Proverbs 8 - Key


I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.

We should seek wisdom early. There's a promise, that if we do, we'll be rewarded by finding it.


Blessed [is] the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.

The way to listen to wisdom and instruction is to spend time with the Lord every day, reading and studying the Word. If we do that, it's worthwhile, and it's promised that we'll be blessed.

I'll keep working on seeking wisdom early, and daily, in the Word.


Proverbs 8 - Outline

wisdom is widely available
v4 & 5
wisdom is for men, and for people who lack it
if a message is wisdom, no part of it will be wicked or perverted
v10, 11 & 19
wisdom is better than gold, silver, rubies, and every other desirable thing
the definition of wisdom
v15 & 16
it is by wisdom that kings, princes, nobles, and judges-- reign, rule, and decree justice
many great benefits of wisdom
wisdom was with the Lord in the beginning and in the creation
seeking wisdom is life, but refusing it is death


Answers on health

Question: Is it important to eat healthy food, since God knows when we're going to die anyway? :-D

So the topic is health and nutrition. The Bible teaches 2 things that I'd like to point out about that. Then I'd like to say a third thing.

1. We do, usually, have a responsibility to maintain our health

Ephesian 5:28 & 29
So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.
For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:

We should take a reasonable amount of care of our own physical wellbeing.

Proverbs 12:27
The slothful [man] roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man [is] precious.
Proverbs 19:24
A slothful [man] hideth his hand in [his] bosom, and will not so much as bring it to his mouth again.

So it's lazy to not get proper nutrition

Proverbs 25:16
Hast thou found honey? eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it.

We shouldn't be gluttons, loving food, and eating too much, especially too much of certain kinds.

2. The kind of food we eat shouldn't be too important to us

Hebrews 13:9
Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For [it is] a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.

We shouldn't get carried away about health food. Also, it's not intrinsically a spiritual subject or a matter of doctrine. That's what the Bible teaches about it, now I'd like to say something I think about the subject.

3. Some "alternative" methods for wellness are dangerous

This is not necessarily something that I've seen that the Bible teaches, but this is what I think about "alternative" methods for wellness.

  1. The type of food people eat doesn't make that much difference: See
    Mark 7:18-23
  2. Medical advice and science are generally good and helpful
    Proverbs 11:14
    Where no counsel [is], the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors [there is] safety.
    Philippians 4:8b
    ...whatsoever things [are] of good report...
    What does science mean? Evolution is not scientific. If something is scientific, that means it has been thoroughly studied, tested, and documented by many smart people. How can that be a bad thing?
    Daniel 12:4
    But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, [even] to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.
  3. Deceit in one area spreads to others: See
    1 Timothy 4:1-11

seeing stupid sin & fearing to do the same

Mark 15


And they smote him on the head with a reed, and did spit upon him, and bowing [their] knees worshipped him.

I was thinking about how the people who mistreated the Lord, mocking Him before He was crucified, were so stupid. Then I realized how easy it would be for me to fall into the same kind of sin. They could have argued that they thought they were doing what was right. They didn't fully realize that what they were doing was against the Lord, they thought it was just against this person, Jesus.

We should fear the Lord so that we never fall into such foolish sin. We should realize in our interactions with other people, if we do harmful things to them, that's just the same as if we were doing them to the Lord. Ultimately, all of our sin is against Him.


Genesis 22 - Key


And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only [son] from me.

What was it that Abraham's willingness to sacrifice Isaac showed? It showed that he feared God, and we should fear the Lord the same way.


And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him.

We've seen a pattern of this behavior so many times. Because Abraham feared the Lord, he rose up early in the morning. For my application, I'll do the same.


Genesis 22 - Outline

Abraham's obedience
Abraham's faith
v9 & 10
Abraham's sacrifice
the Lord's sacrifice
in blessing I will bless thee... because thou hast obeyed my voice
Abraham heard about his nephews who were born, and Rebekah


accept His will

Mark 14


And he said, Abba, Father, all things [are] possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.

Jesus knew what it was like to not have what He asked for when He prayed, and He prayed for it three times. It's a good thing for us that He said, not what I will, but what thou wilt.

When we pray for what we want, let's make sure we're willing to accept whatever the Lord's will is. Don't be too surprised and disappointed if you say, Your will be done, and you don't get what you want.


"Take ye heed, watch and pray"


Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.

We should be aware of the Lord's return and of the end. We shouldn't be lazy or doing the wrong thing, like "sleeping" instead of watching.


Proverbs 7 - Key


My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee.

I saw from this that we should listen to our parents. It's often difficult for children to listen to their parents, but they are parents, and their instructions are necessary to protect their children.


I'll work on listening to my parents, even if it's difficult.


Proverbs 7 - Outline

The Nature of Temptation

the way to avoid temptation: the Lord's commandments, wisdom, and understanding
the nature of a tempting situation: just getting nearby sin, in the darkness
the nature of a tempting person: loud and stubborn
the nature of tempting speech: fair and flattering
the wages of sin is death


Question #2: The Definition of Salvation

Isaiah 43:11
I, [even] I, [am] the LORD; and beside me [there is] no saviour.

Who is the author of our salvation? We cannot save ourselves. The Lord is our only Savior.

Romans 10:4
For Christ [is] the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.

This part of Romans 10 is talking about being saved. We can't be saved by keeping the 10 commandments, or any of the rest of the law. Those things are over with as far as believers are concerned. Christ Himself is the point now. The point is not to do something to be saved, but to believe on Him.

What is the application of this discussion? -- In other words, what can we practically do about in our own day-to-day lives? Three things:

  1. believe the message to be saved,
  2. keep believing the same message we were saved by, to walk with the Lord, and,
  3. preach it to others so they can be saved and walk with the Lord, too
Romans 10:8
But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, [even] in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;

So what is this message? Is it something we can do with our hands, by reaching out and taking action, or something we can do with our feet by getting somewhere great? No, it's something we do only with our heart and with our mouth, to believe on the Lord and to call on Him. That is the word of faith, which we preach.

Titus 3:3-5
For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, [and] hating one another.
But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

He saved us. We didn't save ourselves. It was when we were full of sin that He saved us according to His mercy.

Romans 5:6-8
For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

It was not because we expressed sorrow for our sins, stopped sinning, or made Him into the Lord of every area our lives, because it was Not by works of righteousness which we have done (Titus 3:5). Titus 3:8 does say to affirm that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works, but it doesn't say that we are saved by those works, it says that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. So those things are good, but it isn't by those things that we're saved.


Genesis 21 - Key


And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he [is].

It's encouraging to remember that when we're in trouble, the Lord hears us and helps us.


What aileth thee... fear not; for God hath heard...

Instead of being upset, I'll leave it up to the Lord to do his part of dealing with things that trouble me, and I'll work on my responsibility of just trusting Him.


Genesis 21 - Outline

"the LORD did unto Sarah as he had spoken"
"Cast out this bondwoman and her son"
"God heard the voice of the lad"
Abimelech realized that the Lord was with Abraham, so he made a deal with him
Abimelech took care of his problem when he found out about it
v31 & 32
the covenant of Beersheba
v33 & 34
once again, Abraham called on the name of the Lord


Review: Question #1, What is the gospel?

(This article is taken from previous findmercy.com articles on this topic.)

getting things inside out

Matthew 23


Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

This is a classic problem among people trying to be religious: fasting, getting baptized, trying to get into a better situation in this world. People try to make themselves right by making things seem right on the outside, or on the outward appearance of things.

Many people even have this problem in the question of salvation and the salvation message. The popular gospel is that, People could have been saved if they kept the 10 commandments, and that Now people can be saved by believing and repenting from their sin (and sometimes making Jesus the Lord of their life,) but not just by believing. True belief, The New Gospel says, not only results in a change of action, but consists of a change in action on the part of the saved.

That false gospel is a gospel of salvation by works, because turning away from doing sin, improving one's outward actions, and making the Lord into the master of every area of one's life is good works.

The unpopular, age-old, true gospel, says, that being saved is not by anything good that we can do, but only by belief in our hearts in the Lord Jesus Christ, and the free gift of the good things that He has done for us. We need to stop trying to make ourselves right by improving the outward appearance of our lives, and do things the right way. Have an honest change in the thoughts and intentions of our hearts, a change in what we believe and what we desire. Inner change will naturally translate into outward improvement, not the other way around.

repentance should be preached

Luke 24:36-53 (again)


And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

This teaches that repentance is one of the things that we're supposed to preach in Jesus' name... But repentance in what way?

I think that we should preach for people who don't know Jesus to repent in their hearts from their unbelief, so they can be saved by believing in the Lord Jesus Christ. I think we should preach for believers to turn from what unbelief in Him they might still have. I also think we should preach for believers to repent from wrong-doing, so they can walk with the Lord in a way that's worthy of the salvation we've received.

