There's Hope for Childless Women
"He [God] maketh [makes, or 'makes it possible for'] the barren woman [who is childless due to her inability or failure to become pregnant] to keep house [to have a family], and to be a joyful mother of children. Praise ye [you] the LORD."
One reason we should praise God is because he's a miracle worker. According to the above verse, he has the ability to make "impossible" things possible.
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I found an article on the Internet (see source below) that answers the following question: "Who are the women in the Bible who initially could not give birth (childless) but were healed by God?" It says that:
-- Sarah (wife of Abraham and formerly named Sarai) was the mother of Isaac.
-- Rebekah (wife of Isaac) was the mother of twins, Jacob and Esau.
-- Rachel (wife of Jacob) was the mother of Joseph and Benjamin. She died giving birth to Benjamin.
-- Samson's mother (wife of Mahoah) gave birth to Samson, the strongest man who ever lived.
-- Hannah (second wife of Elkanah the Ephraimite) was the mother of the prophet Samuel.
-- Elizabeth (wife of Zacharias) was the mother of John the Baptist.
The above information was provided "Courtesy of BibleStudy.org" in their article entitled "Who was childless in the Bible?" Here's the link: https://www.biblestudy.org/question/how-does-god-use-barren-childless-women.html.
God Hates Idolatry
The following verse is part of what Moses told the Levites to say to the men of Israel. It's the first of a number of curses and confirms what was written by God in the Ten Commandments (i.e., Commandment #2, Exodus 20:4, 5, 6).
"Cursed [by God will] be the man [or person] that maketh [who makes] any graven or molten image [statue or idol, as an object of worship--see note below*], [which is] an abomination unto the LORD [or 'something that God hates'], [and which is] the work of the hands of the craftsman, and putteth it [and puts the idol] in a secret place [where it can't be seen by others]. And all the people shall answer and say, Amen [or 'so be it,' meaning they understood and agreed with what had been said]."
*According to an article entitled "What is a graven image?" by GotQuestions.org: "… A graven image is an image carved out of stone, wood, or metal. It could be a statue of a person or animal, or a relief carving in a wall or pole. It is differentiated from a molten image, which is melted metal poured into a cast …" The article then goes into a detailed explanation of idolatry.
If you want to read more of the article, here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/graven-image.html.
1 Peter 5:7:
According to the apostle Peter, if you're a born-again Christian, you should be:
"Casting [gently throwing or placing] all your care [cares, burdens, problems--anxiety, fears, worries, troubles, etc.] upon him [God]; for [because] he careth for [cares for, is concerned about, wants to help] you."
"Wrath [extreme anger, rage] is cruel [i.e., without compassion, merciless], and anger is outrageous [intense, overwhelming, and perhaps even uncontrollable]; but who is able to stand before envy [jealousy--of someone or something--for any reason, especially when it involves love]?"
The answer to the above question is "No one," since envy is more powerful than wrath. In fact, according to Pastor Jim Delany of Salem Bible Church, envy "can easily become overwhelming and overpowering and results in all kinds of evil works you never thought yourself capable of."
Pastor Delany's commentary on this verse includes examples of anger, wrath, and envy, with explanations of how those feelings affect us and what to do about them. Here's an excerpt from paragraph 4 on the topic of envy:
"a. When the heart is healthy and wholesome, it has a healthy effect on the body.
"b. When the heart is sick… decayed… rotten with a sin like envy, it too has an effect on the body…
"• It is not like medicine, but more like a poison… a disease.
"• Envy is like a disease that eats away at your insides.
"• It is a killer. It destroys relationships.
"• The way to deal with poison in the [or 'your'] system is not to tolerate it, but to get rid of it. Deal with it. See it as sin and confess it [to God] and forsake [abandon, turn away from] it."
If you want to read more of the commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-27-index/proverbs-27_4/.
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This is how another Bible commentary explained why envy is worse than anger and wrath:
"… The angry man avows [openly confesses, acknowledges] his anger; the envious or jealous [man] craftily hides it [his anger--or keeps it a secret] until he gets his opportunity. The angry [person] may possibly be appeased [pacified, brought to a state of peace] in course of time; the envious or jealous [person] becomes only more exasperated [irritated, frustrated]. Envy or jealousy penetrates more deeply, creeps slowly, and cannot be eradicated [eliminated, done away with] …"
(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/proverbs/27-4.html, "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged")
"Enter into his [God's] gates [meaning the doors of temples, churches, and other places of public worship] with thanksgiving, and into his [God's] courts with praise: be thankful unto him [God], and bless his name [i.e., give him honor, praise, and thanks]."
