AUGUST 31

Jude 1:3 - Defending the Gospel
Jude was the brother of James and, most likely, the half-brother of Jesus, and he may also have been one of the apostles. In a letter to Christians, he wrote:

"Beloved, when I gave all diligence [although I had thought about and intended] to write unto you of the common salvation [i.e., salvation that is common to everyone, Jews and gentiles (non-Jews) alike], it was needful [necessary] for me to write unto you [about false teachers], and exhort [strongly encourage] you that ye [you] should earnestly [eagerly] contend for [defend--by debate, reasoning, etc.] the faith [truth of the gospel] which was once [one time] delivered [by God, through inspiration of the Holy Spirit and by the teachings of Jesus and his apostles,] unto the saints [born-again Christians]."

This verse is explained in detail in the article entitled "What does it mean to contend for the faith?" If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/contend-for-the-faith.html.

AUGUST 30

1 Corinthians 3:16-17 - Christians: The Holy Spirit Lives in Us
In a letter to the Christian church at Corinth, the apostle Paul wrote:

Verse 16: "Know ye not [don't you know] that ye [you--born-again Christians] are the [spiritual] temple [or church] of God, and that the Spirit of God [the Holy Spirit] dwelleth [dwells, lives] in you?"

Verse 17: "If any man
[or woman or child] defile [corrupts] the temple of God [the Christian community--by teaching false doctrine or principles that lead to an ungodly (immoral or sinful) lifestyle], him [or her] shall God destroy; for [because] the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are."

GotQuestions.org has an article about this subject. It's entitled "What does it mean that the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit?" and can be found here: https://www.gotquestions.org/body-temple-Holy-Spirit.html.

AUGUST 29

Proverbs 29:8: "Scornful men
[and women, referring to people, especially political and religious leaders, who are arrogant (conceited) and brag about themselves and who make a habit of ridiculing and mocking (making fun of) others] bring a city [or country or nation] into a snare [meaning they stir up trouble--by fanning the flames of anger and division, which could lead to war, riots, bloodshed, destruction, etc.]: but wise men [and women] turn away wrath [anger (of God and people)--through prayer, and by being kind and considerate of others and trying to promote peace]."

According to Matthew Henry, "… Proud and foolish men kindle the fires which wise and good men must extinguish."

(Source: https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/proverbs/29.html, "Verse 8")

Salem Bible Church has a good commentary on this verse. It ends with: "Let's be peacemakers rather than troublemakers."

If you want to read the rest of that commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-29-index/proverbs-29_8/.

AUGUST 28

Jeremiah 9:23-24 - We Should Glory in God Rather Than Ourselves

(Jeremiah 9:23)
Verse 23: "Thus saith [says] the LORD [God], Let not [don't let] the wise man [or woman or child] glory [take pride] in his [or her] wisdom, neither let the mighty [strong and brave] man [or woman or child] glory in his [or her] might, [and] let not the rich man [or woman or child] glory in his [or her] riches:"

(Jeremiah 9:24)
Verse 24: "But let him [or her] that glorieth [glories in (boasts about) something, such as wisdom, might, or riches] glory in this, that he [or she] understandeth and knoweth [understands and knows] me [God], [and] that I am the LORD which exercise [who accomplishes, brings about, produces] lovingkindness [kindness and mercy], judgment [justice], and righteousness [morality], in the earth: for [because] in these things [i.e., lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness] I [do] delight [have much pleasure and satisfaction], saith the LORD.

No matter how wise, strong, or rich we are, we can always use God's help.

AUGUST 27

Ecclesiastes 12:14: "
[We should 'Fear God, and keep his commandments' (as stated in Ecclesiastes 12:13)] For [because] God shall bring every work [word and deed] into judgment, [along] with every secret [hidden] thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil."

A good reason to obey God's word is because someday soon (on judgment day in heaven), God will judge everything that was said and done on earth, both good and bad, including our thoughts, words, and actions that were previously unknown to, and unheard and unseen by, others.

AUGUST 24-26

Deuteronomy 15:7-11 - Giving and Lending to the Poor
In this chapter, Moses explains why the Israelites should help poor people.

(Deuteronomy 15:7, 8)
Verses 7-8: "If there be among you a poor man [or woman or child] of one of thy [your] brethren [people] within any of thy gates [borders] in thy land which the LORD thy God giveth thee [gives you], thou shalt not [you shall not] harden thine [your] heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother [or sister]: But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him [or her (the poor person)], and shalt surely lend [or give] him [or her] sufficient [enough] for his [or her] need, in that which he [or she] wanteth [is wanting or lacking]."

(Deuteronomy 15:9)
Verse 9: "Beware that there be not a thought in thy wicked heart, saying, The seventh year, the year of release [from debt in Old Testament times, also known as the 'Jubilee'--see note below*], is at hand [will soon be here]; and thine eye be evil against thy poor brother [or sister] [or if 'you are a covetous (greedy) or hard-hearted person'], and thou givest [give] him [or her] nought [nothing]; and he [or she (the poor person)] cry [cries out] unto the LORD against thee [you], and it be [counted as] sin unto thee [you]."

(Deuteronomy 15:10)
Verse 10: "Thou shalt surely give him [the poor person] [what he (or she) needs], and thine heart shall not be grieved [you shall not feel regret] when thou givest unto him [or her]: because that for [or 'for doing'] this thing the LORD thy God shall bless thee in all thy works [in everything that you do], and in all that thou puttest [put] thine hand unto."

(Deuteronomy 15:11)
Verse 11: "[The reason for being charitable:] For [because] the poor [people] shall never cease out of the land [i.e., they will always be here]: therefore I [Moses] command thee [the Jewish people], saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother [or sister, as in relatives or fellow Christians], [and] to thy poor [people], and to thy needy [those who do not have basic necessities], in thy land."

Like the Jews in the Old Testament, we should help poor people, not only because the Bible says that not doing so is a sin, but also because God will bless us when we do help them.

As you probably know, since it is frequently reported on the news nowadays, there are many people in the United States and throughout the world who have been struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They are willing to work but can't, due to that horrible disease. Consequently, many families (through no fault of their own) are unable to buy food or pay their rent and may lose their homes as a result. These people (adults and children) have probably been "crying out" to God, so if we can afford to do so, we should do whatever we can to help them.

If you want to give to charities, a good place to start would be in your own neighborhood and surrounding areas.
_________________________

*For an explanation of the term Jubilee, read: "What is the Year of Jubilee?" Here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/Jubilee.html.

AUGUST 22-23

Zechariah 7:9-12 - Obey God or Else!
This was God's warning to the Jewish people via his prophet Zechariah:

Verse 9: "Thus speaketh [speaks] the LORD of hosts [or 'the God of the armies of heaven' (i.e., angels), referring to Almighty God] [through the former prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, etc.], saying, Execute true judgment [judge fairly], and shew [show] mercy [kindness] and compassions [sympathy and concern for the misfortune and sufferings of others] every man [and woman and child] to his (or her) brother [and sister and to everyone else]:"

Verse 10: "And oppress not
[don't mistreat (treat badly) or persecute] the widow, nor the fatherless [child], [nor] the stranger, nor the poor [person]; and let none of you imagine evil against [have bad thoughts about, wish bad things upon, or plan evil actions against] his (or her) brother [or sister, etc., or 'another human being'] in your heart."

Verses 11-12: "But they
[the Jews] refused to hearken [listen], and pulled away the shoulder [turned away], and stopped [up] their ears, [so] that they should not hear [the words of the Lord]. Yea [yes], they made their hearts as an adamant [impenetrable, extremely hard, unbreakable] stone [like a diamond], lest they should [so they shouldn't] hear the law [of God], and the words which the LORD of hosts hath [has] sent in his spirit [by his Holy Spirit] by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath [anger] from the LORD of hosts."

