Speaking to the nation of Israel through his prophet Amos, God said this:
In Amos 3:3:
"Can two [people--in this case, referring to God and 'man,' or mankind (human beings)] walk together [comfortably, as friends], except they be agreed [in agreement]?"
In the above verse and those that follow, Israel was being warned that unless they repented and obeyed God's commandments, they would no longer be protected and blessed by God but, instead, would be punished by him. Today, we hear politicians routinely end their speeches with, "May God bless the United States of America," … but he won't, because, as a nation, we're just as bad as rebellious Israel was in Bible times.
* * * * *
In Amos 3:11, God continues his warning with this: "Therefore thus saith [says] the Lord GOD; An adversary [enemy] there shall be even round about the land; and he shall bring down thy [your] strength from thee [you], and thy palaces shall be spoiled [destroyed]."
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Comparing the Old Testament Israelites to people of this day and age, James Burton Coffman wrote:
"… Aside from the viewpoint of basic humanism regarding the oppression of the poor, most 'modern men' find nothing at all wrong with the conduct of the Israelites. Such vices as drunkenness, adultery, fornication, idol-worship, neglect of religious duty, etc., are merely 'doing what comes naturally.' Despite the unawareness of the terrible sinfulness of sin which characterizes our own generation to a degree rivaling, we fear, that of ancient Israel itself, God still rules in the kingdom of men; offenses against God will be severely punished; and nations that forget God shall be turned to destruction, regardless of whether or not 'modern man' believes it. Ancient Israel did not believe, nor did any other of the eight nations confronted by the judgments of Amos' prophecy; but where are any of those nations now? …"
(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/amos/3-3.html, "Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible")
Christians Shouldn't Fear Death
In a letter to the Christian church at Corinth, while discussing the subject of death, the apostle Paul wrote:
2 Corinthians 5:6-7:
"Therefore we [born-again Christians] are always confident [cheerful, courageous], knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body [or while our souls reside in our bodies here on earth], we are absent from the Lord [Jesus Christ, and away from his presence]: (For we walk [through life] by faith, not by sight:) "
2 Corinthians 5:8:
"We [Christians] are confident, I [Paul] say, and willing rather to be absent from the body [or 'to die'], and to be present with the Lord [in heaven] [which, as Paul says in Philippians 1:23, is 'far better']."
In other words, born-again Christians should enjoy life, but we should not fear death because the Bible promises, and (through faith) we know, that when we die, we'll be in heaven with the Lord.
* * * * *
The above sentiment is expressed very well when we sing the beginning words of a famous hymn: "This world is not my home, I'm just a passing through …"
-- To hear Jim Reeves sing the song ("This World Is Not My Home," written by Albert E. Brumley), click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ndMZqT6i4I.
-- And to view the words to the song, click here: https://www.namethathymn.com/hymn-lyrics-detective-forum/index.php%3Fa%3Dvtopic%26t%3D7384.
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One Bible commentator wrote:
"… Confidence in the fundamental Christian truth that 'No matter what may happen to my body, absolutely nothing can happen to ME!' is the basis of true Christian courage …"
(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/2-corinthians/5-6.html, "Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible")
"Therefore to him [or her] that knoweth [knows] to do good [rather than evil, especially when it involves doing good things to and for others], and doeth [does] it not [or does not do it], to him [or her] it is sin."
In other words, if a person knows what is right and doesn't do it (also known as a sin of omission), he or she is just as guilty of sinning as the person who knows that something is wrong or bad and does it anyway (also known as a sin of commission).
Note: GotQuestions.org has in-depth articles about the sins of omission and commission. Here are their titles and links:
-- "What is a sin of omission?"
-- "What is a sin of commission?"
"And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness [don't participate in sinful behavior, stay away from sinful things (activities, deeds, actions)], but rather [instead] reprove [express disapproval of, criticize, correct, expose] them."
Concerning how we might fellowship with "works of darkness," here are similar examples from three Bible commentators in "The Biblical Illustrator":
"Renunciation of evil ways
"1 Those in whom there is the light of grace and true knowledge must not walk in evil works, nor communicate in them.
"(a) By provoking to sin.
"(b) By commanding.
"(c) By counselling.
"(d) By consenting.
"(e) By carelessness to prevent sin.
"(f) By not repressing sin when it has entered.
"(g) By applauding sin.
"(h) By not testifying against sin …"
"Avoidance of sinful works
"… 1. That we must have no fellowship with them in evil. To understand that, we must consider how many ways we have fellowship with them [i.e., 'the works of darkness'].
"(a) If we counsel, persuade, allure, or entice others to sins. These are Satan's decoys, who being ensnared themselves, draw others into the net.
"(b) By commanding that which is evil. This is the sin of those that have power over others; as David commanded Joab to set Uriah [Bathsheba's husband] in the forefront [on the front lines] of the hottest battle, and retire from him, that he may be smitten [struck with a weapon] and die (2 Samuel 11:15).
"(c) By consenting, though we be not the principal actors; as Ahab (1 Kings 21:19).
"(d) By abetting, aiding, and assisting in the conveyance of the sin; as Jonadab assisted Amnon in getting an occasion to satisfy his lust on his sister Tamar (2 Samuel 13:5).
"(e) By applauding, approving, or praising the sin, which is the guise of flatterers (Romans 1:32).
"(f) By carelessness to prevent the sin: "I will judge his house forever, for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not" (1 Samuel 3:13). So that a culpable [blameworthy] omission may make us accessory to their sin …"
"The child of light and the works of darkness
"I. What is forbidden. "Fellowship." This may be produced in several ways.
"1. By personally committing the sins described, or by joining with others in bringing them about.
"2. By teaching wrong-doing, either by plain word or by just inference.
"3. By constraining, commanding, or tempting; by threat, request, persuasion, inducement, compulsion, bribery, or influence.
"4. By provoking, through exciting anger, emulation [the desire to match or surpass a person or achievement], or discouragement.
"5. By neglecting to rebuke [express sharp criticism or disapproval of someone's behavior], especially by parents and masters misusing their office, and allowing known evils in the family.
"6. By counselling, and advising, or by guiding by example.
"7. By consenting, agreeing, and cooperating.