Note: From the Old Testament, we learn that the original temple in Jerusalem was built by King David's son Solomon, who was the king of Israel. When the above verse was written, gates referred to the gates which led to the temple itself, and courts referred to the open spaces surrounding the temple.
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One Bible commentator wrote that one of the "… hindrances which practically interfere with this great moral and Christian duty [i.e., of thanking and blessing God]" is this:
"Letting the mind dwell too much on the dark side of our experience. The ten thousand daily blessings wherewith God has been surrounding our lives are lost sight of in the occasional clouds of difficulty that may have chequered [checkered] our pathway. We think more of the one thousand dollars lost, than of the twenty thousand left us. More of the one month of sickness, than the eleven months of health. More of the one beloved friend dead, than of the many beloved yet living …"
(Source for above quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/psalms/100-4.html, "The Biblical Illustrator" - "Thankfulness")
"Withdraw thy foot from thy neighbour's [your friend's] house; lest he [so he (or she) won't] be weary [tired] of thee [you], and so [consequently] hate thee."
Don't visit your friends too often or stay too long--in other words, don't be a pest--or they'll become "sick and tired" of you. Two common sayings to illustrate this point are, "Don't overstay your welcome" and "Familiarity breeds contempt."
Salem Bible Church has a good commentary on this verse. It's combined with verse 16, which says: "Hast thou found honey? eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it."
In his commentary, Pastor Delany compares how friends might react to your very frequent visits (e.g., they might hate to see you walking up the driveway, hate to see your number pop up on the phone, or hate to see your face) to what usually happens when a person eats too much honey (i.e., he/she throws up), and Pastor Delany says that the only friend who never gets tired of us, no matter how much we come to him, is Jesus.
The commentary ends with this advice in paragraph 6:
"d. And learn the lesson of overworking a friendship.
"• Visit your friends, but not excessively.
"• Don't force yourself on people.
"• Let friendship develop naturally.
"• Don't be clingy.
"• Don't monopolize your friends' time.
"e. Forcing ourselves on someone or monopolizing a friend's time is really quite selfish. It is all about satisfying MY desire without considering others. You might love it, but it could make them sick.
"f. If you really love your friends, be considerate. It is a matter of good manners."
If you want to read more of the commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-25-index/proverbs-25_16-17/.
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, became a living sacrifice for the sins of the world, and his death on the cross made it possible for us to receive the gift of eternal life. Consequently, it is no longer necessary for us to follow the Old Testament practice of presenting offerings (animal sacrifices, etc.) to God periodically to atone (make up) for sin.
Nowadays, in order to be saved, we don't need to do anything except believe in the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, since salvation is by faith, not works (Ephesians 2:8-9). However, we who have been born again according to the Bible should have a desire to serve God after salvation, because we love him and appreciate his gift of eternal life.
To encourage Christians to serve God, the apostle Paul wrote this:
In Romans 12:1:
"I beseech [implore, beg] you therefore, brethren [fellow Christians], by the mercies [or 'because of the compassion and kindness'] of God, that ye [you] present your bodies [your entire selves] [to God] [as] a living sacrifice, holy [without blemish or defect], acceptable [well-pleasing] unto God, which is your reasonable service [or 'since it is the reasonable, or right, thing to do']."
One Bible commentator noted that Paul's carefully worded appeal in the above verse is a good example for preachers. According to Mr. Barnes:
"Ministers of the gospel should be gentle, tender, and affectionate. They should be kind in feeling, and courteous in manner--like a father or mother. Nothing is ever gained by a sour, harsh, crabbed, dissatisfied manner. Sinners are never scolded either into duty or into heaven. Flies are never caught with vinegar. No man is a better or more faithful preacher because he is rough in manner, coarse, or harsh in his expressions, or sour in his intercourse [interactions] with mankind. Not thus was the Master [Jesus] or Paul …"
(Source for above quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/romans/12-1.html, "The Biblical Illustrator" - "A lesson to ministers")
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Note: If you want to be saved but don't know what to do, you'll find detailed instructions for the plan of salvation in most of the tracts in the "Printable Gospel Tracts" section of my website. Here's a direct link to that page: https://www.mansioninheaven.com/PrintableGospelTracts.html.