The above verses teach us two things:

1. We should be kind to others.
2. If we want to please God, we must be willing to obey him.

AUGUST 21

Psalm 48:14: "For this God
[i.e., Almighty God, the one true God, who, according to the writer of this psalm (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+48&version=KJV), protects the city of Jerusalem ('Zion') and chose it as his earthly dwelling place] is our God [i.e., of both the Jewish people and born-again Christians] for ever and ever: he will be our guide [throughout our lives,] even unto [until] death."

In his commentary, Albert Barnes said that "… as long as we live on the earth, we may have the assurance that he [God] will lead and guide us. This he will do in behalf of those who put their trust in him

"(a) by the counsels of His word;

"(b) by the influences of His Spirit;

"(c) by His providential interpositions;

"(d) by special help in special trials;

"(e) by shedding light upon our path when in perplexity and doubt; and

"(f) by support and direction when we tread that dark and to us unknown way which conducts to the grave.

"Man needs nothing more for this life than the confident assurance that he has the Eternal God for his guide, and that he will never be left or forsaken by Him in any possible situation in which he may be placed. If God, by His own hand, will conduct me through this world, and lead me safely through the dark valley [of the shadow of death--Psalm 23:4] - that valley which lies at the end of every traveler's path - I have nothing to fear beyond [the grave]."

(Source for above quote:
https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/psalms-48.html, "Verse 14")

AUGUST 20

1 Samuel 24:12
[To King Saul, who had been trying to kill him, David said]: "The LORD [God] [will] judge between me [David] and thee [you (Saul)], and the LORD [will] avenge me [David] of thee [you (Saul)] [in other words, God would punish Saul, if necessary]: but mine hand shall not be upon thee [but I (David) will not harm you (Saul) in any way]."

This verse also applies to born-again Christians. From it, we learn not to retaliate or seek revenge when treated badly or unfairly by others. Instead, we should leave that up to God.

AUGUST 19

Amos 3:7: "Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing
[in regard to judgment, punishment, destruction, etc.], but [except, unless] he revealeth his secret [or gives a warning] unto his servants the prophets [who, in turn, will warn everyone else]."

Warnings are given for a reason. People who take risks and ignore warnings are guilty of taking their life into their own hands--sometimes literally. When you "play with fire," there is no one but yourself to blame for what happens.

Biblical examples for the above verse include the following:

-- God warned Noah to prepare for a worldwide flood.
-- God warned Abraham and Lot that Sodom and Gomorrah and everyone in them would be destroyed.
-- God warned Joseph that there would be a seven-year famine (shortage of food) in the land of Egypt.
-- God warned Moses about the coming plagues.
-- God warned Jonah that Nineveh would be destroyed.

Some warnings are contained in the Bible but have not yet occurred. These include the "rapture" of the church (when Christians are taken to heaven in the "twinkling of an eye"--1 Corinthians 15:52) and the seven-year tribulation, when the Antichrist will be revealed and will come to power. The rapture only applies to born-again Christians; everyone else will go through the tribulation.

Here are links to some articles about the rapture and tribulation:

-- "What is the rapture of the church?"
    (
https://www.gotquestions.org/rapture-of-the-church.html)

-- "How can I be sure I won't be left behind in the rapture?"
    (
https://www.gotquestions.org/left-behind-rapture.html)

-- "What is the end times timeline?"
    (
https://www.gotquestions.org/end-times-timeline.html)

To miss the tribulation, you must be saved
.

If you want to be saved, or born again, but don't know what to do, please read one or more of the gospel tracts on my website. You'll find them on the following page:
https://www.mansioninheaven.com/PrintableGospelTracts.html.

AUGUST 18

Joshua 1:9
[After Moses died, the Lord said to Joshua]: "Have not I [God] commanded thee [you] [to do some things--see Note 1 below]? Be strong and of a good courage [be courageous, brave]; be not afraid [don't be afraid], neither be thou dismayed [and don't be worried, or discouraged]: for [because] the LORD thy God is with thee [you] whithersoever [wherever] thou goest [you go]."

Like he did with Joshua, when God wants Christians to do something, we can be sure that he'll protect us and help us get it done.
_________________________

NOTE 1:

After Moses died, God commanded Joshua to study and obey his (God's) word and to take Moses' place and lead the children of Israel (see Note 2 below regarding this name) over the Jordan river to take possession of the land (Canaan) that he promised to give them, which is described in Note 3 below.

NOTE 2:

In the Old Testament, the Jewish people were called children of Israel because they were the descendants of Jacob, a grandson of Abraham, who, after wrestling with an angel one night, was renamed Israel by God

The following articles include background information on Jewish names:

-- "Who are the children of Israel in the Bible?"
    (
https://www.gotquestions.org/children-of-Israel.html)

-- "What are the different names for the Israelites, and what do they mean?"
    (
https://www.gotquestions.org/names-Israel.html)

NOTE 3:

The article entitled "What is the land that God promised to Israel?" has some interesting (and very surprising) facts. If you want to read it, here's the link:
https://www.gotquestions.org/Israel-land.html.

AUGUST 14-17

Acts 18:5-11 - Preaching the Gospel

(Acts 18:5)
Verse 5: "And when Silas and Timotheus [Timothy] were come [to Corinth] from Macedonia, Paul [the apostle] was pressed in the spirit [had a strong desire to preach], and [so he] testified to the Jews that Jesus [of Nazareth] was Christ [the Messiah]."

(Acts 18:6)
Verse 6: "And when they [the Jews] opposed themselves [to the truth, or 'objected to Paul's preaching and the message of salvation'], and blasphemed [took God's name in vain, swore], he [Paul] shook his raiment [clothing--as if it had dust on it], and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads [you are responsible for the result of your actions]; I am clean [innocent of your fate (not to blame for your destruction), because I have given you a warning]: from henceforth [from now on,] I will go [and preach the gospel] unto the Gentiles [non-Jewish people] [in Corinth]."

(Acts 18:7)
Verse 7: "And he [Paul] departed thence [left the synagogue], and entered into a certain man's house, named Justus, one that worshipped God [and was probably a Christian], whose house joined hard to [was located near] the synagogue [Jewish place of worship]."

(Acts 18:8)
Verse 8: "And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord [Jesus Christ] [along] with all his house [with the rest of his family--see note below*]; and many of the Corinthians hearing [the gospel being preached by Paul] believed [in Jesus; which means they trusted him alone for salvation], and were baptized [by immersion--see note below**]."

(Acts 18:9-10)
Verses 9-10: "Then spake [spoke] the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak [continue to preach], and hold not thy [your] peace [i.e., don't be silent]: For I am with thee [you], and no man [or woman or child] shall set on thee [attack you] to hurt thee: for I have much people [many who will be saved] in this city [Corinth]."

(Acts 18:11)
Verse 11: "And he [Paul] continued [remained, stayed] there [in Corinth] [for] a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them [the people]."

Moral of the story for Christians: If you encounter opposition while sharing the gospel, don't give up.

Note:
An article entitled "How can a Christian overcome the fear of witnessing?" has helpful tips about sharing your faith. If you want to read it, here's the link:
https://www.gotquestions.org/Christian-witnessing.html.
_________________________

*The phrase believed on the Lord with all his house can be confusing, so GotQuestions.org wrote the following article: "What does the Bible say about household salvation?" If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/household-salvation.html.

**Baptism by immersion is explained in this article: "What is the proper mode of baptism?" (
https://www.gotquestions.org/baptism-mode.html)

AUGUST 13

Romans 6:23: "For the wages of
[the payment or reward that is due for] sin is death [i.e., physical and spiritual death, which means separation from God, and punishment forever in hell and the lake of fire]; but the gift of God is eternal life [in heaven] through [the merits of] Jesus Christ our Lord [because it was Jesus who purchased that gift with the sinless blood that he shed on the cross to pay for our sins]."

In other words, as sinners, we all deserve to go to hell, but God offers us eternal life as a free gift. We only need to accept it. For instructions on how to do this, please read page 5 of my "Mansion" tract. You'll find it here: https://www.mansioninheaven.com/Mansion5.html.

