Isaiah 55:6: "Seek ye the LORD [Jesus Christ] while he may be found, call ye upon him [in prayer, for salvation] while he is near:"
In other words, don't procrastinate. Ask Jesus to save you now, before it's too late.
Malachi 3:8-12 [God, speaking to the nation of Israel through the prophet Malachi]:
Verses 8-9: "Will a man rob God? Yet ye [you] have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings [see note below*]. Ye are cursed with a curse [i.e., no rain will fall, and as a result, there will be a shortage of food in the land]: for [because] ye have robbed me [you have withheld (not given me) your tithes and offerings], even this whole nation [of Israel]."
Verse 10: "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse [in Bible times, it meant the treasury, which was located in the temple in Jerusalem], that there may be meat in mine [my] house [so there will be food for the priests and Levites to eat], and prove [try, test] me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, [to see] if I will not open [for] you the windows of heaven [i.e., make it rain to water your crops], and pour you out a blessing [in the form of abundant food], [so much food, in fact] that there shall not be room enough to receive it."
Verses 11-12: "And I will rebuke [restrain, hold back] the devourer [locusts, caterpillars, etc.] for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground [your crops]; neither shall your vine [e.g., grapevine] cast [throw down, drop] her fruit before the time in the field [i.e., before it becomes ripe], saith the LORD of hosts. And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome [very pleasing, delightful] land, saith the LORD of hosts [God]."
In other words, the only way to get blessings from God is by obeying his commands.
-- Tithe: A tenth of everything that was earned and grown, which was needed to support the temple and feed the priests and their families in Old Testament times.
-- Offering: Money that was given willingly to the Lord's work in addition to the tithe.
Tithing was mandatory (required) in Old Testament times, but free-will offerings are the preferred method of giving today. For more on this subject, you may want to read "What is the difference between tithes and offerings?" Here's the link: www.gotquestions.org/tithes-and-offerings.html.
Psalm 119:89: "For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled [fixed, established] in heaven."
In other words, the Bible (containing God's laws, counsel/advice, promises, etc.) is complete and will never change.
This is from Albert Barnes' commentary: "The meaning here is, that the word - the law - the promise - of God was made firm, established, stable, in heaven; and would be so forever and ever. What God had ordained as law would always remain law; what he had affirmed would always remain true; what he had promised would be sure forever." (Source: www.godvine.com/bible/psalms/119-89, "Barnes' Notes")
1 Peter 1:18-19 [the apostle Peter, writing to Christians in Asia Minor]:
Verse 18: "Forasmuch as [because] ye know that ye were not redeemed [you were not ransomed (rescued) from sin and death … or the gift of eternal life was not obtained, purchased, bought] with corruptible things [that are capable of being corrupted or are subject to decay and destruction], as [like] silver and gold [i.e., money], from your vain conversation [fruitless (useless) behavior] received by tradition from your fathers [by customs and beliefs (especially religious ones, like the worshiping of idols) passed down from generation to generation];"
Verse 19: "But with the precious blood of Christ [Jesus] [who died once* on the cross to pay for the sins of the entire world**], as of a lamb without blemish and without spot [just like the innocent young animals (having no imperfections or defects) that were sacrificed on a daily basis to pay for the sins of the Jewish people in Old Testament times]:"
In other words, eternal life is FREE and can't be bought. It's a gift from God, paid for with the blood that Jesus shed on the cross, and can only be received through faith.***
*Hebrews 9:25-26: "Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself."
**1 John 2:2: "And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world."
***Ephesians 2:8-9: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."
Verses 1-4: "The word which came to [the prophet] Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, Arise [get up], and go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words. Then I went down to the potter's house, and, behold, he wrought a work [shaped some pottery] on the wheels [two stone wheels; see note below*]. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred [damaged, ruined] in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it [i.e., he made something else by re-forming the clay]."
Verses 5-6: "Then the word of the LORD [i.e., God] came to me [Jeremiah], saying [and said], O house [people] of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter [does]? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye [you] in mine [my] hand, O house of Israel."
