He commanded us to preach

Acts 10


And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.

It says He commanded us to preach. Considering that He commanded us that, we should be ready to take opportunities to preach the gospel.


straightway he preached Christ

Acts 9


And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.

Like Saul of Tarsus when the Lord converted him, we should be quick to preach the Lord Jesus Christ, and who He is, in all the places we go.


Genesis 41 - Key


And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, [It is] not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace.

I think it would have been so easy for Joseph to take the credit for interpreting dreams, but instead, He gave the Lord the credit, and the Lord blessed him so much it was ridiculous.


Proverbs 3:5,6
Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

For a long time, I've wondered, how do I apply these verses to acknowledge Him? I think what Joseph did is a great example of that. I'll acknowledge the Lord by giving Him the credit when He gives me an ability.


Genesis 41 - Outline

Pharaoh dreamed that seven skinny cows came and ate seven fat cows who had come before them
Pharaoh dreamed that 7 shriveled ears of corn ate seven fat ears of corn
nobody could help, but the chief butler remembered Joseph
Joseph was suddenly taken out of prison, and gave the credit to the Lord for interpreting dreams
Pharaoh told Joseph his dream about the cows
Pharaoh also told Joseph about his second dream about the ears of corn
Joseph told how God was showing what was going to happen to Egypt's economy in the immediate future
Joseph also told what to do to take care of the problem
Joseph went from rags to riches as Pharaoh recognized his wisdom
the seven years of prosperity
Joseph had two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim
there was a Great Depression in Egypt, and a world food crisis in in all of the economies in the world


take sin seriously

Acts 8


Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.

Simon's wrong speech came a from wrong thought, which came from a wrong heart. He wasn't supposed to pray for forgiveness for saying it, but for the thought. When we recognize sin in our lives, we should recognize it all the way to the root of the problem in our hearts.

When we sin, even if it seems small to us, it's very important to recognize that it's our wickedness, and repent of it, and pray to the Lord for forgiveness.


Acts 7


And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

Now if we want amazing stories of intrigue, and betrayal, and action, and people changing sides of a conflict, we don't have to look much further than the book of Acts. And, unlike movies like Star Wars, the book of Acts is all true stories.

I was thinking about how Saul had been there when Stephen got killed, and how later, as Paul, he described himself:

1 Timothy 1:13
Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did [it] ignorantly in unbelief.

If Stephen hadn't prayed, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge, would Saul ever have converted, and would we have Paul today?

Paul's name is on 14 books of the New Testament, as writer, or at least as co-author with another person. (I went through and counted them once.) So the Lord used Paul to write down an amazing amount of God's Word in the New Testament. Some people even think that Paul probably wrote more books of the New Testament, as well, that he didn't put his name in.

Sometimes we get in unfair situations that may be just a little bit like when Stephen was killed. Maybe we're standing up for the Lord and for what's right, and we're telling the truth, saying things that need to be said, even if people don't want to hear it. When Stephen did that, the people became very angry at him, and yelled, and shut their ears, and all went after him together.

Now the people we know don't often kill us for doing what's right-- but sometimes our situations can seem to be a little bit like Stephen's, in a way. How did Stephen respond? And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. We should respond the same way, loving, forgiving, and returning good. Who knows when, out of a situation like that, the Lord might raise up another great thing like Paul?

Colossians 3:13
Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also [do] ye.


not only an errand runner

Acts 6


And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.

Stephen was appointed to daily serve widows' tables, but he didn't have to settle for only doing that. He was full of so much faith he was working miracles, and he was out there preaching the gospel with irresistible wisdom.

Just because the Lord has given us something to do in one area, doesn't mean we can't also serve Him in other areas. We might be busy with work, school, and Bible studies, but we should still be going out and preaching the gospel.


lying and keeping part back

Acts 5


But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back [part] of the price of the land?

Once again, I saw something about dishonesty. This time, it was about acting like, or saying we're giving some whole thing to the Lord or to people, when we're only giving partially.

It made me think of commitments we can make to ministries.

Jeremiah 48:10
Cursed [be] he that doeth the work of the LORD deceitfully, and cursed [be] he that keepeth back his sword from blood.

I looked up that word, deceitfully once, and means something like, negligently.

Luke 9:62
And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

Let's follow through with the commitments we've made. If we're not going to follow through, we don't need to make some great commitment to God in the first place.


Genesis 12 - Key


Why saidst thou, She [is] my sister? so I might have taken her to me to wife: now therefore behold thy wife, take [her], and go thy way.

Abram didn't tell an outright lie, because she was his half-sister, but it was still dishonest.

Genesis 20:12
And yet indeed [she is] my sister; she [is] the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife.

We shouldn't be dishonest, even a little bit, even for a good reason.


Warnings in the Bible, about the sin of dishonesty, made me think of how I use my time at work. When I'm paid by the hour, and it's during my working hours, if I'm not working faithfully, that's like stealing wages from my employer. I'm not saying I can never take a 5-minute coffee break, but this convicted me about trying to work on other things, even good things, at the same time that I have plenty of the work to do that I was hired for.

When I'm getting paid to help people with things, I'll work on putting other things completely aside while I'm helping them, instead of being a dishonest worker by trying to do both at once.


Genesis 12 - Outline

Abram departed like the Lord told him
the Lord appeared to Abram, and Abram built altars to the Lord
Abram told Sarai to say she was his sister, so they wouldn't kill him for his wife, because she was good looking
Pharaoh gave Abram lots of good stuff
Pharaoh and his household got plagued, Abram got kicked out, and something worse could have happened, all because of what Abram did


speak His Word with all boldness

Acts 4


For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.

Sometimes people will try to stop us from preaching the gospel, but we should be bold because the Lord has called us to be His witnesses.

Don't get me wrong, we shouldn't take this too far. For the most part, if there's somebody who tells us not to preach the gospel in one place, and there's another place where people will actually be wanting to have the gospel preached to them, we should move along.

But when the Lord has called us to do it, We ought to obey God rather than men. (Acts 5:29)


healed by faith

Acts 3


And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.

Who's faith was it? The man didn't know they were going to give him healing. Peter and John took him by the hand and raised him up. He might have had some faith too, but I think it was Peter and John's faith.

They were going up to pray, and they had powerful, life-changing faith. We should have great faith when we go to pray, so that people can be "healed" in every way.

It wasn't by Peter and John's own power and holiness, it was by faith. That's different, because it wasn't their own, it was faith in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.


what shall we do?

Acts 2


Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Is this verse the gospel message? No, and it's not all that Peter said at the time. Is it what we must do in order to have eternal life? No, these are all great things to do, but we don't need to speak in tongues to be saved, we don't need to be immersed in water to be saved, and we don't need to repent in our actions in order to be saved.

Let's look at this verse in context. Peter had already quoted earlier, in the same chapter,

What We Need to "Do" to be Saved

And it shall come to pass, [that] whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

This, of course, is talking about calling on the name of the Lord out of faith, not like saying magic words. And Peter went on to tell the gospel, of who Christ is and what He did for us on the cross, and in light of His resurrection.

Who He Is

Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:
Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

His Death on the Cross

Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:

His Resurrection

Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.

This is the good news, the gospel, according to the Word of God, the Bible, and this is the message we're saved by believing.

Now when they heard [this], they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men [and] brethren, what shall we do?

The key reaction here, was in their hearts; that's where we need to repent, by having faith. What they asked next, was about actions they could take, what shall we do? That is why Peter answered with telling them things to do, like being immersed in water; not because some action was needed on their part for them to be saved.


ye shall be witnesses

Acts 1


But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

Being witnesses for the Lord, to every part of the world, was the mission that the Lord gave to His followers. As His followers, we should be witnesses for Him.


faith in God's resurrection power

John 22


And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.