AUGUST 12

Romans 10:15: "And how shall they
[preachers] preach [proclaim the gospel; tell others how to be born again, or saved from hell], except they be sent [by God]? as it is written [in the Bible--Isaiah 52:7], How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace [the message of salvation], and bring glad tidings [news] of good things!"

In this verse, the apostle Paul likens preachers to messengers who have arrived with good news--as would happen, for example (in a worldly sense), if someone came to announce the end of war.

According to the Bible, only those who are saved God's way will be allowed into heaven.

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.

AUGUST 11

Hebrews 12:1-2 - Living the Christian Life
Comparing the Christian life to running a race, as in the Olympics, the author of Hebrews (probably the apostle Paul) wrote this in his letter to the Hebrew Christians in Palestine.

Verse 1: "Wherefore [referring to the lives of famous Christians ('heroes of the faith') mentioned in the preceding chapter--see note below*] seeing [that] we [born-again Christians] also are compassed about with [surrounded by] so great a cloud of witnesses [or 'because there are many people watching us'], let us lay aside every weight [everything that holds us back], and the sin which doth so easily beset us [the sin that tempts us the most--see note below**], and let us run with patience [perseverance, persistence, determination] the race that is set before us [referring to the Christian life],"

Verse 2: "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith
[as an example of someone who has 'run the race with patience']; who for the joy that was set before him [because of the joy that he knew he would experience after the resurrection, since it was God's will for him to die for our sins and purchase the gift of eternal life for us] [Jesus] endured [or 'suffered without resisting'] the [excruciating pain of the] cross, despising the shame [hating the humiliation of being treated like a criminal and being nailed to a cross], and [he] is [now] set [sitting] down at the right hand of the throne of God [in heaven] [which is the highest place of dignity and honor in the universe]."
_________________________

*Click here if you want to read Chapter 11: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hebrews+11&version=KJV.

**In his commentary on verse 1, Albert Barnes explains that the sin which doth so easily beset us refers to those sins "… to which we are particularly liable. They are such sins as the following:

"(1) Those to which we are particularly exposed by our natural temperament, or disposition. In some this is pride, in others indolence [laziness], or gaiety [fun-loving], or levity [lacking appropriate seriousness], or avarice [greediness], or ambition, or sensuality [pursuit of pleasure].

"(2) those in which we freely indulged before we became Christians. They will be likely to return with power, and we are far more likely from the laws of association, to fall into them than into any other. Thus, a man who has been intemperate [lacking self-control] is in special danger from that quarter; a man who has been an infidel [unbeliever], is in special danger of scepticism [doubt]: one who has been avaricious [greedy], proud, frivolous [lighthearted], or ambitious, is in special danger, even after conversion [salvation], of again committing these sins.

"(3) sins to which we are exposed by our profession, by our relations to others, or by our situation in life. They whose condition will entitle them to associate with what are regarded as the more elevated classes of society, are in special danger of indulging in the methods of living, and of amusement that are common among them; they who are prospered in the world are in danger of losing the simplicity and spirituality of their religion; they who hold a civil [government] office are in danger of becoming mere politicians, and of losing the very form and substance of piety [religion, reverence for God].

"(4) sins to which we are exposed from some special weakness in our character. On some points we may be in no danger. We may be constitutionally so firm as not to be especially liable to certain forms of sin. But every man has one or more weak points in his character; and it is there that he is particularly exposed. A bow may be in the main very strong. All along its length there may be no danger of its giving way - save [except] at one place where it has been made too thin, or where the material was defective - and if it ever breaks, it will of course be at that point. That is the point, therefore, which needs to be guarded and strengthened. So in reference to character. There is always some weak point which needs specially to be guarded, and our principal danger is there. Self-knowledge, so necessary in leading a holy life, consists much in searching out those weak points of character where we are most exposed; and our progress in the Christian course will be determined much by the fidelity [faithfulness] with which we guard and strengthen them …"

(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/hebrews-12.html, "Verse 1")

AUGUST 10

Psalm 119:130
[The author of this psalm, probably King David, wrote]: "The entrance of thy [your (God's)] words [into my mind--when I read and study the Bible, sing Christian hymns, listen to preaching, etc.] giveth [gives] light [knowledge, instruction]; it [the 'entrance of thy words'] giveth understanding unto the simple [referring to both simple-minded (unintelligent) and simple-hearted (uneducated but teachable) people]."

AUGUST 9

Mark 8:38: "Whosoever
[whoever] therefore shall be ashamed of me [Jesus] and of my words [things that he said and taught] in this adulterous [unfaithful] and sinful generation [referring to the kind of people who were alive when he was preaching]; of him [or her] also shall the Son of man [Jesus] be ashamed, when he cometh [when he comes back to earth the second time] in the glory [magnificence, splendor] of his Father [God] with the holy angels [to judge mankind]."

Although this verse applied specifically to people who were alive when Jesus preached, it also applies generally to everyone who ever lived, including us. Jesus' words are recorded in the Bible.

According to Albert Barnes: "… The meaning of this verse is, Whosoever shall refuse, through pride or wickedness, to acknowledge and serve Christ here, shall be excluded from his kingdom hereafter. He was lowly, meek, and despised; yet there was an inimitable beauty in his character even then. But he will come again in awful grandeur; not as the babe of Bethlehem, not as the man of Nazareth, but as the Son of God, in majesty and glory. They that would not acknowledge him here must be rejected by him there; they that would not serve him on earth will not enjoy his favor in heaven; they that would cast Him out and despise him must be cast out by him, and consigned to eternal, hopeless sorrow."

(Source for above quote:
https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/mark-8.html, "Verses 27-38")

In other words, everyone who is ashamed of Jesus, or embarrassed to confess him as Savior, will be sent to hell on judgment day.

AUGUST 8

Psalm 119:174
[In prayer to God, the writer of this psalm, probably King David, said]: "I have longed for thy [your] salvation [i.e., the gift of eternal life], O LORD; and thy law [as recorded in the Bible] is my delight [which indicates that David had a desire to read and obey God's word]."

AUGUST 4-7

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 - There's a Time for Everything

(Ecc. 3:1)
Verse 1: "To [for] every thing there is a season [a time that is appointed (set, determined) by God], and [there is] a time to [for] every purpose under the heaven [i.e., on the earth.] [For example, there is]:

(Ecc. 3:2)
Verse 2: "A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant [crops, trees, flowers, etc.], and a time to pluck up [pull out (uproot) or harvest] that which is planted;"

(Ecc. 3:3)
Verse 3: "A time to kill [e.g., the death penalty for criminals, during war, in self-defense], and a time to heal [sick and injured people and animals]; a time to break down [take apart, dismantle], and a time to build up [rebuild];"

(Ecc. 3:4)
Verse 4: "A time to weep [cry], and a time to laugh; a time to mourn [grieve], and a time to dance;"

(Ecc. 3:5)
Verse 5: "A time to cast away [throw] stones [as when land is being cleared], and a time to gather stones together [as when they are to be used as building materials]; a time to embrace [hold closely, hug] [someone], and a time to refrain [hold back] from embracing;"

(Ecc. 3:6)
Verse 6: "A time to get [things--through hard work, gifts, by searching for and finding them, etc.], and a time to lose; a time to keep [things, friends, etc.], and a time to cast [them] away [or 'separate ourselves from them'];"

(Ecc. 3:7)
Verse 7: "A time to rend [rip or tear apart], and a time to sew [together]; "a time to keep silence [be silent or keep quiet], and a time to speak;"

(Ecc. 3:8)
Verse 8: "A time to love, and a time to hate; "a time of war, and a time of peace."

In his commentary, Matthew Henry gives examples of what is meant by the words and phrases that I have italicized in the above verses. Here, in part, is what he said:

(Note: All references in the following quoted material have been omitted.)

