DECEMBER 30-31

Hebrews 12:5-8 - Christians Are Loved by God and Chastened When Necessary
In a letter to the Hebrew Christians, the apostle Paul wrote:

Verse 5: "And [it appears that] ye [you] have forgotten the exhortation [encouragement or urging to do something] [in Proverbs 3:11-12] which speaketh [was addressed] unto you as unto children [ i.e.:], My son, despise not thou [don't ignore or regard as an unimportant thing] the chastening [correction] of the Lord, nor faint [and don't faint … or be sure to bear up (remain strong and cheerful) with faith and patience; don't be discouraged] when thou art [you are] rebuked of [criticized or reprimanded by] him [God]:"

Verse 6: "For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth
[because God loves Christians, he corrects us when we do wrong--see note below*], and [he (God)] scourgeth [disciplines] every son [person] whom he receiveth [into the 'family of God'--through spiritual birth (referring to born-again Christians)]."

Verses 7-8: "If ye endure chastening
[if you experience correction], God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not [does not chasten]? But if ye be without chastisement [punishment, or correction of faults], whereof all are partakers [of which all true children of God take part], then are ye bastards [illegitimate children] and not sons [children] [of God]."

These verses apply to all born-again Christians.
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*According to Albert Barnes, the phrase For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth in verse 6 "… means that it is a universal rule that God sends trials on those whom he truly loves. It does not, of course, mean that he sends chastisement which is not deserved; or that he sends it 'for the mere purpose' of inflicting pain. That cannot be. But it means that by his chastisements he shows that he has a paternal care for us. He does not treat us with neglect and unconcern, as a father often does his illegitimate child. The very fact that he [God] corrects us shows that he has toward us a father's feelings, and exercises toward us a paternal care. If he did not, he would let us go on without any attention, and leave us to pursue a course of sin that would involve us in ruin …"

(Source for above quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/hebrews-12.html, "Verse 6")

DECEMBER 29

Proverbs 29:11: "A fool uttereth
[speaks out about, makes known to others, tells] all [that is on] his [or her] mind [referring to his (or her) thoughts and emotions--everything that he (or she) thinks and feels]: but a wise man [or woman or child] keepeth it in [doesn't say anything, exercises self-control] till afterwards [until the right time--see below*]."
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*In his commentary on this verse, which compares fools to wise men, Pastor Delany of Salem Bible Church says:

-- "The fool loudly and publically proclaims his irrational thoughts, his assumptions, his foolish ideas, and his uncontrolled emotions … [He] utters his whole mind and heart. Whatever pops into his head… whatever he happens to be feeling at the moment is sure to come out of his mouth--with little to no thought."

-- On the other hand, the wise man "waits for the right time … waits until he has thought it through … waits until he has all the facts … waits until his emotions have cooled down … waits and thinks of the best way to word what he is trying to say … waits to say many things in private."

If you want to read more of the commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-29-index/proverbs-29_11/
.

DECEMBER 26-28

Romans 2:6-11 - God as Righteous Judge on Judgment Day

Verse 6: "Who
[referring to God] [on judgment day] will render to [reward or punish] every man [and woman and child] according to his [or her] deeds [actions, things that have been done]:"

 Verse 7: "To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality
[to those who are truly saved, have tried to do things that are pleasing to God, and look forward to having a home in heaven someday], [God will give] eternal life:"

Verses 8-9: "But unto them that are contentious
[have rebelled against God], and do not obey the truth [of the gospel] [meaning they have not been saved (born again) according to the Bible], but [who] obey unrighteousness [meaning they have been the 'servants of sin'], [God will show his] indignation [strong displeasure] and wrath [anger], [and he will send] Tribulation [severe trials or suffering] and anguish [extreme pain or misery] [in hell], upon every soul of man that doeth evil [referring to every person who is not saved], of the Jew [Jewish people] first, and also of the Gentile [non-Jews];"

Verse 10: "But glory, honour, and peace,
[will be given] to every man [and woman and child] that worketh good [meaning those who are saved and have tried to obey God's word], to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:"

Verse 11: "For there is no respect of persons with God
[in other words, God treats everyone fairly and equally; he does not show favoritism]."

In heaven one day, all people (both saved and unsaved, believers and unbelievers) will stand before the throne of Almighty God, who is a holy and righteous judge, and be rewarded or punished as we deserve, according to our actions while we lived on earth.

For unbelievers, judgment will include everything that was thought, said, and done by them during their lifetime. It is based upon their past conduct (actual behavior), as well as their thoughts, motives (reasons for doing things), and moral principles (standards of behavior).

For believers (born-again Christians), judgment will only cover our actions since we got saved. Here is what Charles F. Stanley, a Baptist pastor, and founder and president of In Touch Ministries, said in paragraph 1 of his article entitled "The Judgment of Believers [which takes place at the judgment seat of Christ]":

"… From the day of our salvation, we have been accountable to Him [God] for every word and deed, and God's desire is to reward us for how we have lived. We will be evaluated for what we have done with the gifts, abilities, talent, skills, relationships, vocations, and finances He's given us."

A little farther down in the article, he adds this:

"There are three criteria by which [Jesus] Christ will judge us. First, He will take into account how much spiritual light we have had. When we are first saved, we know very little and will be judged accordingly. But after spending a lifetime in the Word of God, we will then be held responsible for the truth we now know.

"Jesus will also factor in the opportunities God has given us. There will be no comparisons between people at the judgment because every person is uniquely created and gifted by God. Each one of us will give an account for what we've done with the opportunities He has given us. In whatever we do and however we're gifted, our ambition should be to live in a wise and godly manner that brings God glory and honor.

"And finally, Christ will consider what we have done with the time and talents God entrusted to us. Christ will evaluate both our motives and our works. "

If you want to read the rest of the article, here's the link: https://www.intouch.org/read/blog/the-judgment-of-believers.

Note:
If you want to appear at the judgment seat of Christ rather than the Great White Throne Judgment, you need to be saved.

Basically, if you believe that Jesus Christ (God's Son) died on the cross to pay for your sins and that he was buried and rose again, all you need to do is sincerely ask him, through prayer (either silently or out loud), to come into your heart and save you so you can go to heaven when you die.

For detailed instructions for the plan of salvation, visit the "Printable Gospel Tracts" section of my website. Here's a direct link to that page: https://www.mansioninheaven.com/PrintableGospelTracts.html.

DECEMBER 24-25

Luke 2:8-14 - Birth of Jesus

Verse 8: "And there were in the same country
[referring to Judea, the area around Bethlehem, where Mary and Joseph had gone to pay their taxes,] shepherds abiding [dwelling, living, residing] in the field, keeping watch over their flock [of sheep] by night [to prevent them from straying (wandering) and to protect them from harm]."

Verse 9: "And, lo, the angel of the Lord
[perhaps Gabriel] came upon [appeared to] them [the shepherds], and the glory of the Lord [an extremely bright light] shone round about [around] them: and they were sore afraid [frightened, terrified, filled with fear]."

Verses 10-12: "And the angel said unto them
[the shepherds], Fear not [don't be afraid]: for, behold, I bring you good tidings [news] of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David [i.e., Bethlehem] a Saviour, which is [Jesus] Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe [baby, infant] wrapped in swaddling clothes [see note below*], lying in a manger [a feeding trough for horses and cattle]."

Verses 13-14: "And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude
[large number] of the heavenly host [angels] praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest [heavens], and on earth peace [because Jesus' future death on the cross to pay for the sin of the world (John 1:29) would make it possible for us to have peace with God and with one another], [and] good will toward men [mankind, human beings]."
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*Definition of swaddling clothes, according to online dictionaries: Narrow bands of cloth formerly wrapped around a newborn child to restrain its movements and quiet it.

The following article explains why Mary wrapped her son in swaddling clothes: "What does it mean that baby Jesus was wrapped in swaddling clothes?" If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/swaddling-clothes.html.

DECEMBER 23

Isaiah 9:6 - Names of (or descriptive titles for) Jesus and Their Meanings
Following a vision of future events, the prophet Isaiah wrote this about the birth of the Savior:

"For unto us [Jewish people first, and everyone else in the world] [for our benefit] a child [the Lord Jesus Christ (Son of God and Messiah)] is born [of (to) the virgin Mary], unto us a son [God the Son] is given [as a gift from God the Father]: and the government shall be upon his [the son's] shoulder [because Jesus will eventually be crowned King]:

and his
[Jesus'] name shall be called
Wonderful
[because he will inspire wonder, amazement, adoration],
Counsellor
[because he will have great wisdom and be qualified to guide and direct the human race],
The mighty God
[because he will be 'God in the flesh'--see note below*],
The everlasting Father
[because he will rule over his people forever],
The Prince of Peace
[because he will be the true source of peace]."
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*For an explanation of the meaning of the phrase God in the flesh, see the following article: "Is Jesus God in the flesh?" Here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/God-in-the-flesh.html.

DECEMBER 21-22

Luke 1:39-47 - The Birth of Jesus: Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth
This took place soon after the virgin Mary was informed by the angel Gabriel that she had been chosen to give birth to the Messiah (God's Son, Jesus). At the time, Elisabeth was six months pregnant.

Verses 39-40:  "And [the virgin] Mary arose [started out on a journey] in those days, and went into the hill country [of Judea] with haste [quickly], into a city of Juda [probably, the city of Hebron]; And entered into the house of Zacharias [Elisabeth's husband], and saluted [her cousin] Elisabeth."

Verses 41-42: "And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation
[greeting] of Mary, the babe [Elisabeth's unborn child, who would later be called John the Baptist] leaped in her [Elisabeth's] womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost [Holy Spirit]: And she spake out [cried out, exclaimed] with a loud voice, and said [to Mary], Blessed art thou [blessed (and to be honored) are you] among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy [your] womb [referring to baby Jesus]."