Abraham wasn't lying when he said, I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you. He really believed that Isaac would be coming back with him, because he believed God had the power to do any thing, even to raise the dead.

Hebrews 11:10
Accounting that God [was] able to raise [him] up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.

Abraham was blessed because he believed something just like the gospel that we're saved by believing today. Abraham believed that he would have a promised descendant, an only begotten son. He believed that the son would be a sacrifice, and that God would have the power to raise him from the dead. That figure was fulfilled in Jesus.

From Psalm 2:12b:
...the Son... Blessed [are] all they that put their trust in him.


separating fact from speculation

John 21


Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what [is that] to thee?

What went on here is a common occurrence in Christian beliefs and teaching, and it's important to point out so we can understand it. Jesus said one thing, but "the brethren" (the Christians) read between the lines, and assumed it meant something more than Jesus actually said. Maybe it did. Maybe it didn't. The important point is to separate what He actually said, from our own ideas about it.

This is true for interpreting the Old Testament and New Testaments, and for studying what the Bible has to say about what's going to happen in the future and at the end of the world. Some of our own speculations can be really good and useful... but only if we remember to make the distinction between those speculations, and sure facts. That's what the writer of the book of John did here. He did not say He shall not die. He did not say He shall die. He just pointed out that what the brethren thought wasn't necessarily the case, because it wasn't exactly what Jesus actually said.

For example, many people believe "that disciple" this book refers to, was John. It very well may have been John. But, for some reason, the author of the book did not see fit to say who it was, only that it was "that disciple." So it may have been John, or it may not. If we refer to him being John, I think that's fine as long as we're clear that it's what we think, and not what the Bible says, so it's not absolutely for sure.

I seem to remember that for the person that this gospel referred to as "that disciple," there are passages in the other books of the Bible that referred to the person in the same position and situations, as John. Do I remember right? If you know or can find one of those passages, leave a comment that tells it.


be not faithless, but believing

John 20


Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust [it] into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.

We should have faith that the disciples didn't come and steal Jesus' body during the night, or anything like that, but He really rose from the dead.


Jesus, The Son of God

John 19


The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.
When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid;

Here's just a short thought. It's an important fact that Jesus is the Son of God. That means a lot, and it should mean a lot to us.


don't deny the Lord

John 18


And Simon Peter stood and warmed himself. They said therefore unto him, Art not thou also [one] of his disciples? He denied [it], and said, I am not.

Denying the Lord can come in a form that we don't expect it to. For example, denying our relationship with the Lord, is denying Him. Let's watch our speech, and take opportunities to speak up for the Lord, without being afraid of what will happen to us for it.


What is eternal life?

John 17


And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

This is a great Bible verse for telling people the good news about Jesus. Having everlasting life is all about having a relationship with Jesus Christ, that is, knowing Him.


Proverbs 24 - Key


[If] thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength [is] small.

About the day of adversity, I think of times when we're tempted to sin. When we know something would be wrong, we should have the strength to do what's right instead of fainting and giving in.


[Yet] a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep:

When my alarm clock went off this morning, I knew I really should just get up, but I felt really tired, and I thought it wouldn't make any difference if I just slept for a few more minutes. I thought I hit the snooze button on my alarm clock, but then I ended up sleeping for a lot longer. Afterward, I couldn't figure out why it never went off again. I think I hit the wrong button.

That was an example of a time of adversity, a little battle I had about whether I was going to do what was right or wrong. On those future mornings, I'll remember to show inner strength against adversity by not fainting like that when I should get up.


Proverbs 24 - Highlights

v1,2, 19-22
don't envy the wicked
be strong, deliver the dying (applies to Pro Life, and praying for people)
how wisdom is like honey
getting back up when you fall down
don't be glad when something bad happens to your enemy
"unprovoked revenge" :)
"change": I looked up the word, and sometimes it has to do with, doing the same thing over again, a different way; changing your face, like a disguise; deceit, being a traitor, sometimes for one side, sometimes for another.
calling right, right, and wrong, wrong
work first, play later
the slothful


Genesis 11 - Key


And the LORD said, Behold, the people [is] one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.

I saw the power of unity. The people could do whatever they imagined and nobody could stop them, when they were all together and had the same language. I usually think of unity as just a good thing, but there can also be unity for a wrong reason. Here I saw the possible problem of pride.


There are things we could get involved in where the other people and us could really be on the same page. I would have a tendency to think that something like that would be a good thing because of that togetherness, but it could just as easily be unity for a bad cause, like the tower of Babel. I'll keep my eyes open to avoid situations like that.


Genesis 40 - Key


And they said unto him, We have dreamed a dream, and [there is] no interpreter of it. And Joseph said unto them, [Do] not interpretations [belong] to God? tell me [them], I pray you.

Joseph said, [Do] not interpretations [belong] to God? It struck me that Joseph just simply believed that the Lord would do this miracle for them. We should have that kind of faith, that we just know the Lord will help us when we need Him.


1 Corinthians 10:13
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God [is] faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear [it].

When I'm struggling against the temptation to get mad and talk the wrong way to people, I'll have the simple faith that I don't need to give in to that, because the Lord's help is sufficient. I'll work on having the same kind of faith that Joseph had, when he just knew that the Lord could give the interpretation of the dream.


Genesis 11 - Outline

The people all had the same language, and they started the first "space program," to build the world's first skyscraper, to reach all the way up to heaven. They tried to make a name for themselves so they wouldn't be scattered all over the world.
The Lord scattered people anyway. He "gave the gift of tongues" for the first time :-) and limited people by causing them all to speak different languages.
the generations of Shem
the generations of Terah, where Abram came from


Genesis 40 - Outline

Joseph ended up in charge of two of Pharaoh's officers in the prison
the two officers had dreams, and Joseph knew that help to interpret the dreams would come from the Lord
the butler's dream meant good news, that he would be Pharaoh's butler again
Joseph told his innocence and asked for assistance
the baker's dream meant bad news, that he would be executed a terrible way
the dreams came true in 3 days, just like Joseph had interpreted
after all that, the butler forgot to speak up for Joseph


peace & good cheer despite trouble

John 16


These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

The Lord Jesus told us the truth about the trouble that's going to happen to us. However, we can have peace and good cheer because of Him, because of His Word that He's spoken to us, and because He has overcome the world.

Next time we're troubled (in tribulation), let remember the things the Lord has spoken to us, and how He got the victory on the cross. Then we can have peace and be of good cheer.


Proverbs 23 - Key


Let not thine heart envy sinners: but [be thou] in the fear of the LORD all the day long.
For surely there is an end; and thine expectation shall not be cut off.

This isn't really a warning against doing sinful things, as much as it is about our hearts. Instead of having an envious heart, we should have the fear of the Lord.

We could be upset when we see other people doing sinful things and it doesn't seem like there's justice. Instead of having that upset heart, we should fear the Lord and trust in Him because we have His promise. We have hope for a good future that we won't miss out on.


When I get upset because of sinners, I'll remember this promise that I have a hope and a good future.


Proverbs 23 - Summary

warnings about eating with:
"evil-eyed people"
warnings about what drunkenness is like
warnings about what a prostitute is like
the fleetingness of riches
child training:
v9, 12, 19, 22-23, 26
the importance of loving and listening to good advice, with your ears, your eyes, and your heart
correct corporal punishment is needful, not harmful
v15-16, 24-25
if the children are righteous and wise, the parents will have joy and gladness
the redeemer of the fatherless
the hope in a reward for the righteous


Genesis 10 - mighty before the Lord


the descendants of Japheth
the descendants of Ham:
Nimrod, the mighty hunter before the LORD
present day Iraq:
all of the groups of "Ites" from the Canaanites in the general area of present day Israel
the descendants of Shem
Peleg, in his days was the earth divided

Key v11-12

Out of that land went forth Asshur, and builded Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah,
And Resen between Nineveh and Calah: the same [is] a great city.