"1. There is a time to be born and a time to die. These are determined by the divine counsel; and, as we were born, so we must die, at the time appointed [by God] …

"2. A time for God to plant a nation, as that of Israel in Canaan, and, in order to that, to pluck up the seven nations that were planted there, to make room for them; and at length there was a time when God spoke concerning Israel too, to pluck up and to destroy, when the measure of their iniquity was full. There is a time for men to plant, a time of the year, a time of their lives; but, when that which was planted has grown fruitless and useless, it is time to pluck it up.

"3. A time to kill, when the judgments of God are abroad in a land and lay all waste; but, when he returns in ways of mercy, then is a time to heal what he has torn, to comfort a people after the time that he has afflicted them. There is a time when it is the wisdom of rulers to use severe methods, but there is a time when it is as much their wisdom to take a more gentle course, and to apply themselves to lenitives [soothing things], not corrosives [harmful things].

"4. A time to break down a family, an estate, a kingdom, when it has ripened itself for destruction; but God will find a time, if they return and repent, to rebuild what he has broken down; there is a time, a set time, for the Lord to build up Zion. There is a time for men to break up house, and break off trade, and so to break down, which those that are busy in building up both must expect and prepare for.

"5. A time when God's providence calls to weep and mourn, and when man's wisdom and grace will comply with the call, and will weep and mourn, as in times of common calamity and danger, and there it is very absurd to laugh, and dance, and make merry; but then, on the other hand, there is a time when God calls to cheerfulness, a time to laugh and dance, and then he expects we should serve him with joyfulness and gladness of heart. Observe, The time of mourning and weeping is put first, before that of laughter and dancing, for we must first sow in tears and then reap in joy.

"6. A time to cast away stones, by breaking down and demolishing fortifications, when God gives peace in the borders, and there is no more occasion for them; but there is a time to gather stones together, for the making of strong-holds. A time for old towers to fall, as that in Siloam, and for the temple itself to be so ruined as that not one stone should be left upon another; but also a time for towers and trophies too to be erected, when national affairs prosper.

"7. A time to embrace a friend when we find him faithful, but a time to refrain from embracing when we find he is unfair or unfaithful, and that we have cause to suspect him; it is then our prudence [wise judgment] to be shy and keep at a distance. …

"8. A time to get, get money, get preferment, get good bargains and a good interest, when opportunity smiles, a time when a wise man will seek (so the word is); when he is setting out in the world and has a growing family, when he is in his prime, when he prospers and has a run of business, then it is time for him to be busy and make hay when the sun shines. There is a time to get wisdom, and knowledge, and grace, when a man has a price put into his hand; but then let him expect there will come a time to spend, when all he has will be little enough to serve his turn. Nay, there will come a time to lose, when what has been soon got will be soon scattered and cannot be held fast.

"9. A time to keep, when we have use for what we have got, and can keep it without running the hazard of a good conscience; but there may come a time to cast away, when love to God may oblige us to cast away what we have, because we must deny Christ and wrong our consciences if we keep it, and rather to make shipwreck of all than of the faith; nay, when love to ourselves may oblige us to cast it away, when it is for the saving of our lives, as it was when Jonah's mariners heaved their cargo into the sea.

"10. A time to rend the garments, as upon occasion of some great grief, and a time to sew, them again, in token that the grief is over. A time to undo what we have done and a time to do again what we have undone. Jerome applies this to the rending of the Jewish church and the sewing and making up of the gospel church thereupon.

"11. A time when it becomes us, and is our wisdom and duty, to keep silence, when it is an evil time, when our speaking would be the casting of pearl before swine, or when we are in danger of speaking amiss; but there is also a time to speak for the glory of God and the edification of others, when silence would be the betraying of a righteous cause, and when with the mouth confession is to be made to salvation; and it is a great part of Christian prudence to know when to speak and when to hold our peace.

"12. A time to love, and to show ourselves friendly, to be free and cheerful, and it is a pleasant time; but there may come a time to hate, when we shall see cause to break off all familiarity with some that we have been fond of, and to be upon the reserve, as having found reason for a suspicion, which love is loth [reluctant] to admit.

"13. A time of war, when God draws the sword for judgment and gives it commission to devour, when men draw the sword for justice and the maintaining of their rights, when there is in the nations a disposition to war; but we may hope for a time of peace, when the sword of the Lord shall be sheathed and he shall make wars to cease, when the end of the war is obtained, and when there is on all sides a disposition to peace. War shall not last always, nor is there any peace to be called lasting on this side the everlasting peace. Thus in all these changes God has set the one over-against the other, that we may rejoice as though we rejoiced not and weep as though we wept not …"

(Source: https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/ecclesiastes/3.html, "Verses 1-10")

AUGUST 3

John 6:40
[Jesus said]: "And this is the will [desire] of him that sent me [to earth, referring to God the Father], that every one which seeth [who sees] the Son [of God (Jesus)--either in person, as when Jesus was preaching this message, or with an 'eye of faith,' which comes from hearing or reading God's word (the Bible) and understanding the gospel message], and believeth on him [meaning they not only believe in Jesus but also trust in him alone for salvation] may have everlasting life [in heaven]: and I [Jesus] will raise him [or her, meaning the believer's body] up [from the grave] at the last day [i.e., on judgment day--see note below*]."
_________________________

*For an explanation of what will happen on judgment day, please read "What does the Bible say about when God will judge us?" Here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/judgment.html.

AUGUST 2

Job 27:4
[Responding to his friends' accusations that he had done something bad that deserved to be punished by God (which was a lie--see note below*), Job said]: "My lips shall not speak wickedness [or 'say things that I know are wrong'], nor [shall] my tongue utter [speak] deceit [i.e., words meant to make people believe something that is not true]."

Like Job, we should always try to tell the truth--about others and about ourselves.

In his commentary, Matthew Poole said that in the above verse, Job was telling his friends, "I will speak nothing but the truth with all plainness and impartiality, neither defending myself and cause by vain and false professions of those virtues or graces which I know I have not; nor yet, in compliance with your desire and design, falsely accusing myself of those crimes wherewith you charge me, whereof I know myself to be innocent."

(Source for above quote:
https://www.studylight.org/commentary/job/27-4.html, "Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible")

Likewise, Charles Spurgeon wrote: "Remember that Job's friends had accused him of having committed some great sin; which would account for his great sorrows … He felt that; it would be wicked for him to confess to what he had never done; it would be deceit for him to acknowledge crimes which he had never committed. Therefore he most solemnly asseverates [emphatically declares], by the living God, that he never will permit the falsehood to pass his lips. He had not transgressed against God in the way his friends insinuated, and he would not own that he had …"

(Source for Spurgeon quote:
https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/job-27.html, "Verses 1-23")
_________________________

*For background information on Job, read "Who was Job in the Bible?" Here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/life-Job.html.

AUGUST 1

Deuteronomy 16:16-17: Giving Back to God
We can learn something from these commands from God to the nation of Israel in the Old Testament:

Verse 16: "Three times in a year shall all thy [your] males [probably meaning those who were at least 20 years of age] appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he [God] shall choose; in the feast of unleavened [made without yeast] bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles [all of these feasts are described in the article mentioned below*]: and they [the people] shall not appear before the LORD empty[-handed]:"

Verse 17: "Every man shall give
[to God] as he is able [to give], according to the blessing of the LORD thy God which he [God] hath [has] given [to] thee [you--the person who has received God's blessings]."

Like the Jewish people, who were instructed to give back to God according to the blessings they had received, if we have been blessed by God, not only should we willingly give back to him (via the church), but, in regard to God's kindness, we should also try to "pay it forward" and be a blessing to others by gladly giving money, food, assistance, etc., to charities, poor people, and those who truly need our help.
_________________________

*Jewish people celebrate seven important feasts (festivals) each year. They are described in the article entitled "What are the different Jewish festivals in the Bible?" If you want to read it, here's the link:  https://www.gotquestions.org/Jewish-festivals.html.