Verses 43-45: "And whence is this to me
[why is it], that the mother of my Lord [referring to the Lord Jesus Christ] should come to [visit] me? For, lo [take note:], as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe [my baby] leaped in my womb for joy. [This was not a normal 'kick' from an unborn child.] And blessed [happy] is she [Mary] that believed [the angel Gabriel]: for there shall be a performance [fulfillment] of those things which were told [to] her from the Lord [i.e., that Mary would conceive and give birth to the Son of God]."

Verses 46-47: "And Mary said, My soul doth
[does, or 'I do'] magnify [praise] the Lord [God], And my spirit hath [has] rejoiced in God my Saviour [referring to Mary's soon-to-be firstborn son, Jesus, who was (and is and always will be) the Messiah and Savior of the world]."

Everyone on earth, including Jesus' mother (the virgin Mary), needs a Savior to pay our sin debt.
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In his commentary, Albert Barnes wrote:

"… From these expressions of Elizabeth [i.e., 'blessed is she that believed,' in verse 45,] we may learn:

"1.That the spirit of prophecy had not entirely ceased among the Jews.

"2.That the Holy Spirit is the source of light, comfort, and joy.

"3.That everything about the birth of Jesus was remarkable, and that he must have been more than a mere man.

"4.That the prospect of the coming of the Messiah was one of great joy and rejoicing to ancient saints; and,

"5.That it was a high honor to be 'the mother' of him that should redeem mankind.

"It is from 'that honor' that the Roman Catholics have determined that it is right to worship the Virgin Mary and to offer prayers to her - an act of worship as idolatrous as any that could be offered to a creature. Because:

"1.It is not anywhere commanded in the Bible.

"2.It is expressly forbidden to worship any being but God, Exodus 34:14; Exodus 20:4-5; Deuteronomy 6:13-14; Isaiah 45:20.

"3.It is idolatry to worship or pray to a creature.

"4.It is absurd to suppose that the Virgin Mary can be in all places at the same time to hear the prayers of thousands at once, or to aid them. There is no idolatry more gross, and of course more wicked, than to worship the creature more than the Creator, Romans 1:25."

(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/luke-1.html, "Verse 45")

DECEMBER 18-20

Matthew 1:18-25 - The Birth of Jesus: Mary is told that she will bear God's Son

Verse 18: "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise
[in this manner]: When as his mother [the virgin] Mary was espoused [engaged to be married] to Joseph, before they came together [sexually, as husband and wife], she was found [to be] with child of the Holy Ghost [meaning she was found to be pregnant with baby Jesus, whom the Holy Spirit had created (formed) in her womb]."

Verse 19: "Then Joseph her
[future] husband, being a just [kind, tender, merciful] man, and not willing to make her a publick example [i.e., he was unwilling to embarrass Mary, humiliate her publicly, or cause her harm--see note below*], was minded [had decided] to put her away privily [privately (or separate himself from her); in other words, he considered breaking off their engagement]."

Verses 20-22: "But while he
[Joseph] thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord [probably Gabriel] appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son [descendant] of [King] David, fear not [don't be afraid] to take unto thee Mary [as] thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of [by] the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth [give birth to] a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins [which was Jesus' main reason for coming to earth]."

Verse 23: "Now all this was done,
[so] that it might be fulfilled [brought about] which was spoken of the Lord [God] [and prophesied] by the prophet [Isaiah, in Isaiah 7:14--see verse quoted below**], saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us."

Verses 24-25: "Then Joseph being raised from sleep
[having been awakened] did as the angel of the Lord had bidden [instructed] him, and took unto him [Mary as] his wife: And knew her not [they didn't have sex] till [until after] she had brought forth [given birth to] her firstborn [oldest] son: and he [Joseph] called his [the baby's] name JESUS."
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*Thankfully, we don't live in Bible days because, as Albert Barnes noted in his commentary on verse 19:

"… Adultery has always been considered a crime of a very heinous [evil or wicked] nature. In Egypt, it was punished by cutting off the nose of the adulteress; in Persia, the nose and ears were cut off; in Judea, the punishment was death by stoning … This punishment was also inflicted where the person was not married, but betrothed [engaged] … In this case, therefore, the regular punishment would have been death [for Mary] in this painful and ignominious [disgraceful, shameful] manner. Yet Joseph was a religious man - mild and tender; and he was not willing to complain of her to the magistrate [similar to a judge], and expose her to death, but sought to avoid the shame, and to put her away privately."

(Source for quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/matthew-1.html, "Verse 19")

**Isaiah 7:14: "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."

DECEMBER 17

Proverbs 17:25: "A foolish son
[or daughter--one who does stupid things and tends to get in trouble] is a grief [source of anger and/or frustration] to his [or her] father, and [is] [a cause of] bitterness [sorrow (sadness), trouble or annoyance, mental strain and stress] to her that bare [gave birth to] him [or her--meaning his (or her) mother]."

Note: Since this verse is mostly self-explanatory, there is no commentary for it on the Salem Bible Church website.

DECEMBER 14-16

2 Corinthians 12:2-4  - The Apostle Paul Mentions His "Out of Body" Experience

Verses 2-3: "I
[Paul] knew a man in Christ [a Christian, referring to himself] above [more than] fourteen years ago, (whether [he was] in the body, I cannot tell; or whether [he was] out of the body [or 'in the spirit'], I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one [had been] caught up to the third heaven [where God is--see note below*]."

Verse 4: "And I knew such a man, (whether
[he was] in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he [Paul] was caught up into paradise [heaven], and heard unspeakable [secret] words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter [speak] [i.e. he was not given permission to tell others what he saw and heard--see note below**]."
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*According to Albert Barnes, there are three heavens:

-- The atmosphere and clouds, from the earth to the stars
-- The starry heavens, where the sun, moon, and stars are located
-- The heavens beyond the stars, where we find God, angels, and the souls of Christians who have died

(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/2-corinthians-12.html, "Verse 2")

**In the Bible, nobody who went to heaven told others on earth about their experiences. Here's what Albert Barnes said about that in his commentary on verse 4:

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

"… The transaction here referred to is very remarkable. It is the only instance in the Scriptures of anyone who was taken to heaven, either in reality or in vision, and who returned again to the earth and was then qualified to communicate important truths about the heavenly world from personal observation. Enoch and Elijah were taken to heaven; but they returned not to converse with people. Elijah appeared with Moses in conversation with Jesus on the mount of transfiguration; but they conversed with him only about his decease, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. There would have been no propriety for them to have spoken to Jesus of heaven, for he came down from heaven and was in heaven, and they were not permitted to speak to the disciples of heaven. Lazarus was raised from the dead, but there is no intimation that they communicated any thing to the living about the heavenly world.

"Of all the million who have been taken to heaven, not one has been permitted to return to bear his testimony to its glories; to witness for God that he is faithful to his promises; to encourage his pious [religious] friends to persevere; or to invite his impenitent [unsaved] friends to follow him to that glorious world. And so fixed is the Law; so settled is the principle, that even Lazarus was not permitted to go, though at the earnest request of the rich man in hell, and warn his friends not to follow hint [him] to that world of woe. Muhammed indeed feigned [pretended] that he had made a journey to heaven, and he attempts to describe what he saw; and the difference between true inspiration and false or pretended inspiration is strikingly evinced by the difference between Paul's dignified silence … and the puerilities of the prophet of Mecca …"

For a description of Muhammad's journey to heaven,
see the commentary (link provided below).

"The fact that Paul was not permitted to communicate what he had seen is very remarkable. It is natural to ask why it is so? Why has not God sent down departed saints to tell people of the glories of heaven? Why does he not permit them to come and bear testimony to what they have seen and enjoyed? Why not come and clear up the doubts of the pious; why not come and convince a thoughtless world; why not come and bear honorable testimony for God that he is faithful to reward his people? And especially why did he not suffer [allow] Paul, whom he had permitted to behold the glories of paradise, to testify simply to what he had seen, and tell us what was there?"

"… the following may have been some of the reasons why Paul was not permitted to communicate what he saw to human beings:

"(1) It was designed for the support of Paul himself in view of the very remarkable trials which he was about to endure …

"(2) it is probable that if there were a full revelation of the glories of heaven we should not be able to comprehend it; or even if we did, we should be incredulous in regard to it …

"(3) there are great truths which it is not the design of God to reveal to human beings …

"(4) there is enough revealed of heaven for our guidance and comfort in this world. God has told us what it will be in general …

"(5) … his purpose is that we shall here walk by faith and not by sight … It may be added:

"(a) That we have all the truth which we shall ever have about heaven here below. No other messenger will come; none of the pious dead [born-again Christians who have died] will return. If people, therefore, are not willing to be saved in view of the truth which they have, they must be lost. God will communicate no more …"

The above numbered paragraphs only contain the highlights of each point.
For detailed explanations, see the commentary (link provided below).

To read the Mr. Barnes' entire commentary on verse 4, including the references, go to https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/2-corinthians-12.html, "Verse 4."

DECEMBER 13

1 Peter 5:8-9 - Watch Out for the Devil!
In a letter to Jewish Christians (and to all other born-again Christians, too), the apostle Peter wrote:

Verse 8: "Be sober [calm and collected (not drunk), having a sound mind], be vigilant [watchful]; because your adversary [enemy] the devil, as [like] a roaring lion, walketh about [on the earth], seeking whom he may devour [consume, eat, destroy]:"

Verse 9: "Whom
[referring to the devil] [you can] resist [oppose] [by being] stedfast [unwavering] in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions [or things that cause suffering, pain, and distress] [that you may be experiencing] are accomplished in [happening to] your brethren [fellow Christians] that are [alive] in the world."