Asshur was credited with building several huge cities. I've been thinking about how real men work hard, and that was definitely something that would take a lot of hard work.


I'll work diligently.


Genesis 39 - Key


And she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out.

Joseph was willing to suffer the painful loss of sinful comfort and pleasure. He made a sacrifice, and even left his clothes behind. He wasn't too concerned about the results, even though his boss got furious with him and threw him into prison.

Sometimes we can feel so weak, powerless, and helpless against sinning. We might think, How did I fall into that so easily, when I really didn't want to? I didn't even think about it. It must be impossible for me to avoid. But other times, we can often recognize little moments of decision, where we're completely free to do what's right, if we really want to. That's when we need to make those right decisions, and that's how we'll escape those sins.

At a time like that, Joseph had the strength of heart and willpower to run from temptation. We should do the same.


Sometimes I have, moments of decision, when I'm trying to redeem the time, like to stop watching videos when I should be doing my work, or to get up on time in the morning when I feel like sleeping in. In those moments of decision, the Lord prompts me that I have the full knowledge that what I'm doing is wrong, and the full ability to do what's right if I really want to. If I keep doing it then, I know it'll be deliberate sin, and I'll have no excuse. That's when I'll work on being like Joseph and running from temptation.


for full joy, love each other

John 15

v11 & 12

These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and [that] your joy might be full.
This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

I want to have joy, and to have it in full-- And I know people who want that. Don't you? Right after talking about that, the Lord says that we ought to love each other as He has loved us.

Let's love each other with that same greatest kind of love that led the Lord to lay down His life for us.


Genesis 39 - Outline

the Lord was with Joseph in Potiphar's house and made him prosper there
Potiphar's wife tempted Joseph to sin
Joseph ran from temptation
Potiphar's wife slandered Joseph
Joseph suffered for righteousness
the Lord was with Joseph in prison and made him prosper there


pray today

John 14


And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

Let's work on praying more for the things we care about, according to the Lord's will, and in faith.


Proverbs 22 - Key


The slothful [man] saith, [There is] a lion without, I shall be slain in the streets.

A lazy person would always be worried about obstacles, and that would prevent him from going and doing what he needs to do. If we're going to be diligent, we should focus on opportunities, not obstacles.


I'll envision myself succeeding at the things I should do.


Proverbs 22 - Summary

  • v1
    the importance of reputation
    Riches aren't the most important thing, but even riches are from humility and the fear of the Lord.
    a word of warning against borrowing and debt
    Don't rob or take advantage of the poor.
    giving to the poor
    I know we shouldn't rob the poor, but it's interesting that it's also wrong to give to the rich.
    cast out scorners
  • v6,15
    about child training
  • v17-21
    listening to good advice and words of truth
  • v24,25
    Anger is such a serious problem that if someone is characterized by anger, that can be an issue of fellowship.
  • v3
    the importance of prudence
    Prudence is important, but sometimes even dangers that seem real, can just be excuses to be lazy.
    Be diligent in business, and you'll stand in front of kings.
    In the same way, love pureness of heart, and you'll have graceful speech and the king will be your friend.


Genesis 9 - Key


And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him.

I thought of how being intoxicated is kind of like being partly unconscious or asleep. It says, Noah awoke from his wine. Getting drunk, which was sin, brought shame. Also, I have a problem with sleeping too much, which has some similarities to drunkenness.


Ephesians 5:14
Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.

I'll strive to get up on time, viewing it as part of the battle for righteousness in my life.


Genesis 9 - Outline

the Lord blessed people to be able to eat meat
the Lord created rainbows to stand for His covenant
shameful behavior and honorable behavior
Canaan was cursed but Shem and Japheth were blessed


Genesis 38 - Key


Then said Judah to Tamar his daughter in law, Remain a widow at thy father's house, till Shelah my son be grown: for he said, Lest peradventure he die also, as his brethren [did]. And Tamar went and dwelt in her father's house.

What I see again and again in this chapter is people's selfishness, Judah's and Onan's. It was a lack of care about other people, just wanting what would be good for themselves. We shouldn't be selfish like that.


Hebrews 11:25
Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;

In order to not be selfish like Judah and Onan were, I'll work on creating and implementing a specific "battle plan" against the sins which so easily beset me.


Genesis 38 - Outline

Judah had 3 sons
the Lord killed Er and Onan for their wickedness, after they married Tamar
Judah wouldn't let Tamar marry Shelah because he was afraid Shelah would die too
Judah's wife died, and Tamar pretended to be a prostitute
Identity theft: Tamar obtained the equivalent of Judah's drivers' license and social security number
Judah's hypocrisy exposed
Tamar's twins


love one another

John 13


By this shall all [men] know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

This is the thing that the Lord wanted to say shortly before He died. This is the thing that's important for us to know, while we don't have Him here, physically, with us. Let's take an opportunity to show that we care about each other today.


Proverbs 21 - Key


The king's heart [is] in the hand of the LORD, [as] the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.

Sometimes we get frustrated because we feel like we can't do something about a bad situation that we care a lot about. For example, situations with relatives, the government, and friends that we want to see walking with the Lord.

But we can do something about it: We can pray that the Lord would change their hearts, and He can. We should be provoked to pray more with passion about these cares, because the Lord is ...a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6) Calling on Him when we're in trouble is actually a way to glorify Him: And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me. (Psalm 50:15)


There are many areas where I could apply this, but one specific example is a local University, which is considering the expansion of embryonic stem cell research, which would, in my opinion, provide an incentive for abortions. I know that a board of Regents aren't literally kings, but I think this key verse (Proverbs 21:1) still applies. I'll pray, and the Lord can change their hearts.


Proverbs 21 - Summary

even when a wicked person tries to do something good, it's no good
strong warnings
two different methods for dealing with people with two different kinds of behavior
pay attention to needs
warnings against dwelling with a contentious woman
diligence vs. haste
don't love pleasure: 2Ti3:4, Heb11:25
the slothful
I know people probably translate this as bribes. But instead, I think it can be taken as a good example, to do good to people who are at odds with us. Maybe, that way, we can make peace.


Video of Joshua Harris Preaching the Gospel

Genesis 8 - Key


And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.

I suppose, if Noah wasn't as wise, he could have been upset at the Lord for destroying the wicked. But instead, I think he was thankful to be alive. When he offered a great sacrifice to the Lord, it resulted in a great blessing for everyone.


When something that seems horrible happens, instead of getting upset about it, I'll be thankful to the Lord for the good things He's done for me.


Genesis 8 - Outline

God remembered Noah
Noah sent out a raven and a dove to see if the ground was dry
it looked to Noah, at least on the surface, like it was time to go out, but he didn't go yet
when it was really the perfect time, the Lord told Noah to go out
then Noah went out, when the Lord told him to
Noah offered a sacrifice to the Lord
the Lord decided to be merciful to people


they did not confess Him

John 12

v42 & 43

Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess [him], lest they should be put out of the synagogue:
For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.

We shouldn't be like those chief rulers. What good is preserving our place in a synagogue if we miss our Savior?

If we believe in the Lord, we should confess the Lord. We shouldn't do things (or not do things), so people will speak well of us, when the Lord wouldn't speak well of us for it.


Couldn't Jesus even heal Lazarus?

John 11


And some of them said, Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died?

There was a question of what the Lord could do. Sure, He could make a blind man see, but could he heal a man on the verge of death? He could do better than that. He would raise him from the dead.

