“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
Philippians 4:13 (KJV)
How are you? Today’s verse is one that many people have heard or read and know quite well. With that being said, one would think that the message in Philippians 4:13 would seem pretty straightforward. However, in my research, that doesn’t seem to be the case. There are differing views as to what the verse really means.
I guess that some people use Philippians 4:13 as encouragement to make large leaps and bounds and to claim success in whatever they have in mind to do. However, others look at Philippians 4:13 as encouragement that God will give us strength to get through the hardships and rough times in life. How do you look at the words in Philippians 4:13?
St. Paul was writing this letter to the Philippians from jail. So, his circumstances were probably those of hardship, discomfort, loneliness, and even misery. Even though he was going through difficulty, he was telling the Philippians that he could do all things because Jesus was there for him and would give him strength. St. Paul knew he could endure anything with the strength that Jesus would give him. So, does that mean we have to be in dire straights in order for these words to apply?
I think Philippians 4:13, like most of God’s Word, is less about the circumstance and more about our heart and frame of mind. I think the most important thing to remember is that we need Jesus. Too many times, we want to take more credit than we deserve. We like to claim we are “self-made”. However, this doesn’t give the credit to God, where it is due. We can’t do things without God’s help. We wouldn’t even be alive without God. So, no, I don’t think we need to be in dire straights or in some sort of hardship to consider Philippians 4:13 as words of encouragement.
Although, I don’t think that we need to be going through hardship to find value and comfort in Philippians 4:13, I also don’t feel that we can use Philippians 4:13 as a free for all and to expect God to give us anything we want. I think our heart and mind, still has to be with God. What we want still has to align with God’s will. I believe we still have to come to God with a humble heart instead of feeling entitled. Like I said, I believe that the importance lies in our heart, mind, and attitude instead of in our circumstances.
Philippians 4:13 also implies that whatever we want or need, might not be easy to get. We wouldn’t need to be strengthened, if it wasn’t going to be difficult at times. This might not mean hardships, like sickness or imprisonment. It might mean that we are called to step outside of our comfort zone to do something in order to do what God has called us to do. It might mean that we need to work hard and have patience, even if we feel that we would rather relax and give up. It may also mean that we have to give beyond what we think our means might be financially, physically, emotionally, or even spiritually.
The comfort comes in knowing that whatever we are called to do, go through, or endure, God will strengthen us. He is with us. Jesus has been through similar. He was our ultimate role model. The Holy Spirit will remind us of God’s Word and how we will be strengthened. We just need to believe and listen to the Holy Spirit. We need to heed God’s Word. We need to rely on God and trust that He will strengthen us and help us through.
Even though it may seem like we are called to endure, go through, and give more than we can handle, we can take comfort in the words in Philippians 4:13. Christ will strengthen us and help us endure what we are called to do.
This is so encouraging! I praise God that He loves us and gives us this comfort! Now, if we can just remember it when we need strength. If only we can remember to rely on Him instead of giving up or trying our own solutions.
Oh Lord, thank you for your love and comfort. Thank you for assuring us that you will help us through as long as we rely on you. Thank you for letting us know that things might be difficult, but if you call us to do it and we rely on you, that you will be there to strengthen us. Help us to rely on you. Help us not to use our own strength and will, but yours instead. Help us to trust in you instead of finding our own solutions or giving up. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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Reflective questions for Philippians 4:13 (KJV):
*What does Philippians 4:13 mean to me?
*What is God telling me through Philippians 4:13?
*Can I just claim any success no matter what with the words in Philippians
*How can I better heed the words in Philippians 4:13?
If you enjoyed the message in this week's post, you may find this other post interesting as well.
Now, it is your turn.
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“He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth these things shall never be moved.”
Psalms 15:5 (KJV)
How are you? I hope you are enjoying the Psalms 15 Series by DUO Inspirations. Today’s post is the last post of the series. If you haven’t done so already, please consider taking the time to read the previous posts by clicking on the links below:
As you may know, King David asks a couple of questions about who will be close to God in His tabernacle and on His hill in Psalms 15:1. Then, in Psalms 15:2-5, King David gives his answers to his preceding questions. In previous posts we have pondered verses 1-4 of Psalms 15. Today, we end the series and chapter by pondering the words in Psalms 15:5 (KJV), which reads, “He that putteth not out money to usury nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth these things shall never be moved.”
Psalms 15:5 has three parts. Let’s look at the first part, which reads, “He that putteth not out his money to usury…”. (KJV) In my research, I have found that “usury” seems to take on different meanings to different people. In most cases, this first part of Psalms 15:5, seems to mean that one shouldn’t charge interest to the poor. This part of the verse seems to echo Exodus 22:25 (KJV), which reads, “If thou lend money to any of my people that is poor by thee, thou shalt not be to him as an usurer, neither shalt thou lay upon him usury.” Maybe King David took his answer from this verse. I am not sure.
In my research, most people seem to think that this statement is more about personal lending to the poor from neighbor to neighbor. However, I am not so sure. Wouldn’t it be important that the poor be able to get necessities such as food, drink, clothing, and a place to live without feeling the crunch of extra fees? Maybe there is something in the original text or biblical law that would explain this more fully. Yet, I am not a scholar, so I don’t really know what is meant. It could be one of those verses where God speaks different things to different people.
Questions that go through my mind are:
Who constitutes the poor? What level of poor is really poor? Does this mean the old and elderly, the crippled and disabled, or working poor who have trouble making ends meet? Does it include just loans from neighbor to neighbor or bank and business loans as well? Does it include loans for just the bare necessities or for things that would help people improve themselves as well?
What are your thoughts? Do you know of something that would make the answers to these questions more apparent? Or, do you think it is according to what God is telling us personally at the time?
I believe that the middle part of Psalms 15:5 (KJV), which reads, “…nor taketh reward against the innocent” is the clearest part of the verse. It seems pretty straightforward that we are not to take bribes against the innocent. God protects the innocent and doesn’t want any harm to come to them. One way of protecting the innocent is making it wrong to give or take bribes, to give false testimony, or to say anything that would falsely accuse or bring harm to an innocent person.
The last part of Psalms 15:5 (KJV) reads, “He that doeth these things shall never be moved.” To tell you the truth, this part of the verse brings up quite a few questions for me as well. For example, does “doeth these things” refer to using usury and taking bribes against the innocent or not using usury and not take bribes against the innocent? Does “doeth these things” refer to the things in Psalms 15:5 or the things in Psalms 15:2-5?
In my research, most people seem to translate the last sentence of Psalms 15:5 as those who heed the words and act like the people listed in Psalms 15 will not be “swayed” or “tempted” too far away from God. These people will be able to stand firm in their faith and have a close relationship with God, instead of being tempted away and losing faith. This could be what King David meant, although, I think there is another possibility. I think that “He that doeth these thing shall never be moved” could refer to those people who practice usury and those people who take bribes against the innocent. It could mean that such people, who would do such things, have cold hearts. It could mean that if they practice such things, their hearts will never be moved to compassion and love of another. Therefor, it might be difficult to be moved towards a relationship with God.
Before I wrap up the post, I would like to go back to King David’s questions in Psalms 15:1 (KJV), which reads, “Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill?” Some of us might read that and say, “The way to God is through Jesus. How come King David didn’t say anything about being saved by Jesus?” Well, we have to remember that Jesus hadn’t come to earth yet when King David was asking and answering these questions. Even if any of the prophets had foretold the coming of Jesus by this time, King David probably didn’t know the implications and truth about what that meant for our salvation.
Thank you for you infinite wisdom and love for us. Thank you for your Word, so that we have a path to you. Help us to understand your Word and take it to heart. Help us to act according to your will. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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Reflective questions for Psalms 15:5:
*What does Psalms 15:5 mean to me?
*What does “putteth not his money to usury” mean to me?
*What does “nor taketh reward against the innocent” mean to me?
*What does “He that doeth these things shall never be moved” mean?
*What can I do to better heed the words in Psalms 15:5?
*What other Bible verses remind me of Psalms 15:5?
Now it is your turn.
Thank you for being here. I appreciate your support and kindness. I don’t know about for you, but for me, Psalms 15:5 brought quite a few questions to mind. If you feel led, please feel free to leave a comment. We all learn from each other’s thoughts and prayers. Again, I encourage you not to rely on the word of others though, but to pray and put your trust in God’s wisdom. Rely on Him.
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“In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the LORD. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not.”
Psalms 15:4 (KJV)
How are you? Today, we continue our journey in reflecting upon Psalms 15. If you haven’t done so already, you can read the previous posts to the Psalms 15 Series by DUO Inspirations by clicking the following links:
Let us remember that the words in Psalms 15:4 are part of the answers that King David have for his own questions he asked in Psalms 15:1 (KJV), which were “Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? Who shall dwell in thy holy hill?”
Now, with this in mind, let’s look at the first part of Psalms 15:4 (KJV), “In whose eyes a vile person is contemned…”. I think it is kind of human nature to dislike evil and cruel people, or at least their actions. For example, we may feel a sickening feeling or heart break for pets and victims who have been abused in some way. In turn, we may feel a contempt or hardness in our hearts about people who could do such things. I think when the “evil” involves violence it is easier for us to hold contempt in our hearts for the evildoer.
Yet, do we hold that same contempt in our hearts for evildoers, if the “evil” doesn’t contain violence? For example, idol worshipping is evil. It is totally wrong and against God’s will. God alone is the only one to be worshipped. So, do we hold contempt in our hearts for those who worship idols? Or, do we instead have a nonchalant, “live and let live” type attitude? Do we invite idol worshippers to our parties, to join us in business, or into our families, “as long as they don’t push their beliefs on us”?
We, as a society, seemed to be in a rut as far as NOT holding contempt in our hearts for immoral and evil actions done by others. It seems more commonplace to let everyone fit in, instead of standing up for your own beliefs. It seems more commonplace to enable people to feel entitled, instead of teaching them natural cause and effect of things.
Lessons such as, if you want to eat, you have to work, are going by the wayside. I am not talking about suffering the feeble, the elderly, the widows, and the little children to work when they aren’t able. I am not talking about people who choose to be housekeepers, stay at home parents, homeschool parents, and other jobs that society doesn’t always look upon as being jobs. I am not even talking about just the entitlement of food without earning it. It just seems that there is quite a bit of entitlement in this world that is enabled instead of discouraged or condemned.
It makes sense that if we are called to hold contempt in our hearts for doing bad, then we are called to also honor those who do what is right in the eyes of the Lord. Yes, we are called to honor those who “fear the Lord.” Again, I don’t believe that “fear” in this case means to be afraid of God in that we are afraid that God might do something mean to us. I believe it is a fear as in a reverent and respect for God’s holiness and His ability to give us natural consequences that we deserve and grace that we don’t deserve.
Just as it seems easy to hold contempt for the evil and violent people of the world, so it may seem easy to honor those who are good, loving, godly people. Yet, again, I am not so sure it is that easy. It may not be as prevalent as we may think. I am reminded of children being called “goody two shoes” or “teacher’s pet” in school for doing good or not following the mischief of the crowd.
We might think that oh, “kids will be kids” or “kids can be so cruel sometimes”. However, I believe that kids are not born this way. They are taught or conditioned to be cruel in a world that is full of cruelty. I don’t mean that kids are totally innocent and their behavior should be overlooked. I am just saying that I think if they were conditioned or treated to be kind always, than they would be less likely to be cruel and more likely to continue with “what they know and have seen” with that same level of kindness.
Even some adults, maybe because they learned it as children, talk about “do-gooders” as if doing good things was a bad thing. Instead of being honored as being God fearing, people who do good things are mocked as being bad.
The last part of Psalms 15:4 (KJV) reads, “He that sweareth his own hurt, and changeth not.” In my research, I have found many places, which state that this means to keep your promises, no matter how uncomfortable or inconvenient it is for you. These resources seem to speak of this in a general sense. However, I am not sure if it means in a general sense or a specific sense.
Maybe it is the teacher in me, but it seems that if this statement is part of the same verse as the rest, it might be relating to the same topic. It might be reinforcing the fact that we are called to disdain the cruel and empower or honor the godly. Maybe we are called to swear not to enable the evil; swear not to befriend and be nonchalant about ungodly actions, so that we will not slowly learn the evil ways of the evil. After all, it is when we are passive and nonchalant about the sinful ways of others or ourselves, that we slowly condition ourselves to be more sinful. For example, if we don’t speak out and distance ourselves from those who act as if they are entitled, then we may soon start to act with that same entitlement. Maybe it is calling us to be godly no matter how much we are hurt, mocked, or threatened.
Thank you for your Holy Word. Thank you for teaching us the way to you. Give us understanding when we are confused about your Word or anything else. Give us the strength to disdain the ungodly as well as empower and honor the godly, no matter how difficult it may seem. Help us to keep our word and to be godly, no matter the consequences given us by the world. Help us not to be nonchalant and slip into the ways of the evil. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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Reflective questions for Psalms 15:4 (KJV):
*What does Psalms 15:4 mean to me?
*What does “fear of the Lord” mean to me?
*What does “He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not” mean to
*Do I heed the words in Psalms 15:4?
*What do I need to do to better heed the words in Psalms 15:4?
Now, it is your turn.
As always, I encourage you to read the Word of God yourself. Don’t take my word of my reflection as your own. Pray and ask God to give you your own understanding. For example, the last sentence in Psalms 15:4 could mean that in a general sense, we need to keep our word no matter how uncomfortable or inconvenient it may be. Or, it could mean something else. Sometimes, God's Word is meant to speak one message to one person and another to the next. Sometimes, the meaning is meant to be the same to all. That is between you and God.
I welcome you to leave a comment anytime that you feel called. It is good to learn and fellowship with fellow believers. I look forward to your thoughts, prayer requests, comments, suggestions, or questions. Feel free to comment below or contact me. If you feel called to share the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations with others, please do that as well. I believe that it is good to encourage others to read and understand God's Word. I try to do that through the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations.
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“He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour.”
Psalms 15:3 (KJV)
How are you? I hope you are enjoying the Psalms 15 Series by DUO Inspirations. Today, we will ponder the words in Psalms 15:3. Last week, we pondered the words in Psalms 15:2 and saw how King David starts answering his own questions (which he posed in Psalms 15:1). You can read last week’s post here.
Like in Psalms 15:2, in Psalms 15:3 continues to answer the questions he posed in Psalms 15:1. In Psalms 15:2, King David lists some traits such people may have in order to dwell in the Lord’s tabernacle. These things include walking uprightly, righteousness, and truthfulness. In Psalms 15:3, King David mentions things in which those people are NOT. Let’s look at it.
Psalms 15:3 notes some things that we are not to do to our neighbor. However, the meaning of neighbor here doesn’t mean just the person who lives next door to us or even just in our own town. I believe the word neighbor refers to either all others. Maybe, at the very least, it means all other believers.
The first part of Psalms 15:3 KJV states, “He that backbiteth not with his tongue…”. So, we are called not to backbite our neighbors. What does that mean? I believe that backbiting refers to saying mean and cruel things, regardless of whether they are true or not about someone behind his or her back. No matter the true meaning, we can gather that it has something to do with saying not so kind things about others behind their backs.
In the second part of Psalms 15:3, we see that are not to do any sort of evil to our neighbors. Hopefully, we know this anyway. Yet, it is good to look at it as part of King David’s thought process here. If we brainstormed some specific ways to not do evil to our neighbors, we might come up with things like: not fighting others, not stealing from others, not cursing others, not cheating others, not causing harm to others, and not ruining any property or belongings of others.
In the last part of Psalms 15:3 KJV it states, “…nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour”. I am not quite sure what is meant by this part specifically. However, in my mind there could be at least two possibilities to the meaning. I think the first possible meaning is that we don’t scold or maybe join others in scolding our neighbors. We tend to want to be quick to point out the wrong that others are doing. It might be that King David is saying that it isn’t good to do point out the wrongdoings of others. The second possible meaning might be that we are not to take part in anything others are doing against our neighbors. Neither possibility seems very kind anyways, so we may want to steer clear of either action.
The bottom line that King David was saying in Psalms 15:3 is to be kind to others. We see that in so many verses of the Bible. God definitely calls us to love and be kind to others.
Thank you for loving us and showing us the way you want us to live. Help us to take your Word to heart and to heed it always. Help us to not only read your Word, but to ponder it and live it as well. Help us to be kind to our neighbors as you call us to do. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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Reflective questions for Psalms 15:3 (KJV):
*What does Psalms 15:3 mean to me?
*What does backbiting mean to me?
*What does “doing no evil” to my neighbor mean to me?
*What does “taking up reproach against my neighbor” mean to me?
*What is the definition of “neighbor” in the verse?
*What message is God giving me with Psalms 15:3?
*What can I do to better heed the message in Psalms 15:3?
*About what other verses does Psalms 15:3 remind me?
Now, it is your turn.
Thank you for being here. I hope you are enjoying the Psalms 15 Series by DUO Inspirations. If you find value in the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations, please feel free to share it with others. Also, if you feel called to write a comment, please do so. I look forward to hearing your thoughts. I think it is nice to be able to share thoughts about God's Word and learn from each other. However, please, remember that your ultimate teachers are God's Word and God through prayer, as well as Jesus and the Holy Spirit. (We are not called to seek each other, like we are called to seek God.)
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“He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh truth in his heart.”
Psalms 15:2 (KJV)
How are you? Last week we pondered King David’s questions in Psalms 15:1 (KJV) which are, “Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? Who shall dwell in thy holy hill?” If you haven’t read the post yet, you can read it here. Think about those questions for a moment. What would your answer be to his questions?
This week, we ponder the words in Psalms 15.2, where King David starts to answer his own questions. So, the first part of King David’s answer to his questions in verse 1 says, “He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh truth in his heart.” (Psalms 15:2 KJV) Let’s think about these words and let them really sink into our soul.
There are three parts or phrases in Psalms 15:2. I think the last one is easiest to address, so I will address it first. If we look at it, it says, “…and speaketh the truth in his heart.” One might think that means that King David is talking about someone who never lies to anyone and always speaks the truth. I think that is only partially correct. I think the words “in his heart”, makes the meaning a bit deeper.
Sometimes, we think we are telling others the truth, only to find out that we have been lying to ourselves. I think sometimes we bury the truth. Therefor, when we tell others something, we really feel that we are telling them the truth. Yet, it isn’t the case. It is just what we have been telling ourselves for so long that we know think it is the truth.
Or, maybe we only tell a half-truth. We only tell have of the story. We don’t lie about what we say, but we might withhold a small piece of information. We tell ourselves that it won’t matter. However, even if the other person never knows and it doesn’t make a difference to the other person at all, it still matters, because it matters to God.
It also matters to us, as Christians, because we are always seeking and finding God. That also means that we are constantly seeking and finding truth, because God is truth.
Sometimes “speaking truth in our heart” might mean to really reflect upon our beliefs, our words, and our actions and honestly telling ourselves and God how we are doing as well as assessing our strengths and weaknesses honestly. This can be difficult. Like I mentioned before, this difficulty could be from burying part of the truth for some reason. It could be from memory lapse, especially if we don’t reflect upon our actions regularly. It could also be from lack of understanding or discernment, which is another good reason constantly pray and read God’s Word, so God will give us the understanding and discernment we need.
I also believe that we can look at “speaketh the truth in his heart” a different way. So many times, we get in a rut or speak lies to ourselves, which sabotages our lives. We may go with the crowd or listen to common sentiment about what can and can’t be done. However, if we encourage ourselves with God’s Word, I believe that is also a way of “speaking the truth in his heart”.
Yet, Psalms 15:2 isn’t just speaking the truth. It isn’t just talking the talk, so to speak. It is about walking the walk as well. We see that we are called to live in truth as well as speak it in reading Psalms 15:2.
Now, let’s look at the other parts of Psalms 15:2. I have tried to research it, but I am uncertain of the distinction between “walketh uprightly” and “worketh righteousness”. King David may have had two different meanings in mind as he wrote this verse or maybe he just wrote two phrases with similar meanings to emphasize the importance of living a righteous life. I don’t know. (If you have comments, I would enjoy reading them.)
Maybe one phrase might have to do with being truthful, being honest, and having integrity in public life and one phrase might have to do with being truthful, being honest, and having integrity in personal life. To me, it seems that this verse is reminding us that it isn’t just what we do in public that matters, but what we do behind closed doors matter as well.
We are ALWAYS called to be righteous and do the will of God, doing right according to His will for us. We are called to not only speak the truth to ourselves and to others, but to live in truth with honesty and integrity as well.
Thank you for your Word. Thank you for giving us people through whom we can learn your Word and your will for us. Thank you for showing us the way to you, through Jesus and through your Word. Help us to walk in integrity, speak truth to ourselves and to others, and to do everything according to your will for us. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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Reflective questions for Psalms 15:2 (KJV):
*What does Psalms 15:2 mean to me?
*Is there a difference in “speaking in truth” and “speaking in truth in your
*Is there a difference between “walking uprightly” and “working
*What message is God giving me through Psalms 15:2?
*Of what verse does Psalms 15:2 remind me?
*What are my answers to King David’s questions in Psalms 15:1? Are the
words in Psalms15:2 part of my answer? Why or why not?
Now, it is your turn.
I am so thankful that you are here. I appreciate your kindness and support. I encourage you to read God's Word, pray, and discern these answers for yourself. If you feel led, please feel free to write a comment so others can learn and ponder your ideas. Also, if you feel others would benefit from the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations and feel called to do so, please share it.
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“Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? Who shall dwell in thy holy hill?”
Psalms 15:1 (KJV)
How are you? Today, we are going to start pondering the words in Psalms 15 written by King David. When I ponder the words of the Holy Bible, I sometimes like to ponder what it was like for those in biblical times. What were they going through? What were they thinking? What did these words mean to them? Then, back to us today. What do these words mean to us today? What do they mean to me right now? Do you ever ponder such things as you read the Holy Bible?
In my research for today’s post, I found conflicting information as to the meaning of Psalms 15:1. Some thought that King David’s questions were about who would be in God’s presence in heaven. Others thought that King David were questioning who should be allowed in God’s tabernacle here on earth, maybe meaning God’s Holy tent. Maybe, King David was wondering who belonged in the inner room of the temple. What are your thoughts?
Maybe King David was looking for God’s help in choosing temple guards or priests. Maybe this was written during the time when King David wanted to build a temple; a house for God. Maybe he was wondering whom he should choose for which jobs? Maybe King David knew that not just anybody should be assigned to teach and pray within the tabernacle.
The questions in Psalms 15:1 could be real logistical questions for his current situation. However, they may have also been more theological in nature. Instead, King David could have been pondering the meaning of life so to speak. He could have been wondering what it takes to live in God’s presence eternally.
On the other hand, maybe it doesn’t need to be an either or answer. God could use the questions in Psalms 15:1 to get us thinking about what is needed to be a minister, a pastor, a servant of God here on earth AND what is needed to have eternal life with God. What are your thoughts?
Think for a moment about what YOU believe it takes to be a minister, a pastor, or a servant of God here on earth. Also, think about what it takes to go to heaven to be with God eternally. What are your thoughts?
Let’s look at what it takes to be a minister or pastor on earth. We can look to many verses in God’s Word that speak to how ministers and such are chosen. One such verse is Ephesians 4:11 (KJV), which says, “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers.” So, the simple answer about how ministers and such are chosen is that they are chosen by God.
Just as in Psalms 15:1, Ephesians 4:11 doesn’t give any specific traits or thoughts as to what it takes to be a pastor or minister of God. However, Ephesians 4:1 does take that choice out of human hands and puts it in God’s hands. I wonder if that is the answer that God gave King David as he prayed the words in Psalms 15:1. What do you think? I can imagine that as king, David felt a responsibility to choose “just the right person” to be in the tabernacle. However, I can also imagine our loving God saying, “Don’t worry so much. It isn’t your choice to make. I will give you just the right person.”
We as humans have a habit of taking on the world. We often will cause our own stress and take on things that aren’t even our place to take on. If we would only “give it to God”, our life would be much less stressful. We would be more at peace. Could that be the message that God is giving us through Psalms 15:1 and Ephesians 4:11?
I don’t know about you, but I can kind of relate to King David with this verse. Like King David, I believe that we are called to have questions and seek answers. I believe that we should bring those questions to God and rely on Him for our answers. This too, could be the message that God is bringing us through Psalms 15:1.
In all actuality, I feel that God brings us all different messages at different times through His Word, through prayer, and through others. I feel that we could read the same verse once one day and get one message from it and then read the same verse another day and get another message from it. I believe that you and I could read the same verse at the same time and get two totally different messages based on our own needs and circumstances. This just reaffirms that fact that we are called to have a personal relationship with God. What is God telling you through Psalms 15:1?
Thank you for being our Heavenly Father. Thank you for calling us to read your Holy Word and for giving us a personal message each time we read the Holy Bible. Help us to question the things of which we don’t understand and help us to rely on only you for our answers. Help us to know that you have our best interest at heart. Help us to realize that we should give things to you in prayer instead of trying to take on the world ourselves. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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Reflective questions for Psalms 15:1 (KJV):
*What does Psalms 15:1 mean to me?
*What message is God giving me through Psalms 15:1?
*About what other verse or verses does Psalms 15:1 remind me?
*What do I think King David was thinking when he wrote Psalms 15:1?
*What do I need to better heed God’s message to me in Psalms 15:1?
Now, it is your turn.
I am so glad you are here. I feel that at least one of the things I am called to do through the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations is to encourage people to read God's Word, pray, and rely on God for answers. It is easy to get caught up in worldly things. That is why I believe that we are called to stay close to God.
What are your thoughts? I believe that we can encourage each other and learn from one another. When one is down or confused another can pray and encourage and vice versa. I look forward to reading your comments.
If you find value in Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations, please feel free to share it with others. I pray that it helps people to look into their own lives and find ways to get closer to God in their own faith journey. Also, if you haven't already done so, please feel free to sign up below to receive the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations and other faith content in your inbox. Thank you. God bless.
“If ye love me, keep my commandments.”
John 14:15 (KJV)
How are you? If you read last week’s post of the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations, this verse may look familiar to you. Yes, I used John 14:15 as the focal verse as well. However, if you remember, I used John 14:15 to encourage Christians to have compassion and understanding for new Christians or almost Christians. This week, I will ponder the words in John 14:15 in the way that I normally do with the focal verse.
I believe that the entire chapter of John 14 is of Jesus’ talk with his apostles (and maybe some other disciples) about what is going to happen after his crucifixion. Jesus is reassuring his followers that “everything will be okay” in that they will see him again (John 14:3), even if others don’t and they will have a “Comforter” (John 14:16) after he leaves them.
I can’t even imagine what Jesus’ disciples were thinking and feeling during this talk. It seemed to confuse His apostles. Thomas (John 14:5) and Philip (John 14:8) both asked questions. I think if I were one of them, I would have thought that Jesus was talking in riddles. He was talking about things in the future that they didn’t understand. Can you imagine being an apostle back then and hearing all of this, not knowing what we know now?
Anyway, to me, it seems like John 14:15 is part of an agreement of sorts. Well, maybe more of a testimony of how Jesus and His disciples will be able to realize that they love and care for each other. Before that, Jesus states that He is of the Father and the Father is in him, and that anyone who believes in Jesus, will be able to do greater works than he has done (John 14:11-12). Then, Jesus goes on to say, “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.” (John 14:13-14 KJV)
I believe that Jesus was trying to tell his apostles in this conversation, that he loves them. He knew that they didn’t understand what he was telling them and didn’t know what was going to happen. So, he was trying to reassure them.
Within this conversation, Jesus tells his apostles what they can do to show their love. In John 14:15 (KJV) Jesus says, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”
Have you ever loved some people and looked to them that you wanted to do extra well for them? Have you ever felt like if you could just do so fabulously that it would impress one of these loved ones, that he or she would know just how much you love him or her? I have felt that before. It was a childlike and inexperienced thought or feeling. It wasn’t a feeling that love could be bought. It was just a feeling of love and admiration from someone who was young and caring.
Maybe the words in John 14:15 could be likened to a close-knit family who wanted to keep up the family honor, so they did good out of respect and love for the family. The driving force for the action is love.
As I mentioned in last week’s Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations, sometimes when we hear “If you love me, you will ______” it is a manipulation. The driving force isn’t love at all. However, when Jesus says it, we know it is out of love and truth. We know it isn’t out of manipulation or any alternative motive.
If we love Jesus, we will obey his commandments. Not out of obedience or law, but out of love. We will trust that he knows what is best for us and will only tell us what is good for us. Jesus will only tell us things that will lead to glorifying God and being with Him eternally. What are your thoughts? How do you show Jesus you love him? Do you obey his commandments?
Thank you for your infinite love. Thank you for sending your Son, Jesus, to be our ultimate role model. Help us to remember that you have our best in mind. Help us to realize that the words in John 14:15 was spoken by Jesus out of love, not out of any sort of alternative motive. Help us to show our love of our Savior, Jesus, be keeping his commandments. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Reflective questions for John 14:15 (KJV):
*What does John 14:15 mean to me?
*Have I ever felt like I wanted to show someone that I loved him or her by
doing something extra special that you think he or she would know your
love for him or her?
*Have I ever felt manipulated by an “If you love me…” statement?
*Do I know that Jesus wasn’t being manipulative with this statement?
*Do I show Jesus that I love him by keeping his commandments?
*What message is God giving me in John 14:15?
*What can I do to better heed the words in John 14:15?
Now, it is your turn.
Thank you so much for being here. I appreciate your kindness and support. I enjoy sharing God's Word with you. I pray that you use my little tidbits and ponderings to read God's Word for yourself and pray for understanding. I pray it encourages you to reflect upon yourself and do what you can to grow in your faith. God bless.
If you find value in the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations, please share it with your friends and family. Encourage others to read God's Word and pray for understanding. I also invite you to leave a comment. Give us all something to ponder and about which to pray, so we can learn together. And, if you haven't already done so, please consider to sign up below to receive the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations and other faith content in your inbox. Thank you.
“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap”
Galatians 6:7 (KJV)
How are you? Today, I want to talk about times when people have said, “Don’t touch this or you will be in trouble.” Or, maybe they said, “Don’t cross this line or you will be sorry.” Then, nothing happened. It is like bullies were warning us to get us scared, hoping that we wouldn’t call their bluff.
These bullies like to manipulate the truth to get others to do what they want. They want to mock others for being afraid of them. They want to keep us down, so they feel strong.
However, when people call the bully’s bluff, they may jeer at the bully, “I touched it. I touched it”, because they touched it and nothing happened. Or, they crossed the line and nothing happened. So, the bully is then mocked. The bully didn’t have the strength or courage to follow through with his or her threats.
With this image and frame of mine, let’s now look at Galatians 6:7. The first part says, “Be not deceived.” That is don’t be mistaken. God can definitely follow through with whatever He says will happen. God has infinite power. God does not trick or manipulate people to get His way. God tells the truth. God is truth.
The second part of the verse says, “God in not mocked.” In other words, God will follow through with whatever He says He will do. There will be no, “I touched it, I touched it,” from sinners who thought they got away with something.
We may “think” we are getting away with things, because our consequences don’t always come immediately. They come in God’s time, not in the time we always think they will come. For example, if we are told we are going to gain weight if we eat something and then don’t gain weight immediately, we may think that we got away with something. However, what we may not know is that it is probably working unseen negative effects on the body and we will end up gaining weight in the long run because of it.
Another example might be, if we smoke after being told it causes cancer and we don’t get cancer right away, we might feel like we got away with something. However, what we might not realize is that sometimes it takes time for the effect of the nicotine to take hold and the cancer to start. It might also be that the cancer is starting inside the body, but we can’t see it yet.
No matter what the unhealthy action and sin we may do, we must not think we “got away with something” if our consequences don’t come immediately. Our consequences may not even come during our time on earth, but we will be judged on whatever we do. Our consequences or rewards will come eventually, in this life or in eternity.
The last part of Galatians 6:7 (KJV) says, “for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” When consequences don’t come immediately, we may forget or not believe that they will come. Yet, again, God doesn’t lie. He tells the truth and is truth. Even if we forget about them, the consequences are coming.
It may also be that the consequences are put to us in worldly terms, but the consequences are according to God’s law and not worldly law. For example, we may “steal something” and not get caught. So, we won’t go to jail and “pay” for the crime. So, we may think that we “got away with something”. However, that is worldly law. God still knows that we stole something and He will still give us His consequences.
If we do good things and follow God’s Word, we will reap the rewards He promises. On the other hand, if we sin and don’t heed God’s Word, we will reap the consequences He promises as well. Even if we don’t see the rewards or consequences in this life, we can be sure that we will see them in eternity. As it says in the beginning of the verse, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked.”
Thank you for your Word. Thank you for the truth and direction you give us. Help us to heed your words and to remember that consequences and rewards are coming according to your Word, even if they don’t come in the time we may expect. We ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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Reflective questions for Galatians 6:7 (KJV):
*What does Galatians 6:7 mean to me?
*About what does Galatians 6:7 make me think?
*How can I relate Galatians 6:7 to a situation in today’s world?
*What do I need to do to better heed the words in Galatians 6:7?
Now, it is your turn.
I am so glad that you are here. I appreciate your kindness and support. I feel blessed to write the Faith Blog. I feel God has called me to do so. I pray before I write and trust God to give me the words and message that He wants written. I pray you are blessed by it also.
If you are finding value in the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations, please feel free to share it with your family and friends. Also, if you haven't done so, please consider signing up below to receive the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations and other faith content in your inbox.
I look forward to your thoughtful comments. Please, feel free to comment below or to contact me.
“Prepare thy work without, and make it fit for thyself in the field; and afterwards build thine house.”
Proverbs 24:27 (KJV)
How are you? Are you a planner? Some people like to plan and some people do not. However, we are often called to plan. Let’s look at Proverbs 24:27 for an example. It seems to be instruction on literally making a house, which it could possibly be. Yet, I believe it is good advice for many situations.
The first part of Proverbs 24:27 (KJV) says, “Prepare thy work without”. In a physical sense, like in building a house, you have to do some of the preparations before you can even bring the materials to the home site. You have to cut the trees, mill the lumber, make the floor plans, and things like that before you can even think about starting to actually build a house. (We may not cut down our own trees and mill our own wood any more, but it still fits.)
We can look at it in a spiritual and emotional way as well. We often have dreams and ideas that we find desirable. Sometimes, though, we leap before we look. Before we get all excited to the point of really, really wanting something, it is good to do some thinking and some research. Once we internalize things and feel passionate about it, we often do not want to turn back or listen to reason. We just want it.
If we look at the second part of Proverbs 24:27 (KJV), it says, “and make it fit for thyself in the field…”. In our house building experience, that is in keeping with milling, cutting, and planing the lumber before you bring it to the house site.
There are reasons not to bring it to the house site first. There are practical reasons, such as it belongs at the mill or you don’t want to spend extra gas money bringing to the house and then taking it to the lumber mill. You may also not want the lumber under foot while you are digging and pouring the foundation.
The same considerations can be made in our spiritual and emotional examples. For example, we want to keep things in their place. We want to keep work things at work and home things at home and not let stress build up between them. We can also think about what fits for our life and our situation at the moment. Just because someone else does it one way, doesn’t mean that it is the way we need to go. Our “fit” might not be the same as someone else’s “fit”. This is the same for physical fit, emotional fit, financial fit, spiritual fit, social fit, time fit, talent fit, and other kinds of “fit”. So, before we take on things we may really want to do or are asked to do by others, we need to consider our “fit” for it.
Now, let’s look at the third part of Proverbs 24:27 (KJV). It says, “…and afterwards build thine house.” Does this sound a little like, “don’t put the cart before the horse”? Or, maybe it sounds like, “There is a time and place for everything.” All these verses are not only good advice, but biblically based, which is what we want in our life.
Whether we are building a house or reading God’s Word, or anything in between, we can heed the words in Proverbs 24:27. We talked about the building of the house and that we need to research what it entails, make the plans, draft the floor plan, and get the supplies ready, before we even start to build the house. It is the same with reading God’s Word. We need to sit quietly, prepare our hearts, make sure we have time to read, and then read, study, and pray God’s Word. It is then, that we are ready to internalize it and accept God’s gift of making it a reality in our life.
Maybe that last part is the point when we ask God for something that seems good, but we don’t seem to get it. We may “WANT” something, but God may know that we are not ready to accept His gift of it. We may need to “prepare our work without and make it fit for ourselves in the field” first.
Before I close, I want to consider another way we can think of these words. We know that our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. So, let’s consider that as “our house”. Wholesome food is grown in the garden and not in a laboratory. We prepare a field for gardening and make sure the soil is fertile. We plant the seeds and work the gardens. We also harvest the food and wash it, before we end up eating it so it can nourish us. We can’t eat it before we do all the other things and we shouldn’t eat it, if it isn’t from God, like the wholesome foods from a garden. After all, the verse doesn’t say, “prepare it in a laboratory”.
I don’t know. It might be a reach to look at it in this way. However, I pray before I write and God brought the thought to my mind. I think it can fit. Does it “fit” for you?
Thank you for being our Heavenly Father and for loving us the way you do. Thank you for giving us guidance in the way we should live. Help us to take time to plan things out, research, and set a firm foundation, before we internalize it and go forward with our plans. You know what is a “fit” for us and when, but help us to lean on you and to follow YOUR plan instead of our own in your timing. Help us to ready ourselves to receive and accept your gifts, instead of just getting impatient if we don’t get what we want right away. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Reflective questions for Proverbs 24:27 (KJV):
*What does Proverbs 24:27 mean to me?
*What does “prepare thy work without” mean to me?
*What does “and make it fit for thyself in the field” mean to me?
*What is God trying to teach me with Proverbs 24:27?
*How can I better live my life to heed the words in Proverbs 24:27?
Now, it is your turn.
I am so thankful you are here. I pray that you find value in the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations. I value your thoughts. Please, feel free to leave a comment and let me know your thoughts. If you do find value in the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations, please share it with friends, family, and church family members. Let us all strengthen each other in God's Word.
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“Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord:
this shall not be unto thee.”
Matthew 16:22 (KJV)
How are you? Let’s look at Matthew 16:22 today. This verse kind of baffles me in many ways. Jesus had already asked Peter who he says that Jesus is earlier in the chapter (Matthew 16:15) and Peter answers correctly in Matthew 16:16 as we can see: “And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
The part that baffles me is, if Peter knows who Jesus is at this point, why would he be so bold as to rebuke him and to his face no less? I am not trying to be self-righteous or anything, but I don’t know if I could do it so boldly like that, if at all. Could you?
In the second part of Matthew 16:22, Peter says, “Be it far from thee, Lord.” I wonder if Peter was trying to be kind and saying, “I hope it isn’t so. I hope they won’t kill you.” Looking at just the middle part of Matthew 16:22, it kind of sounds like Peter is trying to be kind. However, this is why we need to put each word, phrase, and verse into perspective. We need to look at the whole and not just a verse, phrase, or word out of context.
In the last part of Matthew 16:22, Peter flat out tells Jesus, “this shall not be unto thee”. I wonder why Peter thought that he knew better than Jesus in that matter. Peter is human and can’t tell what is going to happen in the future and certainly not better than Jesus. Did Peter think that he could stop it or that Jesus would stop it somehow? What do you think Peter was thinking when he spoke the words written in Matthew 16:22?
It may sound that I am trying to judge Peter or trying to be self-righteous. That is not my intention. I believe it is important to not only read the Bible, but to also ponder and reflect upon the words and meaning. We can learn quite a bit by the actions of those depicted in the Bible. We can read about what they said and did, then ponder and pray about why or how they did it and what God is telling us through their experience.
Another reason that I am not trying to be self-righteous or judge Peter is that I know he is human and humans make mistakes. I also know that I am human and make mistakes. Plus, I know that it is not my place to judge Peter.
The real question for us is, “How do we ‘rebuke’ Jesus with our words or actions?” We may not think of it in that way, but I am guessing at times, we do “rebuke” Jesus through actions or words. Through our actions and words, there are many ways we tell Jesus, “No, it isn’t true. We know better. Our way is better than your way. I want to do it my way and not your way.”
Maybe the verses that baffles us the most are the ones about which we need to pray the most. It could be that God uses our emotions and thoughts to point us in the direction we need to look to reflect on our own words and actions. What do you think?
Thank you for your infinite wisdom and love. Thank you for sending your Son, Jesus, to save us and to be the ultimate roll model in how we should live. Help us to be not only mindful and respectful of that, but to also praise you and honor Jesus’ words instead of to try to do things our own way. Help us to follow Jesus and not contradict his words and your will for us. Help us to learn the message you are giving us. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Reflective questions for Matthew 16:22 (KJV):
*What does Matthew 16:22 mean to me?
*What does “rebuke” mean to me?
*What made Peter think that he could rebuke Jesus?
*What did Peter mean by his words spoken to Jesus in Matthew 16:22?
*Could I have rebuked Jesus to his face like that?
*What actions or words of mine can be considered as rebuking Jesus?
*What is God telling or showing me in this verse?
*How can I better adhere to the message in this verse?
Now, it is your turn.
I am thankful that you are here. I pray that you are blessed by the Faith Blog. I want to say that I have been blessed to be called to write it. There is quite a bit to take in with today's post. I pray that you ponder it and pray about it. I look forward to your comments, ideas, and feedback. Please, comment below or feel free to contact me. Your ideas are important and they allow us all to learn from each other.
If you find value in the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations, please consider sharing it so others can find value in it as well. You may have friends, family, and church members who may be interested in the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations. It is also a great stepping stone in starting to read the Bible. I do encourage you to read the Bible for yourself and not just take the word of others about what it says.
Also, if you haven't already done so, I encourage you to consider signing up below to receive the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations and other faith content in your inbox. Then, you don't have to remember to look back each week to read the new post. Not only that, but you get a free gift for doing it to help you delve deeper into God's Word. God bless.
“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Matthew 5:10 (KJV)
How are you today? I hope you have been enjoying The Beatitudes Series by DUO Inspirations. I look at the Beatitudes as words of encouragement and love spoken by Jesus himself.
There is some disagreement as to the number of beatitudes. Some people believe that there are eight beatitudes and some feel that there are nine beatitudes. There are also some who believe that the Beatitudes end at Matthew 5:10 and others who believe that the Beatitudes end with Matthew 5:12.
This may cause some confusion in your mind. However, before it does, remember the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 14:33 (KJV), “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.” Instead of feeling confused, pray for understanding. Focus on the message of Jesus, not the terminology of people.
So, let’s look at Matthew 5:10. The first part of the verse says, “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake…”. Persecution can take many forms. It can come in many forms such as in gossip, chiding, outcast, ridicule, put downs, harassment, discrimination, abuse, neglect, or death.
Everyone has probably experienced persecution in one form or another at some point in his or her life. I have experienced a number of these forms of persecution. You probably have as well.
So, if you are persecuted, is it always for righteousness’ sake? No. I wouldn’t say so. People are gossiped against, chided, discriminated against, abused, and put to death for bad ways as well. For example, just as in the Bible, criminals of today get put to death as well as followers of Jesus.
Jesus wouldn’t have specified “for righteousness’ sake” if people were only persecuted “for righteousness’ sake”. People are persecuted for things doing bad things as well, such as following worldly ways, evilness, and criminal behavior.
As with the other beatitudes, the encouragement comes in the second part of the verse, “for theirs will be the kingdom of heaven”. I find it interesting that this beatitude has the same encouragement as the first beatitude and the others are different. What about you?
For those of you who have read “The Beatitudes Series – Part 1”, you may remember that I wasn’t sure about the meaning of “for theirs will be the kingdom of heaven”. I guess I am still not completely sure. However, with more studying and more prayer, I believe that I do have a better understanding.
As Christians who follow Jesus and do God’s will, we are called “brothers” or “sisters” to Jesus (such as in Matthew 12:50). Matthew 12:50 (KJV) says, “For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.” We are also called co-heirs (or joint-heirs) with Christ (as in Romans 8:17). Romans 8:17 (KJV) says, “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” Therefore, since the kingdom of heaven is God’s and Jesus will reign, we will be a part of it, instead of being cast out and left in Satan’s kingdom. We will be close to God and part of His family, not part of Satan’s group.
So, it sounds to me that Jesus is saying in Matthew 5:10, that we are not to be discouraged if we are mistreated for the sake of standing up for what is right and following God’s will for us, because no matter how badly we are treated by the world, we will be loved and rewarded with being part of His family now and forever. This sounds like wonderful consolation and encouragement for withstanding some persecution in the spec of lifespan we may have on earth. What do you think?
Thank you for the encouragement found in all the beatitudes and in Matthew 5:10 specifically. Thank you for giving us something to remember and to look forward to when we are persecuted for doing your will. Help us to persevere during all hardship we receive as a result of doing your will and not to give in to the evil that surrounds us during these difficult times. Help us to keep our eyes on you and be encouraged with our reward. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Reflective questions for Matthew 5:10 (KJV):
*What does Matthew 5:10 mean to me?
*What does it mean to be persecuted?
*What does it mean to be persecuted for righteousness’ sake?
*Have I ever been persecuted?
*Have I ever been persecuted for righteousness’ sake?
*How did it feel to be persecuted, especially for righteousness’ sake?
*What does “for theirs is the kingdom of heaven,” mean?
*How can I better live according to the words in Matthew 5:10?
If you haven't already read the other posts in The Beatitudes Series by DUO Inspirations, you may want to read them now.
*The Beatitudes Series by DUO Inspirations - Part 1
*The Beatitudes Series by DUO Inspirations - Part 2
*The Beatitudes Series by DUO Inspirations - Part 3
*The Beatitudes Series by DUO Inspirations - Part 4
*The Beatitudes Series by DUO Inspirations - Part 5
*The Beatitudes Series by DUO Inspirations - Part 6
*The Beatitudes Series by DUO Inspirations - Part 7
Now, it is your turn.
Thank you for being here. I appreciate it. I care about you and look forward to knowing your thoughts and feelings about Matthew 5:10, The Beatitudes Series by DUO Inspirations, the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations, or any faith topic. Please, feel free to comment below or to contact me.
It is my hope, through the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations, to help spread God's Word and to encourage others to read the Bible for themselves, as well as to offer food for thought and better understanding of scriptures. If you find value in the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations, please share with your friends, family, and church group, so they can find value as well. Let's spread God's Word together. Thank you. (And, if we are persecuted, we will be in good company for Jesus was persecuted as well.)
And, if you haven't done so already, please consider signing up below to receive the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations and other faith content in your inbox.
“Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.”
Matthew 5:7 (KJV)
How are you today? I have always enjoyed the Beatitudes and pray that you are enjoying reading and pondering The Beatitudes Series by DUO Inspirations. In many of the verses of the Bible, we are told if we do this, this will happen. The Beatitudes are no different. As we can see, in this beatitude, if we are merciful to others, we will get mercy. This verse reminds me of Matthew 6:12, where in the Lord’s prayer, we are told that God forgives us as we forgive others.
So, what do we need to do to be merciful? What does merciful mean? I do believe that forgiving others is a way to be merciful. Yet, I don’t believe it is the only way to be merciful. I think being merciful encompasses many things. What do you think?
I think to be merciful means to be kind to others, to help out when you can, to lighten their load. I also think it means to be sympathetic and empathetic to their feelings and experiences. Being merciful is showing the type of kindness, caring, love, and understanding that we would want others to show, especially if we were struggling and in need.
When we think about mercy, we can imagine a person struggling to carry a heavy load. The person may be tired, weak, depressed, down, frustrated, sad, overwhelmed, afraid, or any number of things. The load could be a physical load, such as large bags of groceries or difficult manual labor. The load could be children or others who are not cooperating. The load could be an illness or sorrow, a loss of a loved one or an estrangement of some kind. The load could be disbelief and a spiritual void. The load could be anger or division of some sort. The load could be sin. The load could be homelessness or financial worry. It doesn’t matter the load.
The question is… do we help and try to lighten the load in some way? Do we help, give, encourage, heal, forgive, or show any act of kindness, love, or understanding? Or, do we walk away or add to the stress and burden in some way?
This situation can be likened, in a way, to the saying, “What goes around comes around.” Yet, in a way, it is different. Although, we can say that if we show mercy to others, God will show mercy to us, unlike the saying, God gives us soooooo much more than we could ever give another. So, in this situation we can say the saying is, “What goes around comes around infinitely better and more than we could ever imagine.”
In other words, if we are merciful to others, God will be more merciful to us than we can even imagine. That brings us back to the fact that we are talking about the beatitudes. That is to say, that we will be blessed (happy beyond belief) if we are merciful to others, because if we are merciful, God will be infinitely more merciful and better merciful than we could ever imagine.
Thank you for your infinite love, kindness, and understanding. Thank you for your holy Word and for the instruction you give to lead us to true happiness with you. Help us to be merciful to others, Oh Lord. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Reflective questions for Matthew 5:7 (KJV):
*What does Matthew 5:7 mean to me?
*What does merciful mean to me?
*Am I merciful?
*How am I merciful?
*What can I do to better live according to the words in Matthew 5:7?
Note: If you haven't already, you may want to read the other posts in the series:
*The Beatitudes Series - Part 1
*The Beatitudes Series - Part 2
*The Beatitudes Series - Part 3
*The Beatitudes Series - Part 4
Now, it is your turn.
I am so thankful that you are here. I hope you are enjoying The Beatitudes Series by DUO Inspirations. I would be interested in your thoughts and feedback. What are your thoughts? Please, feel free to comment below or contact me. Also, if you haven't already, please consider signing up below to get the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations and other faith content in your inbox. If you are finding value in the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations, please share it with friends and family. Thank you.
“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.”
Matthew 5:6 (KJV)
How are you today? Have you ever been hungry or thirsty? I think we all have felt the feelings to some extent at one time or another. Thankfully, (or unthankfully) many of us have never been in dire straits enough to know the feelings of a desperate hunger or thirst.
In the past few posts, I have been pondering the meaning and words of the Beatitudes. Like the others, this beatitude speaks to us about how God wants us to live. More than that, it speaks to us about how to be happy and fulfill God’s will for us.
Let’s look at the first part of Matthew 5:6. It says, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness.” The words hunger and thirst are more than just a “normal” desire for food or drink. It is more of a craving. Do you get cravings?
I get cravings and sadly, they aren’t always for good things. Like, I get cravings for too many sweets or salty foods. They sure are yummy, but not necessarily good for me. I get good cravings too. I want to do God’s will and to live the life God has for me. I want to help others. I want to encourage others. I want to share my faith and encourage others in their faith. I want to teach and learn. These things I crave as well. Think of what crave means. When I crave a certain food, I can eat this or that to try to get my mind off it. I can feel “full” with eating these other things, but somehow, I still don’t feel satisfied. It isn’t until I either give into the desire or stand up to it (through prayer and the desire to do the right thing under no uncertain terms), that the craving feeling goes away.
Sometimes, we feel like we aren’t accomplishing or getting the desires of our heart. We want this or that and they seem like good things, but we still aren’t getting them. In those times, we have to ask ourselves if they are “normal” wants or if they are hungers and thirsts. Like when we are truly starving for food, we will often do just about anything to get food. We will work at jobs we wouldn’t necessarily like or consider under normal circumstances. We will eat food that we don’t necessarily care for just so that we can have something in our stomachs. (I am not talking about stealing or anything illegal, but humbling ourselves to do or accept less than we normally would think to do.)
So, what does being on the brink of starvation have to do with hungering and thirsting for righteousness? Just like when are stomachs are empty and we hunger for food or thirst for drink, when we hunger and thirst for righteousness we our hearts and minds are empty except for the desire to do God’s will for us. Any worldly desires, manipulations, or feelings we may have had in the past are out of our mind and out of our heart. We don’t have any self-serving thoughts or desires and no alternative motives at all. Instead, we only desire what is right. We desire God’s will for us and for the kingdom of God.
Now, we can look at the second part of Matthew 5:6, “…for they shall be filled.” If we empty ourselves from the worldly cares and only seek God’s will for us, then we will feel satisfied. It won’t be just a worldly feeling of being satisfied, but a heavenly feeling as well. Just as all the other Beatitudes lead to not just a “regular” feeling of happiness, but a “heavenly” feeling as well. It goes past emotional thoughts and feelings, but spiritual as well. A spiritual “fullness” isn’t just a feeling of being “full”, but also of being truly satisfied as well.
Thank you for the Beatitudes. Thank you for showing us the way to true happiness, which is a closeness with you in your kingdom. Help us to hunger and thirst for You and your ways. Help us to pray for others to hunger and thirst for you so that your kingdom grows and others may find a closeness to You as well. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Reflective questions for Matthew 5:6 (KJV):
*What does Matthew 5:6 mean to me?
*Have I ever hungered or thirsted? What did it feel like?
*Have I ever craved anything?
*Have I ever felt “full” without feeling satisfied?
*Have I ever felt like I was hoping for good things, but they never seemed to
come? Did I look to see if my desires were pure or if I had any alternative
*How can I better live the words in Matthew 5:6?
If you haven't read the other parts of The Beatitudes Series by DUO Inspirations, you may want to read them here:
*The Beatitudes Series by DUO Inspirations - Part 1
*The Beatitudes Series by DUO Inspirations - Part 2
*The Beatitudes Series by DUO Inspirations - Part 3
Now, it is your turn.
I am thankful you are here. I hope you are enjoying The Beatitudes Series by DUO Inspirations. What are your thoughts? Is there anything that you have learned or thought about since reading the series? Please, feel free to comment below so we can all learn from you or contact me. Thank you.
If you are finding value in the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations, please share it with friends, family, and neighbors, so they can find value in it as well. Also, if you haven't already, please consider signing up to receive the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations and other faith content in your inbox. Thank you. God bless.
“Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.”
Matthew 5:5 (KJV)
How are you today? As I looked at The Beatitudes and prepared for today’s blog post, I noticed that this is the only beatitude (at least in the Sermon on the Mount) where Jesus says, “shall inherit the earth”.
Most of the Bible verses that I remember say, “shall inherit the kingdom of heaven”, so I am wondering if this is significant. There are different thoughts on what that means and to tell you the truth, I am not sure of it’s meaning. Yet, with prayer and God’s help, I will write this post and prayerfully bring meaning to us all.
First, let’s look at the first part. Many times, we think of “meek” as shy, timid people, who let people walk all over them. However, in keeping with the rest of the beatitudes, meek has to do with our spiritual wellbeing and way to eternal life. It has nothing to do with how we are to people. It is a submission to God, not a submission to others. Although, when we submit to God, often that means we are also submitting to others indirectly.
For example, when we turn the other cheek, we do so because God has called us to do so. God wants to fight our battles for us. He wants the vengeance. He doesn’t want us to take things into our own hands. It shows strength and not weakness to not fight back when we are hurt, angered, or criticized. We are submitting to God, by not fighting back. But in worldly views, it looks like we are submitting to people as well.
Now, with an understanding of who is meant by the word meek, we can look at the second part. It is only these people who submit to God that “shall inherit the earth”. So, what does that mean?
Well, we know that inherit means to get or receive something, usually after a loved one has passed away. Like it is passed onto us, when someone is through with it or releases ownership. An inheritance is something that is given and gifted to us, many times through a will or rather the will of the person who passes away.
God gives us many things both here on earth and also in heaven. It is God’s will that we follow Him, submit to Him, and do His will for us. If we do that, we will get His will. We will receive all the good things he has in store for us, not only here on earth, but in heaven as well. Jesus also tells us that He can give us peace; a peace unlike anything the world can give us. (John 16:33) Is this what is meant, by “shall inherit the earth”?
I think, for me, it is best described in Matthew 6:33… “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” In other words, if you seek and do God’s will, you will get the desires of your heart on earth (because they will be aligned with God’s will for us) and we will get what God has planned for us in heaven as well. What do you think?
Thank you for showing us the way to You. Thank you for giving us the Beatitudes so that we know what you want for us. Please, help us to not only live according to your words in Matthew 5:5, but also according to your will for us in everything. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Reflective questions for Matthew 5:5 (KJV):
*What does Matthew 5:5 mean to me?
*What is meant be the word meek?
*What is meant by the word inherit?
*What is meant by “shall inherit the earth”?
*Why does it say “shall inherit the earth” instead of “shall inherit the
kingdom of heaven”?
*What can I do to better live according to the words in Matthew 5:5?
*How can I better live according to the will of God?
Now, it is your turn.
What are your thoughts? I would be interested in hearing your interpretation and thoughts on Matthew 5:5. I always look forward to the thoughts of others. Please, feel free to comment below or contact me. If you find value in the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations, please share it with friends and family, as well as on your social media sites. Also, if you haven't already, you may want to sign up below to receive the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations and other faith content in your inbox.
P.S. - If you haven't already, you may want to go back and read the other posts in The Beatitudes Series by DUO Inspirations:
The Beatitudes Series by DUO Inspirations - Part 1
The Beatitudes Series by DUO Inspirations - Part 2
“Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.”
Matthew 5:4 (KJV)
How are you? I hope you are well. We all have time when we mourn for one reason or another. It may be a loss of a loved one, a pet, a friend, or even loss of something like a job or a home. I have read this verse many times and thought this verse was meant to comfort me during just those times.
I thought that if we as humans like to comfort each other in times such as these, then how God would want to comfort us during these times so much more we could do for each other. Even though, I think that many people use this verse for comfort during such mourning, I am not so sure that is really the mourning meant. However, I do think the words in Matthew 5:4 would be comforting for any type of mourning. What do you think?
I know, you may be wondering why I don’t think that this is meant for those mourning such as in the loss of a loved one. With research, I have found that there is “godly sorrow” and “worldly sorrow” as in 2 Corinthians 7:10. We also see Jesus’ remark to a man who wanted to be a disciple, but wanted to bury his father first in Luke 9:60, when Jesus said, “let the dead bury their dead.” Earthly death is a worldly concern. It is natural for us to feel some sort of sorrow from the loss. In that instance, the potential disciple was torn between a worldly concern and a heavenly concern. Jesus was telling him to seek the heavenly concern instead. If our decision is between an earthly concern and a heavenly concern, we are always called to focus on the heavenly concern. Jesus didn’t try to comfort and console the man from any sorrow or burial obligation to his father. Jesus wanted him to focus on heavenly things right then and there. Why would Jesus talk about mourning physical death, because he knows for those in the kingdom of God, physical death leads to heavenly life? That is a joyous thing.
Again, if we read 2 Corinthians 7:10, we see that it talks about “godly sorrow” as sorrow that leads to repentance. In other words, it isn’t a worldly loss but sin of some sort, like how we feel really bad if we hurt someone or do things against God of which we aren’t proud. We wonder how we could be so unkind and do such a thing to God, to others, and to ourselves. Sometimes, we might feel so bad that we feel down, even be in a funk or depressed. I believe it is this kind of sorrow and mourning that is meant in Matthew 5:4.
Also, if we look in Psalms 31:9-10 (KJV), we see King David has written, “Have mercy upon me, O LORD, for I am in trouble: mine eye is consumed with grief, yea, my soul and my belly. For my life is spent with grief, and my years with sighing: my strength faileth because of mine iniquity, and my bones are consumed.” King David is crying for help and mercy, because of his iniquity. He knows that he is feeling the way he is due to his own sinfulness. And, God will comfort him with through his repentance.
Thank you for the comfort you give. Thank you for The Beatitudes to help us understand the earthly verses the heavenly joys and which are important. Help us to appreciate and focus on the heavenly and not the earthly things. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Reflective questions for Matthew 5:4 (KJV):
*What does Matthew 5:4 mean to me?
*What message is God giving me through Matthew 5:4?
*What kind of mourning do I think is meant in Matthew 5:4?
*How do I feel when I read Matthew 5:4?
*What can I do better to appreciate and live according to Matthew 5:4?
Now, it is your turn.
I am so glad you are here. I hope you are enjoying The Beatitudes Series. If you missed Part 1, you can read it here. I am interested in your thoughts, ideas, prayer requests, suggestions, questions, and more. Please, feel free to comment below or contact me. If you are finding value in the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations, please share it with friends, family, and church members, so they can find value in it as well. