JULY 29-31

Psalm 78:17-29 - God "Rained Down Manna" to Feed the Jews in the Wilderness
In this psalm, we are reminded how God had protected the children of Israel and provided for them in the wilderness in miraculous ways (i.e., by parting the sea, leading and protecting the people in a pillar of a cloud during the day and a pillar of fire at night,.giving the people water from a rock, etc.). He also kept them fed, but they didn't like what they got, so they complained to God and, although their unappreciativeness (and doubt and unbelief) made him angry, he met their demands for better food.

Verses 17-18: "And they [the Jewish people, who were ungrateful to God for removing them from Egypt, where they always had plenty to eat] sinned yet more against him [God] [than they had done while they were slaves] by provoking the most High [God] in the wilderness [the desert]. And they tempted God in their heart [meaning they tested him] by asking [for] meat [certain types of food] for their lust [or 'to satisfy their cravings']."

Verses 19-20: "Yea
[yes], they [the people] spake [spoke] against God; they said, Can God furnish a table [filled with an assortment of food, as at a feast or banquet] in the wilderness? Behold, he [God] smote [struck] the rock, [so] that the waters gushed out, and the streams overflowed; can he give [us] bread also? can he provide flesh [meat] for his people?"

Verses 21-22: "Therefore the LORD heard this, and was wroth
[exasperated, infuriated, very angry--because they had doubted his power]: so a fire [the fire of his anger] was kindled against Jacob, and anger also came up against Israel [the Jews]; Because they believed not [didn't believe] in God [i.e., in his power or his promises], and trusted not [didn't trust] in his salvation [or his power and willingness to save them]:"

Verses 23-25: "Though he
[God] had commanded the clouds from above, and opened the doors of heaven, And had rained down manna [see note below*] upon them [the Jews] to eat, and had given them of the corn [or grain, as in wheat, referring to the manna, or 'bread'] of heaven. Man [mankind, or 'the people'] did eat angels' food: he [God] [also] sent them meat [food] to the full [meaning he sent them more than enough to satisfy their hunger and cravings]."

Verses 26-29: "He
[God] caused an east wind to blow in the heaven: and by his power he brought in the south wind. He rained flesh also upon them as dust, and feathered fowls [birds] [both of which (i.e., flesh and feathered fowls) refer to quails] like as the sand of the sea [in other words, God sent so many quails, their quantity is compared to the number of particles of dust on the ground and sand in the sea]: And he [God] let it [the 'shower' of quails] fall in the midst [middle] of their camp, round about [around] their habitations [living spaces, or 'near where the people were']. So they did eat, and were well filled: for he [God] gave them their own desire [what they wanted];"
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*For a description of manna and additional information about it, see the following articles:

-- "What was manna?"
    (
https://www.gotquestions.org/what-was-manna.html)

-- "Why did the Israelites need manna if they had flocks/herds of animals that they could eat?"
    (
https://www.gotquestions.org/Israelites-eat-flocks.html)

JULY 28

Psalm 113:3: "From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same
[i.e., from sunrise to sunset and/or from east to west, or throughout the world] the LORD'S name [YHWH / YAHWEH / Jehovah, which mean 'I AM THAT I AM'--see note below*] is to be [or 'should be'] praised [meaning that it's always good for us to praise Almighty God]."
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*The following articles discuss the various names and titles of God:

-- "What is the name of God"
   
https://www.gotquestions.org/name-of-God.html

-- "What are the different names of God, and what do they mean?"
   
https://www.gotquestions.org/names-of-God.html

JULY 27

Colossians 3:2: "Set your affection
[focus your mind, thoughts, love] on things above [the earth, meaning heavenly things, including eternal life], not on things on the earth [i.e., worldly things, like riches, honor, and pleasure]."

JULY 26

James 5:14-15 - Healing the Sick
This was written by a man named James (perhaps the apostle or Jesus' brother) to Jewish Christians.

Verse 14: "Is any [person] sick among you? let him [or her] call [send] for the elders [leaders, pastors] of the church [see note below*]; and let them pray over [or 'with and for'] him [or her--the sick person], [while] anointing him [or her] with oil [usually, olive oil--see note below**] in the name of [i.e., by the authority or direction of] the Lord [Jesus Christ]:"

Verse 15: "And
[unless it is against God's will,] the prayer of [the elders, offered in] faith shall save [heal] the sick [person], and the Lord shall raise him [or her] up [from the bed]; and if he [or she] have committed sins [has done something bad, which caused the illness], they [those sins] shall be forgiven him [or her] [by God]."
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*In his commentary on verse 14, while discussing people calling for elders when they're sick, Albert Barnes wrote:

"… It may be added, as worthy of note, that the apostle says they should 'call' for the elders of the church; that is, they should send for them. They should not wait for them to hear of their sickness, as they might happen to, but they should cause them to be informed of it, and give them an opportunity of visiting them and praying with them. Nothing is more common than for persons - even members of the church - to be sick a long time, and to presume that their pastor must know all about it; and then they wonder that he does not come to see them, and think hard of him because he does not. A pastor cannot be supposed to know everything; nor can it be presumed that he knows when persons are sick, any more than he can know anything else, unless he is apprized of it; and many hard thoughts, and many suspicions of neglect would be avoided, if, when persons are sick, they would in some way inform their pastor of it. It should always be presumed of a minister of the gospel that he is ready to visit the sick. But how can he go unless he is in some way apprized of the illness of those who need his counsel and his prayers? The sick send for their family physician; why should they presume that their pastor will know of their illness any more than that their physician will?"

**In the same commentary, Mr. Barnes also said this in regard to anointing people with oil:

"… Oil, or unguents of various kinds, were much used among the ancients, both in health and in sickness. The oil which was commonly employed was olive oil … The custom of anointing the sick with oil still prevails in the East, for it is believed to have medicinal or healing properties …"

(Source for above quotes:
https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/james-5.html, "Verse 14")

JULY 25

Matthew 6:7-8 - Prayer
Addressing the people who were listening to his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said:

Verse 7: "But when ye [you] pray, use not vain repetitions [don't say the same things over and over without meaning them], as the heathen [Gentiles, non-Jewish people] do: for they think that they shall be heard [by God] for their much speaking [for their many words, as when memorized words and phrases are repeated thoughtlessly and often--see note below*]."

Verse 8: "Be not ye therefore like unto them
[the heathens]: for your Father [in heaven--God] knoweth [knows] what things ye have need of, before ye ask him."

Answers to prayer depend on many things, one of which is not on how many times we use the same words or how often we repeat our requests but on how sincere we are when we ask God for help.

Regarding verse 8, one Bible commentator said: "… A God who needs to be told what men need could certainly not help if told! …" (Source:
https://www.studylight.org/commentary/matthew/6-8.html, "Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible")
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*Charles Spurgeon said: " It is not very easy to repeat the same words often without it becoming a vain repetition. A repetition, however, is not forbidden, but a 'vain' repetition [is] …" (Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/matthew-6.html, "Verses 1-24")

For more about this subject, read the article entitled "What does it mean to use vain repetitions in prayer?" Here's the link:
https://www.gotquestions.org/vain-repetitions.html.

JULY 24

Jeremiah 13:23: "Can the Ethiopian
[a black-skinned person from Africa] change [the color of] his [or her] skin, or [can] the leopard [remove] his spots? [If so,] then may ye [you] also do good, that are [or 'if you are'] accustomed to do [or have learned to do, or become used to doing] evil [things]."

Bad habits are very hard to break.

The person and animal in the above example cannot change their inherited appearance. Likewise, it is almost impossible for humans to change their habits, addictions, behavior, moral compass, etc., without God's help. We will only notice real, lasting changes in those who have been truly saved, or born again, according to the Bible. This is confirmed by the following verse:

-- 2 Corinthians 5:17: "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."

If you want to be saved but don't know what to do
, there are detailed instructions in the gospel tracts that I wrote. You'll find them here:
https://www.mansioninheaven.com/PrintableGospelTracts.html.

JULY 23

2 Timothy 4:14
[In a letter to Timothy, the apostle Paul wrote]: "Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord [will] reward him according to his works [what he has done, which probably had something to do with Alexander's damaging the cause of Christ in some way]:"

What was true in Paul's case (above) is also true for Christians: When someone does us wrong, we don't have to seek revenge, as God will judge and punish that person as he deems (considers) appropriate.

