The apostle John wrote this to born-again Christians:
1 John 3:16: "Hereby [by this, from what I (John) am about to say, for the following reason] perceive we [or 'we know or understand'] [how great and wonderful is] the love of God, because he [Jesus Christ, the Son of God and Messiah, who is also known as God the Son and who was God in human form] laid down [or 'gave'] his life [meaning he died] for us [for everyone--not only Christians, to whom John was writing his letter, but all people]: and [consequently, if it ever becomes necessary,] we [Christians] ought to [should] [be willing to] lay down our lives for the brethren [in this case, meaning other Christians]."
TODAY IS MEMORIAL DAY
The Lord Jesus Christ proved how much he loved everyone
in 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
given their lives in defense of our country. The last Monday of May
each year has been set aside by the United States government
as a time to remember and honor those wonderful people,
and that's what most of us will be doing today.
Note: If you're interested in reading an article
about the history of Memorial Day, here's the link:
Jesus Wants Us to Preach the Gospel
This took place soon after Jesus' resurrection, when he appeared to "the eleven" apostles (the ones who were left after Judas, the traitor, had hanged himself), minus Thomas, who was temporarily absent from the group:
Mark 16:14: "Afterward [after being seen by Mary Magdalene and others following his resurrection,] he [Jesus] appeared unto the eleven [apostles] as they sat at meat [while they were eating], and upbraided [scolded] them with [for] their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not [didn't believe the testimony of eyewitnesses, referring to] them which [those who] had seen him after he was risen [from the dead]."
Mark 16:15: "And he [Jesus] said unto them [the apostles--and all Christians who hear and/or read these words:], Go ye [you] into all the world [or 'go everywhere'], and preach the gospel [the good news that Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and rose again the third day, per 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, 5-6--see note below*] to every creature [or 'to all people,' not just Jews]."
According to Romans 10:13-14, people can't be saved from hell if they don't know about Jesus and the plan of salvation. That's why Jesus encouraged Christians to "preach the gospel to every creature."
* * * * *
*What Jesus meant by gospel
is explained in the article entitled "What is the gospel?" If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/what-is-the-gospel.html.
Luke 16:15: "And he [Jesus] said unto them [the Pharisees*], Ye [you] are they which justify yourselves [attempt to appear just, or righteous (morally right)] before men [people]; but God knoweth [knows] [what is in] your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed [respected and admired] among men [human beings] is abomination [disgusting and hated] in the sight of God [see note below**]."
*Pharisees were members of a religious sect (group) who considered themselves to be more righteous than other Jews. They believed in strict observance of religious ceremonies and practices and in adherence to oral laws (i.e., passed down by word of mouth) and traditions. They also believed in an afterlife (life after death) and the coming of a Messiah (Savior). Jesus made the above statement because the Pharisees had mocked him (made fun of something he said) while he was preaching to his disciples (followers).
* * * * *
**According to Albert Barnes:
"… There are many things esteemed among [admired by] people which are 'not' abomination in the sight of God; as, for example, truth, parental and filial affection [love of parents and children for one another], industry [hard work], etc. But many things, much sought and admired, 'are' hateful in his [God's] sight. The love of wealth and show, ambition and pride, frivolous [foolish, not serious] and splendid vices, and all the wickedness that people contrive to 'gild' [coat with gold] and to make appear like virtue - external acts that 'appear' well while the heart is evil - are abominable in the sight of God, and 'should be' [abominable] in the sight of people …"
(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/luke-16.html, "Verse 14-15")
The Judgment Seat of Christ
This was written by the apostle Paul (along with Timothy) to the church at Corinth to inform born-again Christians about what will happen at the judgment seat of Christ:
2 Corinthians 5:10: "For we [Christians] must all appear [in heaven] before the judgment seat of [Jesus] Christ; [so] that every one [of us] may receive [rewards, or what is due, for] the things [that were] done in his [or her] body, according to that [which] he [or she] hath [has] done [on earth, during his (or her) lifetime], whether it be good [meaningful] or bad [worthless] [to God]."
According to the Bible (Hebrews 9:27), all people will stand before God on judgment day. Unbelievers will appear at the great white throne judgment, and born-again Christians will appear at the judgment seat of Christ.
-- What will happen at the white throne judgment is recorded in Revelation 20:11, 12, 13, 14-15.
-- At the judgment seat of Christ, as Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:10, rather than being punished, all born-again Christians will receive rewards (in the form of crowns), or will lose heavenly rewards, based on our obedience to God's word and how faithfully and selflessly (unselfishly) we served God after we got saved.
* * * * *
There is an excellent explanation of 2 Corinthians 5:10 in an article entitled "Judgment Seat of Christ." If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.raptureready.com/judgment-seat-of-christ/.
* * * * *
Regarding the judgment seat of Christ, one Bible commentator wrote:
"… 'The judgment seat of Christ might be compared to a commencement ceremony. At graduation there is some measure of disappointment and remorse [regret] that one did not do better and work harder. However, at such an event the overwhelming emotion is joy, not remorse. The graduates do not leave the auditorium weeping because they did not earn better grades. Rather, they are thankful that they have been graduated, and they are grateful for what they did achieve …'"
(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/2-corinthians/5-10.html, "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable")
Proverbs 27:7: "The full soul [a rich person, who has too much of everything--food, possessions, etc.] loatheth [loathes, rejects, has no desire for] an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul [someone who is poor and has few possessions and nothing to eat] every bitter thing is sweet."
