John 9:31-33 - God Does Not Answer All Prayers
This is what the man who had been blind from birth said to the Pharisees, after Jesus healed him, when they accused Jesus of being a sinner (in this case, an imposter or false prophet):
Verse 31: "Now we know that God heareth not [does not answer] [the prayers of] sinners [those who sin willfully, especially imposters and false prophets]: but if any man [or woman or child] be a worshipper of God [a born-again Christian], and doeth his will [obeys God's word, or commandments, as found in the Bible], him [or her] he [God] heareth."
Verses 32-33: "Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes [restored the sight] of one that was born blind. If this man [Jesus] were not of [from] God, he could do nothing [extraordinary, such as perform this miraculous healing]."
Regarding prayer: If you're not a Christian, you need to be saved. (That's the only prayer from sinners that God promises to hear.) If you're already a Christian and want God to hear and answer your prayers, be sure to ask his forgiveness whenever you realize that you have sinned against him.
-- 1 John 1:9: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
Romans 8:28: "And we know that all things [that happen, both good and bad] work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his [God's] purpose [referring to born-again Christians, or those who have accepted God's invitation to be saved] ."
Psalm 141:4 [King David prayed to God]: "Incline not my heart to [don't let me be willing to do] any evil thing, [or] to practise [practice] wicked works [evil deeds] with men [people] that work iniquity [do bad things, such as commit crimes]: and let me not eat of their dainties [don't let me desire to live a lifestyle that is similar to theirs or enjoy the same sinful pleasures]."
If someone urges you to do drugs, join a gang, participate in illegal activities, become involved in riots, etc., follow the advice of Nancy Reagan (former first lady of the United States) and "just say no." Ask God to help you resist temptation.
1 John 3:16 [The apostle John wrote this to born-again Christians]: "Hereby [by this, from what I'm about to say, for the following reason] perceive we [we know or understand how great and wonderful is] the love of God, because he [Jesus (who is the Son of God, Messiah, God the Son)] laid down his life [died] for us [not only for Christians, to whom John is writing his letter, but for all people]: and [consequently, if it ever becomes necessary,] we ought to [should] [be willing to] lay down our lives for the brethren [other Christians]."
Jesus proved how much he loved the world by agreeing to
die on the cross and pay our sin debt so we could have eternal life.
Members of the armed forces can't save anyone from sin, but many of them
have followed Jesus' example and willingly sacrificed their lives to protect our
freedom. Today (Memorial Day) has been set aside by our government
as a day to remember and honor those people.
1 Timothy 4:12 [The apostle Paul's advice to Timothy, a minister of the gospel]: "Let no man [or woman or child] despise thy youth [feel contempt for your young age] [in other words, don't let people think you are too young to preach; i.e., act like an adult, not like a child]; but be thou an example of the believers [in Christ, referring to born-again Christians] [this means that Timothy should show how Christians (in this case, the members of his church) should behave,]
in word [speech],
in conversation [lifestyle],
in charity [love of God and people],
in spirit [disposition, temperament (mild, meek, forgiving, etc.)],
in faith [belief or trust in God],
in purity [of heart and life] [i.e., innocence; freedom from immorality, especially of a sexual nature]."
Not all Christians are pastors, like Timothy, but it won't hurt us to follow Paul's advice.
2 Thessalonians 3:10 [In a letter to the church of the Thessalonians, the apostle Paul, along with Silas and Timothy, wrote]: "For even when we were with you [in person], this we commanded you, that if any[one] would not work [(refuses to work) for a living, if he or she is able to do so], neither should he [or she] eat [at public expense]."
In other words, laziness should not be excused or rewarded.
Regarding the above verse, Albert Barnes wrote:
"That if any would not work, neither should he eat - … The law here laid down by the apostle extends to all who are able to work for a living, and who will not do it, and binds us not to contribute to their support if they will not labor for it. It should be regarded as extending:
"(1)to the members of a church - who, though poor, should not be supported by their brethren, unless they are willing to work in any way they can for their own maintenance.