The article entitled "Who was Alexander the coppersmith in the Bible?" has background information on this verse. If you want to read it, here's the link:
https://www.gotquestions.org/Alexander-the-coppersmith.html.

JULY 22

Proverbs 22:7: "The rich
[people] ruleth [rule] over the poor [people] [and often take advantage of them], and the borrower is servant [or a slave] to the lender [which means that the borrower is at the lender's mercy]."

Salem Bible Church has an excellent commentary on this verse.

According to Pastor Delany, money puts people in powerful positions and buys influence, political clout, "justice" in the court system, and superior military might. In addition, when people are rich, they are able to take advantage of poor people by lending them money. Home loans, credit cards, and the national debt are several examples of how people and countries can become slaves to creditors (or "servants to lenders").

The pastor says it is okay to borrow money as long as we make the payments on time and pay off the loan as soon as possible, and at the end of his commentary, he lists some guidelines that we should follow before signing on the dotted line:

" Can we meet the payments?
" How tight will my finances be if I borrow more?
" What are the penalties for paying off early, or for making a payment late?
" Have I read the fine print?
" Do I really NEED to borrow this money?
" Could I wait until I have enough cash to buy it?"

According to Pastor Delany, the above verse "neither condemns nor condones borrowing. It is simply a WARNING about the danger of borrowing money: you could become a slave!"

If you want to read the commentary, here's the link:
https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-22-index/proverbs-22_7/.

JULY 18-21

Luke 3:7-14 - Meaning of "Fruits Worthy of Repentance," According to John the Baptist
When this incident occurred, Jesus had not yet begun his public ministry. Because people came to John the Baptist to repent of their sins and be baptized in the Jordan River, his baptism is commonly referred to as a "baptism of repentance" (see Note 1 below). At the present time, the only way we can be cleansed from sin is through faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ--by believing that Jesus gave his life to pay for our sins and by accepting God's free gift of eternal life, which was purchased with the blood that Jesus shed on the cross (see Note 2 below). Baptism does not save us. It is simply a picture of what happens when we are born again, or saved.

Verse 7: "Then said he [John the Baptist] to the multitude [crowd, including Pharisees and Sadducees (see Note 3 below)] that came forth [from various places--towns, cities, etc.] to be baptized of [by] him, O generation [offspring] of vipers [poisonous snakes] [meaning the multitude (especially the Pharisees and Sadducees) were wicked people], who hath [has] warned you to flee [run away] from the wrath [anger] [of God] [that is] to come?"

Verse 8: "Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance
[do things to prove that your repentance (change of mind about sin and salvation) is sincere], and begin not [don't begin] to say within [think to] yourselves [because they were Abraham's descendants], We have Abraham to [for] our father: for I [John the Baptist] say unto you, That God is able of [from] these stones to raise up children unto Abraham."

Verse 9: "And now also
[referring to people as trees] the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth [does not bring forth] good fruit is hewn [cut] down, and cast [thrown] into the fire."

Verses 10-11: "And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then? He
[John] answereth [answered] and saith [said] unto them, He [or she] that hath two coats, let him [or her] impart to [share with] him [or her] that hath none; and he [or she] that hath meat [food], let him [or her] do likewise [the same, meaning share it]."

Verse 11: In other words, be charitable (do good to others).

Verses 12-13: "Then came also publicans [tax collectors] to be baptized, and said unto him, Master [teacher], what shall we do? And he [John] said unto them, Exact [demand, or take] no more than that which is appointed [to] you [i.e., authorized by the government]."

Verse 13: Be honest. Don't lie, cheat, or steal.

Verse 14: "And the soldiers likewise demanded [an answer] of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he [John] said unto them, Do violence to no man [person], neither accuse any[one] falsely; and be content [satisfied] with your wages [paychecks; i.e., the money--and, in those days, rations (daily allowance of food)--that people earned for doing work]."

Verse 14: Be kind, and don't complain.
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NOTE 1:

For more information concerning baptism, read one or both of the following articles:

-- "What was the meaning and importance of the baptism of John the Baptist?"
    (
https://www.gotquestions.org/baptism-of-John.html)

-- "What are the seven baptisms mentioned in the Bible, and what do they mean?"
    (
https://www.gotquestions.org/seven-baptisms.html)

NOTE 2:

For more information about the importance of the blood that Jesus shed on the cross, read:

-- "What is the meaning of the blood of Christ?
    (
https://www.gotquestions.org/blood-of-Christ.html)

NOTE 3:

Pharisees and Sadducees were members of the ruling class in Israel. For background information on these people, see the following article:

-- "What are the differences between the Sadducees and Pharisees?"
    (
https://www.gotquestions.org/Sadducees-Pharisees.html)

JULY 17

Proverbs 17:10: "A reproof
[criticism, correction, warning] entereth [enters] more into a wise man [person] than [do] an hundred stripes [long, narrow, discolored marks on the skin (bruises) resulting from a beating or spanking] [enter] into a fool."

Correction must reach a person's heart before it can do any good. John Gill explains:

Regarding "reproof" for the wise man: "… A single verbal reproof, gently, kindly, and prudently given, not only enters the ear, but the heart of a wise and understanding man; it descends into him, as the word signifies; it sinks deep into his mind; it penetrates into his heart, and pierces his conscience; brings him easily to humiliation, confession, and reformation …"

Regarding "stripes" for the fool: "… stripes only reach the back, but not the heart of a fool; he is never the better for all the corrections given him; his heart is not affected, is not humbled, nor brought to a sense of sin, and acknowledgment of it; nor is he in the least reformed …"

(Source for above quote:
https://www.studylight.org/commentary/proverbs/17-10.html, "John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible")


In the "Conclusions" section of his commentary, Pastor Jim Delany of Salem Bible Church summarized his teaching on the above verse as follows:

"1. Notice that BOTH the wise man and the fool make mistakes and do things incorrectly from time to time.

[Wise men in the Bible who made bad decisions include Abraham (who took his wife's advice and had sex with her servant, Hagar), Moses (when he got angry and broke the tablets containing the Ten Commandments), King David (when he counted the troops and when he committed adultery with Bathsheba), and the apostle Peter (who told Jesus he would never deny him).]

"2. This proverb does not deny the fact that wise men sometimes take the wrong route in life.

"3. But the proverb does speak about the difference in the way the two men receive correction.

"a.  The wise man listens, learns, and changes.

"b. The fool doesn't listen--and has to be beaten 100 times… for the same infraction--and still doesn't learn!"

If you want to read the rest of the commentary (including examples of wise men in the Bible who made mistakes), you'll find it here: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-17-index/proverbs-17_10/.

JULY 13-16

John 3:1-8 - Nicodemus Learns About the "New Birth"

Verses 1-2: "There was a man of the Pharisees
[a major Jewish sect, or group--see Note 1 below], named Nicodemus, [who, as a member of the Sanhedrin, was] a ruler of the Jews: The same [man (Nicodemus)] came to Jesus by night [in order to keep their conversation private], and said unto him, Rabbi [a title of respect], we know that thou art [you are] a teacher come from [sent by] God: for no man can do these miracles [referring to the miracles that Jesus had performed in the temple and at Jerusalem] that thou doest [you do], except [that] God be with him."

Verse 3: "Jesus answered and said unto him
[Nicodemus], Verily, verily [truly, truly], I say unto thee [you], Except a man [or woman or child] be born again, he [or she] cannot see [enter into and enjoy] the kingdom of God [heaven]."

Verse 4: "Nicodemus saith unto him
[Jesus], How can a man [person] be born when he [or she] is old? can he [or she] enter the second time into his [or her] mother's womb, and be born?"

Verse 5-7: "Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man
[person] be born of water [referring to physical birth or a spiritual cleansing, not water baptism--see Note 2 below] and of the [Holy] Spirit [referring to spiritual birth], he [or she] cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh [i.e., from a mother] is flesh [a sinful person]; and that which is born of the Spirit [of God, or the Holy Spirit] is spirit [a spiritual person]. Marvel not [don't wonder or be amazed] that I said unto thee, Ye [you] must be born again."

Verse 8: "The wind bloweth
[blows] where it listeth [wills, pleases, or chooses, which means in various directions], and thou hearest [you hear] the sound thereof, but canst [can] not tell whence [from where] it cometh [comes], and whither [where] it goeth [goes]: so is every one that is born of the [Holy] Spirit [because you can't see the Holy Spirit or watch what he is doing, but you can see the results of his work]."