According to Pastor Delany of Salem Bible Church, the above verse applies to more than just food and honey. What it means is that people who have a lot usually don't appreciate what they have, and people who have very little tend to appreciate the little things.
In paragraph 2 of the second half of his commentary, Pastor Delany gives the following examples to illustrate his point that "To the hungry man, 'every bitter thing is sweet'":
"a. Here is the paradox [contradiction]:
"• To the full man, sweet things (like a honeycomb or multiple luxury homes) become common place and eventually even distasteful. They can become a source of bitterness. Things that are sweet to others become bitter to him.
"• To the hungry man, bitter things (things that others might consider bitter) become sweet. For example, if you told your kids that they were having Fig Newtons for dessert, they might complain. To them, Fig Newtons are not a treat. To them, it is a bitter experience. But trying offering Fig Newtons to a child in Bangladesh! To him who is hungry it is sweet!
"b. To most of us, if someone said that you were going to become a millionaire next month, we would probably say, 'That's sweet!'
"• But if you were a billionaire, and someone said that you were going to become a millionaire next month, he would see that as a bitter experience!
"• Depending upon your present circumstances, things might be either bitter or sweet.
"• When it comes to food, there's a big difference between a man who is hungry and a man who is full. Their appreciation of a cookie might vary greatly.
"• When it comes to material goods, there is a big difference between a man who is full (wealthy) and a man who is hungry (poor). The rich man cannot appreciate the little things as the poor man does.
"• Solomon experienced that daily--and he saw it on the faces of the poor daily. He saw poor men rejoicing over that which would seem so trivial an insignificant to him--like one small coin; or a little cottage; or one ewe [female] lamb.
"• The poor man given the little cottage to live in would rejoice beyond measure; a king given a little cottage to live in would be bitter. It would be like a prison to him."
The verse also has a spiritual application, because, as Pastor Delany points out, "To the unbeliever, the Word of God and its message is a bitter pill … But to the believer, the Word of God is sweeter than a honeycomb!"
If you want to read the rest of the commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-27-index/proverbs-27_7/.
Jesus said this to the Jewish people (and everyone else):
John 5:39: "Search the scriptures [carefully study the books of the Bible (in this case, Jesus was referring to the Old Testament, since the New Testament had not yet been written when he spoke these words)]; for [because] in them [the scriptures] ye [you] think [that] ye have eternal life [see note below*]: and they [the scriptures] are they which testify [bear witness] of me [Jesus] [in other words, they prove that Jesus was, and is, the Son of God and Messiah]."
*According to Matthew Henry, at the time that Jesus told them to "Search the scriptures," many Jews thought they could gain eternal life by simply reading, studying, and memorizing scripture. This is what his commentary says:
"… It was a common but corrupt saying among them [the Jews], He that has the words of the law has eternal life; they thought they were sure of heaven if they could say by heart, or rather by rote [repetition, or by repeating over and over], such and such passages of scripture as they were directed to by the tradition of the elders [referring to detailed, unwritten, human laws regarded by the scribes and Pharisees to have the same binding force as the Mosaic law] …"
(Source: https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/john/5.html, "Verses 31-47," "v. 39")
* * * * *
The Jews may have been sincere in their belief that they could get to heaven by memorizing scripture, but they were mistaken. According to the Bible, the only way that we can be saved is through faith in Christ
(i.e., by believing that Jesus died on the cross to pay for our sins and by trusting him as our personal Savior).
The Bible says that salvation is free and can't be earned, no matter how many, or what kind of, good things we may happen to do. This fact is confirmed in the New Testament by Romans 6:23, which states that eternal life is a gift from God, and by Ephesians 2:8-9, which states that salvation is received by faith, not works.
For more information on the subject of salvation, read "What is the Christian doctrine of salvation?" You'll find it here: https://www.gotquestions.org/Christian-doctrine-salvation.html.
* * * * *
If you want to trust Jesus as your personal Savior but don't know how, you'll find instructions on the "Printable Gospel Tracts" page of my website. Here's a direct link: https://www.mansioninheaven.com/PrintableGospelTracts.html.
Proverbs 25:15: "By long forbearing [with much patience] is a prince [or ruler--and many other people, too] persuaded [to do or not do something], and [continued pressure from] a soft tongue breaketh [breaks] the bone."
Using the example of someone finding a small bone in his or her mouth while eating, Pastor Delany of Salem Bible Church explains that "The gentle pressure of a tongue, over time … can bring about … the breaking of a bone … It can be just as effective as a harsher approach--like a saw, a knife, or a hammer."
He goes on to say that in the above verse, "Solomon is really getting at the use of the tongue in speech and communication … The proverb is designed to demonstrate the power of soft and gentle words as opposed to harsh and abrasive words." And he concludes that "In most situations, the gentle and patient approach is the best."
If you want to read more of the commentary, here's the link: http://www.salembible.org/proverbs-25-index/proverbs-25_15/.