In a letter to members of the Corinthian church, the apostle Paul wrote:
In 1 Corinthians 11:3:
"But I [Paul] would have you know, that the head [leader, ruler, master] of every man is [Jesus] Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God [the Father]."
Paul says that, especially in regard to the Christian religion, women are subordinate to (lower in rank or position than, and under the authority or control of) men, men are subordinate to Jesus, and Jesus is subordinate to God.
In other words, concerning leadership positions in both the church and home, according to the Bible:
-- God the Father is at the top (#1).
-- Next is the Lord Jesus Christ--Son of God (or God the Son) (#2).
-- Then comes the man (#3).
-- Then comes the woman (#4).
This instruction from God was delivered by Moses to the people of Israel as part of Old Testament law.
"The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth [pertains] unto a man [or 'which is designed specifically for men'], neither shall a man put on a woman's garment [item of clothing]: for all [people] that do so [cross-dress, or wear clothes of the opposite sex] are abomination [a hateful, detestable, disgusting thing] unto the LORD thy [your] God."
Some Bible commentators agree that there may be one exception to the above rule: to save a life. According to Matthew Poole: "This [cross-dressing] shall not be done ordinarily or unnecessarily, for in some cases it may be lawful, as to make an escape for one's life …"
(Source for above quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/deuteronomy/22-5.html, "Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible")
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After reading the above verse, you may have questions about cross-dressing and women wearing pants. Here are two articles I found that deal with those subjects:
-- "What does the Bible say about cross-dressing / transvestism?"
-- "Should Christian women wear pants?"
Don't Believe False Teachers!
The apostle Paul, in his letter to the churches of Galatia, wrote:
In Galatians 1:6-7:
"I [Paul] marvel [am amazed] that ye [you Galatians] are so soon [after your conversion] removed from him [God] that called you into the grace of Christ [referring to salvation by faith--trusting in the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ to pay for our sins] unto another gospel [i.e., one of works, not faith, which requires us to continually do good deeds and take part in religious rites and ceremonies instead of simply trusting in Christ in order to be saved]: Which [thing] is not another [gospel--because there is only one true gospel]; but there be some [people--false teachers] that trouble you, and [who] would pervert [corrupt, distort, misinterpret] the gospel of Christ [which involves simple reliance upon the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation]."
In Galatians 1:8-9:
"But though we [Paul and the other apostles], or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you [i.e., one of salvation by faith, not works], let him [or her] be accursed [under a curse from God, doomed to destruction]. As we said before [in the previous verse], so say I [Paul] now again, If any man [or woman or child--or angel] preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received [in the past], let him [or her] be accursed."
Don't be misled. According to the Bible, there is only one true gospel; i.e., salvation is through faith, not works. This is confirmed by Ephesians 2:8-9.
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In his commentary on Galatians 1:7, Stanley Derickson wrote:
"Paul seems to be confused - he says they are taken away to another gospel, but it is not another gospel. So, how is that? I think what he is saying here is that they thought they were called away from the gospel of grace to another gospel, a gospel of works. However, in truth there is no other gospel than the gospel of grace, so the gospel of works is not really a gospel.
"If this is what he is saying, then apply that one to our society today. How many ways are there to heaven? One, through the gospel of grace, and you can label all other gospels as gospels not being gospels - all are false teaching, and false gospels.
"He [Paul] goes on to explain that the people that they [the Galatians] are listening to are PERVERTING the gospel of Christ. Their gospel was not true - it was a perversion of the true gospel of Christ. The gospel of Christ is pure and simple, but these Judaizers [Christians who believe it is necessary to adopt Jewish customs] were perverting that simple and pure gospel by adding requirements to what God had set for the ages before the foundation of the world.
"Humm, does that seem a little arrogant [having an attitude of superiority] to you - someone looking at the gospel that God set down before the foundation of the world and saying it isn't quite good enough - I think we have to work a little for it as well - in essence, God isn't able to define and institute a gospel that can save, but we - those that need to be saved - know what is lacking and we can supply it - I hope that sounds ludicrous [ridiculous] to you for indeed it truly is ludicrous for man to be able to assist God in his own salvation.
"These [false teachers] will 'trouble' you - or cause commotion within, to disquiet, to strike with fear, or to render anxious or dreadful. This word describes well the emotions of one that has accepted the gospel of Christ, and has been given teaching that brings into question that simple and pure gospel.
"One that questions their salvation, is often fearful of loosing [losing] their salvation, anxious about how they are living their life - afraid that they are disappointing God. In reality many brought up in the 50-60's Bible belt environment were as described - fearful and anxious about their salvation and their life before God. Many questioned whether they were even saved, many thought they were total failures in their Christian lives.