Using the wind as an example in verse 8, Jesus says that when someone has been born again according to the Bible, there should be noticeable effects on, or changes in, his or her life. This fact is confirmed in 2 Corinthians 5:17. Consequently, even though we may not see what's happening to a person during the new birth or completely understand everything about the process, we shouldn't reject this teaching. (See Note 3 below for more.)
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NOTE 1:

According to Albert Barnes, in his commentary on Matthew 3:7:

"… The Pharisees were the most numerous and wealthy sect of the Jews. They derived their name from the Hebrew word Pharash, which signifies to set apart, or to separate, because they separated themselves from the rest of their countrymen, and professedly devoted themselves to special strictness in religion. Their leading tenets were the following: that the world was governed by fate, or by a fixed decree of God; that the souls of men were immortal, and were either eternally happy or miserable beyond the grave; that the dead would be raised; that there were angels, good and bad; that God was under obligation to bestow special favor on the Jews; and that they were justified by their own conformity to the law. They were proud, haughty, self-righteous, and held the common people in great disrespect … They sought the offices of the state, and affected great dignity. They were ostentatious in their religious worship, praying in the corners of the streets, and seeking publicity in the bestowment of alms. They sought principally external cleanliness, and dealt much in ceremonial ablutions and washing.

"They maintained some of the laws of Moses very strictly. In addition to the written laws, they held to a multitude which they maintained had come down from Moses by tradition. These they felt themselves as much bound to observe as the written Law. Under the influence of these laws they washed themselves before meals with great scrupulousness; they fasted twice a week - on Thursday, when they supposed that Moses ascended Mount Sinai, and on Monday, when he descended; they wore broad phylacteries, and enlarged the fringe or borders of their garments; they loved the chief rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues. In general, they were a corrupt, hypocritical, office-seeking, haughty class of men. There are, however, some honorable exceptions recorded, [such as Gamaliel, Joseph of Arimathea, Simeon, and Nicodemus]."

(Source for above quote:
https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/matthew-3.html, "Verse 7")

NOTE 2:

Regarding the phrase born of water in verse 5, see the following article: "What does it mean to be born of water?" Here's the link:
https://www.gotquestions.org/born-of-water.html.

NOTE 3:

Regarding the phrase The wind bloweth in verse 8, Albert Barnes said:

"… Nicodemus had objected to the doctrine [of the new birth] because he did not understand how it could be. Jesus shows him that he ought not to reject it on that account, for he constantly believed things quite as difficult. It might appear incomprehensible [impossible to understand], but it was to be judged of by its effects. As in this case of the wind, the effects were seen, the sound was heard, important changes were produced by it, trees and clouds were moved, yet the wind is not seen, nor do we know whence it comes, nor by what laws it is governed; so it is with the operations of the Spirit. We see the changes produced. Men just now sinful become holy; the thoughtless become serious; the licentious [sexually unrestrained] become pure; the vicious, moral; the moral, religious; the prayerless, prayerful; the rebellious and obstinate [stubborn], meek, and mild, and gentle. When we see such changes, we ought no more to doubt that they are produced by some cause - by some mighty agent, than when we see the trees moved, or the waters of the ocean piled on heaps, or feet the cooling effects of a summer's breeze. In those cases we attribute it to the 'wind,' though we see it not, and though we do not understand its operations. We may learn, hence:

"1.that the proper evidence of conversion is the effect on the life.

"2.that we are not too curiously to search for the cause or manner of the change.

"3.that God has power over the most hardened sinner to change him, as he has power over the loftiest oak [tree], to bring it down by a sweeping blast [of wind].

"4.that there may be great variety in the modes of the operation of the [Holy] Spirit. As the 'wind' sometimes sweeps with a tempest, and prostrates [flattens] all before it, and sometimes breathes upon us in a mild evening zephyr [soft, gentle breeze], so it is with the operations of the Spirit. The sinner sometimes trembles and is prostrate before the truth, and sometimes is sweetly and gently drawn to the cross of Jesus."

(Source for above quote:
https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/john-3.html, "Verse 8")

*  *  *  *  *

Would you like to be born again? If so, there are detailed instructions in the gospel tracts that I wrote. You'll find them here: https://www.mansioninheaven.com/PrintableGospelTracts.html.

JULY 12

Zechariah 7:13
[In Old Testament times, God told his prophet Zechariah to say this to the nation of Israel]: "Therefore it is come to pass, that [just] as he [God, through his prophets] cried [out to the Jewish people and told them what he wanted them to do], and they would not hear [listen and obey]; so they [the people] cried [out to me (God) for help], and I would not hear [their prayers], saith [says] the LORD of hosts [which means 'God of the armies of heaven'--see note below*]:

Apparently, for Jewish people (in the Old Testament) and Christians (in the New Testament), obedience plays an important part in having God hear--and answer--our prayers.
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*In the Bible, God is called by various names, one of which is explained in the following article: "What does the Bible mean when it calls God the 'LORD of hosts'?" If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/Lord-of-hosts.html.

JULY 11

Proverbs 11:30: "The fruit of the righteous
[referring to good deeds done by born-again Christians] is [like] a tree of life [when our 'fruit' is a blessing to others]; and he [or she] that winneth souls [to God; i.e., the person who tells others how to be born again, or saved] is wise."

Matthew Henry explained the first part of the verse as follows: "The righteous are as trees of life; and their influence upon earth, like the fruits of that tree, support and nourish the spiritual life in many." (Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/proverbs/11-30.html, "Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible")

We can influence others and be a blessing to them by providing such things as sound advice, love, comfort, hope, help, encouragement, instruction, guidance, and protection and (if we're wise, like the second part of the verse teaches) by telling them how to be saved.

Charles H. Spurgeon has a good sermon about the above verse. It's called "The Soul-Winner's Life and Work." If you want to read it, here's the link:
https://archive.spurgeon.org/misc/sw11.php. A second article, containing his lectures on soul winning, is entitled "What Is It to Win a Soul?" and can be found here: http://www.romans45.org/spurgeon/misc/sw01.htm.

Most Bible commentators agree with Charles Spurgeon that the phrase he that winneth souls in the above verse refers to soul winning, but Pastor Delany of Salem Bible Church, although agreeing that it does have an application to evangelism, has a slightly different take on its primary meaning. Near the end of his commentary, he writes the following:

"Winning souls refers here to the believer who… through his righteous life is a tree of life to others… and takes hold of a person's hand… and leads them along… leads them to God's wisdom… becomes a source of guidance, hope, help, wisdom, admonition, and inspiration for others… a tree of life!" A little farther down in the commentary, he adds: "The context here is sinning BROTHER [i.e., fellow Christian] (one of you) who sins… and needs to be converted (turned around)…"

If you want to read Pastor Delany's commentary, here's the link:
https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-11-index/proverbs-11_30/.

JULY 10

Romans 8:6
[In a letter to Christians in Rome, the apostle Paul wrote]: "For [a person] to be carnally minded [focused on worldly, or fleshly, desires] is death [both spiritual and eternal, which suggests that the person is probably unsaved and headed for hell]; but to be spiritually minded [guided by the Holy Spirit, or focused on spiritual things] is [what usually happens when people are saved, or born again, and have eternal] life and peace [both here (on earth) and hereafter (in heaven)]."

JULY 9

Psalm 37:8: "Cease from anger
[stop being angry at the existence of wicked people], and forsake wrath [don't be mad at God for allowing wicked people to get away with doing bad things]: fret not thyself in any wise [don't let anger or jealousy cause you] to do evil [things, like imitating (copying) bad behavior or seeking revenge for what bad people have done to you or someone else]."

JULY 8

Job 4:8-9 - Eliphaz Offers His Opinion on the Reason for Job's Suffering
Eliphaz the Temanite was with his friend Job while he was being attacked by Satan. Eliphaz thought that Job was "reaping what he had sown" (being punished for something he had done wrong), but that wasn't true. The real reason for Job's suffering was to test Job's faithfulness to God. This is what Eliphaz said:

Verse 8: "Even as I [Eliphaz] have seen [observed or noticed], they that plow iniquity [people who devise evil plots, or plan to cause trouble], and sow wickedness [do bad things], reap [harvest, receive--as a consequence of their actions] the same [things (iniquity and wickedness, based on or similar to the trouble or harm that they cause to others) as punishment]."

