For [on account of] meat [food] destroy not [don't destroy] the work of God [i.e., what the Holy Spirit is doing in the hearts of believers (born-again Christians)]. All things indeed are pure [lawful (permitted) to be eaten]; but it is evil [a bad thing] for that man [or woman or child] who eateth with offence [who, by example, convinces another Christian to go against his (or her) conscience and do something that he (or she) thinks is not right]."

Verse 21: "It is good
[or right or better] neither to eat flesh [meaning meat, especially of sacrificed animals (in Bible times)--things that 'Jewish' converts regarded as unclean], nor to drink wine, nor [to do] any thing whereby [by which] thy [your] [Christian] brother [or sister] stumbleth [trips, stumbles], or is offended, or is made weak [in the faith, or spiritually weak]."

Verse 22: "Hast thou
[do you have] faith [confidence concerning the subject being discussed (i.e., food, drink, etc.)? [If so,] have it to thyself before [keep it private between you and] God. Happy is he [or she] that condemneth not himself [or herself] in [or 'does not condemn himself (or herself) or disapprove of'] that thing which he [or she] alloweth."

Verse 23: "And he
[or she] that doubteth [does not do something with a clear conscience] is damned [full of guilt and blame] if he [or she] eat[s] [something that he (or she) is not sure that he (or she) should eat], because he [or she] eateth not of faith [confidence that it is right] [or 'because he (or she) doubts that what he (or she) eats is permitted']: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin."

In the above verses, the apostle Paul is teaching us that:

-- We should always try to be a good influence on others. One way is by not doing things that will offend other people, weaken their faith, or cause them to sin. We can also keep our opinions to ourselves.

-- If our conscience tells us that something is wrong, we shouldn't do it.
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At the end of his commentary on Chapter 14 of Romans, Albert Barnes wrote:

"In this chapter (14--see https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans+14&version=KJV) we have a remarkably fine discussion of the nature of Christian charity. Differences of 'opinion' will arise, and people will be divided into various sects [religious groups]; but if the rules which are laid down in this chapter were followed, the contentions, and altercations, and strifes among Christians would cease. Had these rules been applied to the controversies about rites [religious ceremonies], and forms, and festivals, that have arisen, peace might have been preserved. Amid all such differences, the great question is, whether there is true love to the Lord Jesus. If there is, the apostle teaches us that we have no right to judge a [Christian] brother, or despise him, or contend harshly with him. Our object should be to promote peace, to aid him in his efforts to become holy, and to seek to build him up in holy faith."

(Source for above quote:
https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/romans-14.html, "Verse 23")

FEBRUARY 4-11

Acts 26:19-32 - The Apostle Paul Appears Before King Agrippa After Being Arrested

Verses 19-20
[After telling the story of his conversion, which occurred when Jesus appeared to him on the road to Damascus and told him to become a minister and preach the gospel, Paul (formerly known as Saul) said]: "Whereupon [after that happened], O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: But [I] shewed [explained] first unto them [the Jews] of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles [non-Jews], that they should repent [change their way of thinking and acknowledge the truth about sin and salvation] and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance [do things that prove they have repented and are saved]."

Verses 21-23: "For these causes
[reasons (i.e., because Paul had told the people to repent, turn to God, and do works meet for repentance] the Jews caught [captured] me [Paul] in the temple, and went about [attempted, tried] to kill me. Having therefore obtained help of [from] God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to [those who are] small and great [meaning everyone--young and old, rich and poor, etc.], saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say [prophesy] [in the Old Testament] should come [to pass, or take place--i.e.,]: That [Jesus] Christ [the Messiah] should suffer, and that he should be the first [person] that [who] should rise from the dead [to die no more], and should shew [show] [spiritual] light [or 'bring the message of salvation'] unto the [Jewish] people, and to the Gentiles."