"8. By conniving at sin: tolerating, concealing, and making light of it.
"9. By commending, countenancing, defending, and excusing the wrong already done; and contending against those who would expose, denounce, and punish it …"
(Source for the above three quotes: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/ephesians/5-11.html, "The Biblical Illustrator")
* * * * *
Matthew Henry added:
"… There are many ways of our being accessary to the sins of others, by commendation [praise], counsel, consent [permission], or concealment. And, if we share with others in their sin, we must expect to share with them in their plagues …"
(Source: https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/ephesians/5.html, "Verses 3-20")
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Albert Barnes said this:
"… But rather reprove them - By your life, your conversation, and all your influence. This is the business of Christians. Their lives should be a standing rebuke of a sinful world, and they should be ever ready to express their disapprobation [strong disapproval] of its wickedness in every form."
(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/ephesians-5.html, "Verse 11")
* * * * *
And here's one more quote:
"… How are we to reprove the unfruitful workers and works of darkness?
"1. By our lips; with plainness, but yet with prudence; with faithfulness, but yet with meekness; in reproof never use sharp words, if soft words will serve the turn.
"2. With our lives; … a holy life is a visible and daily reproof given both to sin and sinners."
(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/ephesians/5-11.html, "Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament")
Why Nobody Can be Saved by "Good Works"
"For whosoever [whoever] shall keep [obey] the whole law [referring to God's moral law, as found in the Ten Commandments], and yet offend in one point [by violating even one commandment], he [or she] is guilty of [breaking] all [of it (the law) or of them (those commandments)]."
"For he [God] that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou [you] commit no [or do not commit] adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art [you are or have] become a transgressor [violator] of the law [which makes you a lawbreaker and sinner]."
Albert Barnes has an excellent commentary on verse 10. In part, it says:
"He is guilty of all - He is guilty of violating the law as a whole, or of violating the law of God as such; he has rendered it impossible that he should be justified and saved by the law. This does not affirm that he is as guilty as if he had violated every law of God; or that all sinners are of equal grade because all have violated some one or more of the laws of God; but the meaning is, that he is guilty of violating the law of God as such; he shows that be has not the true spirit of obedience; he has exposed himself to the penalty of the law, and made it impossible now to be saved by it. His acts of obedience in other respects, no matter how many, will not screen him from the charge of being a violator of the law, or from its penalty. He must be held and treated as a transgressor for that offence, however upright he may be in other respects, and must meet the penalty of the law as certainly as though he had violated every commandment.
"One portion of the law is as much binding as another, and if a man violates any one plain commandment, he sets at nought the authority of God. This is a simple principle which is everywhere recognised, and the apostle means no more by it than occurs every day. A man who has stolen a horse is held to be a violator of the law, no matter in how many other respects he has kept it [i.e., the law], and the law condemns him for it. He cannot plead his obedience to the law in other things as a reason why he should not be punished for this sin; but however upright he may have been in general, even though it may have been through a long life, the law holds him to be a transgressor, and condemns him. He is as really condemned, and as much thrown from the protection of law, as though he had violated every command. So of murder, arson, treason, or any other crime. The law judges a man for what he has done in this specific case, and he cannot plead in justification of it that he has been obedient in other things.
"It follows, therefore, that if a man has been guilty of violating the law of God in any one instance, or is not perfectly holy, he cannot be justified and saved by it, though he should have obeyed it in every other respect, any more than a man who has been guilty of murder can be saved from the gallows [a place where criminals are hanged] because he has, in other respects, been a good citizen, a kind father, an honest neighbor, or has been compassionate to the poor and the needy. He cannot plead his act of truth in one case as an offset to the sin of falsehood in another; he cannot defend himself from the charge of dishonesty in one instance by the plea that he has been honest in another; he cannot urge the fact that he has done a good thing as a reason why he should not be punished for a bad one. He must answer for the specific charge against him, and none of these other things can be an offset against this one act of wrong. Let it be remarked, also, in respect to our being justified by obedience to the law, that no man can plead before God that he has kept all his law except in one point. Who is there that has not, in spirit at least, broken each one of the ten commandments? …"
(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/james-2.html, "Verse 10")
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Regarding the concept of "breaking one commandment means breaking them all" in the James 2:10, another commentator said:
"… 'Our obedience to God"s will cannot be on a selective basis; we cannot choose that part that is to our liking and disregard the rest. God"s will is not fragmentary; the entire law is the expression of His will for His people; it constitutes a grand unity. To break out one corner of a window pane is to become guilty of breaking the whole pane. He who crosses a forbidden boundary at one point or another is guilty of having crossed the boundary.' …"
(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/james/2-10.html, "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable")
* * * * *
In other words, God's commandments are connected, like links in a chain that make up his law. If you break one link, the entire chain is broken.
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Note: According to the Bible, the only way to get to heaven is through faith (in the finished work of Jesus Christ, who died on the cross to pay for our sins), not good works (Ephesians 2:8-9), which means we must be saved, or "born again."
If you want to be saved but don't know what to do, you'll find detailed instructions for the plan of salvation in most of the tracts in the "Printable Gospel Tracts" section of my website. Here's a direct link to that page: https://www.mansioninheaven.com/PrintableGospelTracts.html.
The Birth of Jesus Was Accompanied by Fear, Joy, and Praise to God
"And there were in the same country [i.e., Judea, the area around Bethlehem, where Mary and Joseph had gone to pay their taxes,] shepherds abiding [dwelling, living, residing] in the field, [taking turns] keeping watch over their flock [of sheep] by night [to prevent them from straying (wandering) and to protect them from wild animals and thieves]."
"And, lo, the angel of the Lord [perhaps Gabriel] came upon [stood over or 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]."
Luke 2:10-11, 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 [referring to the promised and long-awaited] Saviour, which is [Jesus] Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you [shepherds]; Ye [you ] shall find the babe [baby] wrapped in swaddling clothes [see note below*], [and] lying in a manger [which was a feeding trough for horses and cattle]."
"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 (as stated by John the Baptist in John 1:29) would make it possible for us to have peace with God and with one another], [and also, on earth,] good will toward men [mankind, all human beings]."