Verse 9: "By the blast
[judgment] of God [which comes suddenly, like violent winds in a tornado,] they [those who 'plow iniquity and sow wickedness'] perish [are destroyed], and by the breath of his [God's] nostrils [comparing God's anger to the smoke and flames that come from the noses and mouths of fire-breathing dragons] are they [the aforementioned bad people] consumed [i.e., quickly, as by fire]."

As Eliphaz noted, in most cases (but not always!), suffering is caused by sin.

JULY 7

Deuteronomy 23:21-23 - Keeping Our Promises to God

Verse 21: "When thou shalt vow a vow
[when you make a promise] unto the LORD thy God [to do something for him and/or give something to him--see examples below*], thou shalt not slack [you shall not delay] to pay it: for the LORD thy [your] God will surely require it of thee [you]; and it [i.e., not keeping your promise] would be sin in thee."

Verse 22: "But if thou shalt forbear
[refuse, decline] to [make a] vow [in the first place], it shall be no [not be] sin in thee."

Verse 23: "That which is gone out of thy lips
[i.e., your promises to God] thou shalt keep and perform; even [including] a freewill [voluntary] offering, according as thou hast [you have] vowed unto the LORD thy God, which thou hast promised with thy mouth."

In other words, don't make promises to God unless you intend to keep them.

For more information about making vows and promises (to God and/or people), read one or both of the following articles:

-- "What does the Bible say about keeping your vows / oaths?"
   
https://www.gotquestions.org/vows-God.html

-- "Should a Christian make a promise?'
   
https://www.gotquestions.org/Christian-promise.html
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*Examples of promises that people might make to God are that they will:

-- Obey his commandments.
-- Read the Bible.
-- Pray.
-- Go to church.
-- Preach the gospel (i.e., do street preaching, become a pastor).
-- Hand out tracts, tell others how to be saved.
-- Become a missionary.
-- Offer sacrifices (as they did in Bible times).
-- Give money to help support God's work and/or church
.

JULY 6

Isaiah 40:28
[In  message to the Jews, the prophet Isaiah reminds everyone (especially born-again Christians) why God is always able to guide and protect his people]: "Hast thou not known [don't you know]? hast thou not [haven't you] heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth [i.e., the whole earth], fainteth not, neither is weary [does not become weak or tired]? there is no searching of his understanding [intelligence, insight] [by us, because his wisdom is so great]."

Concerning Isaiah's statement that God "fainteth not, neither is weary," Bible commentator Joseph S. Exell wrote that there is:

"A great contrast between God and all His living creatures on this earth. They all need rest, but He has no need of it, for He is never weary. We shall find this declaration full of comfort; but before we consider the senses in which it is true, we shall do well to remember that we are plainly taught in His Word that there are certain things of which God is weary.

"I. THINGS OF WHICH GOD IS WEARY.

"God is weary,

"1. Of the obstinacy of sinners …

"2. Of the backsliding of His professing people …

"3. Of heedless praises and hypocritical prayers …

"4. Of our cruelty to each other …

"II. THINGS OF WHICH GOD IS NOT WEARY.

"1. He is not weary in continuing and preserving His creation. The extent of this task; the multitude and minuteness of its parts. Neither its vastness, nor its complexity, nor its duration have availed to weary Him. We rest sometimes by changing the mode of our activity, but there is no cessation possible in God's work …

"2. He is not weary of caring for His people, supplying their temporal wants, guiding their affairs, removing unknown hindrances out of their way, solacing them in sorrow, strengthening them against temptation, educating them for time and eternity …

"3. He is not weary of hearing prayer. This is a special labour, additional to the work of preservation, and even to the care of His people. Remember the multitude of the prayers that are constantly ascending to Him. The folly of many of them! Yet still He listens to us!

"4. He is never weary in punishing sin; never so weary as to desist from it. There are cases in which we leave incorrigible offenders alone--we will not trouble ourselves any more about them; but it is never so with God. Not because He loves punishment, but because He loves righteousness. To a tender heart it is always a pain to punish; yet God, whose tender mercies are over all His works, age after age requites all who do wickedly.

"5. He is never weary of pardoning penitent sinners. How many He has pardoned! How often He had to pardon every one of those who are now 'the spirits of the just made perfect!' How often we have tried His patience! Yet He still waits to be gracious; He does not say, 'Here comes another sinner; drive him away!' nor, 'Here comes that sinner again; refuse him access to my throne.' He is as ready to pardon now as He was when Christ hung on the cross. He looks upon sins, not only as crimes, but as diseases; and, like a physician, is ready to minister to every plague-stricken one. Come, then, to Him now …

"This view of God should--

"1. Awaken our admiration of Him. It is good to admire His works; better to admire Him …

"2. Strengthen our trust in Him. Our human friends fail us, but God will never fail us …

"3. Deepen our love for Him. He is unweariable, not in strength merely, but in affection. His love outlasts that of many mothers …"

(Source for above quote:
https://www.studylight.org/commentary/isaiah/40-28.html, "Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary," "The Unwearied God")

JULY 5

Galatians 6:3
[Regarding pride, the apostle Paul wrote]: "For if a man [or woman or child] think himself [or herself] to be something [great or extraordinary, as does someone who is full of pride], when he [or she] is nothing [great or extraordinary, or 'is not better than others'], he [or she] deceiveth [deceives, fools] himself [or herself]."

In his commentary, Matthew Henry summarized the above verse as follows: "Self-conceit is but self-deceit …" (Source: https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/galatians/6.html, "Verses 1-10," "v. 3")

And according to Albert Barnes (another Bible commentator), a person who is full of pride "… does not accomplish what he expected to do; and instead of acquiring reputation from others, as he expected, he renders himself contemptible in their sight." (Source:
https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/galatians-6.html, "Verse 3")

JULY 4

John 8:36: "If the Son
[of God--Jesus] therefore shall make you free [from bondage to sin (so you're no longer a 'slave' to it, or under its control), which happens when you are 'born again' according to the Bible (and consequently are saved from hell)--see note below*], ye shall be free indeed [or 'you shall be truly free']."

Regarding the above verse, one Bible commentator wrote:

"The Son of God also has the authority to liberate spiritual slaves from their bondage to sin and its consequences. Real freedom consists of liberty from sin's enslavement to do what we should do. It does not mean that we may do just anything we please. We are now free to do what pleases God, which we could not do formerly. When we do what pleases God, we discover that it also pleases us. Hope for real freedom, therefore, does not rest on Abrahamic ancestry but Jesus' action."

(Source for above quote:
https://www.studylight.org/commentary/john/8-36.html, "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable")
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*We're "born again" when we believe that Jesus Christ, the sinless Son of God, willingly suffered and died an extremely painful death on the cross to pay for our sins, and then rose from the dead, and when, through faith, we receive him into our hearts as our personal Savior.

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

JULY 3

Psalm 147:3: "He
[God] healeth [heals] the broken in heart [referring to broken-hearted people, who have become overwhelmed by grief (great sorrow or sadness), disappointment, or despair (feelings of hopelessness)], and [he] bindeth [binds] up their wounds [like doctors do when they apply ointment and bandages to injuries for healing and protection]."

JULY 2

1 Thessalonians 5:9-10: "For God hath not appointed us to wrath
[God's preference was for us not to endure punishment in hell due to his anger at sin], but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who [referring to Jesus] died for us [on the cross, to pay for our sins], [so] that, whether we wake or sleep [whether we are awake or asleep (or 'are alive or dead') when the rapture (or second coming, or 'day of the Lord,' as some commentators believe) occurs--see note below*], we should live together with him [Jesus] [in heaven]."
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*The terms rapture and second coming refer to two different events and are described in the following article: "What is the difference between the Rapture and the Second Coming?" If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/difference-Rapture-Second-Coming.html.

JULY 1

Psalm 34:17: "The righteous
[referring to born-again Christians, who receive Jesus' righteousness the moment they get saved] cry [out--to God for help], and the LORD heareth [hears] [their prayers], and delivereth [rescues] them out of all [of] their troubles [some of which are listed below--see note*]."
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*According to John Gill, examples of troubles that people may need to be rescued from include: "… their inward troubles, through the workings of corruption in their hearts; through the violent assaults of Satan [the devil], the blasphemous thoughts he [Satan] injects into them, and his [Satan's] solicitations of them to sin; and through divine desertions, and their outward troubles; through afflictions of body, losses of estate and friends, and the reproaches and persecutions of men; out of all these the Lord sooner or later delivers his people who cry unto him."