"The cure to all this fear was to stop listening to that inner voice that troubles you - that voice of doubt in the God that said He had saved you. He designed it, He instituted it, and He delivered it to you and you sit in your arrogance and question whether He did it right or not! Please, have confidence in the God that called you unto Himself for His own glory.
"Please, also do not allow a mere man or mere book bring total upset to your soul when they try to add to the requirements that have already been met for your salvation - God did it all and no matter what someone tells you, HE DID IT ALL and YOU CAN DO NOTHING TO ASSIST HIM - NOTHING. He did it in the past and it is complete, so how in the world can you do anything to help in the completed process? You simply and unequivocally cannot.
"The thought of the word 'troubled' is the exact opposite of the term translated peace in the previous verses. They were taking away the peace that the Gospel can give to the soul. They were causing turmoil [confusion, uncertainty] in the lives of the believers when they should have been enjoying peace and tranquility [calmness]."
(Source for above quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/galatians/1-7.html, last commentary on the page)
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Good advice from Stanley Derickson regarding false teachers:
"Question ALL you read and hear and trust nothing unless it lines up squarely with the Word of God. Even if it comes from a trusted friend, a trusted teacher, a trusted preacher, or a trusted acquaintance, don"t you accept it unless you first compare it to the [Bible, which is the] Word of God."
(Source for above quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/galatians/1-8.html, last comment on the page)
Keeping Our Promises
The Corinthian church had taken a collection for the poor Christians at Jerusalem and in Judea but had not yet given them the money, which prompted the apostle Paul to mention that fact in one of his letters. Hoping to convince the Corinthian church members to keep their promise (because good intentions are meaningless unless they're acted upon), he wrote:
In 2 Corinthians 9:1:
"For as touching [concerning] the ministering [ministry] to [or 'meeting the needs of'] the saints [Christians] [at Jerusalem and in Judea, which you have intended to do], it is superfluous [unnecessary] for me to write [more] to you [about this subject (i.e., charity)]:"
In 2 Corinthians 9:2:
"For [because] I know the forwardness of your mind [your eagerness or readiness to help those poor people], for which [reason] I boast of [brag about] you to them [the churches] of Macedonia [a country in Greece], [by telling them] that Achaia [i.e., the group of Christians living in the part of Greece of which Corinth was the capital] was ready [to take an offering] a year ago; and your zeal [your enthusiasm and willingness to collect money for the poor Christians at Jerusalem and in Judea] hath provoked [has stirred] very many [of the Christians in Macedonia] [to action, or to do the same]."
The reaction that the Christians in Macedonia had when Paul mentioned that the Corinthians had taken a collection for the Christians at Jerusalem and in Judea shows that by doing kind things for people who need our help, we silently (through our actions) encourage others to do the same.
In Proverbs 18:12, King Solomon wrote:
"Before destruction [or 'before a person's downfall,'] the heart of man [or 'mankind,' referring to a person's (a man's, woman's, or child's) inner being] is haughty [arrogant, conceited, full of pride], and before honour is [true and genuine] humility."
Pride destroys people, but humility brings them honor and respect.
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Pastor Jim Delany of Salem Bible Church has a good commentary on this verse. Here's an excerpt from the first part, about destruction due to pride:
"6. When Solomon observed people whose lives came crashing down around them, he noted that it was usually preceded by PRIDE of one sort or another.
"a. Solomon saw people's lives smashed like broken pottery…
"b. He observed families crumble… like a high stone wall and left as a pile of rubble…
"c. He saw lives fractured, crushed, broken, and ruined…
"d. He observed as many shattered lives as we observe today…
"e. So he studied those lives… he thought about what LED up to the destruction and ruin.
"f. And time and time again, his observations led him to conclude that pride was at the root of very many of those ruined lives.
"g. Prov. 6:16, 17 -- Perhaps this is why he [Solomon] included pride as one of the seven deadly sins. In fact, it is on TOP of the list!
"h. Prov. 16:18 -- Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.
"• The fall could be a physical fall--chastening.
"• The fall could be a moral fall--into sin.
"• I Cor. 10:12 -- "Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall!"
"• We are warned repeatedly, especially in gray areas, about pride.
"• Pride says, 'I can handle this. It won't bother me.'
"• I can skate on thin ice. I won't fall in!
"• I don't need God. I can do this myself.