Verses 24-26: "And as he
[Paul] thus spake for [defended] himself, Festus [the Roman governor] said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself [you are not in your right mind]; much learning doth [does] make thee [you] mad [mentally ill, insane]. But he [Paul] said, I am not mad [crazy--see Note 1 below], most noble Festus; but [I] speak forth the words of truth and soberness [soundness of mind]. For [because] the king [Agrippa] knoweth of these things, before whom [referring to the king] also I speak freely [openly, boldly]: for I am persuaded [convinced] that none of these things are hidden from him [the king]; for this thing [Paul's conversion to Christianity] was not done in a corner [a secret place]."

Verses 27-29: "King Agrippa, believest thou
[do you believe] the prophets [referring to their prophecies respecting the character, sufferings, and death of the Messiah]? I know that thou believest [them--see Note 2 below]. Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest [you have almost persuaded] me to be [become] a Christian [see Note 3 below]. And Paul said, I would [pray] to God, that not only thou [you], but also all that hear me this day, were both almost [Christians], and altogether [were Christians] such as I am [just like me], except [for] these bonds [physical restraints, like ropes or chains]."

Verses 30-32: "And when he
[Paul] had thus spoken, the king [Agrippa] rose [stood] up, and [so did] the governor [Festus], and [so did] Bernice [the king's sister], and they that sat with them: And when they were gone aside [out of the room], they talked between themselves, saying, This man [Paul] doeth [does, or has done] nothing worthy of death or of bonds. Then said [King] Agrippa unto Festus, This man [Paul] might have been set at liberty [given his freedom], if he had not appealed unto [Nero] Caesar [the Roman emperor]."
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NOTE 1: In his commentary on verse 25, when talking about how Christians are sometimes viewed as crazy, Albert Barnes said:

"… All people know that if there is an eternity, it is right to prepare for it; if there is a God, it is proper to serve him; if a Saviour died for us, we should love him; if [there is] a hell, we should avoid it; if [there is] a heaven, we should seek it …"

In Mr. Barnes' opinion: "… One of the best ways of convicting sinners is to appeal to them just as Paul did to Agrippa …"

(Source for above quotes:
https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/acts-26.html, "Verse 25")


NOTE 2:
Paul knew that King Agrippa "believed" because, as Albert Barnes explains:

"I know that thou believest - Agrippa was a Jew; and, as such, he of course believed the prophets. Perhaps, too, from what Paul knew of his personal character, he might confidently affirm that he professed to be a believer. Instead, therefore, of waiting for his answer, Paul anticipated it, and said that he knew that Agrippa professed to believe all these prophecies respecting the Messiah. His design is evident. It is:

"(1) To meet the charge of derangement, and to bring in the testimony of Agrippa, who well understood the subject, to the importance and the truth of what he was saying.

"(2) to press on the conscience of his royal hearer the evidence of the Christian religion, and to secure, if possible, his conversion. 'Since thou believest the prophecies, and since I have shown that they are fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth; that he corresponds in person, character, and work, with the prophets, it follows that his religion is true.' Paul lost no opportunity in pressing the truth on every class of people. He had such a conviction of the truth of Christianity that he was deterred by no rank, station, or office; by no fear of the rich, the great, and the learned; but everywhere urged the evidence of that religion as indisputable. In this lay the secret of no small part of his success. A man who really believes the truth will be ready to defend it. A man who truly loves religion will not be ashamed of it anywhere."

(Source for above quote:
https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/acts-26.html, "Verse 27")


NOTE 3:
Regarding the fact that the Paul had "almost persuaded" King Agrippa to become a Christian, Mr. Barnes writes:

"On this deeply interesting case we may observe:

"(1) That there are many in the same situation as Agrippa- many who are almost, but not altogether, persuaded to be Christians. They are found among:

"(a)Those who have been religiously educated;

"(b)Those who are convinced by argument of the truth of Christianity;

"(c)Those whose consciences are awakened, and who feel their guilt, and the necessity of some better portion than this world can furnish.