(Source for above quote:
https://www.studylight.org/commentary/psalms/34-17.html, "John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible")



Previous Verses
July 2020
JULY 29-31

Psalm 78:17-29 - God "Rained Down Manna" to Feed the Jews in the Wilderness
In this psalm, we are reminded how God had protected the children of Israel and provided for them in the wilderness in miraculous ways (i.e., by parting the sea, leading and protecting the people in a pillar of a cloud during the day and a pillar of fire at night,.giving the people water from a rock, etc.). He also kept them fed, but they didn't like what they got, so they complained to God and, although their unappreciativeness (and doubt and unbelief) made him angry, he met their demands for better food.

Verses 17-18: "And they [the Jewish people, who were ungrateful to God for removing them from Egypt, where they always had plenty to eat] sinned yet more against him [God] [than they had done while they were slaves] by provoking the most High [God] in the wilderness [the desert]. And they tempted God in their heart [meaning they tested him] by asking [for] meat [certain types of food] for their lust [or 'to satisfy their cravings']."

Verses 19-20: "Yea
[yes], they [the people] spake [spoke] against God; they said, Can God furnish a table [filled with an assortment of food, as at a feast or banquet] in the wilderness? Behold, he [God] smote [struck] the rock, [so] that the waters gushed out, and the streams overflowed; can he give [us] bread also? can he provide flesh [meat] for his people?"

Verses 21-22: "Therefore the LORD heard this, and was wroth
[exasperated, infuriated, very angry--because they had doubted his power]: so a fire [the fire of his anger] was kindled against Jacob, and anger also came up against Israel [the Jews]; Because they believed not [didn't believe] in God [i.e., in his power or his promises], and trusted not [didn't trust] in his salvation [or his power and willingness to save them]:"

Verses 23-25: "Though he
[God] had commanded the clouds from above, and opened the doors of heaven, And had rained down manna [see note below*] upon them [the Jews] to eat, and had given them of the corn [or grain, as in wheat, referring to the manna, or 'bread'] of heaven. Man [mankind, or 'the people'] did eat angels' food: he [God] [also] sent them meat [food] to the full [meaning he sent them more than enough to satisfy their hunger and cravings]."

Verses 26-29: "He
[God] caused an east wind to blow in the heaven: and by his power he brought in the south wind. He rained flesh also upon them as dust, and feathered fowls [birds] [both of which (i.e., flesh and feathered fowls) refer to quails] like as the sand of the sea [in other words, God sent so many quails, their quantity is compared to the number of particles of dust on the ground and sand in the sea]: And he [God] let it [the 'shower' of quails] fall in the midst [middle] of their camp, round about [around] their habitations [living spaces, or 'near where the people were']. So they did eat, and were well filled: for he [God] gave them their own desire [what they wanted];"
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*For a description of manna and additional information about it, see the following articles:

-- "What was manna?"
    (
https://www.gotquestions.org/what-was-manna.html)

-- "Why did the Israelites need manna if they had flocks/herds of animals that they could eat?"
    (
https://www.gotquestions.org/Israelites-eat-flocks.html)

JULY 28

Psalm 113:3: "From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same
[i.e., from sunrise to sunset and/or from east to west, or throughout the world] the LORD'S name [YHWH / YAHWEH / Jehovah, which mean 'I AM THAT I AM'--see note below*] is to be [or 'should be'] praised [meaning that it's always good for us to praise Almighty God]."
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*The following articles discuss the various names and titles of God:

-- "What is the name of God"
   
https://www.gotquestions.org/name-of-God.html

-- "What are the different names of God, and what do they mean?"
   
https://www.gotquestions.org/names-of-God.html

JULY 27

Colossians 3:2: "Set your affection
[focus your mind, thoughts, love] on things above [the earth, meaning heavenly things, including eternal life], not on things on the earth [i.e., worldly things, like riches, honor, and pleasure]."

JULY 26

James 5:14-15 - Healing the Sick
This was written by a man named James (perhaps the apostle or Jesus' brother) to Jewish Christians.

Verse 14: "Is any [person] sick among you? let him [or her] call [send] for the elders [leaders, pastors] of the church [see note below*]; and let them pray over [or 'with and for'] him [or her--the sick person], [while] anointing him [or her] with oil [usually, olive oil--see note below**] in the name of [i.e., by the authority or direction of] the Lord [Jesus Christ]:"

Verse 15: "And
[unless it is against God's will,] the prayer of [the elders, offered in] faith shall save [heal] the sick [person], and the Lord shall raise him [or her] up [from the bed]; and if he [or she] have committed sins [has done something bad, which caused the illness], they [those sins] shall be forgiven him [or her] [by God]."
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*In his commentary on verse 14, while discussing people calling for elders when they're sick, Albert Barnes wrote:

"… It may be added, as worthy of note, that the apostle says they should 'call' for the elders of the church; that is, they should send for them. They should not wait for them to hear of their sickness, as they might happen to, but they should cause them to be informed of it, and give them an opportunity of visiting them and praying with them. Nothing is more common than for persons - even members of the church - to be sick a long time, and to presume that their pastor must know all about it; and then they wonder that he does not come to see them, and think hard of him because he does not. A pastor cannot be supposed to know everything; nor can it be presumed that he knows when persons are sick, any more than he can know anything else, unless he is apprized of it; and many hard thoughts, and many suspicions of neglect would be avoided, if, when persons are sick, they would in some way inform their pastor of it. It should always be presumed of a minister of the gospel that he is ready to visit the sick. But how can he go unless he is in some way apprized of the illness of those who need his counsel and his prayers? The sick send for their family physician; why should they presume that their pastor will know of their illness any more than that their physician will?"

**In the same commentary, Mr. Barnes also said this in regard to anointing people with oil:

"… Oil, or unguents of various kinds, were much used among the ancients, both in health and in sickness. The oil which was commonly employed was olive oil … The custom of anointing the sick with oil still prevails in the East, for it is believed to have medicinal or healing properties …"

(Source for above quotes:
https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/james-5.html, "Verse 14")

JULY 25

Matthew 6:7-8 - Prayer
Addressing the people who were listening to his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said:

Verse 7: "But when ye [you] pray, use not vain repetitions [don't say the same things over and over without meaning them], as the heathen [Gentiles, non-Jewish people] do: for they think that they shall be heard [by God] for their much speaking [for their many words, as when memorized words and phrases are repeated thoughtlessly and often--see note below*]."

Verse 8: "Be not ye therefore like unto them
[the heathens]: for your Father [in heaven--God] knoweth [knows] what things ye have need of, before ye ask him."

Answers to prayer depend on many things, one of which is not on how many times we use the same words or how often we repeat our requests but on how sincere we are when we ask God for help.

Regarding verse 8, one Bible commentator said: "… A God who needs to be told what men need could certainly not help if told! …" (Source:
https://www.studylight.org/commentary/matthew/6-8.html, "Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible")
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*Charles Spurgeon said: " It is not very easy to repeat the same words often without it becoming a vain repetition. A repetition, however, is not forbidden, but a 'vain' repetition [is] …" (Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/matthew-6.html, "Verses 1-24")

For more about this subject, read the article entitled "What does it mean to use vain repetitions in prayer?" Here's the link:
https://www.gotquestions.org/vain-repetitions.html.

JULY 24

Jeremiah 13:23: "Can the Ethiopian
[a black-skinned person from Africa] change [the color of] his [or her] skin, or [can] the leopard [remove] his spots? [If so,] then may ye [you] also do good, that are [or 'if you are'] accustomed to do [or have learned to do, or become used to doing] evil [things]."

Bad habits are very hard to break.

The person and animal in the above example cannot change their inherited appearance. Likewise, it is almost impossible for humans to change their habits, addictions, behavior, moral compass, etc., without God's help. We will only notice real, lasting changes in those who have been truly saved, or born again, according to the Bible. This is confirmed by the following verse:

-- 2 Corinthians 5:17: "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."

If you want to be saved but don't know what to do
, there are detailed instructions in the gospel tracts that I wrote. You'll find them here:
https://www.mansioninheaven.com/PrintableGospelTracts.html.

JULY 23

2 Timothy 4:14
[In a letter to Timothy, the apostle Paul wrote]: "Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord [will] reward him according to his works [what he has done, which probably had something to do with Alexander's damaging the cause of Christ in some way]:"

What was true in Paul's case (above) is also true for Christians: When someone does us wrong, we don't have to seek revenge, as God will judge and punish that person as he deems (considers) appropriate.