"• I can handle reading all these romance novels; I can handle watching all these movies; I can handle a little flirting; I can handle a beer once in a while; I can get by just going to morning [church] service; it won't affect me! I can handle reading the Word [i.e., the Bible] once in a while… I'm strong!'
"• I can handle going out with this unsaved girl or guy. I'll win them to Christ. I can handle this situation.'
"• [The apostle] Paul WARNS us about that kind of pride that pushes liberty to the edge…
"• Solomon isn't directly warning us. Rather, he is giving us his own observations in life: People who THINK they can stand (because of pride) often fall… and they fall hard.
"i. Prov. 11:2 -- Pride usually results in shame…
"• The man who THOUGHT he could stand soon discovers that he was not able to do so…
"• His fall brings him shame… embarrassment… even disgrace.
"• He THOUGHT he could flirt and get away with it… but it led to something far more serious--and he fell morally.
"• He brought shame into his life.
"• The man who THOUGHT he could handle working three jobs to buy all the best things… ends up loosing [losing] his kids to drugs… and instead of bringing joy, they bring him shame…
"• The proud teenager who BOASTS that he can jump off cliffs with his motorcycle--or some other silly stunt, ends up in a wheelchair… and is ashamed of how stupid he was.
"j. Prov. 17:19 -- He that exalteth his gate seeketh destruction.
"• Here Solomon adds another note: the person who exalts himself is actually SEEKING for destruction!
"• Obviously, the proud person would disagree.
"• When calamity strikes, he usually bemoans himself: poor me! How did this ever happen?
"• But Solomon has already given him the warning. He KNOWS the outcome of pride--it is followed by destruction.
"• Hence, the one who KNOWS that… and continues in his vain, proud ways, is in reality SEEKING for destruction.
"• In other words, he's LOOKING for trouble… and he will eventually find it."
If you want to read more of Pastor Delany's commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-18-index/proverbs-18_12/.
What Jesus Said About Vengeance, Forgiveness, and Litigation
Preaching to the multitude (crowd) during his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said:
In Matthew 5:38:
"Ye [you] have heard that it hath [has] been said [in the Old Testament, referring to the law of retaliation (revenge)], An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth [meaning courts were to punish bad behavior fairly by, for example, taking an eye from an attacker who intentionally injured the eye of a victim, and taking a tooth from an attacker who intentionally injured a victim's tooth, and taking the life of a person who intentionally murdered someone else]:
In Matthew 5:39:
"But I [Jesus] say unto you, That ye resist not evil [people, when they intend to do (or have already done) you harm]: but whosoever shall smite thee [or 'whoever shall punch, strike, or hit you hard with a hand, stick, or other weapon'] on thy [your] right cheek [jawbone], turn to him [or her] the other [cheek] also."
In Matthew 5:40-41:
"And if any man [or woman] will sue thee [you] at the law [or 'in court'] [or 'if any person will file a lawsuit'], and take away thy coat, let him [or her] have thy cloke [cloak: a loose outer garment, such as a cape] also. And whosoever shall compel [force] thee to go a mile [which, in Rome, was 1,000 paces], go with him [or her] twain [two] [miles]."
Today's popular expressions an eye for an eye and turn the other cheek come from this passage.
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Albert Barnes' has a detailed commentary on the above verses. In it, he explains:
"An eye for an eye … - This command is found in Exodus 21:24; Leviticus 24:20, and Deuteronomy 19:21. In these places it was given as a rule to regulate the decisions of judges. They were to take eye for eye, and tooth for tooth, and to inflict burning for burning. As a judicial rule it is not unjust. Christ finds no fault with the rule as applied to magistrates, and does not take upon himself to repeal it. But instead of confining it to magistrates, the Jews had extended it to private conduct, and made it the rule by which to take revenge. They considered themselves justified by this rule to inflict the same injury on others that they had received. Our Saviour remonstrates against this. He declares that the law had no reference to private revenge, that it was given only to regulate the magistrate, and that their private conduct was to be governed by different principles.
"The general principle which he laid down was, that we are not to resist evil; that is, as it is in the Greek, nor to set ourselves against an evil person who is injuring us. But even this general direction is not to be pressed too strictly. Christ did not intend to teach that we are to see our families murdered, or be murdered ourselves; rather than to make resistance. The law of nature, and all laws, human and divine, justify self-defense when life is in danger. It cannot surely be the intention to teach that a father should sit by coolly and see his family butchered by savages, and not be allowed to defend them. Neither natural nor revealed religion ever did, or ever can, inculcate this doctrine. Our Saviour immediately explains what he means by it. Had he intended to refer it to a case where life is in danger, he would most surely have mentioned it. Such a case was far more worthy of statement than those which he did mention.