Verses 7-8: "At what instant [moment of time] I shall speak [of my intentions] concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck [pick] up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; If that nation, against whom I have pronounced [judgment], turn from their evil [deeds], I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them [I will change my mind and not punish them]."
Verses 9-10: "And at what instant I shall speak [of my intentions] concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build [it up] and to plant it [e.g., to bless it (make it prosperous, protect it, etc.)]; If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice [i.e., if the people of that nation don't do what I say], then I will repent of the good [things], wherewith I said I would benefit them [i.e., I will change my mind and withdraw (remove) my blessings]."
We learn from the above passage (specifically, verses 7-10) that God's dealings with mankind are conditional, based upon our conduct. (Source: www.godvine.com/bible/jeremiah/18-8, "Barnes' Notes")
*I found an interesting article on the Internet entitled "Potter's Wheel," which provides information on potter's wheels in Bible times. If you want to read it, here the link: https://bible.org/illustration/potter%E2%80%99s-wheel.
Exodus 12:1-14 - The First Passover:
Verses 1-2: "And the LORD spake unto [spoke to] Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, This month [Abib, or Nisan--March/April] shall be unto you the beginning of months [on the Jewish calendar]: it shall be the first month of the year to you."
Verses 3-4: "Speak ye unto all the congregation [people] of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers [ i.e., which group they belonged to] [see note below*], a lamb for an house[hold]: And if the household be too little for the lamb [if there aren't enough people in the family to eat the lamb; i.e., 10 to 20], let him and his neighbour next unto his house [the family or families living next door] take it [share it] according to the number of the souls [people]; every man according to his eating [appetite] shall make [be considered in] your count for the lamb."
Verses 5-7: "Your lamb shall be without blemish [have no defects or imperfections], a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: And ye shall keep it [with you] up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly [gathering] of the congregation of Israel [i.e., anyone, not just the priests] shall kill it in the evening. And they shall take of the blood, and [using hyssop (a plant in the mint family) like a brush] strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein [where] they shall eat it."
Verses 8-10: "And they shall eat the flesh [meat] in that night, roast[ed] with fire, and unleavened bread [made without leaven, or yeast]; and with bitter herbs [to represent their bondage (as slaves) in Egypt] they shall eat it. Eat not of it raw [uncooked], nor sodden at all with water [boiled], but roast with fire; his head with his legs [i.e., roast it whole], and with the purtenance thereof [including the intestines]. And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it [bones, etc.] until the morning ye shall burn with fire."
Verses 11-12: "And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded [with your long, loose clothes tied up around your waist], your shoes on your feet, and your staff [walking stick] in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste [quickly]: it is the LORD'S passover. For [because] I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite [strike, kill] all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man [human beings] and beast [animals]; and against all the gods [idols] of Egypt [i.e., everything and everyone that the Egyptians worship] I will execute [carry out] judgment: I am the LORD."
Verse 13: "And the blood shall be to you for a token [sign] upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague [calamity, disaster] shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt."
Verse 14: "And this day shall be unto you for a memorial [reminder, remembrance]; and ye shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever."
In Moses' day, it was the blood of the sacrificial lambs applied to the doorposts that protected the children of Israel from God's judgment (i.e., the death of the firstborns in Egypt). Today, only the blood of the "Lamb of God" (i.e., God's Son, Jesus, who died on the cross to pay for our sins) can save us from God's wrath (extreme anger) and coming judgment (i.e., punishment in hell and the lake of fire) when it is applied to our hearts by faith. This takes place the moment we are saved, or born again.
*According to John Gill's commentary, "The whole host of Israel was divided into twelve tribes, these tribes into families, the families into houses, and the houses into particular persons; …" (Source: www.godvine.com/bible/exodus/12-3)
Genesis 2:15: "And the LORD God took the man [that he had created; i.e., Adam], and put him into the garden of Eden to dress [cultivate, care for] it and to keep [watch over] it [i.e., to guard it (protect it from harm, prevent it from being destroyed by wild animals, etc.)].
Proverbs 29:2: "When the righteous [those who are 'good'] are in authority [in charge], the people [of that nation] rejoice [are filled with joy or happiness]: but when the wicked [those who are 'bad'] beareth rule [are in charge], the people mourn [grieve (are very sad)]."