*According to online dictionaries, swaddling clothes are narrow bands of cloth formerly wrapped around a newborn child to restrain its movements and quiet it.
The reason Mary wrapped her son in swaddling clothes is explained in the following article: "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.
Beware of Alcohol -- Even "Social Drinking" Can Lead to Addiction
"Look not thou upon [don't look with desire at] the wine when [or because] it is red [see note below*], when it giveth his colour [color] [or 'when it sparkles'] in the cup, when it moveth [moves] itself aright [evenly or smoothly, as when it is poured into a glass or is swirled in a glass]. At the last [drink, or in the end, after you drink the wine, or the consequences of drinking wine are that] it biteth [bites] like a serpent [snake], and stingeth [stings] like an adder [a venomous (poisonous) snake]."
In other words, don't let the inviting appearance of wine fool you. Simply looking at a glass of wine (or other type of alcoholic beverage) may cause you to yield to temptation (to drink it) and become drunk and end up doing bad things.
Pastor Jim Delany of Salem Bible Church says that when a person drinks wine [or any other type of alcoholic beverage, including liquor, beer, and mixed drinks], "The initial pleasure is short lived, but the consequences can seem to last forever."
In his commentary on verses 31-35 (see link below), Pastor Delany lists many of the ways that getting drunk can adversely affect your life, and at the end of the commentary, he concludes that:
"1. Solomon did not beat around the bush in describing alcohol. No one should ever read this chapter [Proverbs 23] and wonder what he thought about it!
"a. Vs. 20 [Proverbs 23:20] - Don't associate with winebibbers [habitual drinkers of alcohol].
"b. Vs. 29 [Proverbs 23:29] - It produces woe, contentions, babblings, wounds, bloodshot eyes.
"c. Vs. 31 [Proverbs 23:31] - Don't even look at it!
"d. Vs. 32 [Proverbs 23:32] - It is appealing, but in the end, it bites like a poisonous snake.
"e. Vs. 33 [Proverbs 23:33] - It causes you to lust after immoral women and causes you to utter perverse [or 'say bad'] things.
"f. … it makes you sick [Proverbs 23:34] and it is addicting [Proverbs 23:35].
"2. It never ceases to amaze me how many believers CLAIM that the Bible does not forbid alcohol, and that it is a matter of liberty and choice."
If you want to read the commentary, here's the link: www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-23-index/proverbs-23_31-35/.
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Regarding alcohol, one Bible commentator wrote:
"… The very nature of alcohol is a strong argument against the drinking of any of it. The burning liquors of the present day are far more deadly and dangerous than were those of antiquity. 'Social drinking easily turns into alcoholism; why then should people practice that which so rapidly enslaves hundreds of thousands'? … Alcoholism is not a disease; it is the result of drinking; and in the history of the world no one ever became an alcoholic without drinking! It should be noted that nothing in the Word of God either recommends or tolerates 'moderate drinking.' 'Moderate drinking' is a myth circulated by the liquor companies. 'Moderate drinking' is only one of the earlier stages of becoming a drunkard."
(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/proverbs/23-31.html, "Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible")
* * * * *
*In Bible times, the best wine was red and was sometimes called 'the blood of the grape.'
"The slothful [lazy] man [person] saith [says], There is a lion without [outside], I shall be slain [killed] in the streets."
According to Pastor Jim Delany of Salem Bible Church, the subject of this verse is excuses for laziness. In this case, the man says he can't go to work because he might be eaten by a lion.
In his commentary on this verse, Pastor Delany says that laziness is more than a personality trait, cultural issue, or natural disposition--it's a moral failure, a SIN--and he goes on to list (with many examples for each statement) what Solomon said about laziness in the book of Proverbs. Then he talks specifically about excuses that people give for not doing something (like going to work).
If you want to read the commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-22-index/proverbs-22_13/.
"Proud and haughty [arrogant, conceited] scorner [mocker] is his [or her] name, [referring to the person] who dealeth [deals] in proud wrath [or 'who has outbursts of anger and rage resulting from pride']."
According to Pastor Jim Delany of Salem Bible Church, people with explosive tempers that are set off on a regular basis (sometimes daily), as opposed to people who occasionally get mad, need to take anger management classes rather than medication, as the problem is due to sin (specifically, pride), not sickness. We should stay away from these types of people.
Pastor Delany has more to say in his commentary on the above verse. Here are some excerpts:
"b. The point is that this [i.e., proud wrath] is more than just an occasional failure.
"• We ALL lose our tempers on occasion.
"• We have all blown up at one time or another. Perhaps many times over a period of years.
"• But Solomon is not talking about someone who has a normal struggle with anger.
"• The man he describes here has a REAL problem with anger… with proud wrath.
"• He DEALS with proud anger. He conducts his life this way. It is part of his lifestyle. It is how he deals with anyone or anything that crosses him.
"• If you do something he doesn't like, you will experience his proud wrath.
"c. Prov. 13:10 -- This kind of proud wrath continually leads to contention [disagreements, arguments]. This man LIVES in the midst of contention because he brings it with him everywhere he goes.
"• We all know this man--we've all met this type.
"• Sometimes we get angry back at them. In reality, we should rather PITY them. They are pitiful, wretched, unhappy creatures.
"• They are constantly losing their friends and their jobs. Because they have no control over their anger, they blow up at everyone. Theirs is an equal opportunity wrath. They blow up at enemies and friends. They blow at the policeman who dares to stop them for speeding. They blow up at the teacher who has the audacity to call them on their behavior. They blow up at their boss… and the president of the company.
"• It's not a happy life they live.
"• At the root of it all is PRIDE."
Farther down in the commentary, it says:
"d. A haughty person believes he is the greatest and that the world revolves around him… or at least that it should, if it were functioning properly.
"e. For this man, life is [always] about me, myself, and I. Those are his three best friends. (Usually his only friends!)"
Near the end of the commentary, it says:
"e. Prov. 22:10 -- What's the best way to deal with an irascible [quick-tempered, easily angered], unrepentant scorner?
"• Cast [throw] him out! Tough love is required with this 'syndrome.'
"• Why so harsh? Because he won't listen.
"• The only thing this person will listen to is having to deal with the pain and suffering that he brings on himself.