Regarding Peter's warning against drunkenness (intoxication) in verse 8," Adam Clarke wrote: "… Strong drink is not only the way to the devil, but the devil's way into you; and Ye are such as the devil particularly May swallow down." (Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/1-peter/5-8.html, "Adam Clarke Commentary")

Commenting on verse 9, Albert Barnes said:

"… We are all liable to suffering. We are exposed to sickness, bereavement, death. We often feet [feel] as if we could not bear up under the sufferings that may be before us, and especially do we dread the great trial - death. It may furnish us some support and consolation to remember:

"(1) that this is the common lot of people. There is nothing special in our case. It proves nothing as to the question whether we are accepted of God, and are beloved by him, that we suffer; for those whom he has loved most have been often among the greatest sufferers. We often think that our sufferings are unique; that there have been none like them. Yet, if we knew all, we should find that thousands - and among them the most wise, and pure, and good - have endured sufferings of the same kind as ours, and perhaps far more intense in degree.

"(2) others have been conveyed triumphantly through their trials. We have reason to hope and to believe that we shall also [be triumphant], for:

"(a)our trials have been no greater than theirs have been; and,

"(b)their natural strength was no greater than ours. Many of them were timid, and shrinking, and trembling, and felt that they had no strength, and that they should fail under the trial.

"(3) the grace which sustained them can sustain us. The hand of God is not shortened that it cannot save; his ear is not heavy that it cannot hear. His power is as great, and his grace is as fresh, as it was when the first sufferer was supported by him; and that divine strength which supported David and Job in their afflictions, and the apostles and martyrs in theirs, is just as powerful as it was when they applied to God to be upheld in their sorrows.

"(4) we are especially fearful of death - fearful that our faith will fail, and that we shall be left to die without support or consolation. Yet let us remember that death is the common lot of man. Let us remember who have died - tender females; children; the timid and the fearful; those, in immense multitudes, who had no more strength by nature than we have. Let us think of our own kindred who have died. A wife has died, and shall a husband be afraid to die? A child, and shall a father? A sister, and shall a brother? It does much to take away the dread of death, to remember that a mother has gone through the dark valley; that that gloomy vale has been trod by delicate, and timid, and beloved sisters. Shall I be afraid to go where they have gone? Shall I apprehend that I shall find no grace that is able to sustain me where they have found it? Must the valley of the shadow of death be dark and gloomy to me, when they found it to be illuminated with the opening light of heaven? Above all, it takes away the fear of death when I remember that my Saviour has experienced all the horrors which can ever be in death; that he has slept in the tomb, and made it a hallowed resting-place."

(Source for Barnes quote:
https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/1-peter-5.html, "Verse 9")

DECEMBER 12

Philippians 2:4: "Look not every man
[or woman or child] [only] on his [or her] own things [in other words, people shouldn't be selfish or self-centered], but every man [and woman and child] [should look] also on the things of others [meaning they should also show an interest in the concerns of others, and help them if and when they are able to do so]."

In his commentary, Albert Barnes has much to say about the second part of this verse:

"But every man also on the things of others - It is the duty of every man to do this. No one is at liberty to live for himself or to disregard the wants of others. The object of this rule is to break up the narrow spirit of selfishness, and to produce a benevolent [kind] regard for the happiness of others. In respect to the rule we may observe:

"(1) We are not to be 'busybodies' in the concerns of others; see the references above. We are not to attempt to pry into their secret purposes. Every man has his own plans, and thoughts, and intentions, which no other one has a right to look into. Nothing is more odious [disgusting] than a meddler in the concerns of others.

"(2) we are not to obtrude [force upon others] our advice where it is not sought, or at unseasonable times and places, even if the advice is in itself good. No one likes to be interrupted to hear advice; and I have no right to require that he should suspend his business in order that I may give him counsel.

"(3) we are not to find fault with what pertains exclusively to him. We are to remember that there are some things which are his business, not ours; and we are to learn to 'possess our souls in patience,' if he does not give just as much as we think be ought to benevolent objects, or if he dresses in a manner not to please our taste, or if he indulges in things which do not accord exactly with our views. He may see reasons for his conduct which we do not; and it is possible that be may be right, and that, if we understood the whole case, we should think and act as he does. We often complain of a man because be does not give as much as we think he ought, to objects of charity; and it is possible that he may be miserably niggardly [stingy] and narrow. But it is also possible that he may be more embarrassed than we know of; or that he may just then have demands against him of which we are ignorant; or that he may have numerous poor relatives dependent on him; or that he gives much with 'the left hand' which is not known by 'the right hand.' At any rate, it is his business, not ours; and we are not qualified to judge until we understand the whole case.

"(4) we are not to be gossips about the concerns of others. We are not to hunt up small stories, and petty scandals respecting their families; we are not to pry into domestic affairs, and divulge them abroad, and find pleasure in circulating snell [bad?] things from house to house. There are domestic secrets, which are not to be betrayed; and there is scarcely an offence of a meaner or more injurious character than to divulge to the public what we have seen a family whose hospitality we have enjoyed.

"(5) where Christian duty and kindness require us to look into the concerns of others, there should be the utmost delicacy. Even children have their own secrets, and their own plans and amusements, on a small scale, quite as important to them as the greater games which we are playing in life; and they will feel the meddlesomeness of a busybody to be as odious to them as we should in our plans. A delicate parent, therefore, who has undoubtedly a right to know all about his children, will not rudely intrude into their privacies, or meddle with their concerns. So, when we visit the sick, while we show a tender sympathy for them, we should not be too particular in inquiring into their maladies or their feelings. So, when those with whom we sympathize have brought their calamities on themselves by their own fault, we should not ask too many questions about it. We should not too closely examine one who is made poor by intemperance [as in alcohol abuse], or who is in prison for crime. And so, when we go to sympathize with those who have been, by a reverse of circumstances, reduced from affluence [wealth] to penury [poverty], we should not ask too many questions. We should let them tell their own story. If they voluntarily make us their confidants, and tell us all about their circumstances, it is well; but let us not drag out the circumstances, or wound their feelings by our impertinent [rude] inquiries, or our indiscreet sympathy in their affairs. There are always secrets which the sons and daughters of misfortune would wish to keep to themselves.

"However, while these things are true, it is also true that the rule before us positively requires us to show an interest in the concerns of others; and it may be regarded as implying the following things:

"(1) We are to feel that the spiritual interests of everyone in the church is, in a certain sense, our own interest. The church is one. It is confederated together for a common object. Each one is entrusted with a portion of the honor of the whole, and the conduct of one member affects the character of all. We are, therefore, to promote, in every way possible, the welfare of every other member of the church. If they go astray, we are to admonish and entreat them; if they are in error, we are to instruct them; if they are in trouble, we are to aid them. Every member of the church has a claim on the sympathy of his brethren, and should be certain of always finding it when his circumstances are such as to demand it.

"(2) there are circumstances where it is proper to look with special interest on the temporal concerns of others. It is when the poor, the fatherless, and the afflicted must be sought out in order to be aided and relieved. They are too retiring and modest to press their situation on the attention of others, and they need that others should manifest a generous care in their welfare in order to relieve them. This is not improper interference in their concerns, nor will it be so regarded.

"(3) for a similar reason, we should seek the welfare of all others in a spiritual sense. We should seek to arouse the sinner, and lead him to the Saviour. He is blind, and will not come himself; unconcerned, and will not seek salvation; filled with the love of this world, and will not seek a better; devoted to pursuits that will lead him to ruin, and he ought to be apprised of it. It is no more an improper interference in his concerns to apprise [inform] him of his condition, and to attempt to lead him to the Saviour, than it is to warn a man in a dark night, who walks on the verge of a precipice [the edge of a cliff], of his peril [danger]; or to arouse [awaken] one from sleep whose house is in flames. In like manner, it is no more meddling with the concerns of another to tell him that there is a glorious heaven which may be his, than it is to apprise a man that there is a mine of golden ore on his farm. It is for the man's own interest, and it is the office of a friend to remind him of these things. He does a man a favor who tells him that he has a Redeemer, and that there is a heaven to which he may rise; he does his neighbor the greatest possible kindness who apprises him that there is a world of infinite woe, and tells him of an easy way by which he may escape it. The world around is dependant on the church of Christ to be apprised of these truths. The frivolous [carefree, not serious] ones will not warn the fools of their danger; the crowd that presses to the theater or the ballroom will not apprise those who are there that they are in the broad way to hell; and everyone who loves his neighbor, should feel sufficient interest in him to tell him that he may be eternally happy in heaven."

(Source for quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/philippians-2.html, "Verse 4")

DECEMBER 9-11

Matthew 22:15-22 - "Render Unto Caesar …"
This took place after Jesus told two parables while teaching in the temple:

Verse 15: "Then went the Pharisees [members of a religious sect (group), who considered themselves more righteous than the other Jewish people], and took counsel [sought advice, asked one another, discussed] how they might entangle [trap] him [Jesus] in his talk [or 'catch him in his words' during his conversation with them]."

Verses 16-17: "And they sent out unto him
[Jesus] their disciples [followers] [along] with the Herodians [members of a Jewish political party], saying, Master, we know that thou art [you are] true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man [and you don't care for any person] [i.e., Jesus always taught the truth from God, whether the listeners agreed or not]: for thou regardest not the person of men [you are not partial or biased (influenced by what people do and say)]. Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou [what do you think]? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar [pay taxes to the Roman government], or not?"

Verses 18-21: "But Jesus perceived
[recognized, understood] their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me [why do you test me], ye hypocrites [you pretenders]? Shew [show] me the tribute [tax] money. And they brought unto him a penny [a denarius, which was a small silver coin in ancient Rome]. And he [Jesus] saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription [whose picture, name, and title are engraved on the coin]? They say unto him, Caesar's [because he was the emperor and a representative of the Roman government]. Then saith [said] he [Jesus] unto them, Render [give] therefore unto Caesar [the government] the things which are Caesar's [the government's]; and [give] unto God the things that are God's."

Verse 22: "When they had heard these words
[Jesus' answer], they marvelled [were amazed, astonished, filled with wonder], and left him, and went their way."