Salem Bible Church has an excellent commentary on this verse, including many examples of what leaders do to cause their people to rejoice and mourn. Also mentioned are specific things that have occurred recently in the United States that illustrate the moral and spiritual decline of our country.
If you want to read the commentary, here's the link: www.salembible.org/biblestudies/proverbs_notes/ch29_html/Prov.29.2.htm.
Psalm 49:6-7: "They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches [those who depend upon their money and brag about how much they have]; None of them can by any means [with their riches] redeem his brother [save his brother or other relatives from death and hell], nor give to God a ransom [pay money to buy the gift of eternal life] for him:"
According to the Bible, eternal life is free--a gift from God--paid for by the death of his precious Son, Jesus, on the cross at Calvary (also called Golgotha). It can't be bought or earned. The only way you can get it is by trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ as your own personal Savior.
Proverbs 27:5: "Open rebuke [correction; i.e., pointing out to your friend his or her faults or failures] is better [more desirable and beneficial] than secret love [remaining silent, or ignoring the problem]."
In other words, if we notice that our friends are involved in sinful behavior or headed in the wrong direction, we should point that out to them rather than keep quiet. Doing so may temporarily hurt their feelings but eventually should help.
Salem Bible Church's commentary on this verse is combined with verse 6. (Both verses appear in italics near the top of the page.) If you want to read the commentary, here's the link: www.salembible.org/biblestudies/proverbs_notes/ch27_html/Prov.27.5.htm.
Proverbs 17:11: "An evil man seeketh only rebellion [resistance to authority, disobedience]: therefore a cruel messenger [a message of justice; see note below for examples*] shall be sent against him."
This is another verse about the consequences of your actions.
*According to Pastor Delany of Salem Bible Church, "The cruel messenger here refers to a message of JUSTICE and judgment to be meted out against the one who sought rebellion."
In his excellent commentary on this verse, Pastor Delany discusses various types of cruel messages that people might receive for being disobedient to God and man. They include the following: "Your son ran away … Your 14 year old daughter is pregnant … You're fired! … you're staying back a year at school! … you're going to jail!"
If you want to read the rest of the commentary, here's the link: www.salembible.org/biblestudies/proverbs_notes/ch17_html/Prov.17.11.htm.
Colossians 1:16-17: "For by him [Jesus] were all things created, that are in heaven [i.e., everything in the universe (including heaven) except the earth], and that are in [and on the] earth, visible [able to be seen] and invisible [unable to be seen], whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers [see note below*]: all things were created by him [Jesus], and for him [for his pleasure, glory, and service]: And he is [he existed] before all things, and by him all things consist [are composed (made up), preserved, kept together; continue in existence]."
*According to Matthew Henry's commentary, the invisible things in verse 16 (thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers) refer to several orders (classes or ranks) of angels. (Source: www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/colossians/1.html)
Verses 2-3: "Be not rash [reckless, impulsive] [in saying things] with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter [speak--or, in this case, pray] any thing before God [i.e., think twice before making promises to God]: for God is in heaven, and thou [you] [are] upon earth: therefore let thy words be few. For a dream cometh through the multitude of business [i.e., dreams result from having too many things on one's mind]; and a fool's voice is known by multitude [a large number] of words."
Verses 4-5: "When thou vowest a vow [make a solemn (sincere) promise] unto God, defer not to pay it [don't put it off until a later time]; for he hath no pleasure [delight] in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. Better is it that thou shouldest not vow [make a promise to God], than that thou shouldest vow and not pay [see note below*]."
*An example of making a vow and not paying it would be if you were in trouble and prayed something like this: "Lord, if you'll help me this one time, I'll start going to church" (or "start reading the Bible," etc.). And then, after things turned out okay, you didn't keep your promise.
Proverbs 8:13 [God, speaking as "Lady Wisdom"]: "The fear of the LORD [the fear of displeasing God] is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy [arrogance; i.e., conceit, egotism (believing you are better, smarter, or more important than other people)], and the evil way [doing very bad things], and the froward [unmanageable] mouth, do I hate."