Romans 12:18: "If it be possible, as much as lieth in you [as long as it's within your power (ability) to do so], live peaceably [peacefully, in peace] with all men [or, in this case, 'all people' or 'everyone']."
Regarding the phrase as much as lieth in you, Albert Barnes said:
"This implies two things:
"(1) We are to do our utmost endeavors [or 'try as hard as possible'] to preserve peace, and to appease [pacify] the anger and malice [hatred, ill will] of others.
"(2) We are not to 'begin' or to 'originate' a quarrel.
"So far as 'we' are concerned, we are to seek peace. But then it does not always depend on us. Others may oppose and persecute us; they will hate religion, and may slander [lie about], revile [criticize, condemn], and otherwise injure [harm] us; or they may commence [start] an assault on our persons or property. For 'their' assaults we are not answerable; but we are answerable for our conduct toward them; and on no occasion are we to commence a warfare [conflict] with them. It may not be 'possible' to prevent their injuring and opposing us; but it is possible not to begin a contention [argument, disagreement] with them; and 'when they' have commenced a strife, to seek peace, and to evince [display, show] a Christian spirit. This command doubtless extends to everything connected with strife; and means that we are not to 'provoke' them to controversy, or to prolong it when it is commenced … If all Christians would follow this command, if they would never 'provoke' to controversy, if they would injure no man by slander or by unfair dealing, if they would compel none to prosecute them in law by lack of punctuality in payment of debts or honesty in business, if they would do nothing to irritate, or to prolong a controversy when it is commenced, it would put an end to no small part of the strife that exists in the world."
(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/romans-12.html, "Verse 18")
* * * * *
Regarding the above verse, another Bible commentator wrote:
"… while allowing theoretical situations where peace could not honorably be maintained, we should strictly heed the principle of avoiding discord [disagreements]. [Jesus] Christ taught that people should give the cloak also, go the second mile, turn the other cheek, and avoid conflict by any honorable means whatsoever. What a shameful contrast is the conduct of some persons, allegedly [supposedly] Christian, who are ever [forever, always] spoiling for strife [looking for a fight], and who, far from avoiding it, actually seek and enjoy all kinds of confrontations that lead to bitterness and contention."
(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/romans/12-18.html, "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible")
Psalm 30:4-5: "Sing unto the LORD [God], O ye saints of his [you born-again Christians--see note below*], and give thanks at the remembrance of his [God's] holiness [compassion, goodness, kindness, mercy]. For his anger endureth [endures, lasts] but a moment [only for a short time]; in his [God's] favour is life [both physical life (on earth) and eternal life (in heaven)]: weeping [crying, due to sorrow or grief] may endure for a night [or 'is only temporary'], but joy cometh [comes] in the morning [which means that, for Christians, sadness will soon give way to, or be followed or replaced by, happiness]."
*For the biblical definition of saints, read the following article: "What are Christian saints according to the Bible?" Here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/saints-Christian.html.
Proverbs 22:6: "Train up a child in the way he [or she] should go [in other words, get your child started on the right pathway of life--the way of righteousness and godliness]: and [hopefully,] when he [or she] is old [grows up], he [or she] will not depart [turn aside, go away] from it."
Salem Bible Church has an excellent commentary on this verse. In it, comparing a child to a plant, Pastor Jim Delany says, "It is the responsibility of the parent to bend that little plant away from the wrong direction it WANTS to go in… and direct it towards the way it SHOULD go."
Just like many of the verses in Proverbs, the above statement is true in most cases, but there are exceptions. For parents whose children have wandered from the right path (or may do so in the future), Pastor Delany says:
"4. There is a good word of encouragement in this proverb to every parent of a prodigal [wayward] child.
"a. Good training in his early years always gives the hope that one day… perhaps when down and out… he will recall that training, and it will kick in… and he will repent and return to the way that he should go.
"b. It might even be after the parents are gone to glory [heaven].
"c. Good training early on at the very least provides them with a MEANS to return.
"• They [children] may not presently LIKE the way they should go, but at least they know where it is… how to find it.
"• Many young people are wandering about without a clue as to where the way they should go is to be found! Even if they wanted to get on the right path, they wouldn't know where to find it.
"• But the one who received good training early on, WILL know where to find it.
"d. There is no need for shame in the heart of the parent who trained them in the way they ought to go.
"e. But there IS shame to be had when the training was NOT provided! (Prov. 29:15 -- [']A child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.'"
If you want to read more of the commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-22-index/proverbs-22_6/.
Satan and His Angels Were Thrown Out of Heaven
This was part of what the apostle John saw when God gave him a vision of events that occurred, both in heaven and on earth, in the past and other events that will occur in the future:
Revelation 12:7-8: "And there was war in heaven: Michael [the archangel, an angel of high rank] and his angels [i.e., the good angels who reported to him] fought against the dragon [Satan]; and the dragon fought [against Michael and the good angels] and [so did] his [followers--the evil, or rebellious] angels, And [Satan and the bad angels] prevailed not [did not win]; neither was their place found any more in heaven."