Previous Verses
August 2020
AUGUST 31

Jude 1:3 - Defending the Gospel
Jude was the brother of James and, most likely, the half-brother of Jesus, and he may also have been one of the apostles. In a letter to Christians, he wrote:

"Beloved, when I gave all diligence [although I had thought about and intended] to write unto you of the common salvation [i.e., salvation that is common to everyone, Jews and gentiles (non-Jews) alike], it was needful [necessary] for me to write unto you [about false teachers], and exhort [strongly encourage] you that ye [you] should earnestly [eagerly] contend for [defend--by debate, reasoning, etc.] the faith [truth of the gospel] which was once [one time] delivered [by God, through inspiration of the Holy Spirit and by the teachings of Jesus and his apostles,] unto the saints [born-again Christians]."

This verse is explained in detail in the article entitled "What does it mean to contend for the faith?" If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/contend-for-the-faith.html.

AUGUST 30

1 Corinthians 3:16-17 - Christians: The Holy Spirit Lives in Us
In a letter to the Christian church at Corinth, the apostle Paul wrote:

Verse 16: "Know ye not [don't you know] that ye [you--born-again Christians] are the [spiritual] temple [or church] of God, and that the Spirit of God [the Holy Spirit] dwelleth [dwells, lives] in you?"

Verse 17: "If any man
[or woman or child] defile [corrupts] the temple of God [the Christian community--by teaching false doctrine or principles that lead to an ungodly (immoral or sinful) lifestyle], him [or her] shall God destroy; for [because] the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are."

GotQuestions.org has an article about this subject. It's entitled "What does it mean that the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit?" and can be found here: https://www.gotquestions.org/body-temple-Holy-Spirit.html.

AUGUST 29

Proverbs 29:8: "Scornful men
[and women, referring to people, especially political and religious leaders, who are arrogant (conceited) and brag about themselves and who make a habit of ridiculing and mocking (making fun of) others] bring a city [or country or nation] into a snare [meaning they stir up trouble--by fanning the flames of anger and division, which could lead to war, riots, bloodshed, destruction, etc.]: but wise men [and women] turn away wrath [anger (of God and people)--through prayer, and by being kind and considerate of others and trying to promote peace]."

According to Matthew Henry, "… Proud and foolish men kindle the fires which wise and good men must extinguish."

(Source: https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/proverbs/29.html, "Verse 8")

Salem Bible Church has a good commentary on this verse. It ends with: "Let's be peacemakers rather than troublemakers."

If you want to read the rest of that commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-29-index/proverbs-29_8/.

AUGUST 28

Jeremiah 9:23-24 - We Should Glory in God Rather Than Ourselves

(Jeremiah 9:23)
Verse 23: "Thus saith [says] the LORD [God], Let not [don't let] the wise man [or woman or child] glory [take pride] in his [or her] wisdom, neither let the mighty [strong and brave] man [or woman or child] glory in his [or her] might, [and] let not the rich man [or woman or child] glory in his [or her] riches:"

(Jeremiah 9:24)
Verse 24: "But let him [or her] that glorieth [glories in (boasts about) something, such as wisdom, might, or riches] glory in this, that he [or she] understandeth and knoweth [understands and knows] me [God], [and] that I am the LORD which exercise [who accomplishes, brings about, produces] lovingkindness [kindness and mercy], judgment [justice], and righteousness [morality], in the earth: for [because] in these things [i.e., lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness] I [do] delight [have much pleasure and satisfaction], saith the LORD.

No matter how wise, strong, or rich we are, we can always use God's help.

AUGUST 27

Ecclesiastes 12:14: "
[We should 'Fear God, and keep his commandments' (as stated in Ecclesiastes 12:13)] For [because] God shall bring every work [word and deed] into judgment, [along] with every secret [hidden] thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil."

A good reason to obey God's word is because someday soon (on judgment day in heaven), God will judge everything that was said and done on earth, both good and bad, including our thoughts, words, and actions that were previously unknown to, and unheard and unseen by, others.

AUGUST 24-26

Deuteronomy 15:7-11 - Giving and Lending to the Poor
In this chapter, Moses explains why the Israelites should help poor people.

(Deuteronomy 15:7, 8)
Verses 7-8: "If there be among you a poor man [or woman or child] of one of thy [your] brethren [people] within any of thy gates [borders] in thy land which the LORD thy God giveth thee [gives you], thou shalt not [you shall not] harden thine [your] heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother [or sister]: But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him [or her (the poor person)], and shalt surely lend [or give] him [or her] sufficient [enough] for his [or her] need, in that which he [or she] wanteth [is wanting or lacking]."

(Deuteronomy 15:9)
Verse 9: "Beware that there be not a thought in thy wicked heart, saying, The seventh year, the year of release [from debt in Old Testament times, also known as the 'Jubilee'--see note below*], is at hand [will soon be here]; and thine eye be evil against thy poor brother [or sister] [or if 'you are a covetous (greedy) or hard-hearted person'], and thou givest [give] him [or her] nought [nothing]; and he [or she (the poor person)] cry [cries out] unto the LORD against thee [you], and it be [counted as] sin unto thee [you]."

(Deuteronomy 15:10)
Verse 10: "Thou shalt surely give him [the poor person] [what he (or she) needs], and thine heart shall not be grieved [you shall not feel regret] when thou givest unto him [or her]: because that for [or 'for doing'] this thing the LORD thy God shall bless thee in all thy works [in everything that you do], and in all that thou puttest [put] thine hand unto."

(Deuteronomy 15:11)
Verse 11: "[The reason for being charitable:] For [because] the poor [people] shall never cease out of the land [i.e., they will always be here]: therefore I [Moses] command thee [the Jewish people], saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother [or sister, as in relatives or fellow Christians], [and] to thy poor [people], and to thy needy [those who do not have basic necessities], in thy land."

Like the Jews in the Old Testament, we should help poor people, not only because the Bible says that not doing so is a sin, but also because God will bless us when we do help them.

As you probably know, since it is frequently reported on the news nowadays, there are many people in the United States and throughout the world who have been struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They are willing to work but can't, due to that horrible disease. Consequently, many families (through no fault of their own) are unable to buy food or pay their rent and may lose their homes as a result. These people (adults and children) have probably been "crying out" to God, so if we can afford to do so, we should do whatever we can to help them.

If you want to give to charities, a good place to start would be in your own neighborhood and surrounding areas.
_________________________

*For an explanation of the term Jubilee, read: "What is the Year of Jubilee?" Here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/Jubilee.html.

AUGUST 22-23

Zechariah 7:9-12 - Obey God or Else!
This was God's warning to the Jewish people via his prophet Zechariah:

Verse 9: "Thus speaketh [speaks] the LORD of hosts [or 'the God of the armies of heaven' (i.e., angels), referring to Almighty God] [through the former prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, etc.], saying, Execute true judgment [judge fairly], and shew [show] mercy [kindness] and compassions [sympathy and concern for the misfortune and sufferings of others] every man [and woman and child] to his (or her) brother [and sister and to everyone else]:"

Verse 10: "And oppress not
[don't mistreat (treat badly) or persecute] the widow, nor the fatherless [child], [nor] the stranger, nor the poor [person]; and let none of you imagine evil against [have bad thoughts about, wish bad things upon, or plan evil actions against] his (or her) brother [or sister, etc., or 'another human being'] in your heart."

Verses 11-12: "But they
[the Jews] refused to hearken [listen], and pulled away the shoulder [turned away], and stopped [up] their ears, [so] that they should not hear [the words of the Lord]. Yea [yes], they made their hearts as an adamant [impenetrable, extremely hard, unbreakable] stone [like a diamond], lest they should [so they shouldn't] hear the law [of God], and the words which the LORD of hosts hath [has] sent in his spirit [by his Holy Spirit] by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath [anger] from the LORD of hosts."