Salem Bible Church has a good explanation of this verse. If you want to read it, here's the link: www.salembible.org/biblestudies/proverbs_notes/ch8_html/Prov.8.13.htm.
John 15:7 [Jesus speaking]: "If ye abide [live, continue, remain] in me, and my words abide in you [i.e., if you are born again and obey my commandments], ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you [your prayers will be answered]."
For more information on this subject, you may want to read the article entitled "What does it mean to abide in Christ?"
According to that article: "There are proofs that one abides in Christ (i.e., proofs that one is truly saved and not just pretending). These proofs include obedience to Christ's commands … following Jesus' example … living free from habitual sin … and the awareness of a divine presence within one's life …"
If you want to read the entire article, including many Bible references (which have been omitted in the quoted material above), here's the link: www.gotquestions.org/abide-in-Christ.html.
Proverbs 21:13: "Whoso[ever] stoppeth his ears at [refuses to listen to, ignores] the cry of the poor [for food, money, assistance, etc.] [see note below*], he also shall cry himself [to others, and/or to God in prayer], but shall not be heard."
In other words, there are consequences for our actions.
*According to Pastor Delany of Salem Bible Church, "the poor" in the above verse is referring to people who are poor, not because of laziness or some type of addiction (drugs, alcohol, gambling, etc.), but through no fault of their own.
As usual, Pastor Delany has written an excellent commentary on this verse. If you want to read it, here's the link: www.salembible.org/biblestudies/proverbs_notes/ch21_html/Prov.21.13.htm.
John 16:33 [Jesus, in a farewell sermon to his disciples at the Last Supper]: "These things I have spoken unto you [referring to what he has said before this], that in [through] me ye might have peace [i.e., both inner peace and peace with God]. In the [this] world ye shall have tribulation [trouble or suffering]: but be of good cheer [be happy] [because]; I have overcome the world [defeated Satan and sin--by dying on the cross]."
Luke 14:31-33 [Jesus, speaking to the multitudes (many people) who were with him]:
Verses 31-32: "Or what king, going [intending] to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth [asks his advisors] whether he [will] be able with ten thousand [soldiers, etc.] to meet [successfully fight with, gain victory over] him that cometh against him with twenty thousand [soldiers, etc.]? Or else [if he thinks they will be defeated], while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage [an ambassador, diplomat, envoy], and desireth conditions of peace."
Verse 33: "So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple [see explanation below*]."
Although phrases about peace and war are highlighted above, according to the commentaries that I read, verses 31 and 32 are actually a parable and liken the Christian life (i.e., following Jesus, or becoming his disciple) to a war. Albert Barnes and John Gill have good explanations of this parable. If you want to read them:
-- Click on www.godvine.com/bible/luke/14-32 and scroll down to "Barnes' Notes."
-- Click on www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/gills-exposition-of-the-bible/luke-14-31.html. This link is for verse 31; you can go forward from there to read verse 32.
*Here's the meaning of verse 33, according to Charles Spurgeon: "In Christ's days, and afterwards, discipleship usually involved the absolute giving up of everything that his followers had, for those were times of persecution; and if such seasons should come to us, we must have such love to Christ that, for his sake, we could forsake all that we have; otherwise we cannot be his disciples." (Source: www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/luke-14.html)
Leviticus 19:28 [God's instructions, through Moses, to the children of Israel]: "Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead [see note below*], nor print any marks [tattoos] upon you: I am the LORD."
*It was a custom among some nations in Bible times, when someone died and the people were in mourning, to cut themselves with their fingernails or some type of instrument (knife, razor, etc.) to appease (pacify, calm the anger) of their deities (gods). Most of the time, they would tear their hair, cheeks, and/or mouths and beat their breasts. Sometimes, when a king died, they even "cut off a part of the ear, shaved the hair round about, cut the arms about, wounded the forehead and nose, and transfixed the left hand with arrows …" (Source: www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/gills-exposition-of-the-bible/leviticus-19-28.html)
John 13:35 [Jesus speaking]: "By this shall all men know that ye [you] are my disciples [followers], if ye have love one to another [for other Christians]."
Philippians 1:21-24 [the apostle Paul, in a letter to members of the Philippian church]:
Verses 21-22: "For to me to live [my purpose for living] is [to serve and glorify (give praise and honor to) my Lord and Savior, Jesus] Christ, and to die is gain [to have eternal life in heaven]. But if I live in the flesh [in my physical body], this is the fruit [result] of my labour [i.e., glorifying God and doing good to his church]: yet what I shall choose I wot [know] not."
Verses 23-24: "For I am in a strait betwixt [between] two [things--life and death], having a desire to depart [from this world], and to be with Christ [in heaven]; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide [remain here] in the flesh [as a preacher and teacher] is more needful [necessary, beneficial] for you."
In other words, if Paul had to decide whether to live or die, he wouldn't know which to choose, since being in heaven with Jesus would be so much better than living on earth.
Psalm 140:12 [written by King David]: "I know that the LORD will maintain the cause of the afflicted [he will help those who are suffering, physically and/or mentally], and [will protect] the right[s] of the poor [people]."
Proverbs 17:28: "Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace [remains silent], is counted [thought to be] wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed [regarded as] a man of understanding."
Verse 28 is included in Salem Bible Church's commentary on verse 27. If you want to read it, click on the link (www.salembible.org/biblestudies/proverbs_notes/ch17_html/Prov.17.27.htm) and scroll down almost to the bottom of the page (where you'll see number 28 in bold type, followed by "Even a fool, …").
Proverbs 23:29-31: "Who hath [has] woe [big problems or troubles]? who hath sorrow [distress, sadness, regret]? who hath contentions [arguments, disagreements]? who hath babbling [foolish talking]? who hath wounds without cause [injuries caused by accidents, fighting for no good reason, etc.]? who hath redness of eyes [bloodshot eyes]? They that tarry long at the wine [people who 'hang out' (and drink too much) at places where alcohol is served]; they that go to seek [search for] mixed wine [alcoholic beverages]."
Salem Bible Church has an excellent commentary on these verses, including an explanation of what mixed wine was in Bible times. If you want to read it, here's the link: www.salembible.org/biblestudies/proverbs_notes/ch23_html/Prov.23.29.htm.
Leviticus 19:29 [God's instructions, through Moses, to the children of Israel]: "Do not prostitute thy daughter [make her have sex], to cause her to be a whore [during religious worship, as some nations do; see note below*]; lest the land [or else the country will] fall to whoredom [be overcome by prostitution, both physical (i.e., fornication) and spiritual (i.e., idolatry)], and the land [will] become full of wickedness."
*According to John Gill's commentary, the phrase Do not prostitute thy daughter "refers to a wicked practice among the Phoenicians or Canaanites …, whose women used to prostitute themselves in the temples of their idols; …" (Source: www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/gills-exposition-of-the-bible/leviticus-19-29.html)
Ecclesiastes 7:8: "Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof [i.e., sometimes bad turns into good]: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit [i.e., it's better to be patient than proud]."
Joel 3:19: "Egypt shall be a desolation [ruined country], and Edom shall be a desolate [uninhabited] wilderness, for [on account of] the violence [they have committed] against the children of Judah [descendants of Abraham*], because they have shed innocent blood [murdered innocent people] in their land."
*Abraham and his wife, Sarah, had two sons, Isaac and Ishmael. Isaac married Rebekah and had twin sons, Jacob and Esau. When Jacob grew up, he wrestled with God one night and was renamed Israel. Jacob had four wives (Leah, Zilpah, Bilhah, Rachel) and a total of 13 children--one daughter and 12 sons. One of those sons was named Judah. To read brief synopsis of these events and see Abraham's family tree, click here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abraham%27s_family_tree.
Psalm 53:1: "The fool [in this case, a person with no conscience] hath said in his heart [has thought, or said to himself], There is no God. Corrupt [dishonest and immoral] are they [i.e., the fools], and have done abominable iniquity [very bad things]: there is none [no one] that doeth good [i.e., everyone has sinned]."
Usually, people say there is no God because they don't want to worry about being punished for their sins. Unfortunately, when they know for sure that their assumption was wrong--that there really is a God--it will be too late.