Revelation 12:9: "And the great dragon [Satan] was cast [thrown] out [of heaven], that old serpent [as he had appeared to Eve in the Garden of Eden], [who is also] called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth [who deceives, or hides the truth from and misleads (tricks, fools), everyone in] the whole world [and, thus, leads us into error and sin]: he [Satan] was cast out into the earth, and his angels [who are now called demons] were cast out [of heaven] with him."
Satan was kicked out of heaven by God, and he knows that soon Jesus will come back and take over control of the world (John 12:31, Revelation 20:10). Satan is angry and desperate and able to influence people's behavior. That's part of the reason why there is so much immorality, perversion, anger and hatred, rioting and wars, etc., on the earth today and why things keep getting worse and worse, especially for the nation of Israel.
* * * * * *
John's heavenly vision is recorded in the 12th chapter of Revelation, which can be found here: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation%2012&version=KJV
* * * * *
GotQuestions.org explains John's vision in their article entitled "What does Revelation chapter 12 mean?" If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/Revelation-chapter-12.html.
Proverbs 20:1: "Wine is a mocker [it causes stupid behavior], strong drink is raging [it causes bad behavior]: and whosoever is deceived thereby [whoever is fooled, led astray, or misled by intoxicating beverages] is not wise."
In other words, those who drink too much sometimes do foolish things, which causes others to ridicule or make fun of them. It can also cause tempers to flare, which usually results in arguments or fights, such as barroom brawls.
* * * * *
Salem Bible Church has a good commentary on this verse, including an explanation of how wine was used in Bible times (i.e., as a water purifier, medicine, etc.) and examples of the stupid things that people do when they're drunk, such as the following (found in paragraph 4e):
"1. They make a public fool of themselves.
"2. They dance on the coffee table with a lampshade on their head.
"3. If you dare them to jump off the roof they will.
"4. They can't walk a straight line.
"5. They can't make a complete sentence.
"6. They drool… they slur… they fall on their face… they vomit…"
The commentary also addresses the belief of many Christians today that it's all right to drink as long as you don't get drunk, and it explains why that isn't true.
The commentary ends by saying:
"e. Some folks come to a passage like this with their own preconceived ideas about alcohol. They love to drink and therefore try to put a good spin on the bad things the Bible says about alcohol.
"f. Others come to a passage like this [Proverbs 20:1] sincerely wanting to know God's will. If the heart is honest and open--God's Word IS clear."
If you want to read the commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-20-index/proverbs-20_1/.
* * * * *
In his commentary on this verse, Matthew Henry wrote:
"… When the wine is in [the body,] the wit [mental sharpness, ability to think quickly] is out [gone], and then the man, according as his natural temper is, either mocks like a fool or rages like a madman …"
(Source: https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/proverbs/20.html, "Verse 1")
Proverbs 19:22: "The desire [desirable quality] of a man [or woman or child] is his [or her] kindness: and a poor man [person] is better than a liar."
In his commentary on the above verse, Pastor Delany of Salem Bible Church says, "People are attracted to people who show love, kindness, mercy, and devotion to others," and even though it's an awful thing to be poor, hungry, homeless, and/or unable to feed your kids, it's even worse to be a liar, especially the kind mentioned below (which are quoted from paragraph 1f of the "poor man" section of the commentary):
"f. The liar stands in stark contrast to the man who is KIND.
"• The first man [the kind one] demonstrates his loyalty through deeds of kindness and mercy.
"• The liar perhaps PROMISES to help… he promises to demonstrate kindness… but he was lying. He had no intention of helping.
"• Or perhaps he [the liar] denies that he is ABLE to help, when he is in fact very able… but unwilling."
If you want to read more of the pastor's commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-19-index/proverbs-19_22/.
Proverbs 18:10: "The name of the LORD [referring to (or representing) God, who, due to his nature (characteristics) and reputation] is a strong tower [a refuge, or shelter]: the righteous [person--who has trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as his or her personal Savior and is a born-again Christian] runneth [runs] into it [the tower, or 'runs to God'] [for protection], and is safe."
Salem Bible Church has a Bible study on this verse. Here is an excerpt from paragraph 6, near the end of the commentary:
"a. There is a tendency in our fallen nature to rely on SELF when an emergency strikes… when calamity comes our way.
"b. There is a tendency to rely on men… on chariots… on the ways of the world…
"c. There is a tendency to run AWAY from God and His word in times of great need.
"• When a marriage is on the brinks, some run to the psychologist… the 'experts' and seek ungodly counsel.
"• When the doctor gives us some awful news, some put their confidence in men… in doctors… in unsaved family members… and run anywhere BUT the Lord!
"• Others turn to pills and alcohol when trials and trouble strike.
"• Some men run to their wealth for safety… in hopes of buying their way out of trouble. [Proverbs 18:11]
"• The strong towers men build sometimes offer a sense of safety and security…
"• But sometimes, they prove to be no protection at all.
"d. But for the RIGHTEOUS… those who [are saved and] do things RIGHT before God… they run to the name of the Lord.
"• That is their strong tower.
"• This tower always provides safety and security.
"• Nothing can harm us when we cast ourselves upon the Lord…
"• Nothing can harm us when we are dwelling with Christ and our lives are hidden away with Him in heaven…
"• Nothing can get to us unless it is God's will for our good and our spiritual growth."