The point isn't that "We should check whether a person's miracles are powerful enough, to see if the person is true." Because #666 will have much deceitful power, including to give life to an image. But the point is to have a relationship with the Lord, and know and believe Him.


The Eternity of Life With Christ

John 10


And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any [man] pluck them out of my hand.

There are some parts of the Bible that are hard to understand. Some of those seem to be saying that someone who has received eternal life can loose it and end up perishing. But this verse shows that isn't true. It also reminds me of:

John 5:24
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

Once we've heard His Word and believed on Him, it's as if we've been moved from one path, the path to condemnation, onto another path, the path to life. And we don't have to worry about getting back onto the path to everlasting death, because there's no way we can.


Proverbs 20 - Key


The sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold; [therefore] shall he beg in harvest, and [have] nothing.

Cold makes me think of all kinds of discomforts. For example, we can delay the work we're supposed to do because we're tired, hungry, or thirsty, or because it's too loud or too quiet. But if everything has to be convenient before we'll apply ourselves, we'll end up as poverty-stricken beggars!


When I have something to do, and I think of some other little thing to fix first, like getting a cup of coffee, I'll won't let it be an excuse. It seems like those little things always turn into bigger things that take a lot longer than I planned.


Proverbs 20 - Summary

deceitful drink and deceitful food
we should fear the Lord like people fear kings, so we won't do evil things--
...but, like the Lord, a good king is also merciful
we should just drop things instead of quibbling
about a sluggard and about loving sleep
reminds me of Psalm 37:1-3
we should exercise; and it's no shame for old men to have gray hair: it's an honor


Genesis 7 - Key


And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.

It's very important to walk with the Lord, because He's going to do amazing things, and few will escape.


And Noah did according unto all that the LORD commanded him.

Noah must have done a lot of hard work to get every detail right with the ark, so that himself, his family, and all the kinds of living things in the world would survive. I'll be diligent to repent from my sins and get things right with the Lord.


Genesis 7 - Outline

the Lord told Noah how to load the ark
Noah did everything the Lord told him to do
they escaped in the nick of time
nobody could survive the flood, but the people who were in the ark


Genesis 36 & 37 - Key


And he knew it, and said, [It is] my son's coat; an evil beast hath devoured him; Joseph is without doubt rent in pieces.
And Jacob rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days.

We shouldn't be presumptuous and jump to conclusions, like Jacob did. Just because things really seem to be a certain way, doesn't necessarily mean that's the way they are.


When I remember what people said and did, I shouldn't exaggerating it in my mind, even a little bit, with what I think it means. I'll keep working on sticking to the actual facts, even if something worse seems really likely to me.


Genesis 36 & 37 - Outline

Genesis 36

the sons of Esau, which were born to him in the land of Canaan (v5)
how Esau moved to mount Seir
the generations of Esau in mount Seir (v9)
the dukes of the sons of Esau
the sons of Seir the Horite, who inhabited the land; especially v24 about Anah was interesting
the dukes of the Horites
the kings that reigned in the land of Edom; especially v35 about Hedad was interesting
review of the dukes of Esau

Genesis 37

a problem with having children from more than one wife
a problem with showing favoritism of one child above the others
the Lord gave Joseph the ability to see what was going to happen in the future through dreams
Israel sent Joseph to see how his brothers were doing
Joseph's brothers were going to kill him, but Reuben convinced them to just put him into an empty hole in the ground instead
Joseph's brothers sold him to the Ishmaelite/Midianite merchants
Reuben's plan to deliver Joseph seemed to fall through
Israel's children deceived him about the whereabouts of Joseph
Israel mourned for Joseph and wouldn't be comforted
the merchants sold Joseph to Potiphar


seeing our need

John 9


And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.

The Pharisees seemed to be able see, because they thought they were good, but the missed the truth of the Lord Jesus Christ, so they ended up being blinded. The blind man might have been blind, but at least he knew he was blind, and he could see his need to believe on the Lord.

Really being made able to see, is being made able to see that we have sin, and a need for belief in the Lord Jesus Christ. If we think we're good, and can already see just fine, we'll be blinded to the real truth of our need for Him.


we don't have to give in

John 8

v31b, 32, & 36

...If ye continue in my word, [then] are ye my disciples indeed;
And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free...
If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

As we continue in Jesus' Word, He makes us free from sin, so we don't have to give in to temptation any more. Just like Jesus didn't have to be stoned, because it wasn't the right time for Him to give His life yet, we can escape sin.

These words spake Jesus in the treasury, as he taught in the temple: and no man laid hands on him; for his hour was not yet come.
Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.

So continue in His Word; And, next time you're tempted, remember that the Lord has made you free indeed. Don't give in to sin, because you don't have to. Sneak out of temptation and save yourself, like Jesus sneaked away from being killed.


it's all about timing

John 7


He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.

Jesus went up to the feast at a time that was to seek His Father's glory, not His own. His brothers had asked him to go up earlier:

For [there is] no man [that] doeth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If thou do these things, shew thyself to the world.

He didn't go up to the feast then, because His objective wasn't seeking to be know openly. He went up to the feast later, because He wanted other people to believe on Him and be saved:

And many of the people believed on him, and said, When Christ cometh, will he do more miracles than these which this [man] hath done?

We, like Jesus, should seek the glory of God our Father, not our own. The way we do things, like our timing in doing them, shouldn't be to show ourselves to the world, but so that people would believe on Him.

And we shouldn't necessarily do things at the same time other people do them, or at the time they expect:

Then Jesus said unto them, My time is not yet come: but your time is alway ready.

I get the idea that people of the world are always just sitting there on the edge, ready to be destroyed for their sin at any moment. Psalm 73 speaks of the foolishness of being envious of the wicked, because of how they prosper, but:

Psalm 73:18 & 19
Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction.
How are they [brought] into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors.

But Jesus knew that the Lord had a certain time that it was His will for Him to go to the cross:

John 7:30
Then they sought to take him: but no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come.

In the same way, we should consider the Lord's will for the timing in the things that we do.


Genesis 6 - Key


Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.

When we read about the way Noah was supposed to build and pack the ark, it must have been a huge job. He must have felt bored at some point of his work.

Like Noah, the Lord has given us something to build up and to bring people into; That's the Church. We build it up by helping each other, serving, praying for, and sharing with believers. We're also supposed to bring many different people into it, to be saved. We should be diligent with this job, like Noah was with the ark.


When it seems boring or hard to do the jobs the Lord has given me, I'll remember how Noah did ...according to all that God commanded him..., and I need to do the same thing.

Galatians 6:9 & 10
And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all [men], especially unto them who are of the household of faith.


Genesis 6 - Outline

the Lord limited people's lifespans
the Lord saw people's wickedness, and it brought a sentence of destruction
Noah's family
the Lord was going to destroy all people for rottenness and violence
exact instructions how to make the ark
exact instructions how to board and pack the ark
Noah did everything the Lord told him


I will in no wise cast out

John 6


All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.

This is a good promise to remember, that there's no way the Lord will throw out anybody who comes to Him.


judgment committed to the Son

John 5


For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:

I'm thankful that through Jesus' mercy and intercession, we were forgiven.


belief because of His Word

John 4


And many more believed because of his own word;

If we want people to believe on the Lord when we preach the gospel to them, we should keep heavily (appropriately) using His Word. That's the thing that has the power to bring people to believe.


Proverbs 19 - Key

We shouldn't be slothful (v24). Maybe the reason I have so much trouble getting up on time is because I'm slothful during the day (v15a).


Slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep; and an idle soul shall suffer hunger.

v15b is true if I run out of time to eat!


I'll work on being diligent during the day, so hopefully it'll be easier for me to get up on time in the morning.


