Reading wisely

I love books! Ask Doug or our children and they will tell you that I love books. I wish I had a finished storage building with book cases so I could store all my books in one place. Of course I would want a comfortable chair, lamp, and telephone, and controlled climate. Might as well add some carpet, too!

Recently I received a book, “Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary,” that I had ordered, used of course. This will prove to be one of my most treasured books next to the Bible.

The older I have grown, the greater my interest has become in reading the Bible and books of a spiritual nature. Isn’t it sad that we don’t see the importance when we are young, and while we can remember things much easier? No doubt being busy with the home, children, and helping make a living, causes us to put these things on the back burner, so to speak. I want to think, or trust, we do the best we can under the circumstances.

It is never too late to grow spiritually by studying God’s word. A day void of reading the Bible or praying does not put us on a downward spiral where we can’t get up and try to do better the next day, the next hour, or minute. It’s like falling down. We have to get back up. And what is that saying, “Always get up one more time than you fall down” to be successful? The same is true with our devotion to a study of God’s word. If we miss a day, we must try again the next.

We must watch what we read. We should make sure that which we read does not lead our minds to dark or sinful places mentally. It must be “clean” reading. It must be something of which He (our Lord) would approve.

We must watch what we read because not only is God watching, but others are also. If there are small children, grandchildren, or others in the home, they see what is beside our chair, or on the table next to it. “There’s an all-seeing eye watching you.”

We must watch what we read because it takes valuable time. We are either growing mentally and spiritually from what we are reading, or we may be wasting our time. Time is valuable. Time spent should be spent valuably. We will give account of how we use our time.

It has always disturbed me to think I have spent more time reading something secular than I have spent reading something spiritually uplifting in a day. Our time spent with God should supersede everything else.

Quality time spent with the Great Physician offers greater healing than any prescription ever filled by man.

#daily-bible-reading, #example

Studies in the Book of Proverbs #8

(#8) The Wise Trust God And Improve Their Lives 3:1-12

Following God’s Wisdom brings out the best qualities in us, as we learn to have total confidence in God’s guidance. Heeding Wisdom will give one:

Verses 1-2: Longer Life. “My son” is an expression used some 15 times in the first 7 chapters of Proverbs, for it is written as if Solomon is instructing his son. The way to “not forget” law is to “let your heart keep” the commands. This is explained in James 1:21-25 and applied to Christian obedience. Obedience comes from the “heart,” as do all our words (Matthew 12:35-37), sins (Mark 7:21-23), jobs (Ephesians 6:5-8). Blessings promised include “length of days” as in good health, “long life” as in living to old age, and “peace” as assistance to abundance or prosperity. Statistics show that those who regularly go to church live longer.

Verses 3-4: Better Relations. If “mercy” (feelings for the plight of our fellowmen) and “truth” (factual and accurate knowledge of our, and others’, actions) are written on our heart, we will wear them like jewelry. These two qualities of character are appreciated (“favor and high esteem”) among men and by God. All deep friendships are based upon understanding the friend, and honesty.

Verses 5-6: Higher Direction. Total trust in God in all our ways is possible because He made us (Genesis 1:26-27), greatly loved us (Ephesians 2:4-7), gave His Son for us (Ephesians 5:1-2). Why should we not believe He wants to help us make the best decisions in our lives? Trust “with all our heart” means we give up our “own understanding” and defer to His direction. It reduces tension to know what to do.

Verses 7-8: Better Health. To be “wise in your own eyes” is another way of describing “loftiness and arrogance and pride” (Jeremiah 48:29-31), but it takes “fear” (respect, awe) of the LORD, and the desire to “depart from evil” (or leave sinful practices, also known as repentance). By listening to God, we may keep our physical bodies from the dissipation and disease of sins, and live healthier and stronger lives, just as God promised His Israelites (Deuteronomy 15:26). Humility is the way of recognizing realistically our place in this vast world, without hypocrisy.

Verses 9-10: Better Prosperity.  Thank God first with whatever we prosper, and He will think of us when we prosper. “He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:6-7). God always has required that giving to Him come before any other consideration, and be freewill (Leviticus 23:37-38).

Verses 11-12: Better Attitude. A person who wants to be a spiritual “child of God” will accept some things that happen in life as God’s “chastening” (teaching) or “correction” (sometimes hurtful reminders not to stray from the path of good). No parent loves his/her child who will not “correct” (discipline) the child, when needed. These two verses are used to show Christians not to become discouraged at God’s correction, for it proves that God is dealing with them as a child whom He loves (Hebrews 12:3-11).

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version,  unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #christian-living, #correction, #daily-bible-reading, #discipline, #god, #health, #life, #long-life, #mercy, #obedience, #practical-lessons, #pride, #proverbs, #sin, #teaching, #truth, #wisdom

Studies in the Book of Proverbs

(#4) Listen to Your Parents, not a “Gang!” 1:8-19

Verses 8-9: The father, whose work may occupy much time, gives “instruction,” while the mother, whose work principally should be family, gives “law.” The assumption here is that both have spiritually agreed to enforce God’s law as best they might, therefore they are not in conflict with each other, nor undermine the other’s authority with the children. This formula is clearly upheld in the Law of Christ (Ephesians 6:1-4). “Human fathers” also chasten us (Hebrews 12:9) and enforce the discipline of teaching. Societies that encourage, sanction, or teach children to ignore and disrespect their parents or to rebel against them, will not long survive. “Single parenting” is not the best way to raise a child. God has planned for both a “father” and a “mother” to be required, and included, in a child’s proper instruction. The highest percentage of poverty in America is found in single-parent homes, mostly where the mother is the single parent! Properly teaching a child is like fine jewelry.

Verse 10: No one may be misled into sin without consent. Children are “in the wrong crowd” when they haven’t been shown how to recognize “the wrong crowd,” or to refuse to go along with “the wrong crowd,” or taught to conform and give consent to “the wrong crowd.” Parents who let their children be led by peers instead of by rightful parental advice have abdicated their duty and will be held accountable for it. “Sinners” refers to the willfully disobedient, not an occasional sin.

Verses 11-14: “The wrong crowd” will propose: (vss. 11-12) anything up to the point of murder to gain their advantage; (vs. 13) stealing anything and everything; (vs.14) becoming an equal partner in all matters. There is no clearer description of “gangs,” “brotherhoods,” “mobs,” “cliques,” “unions,” or any other group devoted to violence. It is truly foolish ignorance to join such power associations, and must surely be referred to by the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 6:14-18.

Verses 15-19: Such groups are to be avoided by not taking the first step with them (v. 15); for they are always in a hurry to do their evil (v. 16) and ignore the open net of judgment awaiting them (v. 17); the wicked openly seek blood with no prompting (v. 18); those “greedy for gain” (covetous) are so involved in pursuing “gain” they lose their own lives, and others’ lives, if necessary!

#bible-study, #daily-bible-reading, #evil, #gangs, #proverbs, #sin, #teaching, #wicked

Psalm 150 Praise the LORD, not men!

These last 5 Psalms (146-150) are called “Hallelujah Psalms” because they begin and end with that expression: “Praise – Jehovah,” or “Hallelujah.” The author, date, and setting of each Psalm are undetermined, but their acceptance is unquestioned.

Verse 1: Where to “praise God;”

Verse 2: Why “praise God;”

Verse 3-5: How to “praise God;”

Verse 6: Who is to “praise God;”

Verse 1: “Praise the LORD” is “Hallelujah,” or praise Jehovah, The Self-existent Deity; the next is “Praise God,” or “Halleluel,” or praise Elohim, “The Power.” God’s “sanctuary” is the designated, set aside place as “holy” where God should be worshiped. The first in the tabernacle in the wilderness (Exodus 25:8; Hebrews 9:1-5) had a “sanctuary” where worship occurred, then “the Holiest of All” where God was represented as forgiving sins. Next, in the temple in Jerusalem (1 Kings 6:1-17), there was the “sanctuary” and the “inner sanctuary.” Now the church of Christ (Hebrews 8:1-2; 9:6-12; 2 Corinthians 1:1; 6:16) is the “sanctuary,” but Heaven, itself, is “the Most Holy Place.”

Verse 2: Praise Him because of “His mighty acts,” or all those miraculous or providential deeds far beyond “all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20-21). Praise Him for “His excellent greatness,” realizing nothing is great without God, but that all God does is greater than men (1 Corinthians 1:18-25).

Verses 3-5: David added musical instruments to God’s worship (1 Chronicles 23:5), called “instruments of David” authorized by his own authority and not God’s (1 Chronicles 15:16; 2 Chronicles 7:6), and condemned by God’s prophet, Amos (Amos 6:1, 5). The only musical instrument specified by God for the church of Christ is “your heart” (Ephesians 5:19), and there is no authorization in the New Testament for the bringing over and use of “instruments of music, like David.”  None of the instruments listed in Psalm 150 were ever used in the church of Christ by the authority of God.

Verse 6: “Everything that has breath” means every living creature: those that are not human “praise God” because they demonstrate His Wisdom and Creative Power; those that are human praise with words and deeds from their heart: “Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased” (Hebrews 13:15-16).

“Praise the LORD!”

 All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #book-of-psalms, #daily-bible-reading, #david, #god, #hallelujah, #musical-instruments, #praise-jehovah, #singing, #worship

Psalm 149 The God Who Will Not Be Conquered

These last 5 Psalms (146-150) are called “Hallelujah Psalms” because they begin and end with that expression: “Praise – Jehovah,” or “Hallelujah.” The author, date, and setting of each Psalm are undetermined, but their acceptance is unquestioned.

Verses 1-5 call for God’s People to praise Him for victory;

Verses 6-9 call for praise and defeat of their enemies.

Verses 1-5: (Verse 1) “A new song” indicates a “new heart,” celebrating a “new victory,” and a “new life.” “The assembly of the saints” is a worship service, where “God is greatly to be feared” (Psalm 89:7). In America, every time there is disaster, trouble, destruction, criminal death, or missing person, there is some candlelight “coming together.” When Peter was kept in prison with the intent of killing him, the church of Christ gathered for prayer (Acts 12:12), not candles! (Verse 2) The people, Israel, especially their religious center, Zion, should rejoice with (verse 3) “dance” and “timbrel and harp,” just as their forefathers had done when God parted the Red Sea for them to escape Egypt and be their own Nation (Exodus 14:21-15:21). (Verse 4) God’s “pleasure” is in His People, who develop beautiful, spiritual character. (Verse 5) “Saints” should be joyful, even on “their beds,” formerly places of sorrow.

Verses 6-9: (Verse 6) While praising God with their “mouth,” “And a two-edged sword in their hand.” This sounds like the Israelites re-building the wall of Jerusalem when they were returned to their Promised Land (Nehemiah 4:17). Apparently, there was no “gun control” then! A dis-armed people can do nothing against the enemies of God! (Verse 7) “Bearing the sword” in “vain” (meaninglessly), or using the power of the sword against “good works,” violates God’s intended purpose for “governing authorities” (Romans 13:1-5). Today, Christians are to praise God while Government uses the sword to be “God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil” (Romans 13:4).

(Verse 8) God’s government, acting as His minister, defeats evil. (Verse 9) God’s “judgment” in writing was: “When the LORD your God brings you into the land which you go to possess, and has cast out many nations before you, the Hittites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than you, and when the LORD your God delivers them over to you, you shall conquer them and utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them nor show mercy to them” (Deuteronomy 7:1-2). Today, the “sword of the Spirit” in a Christian hand, “is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17), and the “nations,” “peoples,” “kings,” and “nobles” must be conquered by teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:18-20). Since Jesus Christ established His spiritual kingdom on Earth in the 1st Century, there has been NO “Christian carnal war” waged against Muslims, Jews, or anyone else, for that matter, and therefore NO justification for persecuting the churches of Christ! All of those who persecute Christians, even to death, are persecuting Jesus (Acts 9:1-5), and, unless they repent, He will damn them forever (2 Thessalonians 1:3-10)!

“Praise the LORD!”

 All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #book-of-psalms, #daily-bible-reading, #evangelism, #faith, #god, #judgment-in-writing, #kingdom-of-christ, #mission, #obedience, #preaching, #teaching

Psalm 148 The God Who Will Be Heard

These last 5 Psalms (146-150) are called “Hallelujah Psalms” because they begin and end with that expression: “Praise – Jehovah,” or “Hallelujah.” The author, date, and setting of each Psalm are undetermined, but their acceptance is unquestioned. Psalm 148 is the basis of the lyric for the hymn, “Praise the Lord, Ye Heavens Adore Him” with a tune written by Franz J. Haydn. “Praise the Lord” is used some 12 times in its 14 verses.

Verses 1-2 let us know God is praised above His Creation;

Verses 3-6 let us know God is praised in what we call “space;”

Verses 7-13 let us know God is praised among the living creatures on the Earth;

Verse 14 lets us know God is praised among His people.

Verses 1-2: Jehovah is praised in the “heights.” God’s praise comes from the Heavenly “host,” a multitude of which announced Jesus’ birth (Luke 2:13), and twelve legions of which could have kept Jesus from the cross (Matthew 26:53).

Verses 3-6: God spoke into existence the: “sun and moon” (Genesis 1:14-18),  “stars of light” (Genesis 1:16), “heavens of heavens,” “waters above the heavens” (Genesis 1:6-8). Verse 6 says, “He made a decree which shall not pass away.” Everything in space operates with such precision, timing, and position as to totally devastate any vestige of godless doctrines, such as “Evolution.” It is pathetic to see minds wasted repeating the mantras of “millions and billions of years” in describing this Earth, when ALL OF THE CREATION IS PRAISING GOD!