The above verses teach us two things:

1. We should be kind to others.
2. If we want to please God, we must be willing to obey him.

AUGUST 21

Psalm 48:14: "For this God
[i.e., Almighty God, the one true God, who, according to the writer of this psalm (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+48&version=KJV), protects the city of Jerusalem ('Zion') and chose it as his earthly dwelling place] is our God [i.e., of both the Jewish people and born-again Christians] for ever and ever: he will be our guide [throughout our lives,] even unto [until] death."

In his commentary, Albert Barnes said that "… as long as we live on the earth, we may have the assurance that he [God] will lead and guide us. This he will do in behalf of those who put their trust in him

"(a) by the counsels of His word;

"(b) by the influences of His Spirit;

"(c) by His providential interpositions;

"(d) by special help in special trials;

"(e) by shedding light upon our path when in perplexity and doubt; and

"(f) by support and direction when we tread that dark and to us unknown way which conducts to the grave.

"Man needs nothing more for this life than the confident assurance that he has the Eternal God for his guide, and that he will never be left or forsaken by Him in any possible situation in which he may be placed. If God, by His own hand, will conduct me through this world, and lead me safely through the dark valley [of the shadow of death--Psalm 23:4] - that valley which lies at the end of every traveler's path - I have nothing to fear beyond [the grave]."

(Source for above quote:
https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/psalms-48.html, "Verse 14")

AUGUST 20

1 Samuel 24:12
[To King Saul, who had been trying to kill him, David said]: "The LORD [God] [will] judge between me [David] and thee [you (Saul)], and the LORD [will] avenge me [David] of thee [you (Saul)] [in other words, God would punish Saul, if necessary]: but mine hand shall not be upon thee [but I (David) will not harm you (Saul) in any way]."

This verse also applies to born-again Christians. From it, we learn not to retaliate or seek revenge when treated badly or unfairly by others. Instead, we should leave that up to God.

AUGUST 19

Amos 3:7: "Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing
[in regard to judgment, punishment, destruction, etc.], but [except, unless] he revealeth his secret [or gives a warning] unto his servants the prophets [who, in turn, will warn everyone else]."

Warnings are given for a reason. People who take risks and ignore warnings are guilty of taking their life into their own hands--sometimes literally. When you "play with fire," there is no one but yourself to blame for what happens.

Biblical examples for the above verse include the following:

-- God warned Noah to prepare for a worldwide flood.
-- God warned Abraham and Lot that Sodom and Gomorrah and everyone in them would be destroyed.
-- God warned Joseph that there would be a seven-year famine (shortage of food) in the land of Egypt.
-- God warned Moses about the coming plagues.
-- God warned Jonah that Nineveh would be destroyed.

Some warnings are contained in the Bible but have not yet occurred. These include the "rapture" of the church (when Christians are taken to heaven in the "twinkling of an eye"--1 Corinthians 15:52) and the seven-year tribulation, when the Antichrist will be revealed and will come to power. The rapture only applies to born-again Christians; everyone else will go through the tribulation.

Here are links to some articles about the rapture and tribulation:

-- "What is the rapture of the church?"
    (
https://www.gotquestions.org/rapture-of-the-church.html)

-- "How can I be sure I won't be left behind in the rapture?"
    (
https://www.gotquestions.org/left-behind-rapture.html)

-- "What is the end times timeline?"
    (
https://www.gotquestions.org/end-times-timeline.html)

To miss the tribulation, you must be saved
.

If you want to be saved, or born again, but don't know what to do, please read one or more of the gospel tracts on my website. You'll find them on the following page:
https://www.mansioninheaven.com/PrintableGospelTracts.html.

AUGUST 18

Joshua 1:9
[After Moses died, the Lord said to Joshua]: "Have not I [God] commanded thee [you] [to do some things--see Note 1 below]? Be strong and of a good courage [be courageous, brave]; be not afraid [don't be afraid], neither be thou dismayed [and don't be worried, or discouraged]: for [because] the LORD thy God is with thee [you] whithersoever [wherever] thou goest [you go]."

Like he did with Joshua, when God wants Christians to do something, we can be sure that he'll protect us and help us get it done.
_________________________

NOTE 1:

After Moses died, God commanded Joshua to study and obey his (God's) word and to take Moses' place and lead the children of Israel (see Note 2 below regarding this name) over the Jordan river to take possession of the land (Canaan) that he promised to give them, which is described in Note 3 below.

NOTE 2:

In the Old Testament, the Jewish people were called children of Israel because they were the descendants of Jacob, a grandson of Abraham, who, after wrestling with an angel one night, was renamed Israel by God

The following articles include background information on Jewish names:

-- "Who are the children of Israel in the Bible?"
    (
https://www.gotquestions.org/children-of-Israel.html)

-- "What are the different names for the Israelites, and what do they mean?"
    (
https://www.gotquestions.org/names-Israel.html)

NOTE 3:

The article entitled "What is the land that God promised to Israel?" has some interesting (and very surprising) facts. If you want to read it, here's the link:
https://www.gotquestions.org/Israel-land.html.

AUGUST 14-17

Acts 18:5-11 - Preaching the Gospel

(Acts 18:5)
Verse 5: "And when Silas and Timotheus [Timothy] were come [to Corinth] from Macedonia, Paul [the apostle] was pressed in the spirit [had a strong desire to preach], and [so he] testified to the Jews that Jesus [of Nazareth] was Christ [the Messiah]."

(Acts 18:6)
Verse 6: "And when they [the Jews] opposed themselves [to the truth, or 'objected to Paul's preaching and the message of salvation'], and blasphemed [took God's name in vain, swore], he [Paul] shook his raiment [clothing--as if it had dust on it], and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads [you are responsible for the result of your actions]; I am clean [innocent of your fate (not to blame for your destruction), because I have given you a warning]: from henceforth [from now on,] I will go [and preach the gospel] unto the Gentiles [non-Jewish people] [in Corinth]."

(Acts 18:7)
Verse 7: "And he [Paul] departed thence [left the synagogue], and entered into a certain man's house, named Justus, one that worshipped God [and was probably a Christian], whose house joined hard to [was located near] the synagogue [Jewish place of worship]."

(Acts 18:8)
Verse 8: "And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord [Jesus Christ] [along] with all his house [with the rest of his family--see note below*]; and many of the Corinthians hearing [the gospel being preached by Paul] believed [in Jesus; which means they trusted him alone for salvation], and were baptized [by immersion--see note below**]."

(Acts 18:9-10)
Verses 9-10: "Then spake [spoke] the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak [continue to preach], and hold not thy [your] peace [i.e., don't be silent]: For I am with thee [you], and no man [or woman or child] shall set on thee [attack you] to hurt thee: for I have much people [many who will be saved] in this city [Corinth]."

(Acts 18:11)
Verse 11: "And he [Paul] continued [remained, stayed] there [in Corinth] [for] a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them [the people]."

Moral of the story for Christians: If you encounter opposition while sharing the gospel, don't give up.

Note:
An article entitled "How can a Christian overcome the fear of witnessing?" has helpful tips about sharing your faith. If you want to read it, here's the link:
https://www.gotquestions.org/Christian-witnessing.html.
_________________________

*The phrase believed on the Lord with all his house can be confusing, so GotQuestions.org wrote the following article: "What does the Bible say about household salvation?" If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/household-salvation.html.

**Baptism by immersion is explained in this article: "What is the proper mode of baptism?" (
https://www.gotquestions.org/baptism-mode.html)

AUGUST 13

Romans 6:23: "For the wages of
[the payment or reward that is due for] sin is death [i.e., physical and spiritual death, which means separation from God, and punishment forever in hell and the lake of fire]; but the gift of God is eternal life [in heaven] through [the merits of] Jesus Christ our Lord [because it was Jesus who purchased that gift with the sinless blood that he shed on the cross to pay for our sins]."

In other words, as sinners, we all deserve to go to hell, but God offers us eternal life as a free gift. We only need to accept it. For instructions on how to do this, please read page 5 of my "Mansion" tract. You'll find it here: https://www.mansioninheaven.com/Mansion5.html.