"(2) such persons are deterred from being altogether Christians by the following, among other causes:

"(a)By the love of sin - the love of sin in general, or some particular sin which they are not willing to abandon;

"(b)By the fear of shame, persecution, or contempt, if they become Christians;
"(c)By the temptations of the world - its cares, vanities, and allurements- which are often presented most strongly in just this state of mind;

"(d)By the love of office, the pride of rank and power, as in the case of Agrippa;

"(e)By a disposition, like Felix, to delay to a more favorable time the work of religion, until life has wasted away, and death approaches, and it is too late, and the unhappy man dies almost a Christian.

"(3) this state of mind is one of special interest and special danger. It is not one of safety, and it is not one that implies any certainty that the 'almost Christian' will ever be saved. There is no reason to believe that Agrippa ever became fully persuaded to become a Christian. To be almost persuaded to do a thing which we ought to do, and yet not to do it, is the very position of guilt and danger. And it is no wonder that many are brought to this point - the turning-point, the crisis of life - and then lose their anxiety, and die in their sins. May the God of grace keep us from resting in being almost persuaded to be Christians! May every one who shall read this account of Agrippa be admonished by his convictions, and be alarmed by the fact that he then paused, and that his convictions there ended! And may every one resolve by the help of God to forsake every thing that prevents his becoming an entire believer, and without delay embrace the Son of God as his Saviour!"

(Source for above quote:
https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/acts-26.html, "Verse 28")

FEBRUARY 3

Psalm 139:23-24
[King David's prayer to God]: "Search me, O God, and know [what is in] my heart: try [test] me, and know my thoughts [everything that I think about]: And see if there be any wicked way in me [referring to anything that would alienate David from (or cause him to be unfaithful to) God, such as idolatry], and lead me in the way [the right and good way, that leads to] everlasting [life in heaven] [or, perhaps, 'keep me on the right path forever']."

King David wanted to live a life that was pleasing to God, so he asked for God's help in keeping him on the right track.

FEBRUARY 2

1 Timothy 1:15: "This is a faithful
[true] saying, and worthy of all acceptation [worthy to be believed by all people] that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I [the apostle Paul] am chief [first, or one of the worst (of pardoned sinners, or those who have accepted God's gift of eternal life)--see note below*]."
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*Prior to his conversion to Christianity (i.e., before he got saved and became a preacher of the gospel), Paul was a blasphemer (meaning he took the Lord's name in vain), and he also persecuted (harassed, threatened, etc.) and murdered Christians.

Regarding the above verse, one Bible commentator asked, "Was Paul really the worst sinner of all time (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:9; Ephesians 3:8)?"

He answered his own question as follows: "Obviously many people have lived longer in a more depraved condition than Paul did. He became a Christian relatively early in his adult life. Perhaps the apostle meant that he was the 'foremost' sinner in the sense that his sin of aggressively tearing down the work that God was building up was the worst kind of sin. It was much worse than simply ignoring God and going one"s own way …"

(Source for above quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/1-timothy/1-15.html, "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable")
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Note: If you're a sinner who wants to be saved, you'll find instructions in most 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.

FEBRUARY 1

Leviticus 20:6 - Witchcraft
This was God's message to the children of Israel, delivered by Moses:

Verse 6: "And the soul [person] that turneth [who goes] after such as have familiar spirits [referring to people, like mediums and fortune-tellers, who use their 'demon servants' (demons who obey and serve them) to communicate with the dead and predict the future], and [the 'soul' who goes] after wizards [referring to people with magic powers, such as magicians and sorcerers], to go a whoring after them [to seek their knowledge, advice, or help], I [God] will even set my face against that soul [i.e., the person committing 'spiritual adultery' by consulting with Satan's followers], and will cut him [or her] off [or separate him (or her)] from among his [or her] people."

God hates witchcraft. This is his warning to everyone (not just the Israelites) to stay away from people involved in it.


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