Verses 7-13: Praise of God comes “From the earth,” creatures below; weather above the surface; the surface itself; animals, reptiles, birds; all people “praise God.” NO ONE CAN SEE WHAT HAPPENS ON THE EARTH AND FAIL TO “PRAISE GOD.” Animals, reptiles, birds are different from each other, and No Scientific Fact demonstrates they came from one another! All animals of the earth are different from humans, and NO Scientific Fact demonstrates that humans came from animals! “For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God” (Hebrews 3:4). Everything God Created shouts “Hallelujah,” everyone who seeks to explain that Creation by substituting Time & Chance for God profanes and degrades all of it.

Verse 14: God should be praised by His People whom He has “exalted” and brought “near” to Him!

“Praise the LORD.”

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #book-of-psalms, #creation, #daily-bible-reading, #evolution, #faith, #god, #obedience

Psalm 147 Jehovah is God – And We’re NOT!

These last 5 Psalms (146-150) are called “Hallelujah Psalms” because they begin and end with that expression: “Praise – Jehovah,” or “Hallelujah.” The author, date, and setting of each Psalm are undetermined, but their acceptance is unquestioned.

Verse 1 calls for praise;

Verses 2-6 give Israelite outcasts reasons to praise God;

Verse 7 calls for praise;

Verses 8-11 give those who fear Him reasons to praise God;

Verse 12 calls for Israelites to praise God;

Verses 13-18 call attention to God’s absolute Power;

Verses 19-20 call Israelites’ attention to God’s special Word to them.

Verse 1: Sing “Hallelujah” because it is “good,” “pleasant,” “beautiful.”

Verses 2-6: Jehovah “builds up Jerusalem” by making sure the “outcasts” are included. These are people who might be rejected by the religious snobs and overlooked for blessings. Verses 2-3 describe the work of Jesus Christ when He came (Jeremiah 30:10-17; Luke 4:16-20). God can account for all of Israel’s “outcasts” because only He knows the number, but also the name, of the stars. With all of today’s technologies, humans haven’t even seen all of the stars, yet! Although God is “great,” “mighty in power,” infinite in “understanding,” He compassionately “lifts up the humble,” but does not do the same for “the wicked.”

Verse 7: Praise should be sung, and the instruments of David left behind, for the only instrument that should accompany worship singing today is “your heart” (Ephesians 5:19).

Verses 8-11: The Earth follows God’s physical rules, as those who “fear Him” follow His spiritual rules: from cloud coverings come rain; from rain comes grass on mountains; from grass (greenery) comes food for beasts and ravens asking. God’s pleasure is not in the strength of horses or men’s legs, but “in those who hope in His mercy.”

Verse 12: Israel, whose capital of Jerusalem, was also its’ worship center, Zion, is alerted to “praise your God.”

Verses 13-18: A God-blessed nation has: 1) strong “bars” of its “gates.” Aren’t we talking about keeping out illegal immigrants, outsiders who corrupt, and disguised terrorists? A godless society has no limits! 2) blessed “children,” and this is not discussing their toys, games, sports, or other distractions, but genuine faith. 3) internal “peace,” and this is not with martial law, or a police state, but citizens with faithful obedience to God’s moral Law; 4) abundant harvest, because God has made the land cooperate and bless (Acts 14:14-17). It is by God’s Command that the Earth is blessed with: “snow,” “frost,” “hail,” “cold,” “melting,” blowing wind, and flowing water!

Verses 19-20: God gave the Israelites (including Jews!) the advantage of “His Word,” including His “statutes” and “judgments.” That Word should have lead them all the way to Jesus Christ (Deuteronomy 4:5; Leviticus 26:40-46; Malachi 4:4; Galatians 3:7-29). No other nation ever had that advantage of specific written revelation through prophets, and yet when Jesus came, “although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him” (John 12:37). Paul asked the question: “What advantage then has the Jew, or what is the profit of circumcision? Much in every way! Chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God. For what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect? Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar” (Romans 3:1-4). God had given the Jews the advantage of having His Word first. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek” (Romans 1:16). Having God’s Word, knowing it, and obeying it is our advantage, today. Jesus said: “For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother” (Mark 3:35).

“Praise the LORD” or “Hallelujah!”

 All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #book-of-psalms, #daily-bible-reading, #faith, #god, #jesus-christ, #obedience, #praise, #salvation, #singing, #worship