"A doctrine so unusual, so unlike all that the world had believed. and that the best people had acted on, deserved to be formally stated. Instead of doing this, however, he confines himself to smaller matters, to things of comparatively trivial interest, and says that in these we had better take wrong than to enter into strife and lawsuits. The first case is where we are smitten on the cheek. Rather than contend and fight, we should take it patiently, and turn the other cheek. This does not, however, prevent our remonstrating firmly yet mildly on the injustice of the thing, and insisting that justice should be done us, as is evident from the example of the Saviour himself. See John 18:23. The second evil mentioned is where a man is litigious and determined to take all the advantage the law can give him, following us with vexatious and expensive lawsuits. Our Saviour directs us, rather than to imitate him rather than to contend with a revengeful spirit in courts of justice to take a trifling injury, and yield to him. This is merely a question about property, and not about conscience and life.
"Coat - The Jews wore two principal garments, an interior and an exterior. The interior, here called the 'coat,' or the tunic, was made commonly of linen, and encircled the whole body, extending down to the knees. Sometimes beneath this garment, as in the case of the priests, there was another garment corresponding to pantaloons. The coat, or tunic, was extended to the neck. and had long or short sleeves. Over this was commonly worn an upper garment, here called 'cloak,' or mantle. It was made commonly nearly square, of different sizes, 5 or 6 cubits long and as many broad, and was wrapped around the body, and was thrown off when labor was performed. If, said Christ, an adversary wished to obtain, at law, one of these garments, rather than contend with him let him have the other also …
"Whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile - The word translated 'shall compel' is of Persian origin. Post-offices were then unknown. In order that the royal commands might be delivered with safety and despatch in different parts of the empire, Cyrus stationed horsemen at proper intervals on all the great public highways. One of those delivered the message to another, and intelligence was thus rapidly and safely communicated. These heralds were permitted to compel any person, or to press any horse, boat, ship, or other vehicle that they might need for the quick transmission of the king's commandments. It was to this custom that our Saviour refers. Rather, says he, than resist a public authority requiring your attendance and aid for a certain distance, go peaceably twice the distance …"
(Source for Barnes quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/matthew-5.html, "Verses 38-41")
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Regarding Matthew 5:38, James Burton Coffman wrote:
"… Passages which contain this injunction ['an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth'] are Exodus 21:24; Leviticus 24:20; and Deuteronomy 19:21. Harsh and demanding as such a principle appears to enlightened people of our day, it should be remembered that it was a tremendously significant advance above and beyond the primitive thinking of the untrained people who first heard it. The law of the jungle was far different: (1) If you kill my child, I will kill all your children, your wife, your brothers, your whole generation! (2) If you knock out my tooth (or eye), I will knock out ALL of yours and kill you also! Thus, the ancient Law of the Hebrews was a vast improvement in that it strictly limited punitive action [punishment] to the extent of the original injury or loss that precipitated it."
(Source for above quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/matthew/5-38.html, "Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible")
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In addition to the above, GotQuestions.org has an article that answers the question, "What does the Bible mean by 'an eye for an eye'?" If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/eye-for-an-eye.html.
This was King David's prayer to God.
"Let the words of my mouth [everything that I say], and the meditation of my heart [all of my thoughts], be acceptable in thy [your] sight [or 'be pleasing to you'], O LORD, [because you are] my strength, and my redeemer [i.e., the one who has redeemed (rescued, delivered, saved) me from my sins]."
Hopefully, if you're a born-again Christian, the above prayer can be your prayer, too.
Some Characteristics of "Good" Christians
These are examples of how Christians should behave, according to the Apostle Paul.
"Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love [be kind to your fellow Christians; treat them like family]; in honour preferring [having mutual love and respect for] one another;"
"Not slothful [not lazy] in business [employment, jobs, whatever we do]; [but being] fervent in spirit [i.e., having an enthusiastic attitude]; serving the Lord [doing things that please God and help to spread the gospel];"
"Rejoicing in hope [having a joyful and confident hope of eternal life]; [being] patient in tribulation [i.e., remaining calm during trouble, suffering, and/or hard times]; continuing instant [persevering] in prayer [or 'praying often'];"
"Distributing to the necessity of saints [helping those in need, especially Christians]; given to hospitality [being friendly, generous, and kind to strangers and guests]."
