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.

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