"• Don't coddle him [don't treat him in an indulgent (permissive, tolerant) or overprotective way]. Don't bail [help] him out. Cast him out.
"• That's God's cure for this disorder."
If you want to read more of the commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-21-index/proverbs-21_24/.
After God created Adam and Eve, he placed them in the garden of Eden and told them they could eat from any of the trees there except one: the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Unfortunately, Satan (the devil), disguised as a serpent, told them to eat from the tree anyway, so they could become like gods, and they listened to him (Genesis 3:6,7). The following verse tells what happened to all of us as a result of that act of disobedience.
"Wherefore [on this account, referring to the advantages of the plan of justification by faith], as by one man [Adam] sin entered into the world, and [so did] [physical and spiritual] death by [from, due to] sin; and so death passed upon all men [and women and children] [through inheritance], for [the reason] that all [people] have sinned [see note below*]:"
God's remedy for the sin problem is Jesus Christ, the Messiah, who was sent to earth to die on the cross to pay for our sins so we could have the gift of eternal life. That's the true meaning of Christmas.
* * * * *
*Because of Adam and Eve, we are all sinners at birth. In addition, throughout our lives, the sin nature that we have inherited from Adam and Eve, through our parents, makes us susceptible to (or liable to be influenced by) temptation and causes us to sin willingly on a daily basis.
I found two articles related to the above verse (specifically, the sin nature and punishment for sin) that you might like to read. They are:
-- "What is the sin nature?"
-- "Why did Jesus have to die?"
God Creates Adam and Eve
In Genesis 1:1, we're told that God created heaven and earth. The process of creation, including a day of rest, took a total of seven days. According to the Bible, this is what happened on Day 6.
"And God [the Father] said [to God the Son (Jesus) and God the Holy Ghost (or Holy Spirit)], Let us make man [mankind, human beings] in our image, after our likeness [i.e., composed of three parts (body, soul, and spirit), like the three members of the Godhead, referred to as the Trinity]: and let them have dominion [authority, control] over the fish of the sea [both large and small, including whales, fish, sharks, etc.], and over the fowl of the air [such as birds, bats, and flying dinosaurs], and over the cattle [and sheep and goats], and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing [such as insects, worms, and reptiles] that creepeth [creeps or crawls] upon the earth."
"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him [referring to Adam, the first man]; male and female created he them [i.e., Adam and his wife, Eve (the first human beings)--see verses quoted below*]."
*According to the Bible, God created Adam first (from the dust of the ground, per Genesis 2:7), and then Eve (from Adam's rib, per Genesis 2:21-22).
* * * * *
Note: Things that were created on Days 5 and 6 are listed in detail in the following articles:
-- "What did God create on the fifth day of creation?"
-- "What did God create on the sixth day of creation?"
This comment was contained in a letter that the apostle Peter wrote to Christians, but it's good advice for non-Christians as well:
1 Peter 4:15:
"But let none of you suffer [punishment] as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's [people's] matters."
Don't do the things that are listed in the above verse (i.e., kill, steal, do bad things, interfere in other people's business), and you won't have to worry about being punished for them.
* * * * *
In his commentary on the above verse, Albert Barnes says, "… If you must be called to suffer, see that it be not for crime …" He describes busybody as "one who busies himself with what does not concern him; that is, one who pries into the affairs of another; who attempts to control or direct them as if they were his own."
(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/1-peter-4.html, "Verse 15")
The Holy Spirit -- The Best "Prayer Partner" That a Person Can Have!
In Chapter 8 of Romans, the apostle Paul tries to encourage believers by discussing some of the benefits of being a Christian. One is the promise that all saved people will live in heaven someday, and another is the fact that we can count on the Holy Spirit to help us pray, as is confirmed by the following verses:
"Likewise [like the things that were discussed in previous verses--see Note 1 below] the [Holy] Spirit also helpeth [helps] our infirmities [weaknesses, especially during prayer--see Note 2 below]: for we [born-again Christians] know not [don't know] what we should pray for as we ought [or 'as is necessary'] [i.e., we don't always know how to pray in the proper way]: but the [Holy] Spirit itself maketh [makes] intercession [to God] for us [by assisting (aiding, helping) and guiding us in prayer, especially when we pray] with groanings [i.e., inward sighs and moans due to deep-felt emotions] which cannot be uttered [spoken, or expressed in words]."
"And he [God] that searcheth [searches] the hearts [of Christians] knoweth [knows] what is the mind of the Spirit [of God, which means that God knows what desires the Holy Spirit has instilled (produced) in our hearts], because he [the Holy Spirit] maketh intercession for the saints [meaning he helps born-again Christians pray] according to the will of God."
According to the Bible, God has promised to answer our prayers when we obey him and pray in accordance with his will. The Holy Spirit helps us do both of those things.
* * * * *
Mark Dunagan concluded his commentary on verse 27 with the following points (each of which I started on a separate line to make them easier to read):
"… So far [in Chapter 8,] Paul has encouraged us to endure the sufferings of the present time because:
"(1) Heaven is worth it, by far … no comparison.
"(2) The Whole Creation is in sympathy with us and we are not the only ones suffering. Everyone and everything suffers and feels the effects of living in a world cursed by sin …
"(3) Redemption of the physical body is coming, just hang on! …
"(4) While in the body, the Spirit ensures that God gets every bit of the desire in the heart of the Christian, even if it's unexpressed or poorly expressed …
(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/romans/8-27.html, "Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible")
Regarding the infirmities mentioned in Romans 8:26 above, Charles Spurgeon said:
"… Want of memory, want of faith, want of earnestness [sincerity], ignorance, pride, deadness, coldness of heart, -- these are some of our infirmities; but, thank God, we have the omnipotent [all-powerful] Spirit of God to help us …"
(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/romans-8.html, "Verses 26-39")
* * * * *
Two Bible commentators made additional comments about these verses.