If you want to read the rest of the commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-18-index/proverbs-18_10/.
Preaching and Teaching God's Word
The following advice from the apostle Paul to Timothy (an evangelist, or minister of the gospel) also applies to all Christians:
2 Timothy 4:2: "Preach the word [of God, referring to the gospel of Jesus Christ]; be instant in season, out of season [be ready to 'preach the gospel' at all times, which means take every opportunity to tell others how to be saved, whether the situation makes it easy or hard to do so]; reprove [gently correct errors in religious beliefs], rebuke [warn others of the dangers and consequences of sin], [and] exhort [urge or encourage people to obey God's word] with all longsuffering [patience] and doctrine [teaching, instruction]."
2 Timothy 4:3-4: "For the time will come when they [many people] will not endure [withstand, put up with] sound doctrine [biblical truth]; but after their own lusts [desires] shall they heap [gather] to themselves [many] [false] teachers, having itching ears [or 'because they're uncomfortable with the truth']; And they shall turn away their ears from [hearing] the truth, and shall be turned [aside] unto [believing] fables [made-up stories]."
It's important to preach and teach from the word of God, but as time goes on, it will become harder and harder to faithfully do so because, according to verses 3-4 above, the time will come when many people, who may have been receptive to the gospel message in the past, will reject godly pastors (those who preach truth from the Bible) and instead will seek preachers and teachers more to their liking (such as false teachers), who "tickle their ears" (tell them what they want to hear and are comfortable to be around), corrupt the plan of salvation, don't preach about sin, etc.
James 1:17: "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above [all good things are from God], and cometh [come] down [to us, from heaven] from the Father of lights [from God, who is the source of light], with whom is no variableness [variation, change], neither [nor is there] shadow of turning [like there is with the sun--see note below*]."
*Regarding the last part of the above verse, Albert Barnes wrote:
"With whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning - The design here is clearly to contrast God with the sun [to show their differences] in a certain respect. As the source of light, there is a strong resemblance [similarity]. But in the sun there are certain changes. It does not shine on all parts of the earth at the same time, nor in the same manner all the year. It rises and sets; it crosses the line, and seems to go far to the south, and sends its rays obliquely [slantwise] on the earth; then it ascends [rises upward] to the north, recrosses the line, and sends its rays obliquely on southern regions. By its revolutions [rotation] it produces the changes of the seasons, and makes a constant variety on the earth in the productions of different climes [climates]. In this respect God is not indeed like the sun. With him there is no variableness, not even the appearance of turning. He is always the same, at all seasons of the year, and in all ages; there is no change in his character, his mode of being, his purposes and plans. What he was millions of ages before the worlds were made, he is now; what he is now, he will be countless millions of ages hence [in the future]. We may be sure that whatever changes there may be in human affairs; whatever reverses we may undergo; whatever oceans we may cross, or whatever mountains we may climb, or in whatever worlds we may hereafter take up our abode [place of residence], God is the same … The phrase rendered 'shadow of turning' would properly refer to the different shade or shadow cast by the sun from an object, in its various revolutions, in rising and setting, and in its changes at the different seasons of the year. God, on the other hand, is as if the sun stood in the meridian [mid-point of the circle of the earth] at noon-day, and never cast [put forth] any shadow."
(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bnb/james-1.html, "Verse 17")
* * * * *
The best gift that anyone can have is the gift of eternal life
, which (according to Romans 6:23) comes from God.
If you have not yet received God's gift but would like to do so, please read one or more of my gospel tracts
, which can be found on the "Printable Gospel Tracts" page of this website. Here's the link: https://www.mansioninheaven.com/PrintableGospelTracts.html.
Proverbs 15:16: "Better is [having only a] little [money] with the fear of the LORD than [having] great treasure [lots of money] [without the fear of God,] and [having] trouble therewith [along with it]."
According to Pastor Delany of Salem Bible Church, this is one of the "better than" proverbs that help us make good decisions. Here, we're told that it's better to choose a little with the fear of God than a lot without it.
In paragraph 4 of his commentary on this verse, Pastor Delany asks us to consider what we would do if faced with the following options:
"b. When you have been out of work and are desperate for a job, and have an opportunity for a good job IF you embellish [exaggerate facts or make things up on] your resume… would you do it?
"c. Or, your boss offers you a promotion with a huge pay increase, BUT it requires working every Sunday."
Although some people in the Bible were rich and did fear God (King Solomon is one of them), many others chose great treasure instead of the fear of God. In paragraph 5, the commentary says:
"e. Treasures obtained by abandoning the fear of the Lord come with strings attached… a heavy price…
"→ Consider Lot--choosing the land that was lush [covered with healthy green plants]: Sodom. He had to flee for his life.
"→ Consider Achan who coveted [greatly desired] riches and was stoned to death.
"→ Consider Gehazi, the servant of Elisha who did not fear God but chose mammon [riches]--and was smitten [stricken, afflicted] with leprosy!
"→ Consider Ananias and Saphira--who did not fear God, but coveted wealth… and were struck dead by God. THEN the church walked in the fear of God and was multiplied!"
If you want to read more of the commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-15-index/proverbs-15_16/.