The article entitled "Who was Alexander the coppersmith in the Bible?" has background information on this verse. If you want to read it, here's the link:
https://www.gotquestions.org/Alexander-the-coppersmith.html.

JULY 22

Proverbs 22:7: "The rich
[people] ruleth [rule] over the poor [people] [and often take advantage of them], and the borrower is servant [or a slave] to the lender [which means that the borrower is at the lender's mercy]."

Salem Bible Church has an excellent commentary on this verse.

According to Pastor Delany, money puts people in powerful positions and buys influence, political clout, "justice" in the court system, and superior military might. In addition, when people are rich, they are able to take advantage of poor people by lending them money. Home loans, credit cards, and the national debt are several examples of how people and countries can become slaves to creditors (or "servants to lenders").

The pastor says it is okay to borrow money as long as we make the payments on time and pay off the loan as soon as possible, and at the end of his commentary, he lists some guidelines that we should follow before signing on the dotted line:

" Can we meet the payments?
" How tight will my finances be if I borrow more?
" What are the penalties for paying off early, or for making a payment late?
" Have I read the fine print?
" Do I really NEED to borrow this money?
" Could I wait until I have enough cash to buy it?"

According to Pastor Delany, the above verse "neither condemns nor condones borrowing. It is simply a WARNING about the danger of borrowing money: you could become a slave!"

If you want to read the commentary, here's the link:
https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-22-index/proverbs-22_7/.

JULY 18-21

Luke 3:7-14 - Meaning of "Fruits Worthy of Repentance," According to John the Baptist
When this incident occurred, Jesus had not yet begun his public ministry. Because people came to John the Baptist to repent of their sins and be baptized in the Jordan River, his baptism is commonly referred to as a "baptism of repentance" (see Note 1 below). At the present time, the only way we can be cleansed from sin is through faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ--by believing that Jesus gave his life to pay for our sins and by accepting God's free gift of eternal life, which was purchased with the blood that Jesus shed on the cross (see Note 2 below). Baptism does not save us. It is simply a picture of what happens when we are born again, or saved.

Verse 7: "Then said he [John the Baptist] to the multitude [crowd, including Pharisees and Sadducees (see Note 3 below)] that came forth [from various places--towns, cities, etc.] to be baptized of [by] him, O generation [offspring] of vipers [poisonous snakes] [meaning the multitude (especially the Pharisees and Sadducees) were wicked people], who hath [has] warned you to flee [run away] from the wrath [anger] [of God] [that is] to come?"

Verse 8: "Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance
[do things to prove that your repentance (change of mind about sin and salvation) is sincere], and begin not [don't begin] to say within [think to] yourselves [because they were Abraham's descendants], We have Abraham to [for] our father: for I [John the Baptist] say unto you, That God is able of [from] these stones to raise up children unto Abraham."

Verse 9: "And now also
[referring to people as trees] the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth [does not bring forth] good fruit is hewn [cut] down, and cast [thrown] into the fire."

Verses 10-11: "And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then? He
[John] answereth [answered] and saith [said] unto them, He [or she] that hath two coats, let him [or her] impart to [share with] him [or her] that hath none; and he [or she] that hath meat [food], let him [or her] do likewise [the same, meaning share it]."

Verse 11: In other words, be charitable (do good to others).

Verses 12-13: "Then came also publicans [tax collectors] to be baptized, and said unto him, Master [teacher], what shall we do? And he [John] said unto them, Exact [demand, or take] no more than that which is appointed [to] you [i.e., authorized by the government]."

Verse 13: Be honest. Don't lie, cheat, or steal.

Verse 14: "And the soldiers likewise demanded [an answer] of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he [John] said unto them, Do violence to no man [person], neither accuse any[one] falsely; and be content [satisfied] with your wages [paychecks; i.e., the money--and, in those days, rations (daily allowance of food)--that people earned for doing work]."

Verse 14: Be kind, and don't complain.
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NOTE 1:

For more information concerning baptism, read one or both of the following articles:

-- "What was the meaning and importance of the baptism of John the Baptist?"
    (
https://www.gotquestions.org/baptism-of-John.html)

-- "What are the seven baptisms mentioned in the Bible, and what do they mean?"
    (
https://www.gotquestions.org/seven-baptisms.html)

NOTE 2:

For more information about the importance of the blood that Jesus shed on the cross, read:

-- "What is the meaning of the blood of Christ?
    (
https://www.gotquestions.org/blood-of-Christ.html)

NOTE 3:

Pharisees and Sadducees were members of the ruling class in Israel. For background information on these people, see the following article:

-- "What are the differences between the Sadducees and Pharisees?"
    (
https://www.gotquestions.org/Sadducees-Pharisees.html)

JULY 17

Proverbs 17:10: "A reproof
[criticism, correction, warning] entereth [enters] more into a wise man [person] than [do] an hundred stripes [long, narrow, discolored marks on the skin (bruises) resulting from a beating or spanking] [enter] into a fool."

Correction must reach a person's heart before it can do any good. John Gill explains:

Regarding "reproof" for the wise man: "… A single verbal reproof, gently, kindly, and prudently given, not only enters the ear, but the heart of a wise and understanding man; it descends into him, as the word signifies; it sinks deep into his mind; it penetrates into his heart, and pierces his conscience; brings him easily to humiliation, confession, and reformation …"

Regarding "stripes" for the fool: "… stripes only reach the back, but not the heart of a fool; he is never the better for all the corrections given him; his heart is not affected, is not humbled, nor brought to a sense of sin, and acknowledgment of it; nor is he in the least reformed …"

(Source for above quote:
https://www.studylight.org/commentary/proverbs/17-10.html, "John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible")


In the "Conclusions" section of his commentary, Pastor Jim Delany of Salem Bible Church summarized his teaching on the above verse as follows:

"1. Notice that BOTH the wise man and the fool make mistakes and do things incorrectly from time to time.

[Wise men in the Bible who made bad decisions include Abraham (who took his wife's advice and had sex with her servant, Hagar), Moses (when he got angry and broke the tablets containing the Ten Commandments), King David (when he counted the troops and when he committed adultery with Bathsheba), and the apostle Peter (who told Jesus he would never deny him).]

"2. This proverb does not deny the fact that wise men sometimes take the wrong route in life.

"3. But the proverb does speak about the difference in the way the two men receive correction.

"a.  The wise man listens, learns, and changes.

"b. The fool doesn't listen--and has to be beaten 100 times… for the same infraction--and still doesn't learn!"

If you want to read the rest of the commentary (including examples of wise men in the Bible who made mistakes), you'll find it here: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-17-index/proverbs-17_10/.

JULY 13-16

John 3:1-8 - Nicodemus Learns About the "New Birth"

Verses 1-2: "There was a man of the Pharisees
[a major Jewish sect, or group--see Note 1 below], named Nicodemus, [who, as a member of the Sanhedrin, was] a ruler of the Jews: The same [man (Nicodemus)] came to Jesus by night [in order to keep their conversation private], and said unto him, Rabbi [a title of respect], we know that thou art [you are] a teacher come from [sent by] God: for no man can do these miracles [referring to the miracles that Jesus had performed in the temple and at Jerusalem] that thou doest [you do], except [that] God be with him."

Verse 3: "Jesus answered and said unto him
[Nicodemus], Verily, verily [truly, truly], I say unto thee [you], Except a man [or woman or child] be born again, he [or she] cannot see [enter into and enjoy] the kingdom of God [heaven]."

Verse 4: "Nicodemus saith unto him
[Jesus], How can a man [person] be born when he [or she] is old? can he [or she] enter the second time into his [or her] mother's womb, and be born?"

Verse 5-7: "Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man
[person] be born of water [referring to physical birth or a spiritual cleansing, not water baptism--see Note 2 below] and of the [Holy] Spirit [referring to spiritual birth], he [or she] cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh [i.e., from a mother] is flesh [a sinful person]; and that which is born of the Spirit [of God, or the Holy Spirit] is spirit [a spiritual person]. Marvel not [don't wonder or be amazed] that I said unto thee, Ye [you] must be born again."

Verse 8: "The wind bloweth
[blows] where it listeth [wills, pleases, or chooses, which means in various directions], and thou hearest [you hear] the sound thereof, but canst [can] not tell whence [from where] it cometh [comes], and whither [where] it goeth [goes]: so is every one that is born of the [Holy] Spirit [because you can't see the Holy Spirit or watch what he is doing, but you can see the results of his work]."