"(2)to those who beg from door to door, who should never be assisted unless they are willing to do all they can do for their own support. No one can be justified in assisting a lazy man. In no possible circumstances are we to contribute to foster indolence. A man might as properly help to maintain open vice."
(Source for Barnes' quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/2-thessalonians-3.html, "Verse 10")
Applying today's verse to Christians, another Bible commentator told the following story:
"Here is a large vineyard. Many men and maidens are busy on the hillside. They are coming and going, and singing the vintage songs. Here is the master. He sees that the rules are kept. There must be no disorder, no profanity. Each must keep his place. The baskets must be clean. The master is counting the baskets that are brought to the vats. After each name he writes the number of baskets brought. At last the week is ended, and the men and maidens come to receive their pay. Here among them is a man whom the master has been watching day by day. He kept his basket clean; he kept his place; he used no profane language; he enjoyed the companionship of the others; he joined merrily in the vintage songs. But in all this time he gathered no grapes. 'What is your name?' says the master. 'Menalque,' says the man. 'I find your name upon the book,' replies the master, 'but I do not find that you gathered a single cluster; there is therefore no pay for you.' 'No pay?' says the man. 'What have I done wrong? I have kept my place, used no improper language, kept my basket clean, and joined heartily in the songs.' 'You did no wrong,' says the master, 'but you did no work. There is nothing for you.' 'No pay for me!' exclaimed the man. 'Why, that is the one thing I came in the vineyard for. The pay constituted my chief interest in it.' Is not this the history of thousands in the Lord's vineyard? They come, their names are upon the book [of life]. They do no special wrong; they do not swear, or steal, or commit adultery. They break no rule. They sing the vintage songs. They hear sermons, if they are entertaining. They attend church, if it is quite convenient. But are they in any true sense labourers in God's vineyard? Have they done any honest work for Christ and His Church? Have they performed one hard task, done one unpleasant duty, spoken one brave word, lifted one fallen sinner, lightened one heavy burden, crucified one loved comfort, or done any one thing or series of things that would justly entitle them to the name of labourer, or the hope of reward when the great day of reckoning comes? …"
(Source for above "vineyard" quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/2-thessalonians/3-10.html, "The Biblical Illustrator," "No work, no pay")
1 Peter 1:18-19 - Only the Lord Jesus Christ Can Save Us From Hell
In a letter to Christians in Asia Minor, the apostle Peter wrote:
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 [those are capable of being corrupted or are subject to decay and destruction], as [like] silver and gold [meaning money], from [or by] your vain conversation [your fruitless (useless) behavior] received by tradition from your fathers [ancestors--referring to customs and beliefs (especially religious ones, like the worshiping of idols) passed down from generation to generation];"
Verse 19: "But [you were redeemed] with the precious blood of Christ [Jesus,] [who died once on the cross to pay for the sins of all people (see verses quoted in Notes 1 and 2 below)], 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 on the day that he was crucified, and can only be received by faith, as stated by the Bible verses quoted in Note 3 below.
Note 1: Hebrews 9:25-26: "Nor yet that he [Jesus] 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."
Note 2: 1 John 2:2: "And he [Jesus] is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world."
Note 3: Ephesians 2:8-9: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."
If you want to be saved God's way but don't know how, visit the "Printable Gospel Tracts" page of my website. Here's the link: www.mansioninheaven.com/PrintableGospelTracts.html.
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 (or her) 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 [or her]:"
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.
You can find instructions on how to accept God's gift of eternal life, trust Jesus as your personal Savior, be born again or saved, and similar things (all of which essentially have the same meaning) by reading any of the tracts located on the "Printable Gospel Tracts" page of my website. Here's the direct link: www.mansioninheaven.com/PrintableGospelTracts.html.
Colossians 1:16-17 - Jesus Created All Things
Verse 16: "For by him [Jesus] were all things created, [all things] that are in heaven [in the heavens, meaning everything in the universe], and [all things] that are in [and on the] earth, [and all things in the universe that are] visible [able to be seen] and invisible [hidden, 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]:"
Verse 17: "And he is [Jesus existed] before all things, and by him [by his power] 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: https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/colossians/1.html, "Verses 12-29," "v. 16")
Ecclesiastes 5:4-5 - Keeping Promises to God
Verse 4: "When thou vowest a vow [make a solemn (sincere) promise] unto God [either silently or out loud], defer not to pay it [don't wait to keep that promise until a later time or indefinitely; do it right away]; for he [God] hath no pleasure [delight] in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed."