Charles Spurgeon said:
"These groanings [mentioned in Romans 8:26] are too deep, too full of meaning to be expressed in words. There are some things the Christian wants for which he cannot ask; perhaps he does not even know what it is that he wants. There is a vacuum in his heart, but he does not know what would fill it. There is a hunger in his spirit, but he knows not what the bread is, nor where the bread is, that can satisfy his wants. But the Holy Ghost can articulate these unuttered groans, and the deepest needs of our soul can thus be brought before God by his own Spirit. You, then, who find it difficult to pray, do not give up praying. The devil tells you that such poor prayers as yours are can never reach the ear of God. Do not believe him. The Spirit helps your infirmities: and when he helps you, you shall, you must prevail."
(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/romans-8.html, "Verses 26-39")
And Dr. Thomas Constable said:
"The Father [God] understands the [Holy] Spirit's intercession for the saints [Christians] even though we do not hear it. We can know that His intercession is effective in securing God's help for us because the Spirit prays in harmony with God's will.
"Thus God Himself by the Spirit comes to our aid whenever we need help. He also assures us in His Word that we will get assistance from the Father. The consequence of this promise should be that when we feel frustrated about our inability to pray about a particular need we can relax. We can have confidence that our compassionate God understands just how we feel and what we want, and He will respond according to His will …"
(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/romans/8-27.html, "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable")
"The wicked [referring to people who are morally bad, in both principle and practice] shall be turned into [or sent to] hell [a place of torment], and [so will] all the nations [throughout the world, referring to the people in them, both 'bad' and 'good'] that [who] forget [about] God [and consequently don't honor him (through praise and worship, etc.--see note below*) and obey his word, as recorded in the Bible]."
The GotQuestions.org article entitled "What does it mean to honor God?" tells us that:
"… The Bible shows many ways to honor and glorify God. We show Him high regard and reflect His character by being sexually pure (1 Corinthians 6:18-20), by giving of our income (Proverbs 3:9), and by living lives devoted to Him (Romans 14:8). It is not enough to merely honor Him outwardly. God desires honor that comes from our hearts. 'The Lord says, "These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me"' (Isaiah 29:13). When we delight in the Lord (Psalm 37:4), seek Him in everything we do (1 Chronicles 16:11; Isaiah 55:6), and make choices that reflect the place He has in our hearts, we bring Him the greatest honor."
"Where no oxen [cattle] are, the crib [or manger or feeding trough--where the oxen feed, or eat] is clean [empty]: but much increase is [comes] by the strength of the ox."
In other words, it takes money, time, and effort to have oxen (i.e., to purchase the animals, buy their food, clean their stalls, feed them, etc.), but the benefits are great (faster plowing, more crops, increased profit, etc.).That is true in other aspects of our lives, too. If we want to succeed, we often must be willing to take the "bad" with the "good."
* * * * *
Salem Bible Church has a good commentary on this verse, which (as usual) contains many examples of the subject being discussed. Applications for this verse include: young people going to college, homemakers baking pies from scratch, factory owners buying newer and more efficient equipment, and small business owners paying for advertising.
Toward the end of the commentary, Pastor Delany says, "In every area of life--the strength of the ox is by FAR worth the extra expense and effort required to maintain the ox. … This is especially so in our spiritual lives." Then he also lists some spiritual applications.
If you want to read the commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-14-index/proverbs-14_4/.
* * * * *
Here is some interesting information about oxen, according to Adam Clarke:
"… The ox is the most profitable of all the beasts used in husbandry. Except merely for speed, he is almost in every respect superior to the horse.
"1. He is longer lived.
"• Scarcely liable to any diseases.
"• He is steady, and always pulls fair in his gears.
"• He lives, fattens, and maintains his strength on what a horse will not eat, and therefore is supported on one third the cost.
"• His manure is more profitable.
"• When he is worn out in his labor his flesh is good for the nourishment of man, his horns of great utility, and his hide almost invaluable.
"It might be added, he is little or no expense in shoeing, and his gears are much more simple, and much less expensive, than those of the horse. In all large farms oxen are greatly to be preferred to horses. Have but patience with this most patient animal, and you will soon find that there is much increase by the strength and labor of the ox."
(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/proverbs/14-4.html, "Adam Clarke Commentary")
"Hope deferred [postponed] maketh [makes] the heart [feel] sick [or sad or hopeless, because when we don't get what we had hoped for--and want--right away, we are disappointed and can become discouraged (and sometimes even angry)]: but when the desire cometh [comes] [referring to a 'good' thing being realized, as when our prayers are finally answered and/or our desires are fulfilled], it is a tree of life [a source of joy]."
Salem Bible Church has an excellent commentary on this verse. It is filled with examples of hope and hope deferred. Here are some of them:
Section A - "Hope":
"3. We all have hopes… hopes that keep us going… hopes of a better tomorrow…
"a. hopes for our kids… to have wisdom; to walk with the Lord; to make sensible decisions; to turn out right; to find a godly spouse; to do well in their careers…
"b. hopes for this assembly [referring to Pastor Delany's congregation, but the comment is applicable to any Christian church]… for unity; growth; spiritual strength;
"c. hopes for the salvation of souls… friends; family; neighbors; spouse; co workers;
"d. hopes for doing well at school…
"e. for promotion at work…
"f. hopes of finding a mate…
"g. for others, their hope is having a baby…
"h. for buying a house… to fix up a house; to pay off a house…
"i. for losing weight…for getting physically fit… for a disease to remain in remission…
"j. for finishing college… for landing a good job
"k. for restoring a broken relationship…
"l. Hope for a backslidden believer to return to the Lord…
"m. hopes for getting victory over a besetting sin…
"n. Hopes for getting out of debt…"
Section B - "Hope Deferred":
"3. Examples of hope deferred…
"a. We had our heart set on getting that big promotion at work… and Fred got the job instead of you…
"b. We had hoped and dreamed that this certain relationship would develop into marriage… and our hopes are dashed… she goes off with someone else…
"c. We had hoped for our son to do well at college, and after his first year he quits…
"d. We had hoped that this new medication would put our disease into remission--only to discover that it didn't work and the disease has returned…
"e. We had hoped that our wayward son would return to the Lord, but instead he moves in with his girlfriend and becomes a Unitarian…
"f. Perhaps a woman had longed to have a child and is told that she will not be able to…
"g. We had hoped to pay off our loans and get out of debt, but another huge, unexpected expense comes along…
"h. All too often in life we discover that the things we had such bright and vibrant hope for… after time, seem so elusive."
If you want to read the rest of the commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-13-index/proverbs-13_12/.
"There shall no evil [things, like trouble, sorrow and grief, affliction and suffering] happen to the just [or 'righteous' people, referring to those who obey the law, follow orders, etc.]: but the wicked [people, including those who tend to lie, cheat, steal, and break the law] shall be filled with mischief [such as, for example, being arrested and ending up in jail, having an accident and ending up injured or dead, cheating at work and being fired, etc.]."
According to Pastor Jim Delany of Salem Bible Church, this proverb is a general observation by King Solomon, which means that although it may not be true all of the time, it's true most of the time.
Here are some excerpts from the pastor's commentary on this verse:
-- "Solomon's point is that when you do things right, you avoid a lot of trouble!"
-- "The one who keeps on committing crimes… who keeps on breaking the rules… who keeps on cheating--will also keep on falling into trouble."
-- "Folks who don't do things right lead their whole lives with a dark cloud following them… the dark cloud of their own making!"
-- "Law-abiding citizens usually lead a quiet and peaceable life. But criminals and lawbreakers bring trouble upon their own heads and upon their households."
If you want to read more of the commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-12-index/proverbs-12_21/.
The Lord's Supper: Remembering Jesus' Death
Christians routinely celebrate the Lord's supper in church. Regarding that subject, in a letter to the Corinthian church, the apostle Paul wrote:
1 Corinthians 11:23, 24:
"For I [Paul] have received of [directly from] the Lord [Jesus Christ] that [information] which also I delivered [communicated] unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed [by Judas Iscariot in the garden of Gethsemane] took bread: And when he [Jesus] had given thanks [to God], he brake [broke] it [the bread], and said [to his disciples], Take [it], [and] eat: this [bread] is [a symbol of] my body, which is [to be] broken for you [on the cross--one time, as a sacrifice--to pay for your sins, per Hebrews 10:10 and 1 Peter 3:18]: this do [or 'do this,' meaning eat the bread] in remembrance of me [Jesus, referring to his suffering and death]."
1 Corinthians 11:25, 26:
"After the same [or 'in a similar'] manner also he [Jesus] took the cup [of wine], when he had supped [eaten the Passover meal], saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood [which means that the cup of wine represented a new covenant, agreement, or dispensation, confirmed or sealed by his (Jesus') blood']: this do ye [or 'do this,' meaning take the cup and drink from it, like Jesus did], as oft [often] as ye [you] drink it ['the wine'], in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup [of wine (or grape juice, as is used in some Christian churches today during the Lord's supper)], ye do shew [show, proclaim, remember] the Lord's death till he [Jesus] come [or 'until he (Jesus) returns to judge the world']."
1 Corinthians 11:27:
"Wherefore whosoever [whoever] shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily [i.e., in a thoughtless, careless, improper manner or for the wrong reason, such as lacking proper respect or seriousness for the Lord's supper, treating it like a common meal rather than the observation of an ordinance (established rite or ceremony), etc.], shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord [or of putting Jesus to death; in other words, it implies that the person who eats and drinks unworthily will share the guilt of Jesus' death with those who stood in the crowd before Pilate and cried out, 'Crucify him, crucify him']."
1 Corinthians 11:28, 29:
"But let a man [or woman or child, referring to every born-again Christian] examine himself [or herself, meaning his (or her) thoughts, words, and actions--to make sure that he (or she) is partaking of the Lord's supper for the right reasons and that all known sins have been confessed to, and forgiven by, God], and so [then] let him [or her] eat of that bread, and drink of that cup [both of which are referred to above]. For he [or she] that eateth [eats] [the bread] and drinketh [drinks] [from the cup] unworthily [improperly, irreverently] [during the Lord's supper], eateth and drinketh damnation [condemnation, judgment, punishment] to himself [or herself], not discerning the Lord's body [by not understanding the true meaning of the Lord's supper and/or by treating it as a common meal rather than something that is very special to God]."
1 Corinthians 11:30:
"For this cause [or 'reason,' referring to eating and drinking unworthily during the Lord's supper] many are weak and sickly [sick] among you [Christians], and many sleep [have died].
For in-depth information about the Lord's supper, read one or both of the following articles:
-- "What is the importance of the Lord's supper / Christian communion?"
-- "What did Jesus mean when He said, 'This is my body, broken for you'?"
In 1 Corinthians 10:13, the apostle Paul wrote:
"There hath [has] no temptation [an urge or desire to do something bad--illegal, immoral, unwise, or wrong] taken [hold of] you but such as is common to man [mankind, all people]: but God is faithful [trustworthy], who will not suffer [allow] you to be tempted above [beyond] that [which] ye are able [to resist]; but [he] will with the temptation also make a way to escape [the temptation], [so] that ye [you] may be able to bear [withstand, endure] it [the temptation, without being overcome by it]."
Commenting on the above verse, Mark Dunagan wrote:
"Points to Note:
"1. God never places us in a no-win situation, in which the only way out is to commit sin. There are no 'greater sin-lesser sin' moral dilemmas. There is ALWAYS A NON-SINFUL WAY TO ENDURE THE TRIAL.
"2. You will never be faced with a temptation that requires 'superhuman' effort to endure.
"3. Every time we sin, we have demonstrated a lack of faith in God, for we refused to look for or take the way of escape. Sin is always our fault.
"4. Since a way of escape always exists in every temptation, we can never BLAME anything or anyone else for our own moral failures.
"5. Unfortunately, many want the 'way of escape' to be easy. When it comes to temptation, many are waiting for some 'feeling' to overwhelm them, which will magically remove all desire to give in. Rather, the way of escape is always through our ability to endure.
"6. A way of escape, when it comes to idolatry is given in the next verse [1 Corinthians 10:14]. 'Flee'!
"7. God is not the source of temptations [James 1:13], but rather He monitors all temptations …"
(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/1-corinthians/10-13.html, "Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible")
* * * * *
In his commentary on the above verse, Brad Price wrote:
"… It may be helpful to consider these additional points about God's faithfulness and our temptations:
"God knows each Christian's abilities to bear temptations and He will not let us be burdened by too much.