Using the wind as an example in verse 8, Jesus says that when someone has been born again according to the Bible, there should be noticeable effects on, or changes in, his or her life. This fact is confirmed in 2 Corinthians 5:17. Consequently, even though we may not see what's happening to a person during the new birth or completely understand everything about the process, we shouldn't reject this teaching. (See Note 3 below for more.)
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NOTE 1:

According to Albert Barnes, in his commentary on Matthew 3:7:

"… The Pharisees were the most numerous and wealthy sect of the Jews. They derived their name from the Hebrew word Pharash, which signifies to set apart, or to separate, because they separated themselves from the rest of their countrymen, and professedly devoted themselves to special strictness in religion. Their leading tenets were the following: that the world was governed by fate, or by a fixed decree of God; that the souls of men were immortal, and were either eternally happy or miserable beyond the grave; that the dead would be raised; that there were angels, good and bad; that God was under obligation to bestow special favor on the Jews; and that they were justified by their own conformity to the law. They were proud, haughty, self-righteous, and held the common people in great disrespect … They sought the offices of the state, and affected great dignity. They were ostentatious in their religious worship, praying in the corners of the streets, and seeking publicity in the bestowment of alms. They sought principally external cleanliness, and dealt much in ceremonial ablutions and washing.

"They maintained some of the laws of Moses very strictly. In addition to the written laws, they held to a multitude which they maintained had come down from Moses by tradition. These they felt themselves as much bound to observe as the written Law. Under the influence of these laws they washed themselves before meals with great scrupulousness; they fasted twice a week - on Thursday, when they supposed that Moses ascended Mount Sinai, and on Monday, when he descended; they wore broad phylacteries, and enlarged the fringe or borders of their garments; they loved the chief rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues. In general, they were a corrupt, hypocritical, office-seeking, haughty class of men. There are, however, some honorable exceptions recorded, [such as Gamaliel, Joseph of Arimathea, Simeon, and Nicodemus]."

(Source for above quote:
https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/matthew-3.html, "Verse 7")

NOTE 2:

Regarding the phrase born of water in verse 5, see the following article: "What does it mean to be born of water?" Here's the link:
https://www.gotquestions.org/born-of-water.html.

NOTE 3:

Regarding the phrase The wind bloweth in verse 8, Albert Barnes said:

"… Nicodemus had objected to the doctrine [of the new birth] because he did not understand how it could be. Jesus shows him that he ought not to reject it on that account, for he constantly believed things quite as difficult. It might appear incomprehensible [impossible to understand], but it was to be judged of by its effects. As in this case of the wind, the effects were seen, the sound was heard, important changes were produced by it, trees and clouds were moved, yet the wind is not seen, nor do we know whence it comes, nor by what laws it is governed; so it is with the operations of the Spirit. We see the changes produced. Men just now sinful become holy; the thoughtless become serious; the licentious [sexually unrestrained] become pure; the vicious, moral; the moral, religious; the prayerless, prayerful; the rebellious and obstinate [stubborn], meek, and mild, and gentle. When we see such changes, we ought no more to doubt that they are produced by some cause - by some mighty agent, than when we see the trees moved, or the waters of the ocean piled on heaps, or feet the cooling effects of a summer's breeze. In those cases we attribute it to the 'wind,' though we see it not, and though we do not understand its operations. We may learn, hence:

"1.that the proper evidence of conversion is the effect on the life.

"2.that we are not too curiously to search for the cause or manner of the change.

"3.that God has power over the most hardened sinner to change him, as he has power over the loftiest oak [tree], to bring it down by a sweeping blast [of wind].

"4.that there may be great variety in the modes of the operation of the [Holy] Spirit. As the 'wind' sometimes sweeps with a tempest, and prostrates [flattens] all before it, and sometimes breathes upon us in a mild evening zephyr [soft, gentle breeze], so it is with the operations of the Spirit. The sinner sometimes trembles and is prostrate before the truth, and sometimes is sweetly and gently drawn to the cross of Jesus."

(Source for above quote:
https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/john-3.html, "Verse 8")

*  *  *  *  *

Would you like to be born again? If so, there are detailed instructions in the gospel tracts that I wrote. You'll find them here: https://www.mansioninheaven.com/PrintableGospelTracts.html.

JULY 12

Zechariah 7:13
[In Old Testament times, God told his prophet Zechariah to say this to the nation of Israel]: "Therefore it is come to pass, that [just] as he [God, through his prophets] cried [out to the Jewish people and told them what he wanted them to do], and they would not hear [listen and obey]; so they [the people] cried [out to me (God) for help], and I would not hear [their prayers], saith [says] the LORD of hosts [which means 'God of the armies of heaven'--see note below*]:

Apparently, for Jewish people (in the Old Testament) and Christians (in the New Testament), obedience plays an important part in having God hear--and answer--our prayers.
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*In the Bible, God is called by various names, one of which is explained in the following article: "What does the Bible mean when it calls God the 'LORD of hosts'?" If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/Lord-of-hosts.html.

JULY 11

Proverbs 11:30: "The fruit of the righteous
[referring to good deeds done by born-again Christians] is [like] a tree of life [when our 'fruit' is a blessing to others]; and he [or she] that winneth souls [to God; i.e., the person who tells others how to be born again, or saved] is wise."

Matthew Henry explained the first part of the verse as follows: "The righteous are as trees of life; and their influence upon earth, like the fruits of that tree, support and nourish the spiritual life in many." (Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/proverbs/11-30.html, "Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible")

We can influence others and be a blessing to them by providing such things as sound advice, love, comfort, hope, help, encouragement, instruction, guidance, and protection and (if we're wise, like the second part of the verse teaches) by telling them how to be saved.

Charles H. Spurgeon has a good sermon about the above verse. It's called "The Soul-Winner's Life and Work." If you want to read it, here's the link:
https://archive.spurgeon.org/misc/sw11.php. A second article, containing his lectures on soul winning, is entitled "What Is It to Win a Soul?" and can be found here: http://www.romans45.org/spurgeon/misc/sw01.htm.

Most Bible commentators agree with Charles Spurgeon that the phrase he that winneth souls in the above verse refers to soul winning, but Pastor Delany of Salem Bible Church, although agreeing that it does have an application to evangelism, has a slightly different take on its primary meaning. Near the end of his commentary, he writes the following:

"Winning souls refers here to the believer who… through his righteous life is a tree of life to others… and takes hold of a person's hand… and leads them along… leads them to God's wisdom… becomes a source of guidance, hope, help, wisdom, admonition, and inspiration for others… a tree of life!" A little farther down in the commentary, he adds: "The context here is sinning BROTHER [i.e., fellow Christian] (one of you) who sins… and needs to be converted (turned around)…"

If you want to read Pastor Delany's commentary, here's the link:
https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-11-index/proverbs-11_30/.

JULY 10

Romans 8:6
[In a letter to Christians in Rome, the apostle Paul wrote]: "For [a person] to be carnally minded [focused on worldly, or fleshly, desires] is death [both spiritual and eternal, which suggests that the person is probably unsaved and headed for hell]; but to be spiritually minded [guided by the Holy Spirit, or focused on spiritual things] is [what usually happens when people are saved, or born again, and have eternal] life and peace [both here (on earth) and hereafter (in heaven)]."

JULY 9

Psalm 37:8: "Cease from anger
[stop being angry at the existence of wicked people], and forsake wrath [don't be mad at God for allowing wicked people to get away with doing bad things]: fret not thyself in any wise [don't let anger or jealousy cause you] to do evil [things, like imitating (copying) bad behavior or seeking revenge for what bad people have done to you or someone else]."

JULY 8

Job 4:8-9 - Eliphaz Offers His Opinion on the Reason for Job's Suffering
Eliphaz the Temanite was with his friend Job while he was being attacked by Satan. Eliphaz thought that Job was "reaping what he had sown" (being punished for something he had done wrong), but that wasn't true. The real reason for Job's suffering was to test Job's faithfulness to God. This is what Eliphaz said:

Verse 8: "Even as I [Eliphaz] have seen [observed or noticed], they that plow iniquity [people who devise evil plots, or plan to cause trouble], and sow wickedness [do bad things], reap [harvest, receive--as a consequence of their actions] the same [things (iniquity and wickedness, based on or similar to the trouble or harm that they cause to others) as punishment]."