Jesus Loves All People, Especially Children
"Then were there brought unto him [Jesus, probably by their parents, guardians, nurses, etc.] little children [very young children and babies], [so] that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them [the people who had brought the little children to Jesus] [by telling them that it was an improper thing to do]."
"But Jesus said [to his disciples], Suffer [allow] little children, and forbid them not [don't forbid them], to come unto me: for [comprised, consisting] of such [types of people] is the kingdom of heaven [see note below*]."
"And he [Jesus] laid his hands on [or 'blessed'] them [the little children], and departed thence [went away from there]."
Here are some articles pertaining to the above verses that you might like to read:
-- "What does it mean that Jesus loves the little children?"
-- "Why did Jesus say, 'Let the little children come to me'?"
-- "What is the difference between the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven?"
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*The phrase of such is the kingdom of heaven in verse 14 above (Matthew 19:14) means that heaven's inhabitants include little children (those who are too young to understand God's simple plan of salvation, which is explained in the tracts on my website--https://www.mansioninheaven.com/PrintableGospelTracts.html), plus older children and adults who come to Christ (Jesus) with humility and childlike faith and get saved.
Advice for Christians ("Soldiers" in the Lord's Army)
The apostle Paul's advice is not only for ministers of the gospel (like Timothy, to whom his letter was written) but also for all Christians.
2 Timothy 2:3:
"Thou [you] therefore [should] endure hardness [hardship, trouble, afflictions], as a good soldier of Jesus Christ."
2 Timothy 2:4:
"No man [or 'no person'] that warreth [who goes to war] entangleth himself [or herself] [or 'becomes entangled, involved, ensnared'] with the affairs [daily events] of this life; [a minister and/or Christian should endure hardness as described in the note below*] [so] that he [or she] may please him [referring to Jesus] who hath [has] chosen him [or her] to be a soldier."
*In his commentary on verse 4, Albert Barnes says:
"… Neither the minister nor the soldier is to be encumbered with the affairs of this life, and the one should not be more than the other. This is always a condition in becoming a soldier. He gives up his own business during the time for which he is enlisted, and devotes himself to the service of his country. The farmer leaves his plow, and the mechanic his shop, and the merchant his store, and the student his books, and the lawyer his brief; and neither of them expect to pursue these things while engaged in the service of their country …"
(Source for quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/2-timothy-2.html, "Verse 4")
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In light of the above quote from Albert Barnes, you may be wondering if it's okay for a pastor to have an outside job to help support his family and pay the bills. That question is answered in the article entitled "Should pastors be paid a salary?" If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/pastors-paid-salary.html.
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TODAY IS VETERANS DAY
If you're a veteran, thank you so much for
Note: Veterans Day and Memorial Day are not the same, as is explained in the following article: "5 Facts to Know About Veterans Day." If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.defense.gov/Explore/Features/story/Article/1675470/5-facts-to-know-about-veterans-day/.
defending our country in times of peace and/or war.
We greatly appreciate your service and the sacrifices
that you and your family members have been
willing to make in order to keep us free.
God Creates the Sun, Moon, and Stars
In Genesis 1:1, we're told that God created heaven and earth. The process of creation, including a day of rest, took a total of seven days. According to the Bible, this is what happened on Day 4.
"And God said, Let there be lights [referring to the sun and moon] in the firmament of the heaven [in outer space] to divide [separate] the day from the night; and let them [the sun and moon] be for signs [of good and bad weather, time for planting and harvesting crops, etc.], and for seasons [of summer, winter, spring, and fall], and for days, and years: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so."
Genesis 1:16, 17-18:
"And God made two great lights; the greater light [the sun, which produces its own light and is bigger, brighter, and greater in intensity than the moon] to rule the day, and the lesser light [the moon, which reflects the light of the sun] to rule the night: he made the stars also. And God set [placed, put] them [all--sun, moon, and stars] in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good [or 'a good thing']."
"And the evening and the morning were the fourth day [of creation]."
"And when the LORD raised them up judges [or 'when God appointed men with high moral standards to govern the children of Israel (Israelites, Jews)'], then the LORD was with the judge, and delivered them [the Jewish people] out of the hand of their enemies [meaning he rescued them from their enemies] all the days of the judge [for as long as the judge lived]: for it repented the LORD because of their groanings [the Israelites' complaints] by reason of them [the people] that oppressed [overpowered] them and vexed [tormented] them [in other words, God felt sorry for the Jews when they complained about the oppression and the cruelty of their enemies, so he changed his mind and came to their aid]."
"And it came to pass, when the judge was dead, that they [the Jews] returned [to their evil ways], and corrupted themselves more than their fathers [or 'forefathers,' meaning they were worse than previous generations], in following other gods [idols] to serve them [i.e., the idols], and to bow down unto them; they [the Israelites] ceased not from their own doings [didn't stop 'doing their own thing'], nor [did they cease] from their stubborn way [of refusing to obey God]."
Governments need good leaders. In these verses, with Israel as an example, we learn that God helps nations that have godly leaders and that when those leaders are gone, the people usually return to their old (ungodly, immoral) ways.
"But God commendeth [has expressed, shown, proven, given clear evidence of] his love toward us [everyone in the world], in that, while we were yet [still] sinners, Christ [Jesus] died [on the cross] for us [or 'to pay for our sins']."
"Much more then, being now justified [pardoned, accepted as righteous by God] by his [Jesus'] blood [see note below*], we shall be saved from [God's] wrath [anger] [and from punishment for sin in the flames of hell] through him [through Jesus' death]."
If you want to be saved from hell 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.
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*For an explanation of the importance and power of Jesus' blood, read "What is the meaning of the blood of Christ?" Here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/blood-of-Christ.html.
"The words of the LORD [as recorded in the Bible] are pure words [i.e., they are true (not mixed with any falsehood) and can be trusted, or relied upon]: [God's words are] as [pure as] silver [which has been] tried [refined repeatedly] in a furnace of earth [or a furnace that is on or in the earth--see note below*], [and] purified seven times [so that it is free from impurities or corruption]."
Today's verse tells why we can trust in God and his word.
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*Regarding the furnace of earth referred to above, Albert Barnes said:
"As silver tried in a furnace of earth - The word here rendered 'furnace' properly means a workshop. Perhaps it corresponds nearly with our word 'laboratory,' as the term is now used by chemists. It evidently refers to some place where the metal was tried and purified. The words rendered 'of earth' literally mean 'on the earth,' or 'in the earth?' The language does not mean that the 'furnace' was 'made' of earth, as would seem to be implied in our version, but that the 'furnace' or laboratory was erected on the earth, or in the earth. It may refer to something like a crucible [a ceramic or metal container] placed on the ground, around which a fire of intense heat could be made. It is probable that some such structure would be made near the mines where ore was obtained, and that the ore would be thus purified from dross [waste or impure matter] before it was removed."
(Source for quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/psalms-12.html, "Verse 6")
"Depart from [turn aside from, stay away from, stop doing] evil [things], and do good [things--to and for all people]; seek [try to achieve (obtain) and preserve (keep)] peace, and pursue it [when necessary, or, in other words, try to restore the peace (get it back) if lost]."
Regarding the first part of this verse, about departing from evil, John Gill wrote:
"… This denotes that evil is near to men; it keeps close to them, and should be declined [refused] and shunned [avoided]: and it regards all sorts of evil; evil men, and their evil company; evil things, evil words and works, and all appearance of evil; and the fear of the Lord shows itself in an hatred of it [evil], and a departure from it, Proverbs 8:13 …"
(Source for John Gill quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/psalms/34-14.html, "John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible")
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Commenting on the last part of this verse, about pursuing peace, Albert Barnes wrote:
"… Make it [peace] an object of desire, and put forth constant efforts to live in peace with all human beings. There can be no doubt that this is appropriate advice to one who wishes to lengthen out his days. We have only to remember how many are cut down by indulging in a quarrelsome [argumentative], litigious [lawsuit-threatening], and contentious [controversial] spirit - by seeking revenge - by quarrels, duels, wars, and strife [conflict]- to see the wisdom of this counsel."
(Source for Barnes quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/psalms-34.html, "Verse 14")
"Call unto me [God--through prayer], and I will answer thee [you], and shew thee [I will show, reveal, or make known to you] great and mighty things [which are hidden and], which thou [you] knowest not [do not know]."
In the above verse, God was encouraging his prophet Jeremiah, who was in prison, to pray.
Like Jeremiah, born-again Christians are never alone. Whenever we need companionship, help concerning current events, and guidance concerning future events, we should seek God's face in prayer.
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Note: GotQuestions.org has an article that answers the question "What does it mean to seek God's face in prayer?" If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/seek-Gods-face.html.