the mark of Cain is like our salvation

Genesis 4


And the LORD said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the LORD set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.

I think of how each of us today is like Cain, because everybody in the world has done something wrong (Romans 3:23), and all of that sin is a very bad thing and worthy of eternal death (Romans 6:23a). I thought is was intriguing that the Lord bothered to protect Cain, but I think that the Lord had mercy on Cain because Cain called on Him.

This just goes to show that, even when we have done really evil things before, when we admit that we are headed for judgment, and sincerely call on the Lord for mercy, He will save us. The Lord put a mark on Cain to save his life from being killed for his sin, and, in the same way, the Lord puts the mark of Christ on us, seals us with His Holy Spirit, and gives us eternal life, if we call on Him for mercy and have faith in Him.

John 6:37
All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.


the natural need for diligence

Genesis 3


In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou [art], and unto dust shalt thou return.

The first part of this verse says, In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread... That reminds me of 2 Thessalonians 3:10:

For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.

This element of capitalism has been a part of nature since the ground was cursed: That we need to do hard work in order to earn "a living"--so that we can have food to eat. This is yet another reminder for us to work on being diligent.


Matthew 3 - Application


And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

This makes me think of how I need to not just talk about repenting, but produce actions fitting for repenting (v8).


Matthew 3 - Key


And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

As simple as this message is, this is still a good message for us today: We should be repenting from our sins.


Matthew 3 - Outline

John the Baptizer came preaching repentance, to prepare the way of the Lord
people from all over Judea came to John to be baptized, confessing their sins
John the Baptizer warned the Pharisees and Sadducees to be fruitful instead of just trusting in their lineage of Abraham... or they would suffer wrath and fire
John told how Jesus would come after him and be greater
Jesus came to John to be baptized
God Himself was a witness that Jesus was His beloved Son


the day Adam and Eve died

Genesis 2


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.

Why does it say that they would die in that day? Because humankind died inside that day, and we have all been born to grow up and walk around without having any true life. Jesus Christ came to restore that life to us. Through faith in Him, we can receive everlasting and more abundant life.

John 10:10
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly.


multiply and have dominion

Genesis 1


And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

I saw that even Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden had a job to do, and weren't supposed to be lazy. I'll work on not being lazy with the jobs I have to do.


a reward coming, one way or the other

Revelation 22


And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward [is] with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.

This verse is a double-edged sword, because it can be taken as both good news and bad news. If our activities are good, the Lord is definitely coming soon to give us a good reward according to our behavior. If, on the other hand, we are involved in bad activities, the Lord is also coming quickly with a negative "reward," ready to give us according to our bad behavior. We definitely want to be on the Lord's good side when He comes... but we don't know when He's coming, so we need to always watch and be ready.


nothing that makes a lie

Revelation 21


And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither [whatsoever] worketh abomination, or [maketh] a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.

The fact that there are not going to be any liars in the New Jerusalem is a good reminder for today about the evils of dishonesty.


Matthew 2 - Key


And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,

I saw things happening so that the Bible came true, at least 4 times in this chapter (v5, 15, 17, 23). God can give us insight into the future through His Spirit and His Word. That makes me want to be more engaged in the Word.


Matthew 2 - Outline

wise men from the east came to worship the One who was born King of the Jews
Herod and the religious leaders deceitfully tried to use the wise men to find Jesus so that they could kill him
the wise men worshiped the young child Jesus, and presented Him with valuable gifts
God warned the wise men to not return to Herod
the angel of the Lord warned Joseph to flee with his family to Egypt, which fulfilled a prophesy about Jesus
Herod tried to kill Jesus again, by killing all the babies in Bethlehem, but he only succeeded in fulfilling another prophesy, one about weeping
the Lord used an angel in a dream again, to direct Joseph to bring his family back into Israel
Yet another threat to Jesus, from Herod's son, yet another dream of warning, to turn aside from Judea, and yet another prophesy fulfilled, that Jesus would be called a Nazarene

judged according to works

Revelation 20


And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is [the book] of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

What if God was like a police officer, and "pulled you over" in your life? Unlike the police, who have a few privileges and technologies that help them detect when you do something wrong, God knows everything. That includes the "secret" things that nobody else knows.