Proverbs 19 - Summary

Haste with feet leads to sin (v2b), and we shouldn't fret against the Lord (v3b). We should pass over transgressions (v11).

Here are warnings about how we shouldn't be foolish sons: (v13,26). We should listen (v8,16,20,25). But here's a kind of instructions that we should actually stop listening to: (v27).

Here are warnings about dishonesty: (v5,9(,22)).

Righteousness is better than riches (v1,22). There can be relationships based on riches (v4,6,7), but that's not a good thing.

Here's a great promise: (v23) (KJV) We should have the fear of the Lord, then we'll be satisfied, and not even visited by evil.


Genesis 5 - Key


And he called his name Noah, saying, This [same] shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD hath cursed.

It seems like every now and then, the Lord, in His goodness, brings along someone who does something great and makes things better for everyone. Like Noah, and people receiving the privilege to eat meat (See Genesis 9:3) or Samuel Morse and the invention of the telegraph (The first message sent over the telegraph was, What has God wrought? Numbers 23:23).

If we want to be like that, we should make sure we're walking with God.

Genesis 6:9
These [are] the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man [and] perfect in his generations, [and] Noah walked with God.
Genesis 5:24
And Enoch walked with God: and he [was] not; for God took him.


When I'm trying to create or accomplish some great thing, I'll remember that if I want the Lord's blessing in it, so I can really succeed, I need to be doing what He wants.

Psalm 127:1
Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh [but] in vain.


Genesis 5 - Outline

created in a likeness, begotten in a likeness
Enoch walked with God, and he was raptured
Methuselah was the oldest human ever recorded
Lamech prophesied about his son


Genesis 35 - Key


Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that [were] with him, Put away the strange gods that [are] among you, and be clean, and change your garments:

I think Jacob wanted his household to recommit themselves to the Lord. He said, Put away the strange gods that [are] among you, and be clean... We should do the same thing.

A while ago I saw the value of regularly recommitting my life to the Lord. We should give him everything we are, everything we have, and everything we do. We should think about whether He wants us to have and keep the things we have. We should consider every thought and word and action, whether it's what God wants.


And they gave unto Jacob all the strange gods which [were] in their hand, and [all their] earrings which [were] in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the oak which [was] by Shechem.

I'll consider the things I have, and whether the Lord wants me to get rid any of them.


Genesis 35 - Outline

God called Jacob back to Bethel
they got rid of their idols
the Lord protected them
they came to Bethel and Jacob built an altar
Deborah died
God blessed Jacob again
Rachel died giving birth to Benjamin
Reuben's sin
Jacob's wives & children
Jacob finally got back to Isaac
Isaac died and Jacob helped Esau bury him



John 3


But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

We should come to the Lord, who is The Light, and we should be coming to the light of His Word. Also, we should be willing to admit what we're doing.

If we have something to hide, maybe we're doing something evil that needs to be criticized. If we were doing what the Lord wants, we wouldn't mind being exposed.


Proverbs 18 - Key


He also that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster.

It helps me to realize that wasting time is like wasting money; Because I usually wouldn't waste money and stuff, because I understand it's value-- but time is even more valuable.


I'll change my alarm, and things like that, to work on getting up earlier in the morning.


Proverbs 18 - Summary

We should try to be people who have these words of wisdom, which are like brooks of water and satisfying fruit (v4,20,21). We shouldn't be fools, entering into contention with our speech (v6), or talebearers (v8), or speaking presumptuously (v13), or we'll end up destroying ourselves with our speech (v7). We should seek to get knowledge from what we hear (v15).

We should be humble (v11,12). We should pay attention to what other people think about things (v17) because we might think we're fine with it, but they can be more objective.

From (v19) I think it's so important to prevent offenses and contentions between brothers in the first place, and then when they've happened, we should start early and keep trying hard to win the brothers back. Using randomization, like flipping a coin, can be a way to settle a disagreement sometimes (v18). I like (v24a), because it shows if we want to have friends, there's a way to pursue that: to be a friend to people.

This is an encouraging promise: (v10)


Genesis 4 - Key

Last time I studied this chapter, I saw how we, like Cain, should appeal to the Lord for mercy, and, despite our own unworthiness, He'll hear us and make a way for us to be saved. This time, I saw how Cain's sin couldn't be hidden.


And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground.

It's easy to think that we're just doing some private thing off by ourselves, that doesn't effect anybody else, and nobody else will even know. Sin isn't like that. We can't even keep it covered up forever by lying about it.


Before I do something I know is wrong, I'll remember to consider,

This is going to be known,
This is going to be shown, and,
This is going to have an effect.


Genesis 4 - Outline

Cain & Abel
the Lord had respect to the offering of sheep
Cain killed Abel
Cain's sin couldn't be hidden
Cain appealed to the Lord for mercy, and the Lord heard him
the family tree of Cain
Lamech also killed someone
Seth & his son Enos


Genesis 34 - Key


And the sons of Jacob came out of the field when they heard [it]: and the men were grieved, and they were very wroth, because he had wrought folly in Israel in lying with Jacob's daughter; which thing ought not to be done.

Jacob's sons seemed to have a good reason to be angry: Shechem had been foolish, and did something that ought not to be done. But their anger still caused a big problem:

And Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, Ye have troubled me to make me to stink among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites and the Perizzites: and I [being] few in number, they shall gather themselves together against me, and slay me; and I shall be destroyed, I and my house.


(Also see Genesis 49:5-7.) Even when it seems like I have a good reason to be angry, because other people are doing foolish things that ought not to be done, I'll remember Simeon and Levi's mistake, and work on not being angry anyway.


Genesis 34 - Outline

Shechem committed sin with Dinah
her brothers were very angry about it
Hamor tried to buy Dinah to be his son Shechem's wife
Dinah's brothers lied to Shechem and Hamor so they could take revenge
the people greedily agreed go along for the promise of wealth (v23)
Shechem's "one little sin" unexpectedly lead to the destruction of the entire city
Jacob's sons, in their zeal to take revenge, caused another problem


whatever He says to you, do it

John 2


His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do [it].

Like Jesus' mother told the servants to do whatever Jesus said to them, we should do whatever Jesus says for us to do.

Sometimes it seems like we have certain "acceptable sins," that don't seem serious, and we're used to doing them. The "sins which so easily beset us." (Paraphrased from Hebrews 12:1). Well, they are things the Lord has said He doesn't want us doing. We need to be willing to sacrifice our own pleasure, even to suffer, if needed, to stop sinning.

We sin because we're deceived, and we want to be happy. But we wonder why, as believers, we don't have such a happy life. We need to give up those seemingly little things in which we think we "can't help it." And then, as we do "whatever the Lord says to us," we can actually end up being truly happy.


Proverbs 17 - Key


The beginning of strife [is as] when one letteth out water: therefore leave off contention, before it be meddled with.

When a conflict starts, we should look for a quick way to abdicate from it.


When I can tell that strife is beginning, I'll work on "leaving it off" right at the start.


Proverbs 17 - Summary

Quietness is so much better than strife (v1). (There's even the possibility of ending up being somebody who enjoys strife, (v19) but that's so wrong.) We should spare our words (v27&28). Telling other people about somebody's problems, or bringing past conflicts back up, destroys relationships (v9). Sometimes it's better just to take it and move on.

It's like popping a balloon. You can't say, I'll just make a little hole to let a tiny bit of air out, and the rest will be fine (v14). When you spill your coffee all over the place, you can't very well put it all back in the cup and enjoy drinking it again. I think of the story of the boy who put his finger in the hole in the dike and saved the whole country of Holland: because if the water had kept rushing through the hole it would have grown exponentially. We need to be the peacemakers who put our fingers in the holes in the dikes.

We can be encouraged if we have fiery trials, because the Lord allows it for His servants, for our good (v3).