Proverbs 14:14: "The backslider in heart [a born-again Christian who stops following God and falls back into sin or becomes more focused on worldly things than on his (or her) spiritual life] shall be filled with [the consequences of] his [or her] own ways: and a [spiritually and morally] good man [or woman or childn] shall be satisfied from [within, or be at peace with,] himself [or herself]."
Here are some facts about backsliders, quoted from Salem Bible Church's commentary on this verse:
"2.) The backslider described:
"a. He ONCE walked with God. He at one time was headed in the right direction, but has CHANGED directions… or at least slowed down his pace of progress.
"b. He is no longer going forward, but is going backwards.
"c. He once fought the good fight, but has retreated for one reason or another. (tired; weary; wounded; enticed; lazy; enamored by the worldly; deceived by the enemy; etc.)"
"3.) The backslider in HEART… implies two things:
"a. He may not appear to be a backslider
"• His backsliding may not be outwardly apparent. It is inward… in the heart… where no man can see.
"• He is still assembling together with the saints…
"• All looks well on the outside, but on the inside, a departure is underway.
"• There are backsliders in heart who sit in churches every Sunday, thinking nobody knows. God knows.
"• Sin doesn't have to be outward. It is possible to commit adultery in the heart… murder… idolatry…
"• In fact, sin manifests itself in the heart before it is ever manifested outwardly.
"• Eventually, the backslider in heart will become a backslider in outward deed.
"b. The backslider in heart is just as much a backslider as the backslider in deed.
"• Whatever the backslider in heart does is unacceptable before God.
"• He may sing in the choir, serve as an officer, teach Sunday school… but if he is a backslider in heart, it is all wood, hay, and stubble… regardless of how talented he may be… how well he sings or teaches or ministers in any other way.
"c. His backsliding was not a mere slip that occurred in a weak moment, but was rather a slip that occurred because it was in his heart to go backwards…
"• It was the secret desire of his heart long before it was ever put into practice."
"4.) Degrees of backsliding…
"a. Backsliding implies going backwards… not progressing forwards.
"b. A believer is going backwards when:
"• He has lost his earlier zeal for the things of Christ…and is 'cooling off'… like embers losing their former glow…
"• He has become entangled in the affairs of this life… not necessarily involved in sin, but 'occupied' with things that keep him from spiritual growth.
"• He has settled back into mediocrity… and is no longer pressing toward the mark.
"• His devotion time in the Word [i.e., God's word, as recorded in the Bible] has slacked off… become dry and dusty… finds himself reading the Word less than he used to… praying less…
"• He desires the camaraderie [fellowship] of his old friends or the guys at work rather than making friends with God's children…and the fellowship of the saints [born-again Christians]…
"c. Many believers at church would not be able to notice this change, but God does. God knows a lack of spiritual progress when He sees it…
"d. God takes note of our spiritual progress, growth, zeal [enthusiasm], fervor [passion], level of dedication, commitment, enthusiasm, and our love for Christ."
If you want to read more of Pastor Delany's commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-14-index/proverbs-14_14/.
The Importance of Keeping Our Promises to God
Numbers 32:20: "And Moses said unto them [the children (descendants) of Gad and Reuben, who made up two of the twelve tribes of Israel], If ye [you] will do this thing [which you have promised; that is], if ye will go armed before the LORD [with the ark of the covenant, which signified (was a sign of) God's presence] to war [along with the other ten tribes of Israel],"
Numbers 32:21, 22: "And [if you] will go all of you [referring to men only, not women and children] armed over [across] [the river] Jordan before the [ark of the] LORD, until he [God] hath [has] driven out his enemies from before him, And [until] the land [of Canaan] be [is] subdued [conquered, brought under subjection or control] before the LORD: then afterward ye shall return [to this side of the river], and be guiltless [free from guilt, innocent, blameless] before the LORD, and before [the rest of the tribes of] Israel; and this land [of Gilead] shall be your possession before the LORD."
Numbers 32:23: "But if ye will not do so [i.e., keep your promise to join in the battle to subdue the land of Canaan], behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out [your disobedience will be known to and punished by God]."
There is background information concerning the above verses in the following articles:
-- "What should we learn from the tribe of Gad?"
-- "Why did Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh want to live on the east side of Jordan?"
In addition, I found a very detailed map of Old Testament Israel showing where the various tribes settled. If you want to view it, here's the link: https://www.bible-history.com/geography/ancient-israel/israel-old-testament.html. When you click on various names on the map, you'll find Bible verses pertaining to the people and places associated with those names.
The "Love of Christ" is Powerful
Romans 8:35: "Who [or what] shall separate us [born-again Christians] from the love of [Jesus] Christ [i.e., from our love for him, and/or from his love for us]? shall [any of the following things separate us from the love of Christ:]
tribulation [great trouble or suffering],
or distress [extreme anxiety, sadness, or pain],
or persecution [cruel or unfair treatment, especially due to race, or religious or political beliefs],
or famine [shortage of food],
or nakedness [no clothes],
or peril [danger of any kind],
or sword [death by the sword, including beheading]?
Romans 8:36: As it is written [in Psalm 44:22, in a prayer to God, referring to the calamities that had been happening to Christians in the Old Testament], For thy [your] sake [or 'because we worship you, dear Lord'] we are killed [or exposed to death] all the day long [constantly]; we are accounted [regarded by our enemies] as sheep [destined or headed] for the slaughter [which meant that the Christians would be killed or butchered by their enemies without remorse (feelings of regret or guilt)].
Romans 8:37: Nay [no], in all these things [listed above] we [Christians] are more than conquerors [or 'we are victorious or gain the victory'] through [the power of] him that loved us [i.e., the Lord Jesus Christ, per Philippians 4:13]."
Psalm 11:5: "The LORD trieth [tries] the righteous [people, which means that God puts Christians through trials to prove their sincerity, love, and faithfulness to him]: but the wicked [morally bad or evil people] and him [or her] that loveth [loves] violence[,] his soul [or 'God'] hateth [hates]."
When Christians go through difficult times, it is usually meant to test their faith, but God also uses various types of hardship to punish and destroy wicked and violent people.
This proverb describes a family's appreciation for their virtuous (morally good) mother and wife:
Proverbs 31:28: "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 [praises] her."
According to Jim Delany, pastor of Salem Bible Church, verses 10-31 of this chapter of Proverbs [which describe the ideal wife and mother--see https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs%2031%3A10-31&version=KJV] 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 pastor's commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-31-index/proverbs-31_28/.
* * * * *
Thank you, moms, for all that you do.
You are loved and appreciated.
HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!
The Proper Way to Treat Others (Both Rich and Poor)
This is from a letter that the apostle James wrote to Jewish Christians, but it also applies to us:
James 2:1: "My brethren [brothers--perhaps, in this case, meaning fellow Jews and/or fellow Christians], have [you] not [or 'you do not have'] the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ [see Note 1 below], the Lord of glory [our glorious (wonderful, magnificent) Lord], with respect of persons."
James 2:2, 3, 4: "For if there come unto your assembly [to your church, as a visitor] a man [a rich person] with a gold ring, in goodly apparel [wearing expensive clothing], and there come in also a poor man [a poor person] in vile raiment [filthy and ragged clothing]; And ye [you] have respect to him [or her] that weareth [who is wearing] the gay [fine, brightly colored] clothing [see Note 2 below], and [you] say unto him [or her], Sit thou [you sit] here in a good place; and [you] say to the poor [person], Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool [sit on the floor]: Are ye not then partial in [among] yourselves [or 'are you not showing partiality, or favoritism'], and are [or 'have you not'] become judges of evil thoughts [by thinking that the rich person is good and the poor person is bad, as when we 'judge a book by its cover']?"
James 2:5: "Hearken [listen, pay attention], my beloved brethren, Hath [has] not God chosen the poor [people] of this world [to be] rich in faith [or 'to believe the gospel'], and [through salvation, to be] heirs of the kingdom [of heaven] which he [God] hath promised to them that love him?"
James 2:6-7: "But ye have despised [dishonored, insulted, shown contempt for] the poor. Do not rich men [people] oppress [overpower, overburden] you, and draw you before the judgment seats [or 'make you stand before judges' (as in court)]? Do not they [the rich people] blaspheme [speak irreverently or disrespectfully of] that worthy name [i.e., Jesus Christ, the Son of God] by the which ye are called [Christians]?"
James 2:8-9: "If ye fulfil [obey] the royal law [commandment of God] according to the scripture [referring to Leviticus 19:18 in the Bible, part of which says], Thou shalt [you shall] love thy [your] neighbour as thyself [yourself], ye do well [meaning that which is right] [see Note 3 below]: But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of [convicted by] the law as transgressors [i.e., you are judged to be guilty of breaking God's law]."
In God's sight, rich people are no better than poor people. Consequently, we should treat everyone the same.
* * * * *
Regarding several phrases in the above verses, Albert Barnes said:
"Have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ
- Faith is the distinguishing thing in the Christian religion, for it is this by which man is justified [made acceptable to God], and hence, it comes to be put for religion itself … The meaning here is, 'do not hold such views of the religion of Christ, as to lead you to manifest partiality to others on account of their difference of rank or outward circumstances.'"
(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bnb/james-2.html, "Verse 1")
"And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing - If you show him superior attention on account of his rich and gay apparel, giving him a seat by himself, and treating others with neglect or contempt. Religion does not forbid proper respect to rank, to office, to age, or to distinguished talents and services, though even in such cases it does not require that we should feel that such persons have any peculiar claims to salvation, or that they are not on a level with all others, as sinners before God; it does not forbid that a man who has the means of procuring for himself an eligible pew in a church should be permitted to do so; but it requires that men [all people] shall be regarded and treated according to their moral worth, and not according to their external adorning; that all shall be considered as in fact on a level before God, and entitled to the privileges which grow out of the worship of the Creator. A stranger coming into any place of worship, no matter what his rank, dress, or complexion, should be treated with respect, and everything should be done that can be to win his heart to the service of God."