You could say that Jesus' response in verse 21 ("Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's") is the true, biblical meaning of "separation of church and state."

Note:
I found a good explanation of this verse in an article entitled "Render Unto Caesar: What Jesus Was Actually Saying." It has an introduction and four sections:

"The Image on the Coin"
"Correcting the People's Perspective"
"What This Doesn't Mean"
"Our Relationship to the Government"

Here are some excerpts from that article:

"In ancient times, an image on an object showed ownership. Since the Roman emperor also viewed himself as a god, some Jews objected to paying taxes with Roman money, calling it idolatry. By acknowledging the image of Caesar but not condemning it, Jesus confirms that this perspective was flawed. Caesar's right to claim taxes was backed up by his image appearing on Roman money. The image was not a demand for worship, just a demonstration of ownership."

"… Whether the Jewish audience paid their taxes or not, it was more important for them to focus on honoring their own "image"--the image of God that every human carries. Like the image of Caesar, the image of God suggests ownership of us. It's far more important to make sure we're pleasing God than the human government."

"… Jesus definitely promoted an attitude of respect and honor toward the government. This respect takes the form of obeying the law, paying taxes, and honoring our elected representatives. Remember, the government in Jesus' day was totalitarian and ruled by a dictator. Even if we don't like our current political leaders, citizens placed them there through fair and open elections …"

If you want to read the rest of the article, here's the link: https://www.orbcfamily.org/faith/render-unto-caesar-what-jesus-was-actually-saying/.

DECEMBER 8

1 Corinthians 14:27-28 - Rules for "Speaking in Tongues"
In a letter to born-again Christians in the church at Corinth, the apostle Paul wrote:

Verse 27: "If any man [or woman or child] [wants to] speak in an unknown tongue [language] [publicly, in the church], let it be by two, or at the most by three [in a group of two people--or, at the most, three--in one day, or in one meeting], and that by course [in turn; i.e., separately, one after another]; and let one [of those people] interpret [or translate; explain what the others are saying]."

Verse 28: "But if there be no interpreter, let him
[or her--the person desiring to speak in tongues] keep silence [remain silent] in the church; and let him [or her] speak [in tongues only] to himself [or herself], and to God."

The purpose of these instructions was to prevent confusion (disorder) in the church.

DECEMBER 7

Leviticus 19:13: "Thou shalt not
[you shall not] defraud thy neighbour [cheat anyone--neighbor, employee, stranger, friend, small business owner, etc.], neither [or] rob him [or her]: the wages of him [or her] that is hired [referring to a hired servant, someone who provides a product or service, or--in this case specifically (i.e., in Bible times, when the verse was written)--a day laborer, whose wages were due at night] shall not abide with thee [remain with you] all night until the morning."

Nowadays, most people are paid weekly, biweekly (every two weeks), or monthly rather than on a daily basis. No matter when the money is due, employees should always be paid on time.

The following story shows why it's important to promptly pay our bills:

"Sad result of an unpaid bill

"A wealthy banker, who is noted for his large subscriptions to charities, and for his kindly habits of private benevolence, was called on by his pastor, one evening, and asked to go with him to the help of a man who had attempted suicide. They found the man in a wretched house, in an alley not far from the banker's dwelling. The front room was a cobbler's shop; behind it, on a miserable bed, in the kitchen, lay the poor shoemaker, with a gaping gash in his throat, while his wife and children were gathered about him. 'We have been without food for days,' said the woman, when he returned. 'It is not my husband's fault. He is a hard-working, sober man. But he could neither get work, nor [get] pay for that which he had done. To-day he went for the last time to collect a debt due to him by a rich family, but the gentleman was not at home. My husband was weak from fasting, and seeing us starving drove him mad. So it ended that way,' turning to the fainting, motionless figure on the bed. The banker, having fed and warmed the family, hurried home, opened his desk and took out a file of little bills. All his large debts were promptly met, but he was apt to be careless about the accounts of milk, bread, &c. [etc.], because they were so petty [small, insignificant]. He found there a bill of Michael Goodlow's for repairing children's shoes … Michael Goodlow was the [man who had attempted to commit] suicide. It was the banker's unpaid debt which had brought these people to the verge of the grave, and driven this man to desperation, while, at the very time, the banker had given away hundreds [of dollars] in charity. The cobbler recovered, and will never [be in] want [of] a friend while the banker lives, nor will a small unpaid bill ever again be found on the banker's table. No man has a right to be generous until his debts are paid; and the most efficient use of money is not alone in almsgiving [charity], but to pay liberally and promptly the people whom we employ."

(Source for above quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/leviticus/19-13.html, "The Biblical Illustrator")

DECEMBER 6

Romans 13:8-9 - Use Credit Wisely, and Love One Another
While discussing debts in a letter to the born-again Christians in Rome, the apostle Paul wrote:

Verse 8: "Owe no man [person] any thing, but to love one another [i.e., we shouldn't owe anyone anything but love, which means not only that all of our bills should be paid on time, but also that we should have an ongoing love (affection) for mankind; this includes treating others kindly (doing nice things for them, praying for them when necessary, never harming them in any way--physically or mentally, etc.)]: for he [or she] that loveth another [person, or other people,] hath [has] fulfilled [obeyed] the law [of God]."

Verse 9: "For this
[thing (loving one another) covers what God said in the second part (or 'human-to-human' section) of the Ten Commandments], [which includes] Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness [give false testimony in court, spread gossip, lie about someone, etc.], Thou shalt not covet [want something very badly]; and if there be any other commandment [of God], it is briefly comprehended [contained, included, understood, summed up] in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."

As you can see from the above list of commandments, love covers a multitude of sins. Also, as some Bible commentators have noted, love is an ongoing debt that can never be paid.

Concerning the first part of verse 8, Adam Clarke wrote this in his commentary:

"Owe no man any thing, but to love one another - In the preceding verses the apostle has been showing the duty, reverence, and obedience, which all Christians, from the highest to the lowest, owe to the civil magistrate; whether he be emperor, king, proconsul, or other state officer; here [in verse 8] he shows them their duty to each other: but this is widely different from that which they owe to the civil government: to the first they owe subjection, reverence, obedience, and tribute; to the latter they owe nothing but mutual love, and those offices which necessarily spring from it. Therefore, the apostle says, Owe no man; as if he had said: Ye owe to your fellow brethren nothing but mutual love, and this is what the law of God requires, and in this the law is fulfilled. Ye are not bound in obedience to them [your fellow brethren] as to the civil magistrate; for to him ye must needs be subject, not merely for fear of punishment, but for conscience sake: but to these ye are bound by love; and by that love especially which utterly prevents you from doing any thing by which a brother may sustain any kind of injury."

(Source for above quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/romans/13-8.html, "Adam Clarke Commentary")

DECEMBER 4-5

John 3:16: "For God so loved the world
[God loved everyone in the world so much], that he gave his only begotten Son [Jesus] [as a sacrifice for sin, meaning he allowed his only Son, Jesus (who was not adopted, like born-again Christians are--see note below*), to die on the cross to pay for all of the sins of mankind], [so] that whosoever believeth in him [whoever, through faith, trusts Jesus as Savior] should not perish [be tormented forever--first in hell and then in the lake of fire], but have everlasting life [in heaven]."

Have you trusted Jesus as your personal Savior? If not, I encourage you to do so as soon as possible.

Basically, if you believe that Jesus Christ (God's Son) died on the cross to pay for your sins and that he was buried and rose again, all you need to do is sincerely ask him, through prayer (either silently or out loud), to come into your heart and save you so you can go to heaven when you die.

For detailed instructions for the plan of salvation, visit the "Printable Gospel Tracts" section of my website. Here's a direct link to that page:
https://www.mansioninheaven.com/PrintableGospelTracts.html.
_________________________

*For an explanation of only begotten Son in the above verse, read the article entitled "What does it mean that Jesus is God's only begotten son?" Here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/only-begotten-son.html.

DECEMBER 2-3

Psalm 119:97-100 - A Prayer to God
Although the identity of this psalm's author is unknown, it was probably King David, according to many well-known and highly respected Bible commentators.

Verse 97: "O how love I thy law [referring to God's words, as recorded in the Bible]! it is my meditation [what I think about] all the day [at various times throughout the day and night]."

Verse 98: "Thou
[you, Lord,] through thy [your] commandments hast [have] made me wiser than mine [my] enemies: for they [the commandments] are ever [forever, always] with me."

Verses 99-100: "I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies
[the things that are written in the Bible] are my meditation [what I read about, study, memorize, and think about]. I understand more than the ancients [meaning wise old men], because I keep thy precepts [I try to follow God's rules of action for behavior and thought, especially in regard to moral conduct]."

I'm sure that this prayer greatly pleased God. Hopefully, many born-again Christians can pray a similar prayer.

DECEMBER 1

Luke 6:45: "A good man
[or woman or child, referring to someone with good morals] out of the good treasure of his [or her] heart [or from the good things that are stored there] bringeth forth [from his (or her) mouth] that which is good; and an evil man [or woman or child--someone with bad morals] out of the evil treasure of his [or her] heart [or from the bad things that are stored there] bringeth forth [from his (or her) mouth] that which is evil: for [because] [out] of the abundance of the heart [from whatever fills a person's heart and mind] his [or her] mouth speaketh [speaks, or says]."

Good (or bad) thoughts usually result in good (or bad) words, speech, or conversation. In other words, we usually say what we think.