Just like if a police officer pulled us over and gave us a warning, we should be warned about the sins in our lives. They are real problems, that the Lord is going to do something about. We should get them taken care of before the Lord has to judge them.


assurance that the Bible is authentic

Revelation 19


And he [was] clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.

I was reminded in this chapter how the Word of God is so good and trustworthy. We can know that its source is authentic.

2 Timothy 3:14-16a

But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned [them];

And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God...


the judgment of the sinful city

Revelation 18


Rejoice over her, [thou] heaven, and [ye] holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.

When I see the terrible destruction of Babylon described in this chapter, I wonder which camp I would be in. Although I would like to be among the rejoicing holy apostles and prophets, I worry that, if I'm not careful, I might end up among the people who were weeping and wailing for the judgment of sin.

Some people might look at terrible disasters that happen to other people, and think, "Boy, I'm glad that I'm not sinful like them, to deserve a disaster like that." Instead, we should marvel at the Lord's mercy that He has given us yet another undeserved chance, despite our past sin. We need to take the opportunities that we have now to repent from the sin that we do know we have, before it is too late and we're brought into a just accounting ourselves.


Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem?

I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.


why did you marvel?

Revelation 17


And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns.

We should be careful what we think is mysterious, and wonderful, and admire. It is the people who will not be saved who will all be in awe of "the beast" (#666), but it is no big deal to us. If our names have been written in the book of life, the Lord reveals the mystery to us, along with the conclusion at the end of the story. That king (the "beast") and this great city ("Babylon") will be destroyed for their sin.

We do have someone else though, who really is wonderful and worthy of our admiration, and that is Christ. When there are great things that many people in the world say "ooh" and "ah" about, we should we be awestruck? We should remember that the things of the world are passing away, and the Lord is the one who is great and eternal.


Blessed is he who watches

Revelation 16


Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed [is] he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.

We should be ready for the Lord's return by being clothed with His righteousness.


Matthew 1 - Key


But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.

I noticed that this happened when Joseph was a just man, and when he was thinking about how he could be a good example and do what is right. That is when the Lord showed Joseph a really great thing the Lord was going to do, and that is when the Lord let Joseph know what he should do about this major thing in his life.


When I'm thinking and considering plans for a dilemma I have, or a situation that seems like a crisis, I'll make sure I'm a righteous man, and I'll think in ways to consider how I can please the Lord and do what's right.


Matthew 1 - Outline

introduction to the book
the generations:
the generations from Abraham to David
the generations from David to when Israel was carried away into Babylon
the generations from the carrying away into Babylon, to Christ
those were three sets of 14 generations each, obviously not a coincidence
the way the birth of Jesus Christ was:
it was while Joseph was a just man, and thinking on how to do the right thing to please the Lord, that the Lord showed him a great thing that the Lord was going to do, and the Lord let him know what he should do, too
Jesus would save His people from their sins
this happened to fulfill the prophecy of Emmanuel
Joseph did what the angel of the Lord told him to do


worship the Lord like in song

Revelation 15


Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for [thou] only [art] holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.

We should worship, fear, and glorify the Lord like this.

And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous [are] thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true [are] thy ways, thou King of saints.

We should worship the Lord in singing.


1 Samuel 14 - Summary

The Lord can save by many or by few.


While Saul and the Israelites were sitting around, Jonathan unilaterally went up toward the Philistines, with his armor bearer, through a passage between two sharp rocks
Jonathan had the faith in the Lord to attack even though it was just him and his armor bearer
Jonathan watched for a sign to what the Lord would do
Come up here, and we'll show you something...
the people shook, the earth quaked, and the multitude melted away
the rest of Israel joined the battle and the Lord saved Israel that day
Saul told the people they would be cursed if they ate anything that day, but Jonathan did not know, and he ate
because the people had been fasting, they sinned in their haste to eat
Saul blamed Jonathan for eating, and wanted to kill him, but the people wouldn't let him
Saul had battles against different kingdoms here and there


And Jonathan said to the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over unto the garrison of these uncircumcised: it may be that the LORD will work for us: for [there is] no restraint to the LORD to save by many or by few.

Jonathan was brave because he believed that the Lord can use only a few people to save people, just as well as He can use many people to do it. I thought that was a good example of believing that the Lord really exists, ...and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (From Hebrews 11:6b). We should have confidence in the Lord like Jonathan did.


If we know that the Lord wants us to do something, even if some of those things seem like big hard things to do, we should have the faith to do it, relying on Him. I'll have the confidence to add some things that I believe the Lord wants me to, to my schedule, believing that if it is what He wants me to do, He will provide the time and everything I need to be able to do them.

something to aim for

Revelation 14


And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.

The 144,000 people who were sealed and had these special opportunities with the Lord, were faultless with the Lord, and had no deceitfulness in their speech. That is the way we should all aspire to be.


the patience and faith of the saints

Revelation 13


He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.

The saints who will overcome "the beast," must have such patience and faith that they will not worship him, even though that means that they and their friends will be taken captive and killed for it.

Once again, like in the last chapter, that I read yesterday, I see how we need to not be selfish. We should have the patience and faith to do what is right, even when it seems, for the time being, to be to our own detriment. We ought to be those who are even willing to give our lives.


the brethren overcame the devil

Revelation 12


And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

They loved God so much that they were unselfish and didn't even love their own lives as much as they loved God. They will willing to die for the Lamb and for the Word of their testimony.

We should live very unselfishly in our everyday lives, and we should love God even more than we love our own lives.


2 Thessalonians 3 - Key


Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have [free] course, and be glorified, even as [it is] with you:

This last chapter in 2 Thessalonians 3 starts out, Finally, brethren, pray for us... Once again, I see a focus on the importance of praying for our brethren.


When I'm busy or have other things that I really want to do, it is tempting to rush through a short prayer without thinking much about it, or sometimes, even to forget to really pray. This week, I'll make sure to take some time to really pray for other people every day.


2 Thessalonians 3 - Outline

prayers for the promotion of the Word and for protection from evil
confidence in the Lord about their obedience
love God and patiently wait for Christ
we must each do our own work instead of being busybodies
don't get tired of doing good
avoiding disorderly brothers, in love
Paul's salutation, and his prayer for the Lord's peace, presence, and grace to be with us


He will reward His servants the prophets

Revelation 11


And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.

There is definitely an imminent hour approaching, in which the Lord is going to judge and reward. The Lord will judge the people who are dead, who have been angry and destroying the earth. To those nations who have been angry, He will judge them with His own wrath. To those people who have been destroy, He will destroy them.

The part of this verse that really spoke to me this morning is the part about rewards. When this time comes, the elders thank the Lord that it is time to give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great. I know I have been posting a lot about this lately, but once again just notice how we should be the Lord's servants like this, how we should be His saints (holy ones), and how we should fear His name.


what did the seven thunders utter?

Revelation 10


And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not.

How was it that this person, John, got to hear these amazing things that nobody else could hear? John was God's servant. We should live as God's servants, for His Word and testimony, and, as we do, who knows what amazing opportunities He might give us?


repent now or never

Revelation 9


Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.

People who don't repent now, won't even repent when the wrath of these torturous plagues is poured out on them. We who know Christ should see the end of these wicked works and be repenting day by day.


prayers of "saints"

Revelation 8


And the smoke of the incense, [which came] with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand.

It says, with the prayers of the saints (I added the emphasis.) Saints means holy people, and, if we want our prayer to be effective, that's what we need to be when we pray.


rewards in heaven

Revelation 7


For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

There are great rewards for faithfully serving the Lord. We should remember these promises and be serious about doing what's right.


2 Thessalonians 2 - Key


That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

One of my friends was talking about this Sunday morning, how this verse speaks about a terrible judgment, and the last part of the verse speaks of having pleasure in unrighteousness. My friend also brought up Romans 1:32, which says Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. He said something to the effect that it is not just being directly personally involved in sin that we have to worry about, but also how we stand on the sidelines.

I've often been convicted by 2 Timothy 3:4, which speaks of people who are lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God. Instead, we should be like Moses, Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; (Hebrews 11:25)


When I'm tempted to sin for the pleasure of it (for example, being lazy and sleeping in too late, or wasting time watching a video when I should be doing my homework,) I'll remember that true lasting pleasure is found in going the Lord's way.

Psalm 37:4
Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
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