AUGUST 12

Romans 10:15: "And how shall they
[preachers] preach [proclaim the gospel; tell others how to be born again, or saved from hell], except they be sent [by God]? as it is written [in the Bible--Isaiah 52:7], How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace [the message of salvation], and bring glad tidings [news] of good things!"

In this verse, the apostle Paul likens preachers to messengers who have arrived with good news--as would happen, for example (in a worldly sense), if someone came to announce the end of war.

According to the Bible, only those who are saved God's way will be allowed into heaven.

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.

AUGUST 11

Hebrews 12:1-2 - Living the Christian Life
Comparing the Christian life to running a race, as in the Olympics, the author of Hebrews (probably the apostle Paul) wrote this in his letter to the Hebrew Christians in Palestine.

Verse 1: "Wherefore [referring to the lives of famous Christians ('heroes of the faith') mentioned in the preceding chapter--see note below*] seeing [that] we [born-again Christians] also are compassed about with [surrounded by] so great a cloud of witnesses [or 'because there are many people watching us'], let us lay aside every weight [everything that holds us back], and the sin which doth so easily beset us [the sin that tempts us the most--see note below**], and let us run with patience [perseverance, persistence, determination] the race that is set before us [referring to the Christian life],"

Verse 2: "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith
[as an example of someone who has 'run the race with patience']; who for the joy that was set before him [because of the joy that he knew he would experience after the resurrection, since it was God's will for him to die for our sins and purchase the gift of eternal life for us] [Jesus] endured [or 'suffered without resisting'] the [excruciating pain of the] cross, despising the shame [hating the humiliation of being treated like a criminal and being nailed to a cross], and [he] is [now] set [sitting] down at the right hand of the throne of God [in heaven] [which is the highest place of dignity and honor in the universe]."
_________________________

*Click here if you want to read Chapter 11: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hebrews+11&version=KJV.

**In his commentary on verse 1, Albert Barnes explains that the sin which doth so easily beset us refers to those sins "… to which we are particularly liable. They are such sins as the following:

"(1) Those to which we are particularly exposed by our natural temperament, or disposition. In some this is pride, in others indolence [laziness], or gaiety [fun-loving], or levity [lacking appropriate seriousness], or avarice [greediness], or ambition, or sensuality [pursuit of pleasure].

"(2) those in which we freely indulged before we became Christians. They will be likely to return with power, and we are far more likely from the laws of association, to fall into them than into any other. Thus, a man who has been intemperate [lacking self-control] is in special danger from that quarter; a man who has been an infidel [unbeliever], is in special danger of scepticism [doubt]: one who has been avaricious [greedy], proud, frivolous [lighthearted], or ambitious, is in special danger, even after conversion [salvation], of again committing these sins.

"(3) sins to which we are exposed by our profession, by our relations to others, or by our situation in life. They whose condition will entitle them to associate with what are regarded as the more elevated classes of society, are in special danger of indulging in the methods of living, and of amusement that are common among them; they who are prospered in the world are in danger of losing the simplicity and spirituality of their religion; they who hold a civil [government] office are in danger of becoming mere politicians, and of losing the very form and substance of piety [religion, reverence for God].

"(4) sins to which we are exposed from some special weakness in our character. On some points we may be in no danger. We may be constitutionally so firm as not to be especially liable to certain forms of sin. But every man has one or more weak points in his character; and it is there that he is particularly exposed. A bow may be in the main very strong. All along its length there may be no danger of its giving way - save [except] at one place where it has been made too thin, or where the material was defective - and if it ever breaks, it will of course be at that point. That is the point, therefore, which needs to be guarded and strengthened. So in reference to character. There is always some weak point which needs specially to be guarded, and our principal danger is there. Self-knowledge, so necessary in leading a holy life, consists much in searching out those weak points of character where we are most exposed; and our progress in the Christian course will be determined much by the fidelity [faithfulness] with which we guard and strengthen them …"

(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/hebrews-12.html, "Verse 1")

AUGUST 10

Psalm 119:130
[The author of this psalm, probably King David, wrote]: "The entrance of thy [your (God's)] words [into my mind--when I read and study the Bible, sing Christian hymns, listen to preaching, etc.] giveth [gives] light [knowledge, instruction]; it [the 'entrance of thy words'] giveth understanding unto the simple [referring to both simple-minded (unintelligent) and simple-hearted (uneducated but teachable) people]."

AUGUST 9

Mark 8:38: "Whosoever
[whoever] therefore shall be ashamed of me [Jesus] and of my words [things that he said and taught] in this adulterous [unfaithful] and sinful generation [referring to the kind of people who were alive when he was preaching]; of him [or her] also shall the Son of man [Jesus] be ashamed, when he cometh [when he comes back to earth the second time] in the glory [magnificence, splendor] of his Father [God] with the holy angels [to judge mankind]."

Although this verse applied specifically to people who were alive when Jesus preached, it also applies generally to everyone who ever lived, including us. Jesus' words are recorded in the Bible.

According to Albert Barnes: "… The meaning of this verse is, Whosoever shall refuse, through pride or wickedness, to acknowledge and serve Christ here, shall be excluded from his kingdom hereafter. He was lowly, meek, and despised; yet there was an inimitable beauty in his character even then. But he will come again in awful grandeur; not as the babe of Bethlehem, not as the man of Nazareth, but as the Son of God, in majesty and glory. They that would not acknowledge him here must be rejected by him there; they that would not serve him on earth will not enjoy his favor in heaven; they that would cast Him out and despise him must be cast out by him, and consigned to eternal, hopeless sorrow."

(Source for above quote:
https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/mark-8.html, "Verses 27-38")

In other words, everyone who is ashamed of Jesus, or embarrassed to confess him as Savior, will be sent to hell on judgment day.

AUGUST 8

Psalm 119:174
[In prayer to God, the writer of this psalm, probably King David, said]: "I have longed for thy [your] salvation [i.e., the gift of eternal life], O LORD; and thy law [as recorded in the Bible] is my delight [which indicates that David had a desire to read and obey God's word]."

AUGUST 4-7

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 - There's a Time for Everything

(Ecc. 3:1)
Verse 1: "To [for] every thing there is a season [a time that is appointed (set, determined) by God], and [there is] a time to [for] every purpose under the heaven [i.e., on the earth.] [For example, there is]:

(Ecc. 3:2)
Verse 2: "A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant [crops, trees, flowers, etc.], and a time to pluck up [pull out (uproot) or harvest] that which is planted;"

(Ecc. 3:3)
Verse 3: "A time to kill [e.g., the death penalty for criminals, during war, in self-defense], and a time to heal [sick and injured people and animals]; a time to break down [take apart, dismantle], and a time to build up [rebuild];"

(Ecc. 3:4)
Verse 4: "A time to weep [cry], and a time to laugh; a time to mourn [grieve], and a time to dance;"

(Ecc. 3:5)
Verse 5: "A time to cast away [throw] stones [as when land is being cleared], and a time to gather stones together [as when they are to be used as building materials]; a time to embrace [hold closely, hug] [someone], and a time to refrain [hold back] from embracing;"

(Ecc. 3:6)
Verse 6: "A time to get [things--through hard work, gifts, by searching for and finding them, etc.], and a time to lose; a time to keep [things, friends, etc.], and a time to cast [them] away [or 'separate ourselves from them'];"

(Ecc. 3:7)
Verse 7: "A time to rend [rip or tear apart], and a time to sew [together]; "a time to keep silence [be silent or keep quiet], and a time to speak;"

(Ecc. 3:8)
Verse 8: "A time to love, and a time to hate; "a time of war, and a time of peace."

In his commentary, Matthew Henry gives examples of what is meant by the words and phrases that I have italicized in the above verses. Here, in part, is what he said:

(Note: All references in the following quoted material have been omitted.)