John Calvin says: "… For, though hypocrites express in words what is different from the feelings of their hearts, that is no reason why we may not justly and appropriately call the tongue the portrait of the mind." (Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/luke/6-45.html, "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible")

In his commentary on Luke 6, Matthew Henry summarizes the above verse as follows: "… what the mouth ordinarily speaks, speaks with relish and delight, generally agrees with what is innermost and uppermost in the heart …" (Source: https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/luke/6.html, "Verses 37-49," "v. 45")


Previous Verses
December 2019
DECEMBER 30-31

Hebrews 12:5-8 - Christians Are Loved by God and Chastened When Necessary
In a letter to the Hebrew Christians, the apostle Paul wrote:

Verse 5: "And [it appears that] ye [you] have forgotten the exhortation [encouragement or urging to do something] [in Proverbs 3:11-12] which speaketh [was addressed] unto you as unto children [ i.e.:], My son, despise not thou [don't ignore or regard as an unimportant thing] the chastening [correction] of the Lord, nor faint [and don't faint … or be sure to bear up (remain strong and cheerful) with faith and patience; don't be discouraged] when thou art [you are] rebuked of [criticized or reprimanded by] him [God]:"

Verse 6: "For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth
[because God loves Christians, he corrects us when we do wrong--see note below*], and [he (God)] scourgeth [disciplines] every son [person] whom he receiveth [into the 'family of God'--through spiritual birth (referring to born-again Christians)]."

Verses 7-8: "If ye endure chastening
[if you experience correction], God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not [does not chasten]? But if ye be without chastisement [punishment, or correction of faults], whereof all are partakers [of which all true children of God take part], then are ye bastards [illegitimate children] and not sons [children] [of God]."

These verses apply to all born-again Christians.
_______________

*According to Albert Barnes, the phrase For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth in verse 6 "… means that it is a universal rule that God sends trials on those whom he truly loves. It does not, of course, mean that he sends chastisement which is not deserved; or that he sends it 'for the mere purpose' of inflicting pain. That cannot be. But it means that by his chastisements he shows that he has a paternal care for us. He does not treat us with neglect and unconcern, as a father often does his illegitimate child. The very fact that he [God] corrects us shows that he has toward us a father's feelings, and exercises toward us a paternal care. If he did not, he would let us go on without any attention, and leave us to pursue a course of sin that would involve us in ruin …"

(Source for above quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/hebrews-12.html, "Verse 6")

DECEMBER 29

Proverbs 29:11: "A fool uttereth
[speaks out about, makes known to others, tells] all [that is on] his [or her] mind [referring to his (or her) thoughts and emotions--everything that he (or she) thinks and feels]: but a wise man [or woman or child] keepeth it in [doesn't say anything, exercises self-control] till afterwards [until the right time--see below*]."
_______________

*In his commentary on this verse, which compares fools to wise men, Pastor Delany of Salem Bible Church says:

-- "The fool loudly and publically proclaims his irrational thoughts, his assumptions, his foolish ideas, and his uncontrolled emotions … [He] utters his whole mind and heart. Whatever pops into his head… whatever he happens to be feeling at the moment is sure to come out of his mouth--with little to no thought."

-- On the other hand, the wise man "waits for the right time … waits until he has thought it through … waits until he has all the facts … waits until his emotions have cooled down … waits and thinks of the best way to word what he is trying to say … waits to say many things in private."

If you want to read more of the commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-29-index/proverbs-29_11/
.

DECEMBER 26-28

Romans 2:6-11 - God as Righteous Judge on Judgment Day

Verse 6: "Who
[referring to God] [on judgment day] will render to [reward or punish] every man [and woman and child] according to his [or her] deeds [actions, things that have been done]:"

 Verse 7: "To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality
[to those who are truly saved, have tried to do things that are pleasing to God, and look forward to having a home in heaven someday], [God will give] eternal life:"

Verses 8-9: "But unto them that are contentious
[have rebelled against God], and do not obey the truth [of the gospel] [meaning they have not been saved (born again) according to the Bible], but [who] obey unrighteousness [meaning they have been the 'servants of sin'], [God will show his] indignation [strong displeasure] and wrath [anger], [and he will send] Tribulation [severe trials or suffering] and anguish [extreme pain or misery] [in hell], upon every soul of man that doeth evil [referring to every person who is not saved], of the Jew [Jewish people] first, and also of the Gentile [non-Jews];"

Verse 10: "But glory, honour, and peace,
[will be given] to every man [and woman and child] that worketh good [meaning those who are saved and have tried to obey God's word], to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:"

Verse 11: "For there is no respect of persons with God
[in other words, God treats everyone fairly and equally; he does not show favoritism]."

In heaven one day, all people (both saved and unsaved, believers and unbelievers) will stand before the throne of Almighty God, who is a holy and righteous judge, and be rewarded or punished as we deserve, according to our actions while we lived on earth.

For unbelievers, judgment will include everything that was thought, said, and done by them during their lifetime. It is based upon their past conduct (actual behavior), as well as their thoughts, motives (reasons for doing things), and moral principles (standards of behavior).

For believers (born-again Christians), judgment will only cover our actions since we got saved. Here is what Charles F. Stanley, a Baptist pastor, and founder and president of In Touch Ministries, said in paragraph 1 of his article entitled "The Judgment of Believers [which takes place at the judgment seat of Christ]":

"… From the day of our salvation, we have been accountable to Him [God] for every word and deed, and God's desire is to reward us for how we have lived. We will be evaluated for what we have done with the gifts, abilities, talent, skills, relationships, vocations, and finances He's given us."

A little farther down in the article, he adds this:

"There are three criteria by which [Jesus] Christ will judge us. First, He will take into account how much spiritual light we have had. When we are first saved, we know very little and will be judged accordingly. But after spending a lifetime in the Word of God, we will then be held responsible for the truth we now know.

"Jesus will also factor in the opportunities God has given us. There will be no comparisons between people at the judgment because every person is uniquely created and gifted by God. Each one of us will give an account for what we've done with the opportunities He has given us. In whatever we do and however we're gifted, our ambition should be to live in a wise and godly manner that brings God glory and honor.

"And finally, Christ will consider what we have done with the time and talents God entrusted to us. Christ will evaluate both our motives and our works. "

If you want to read the rest of the article, here's the link: https://www.intouch.org/read/blog/the-judgment-of-believers.

Note:
If you want to appear at the judgment seat of Christ rather than the Great White Throne Judgment, you need to be saved.

Basically, if you believe that Jesus Christ (God's Son) died on the cross to pay for your sins and that he was buried and rose again, all you need to do is sincerely ask him, through prayer (either silently or out loud), to come into your heart and save you so you can go to heaven when you die.

For detailed instructions for the plan of salvation, visit the "Printable Gospel Tracts" section of my website. Here's a direct link to that page: https://www.mansioninheaven.com/PrintableGospelTracts.html.

DECEMBER 24-25

Luke 2:8-14 - Birth of Jesus

Verse 8: "And there were in the same country
[referring to Judea, the area around Bethlehem, where Mary and Joseph had gone to pay their taxes,] shepherds abiding [dwelling, living, residing] in the field, keeping watch over their flock [of sheep] by night [to prevent them from straying (wandering) and to protect them from harm]."

Verse 9: "And, lo, the angel of the Lord
[perhaps Gabriel] came upon [appeared to] them [the shepherds], and the glory of the Lord [an extremely bright light] shone round about [around] them: and they were sore afraid [frightened, terrified, filled with fear]."

Verses 10-12: "And the angel said unto them
[the shepherds], Fear not [don't be afraid]: for, behold, I bring you good tidings [news] of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David [i.e., Bethlehem] a Saviour, which is [Jesus] Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe [baby, infant] wrapped in swaddling clothes [see note below*], lying in a manger [a feeding trough for horses and cattle]."

Verses 13-14: "And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude
[large number] of the heavenly host [angels] praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest [heavens], and on earth peace [because Jesus' future death on the cross to pay for the sin of the world (John 1:29) would make it possible for us to have peace with God and with one another], [and] good will toward men [mankind, human beings]."
_________________________

*Definition of swaddling clothes, according to online dictionaries: Narrow bands of cloth formerly wrapped around a newborn child to restrain its movements and quiet it.

The following article explains why Mary wrapped her son in swaddling clothes: "What does it mean that baby Jesus was wrapped in swaddling clothes?" If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/swaddling-clothes.html.

DECEMBER 23

Isaiah 9:6 - Names of (or descriptive titles for) Jesus and Their Meanings
Following a vision of future events, the prophet Isaiah wrote this about the birth of the Savior:

"For unto us [Jewish people first, and everyone else in the world] [for our benefit] a child [the Lord Jesus Christ (Son of God and Messiah)] is born [of (to) the virgin Mary], unto us a son [God the Son] is given [as a gift from God the Father]: and the government shall be upon his [the son's] shoulder [because Jesus will eventually be crowned King]:

and his
[Jesus'] name shall be called
Wonderful
[because he will inspire wonder, amazement, adoration],
Counsellor
[because he will have great wisdom and be qualified to guide and direct the human race],
The mighty God
[because he will be 'God in the flesh'--see note below*],
The everlasting Father
[because he will rule over his people forever],
The Prince of Peace
[because he will be the true source of peace]."
_________________________

*For an explanation of the meaning of the phrase God in the flesh, see the following article: "Is Jesus God in the flesh?" Here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/God-in-the-flesh.html.

DECEMBER 21-22

Luke 1:39-47 - The Birth of Jesus: Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth
This took place soon after the virgin Mary was informed by the angel Gabriel that she had been chosen to give birth to the Messiah (God's Son, Jesus). At the time, Elisabeth was six months pregnant.

Verses 39-40:  "And [the virgin] Mary arose [started out on a journey] in those days, and went into the hill country [of Judea] with haste [quickly], into a city of Juda [probably, the city of Hebron]; And entered into the house of Zacharias [Elisabeth's husband], and saluted [her cousin] Elisabeth."

Verses 41-42: "And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation
[greeting] of Mary, the babe [Elisabeth's unborn child, who would later be called John the Baptist] leaped in her [Elisabeth's] womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost [Holy Spirit]: And she spake out [cried out, exclaimed] with a loud voice, and said [to Mary], Blessed art thou [blessed (and to be honored) are you] among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy [your] womb [referring to baby Jesus]."