(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bnb/james-2.html, "Verse 3")
"Ye do well - That is, 'if you fairly comply with the spirit of this law, you do all that is required of you in regulating your intercourse [interactions] with others. You are to regard all persons as your 'neighbors,' and are to treat them according to their real worth; you are not to be influenced in judging of them, or in your treatment of them, by their apparel, or their complexion, or the circumstances of their birth, but by the fact that they are fellow-beings.' This is another reason why they should not show partiality in their treatment of others, for if, in the true sense, they regarded all others as 'neighbors,' they would treat no one with neglect or contempt."
(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bnb/james-2.html, "Verse 8")
Being a "secret Christian" is not okay, because Jesus said:
Matthew 10:32-33: "Whosoever [whoever] therefore shall confess [acknowledge] me [Jesus] before men [human beings, people--or publicly] [in other words, whoever is not ashamed to tell others that he (or she) is saved, or born again], him [or her] will I confess [acknowledge] also before my Father [God] which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny [refuse to acknowledge] me [Jesus] before men [publicly], him [or her] will I also deny [refuse to acknowledge] before my Father [God] which is in heaven."
"Secret Christians" are discussed in the GotQuestions.org article entitled "Is it wrong to be a Christian secretly in order to preserve your own life?" Here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/secret-Christian.html.
* * * * *
If you want to become a born-again Christian but don't know what to do, please read one or more of the gospel tracts on the "Printable Gospel Tracts" page of my website: https://www.mansioninheaven.com/PrintableGospelTracts.html.
Referring to the plan of salvation, the apostle Paul wrote:
1 Corinthians 1:25: "Because the foolishness of God [i.e., what God does that is considered foolish by some people, such as allowing us to be saved (from hell) by faith, not works--Ephesians 2:8-9] is wiser than men [or 'exceeds the highest degree of human wisdom']; and the weakness of God [i.e., weakness as it may appear to us, such as when God's Son, Jesus, died on the cross to pay for our sins] is stronger [does more powerful things] than [the strongest] men."
God is not foolish or weak, but sometimes it may appear that way to us. We should never forget that God's wisdom and strength are far greater than ours.
* * * * *
In his commentary on this verse, Albert Barnes said:
"Because the foolishness of God
- That which God appoints, requires, commands, does, etc., which appears to people to be foolish. The passage is not to be understood as affirming that it is really foolish or unwise; but that it appears so to people - Perhaps the apostle here refers to those parts of the divine administration where the wisdom of the plan is not seen; or where the reason of what God does is concealed [hidden].
"Is wiser than men - Is better adapted to accomplish important ends, and more certainly effectual [effective] than the schemes of human wisdom. This is especially true of the plan of salvation - a plan apparently foolish to the mass [large number, majority] of people - yet indubitably [undoubtedly] accomplishing more for the renewing of people, and for their purity and happiness, than all the schemes of human contrivance. They have accomplished nothing toward people's salvation; this accomplishes everything. They have always failed; this never fails.
"The weakness of God - There is really no weakness in God, any more than there is folly [foolishness]. This must mean, therefore, the things of his appointment which appear weak and insufficient to accomplish the end. Such are these facts - that God should seek to save the world by Jesus of Nazareth, Who was supposed unable to save himself … ; and that he should expect to save people by the gospel, by its being preached by people who were without learning, eloquence [the ability to speak with persuasiveness], wealth, fame, or power. The instruments were feeble [weak]; and people judged that this was owing to the weakness or lack of power in the God who appointed them.
"Is stronger than men - Is able to accomplish more than the utmost might of man. The feeblest agency that God puts forth - so feeble as to be esteemed weakness - is able to effect more than the utmost might of man. The apostle here refers particularly to the work of redemption; but it is true everywhere. We may remark:
"(1) That God often effects his mightiest plans by that which seems to men to be weak and even foolish. The most mighty revolutions arise often from the slightest causes; his most vast operations are often connected with very feeble means. The revolution of empires; the mighty effects of the pestilence [a contagious and deadly disease]; the advancement in the sciences, and arts, and the operations of nature, are often brought about by means apparently as little suited to accomplish the work as those which are employed in the plan of redemption.
"(2) God is great. If his feeblest powers put forth, surpass the mightiest powers of man, how great must be his might. If the powers of man who rears [constructs] works of art; who levels [flattens] mountains and elevates [raises up] vales [valleys]; if the power which reared the pyramids, be as nothing when compared with the feeblest putting forth of divine power [i.e., relating to God], how mighty must be his arm! How vast [great, immense] that strength which made, and which upholds the rolling worlds! How safe are his people in his hand! And how easy for him to crush all his foes [enemies] in death!"
(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bnb/1-corinthians-1.html, "Verse 25")
King David wrote:
Psalm 145:18-19: "The LORD is nigh [near] unto all them that call upon him [in prayer, for salvation and help], to all [people] that call upon him in truth [sincerely]. He [God] will fulfil the desire [answer the prayers] of them that fear him [referring to born-again Christians who love, serve, and obey him]: he also will hear their cry [for help], and will save them [from danger here on earth, and from hell when they die]."
This was a prayer to God, most likely from King David:
Psalm 119:105: "Thy [your] word [dear Lord, referring to the Bible, which is the written word of God] is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path [to guide my way, prevent me from being led astray (away from what is proper and desirable), and keep me safe]."
What the Bible did for the writer of this psalm, it can also do for us.