We know about the teaching to return good for evil, but what about the other way around (v13)? Here's a serious warning against returning evil for good. And we shouldn't call good evil, or evil good (v15,26).

You know what it's like when you're looking everywhere for something, but you can't find it because it's right under your nose? (v24) Instead of thinking about all the things that could be off out there some day, we should pay attention to what we're supposed to be doing where we are right now.


Genesis 3 - Key


And he said, Who told thee that thou [wast] naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?

I thought it was interesting that the Lord went around and asked about what was going on before He made His judgement. Of course He already knows everything, but I think it's a good idea hear things out like this. Now, He didn't have a big back-and-forth argument with the people, He just heard what they had to say, and then said what He had to say, and I think we should be the same way. You notice, though, that it doesn't record that He even bothered asking the serpent what he had to say.


When there's a problem, it's easy to say, "I don't care what you have to say, because I know what I'm doing and I've already made up my mind about it." But sometimes it's a good idea to ask some of the people involved about what's going on, and take what they say into consideration before making a judgment. I'll practice that.


Genesis 33 - Key


And he passed over before them, and bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother.

Now that's humility. Jacob called Esau his lord, and he called himself Esau's servant. He insisted on blessing Esau with a gift. Even though Jacob was the one who was the Lord's servant, and had the birthright and the blessing, he humbled himself to his brother Esau.

We might think of Esau as the bad guy in this story, and Jacob as the good guy. Even when we think of ourselves as "the good guys" in a situation, and the other person as "the bad guy," we should be willing to humble ourselves.


When I get into conflicts with people in my family, even if I'm I think I'm right and they're wrong, I'll humble myself.


Genesis 33 - Outline

Jacob protected the women and children, and humbled himself
the women and children also humbled themselves
Esau forgave Jacob, but Jacob insisted on making sure he was appeased with gifts
Jacob sneakily talked his way out of having to go with Esau
while Esau went one way, Jacob actually went and tried to settle somewhere else


Genesis 3 - Outline

There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof [are] the ways of death. (Proverbs 16:25)
sin brings shame and fear
the sin that they thought would be OK, brought miserable curses
Eve, the mother of everyone
the first leather clothes
they lost the first opportunity for everlasting life



John 1


He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose.

We should be humble like this.


Proverbs 16 - Key


Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.

If we want our thoughts to be right, and to be steady, we must commit our works to the Lord. We should do the things that He wants us to do, in the way that He wants us to do them, and we should come to Him for His help with them.


I need my thoughts to be established, so I'll work on committing my works unto the Lord.


Proverbs 16 - Summary

If we want to be having the right kind of thoughts, we should commit our works to the Lord (v3). If we want peace, we should make sure our ways please the Lord, and then we don't even have to worry about our enemies because they'll be at peace with us (v7). If we want to be happy, we should make sure to be trusting in the Lord (v20b)

Our way might seem clean or right, but the Lord sees a lot deeper; And "our way" leads to death (v2,25). Pride goes before the fall (v18). We have our methods of figuring out what to do, but if we really figure out what to do, that's from the Lord (v1,9,33).

Righteousness is more important than riches (v8,16,19). This chapter says several things about kings, and righteousness is important for them (v10,12-15). Righteous and pleasant speech is important (v13,24).

Here are several other things I noticed in this chapter. Verse 29 reminded me of a recent local news story about people who broke into a house and accidentally beat up the wrong guy instead of the guy they meant to attack. Verse 28 tells us another thing about what causes strife to spread and grow: A perverted or deceitful person. And before we whisper or speak in secret, we should think twice about why we are.


Genesis 2 - Key


But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

A lot of times I think what's right or wrong is straightforward, not a matter of us having to figure it out, but just a matter of whether we believe the Lord and will do what we know is right, according to what He has said.


When I examine myself for sin, I'll first be concerned about what I simply and easily know is sin, before worrying about whether dimmer things are right or wrong.


Genesis 32 - Key


Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed...

Sometimes this perfectly describes us, that we can become greatly afraid and distressed about things. What did Jacob do about that?

I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies...

Jacob was meek. He didn't go to God demanding, "You have to help me because I'm your servant, and I've been faithful."

And thou saidst...

Jacob meekly recounted the Lord's promises. It's OK to bring up the promises the Lord has given us, when we pray to Him.


Deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau: for I fear him, lest he will come and smite me, [and] the mother with the children.

Jacob said, Deliver me, I pray thee.... When I'm greatly afraid and distressed, I'll meekly pray for deliverance, recounting the Lord's promises to Him.


Genesis 32 - Outline

the angels of God met Jacob
Jacob sent messengers ahead, in order to find favor with Esau, instead of just popping back up at home
...Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed...
Jacob meekly prayed for deliverance, recounting God's promises
Jacob did everything he could to be reconciled to his brother
Jacob wouldn't give up pursuing the blessing, despite wrestling all night and getting his hip out of joint

Genesis 2 - Outline

the seventh day was the day of rest
God centered the plants He created, around the man
the four rivers out of the garden
God gave the man one simple command
God centered the animals He created, around the man
the woman was the fitting help that the Lord created for the man


the Lord spoke

Genesis 1


And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness [was] upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

When there's darkness in the situations in our lives, as the Lord is is our lives, we can be comforted and rejoice to know that the Lord will move and speak, and bring light.


Proverbs 15 - Key


The eyes of the LORD [are] in every place, beholding the evil and the good.

Today I took the encouragement that the Lord's eyes are everywhere, seeing when we do what we should. The Lord always sees when we serve Him, so it's not in vain.


I'll work on not being weary in well-doing.

Proverbs 15 - Summary

The way to avoid stirring up strife, is to be slow to anger (v18) instead of becoming angry quickly or easily. Saying things that grieve people cause them to become more and more angry (v1), but responding gently can calm them down even when they're starting to get mad.

The way we speak is so important. Saying the right thing at the right time causes joy and is so good (v23). If we're pure, we'll use pleasant words (v26b). Wholesome words bring life (v4).

Happiness effects health (v13,30), and our attitudes can determine whether our situations are positive (v15), instead of visa-versa.

We should use restraint in our speech instead of speaking too much (v2), and study in our hearts before we reply to something (v28). If we're wise, our speech will give out knowledge (v7).

Instead of being proud (v25) we should be humble (v33b) and listen. We should seek for knowledge (v14) and have advice from many different people (v22). We should listen to our parents (v5,20) and to reproof (v10,12,31,32.)

Like we should listen to our parents and receive correction, we should be humble and fear of the Lord (v16,33). Here's a reason to fear Him: The Lord sees everything (v3), even people's hearts (v11). He responds well to righteous people (v9b), and hears their prayers (v8b,29b), but it's hard for wicked people to approach Him (v29a). He detests wicked people's ways (v9a), their thoughts (v26a), and even their sacrifices (v8a).

Righteous people have a plain (v19), upright (v21), and higher (v24) pathway.

Righteousness is where the real value is. Treasure comes from righteousness (v6), but even great treasure isn't of great value, when it comes with trouble instead of with the fear of the Lord (v16). Real value comes from having the fear of the Lord, even with just a small amount of stuff. Love is so much better than hatred, that it would be better to have love and just vegetables to eat, than it would be to have hatred, even with a whole ox (v17), and oxen were especially valuable back then. Greed can end up backfiring, but life comes to people that are so opposite of greedy that they even hesitate to accept gifts (v27). (And I think that word, gifts there is talking about bribes.)


be quick to believe

Luke 24


And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?

That's what we think, isn't it? That Jesus is only a stranger to the things that are going on now-a-days. But we shouldn't be sad in our communications or troubled. We should believe all of the things that are written in the Bible, and believe in Christ. Even suffering ought to happen, for the Lord's purposes.