"1. There is a time to be born and a time to die. These are determined by the divine counsel; and, as we were born, so we must die, at the time appointed [by God] …

"2. A time for God to plant a nation, as that of Israel in Canaan, and, in order to that, to pluck up the seven nations that were planted there, to make room for them; and at length there was a time when God spoke concerning Israel too, to pluck up and to destroy, when the measure of their iniquity was full. There is a time for men to plant, a time of the year, a time of their lives; but, when that which was planted has grown fruitless and useless, it is time to pluck it up.

"3. A time to kill, when the judgments of God are abroad in a land and lay all waste; but, when he returns in ways of mercy, then is a time to heal what he has torn, to comfort a people after the time that he has afflicted them. There is a time when it is the wisdom of rulers to use severe methods, but there is a time when it is as much their wisdom to take a more gentle course, and to apply themselves to lenitives [soothing things], not corrosives [harmful things].

"4. A time to break down a family, an estate, a kingdom, when it has ripened itself for destruction; but God will find a time, if they return and repent, to rebuild what he has broken down; there is a time, a set time, for the Lord to build up Zion. There is a time for men to break up house, and break off trade, and so to break down, which those that are busy in building up both must expect and prepare for.

"5. A time when God's providence calls to weep and mourn, and when man's wisdom and grace will comply with the call, and will weep and mourn, as in times of common calamity and danger, and there it is very absurd to laugh, and dance, and make merry; but then, on the other hand, there is a time when God calls to cheerfulness, a time to laugh and dance, and then he expects we should serve him with joyfulness and gladness of heart. Observe, The time of mourning and weeping is put first, before that of laughter and dancing, for we must first sow in tears and then reap in joy.

"6. A time to cast away stones, by breaking down and demolishing fortifications, when God gives peace in the borders, and there is no more occasion for them; but there is a time to gather stones together, for the making of strong-holds. A time for old towers to fall, as that in Siloam, and for the temple itself to be so ruined as that not one stone should be left upon another; but also a time for towers and trophies too to be erected, when national affairs prosper.

"7. A time to embrace a friend when we find him faithful, but a time to refrain from embracing when we find he is unfair or unfaithful, and that we have cause to suspect him; it is then our prudence [wise judgment] to be shy and keep at a distance. …

"8. A time to get, get money, get preferment, get good bargains and a good interest, when opportunity smiles, a time when a wise man will seek (so the word is); when he is setting out in the world and has a growing family, when he is in his prime, when he prospers and has a run of business, then it is time for him to be busy and make hay when the sun shines. There is a time to get wisdom, and knowledge, and grace, when a man has a price put into his hand; but then let him expect there will come a time to spend, when all he has will be little enough to serve his turn. Nay, there will come a time to lose, when what has been soon got will be soon scattered and cannot be held fast.

"9. A time to keep, when we have use for what we have got, and can keep it without running the hazard of a good conscience; but there may come a time to cast away, when love to God may oblige us to cast away what we have, because we must deny Christ and wrong our consciences if we keep it, and rather to make shipwreck of all than of the faith; nay, when love to ourselves may oblige us to cast it away, when it is for the saving of our lives, as it was when Jonah's mariners heaved their cargo into the sea.

"10. A time to rend the garments, as upon occasion of some great grief, and a time to sew, them again, in token that the grief is over. A time to undo what we have done and a time to do again what we have undone. Jerome applies this to the rending of the Jewish church and the sewing and making up of the gospel church thereupon.

"11. A time when it becomes us, and is our wisdom and duty, to keep silence, when it is an evil time, when our speaking would be the casting of pearl before swine, or when we are in danger of speaking amiss; but there is also a time to speak for the glory of God and the edification of others, when silence would be the betraying of a righteous cause, and when with the mouth confession is to be made to salvation; and it is a great part of Christian prudence to know when to speak and when to hold our peace.

"12. A time to love, and to show ourselves friendly, to be free and cheerful, and it is a pleasant time; but there may come a time to hate, when we shall see cause to break off all familiarity with some that we have been fond of, and to be upon the reserve, as having found reason for a suspicion, which love is loth [reluctant] to admit.

"13. A time of war, when God draws the sword for judgment and gives it commission to devour, when men draw the sword for justice and the maintaining of their rights, when there is in the nations a disposition to war; but we may hope for a time of peace, when the sword of the Lord shall be sheathed and he shall make wars to cease, when the end of the war is obtained, and when there is on all sides a disposition to peace. War shall not last always, nor is there any peace to be called lasting on this side the everlasting peace. Thus in all these changes God has set the one over-against the other, that we may rejoice as though we rejoiced not and weep as though we wept not …"

(Source: https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/ecclesiastes/3.html, "Verses 1-10")

AUGUST 3

John 6:40
[Jesus said]: "And this is the will [desire] of him that sent me [to earth, referring to God the Father], that every one which seeth [who sees] the Son [of God (Jesus)--either in person, as when Jesus was preaching this message, or with an 'eye of faith,' which comes from hearing or reading God's word (the Bible) and understanding the gospel message], and believeth on him [meaning they not only believe in Jesus but also trust in him alone for salvation] may have everlasting life [in heaven]: and I [Jesus] will raise him [or her, meaning the believer's body] up [from the grave] at the last day [i.e., on judgment day--see note below*]."
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*For an explanation of what will happen on judgment day, please read "What does the Bible say about when God will judge us?" Here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/judgment.html.

AUGUST 2

Job 27:4
[Responding to his friends' accusations that he had done something bad that deserved to be punished by God (which was a lie--see note below*), Job said]: "My lips shall not speak wickedness [or 'say things that I know are wrong'], nor [shall] my tongue utter [speak] deceit [i.e., words meant to make people believe something that is not true]."

Like Job, we should always try to tell the truth--about others and about ourselves.

In his commentary, Matthew Poole said that in the above verse, Job was telling his friends, "I will speak nothing but the truth with all plainness and impartiality, neither defending myself and cause by vain and false professions of those virtues or graces which I know I have not; nor yet, in compliance with your desire and design, falsely accusing myself of those crimes wherewith you charge me, whereof I know myself to be innocent."

(Source for above quote:
https://www.studylight.org/commentary/job/27-4.html, "Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible")

Likewise, Charles Spurgeon wrote: "Remember that Job's friends had accused him of having committed some great sin; which would account for his great sorrows … He felt that; it would be wicked for him to confess to what he had never done; it would be deceit for him to acknowledge crimes which he had never committed. Therefore he most solemnly asseverates [emphatically declares], by the living God, that he never will permit the falsehood to pass his lips. He had not transgressed against God in the way his friends insinuated, and he would not own that he had …"

(Source for Spurgeon quote:
https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/job-27.html, "Verses 1-23")
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*For background information on Job, read "Who was Job in the Bible?" Here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/life-Job.html.

AUGUST 1

Deuteronomy 16:16-17: Giving Back to God
We can learn something from these commands from God to the nation of Israel in the Old Testament:

Verse 16: "Three times in a year shall all thy [your] males [probably meaning those who were at least 20 years of age] appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he [God] shall choose; in the feast of unleavened [made without yeast] bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles [all of these feasts are described in the article mentioned below*]: and they [the people] shall not appear before the LORD empty[-handed]:"

Verse 17: "Every man shall give
[to God] as he is able [to give], according to the blessing of the LORD thy God which he [God] hath [has] given [to] thee [you--the person who has received God's blessings]."

Like the Jewish people, who were instructed to give back to God according to the blessings they had received, if we have been blessed by God, not only should we willingly give back to him (via the church), but, in regard to God's kindness, we should also try to "pay it forward" and be a blessing to others by gladly giving money, food, assistance, etc., to charities, poor people, and those who truly need our help.
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*Jewish people celebrate seven important feasts (festivals) each year. They are described in the article entitled "What are the different Jewish festivals in the Bible?" If you want to read it, here's the link:  https://www.gotquestions.org/Jewish-festivals.html.


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