Of course, it would be great if people who don't know Jesus would turn from sin too. However, telling unbelievers to stop sinning is not the gospel. We can't really stop without His help. Even if we could, it wouldn't do us any good because we can't save ourselves. The most important thing we need is to believe in Him. Only by believing in Him can we be saved in the first place, and only by believing in Him can we really repent from our sins.

the outside vs. the heart

Mark 12


(about the scribes:)
Which devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation.

We should be right in our hearts, not just on the outside, like these scribes, because the Lord sees and judges the heart.


pray in faith

Mark 11


Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive [them], and ye shall have [them].

This just reminds me to pray in faith.


Proverbs 6 - Key


Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:

It just seems like the Lord has been wanting to talk to me about not being a sluggard.


v7 & 8
Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler,
Provideth her meat in the summer, [and] gathereth her food in the harvest.

While I'm doing self-paced work instead of having someone else make me do certain things at certain times, I need to be setting up my own schedule structure to get the right things done at the right time. I'll work on that.


Proverbs 6 - Outline

make sure of thy friend
sluggards think a little bit of sleep would be inconsequential
the pattern of a wicked man, spreading discord to others
the things the Lord hates
reproofs of instruction [are] the way of life
he who commits adultery with a woman destroys his own soul


humbly serve

Mark 10


And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.

If you want to be great, you have to be humble. We should be open to opportunities to humbly serve.


Genesis 20 - Key


And God said unto him in a dream, Yea, I know that thou didst this in the integrity of thy heart; for I also withheld thee from sinning against me: therefore suffered I thee not to touch her.

It was encouraging to me that when Abimelech was doing his best to do what's right, the Lord saw that and honored it. The Lord didn't cause him to be tripped up into doing something wrong when he was trying to do right. In fact, He said, I also withheld thee from sinning against me.


2 Peter 1:3
According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that [pertain] unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:

The Lord has provided in every way for us to live godly. We don't always have to worry about having some accidental sin we're not aware of. As long as we're doing our best to act in the integrity of our hearts and innocence of our hands, the Lord will honor that and show us what He needs to show us, like He did with Abimelech.

I'll stop worrying about sins I might have but can't find out, and I'll start resting and rejoicing in the reality that my sins are forgiven.


Genesis 20 - Outline

God kept Abimelech from sinning because God knew that he was righteous
Abimelech and his men had more fear of God than Abraham thought
v12 & 13
there was a half truth
God kept blessing Abraham with wealth anyway
v17 & 18
God is supposed to be the one who controls whether children are born


a cup of water to drink

Mark 9


For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward.

We should take the opportunity to serve and be kind to children and others, and the Lord, for sure, will reward us.


blind & stubborn against believing

Mark 8


And when Jesus knew [it], he saith unto them, Why reason ye, because ye have no bread? perceive ye not yet, neither understand? have ye your heart yet hardened?

Jesus had miraculously provided bread to thousand, on two different occasions, but when He spoke to his disciples using an analogy about yeast, they were worried that he meant they didn't have enough bread with them.

Jesus seemed to be expressing that by this point they should perceive and understand, that He has all power, and not to worry about food because He could just provide some if He wanted. He said, have ye your heart yet hardened?

We can be kept from understanding by being hard-hearted (stubborn). Let's believe Him instead of being so stubborn that we're blind.


Proverbs 5 - Key


My son, attend unto my wisdom, [and] bow thine ear to my understanding:

My friend just happened to share this verse a couple of days ago. It talks about inclining your ear to hear, or bowing it down, which he tied into not being proud. I just recently made a similar application to my own life, studying through Genesis.


Like my friend talked about, I'll humbly listen to others to receive wisdom.


Proverbs 5 - Outline

v1, 2, 7, 12, 13
listen up, especially to your parents
the preliminary, deceitful, attractiveness of sin, especially the sin of fornication
v4-6, 9-11, 14, 20-23
you'll be sorry, in a lot of really big ways
don't touch it with a 40-foot pole
marriage = 1 man + 1 woman


your role in your parents' home

What does it mean, for a young person to be living in his or her parents' home?

Do my parents have a right to tell me how to dress?

About parents

For children:
Colossians 3:20
Children, obey [your] parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.
For everyone:
Proverbs 23:22
Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old.

About clothes

Deuteronomy 22:5
The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so [are] abomination unto the LORD thy God.
1 Timothy 2:9a
In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety...