Then we should be continually worshiping, praising, and blessing Him, and having great joy.


Genesis 31 - Key


Except the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the fear of Isaac, had been with me, surely thou hadst sent me away now empty. God hath seen mine affliction and the labour of my hands, and rebuked [thee] yesternight.

The Lord warned Laban in a dream not to harm Jacob because Jacob was the Lord's servant. If we labor for the Lord and are afflicted, He'll see that and take care of us.


And ye know that with all my power I have served your father.

I'll work more like that on my job.


Genesis 31 - Outline

the Lord told Jacob where to go
Jacob recounted what the Lord had shown him to his wives
they agreed
They sneaked away without telling Laban, and Rachel stole his idols
the Lord warned Laban
Laban railed on Jacob
Rachel deceived Laban and he didn't find the idols
Jacob chided Laban and exonerated himself
Jacob and Laban promised not to hurt each other


Father, forgive them

Luke 23


Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.

Even Jesus forgave the people who fiercely mistreated Him. Who are we to not forgive others? Are we better than Him? Certainly not. We should forgive others, even when we're right and they're wrong, even when they mistreate us badly.

Also notice that it says, for they know not what they do. If we know the Lord and sin anyway, we're in much worse trouble.


Where wilt thou that we prepare?

Luke 22


And he shall shew you a large upper room furnished: there make ready.

Everything can seem to be going wrong, but take courage because the Lord will provide what's needed. If we just faithfully serve Him, things will work out somehow.


Proverbs 14 - Key


Fools make a mock at sin: but among the righteous [there is] favour.

I like to joke about everything, but when I read this chapter I was reminded of this verse that I knew long ago. I still believe in joking, but some things are not good to joke about. One of those things is sins that particular people actually have, which is a serious thing.


Out of care for the people who have those problems, I'll pray for them about them instead of treating it like a laughing matter.


Proverbs 14 - Outline

one area that people are rewarded for doing right or wrong, is from their own selves
good fear, bad confidence
right & wrong speech:
who you listen to
mocking sin
talking too much
worthwhile inconvenience
if you can't get wisdom, maybe it's because you need to stop being a scorner
prudence (*v15)
our real feelings are deeper than others & sometimes even ourselves really know
just because something seems right to a person doesn't mean it's safe
haste & wrath
righteousness, wisdom, or wickedness: it will pay back
wealth makes friends, and wealth comes from wisdom
have mercy on the poor
what's good & bad for governments & nations


Military Service

My idea for a question on this topic:
What does the Bible teach about whether believers should serve in the military?
Matthew 5


But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.

I know believers who serve in the military because they think that's what the Lord wants them to do. However, right now I don't think that believers should do that, according to what the Bible says. We're supposed to be in the Lord's military, bond servants to Him and not to men, saving mens' lives and not destroying them. We're not supposed to be "servants" of men, bound to people like slaves, if we can help it. He said if we could be made free, that we should be. In the military, for example, if they tell you not to go to Church on Sunday morning, then you can't go to Church on Sunday morning. What if that's what the Lord wants you to do?

Swearing by an oath is required to join the military, but the Bible teaches not to swear by any oath. Most importantly, the Bible talks over and over again about how we must be gentle to everyone, harmless as doves, not working ill to our neighbors, doing violence to no person, not being fighters, not being strikers, not taking up the sword, etc., etc. The military definitely uses violence, injuring and killing other people. That is the military's line of business, in order to serve and protect this country. But, in my opinion, that is not compatible with the believer's line of business.


Genesis 30 - Key


And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb.

This is an encouragement that the Lord remembered her and ...hearkened to her..., and the Lord remembers us, and listens and pays attention to us, when we pray and seek Him.


I'll be in prayer often about certain things that are burdens to me, because the Lord will hear.


Genesis 30 - Outline

Rachel gave her servant Bilhah to be Jacob's wife, so Bilhah's two sons Dan and Naphtali were counted to Rachel
Leah gave her servant Zilpah to be Jacob's wife so Zilpah's two sons Gad and Asher were counted to Leah
Leah bought Jacob from Rachel for a night for her son Reuben's mandrakes, and then she had Issachar, Zebulun, and Dinah
the Lord remembered and heard Rachel, and gave her Joseph
Laban wanted Jacob to stay, so Jacob made a deal with him for the livestock with markings
Laban kept back the livestock he promised to Jacob so Jacob's couldn't leave without leaving them
Jacob used striped wooden rods to breed the stronger livestock to be the livestock that had markings


we ourselves also were

Titus 3


For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, [and] hating one another.

When we have a hard time forgiving somebody and thinking the right way about them, we should remember how we were in the past, that we're no better than them. Just as God, in His love and kindness, had mercy on us, we can show love, kindness, and mercy to them, despite their sin.


pray always

Luke 21


And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and [so] that day come upon you unawares.
Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

We should pay attention to not being overcome and drunk, all the time, and we should pray always. Even when we're having a good time, we shouldn't get carried away.


Proverbs 13 - Key


Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors [is] hard.
...[it is] abomination to fools to depart from evil.

In a conflict when I can't stop being upset I've found it's useful to consider that maybe I'm still unsettled because I have my own unsettled sin: the way of transgressors [is] hard. It's hard to admit that I'm wrong, like when I see that the other person has such a fault, or I'm afraid they won't receive my apology well, or I just feel like I have to do something about their problem. But, if I detest going away from evil, I'm a fool: ...[it is] abomination to fools to depart from evil. Fools have their standards reversed.


When I'm having a hard time, I'll consider whether it might be because I have a sin in my life that I need to deal with. (Of course, I know that's not always the case.) If I do, I'll remember to just go ahead and repent from it, despite the excuses, instead of detesting departing from evil. I should do it easily.


Proverbs 13 - Outline

the importance of listening, to fathers, to rebuke, etc.
life and health, from restrained, wise, and faithful speech
the importance of diligence
the wickedness of lies
the fruit of righteousness or wickedness
wealth is not really valuable without righteousness
be careful what you set your hope and desire in, so you'll be gratified instead of disappointed
v9[again] & 15
when things are hard for you, consider whether it's because of a sin you have, before you chalk it up to suffering for righteousness. Things can be hard for sinners, too. Just because it's hard doesn't mean it's right
Just because we know something is right, doesn't necessarily mean we need to say all of it, all the time. Just deal with it.
don't detest repenting or changing your mind when you're wrong
the people you walk with will influence you and determine how you end up
crime causes poverty
the Biblical way to correct children involves doing it often
satisfaction, such as in eating, comes from righteousness


John 13:35
By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

I'm not sure if somebody else already shared this verse for this, but it has to do with us being Christ's disciples. It's difficult to love others when they're doing wrong and not showing love to us, but that's the opportunity when we can show real love.

Titus 3:1-5a
  1. Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work,
  2. To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.
  3. For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.
  4. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,
  5. Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us...


This is a passage that tells some good things that we can share with people for discipleship. We're supposed to be subject to authorities. Children should honor their parents, and wives should reverence their husbands. We should honor the people in the government as placed there by the Lord, even if we disagree with them. We should treat spiritual powers with appropriate dignity. We should submit to leading brothers in the local assembly.


We shouldn't say bad things about anybody. We shouldn't be fighters, but instead should be gentle and humble to everyone. But how can we achieve this? It can be really difficult to respond to other people the right way when they are acting really wrongly. This passage continues by explaining 2 ways that can help us do these things.


First of all, we need to remember that we were the same way. When we want to fight with other people or say bad things about them, it will keep us humble to remember that we are no better than them. When we think they're stupid and hateful, we should remember what we've been saved from.