Verses 43-45: "And whence is this to me
[why is it], that the mother of my Lord [referring to the Lord Jesus Christ] should come to [visit] me? For, lo [take note:], as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe [my baby] leaped in my womb for joy. [This was not a normal 'kick' from an unborn child.] And blessed [happy] is she [Mary] that believed [the angel Gabriel]: for there shall be a performance [fulfillment] of those things which were told [to] her from the Lord [i.e., that Mary would conceive and give birth to the Son of God]."

Verses 46-47: "And Mary said, My soul doth
[does, or 'I do'] magnify [praise] the Lord [God], And my spirit hath [has] rejoiced in God my Saviour [referring to Mary's soon-to-be firstborn son, Jesus, who was (and is and always will be) the Messiah and Savior of the world]."

Everyone on earth, including Jesus' mother (the virgin Mary), needs a Savior to pay our sin debt.
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In his commentary, Albert Barnes wrote:

"… From these expressions of Elizabeth [i.e., 'blessed is she that believed,' in verse 45,] we may learn:

"1.That the spirit of prophecy had not entirely ceased among the Jews.

"2.That the Holy Spirit is the source of light, comfort, and joy.

"3.That everything about the birth of Jesus was remarkable, and that he must have been more than a mere man.

"4.That the prospect of the coming of the Messiah was one of great joy and rejoicing to ancient saints; and,

"5.That it was a high honor to be 'the mother' of him that should redeem mankind.

"It is from 'that honor' that the Roman Catholics have determined that it is right to worship the Virgin Mary and to offer prayers to her - an act of worship as idolatrous as any that could be offered to a creature. Because:

"1.It is not anywhere commanded in the Bible.

"2.It is expressly forbidden to worship any being but God, Exodus 34:14; Exodus 20:4-5; Deuteronomy 6:13-14; Isaiah 45:20.

"3.It is idolatry to worship or pray to a creature.

"4.It is absurd to suppose that the Virgin Mary can be in all places at the same time to hear the prayers of thousands at once, or to aid them. There is no idolatry more gross, and of course more wicked, than to worship the creature more than the Creator, Romans 1:25."

(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/luke-1.html, "Verse 45")

DECEMBER 18-20

Matthew 1:18-25 - The Birth of Jesus: Mary is told that she will bear God's Son

Verse 18: "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise
[in this manner]: When as his mother [the virgin] Mary was espoused [engaged to be married] to Joseph, before they came together [sexually, as husband and wife], she was found [to be] with child of the Holy Ghost [meaning she was found to be pregnant with baby Jesus, whom the Holy Spirit had created (formed) in her womb]."

Verse 19: "Then Joseph her
[future] husband, being a just [kind, tender, merciful] man, and not willing to make her a publick example [i.e., he was unwilling to embarrass Mary, humiliate her publicly, or cause her harm--see note below*], was minded [had decided] to put her away privily [privately (or separate himself from her); in other words, he considered breaking off their engagement]."

Verses 20-22: "But while he
[Joseph] thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord [probably Gabriel] appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son [descendant] of [King] David, fear not [don't be afraid] to take unto thee Mary [as] thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of [by] the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth [give birth to] a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins [which was Jesus' main reason for coming to earth]."

Verse 23: "Now all this was done,
[so] that it might be fulfilled [brought about] which was spoken of the Lord [God] [and prophesied] by the prophet [Isaiah, in Isaiah 7:14--see verse quoted below**], saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us."

Verses 24-25: "Then Joseph being raised from sleep
[having been awakened] did as the angel of the Lord had bidden [instructed] him, and took unto him [Mary as] his wife: And knew her not [they didn't have sex] till [until after] she had brought forth [given birth to] her firstborn [oldest] son: and he [Joseph] called his [the baby's] name JESUS."
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*Thankfully, we don't live in Bible days because, as Albert Barnes noted in his commentary on verse 19:

"… Adultery has always been considered a crime of a very heinous [evil or wicked] nature. In Egypt, it was punished by cutting off the nose of the adulteress; in Persia, the nose and ears were cut off; in Judea, the punishment was death by stoning … This punishment was also inflicted where the person was not married, but betrothed [engaged] … In this case, therefore, the regular punishment would have been death [for Mary] in this painful and ignominious [disgraceful, shameful] manner. Yet Joseph was a religious man - mild and tender; and he was not willing to complain of her to the magistrate [similar to a judge], and expose her to death, but sought to avoid the shame, and to put her away privately."

(Source for quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/matthew-1.html, "Verse 19")

**Isaiah 7:14: "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."

DECEMBER 17

Proverbs 17:25: "A foolish son
[or daughter--one who does stupid things and tends to get in trouble] is a grief [source of anger and/or frustration] to his [or her] father, and [is] [a cause of] bitterness [sorrow (sadness), trouble or annoyance, mental strain and stress] to her that bare [gave birth to] him [or her--meaning his (or her) mother]."

Note: Since this verse is mostly self-explanatory, there is no commentary for it on the Salem Bible Church website.

DECEMBER 14-16

2 Corinthians 12:2-4  - The Apostle Paul Mentions His "Out of Body" Experience

Verses 2-3: "I
[Paul] knew a man in Christ [a Christian, referring to himself] above [more than] fourteen years ago, (whether [he was] in the body, I cannot tell; or whether [he was] out of the body [or 'in the spirit'], I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one [had been] caught up to the third heaven [where God is--see note below*]."

Verse 4: "And I knew such a man, (whether
[he was] in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he [Paul] was caught up into paradise [heaven], and heard unspeakable [secret] words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter [speak] [i.e. he was not given permission to tell others what he saw and heard--see note below**]."
_________________________

*According to Albert Barnes, there are three heavens:

-- The atmosphere and clouds, from the earth to the stars
-- The starry heavens, where the sun, moon, and stars are located
-- The heavens beyond the stars, where we find God, angels, and the souls of Christians who have died

(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/2-corinthians-12.html, "Verse 2")

**In the Bible, nobody who went to heaven told others on earth about their experiences. Here's what Albert Barnes said about that in his commentary on verse 4:

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

"… The transaction here referred to is very remarkable. It is the only instance in the Scriptures of anyone who was taken to heaven, either in reality or in vision, and who returned again to the earth and was then qualified to communicate important truths about the heavenly world from personal observation. Enoch and Elijah were taken to heaven; but they returned not to converse with people. Elijah appeared with Moses in conversation with Jesus on the mount of transfiguration; but they conversed with him only about his decease, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. There would have been no propriety for them to have spoken to Jesus of heaven, for he came down from heaven and was in heaven, and they were not permitted to speak to the disciples of heaven. Lazarus was raised from the dead, but there is no intimation that they communicated any thing to the living about the heavenly world.

"Of all the million who have been taken to heaven, not one has been permitted to return to bear his testimony to its glories; to witness for God that he is faithful to his promises; to encourage his pious [religious] friends to persevere; or to invite his impenitent [unsaved] friends to follow him to that glorious world. And so fixed is the Law; so settled is the principle, that even Lazarus was not permitted to go, though at the earnest request of the rich man in hell, and warn his friends not to follow hint [him] to that world of woe. Muhammed indeed feigned [pretended] that he had made a journey to heaven, and he attempts to describe what he saw; and the difference between true inspiration and false or pretended inspiration is strikingly evinced by the difference between Paul's dignified silence … and the puerilities of the prophet of Mecca …"

For a description of Muhammad's journey to heaven,
see the commentary (link provided below).

"The fact that Paul was not permitted to communicate what he had seen is very remarkable. It is natural to ask why it is so? Why has not God sent down departed saints to tell people of the glories of heaven? Why does he not permit them to come and bear testimony to what they have seen and enjoyed? Why not come and clear up the doubts of the pious; why not come and convince a thoughtless world; why not come and bear honorable testimony for God that he is faithful to reward his people? And especially why did he not suffer [allow] Paul, whom he had permitted to behold the glories of paradise, to testify simply to what he had seen, and tell us what was there?"

"… the following may have been some of the reasons why Paul was not permitted to communicate what he saw to human beings:

"(1) It was designed for the support of Paul himself in view of the very remarkable trials which he was about to endure …

"(2) it is probable that if there were a full revelation of the glories of heaven we should not be able to comprehend it; or even if we did, we should be incredulous in regard to it …

"(3) there are great truths which it is not the design of God to reveal to human beings …

"(4) there is enough revealed of heaven for our guidance and comfort in this world. God has told us what it will be in general …

"(5) … his purpose is that we shall here walk by faith and not by sight … It may be added:

"(a) That we have all the truth which we shall ever have about heaven here below. No other messenger will come; none of the pious dead [born-again Christians who have died] will return. If people, therefore, are not willing to be saved in view of the truth which they have, they must be lost. God will communicate no more …"

The above numbered paragraphs only contain the highlights of each point.
For detailed explanations, see the commentary (link provided below).

To read the Mr. Barnes' entire commentary on verse 4, including the references, go to https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/2-corinthians-12.html, "Verse 4."

DECEMBER 13

1 Peter 5:8-9 - Watch Out for the Devil!
In a letter to Jewish Christians (and to all other born-again Christians, too), the apostle Peter wrote:

Verse 8: "Be sober [calm and collected (not drunk), having a sound mind], be vigilant [watchful]; because your adversary [enemy] the devil, as [like] a roaring lion, walketh about [on the earth], seeking whom he may devour [consume, eat, destroy]:"

Verse 9: "Whom
[referring to the devil] [you can] resist [oppose] [by being] stedfast [unwavering] in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions [or things that cause suffering, pain, and distress] [that you may be experiencing] are accomplished in [happening to] your brethren [fellow Christians] that are [alive] in the world."