"Though God's promise of an escape is true, at times we may think God has failed to provide one. Many are like Job (they complain their sufferings are unjust or too great).
"Individuals make up the church (a large body of people), but this verse tells us that God can and does deal with and care for His people individually.
"Satan is limited by two things: God's power and our resistance to temptation.
"We can be tempted to do what is wrong and/or not do what is right.
"If we do not escape a temptation, we cannot blame the failure on God ( James 1:13-14).
"Christians ought to diligently pray for deliverance from temptation.
"Never think a temptation 'is too difficult to avoid' or we 'never have a choice.'
"Think of the long term consequence of accepting a temptation instead of the 'short term benefit' of sin (compare Hebrews 11:25).
"Remember that what tempts us also tempts others. Be wary of thinking or saying, 'No one understands what I am going through' or 'My situation is unique.' The world changes, but temptations basically stay the same ( 1 John 2:16).
"Recognize that temptation will come and try to be prepared for it ( Ephesians 6:11-18).
"When we fail to avoid temptation, immediately recognize the failure and confess it to God ( 1 John 1:9).
"Satan is a master tempter. He is a deceiver ( 2 Corinthians 11:3), a liar and murderer ( John 8:44), and a thief ( John 10:10).
"Age will not do away with temptation. Temptations may change with time, but their severity is sometimes not altered by old age …"
(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/1-corinthians/10-13.html, last commentary on the page)
In Luke 6:31, Jesus said:
"And as ye [you] would [want, desire] that men [other people] should do to you, do ye also to them likewise [the same]."
In other words, we should treat others as we would like to be treated ourselves (for example, with kindness).
* * * * *
Rephrased slightly (i.e., "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you"), the above verse, which is similar to Matthew 7:12, is commonly known as the Golden Rule.
In his commentary on the verse in Matthew, Albert Barnes said:
"… This command has been usually called the 'Saviour's golden rule,' a name given to it on account of its great value. All that you 'expect' or 'desire' of others in similar circumstances, do to them. Act not from selfishness or injustice, but put yourself in the place of the other, and ask what you would expect of him. This would make you impartial [unbiased], candid [truthful], and just [fair]. It would destroy avarice [greed], envy, treachery [betrayal of trust], unkindness, slander [making false and damaging statements about someone], theft, adultery, and murder …"
(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/matthew-7.html, "Verse 12")
* * * * *
GotQuestions.org has written some articles about the Golden Rule. Here are the links for two of those articles, in case you want to read one or both of them:
-- "What is the Golden Rule?"
-- "What does the Bible say about how you should treat others?"
God (not "Mother Nature") Controls the Weather
[During winter months,] "He [God] giveth [gives, sends] snow [meaning he covers the earth with snow, which is white and fluffy] like wool: he scattereth [scatters] the hoarfrost [frost] like ashes. He casteth [casts] forth [or 'throws down'] his ice [hail] like morsels [small pieces of food]: who can stand before his [God's] cold [or 'who can endure the cold weather']?"
[After some snowstorms, and especially in the spring,] "He [God] sendeth [sends] out his word [or 'gives a command' or 'speaks'], and melteth [melts] them [i.e., the snow, frost, and ice]: he causeth [causes] his [warm] wind to blow, and the [previously frozen] waters [to] flow."
Jesus said this to his disciples (followers):
In Luke 12:6:
"Are not five sparrows [little birds] sold [in Bible times] for two farthings [small coins of little worth or value], and not one of them [referring to the sparrows] is forgotten before [or 'unnoticed or not cared for by'] God?"
In Luke 12:7:
"But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered [by God]. Fear not [don't worry] therefore: [because] ye [you] are of more value [to God] than many sparrows."
All Christians are very important to God.
Debts and Charity
"Withhold not good [things, or 'don't withhold anything good,' such as assistance or money] from them to whom it is due [or 'from needy people, creditors, etc.'], when it is in the power of thine [your] hand [or 'when you have the ability'] to do it [i.e., offer assistance or pay your debts]."
"Say not [don't say] unto thy [your] neighbour [or your friend, relative, creditor, etc.], Go [away], and come [back] again [later], and to morrow I will give [it to you]; when thou hast it by thee [when you already have what they want or need]."
Pay your debts when they are due, and be kind, helpful, and charitable to those who are suffering.
* * * * *
According to Pastor Jim Delany of Salem Bible Church, "… The specific example here [in the above verses] is of refusing to pay when we have the money or the ability…"
The pastor's commentary on the above verses is excellent and includes many examples of how and why people get into debt and what they should and shouldn't do about it. It shows how we can avoid taking on too much debt and becoming overwhelmed by it, and it also tells why some people refuse to pay what they owe. At the end of the commentary, we learn that these verses also teach us that we should be kind to others.
Here are some excerpts from the commentary:
From the introduction:
"3. To whom would our money be due?
"a. If we borrow money from another person…
"b. If we borrow money from a bank or finance company…
"c. If we borrow someone else's property (car; snow blower; bicycle; stereo)
"d. If we owe someone a service--by bartering your time of service for money or for property--or even someone's else's service. (the plumber who promises to fix the carpenter's leaky sink if the carpenter promises to fix his leaky roof!)
"e. If we purchase items with a credit card…
"f. If we hire someone to do a job, and they do the job…
"g. If we live in a country, enjoy its services, then we owe taxes…
"h. If we have been saved and appreciate God's grace, we are responsible to give to the Lord's work… it is due…
"i. If we borrow money, time, or service, we have become a debtor to that person or company or country."
From the "Withhold Not Good" Section:
"5. Before we ever begin a project (building a house; buying a car; etc) we are to sit down and count the cost whether we are able to finish the project--and pay for it! (Luke 14:28-30)
"a. The point is that we are NOT to get in over our heads.
"b. We are NOT to borrow more than we can pay back.
"c. We are NOT to live beyond our means.
"d. We are NOT to involve ourselves in a commitment we are not able to finish.
"e. Doing our homework AHEAD of time will prevent us from making this mistake. It will keep us out of that awkward position of owing… being in debt… and finding ourselves unable to pay…
"6. However, the passage in Proverbs seems to be warning about something even worse. The warning is about REFUSING to pay money owed, even when we have it!"
"b. We too can commit this kind of sin.
"• In running a business, we have no right to withhold payment to our creditors… or to companies that have supplied us with goods or services.
"• In running a household, we have no right to hire servicemen come and fix our home or car, if we know we can't pay them… and we are going to put off payment when the bill comes in…
"• We might be mad at a company/doctor/serviceman and refuse to pay.
"• We can withhold good because of a grudge; anger; procrastination; laziness; revenge;--all of which are wrong and forbidden by this passage."
From the "When it is in the power of thy hand to do it" section:
"3. There are times when we may NOT have the power or ability to pay off a loan or a bill.
"a. A man may begin a project, count the cost, and crunch all the numbers and the project may seem quite do-able.
"b. But the economy could turn sour--suddenly and unexpectedly… any number of things could happen.
"c. We might find ourselves without power or ability to pay. That is not the point of this passage.
"d. This passage speaks of someone who is ABLE to pay but refuses.
"• The McCoys and the Joneses having a feud…
"• The man who piles up bills and doesn't pay them, in order to save money for his vacation…
"• The man who promised to do a good deed for someone, and is able to do so, but keeps putting it off… procrastination."
From the "Applications" section:
"1. While this text seems to be speaking specifically of paying back something that is owed to another, there are many applications that can be made about our responsibility to do GOOD unto others.
"2. In principle, this passage is similar to James 2:15-16
"a. In this text, nothing is actually OWED to the poor man.
"b. But there is a moral obligation to help.
"c. If a brother [a fellow Christian] is destitute (starving; naked; etc)--drastic circumstances--we are morally obligated to help.
"d. This does not refer to the brother who comes to borrow money for a new leather coat or one who needs money to eat at the Tavern on the Green.
"e. It speaks of a brother who is destitute. This is more like the situation of the Good Samaritan who found a man lying destitute on the side of the road.
"f. Vs.16 [James 2:16]-- saying, "Depart, be warmed and filled" is sending him away without helping. You are withholding good! It is just like saying, "Go and come again; tomorrow I will give."
"g. If we can help a brother or sister in Christ [a fellow Christian], we should.
"• We may be used at times.
"• There will always be freeloaders who take advantage of Christian generosity.
"• But over all, if we can help, we should.
"• If it is within our ability and power--don't withhold.
"2. Gal. 6:10 -- as we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, especially to those of the household of faith.
"a. As we have opportunity--speaks of a person who has the power or ability to help.
"b. We [Christians] have been called [by God] to do GOOD works… we are to walk in the good works that God has ordained for us. (Eph. 2:8-10) This is the natural FRUIT [result] of salvation, never the root [foundation, basis]!
"c. When opportunity arises to do good, DO it. Don't withhold it.
"d. The question always arises--where do we draw the line?
"• If we give money away, there will be a line of people at our door every day!
"• I am ABLE to work every night--helping out a different brother every night of the week.
"• But we also have to prioritize the use of our time.
"• We also have to consider other things: our health; our family; responsibilities; our limits.
"• We ARE to help and not to withhold help… but do it WISELY! Certainly the book of Proverbs while promoting KINDNESS also is promoting WISDOM in how we live our lives!
"3. Titus 3:1 -- We are to be READY to every good work.
"a. That means we are NOT to put it off till mañana [tomorrow]!
"b. Ready = ready; prepared; even eager
"c. We shouldn't be withholding good from others. It shouldn't take a crowbar to get us to do good to others.
"d. Good should naturally FLOW out of one who is [born again, or] saved by grace!"
If you want to read the rest of the commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-3-index/proverbs-3_27-28/.
Agreement in Prayer
Regarding the subject of prayer, especially in relation to church discipline and guidance in organizing and running the Christian church, which was mentioned in previous verses of this chapter, Jesus told his disciples (the apostles):
"Again I [Jesus] say unto you [apostles], That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching [concerning, regarding] any thing that they shall ask [in prayer], it shall be done for them of [by] my Father [God] which is in heaven."
"For where two or three [believers, born-again Christians, saved people] are gathered together [either in person or online (for example, via Facebook, You Tube, or Zoom] in my [Jesus'] name [to worship God, as in church services, at prayer meetings, etc.], there am I [Jesus, in their hearts, in Spirit form] in the midst [middle] of them."
According to the Bible, these are some of the requirements for answered prayer. You must:
-- Be born again, or saved (per John 9:31)
-- Obey God's commandments and do things that are pleasing in his sight (per 1 John 3:22).
-- Not have unconfessed sins in your life (per 1 John 1:9).
-- Pray to God in faith (per James 1:6-7).
-- Pray in accordance with God's will (per 1 John 5:14-15).
-- Pray "in Jesus' name" (per John 14:13-14).
* * * * *
Would you like to be born again (saved from hell) and receive God's gift of eternal life?
Basically, if you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and Messiah, that he 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 on the plan of salvation, read one or more of the tracts in the "Printable Gospel Tracts" section of my website. Here's a direct link to that page: https://www.mansioninheaven.com/PrintableGospelTracts.html.
"For there is not a word in my tongue [either spoken or unspoken, or 'there is nothing I can say'], but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether [you know all about it; in other words, God knows the true meaning of everything that we say and think--see comments below]."
This chapter of Psalms proves that God is omniscient, which means he knows everything about us, including the things that we think, say, and do. The above verse deals with things that we say.
* * * * *
In his commentary, Matthew Henry explains the verse as follows:
"… 'Thou knowest me, and all I say (v. 4): There is not a word in my tongue, not a vain word, nor a good word, but thou knowest it altogether, knowest what it meant, from what thought it came, and with what design it was uttered. There is not a word at my tongue's end, ready to be spoken, yet checked and kept in, but thou knowest it.' When there is not a word in my tongue, O Lord! thou knowest all (so some read it); for thoughts are words to God …"
(Source: https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/psalms/139.html, "Verses 1-6")
* * * * *
Regarding the phrase thou knowest it altogether at the end of the verse, Albert Barnes says:
"… Merely to 'hear' what is spoken does not imply necessarily a full knowledge of what is said - for it may be false, insincere, hypocritical. God knows exactly what is said and what is 'meant.'"
(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/psalms-139.html, "Verse 4")