Secondly, we need to remember what He has done for us, how He was loving and merciful enough to forgive us despite our sin. When we remember that, it can help us to forgive others the same way. And we always need to remember that we didn't save ourselves by any good things we did. When we start thinking that works of righteousness that we have done are why we're saved, it can lead to pride, and then to all those other problems.


Genesis 29 - Key


And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him [but] a few days, for the love he had to her.

We should serve the Lord this way, out of love for Him. When we work from our heart, it's so much easier, and goes so much better.


I'll work on having my heart in the things the Lord wants me to do, like my work and school.


Genesis 29 - Outline

Jacob asked about Laban and found out about Rachel
Jacob readily volunteered hard-working service when he saw Rachel
Jacob did 7 years of work that seemed like a few days because he loved Rachel so much
Laban extorted more work out of Jacob by giving him Leah first
the beginning of The Childbirth Wars between Jacob's 2 wives


take heed to yourselves

Luke 21


And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and [so] that day come upon you unawares.

This verse speaks of making sure that your heart isn't in a state like being drunk, and that you're not taken up with the cares of this life. I've been thinking about how I can find more time to do all the things I've been trying to get done, and I decided to push aside some things in my schedule to make room for others.


the season for fruit

Luke 20


And at the season he sent a servant to the husbandmen, that they should give him of the fruit of the vineyard: but the husbandmen beat him, and sent [him] away empty.

The lord was looking for fruit, but they send the servant away empty. Our Lord is looking for fruit in our lives. We'd better not send Him away empty. Let's preach the gospel to people when we have a chance.


Proverbs 12 - Key


The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: but the slothful shall be under tribute.

This isn't just about whether you'll be wealthy or not. If you're lazy, you'll end up in servitude, paying tribute to the diligent. We really need to be diligent while we have the chance, because that's going to effect what kind of position we end up having in life.


I could try to watch or listen to other things at the same time as reading or studying the Bible, but I'll be more diligent by putting them aside and just studying the Bible first.


Proverbs 12 - Outline

the reward of righteousness versus wickedness
from the Lord
a "good man" vs. "a man of wicked devices" (v2)
"the root of the righteous"
"the house of the righteous"
"the way of the righteous"
from others
wisdom vs perverse heart (v8)
from himself
v21,26 (v21, the just)
in speech
the nature of wrong vs. right speech: violence, wrath, excess
the rewards of good vs. bad speech
in a wife
in honor
your honor is worth less than your actual condition. It's better to be in an honorable position without being honored, than to honor yourself in a dishonerable situation. (v9)
in mercy
righteous people are so merciful that they even care about whether their animals live, but wicked people lack mercy so much that even their best attempts of mercy are actually cruelty. (v10)
in diligence


be very attentive to the Bible

Luke 19


And could not find what they might do: for all the people were very attentive to hear him.

It's good to read the Bible often (at least daily), but we also need to pay close attention to it. We should be very attentive to hear him.


Genesis 28 - Key


And, behold, I [am] with thee, and will keep thee in all [places] whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done [that] which I have spoken to thee of.

We don't have to make a deal to promise the Lord that we're going to be faithful to Him, like Jacob did. But the Lord is always faithful to us, and we should be faithful to the Lord.


To work on being faithful to the Lord, (who's faithful to me), I'll work on being faithful with my schedule.


Genesis 28 - Outline

Isaac blessed Jacob further, & ordered him where to go to get married, and what kind of person to marry
Since Esau's parents didn't like the kind of wives he had, he married another one, that he thought they would like
the rock for a pillow & Jacob's ladder
The Lord gave Jacob an awesome promise
Jacob's vow of tithes


pray humbly

Luke 18


The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men [are], extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.

We know this story, but it can still be easy to slip into praying proudly. When we pray, we shouldn't brag about good things we do, or criticize other people for the bad things they do.

And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as [his] eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.


rebuke him, forgive him

Luke 17

v3 & 4

Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.
And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.

The point of this verse is forgiveness. If anybody sins against us, (actually, whether they repent or not), we should forgive them. It doesn't say "If they don't repent, don't forgive them."

Colossians 3:13
Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also [do] ye.

We should be willing to forgive again and again.

Matthew 18:21 & 22
Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?
Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

But part of Luke 17:3 did say, ...If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him... Don't get me wrong, we shouldn't have a lifestyle of rebuking people. We shouldn't rebuke people all the time, or every time we think they do something wrong. But there is a place for rebuke.

For example, if you purchase a product from a business, and the product turns out to have a problem with it, it's not only acceptable practice for you to tell the business about it (as long as you do it in the right manner,) but a good business would want you to tell them. And when you're taking care of children, and trying to help them do what's right, it can be good and important to talk to them about problems with their behavior (again, if you do it the right way).

Just as it's not always necessarily right to criticize somebody for something, it's not always necessarily wrong either.


be faithful with small things first

Luke 16


And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own?

This makes me think of families and jobs.

When Jacob's son Joseph was tempted by his master Potipher's wife, he was faithful with her. Eventually, he was given his own wife. Also, if we're going to take care of our own children faithfully, we must be faithful when we babysit others, like when we babysit our younger siblings.

Finally, if we want to have our own business, we should work faithfully for when we have an employer.


join the party

Luke 15


And he answering said to [his] father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends:

It seemed unfair, like the father should have punished the son who had done wrong instead of rewarding him. We shouldn't get angry when we see other people get undeserved forgiveness. We should forgive other people the same way the Lord has forgiven us.


Knowing God's Will

What are the ways you discern God's will?

The one way that I'll mention, which some people don't believe in, but I think is really important, is answers.

Our old meeting place called them promises, and Bill Gothard's Institute calls them rhemas. Basically, answers are specific parts of the Bible that apply directly to, or answer current situations in our lives.

The Lord who's in control of everything, arranges the circumstances to bring us to these parts of the Bible at the right time. He's a real person who's still alive, and actively interested and working in our lives, and His Word is a living Word that He can use to speak to us when we seek Him.

Example(s) of situations where you've discerned the Lord's will

Like I said earlier, some people don't believe in these answers from the Lord. Sometimes we get confused because we thought we had the Lord speak to us this way, and then it turned out to be wrong, or didn't work out.

So, one time I wanted to whether the Lord really does speak to people like that, so I prayed and asked Him that. Then I read this verse in the Bible, and I got a double answer:

Jeremiah 33:3
Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.

First, it shows that when we call on the Lord, He does answer us and show us things. Second, it's an example of just that, because I called on Him for this, and this was His answer to me. The Lord's Word, directly answering us when we call on Him, is definitely a very real thing.

My own question

It's still hard for me to understand when I thought the Lord spoke directly to me, and then it didn't work out the way I thought. Was it not the Lord in the first place? Did I misunderstand Him? How can I know whether something is really an answer from the Lord or not?


Genesis 27 - Key


Now therefore, my son, obey my voice according to that which I command thee.

Maybe what Jacob did in this case wasn't a very good thing to do; I'm not sure. But it really seemed to work out well for him because he listened to his mother. We should listen to our mothers. :-)


I'll work on paying attention to Mom.


Genesis 27 - Outline

Rebekah came up with a plot to get Jacob blessed instead of Esau
Jacob talked back to his mother, so she gave him a very clever disguise
Jacob lied to his father Isaac, so Isaac gave him a unmatchable blessing
Esau was very sorry and cried for the blessing, but it was too late
Rebekah sent Jacob to Laban to keep Esau from killing him


last chance for fruit

Luke 13


Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?

There are certain long-standing problems that the Lord has been working on in my life, like wasting time. It's as if He has come looking for fruit in that area for years. He does everything He can to help us be fruitful.

We should take advantage of the Lord's help, to grow in areas where we have weaknesses, while we still have a chance to do that.

Bookmark and Share