Verse 5: "Better is it [it is better] that thou shouldest not vow [not make a promise to God at all], than that thou shouldest vow [make a promise to God] 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.
Luke 19:10 [Jesus said to the crowd after Zacchaeus, a publican (tax collector), got saved:]: "For the Son of man [referring to himself--Jesus, who is also the Son of God] is come [has come to earth, in human form] to seek [find] and to save [from hell, or to give eternal life to] that which was lost [spiritually, meaning sinners--all those who were, and are, 'lost in sin']."
Adam and Eve's connection with God was broken when they disobeyed God's command, in the garden of Eden, to not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and everyone who came after (descended from) them, was and is "born in sin" and "lost in sin" because we have inherited their sinful nature.
Proverbs 19:18: "Chasten [correct, punish, discipline] thy son [or daughter] [the Bible way] while there is hope [that your child's behavior will change and that his or her future life will be good], and let not thy soul spare for [don't withhold spankings due to, or because of,] his [or her] crying."
"Better the child is corrected by a parent than by a law enforcement officer in a correctional institution." (Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/proverbs/19-18.html, "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable")
The Bible tells us to discipline our children the proper way when they are young, before they become adults, develop bad habits, make friends with bad people, and get into trouble. As the saying goes," You can't teach an old dog new tricks."
In his excellent commentary on this verse, Pastor Jim Delany of Salem Bible Church says that spanking (using "a switch from a tree, etc. NOT a baseball bat or anything that would harm him physically" so as"to make the spanking STING") is the biblical way of disciplining our children, and he explains why, how, and when it should be done. If you want to read his commentary, here's the link: www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-19-index/proverbs-19_18/.
Philippians 1:21-24 - Paul's Dilemma
In a letter to members of the Philippian church, the apostle Paul wrote:
Verse 21: "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 [it's advantageous (beneficial) to me, because I'll have a wonderful new home in heaven, where there is no more sin, sorrow, suffering, etc.]."
Verse 22: "But if I live in the flesh [on earth, in my physical body], this is the fruit [result] of my labour [i.e., glorifying God and helping his church grow and thrive--by preaching, teaching, telling people how to be saved, etc.]: yet what I shall choose [i.e., living or dying] I wot [know] not."
Verses 23-24: "For I am in a strait [a narrow place, like a fork in a road] betwixt [between] two [things--life and death], having a desire to depart [leave this world], and to be with Christ [in heaven]; which is far [much] better [and would bring me greater joy]: Nevertheless to abide [remain here on earth,] in the flesh [in my body, 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 he believed that being in heaven with Jesus would be so much better than living on earth.
In his commentary, Matthew Henry said: "Paul's strait was not between living in this world and living in heaven; between these two there is no comparison: but his strait was between serving Christ in this world and enjoying him in another." (Source: https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/philippians/1.html, "(v. 24)")
2 Timothy 2:19: "Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure [the foundation of the Christian church remains strong, steady, firm], having this seal [this inscription, or these words written] [on the cornerstone], The Lord [Jesus Christ] knoweth them that are his [those who have received him as their Savior]. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ [i.e., all born-again Christians] depart from iniquity [wickedness, sin].
Albert Barnes has an excellent commentary on this verse. If you want to read it, click here (https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/2-timothy-2.html) and scroll down to "Verse 19."
Proverbs 15:25: "The LORD [God] will destroy the house of the proud [person]: but he will establish the border [he will protect the property] of the widow [and of others who are unable to defend or protect themselves]."
Regarding the above verse, Albert Barnes said: "Here, … the widow, as the most extreme type of desolation, stands as the representative of a class safer in their poverty under the protection of the Lord, than the proud in the haughtiness of their strength." (Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/proverbs-15.html, Verse 25")
Matthew Henry added: "It is the honour of God to protect the weak and appear for those that are oppressed." (Source: https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/proverbs/15.html, "Verse 25")
Note: There is no commentary for this verse on the Salem Bible Church website.
Genesis 2:7 [referring to Adam, the first man]: "And the LORD God formed man [his body] of the dust of the ground [from the soil … or clay, since the dust (dirt) was probably moistened (made slightly wet) with the mist that went up from the earth], and breathed into his nostrils [nose] the breath of life; and man became a living soul [person]."
Proverbs 31:28 [referring to a virtuous (morally good) woman]: "Her children arise up [stand up, showing honor and respect], and call her blessed [by God]; her husband also [calls her blessed], and he praiseth her."
According to Jim Delany of Salem Bible Church, the preceding verses in Proverbs 31 tell us that "[t]he children of this noble woman learned about self-discipline, orderliness, diligence, endurance, sacrifice, giving to others, generosity, priorities, wisdom, kindness, honor, keeping the household in order, and many other valuable lessons of life by observing their mother over the years" and that "[s]he is blessed with wisdom, kindness, diligence, grace, generosity, selflessness, etc."
If you want to read the commentary, here's the link: www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-31-index/proverbs-31_28/.
To all the moms throughout the world,
HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!
Proverbs 12:26: "The righteous [the person who is right with God, referring to someone who is born again and obedient to God's word] is more excellent than his [or her] neighbour [in this case, a person (friend, neighbor, companion, etc.) who is not saved]: but the way [lifestyle] of the wicked [referring to people who are not right with God, who love worldly pleasures more than they love God] seduceth them [the 'righteous'; i.e., tempts them to sin]."
Salem Bible Church has a good commentary on the above verse. If you want to read it, here's the link: www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-12-index/proverbs-12_26/.
Another commentary about the above verse included this very interesting comparison between Christians and non-Christians:
"The difference between the religious and irreligious man
"Men without religion will sometimes ask, 'Do not all men sin--even the religious? And, if so, is not the whole difference between them and ourselves that our offences are somewhat more numerous than theirs?' Now this must unquestionably be admitted. Still, whatever may be the resemblance upon this point, it is nevertheless true that men with and without religion differ in many other most important particulars.
"1. The first difference between the sins of the religious and the irreligious man is, that the one does not allow himself in his sins and the other does. The real Christian never says, 'I know such an action to be wrong, but yet I will do it--I know such an action to be right, but yet I will neglect to do it.' But in the other class of men we shall be often struck with the contrary line of conduct. Charge them with their neglect of God, and of their souls, and they say, perhaps, 'We confess it to be wrong.' Consider the case as between man and man. We may conceive the affectionate child surprised into an act of disobedience or unkindness to the parent whom it loves; but we cannot conceive that child, if truly affectionate, setting itself deliberately and knowingly to wound that parent at the tenderest point. In the one case, an act of disobedience discovers a man in whom, though the flesh is weak, the spirit may be willing--in whom a momentary temptation has prevailed over the settled purpose and desire of his heart. In the other you have a man whose settled purpose is to do wrong. The language of a true Christian must be that of his Master: 'I come to do Thy will, O God.'
"2. A second distinction between a real Christian and one who is not a real Christian is this--the real Christian does not seek or find his happiness in sin. A man who is not really religious, if he wants amusement or indulgence, seeks for it, generally, either in the society of men without religion or in practices which the Word of God condemns. He sins, and it gives him no pain. On the contrary, the real Christian finds no happiness in sin. His pleasure is in prayer, in communion with God. He seeks his happiness in the fields of his duties. 'O,' says he, 'how I love Thy law! It is my meditation all the day.' The state and character of any person may to a great extent be judged by the nature of his pleasures. Does he seek them in trifles? he is a trifling man; does he seek them in worldly pursuits? he is a worldly man; does he seek them in vice? he is a vicious man; does he seek them in God and Christ? he is a Christian.
"3. Thirdly, the habits of a real Christian are holy. Men are not to be judged by a few solitary actions of their lives. There is scarcely any life so dark as not to be lighted up by a few brighter actions--as a single star may glimmer through the most cloudy atmosphere; and there is no life so bright as not to be darkened by many spots--as many small clouds are apt to chequer [checker] even the clearest sky. But then we determine the real state of the heavens not by the single star, in the one case, or by the few clouds in the other. We ask what is the general aspect, the prevalent appearance: does night or day, does shade or sunshine, prevail? Thus also must we proceed in estimating the character of men. It is the habitual frame of the mind--it is what we may call the work-day character--it is the general, habitual, prevalent temper, conduct, conversation, in the family or the parish, in the shop or the farm, which are the only true tests of our condition. But let us bring the two classes to this standard, and we shall find that in the real Christian the habits are holy--in the insincere Christian they are unholy; that the one is habitually right and accidentally wrong, and the other habitually wrong and accidentally right. Such, then, is another highly important distinction between these classes.
"4. Fourthly, every act of sin in real Christians is followed by sincere repentance. No feature is more essentially characteristic of a holy mind than a feeling of deep penitence for transgression. 'My sin,' said the 'man after God's own heart,' 'is ever before me.'
"5. A fifth no less important feature by which the real Christian is distinguished is, that he anxiously seeks the pardon of his sins through Jesus Christ. Others too often seem to imagine their sins cancelled immediately upon their bare and cold acknowledgment of them. He, on the contrary, knows that the hatred of sin and indignation at the sinner must be deeply lodged in a mind of infinite purity. And his consolation is this--not that he can save himself, but that 'he has an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.'
"6. The sixth and last point of distinction which I shall have time to notice between the real Christian and every other character is, that he alone seeks diligently from God a power to abstain from sin in future. If others even desire the pardon of their past sins, they are careless about future advancement in holiness. They, perhaps, persist in a course of sinning and repeating, through the whole stage of their lives. Heaven is every day mocked by the language of an unmeaning sorrow. No real hatred for the sin is felt. In the Christian a different feeling prevails. A deep abhorrence of sin mingles with his regret for it. His are tears of hatred as well as grief. There is a substantial distinction between a real Christian and every other character: something more than a mere line or shadowy difference here. If we carefully observe the several points of distinction which I have noticed, we shall find that they imply in the two classes of characters, in each particular instance, a different state of heart or mind …"
(Source for above quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/proverbs/12-26.html, "The Biblical Illustrator")
John 15:7 [Jesus told his disciples at the Last Supper]: "If ye abide in me [if you are born again and stay close to me by faith], and my words abide in you [if you obey my commandments], ye shall ask [God, through prayer] what ye will [what you want, need, or desire to have happen], and it shall be done unto you [your prayers will be answered]."
In his commentary on John 15:7, Charles Spurgeon said:
"Do not take that verse as a promise of unlimited answers to prayer, for it is nothing of the kind. Remember the 'if' that qualifies it: 'If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you,' for a man who is truly in Christ, as the branch is in the vine, and who is feeding upon Christ's words, will be so influenced by the Holy Spirit that he will not ask anything which is contrary to the mind of God. Consequently, his prayers, though in one sense unrestricted, are really restricted by the tenderness of his conscience, and the sensitiveness of his spirit to the influence of the mind of God. There are some Christians who do not get their prayers answered, and who never will as long as they do not comply with this condition, 'If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you.' If you do not take notice of Christ's words, he will not take notice of your words. He is not going to open his door to every stranger who chooses to give a runaway knock at it, but he will pay attention to his own children who pay attention to him."
He also said:
"This is the secret of successful prayer. Christ listens to your words because you listen to his words. If you are conformed to his will, he will grant you your will. Disobedient children, when they pray, may expect to get the rod for an answer. In true kindness, God may refuse to listen to them until they are willing to listen to him."
(Source for quotes: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/john-15.html)
For more information on this subject, you may want to read "What does it mean to abide in Christ?" At the end of the article, it says: "Proofs of abiding in Christ (i.e., proofs that one is truly saved and not just pretending) 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: https://www.gotquestions.org/abide-in-Christ.html.
John 16:33 [In a farewell sermon to his disciples at the Last Supper, Jesus said]: "These things I have spoken unto you [referring to what he said just before this], that in [through] me ye might have peace [an inner peace and peace with God]. In the [this] world ye shall have tribulation [trouble or suffering]: but be of good cheer [be joyful, glad, happy] [because]; I [Jesus] have overcome the world [defeated Satan and sin--by dying on the cross]."
Commenting on the above verse, in regard to tribulation, Matthew Henry said: "… It has been the lot of Christ's disciples to have more or less tribulation in this world. Men persecute them because they are so good, and God corrects them because they are no better. Men design to cut them off from the earth, and God designs by affliction to make them meet for heaven; and so between both they shall have tribulation." (Source: https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/john/16.html, "(v. 33)"
Concerning Jesus having "overcome the world," Albert Barnes said: "He [Jesus] overcame the prince of this world by his death … He vanquished the great foe of man, and triumphed over all that would work our ruin. He brought down aid and strength from above by his death; and by procuring for us the friendship of God and the influence of the [Holy] Spirit; by his own instructions and example; by revealing to us the glories of heaven, and opening our eyes to see the excellence of heavenly things, he has furnished us with the means of overcoming all our enemies, and of triumphing in all our temptations." (Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/john-16.html, "Verse 33")
Luke 14:12-15 - Jesus Dines With a Religious Leader and Teaches a Lesson About Charity
Verse 12: "Then said he [Jesus] also to him [one of the chief Pharisees, a member of the Sanhedrin,] that bade him [who had invited him (Jesus) to his house to eat], When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy [don't just invite your] friends, nor thy brethren [brothers, family members], neither thy kinsmen [relatives], nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again [because they'll probably do the same thing back to you; i.e., invite you to their 'party'], and a recompence [return favor will] be made thee [to you]."
Verses 13-14: "But when thou makest a feast [or banquet, or when you have a dinner party], call [invite] the poor, the maimed [people with severe injuries or missing limbs (arms, legs)], the lame [people who limp or walk with difficulty], the blind: And thou shalt be blessed [both by God on judgment day and in the happiness you receive here on earth by doing good]; for they [those who are poor, maimed, lame, and blind] cannot recompense [repay] thee: for thou shalt be recompensed [rewarded] at the resurrection [rising up from the dead] of the just [the righteous, referring to born-again Christians]."
Verse 15: "And when one of them [one of the other guests] that sat at meat [sat at the table to eat] with him [Jesus] heard these things [that were said], he said unto him [Jesus], Blessed is he [or she] that shall eat bread [enjoy a good meal] in the kingdom of God [i.e., in heaven]."
Regarding the above verse, one Bible commentator wrote:
"The passage begins with Jesus suggesting to His host … that when next time he makes a supper or dinner he should not invite those who will return his invitation and thus recompense him for what he has done. For there is no goodness in that. It is simply a part of the social round. It may earn him a reputation as being a good host, but it will earn no plaudits from God.
"Jesus is not, of course, discouraging family gatherings. He is rather using them to get over His point that the poor and needy should not be overlooked, and that what we do for them counts even more than what we do in this way for our families …"
(Source for quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/luke/14-12.html, "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible")
Leviticus 19:28 [God's instructions, through Moses, to the children of Israel]: "Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh [i.e., skin] for the dead [people--see note below*], nor [shall you] 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 told his disciples at the Last Supper]: "By this shall all men [people] know that ye [you] are my disciples [followers], if ye have love [brotherly love, affection, goodwill] one to another [for other Christians]."
Song of Solomon 2:10-13 - A Picture of Jesus Christ and His Church at the Rapture
Verse 10: "My beloved [Jesus] spake [spoke], and said unto me [the church, personified, which is also called the 'Bride of Christ'], Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away [that's what all born-again Christians will do when we meet Jesus in the air and fly away with him in the rapture--see note below*]."
Verses 11-12: [All of the following things happen in the spring in Israel (and also in the United States) around May and June:] "For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle[dove] is heard in our land [i.e., Israel];"
Verse 13: "The fig tree putteth forth her green [or early] figs, and the vines with the tender grape [representing Israel] give a good smell. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away."
World events indicate that biblical prophecy is being fulfilled very quickly. The Bible says that before the Antichrist is revealed and the tribulation begins, Christians must be removed from the earth. We don't know exactly when that will happen, but it will most likely be very soon.
An interesting article about the above verses and the rapture is entitled "Song of Solomon Contains an Amazing Reference to the Pretribulation Rapture as Being in Springtime." It can be found here: http://www.nowtheendbegins.com/song-solomon-contains-amazing-reference-pretribulation-rapture-springtime/.
*1 Thessalonians 4:16-17: "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord."
John 8:1-11 - Woman Taken in Adultery (A Lesson for Hypocrites)
Verses 1-2: "Jesus went unto the mount of Olives [a mountain ridge near the city of Jerusalem]. And early in the morning [at dawn the next day,] he came again into the temple [in Jerusalem], and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them."
Verses 3-4: "And the scribes and Pharisees [see note below*] brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst [middle] [of the assembly, or crowd--a group of people who had gathered together to hear Jesus speak], They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act."
Verse 5: "Now Moses in the law [in Leviticus 20:10 and Deuteronomy 22:22, both of which are quoted below**] commanded us, that such [a person] should be stoned [actually, the verses say they shall be 'put to death' or 'die,' not 'be stoned']: but what sayest thou [what do you say]?
Verse 6: "This they said [to Jesus], tempting him [to sin, and fall into their trap; i.e., they wanted him to choose between setting the woman free, thus contradicting the law of Moses, and sentencing her to death, which was the responsibility of the Roman government], [so] that they might have [a reason] to accuse him [of wrongdoing]. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not [didn't hear them]."
Verses 7-8: "So when they continued asking him [the same question], he lifted up himself [he stood up], and said unto them, He that is without sin among you [probably referring specifically to adultery and fornication], let him [be the] first [one to] cast [throw] a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground."
Verse 9: "And they which heard it [what Jesus said], being convicted by their own conscience, went out [of the temple] one by one [one after another], beginning at the eldest [oldest, or perhaps most reputable (person having the highest office or best reputation)], even unto the last [youngest, or lowest rank]: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman [was left] standing in the midst [of the crowd]."
Verse 10: "When Jesus had lifted up himself [stood up], and saw none but [except] the woman [because all of the accusers had left], he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee [judged you worthy of punishment]?"
Verse 11: "She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee [consider you worthy of death]: go [your way], and sin no more."
According to Albert Barnes, "… This passage … teaches us:
"1.that Jesus claimed no civil authority.
"2.that he regarded the action of which they accused her as sin.
"3.that he knew the hearts and lives of men.
"4.that men are often very zealous in accusing others of that of which they themselves are guilty. And,
"5.that Jesus was endowed with wonderful wisdom in meeting the devices of his enemies, and eluding their deep-laid plans to involve him in ruin."
(Source for quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/john-8.html, "Verse 11," "Go, and sin no more")
*For more information about the scribes and Pharisees, read the following articles:
-- "Who were the scribes that often argued with Jesus?" (https://www.gotquestions.org/scribes-Jesus.html)
-- "Who were the Pharisees?" (https://www.gotquestions.org/Pharisees.html)
**Verses referred to above in regard to stoning:
--Leviticus 20:10: "And the man that committeth adultery with another man's wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death."
-- Deuteronomy 22:22: "If a man be found lying with a woman married to an husband, then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away evil from Israel."
Note: Like one of the visitors to the GotQuestions.org website, you may be wondering, "What was Jesus writing in the dirt when the Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery?" Their answer can be found here: https://www.gotquestions.org/Jesus-writing-dirt.html.
Psalm 140:12 [written by King David when he was suffering persecution (cruel or unfair treatment) in the time of Saul]: "I know that the LORD will maintain the cause of the afflicted [God will help his people who are suffering, physically and/or mentally], and [he will protect] the right[s] of the poor [those who are poor]."