Genesis 19 - Key


And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place; for the LORD will destroy this city. But he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons in law.

There seems to be so much in Genesis 18 & 19 about entreaty. For example, Abraham entreating the Lord, Lot entreating the angels, and then the men of the city, and now his sons-in-law. They did a horrible job with the way they responded. They just sat there and thought he was kidding. I saw from this, how we should listen.


I'll take it seriously when someone entreats me.


Genesis 19 - Outline

Lot, determined to do good, wouldn't take no for an answer
v4 & 5
the people of Sodom started off on the wrong foot
Sodom was not listening to entreaty, but Lot showed sacrificial honor to his visitors
Sodom, oblivious to the fact that they were being tested, had failed miserably
Lot's sons-in-law, complacent, wouldn't take his entreaty seriously
the need to obey the Lord quickly
prayer works miracles, so pray hard like Abraham because you don't know what great things might come from it
the sin-tainted origins of the Moabites and Ammonites


don't be hard hearted

Mark 6


For they considered not [the miracle] of the loaves: for their heart was hardened.

This was about stubborn, hard hearts. We should believe the Lord when He does something good instead of being stubborn. We should also be willing to listen to rebuke and consider that we might be wrong about things instead of being hard-hearted about that.


Be not afraid, only believe

Mark 5


As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe.

Impossible things became possible when Jesus Christ came and worked. He seemed to want to keep reminding people about faith. He wanted to teach us that He works and does mighty and miraculous things when we believe in Him.

And, once again, faith and fearfulness are mutually exclusive. We shouldn't fear terrible things that have happened in the past, like the people in Mark 5 could have feared when their loved one had died. We should fear the Lord, and besides that, we should have faith instead of fear.


faith to shield from fear

Mark 4


And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?

I've been thinking that there's a correlation between fearfulness and lack of faith, and this verse confirms it. We're not supposed to be fearful.

Revelation 21:8
But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
Here unbelief is listed as one of the sins of the people who will have a part in the lake of fire... So this fearfulness is definitely wrong. Notice that unbelief is listed right with it: But the fearful, and unbelieving...

The Lord says, Fear not so many times in the Bible. He also says:

1 John 4:18
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
2 Timothy 1:7
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Modern translations translate the word fear as timidity. If I was trying to clarify that it was talking about wrong fearfulness, not about the fear of the Lord, I might have translate that word in that verse, as paranoia.

We see that there's a direct correlation between fearfulness and lack of faith. If we don't want to be wrongfully afraid or paranoid, we need to be taking the shield of faith.

Ephesians 6:16
Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.


a strong man armed

I thought of a verse recently, and as I've been reading through Mark, today I came to a verse similar to it. But I'm more familiar with this verse in Luke:

Luke 11:21
When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace:

I'm more familiar with this verse. At first glance, Luke 11:21 seems like it's saying it's a pretty good idea for men to arm themselves to to keep their houses and possessions safe. Think about it: When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace. Yes, it seems we should all go out and arm ourselves right now, to keep our houses and possessions safe... If you totally take it out of context!

2 Timothy 2:15
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

It's so important to rightly divide the Word, instead of taking one little sound bite and twisting it to mean something totally different or even opposite from what the Word really means. Let's consider the context of Luke 11:21.

  1. If you look at the verse right before it, you see that Christ was not talking about an example of how godly Christians should live, but of what it's like when the devil possesses someone before Christ casts him out, and how the devil works:
    v20 & 21a
    But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you. When a strong man armed keepeth his palace...
    I don't think that we should take, what the Bible says about how the devil works, as our example for godly living, do you?
  2. The passage doesn't stop with v21, stating that the goods will be kept safe, but it continues into the next, all important verse 22: But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils.
    So we see that the point of v21 was not to arm ourselves to keep our houses, and then it's promised that our goods would be safe. When taken in context, it goes on to present a strong argument to the contrary: But when a stronger than he shall come...
The passage that I read in Mark today was:
Mark 3:26 & 27
And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end.
No man can enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house.

Every Word of God is good, but it needs to be used in a completely honest way, and not wrestled around to make it sound like it means something else. So think twice next time you hear a partial little "sound bite" or "clip" from the Bible, and don't assume it means exactly what it was made to sound like, being taken out of context. That's the way the devil tempted Jesus, too.


power to forgive sins

Mark 2


But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,)

It's a blessing and encouragement to remember that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins.

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