Verse 9: "By the blast
[judgment] of God [which comes suddenly, like violent winds in a tornado,] they [those who 'plow iniquity and sow wickedness'] perish [are destroyed], and by the breath of his [God's] nostrils [comparing God's anger to the smoke and flames that come from the noses and mouths of fire-breathing dragons] are they [the aforementioned bad people] consumed [i.e., quickly, as by fire]."

As Eliphaz noted, in most cases (but not always!), suffering is caused by sin.

JULY 7

Deuteronomy 23:21-23 - Keeping Our Promises to God

Verse 21: "When thou shalt vow a vow
[when you make a promise] unto the LORD thy God [to do something for him and/or give something to him--see examples below*], thou shalt not slack [you shall not delay] to pay it: for the LORD thy [your] God will surely require it of thee [you]; and it [i.e., not keeping your promise] would be sin in thee."

Verse 22: "But if thou shalt forbear
[refuse, decline] to [make a] vow [in the first place], it shall be no [not be] sin in thee."

Verse 23: "That which is gone out of thy lips
[i.e., your promises to God] thou shalt keep and perform; even [including] a freewill [voluntary] offering, according as thou hast [you have] vowed unto the LORD thy God, which thou hast promised with thy mouth."

In other words, don't make promises to God unless you intend to keep them.

For more information about making vows and promises (to God and/or people), read one or both of the following articles:

-- "What does the Bible say about keeping your vows / oaths?"
   
https://www.gotquestions.org/vows-God.html

-- "Should a Christian make a promise?'
   
https://www.gotquestions.org/Christian-promise.html
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*Examples of promises that people might make to God are that they will:

-- Obey his commandments.
-- Read the Bible.
-- Pray.
-- Go to church.
-- Preach the gospel (i.e., do street preaching, become a pastor).
-- Hand out tracts, tell others how to be saved.
-- Become a missionary.
-- Offer sacrifices (as they did in Bible times).
-- Give money to help support God's work and/or church
.

JULY 6

Isaiah 40:28
[In  message to the Jews, the prophet Isaiah reminds everyone (especially born-again Christians) why God is always able to guide and protect his people]: "Hast thou not known [don't you know]? hast thou not [haven't you] heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth [i.e., the whole earth], fainteth not, neither is weary [does not become weak or tired]? there is no searching of his understanding [intelligence, insight] [by us, because his wisdom is so great]."

Concerning Isaiah's statement that God "fainteth not, neither is weary," Bible commentator Joseph S. Exell wrote that there is:

"A great contrast between God and all His living creatures on this earth. They all need rest, but He has no need of it, for He is never weary. We shall find this declaration full of comfort; but before we consider the senses in which it is true, we shall do well to remember that we are plainly taught in His Word that there are certain things of which God is weary.

"I. THINGS OF WHICH GOD IS WEARY.

"God is weary,

"1. Of the obstinacy of sinners …

"2. Of the backsliding of His professing people …

"3. Of heedless praises and hypocritical prayers …

"4. Of our cruelty to each other …

"II. THINGS OF WHICH GOD IS NOT WEARY.

"1. He is not weary in continuing and preserving His creation. The extent of this task; the multitude and minuteness of its parts. Neither its vastness, nor its complexity, nor its duration have availed to weary Him. We rest sometimes by changing the mode of our activity, but there is no cessation possible in God's work …

"2. He is not weary of caring for His people, supplying their temporal wants, guiding their affairs, removing unknown hindrances out of their way, solacing them in sorrow, strengthening them against temptation, educating them for time and eternity …

"3. He is not weary of hearing prayer. This is a special labour, additional to the work of preservation, and even to the care of His people. Remember the multitude of the prayers that are constantly ascending to Him. The folly of many of them! Yet still He listens to us!

"4. He is never weary in punishing sin; never so weary as to desist from it. There are cases in which we leave incorrigible offenders alone--we will not trouble ourselves any more about them; but it is never so with God. Not because He loves punishment, but because He loves righteousness. To a tender heart it is always a pain to punish; yet God, whose tender mercies are over all His works, age after age requites all who do wickedly.

"5. He is never weary of pardoning penitent sinners. How many He has pardoned! How often He had to pardon every one of those who are now 'the spirits of the just made perfect!' How often we have tried His patience! Yet He still waits to be gracious; He does not say, 'Here comes another sinner; drive him away!' nor, 'Here comes that sinner again; refuse him access to my throne.' He is as ready to pardon now as He was when Christ hung on the cross. He looks upon sins, not only as crimes, but as diseases; and, like a physician, is ready to minister to every plague-stricken one. Come, then, to Him now …

"This view of God should--

"1. Awaken our admiration of Him. It is good to admire His works; better to admire Him …

"2. Strengthen our trust in Him. Our human friends fail us, but God will never fail us …

"3. Deepen our love for Him. He is unweariable, not in strength merely, but in affection. His love outlasts that of many mothers …"

(Source for above quote:
https://www.studylight.org/commentary/isaiah/40-28.html, "Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary," "The Unwearied God")

JULY 5

Galatians 6:3
[Regarding pride, the apostle Paul wrote]: "For if a man [or woman or child] think himself [or herself] to be something [great or extraordinary, as does someone who is full of pride], when he [or she] is nothing [great or extraordinary, or 'is not better than others'], he [or she] deceiveth [deceives, fools] himself [or herself]."

In his commentary, Matthew Henry summarized the above verse as follows: "Self-conceit is but self-deceit …" (Source: https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/galatians/6.html, "Verses 1-10," "v. 3")

And according to Albert Barnes (another Bible commentator), a person who is full of pride "… does not accomplish what he expected to do; and instead of acquiring reputation from others, as he expected, he renders himself contemptible in their sight." (Source:
https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/galatians-6.html, "Verse 3")

JULY 4

John 8:36: "If the Son
[of God--Jesus] therefore shall make you free [from bondage to sin (so you're no longer a 'slave' to it, or under its control), which happens when you are 'born again' according to the Bible (and consequently are saved from hell)--see note below*], ye shall be free indeed [or 'you shall be truly free']."

Regarding the above verse, one Bible commentator wrote:

"The Son of God also has the authority to liberate spiritual slaves from their bondage to sin and its consequences. Real freedom consists of liberty from sin's enslavement to do what we should do. It does not mean that we may do just anything we please. We are now free to do what pleases God, which we could not do formerly. When we do what pleases God, we discover that it also pleases us. Hope for real freedom, therefore, does not rest on Abrahamic ancestry but Jesus' action."

(Source for above quote:
https://www.studylight.org/commentary/john/8-36.html, "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable")
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*We're "born again" when we believe that Jesus Christ, the sinless Son of God, willingly suffered and died an extremely painful death on the cross to pay for our sins, and then rose from the dead, and when, through faith, we receive him into our hearts as our personal Savior.

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

JULY 3

Psalm 147:3: "He
[God] healeth [heals] the broken in heart [referring to broken-hearted people, who have become overwhelmed by grief (great sorrow or sadness), disappointment, or despair (feelings of hopelessness)], and [he] bindeth [binds] up their wounds [like doctors do when they apply ointment and bandages to injuries for healing and protection]."

JULY 2

1 Thessalonians 5:9-10: "For God hath not appointed us to wrath
[God's preference was for us not to endure punishment in hell due to his anger at sin], but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who [referring to Jesus] died for us [on the cross, to pay for our sins], [so] that, whether we wake or sleep [whether we are awake or asleep (or 'are alive or dead') when the rapture (or second coming, or 'day of the Lord,' as some commentators believe) occurs--see note below*], we should live together with him [Jesus] [in heaven]."
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*The terms rapture and second coming refer to two different events and are described in the following article: "What is the difference between the Rapture and the Second Coming?" If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/difference-Rapture-Second-Coming.html.

JULY 1

Psalm 34:17: "The righteous
[referring to born-again Christians, who receive Jesus' righteousness the moment they get saved] cry [out--to God for help], and the LORD heareth [hears] [their prayers], and delivereth [rescues] them out of all [of] their troubles [some of which are listed below--see note*]."
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*According to John Gill, examples of troubles that people may need to be rescued from include: "… their inward troubles, through the workings of corruption in their hearts; through the violent assaults of Satan [the devil], the blasphemous thoughts he [Satan] injects into them, and his [Satan's] solicitations of them to sin; and through divine desertions, and their outward troubles; through afflictions of body, losses of estate and friends, and the reproaches and persecutions of men; out of all these the Lord sooner or later delivers his people who cry unto him."

(Source for above quote:
https://www.studylight.org/commentary/psalms/34-17.html, "John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible")


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