Regarding Peter's warning against drunkenness (intoxication) in verse 8," Adam Clarke wrote: "… Strong drink is not only the way to the devil, but the devil's way into you; and Ye are such as the devil particularly May swallow down." (Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/1-peter/5-8.html, "Adam Clarke Commentary")

Commenting on verse 9, Albert Barnes said:

"… We are all liable to suffering. We are exposed to sickness, bereavement, death. We often feet [feel] as if we could not bear up under the sufferings that may be before us, and especially do we dread the great trial - death. It may furnish us some support and consolation to remember:

"(1) that this is the common lot of people. There is nothing special in our case. It proves nothing as to the question whether we are accepted of God, and are beloved by him, that we suffer; for those whom he has loved most have been often among the greatest sufferers. We often think that our sufferings are unique; that there have been none like them. Yet, if we knew all, we should find that thousands - and among them the most wise, and pure, and good - have endured sufferings of the same kind as ours, and perhaps far more intense in degree.

"(2) others have been conveyed triumphantly through their trials. We have reason to hope and to believe that we shall also [be triumphant], for:

"(a)our trials have been no greater than theirs have been; and,

"(b)their natural strength was no greater than ours. Many of them were timid, and shrinking, and trembling, and felt that they had no strength, and that they should fail under the trial.

"(3) the grace which sustained them can sustain us. The hand of God is not shortened that it cannot save; his ear is not heavy that it cannot hear. His power is as great, and his grace is as fresh, as it was when the first sufferer was supported by him; and that divine strength which supported David and Job in their afflictions, and the apostles and martyrs in theirs, is just as powerful as it was when they applied to God to be upheld in their sorrows.

"(4) we are especially fearful of death - fearful that our faith will fail, and that we shall be left to die without support or consolation. Yet let us remember that death is the common lot of man. Let us remember who have died - tender females; children; the timid and the fearful; those, in immense multitudes, who had no more strength by nature than we have. Let us think of our own kindred who have died. A wife has died, and shall a husband be afraid to die? A child, and shall a father? A sister, and shall a brother? It does much to take away the dread of death, to remember that a mother has gone through the dark valley; that that gloomy vale has been trod by delicate, and timid, and beloved sisters. Shall I be afraid to go where they have gone? Shall I apprehend that I shall find no grace that is able to sustain me where they have found it? Must the valley of the shadow of death be dark and gloomy to me, when they found it to be illuminated with the opening light of heaven? Above all, it takes away the fear of death when I remember that my Saviour has experienced all the horrors which can ever be in death; that he has slept in the tomb, and made it a hallowed resting-place."

(Source for Barnes quote:
https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/1-peter-5.html, "Verse 9")

DECEMBER 12

Philippians 2:4: "Look not every man
[or woman or child] [only] on his [or her] own things [in other words, people shouldn't be selfish or self-centered], but every man [and woman and child] [should look] also on the things of others [meaning they should also show an interest in the concerns of others, and help them if and when they are able to do so]."

In his commentary, Albert Barnes has much to say about the second part of this verse:

"But every man also on the things of others - It is the duty of every man to do this. No one is at liberty to live for himself or to disregard the wants of others. The object of this rule is to break up the narrow spirit of selfishness, and to produce a benevolent [kind] regard for the happiness of others. In respect to the rule we may observe:

"(1) We are not to be 'busybodies' in the concerns of others; see the references above. We are not to attempt to pry into their secret purposes. Every man has his own plans, and thoughts, and intentions, which no other one has a right to look into. Nothing is more odious [disgusting] than a meddler in the concerns of others.

"(2) we are not to obtrude [force upon others] our advice where it is not sought, or at unseasonable times and places, even if the advice is in itself good. No one likes to be interrupted to hear advice; and I have no right to require that he should suspend his business in order that I may give him counsel.

"(3) we are not to find fault with what pertains exclusively to him. We are to remember that there are some things which are his business, not ours; and we are to learn to 'possess our souls in patience,' if he does not give just as much as we think be ought to benevolent objects, or if he dresses in a manner not to please our taste, or if he indulges in things which do not accord exactly with our views. He may see reasons for his conduct which we do not; and it is possible that be may be right, and that, if we understood the whole case, we should think and act as he does. We often complain of a man because be does not give as much as we think he ought, to objects of charity; and it is possible that he may be miserably niggardly [stingy] and narrow. But it is also possible that he may be more embarrassed than we know of; or that he may just then have demands against him of which we are ignorant; or that he may have numerous poor relatives dependent on him; or that he gives much with 'the left hand' which is not known by 'the right hand.' At any rate, it is his business, not ours; and we are not qualified to judge until we understand the whole case.

"(4) we are not to be gossips about the concerns of others. We are not to hunt up small stories, and petty scandals respecting their families; we are not to pry into domestic affairs, and divulge them abroad, and find pleasure in circulating snell [bad?] things from house to house. There are domestic secrets, which are not to be betrayed; and there is scarcely an offence of a meaner or more injurious character than to divulge to the public what we have seen a family whose hospitality we have enjoyed.

"(5) where Christian duty and kindness require us to look into the concerns of others, there should be the utmost delicacy. Even children have their own secrets, and their own plans and amusements, on a small scale, quite as important to them as the greater games which we are playing in life; and they will feel the meddlesomeness of a busybody to be as odious to them as we should in our plans. A delicate parent, therefore, who has undoubtedly a right to know all about his children, will not rudely intrude into their privacies, or meddle with their concerns. So, when we visit the sick, while we show a tender sympathy for them, we should not be too particular in inquiring into their maladies or their feelings. So, when those with whom we sympathize have brought their calamities on themselves by their own fault, we should not ask too many questions about it. We should not too closely examine one who is made poor by intemperance [as in alcohol abuse], or who is in prison for crime. And so, when we go to sympathize with those who have been, by a reverse of circumstances, reduced from affluence [wealth] to penury [poverty], we should not ask too many questions. We should let them tell their own story. If they voluntarily make us their confidants, and tell us all about their circumstances, it is well; but let us not drag out the circumstances, or wound their feelings by our impertinent [rude] inquiries, or our indiscreet sympathy in their affairs. There are always secrets which the sons and daughters of misfortune would wish to keep to themselves.

"However, while these things are true, it is also true that the rule before us positively requires us to show an interest in the concerns of others; and it may be regarded as implying the following things:

"(1) We are to feel that the spiritual interests of everyone in the church is, in a certain sense, our own interest. The church is one. It is confederated together for a common object. Each one is entrusted with a portion of the honor of the whole, and the conduct of one member affects the character of all. We are, therefore, to promote, in every way possible, the welfare of every other member of the church. If they go astray, we are to admonish and entreat them; if they are in error, we are to instruct them; if they are in trouble, we are to aid them. Every member of the church has a claim on the sympathy of his brethren, and should be certain of always finding it when his circumstances are such as to demand it.

"(2) there are circumstances where it is proper to look with special interest on the temporal concerns of others. It is when the poor, the fatherless, and the afflicted must be sought out in order to be aided and relieved. They are too retiring and modest to press their situation on the attention of others, and they need that others should manifest a generous care in their welfare in order to relieve them. This is not improper interference in their concerns, nor will it be so regarded.

"(3) for a similar reason, we should seek the welfare of all others in a spiritual sense. We should seek to arouse the sinner, and lead him to the Saviour. He is blind, and will not come himself; unconcerned, and will not seek salvation; filled with the love of this world, and will not seek a better; devoted to pursuits that will lead him to ruin, and he ought to be apprised of it. It is no more an improper interference in his concerns to apprise [inform] him of his condition, and to attempt to lead him to the Saviour, than it is to warn a man in a dark night, who walks on the verge of a precipice [the edge of a cliff], of his peril [danger]; or to arouse [awaken] one from sleep whose house is in flames. In like manner, it is no more meddling with the concerns of another to tell him that there is a glorious heaven which may be his, than it is to apprise a man that there is a mine of golden ore on his farm. It is for the man's own interest, and it is the office of a friend to remind him of these things. He does a man a favor who tells him that he has a Redeemer, and that there is a heaven to which he may rise; he does his neighbor the greatest possible kindness who apprises him that there is a world of infinite woe, and tells him of an easy way by which he may escape it. The world around is dependant on the church of Christ to be apprised of these truths. The frivolous [carefree, not serious] ones will not warn the fools of their danger; the crowd that presses to the theater or the ballroom will not apprise those who are there that they are in the broad way to hell; and everyone who loves his neighbor, should feel sufficient interest in him to tell him that he may be eternally happy in heaven."

(Source for quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/philippians-2.html, "Verse 4")

DECEMBER 9-11

Matthew 22:15-22 - "Render Unto Caesar …"
This took place after Jesus told two parables while teaching in the temple:

Verse 15: "Then went the Pharisees [members of a religious sect (group), who considered themselves more righteous than the other Jewish people], and took counsel [sought advice, asked one another, discussed] how they might entangle [trap] him [Jesus] in his talk [or 'catch him in his words' during his conversation with them]."

Verses 16-17: "And they sent out unto him
[Jesus] their disciples [followers] [along] with the Herodians [members of a Jewish political party], saying, Master, we know that thou art [you are] true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man [and you don't care for any person] [i.e., Jesus always taught the truth from God, whether the listeners agreed or not]: for thou regardest not the person of men [you are not partial or biased (influenced by what people do and say)]. Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou [what do you think]? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar [pay taxes to the Roman government], or not?"

Verses 18-21: "But Jesus perceived
[recognized, understood] their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me [why do you test me], ye hypocrites [you pretenders]? Shew [show] me the tribute [tax] money. And they brought unto him a penny [a denarius, which was a small silver coin in ancient Rome]. And he [Jesus] saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription [whose picture, name, and title are engraved on the coin]? They say unto him, Caesar's [because he was the emperor and a representative of the Roman government]. Then saith [said] he [Jesus] unto them, Render [give] therefore unto Caesar [the government] the things which are Caesar's [the government's]; and [give] unto God the things that are God's."

Verse 22: "When they had heard these words
[Jesus' answer], they marvelled [were amazed, astonished, filled with wonder], and left him, and went their way."

You could say that Jesus' response in verse 21 ("Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's") is the true, biblical meaning of "separation of church and state."

Note:
I found a good explanation of this verse in an article entitled "Render Unto Caesar: What Jesus Was Actually Saying." It has an introduction and four sections:

"The Image on the Coin"
"Correcting the People's Perspective"
"What This Doesn't Mean"
"Our Relationship to the Government"

Here are some excerpts from that article:

"In ancient times, an image on an object showed ownership. Since the Roman emperor also viewed himself as a god, some Jews objected to paying taxes with Roman money, calling it idolatry. By acknowledging the image of Caesar but not condemning it, Jesus confirms that this perspective was flawed. Caesar's right to claim taxes was backed up by his image appearing on Roman money. The image was not a demand for worship, just a demonstration of ownership."

"… Whether the Jewish audience paid their taxes or not, it was more important for them to focus on honoring their own "image"--the image of God that every human carries. Like the image of Caesar, the image of God suggests ownership of us. It's far more important to make sure we're pleasing God than the human government."

"… Jesus definitely promoted an attitude of respect and honor toward the government. This respect takes the form of obeying the law, paying taxes, and honoring our elected representatives. Remember, the government in Jesus' day was totalitarian and ruled by a dictator. Even if we don't like our current political leaders, citizens placed them there through fair and open elections …"

If you want to read the rest of the article, here's the link: https://www.orbcfamily.org/faith/render-unto-caesar-what-jesus-was-actually-saying/.

DECEMBER 8

1 Corinthians 14:27-28 - Rules for "Speaking in Tongues"
In a letter to born-again Christians in the church at Corinth, the apostle Paul wrote:

Verse 27: "If any man [or woman or child] [wants to] speak in an unknown tongue [language] [publicly, in the church], let it be by two, or at the most by three [in a group of two people--or, at the most, three--in one day, or in one meeting], and that by course [in turn; i.e., separately, one after another]; and let one [of those people] interpret [or translate; explain what the others are saying]."

Verse 28: "But if there be no interpreter, let him
[or her--the person desiring to speak in tongues] keep silence [remain silent] in the church; and let him [or her] speak [in tongues only] to himself [or herself], and to God."

The purpose of these instructions was to prevent confusion (disorder) in the church.

DECEMBER 7

Leviticus 19:13: "Thou shalt not
[you shall not] defraud thy neighbour [cheat anyone--neighbor, employee, stranger, friend, small business owner, etc.], neither [or] rob him [or her]: the wages of him [or her] that is hired [referring to a hired servant, someone who provides a product or service, or--in this case specifically (i.e., in Bible times, when the verse was written)--a day laborer, whose wages were due at night] shall not abide with thee [remain with you] all night until the morning."

Nowadays, most people are paid weekly, biweekly (every two weeks), or monthly rather than on a daily basis. No matter when the money is due, employees should always be paid on time.

The following story shows why it's important to promptly pay our bills:

"Sad result of an unpaid bill

"A wealthy banker, who is noted for his large subscriptions to charities, and for his kindly habits of private benevolence, was called on by his pastor, one evening, and asked to go with him to the help of a man who had attempted suicide. They found the man in a wretched house, in an alley not far from the banker's dwelling. The front room was a cobbler's shop; behind it, on a miserable bed, in the kitchen, lay the poor shoemaker, with a gaping gash in his throat, while his wife and children were gathered about him. 'We have been without food for days,' said the woman, when he returned. 'It is not my husband's fault. He is a hard-working, sober man. But he could neither get work, nor [get] pay for that which he had done. To-day he went for the last time to collect a debt due to him by a rich family, but the gentleman was not at home. My husband was weak from fasting, and seeing us starving drove him mad. So it ended that way,' turning to the fainting, motionless figure on the bed. The banker, having fed and warmed the family, hurried home, opened his desk and took out a file of little bills. All his large debts were promptly met, but he was apt to be careless about the accounts of milk, bread, &c. [etc.], because they were so petty [small, insignificant]. He found there a bill of Michael Goodlow's for repairing children's shoes … Michael Goodlow was the [man who had attempted to commit] suicide. It was the banker's unpaid debt which had brought these people to the verge of the grave, and driven this man to desperation, while, at the very time, the banker had given away hundreds [of dollars] in charity. The cobbler recovered, and will never [be in] want [of] a friend while the banker lives, nor will a small unpaid bill ever again be found on the banker's table. No man has a right to be generous until his debts are paid; and the most efficient use of money is not alone in almsgiving [charity], but to pay liberally and promptly the people whom we employ."

(Source for above quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/leviticus/19-13.html, "The Biblical Illustrator")

DECEMBER 6

Romans 13:8-9 - Use Credit Wisely, and Love One Another
While discussing debts in a letter to the born-again Christians in Rome, the apostle Paul wrote:

Verse 8: "Owe no man [person] any thing, but to love one another [i.e., we shouldn't owe anyone anything but love, which means not only that all of our bills should be paid on time, but also that we should have an ongoing love (affection) for mankind; this includes treating others kindly (doing nice things for them, praying for them when necessary, never harming them in any way--physically or mentally, etc.)]: for he [or she] that loveth another [person, or other people,] hath [has] fulfilled [obeyed] the law [of God]."

Verse 9: "For this
[thing (loving one another) covers what God said in the second part (or 'human-to-human' section) of the Ten Commandments], [which includes] Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness [give false testimony in court, spread gossip, lie about someone, etc.], Thou shalt not covet [want something very badly]; and if there be any other commandment [of God], it is briefly comprehended [contained, included, understood, summed up] in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."

As you can see from the above list of commandments, love covers a multitude of sins. Also, as some Bible commentators have noted, love is an ongoing debt that can never be paid.

Concerning the first part of verse 8, Adam Clarke wrote this in his commentary:

"Owe no man any thing, but to love one another - In the preceding verses the apostle has been showing the duty, reverence, and obedience, which all Christians, from the highest to the lowest, owe to the civil magistrate; whether he be emperor, king, proconsul, or other state officer; here [in verse 8] he shows them their duty to each other: but this is widely different from that which they owe to the civil government: to the first they owe subjection, reverence, obedience, and tribute; to the latter they owe nothing but mutual love, and those offices which necessarily spring from it. Therefore, the apostle says, Owe no man; as if he had said: Ye owe to your fellow brethren nothing but mutual love, and this is what the law of God requires, and in this the law is fulfilled. Ye are not bound in obedience to them [your fellow brethren] as to the civil magistrate; for to him ye must needs be subject, not merely for fear of punishment, but for conscience sake: but to these ye are bound by love; and by that love especially which utterly prevents you from doing any thing by which a brother may sustain any kind of injury."

(Source for above quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/romans/13-8.html, "Adam Clarke Commentary")

DECEMBER 4-5

John 3:16: "For God so loved the world
[God loved everyone in the world so much], that he gave his only begotten Son [Jesus] [as a sacrifice for sin, meaning he allowed his only Son, Jesus (who was not adopted, like born-again Christians are--see note below*), to die on the cross to pay for all of the sins of mankind], [so] that whosoever believeth in him [whoever, through faith, trusts Jesus as Savior] should not perish [be tormented forever--first in hell and then in the lake of fire], but have everlasting life [in heaven]."

Have you trusted Jesus as your personal Savior? If not, I encourage you to do so as soon as possible.

Basically, if you believe that Jesus Christ (God's Son) died on the cross to pay for your sins and that he was buried and rose again, all you need to do is sincerely ask him, through prayer (either silently or out loud), to come into your heart and save you so you can go to heaven when you die.

For detailed instructions for the plan of salvation, visit the "Printable Gospel Tracts" section of my website. Here's a direct link to that page:
https://www.mansioninheaven.com/PrintableGospelTracts.html.
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*For an explanation of only begotten Son in the above verse, read the article entitled "What does it mean that Jesus is God's only begotten son?" Here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/only-begotten-son.html.

DECEMBER 2-3

Psalm 119:97-100 - A Prayer to God
Although the identity of this psalm's author is unknown, it was probably King David, according to many well-known and highly respected Bible commentators.

Verse 97: "O how love I thy law [referring to God's words, as recorded in the Bible]! it is my meditation [what I think about] all the day [at various times throughout the day and night]."

Verse 98: "Thou
[you, Lord,] through thy [your] commandments hast [have] made me wiser than mine [my] enemies: for they [the commandments] are ever [forever, always] with me."

Verses 99-100: "I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies
[the things that are written in the Bible] are my meditation [what I read about, study, memorize, and think about]. I understand more than the ancients [meaning wise old men], because I keep thy precepts [I try to follow God's rules of action for behavior and thought, especially in regard to moral conduct]."

I'm sure that this prayer greatly pleased God. Hopefully, many born-again Christians can pray a similar prayer.

DECEMBER 1

Luke 6:45: "A good man
[or woman or child, referring to someone with good morals] out of the good treasure of his [or her] heart [or from the good things that are stored there] bringeth forth [from his (or her) mouth] that which is good; and an evil man [or woman or child--someone with bad morals] out of the evil treasure of his [or her] heart [or from the bad things that are stored there] bringeth forth [from his (or her) mouth] that which is evil: for [because] [out] of the abundance of the heart [from whatever fills a person's heart and mind] his [or her] mouth speaketh [speaks, or says]."

Good (or bad) thoughts usually result in good (or bad) words, speech, or conversation. In other words, we usually say what we think.

John Calvin says: "… For, though hypocrites express in words what is different from the feelings of their hearts, that is no reason why we may not justly and appropriately call the tongue the portrait of the mind." (Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/luke/6-45.html, "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible")

In his commentary on Luke 6, Matthew Henry summarizes the above verse as follows: "… what the mouth ordinarily speaks, speaks with relish and delight, generally agrees with what is innermost and uppermost in the heart …" (Source: https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/luke/6.html, "Verses 37-49," "v. 45")


Previous Verses: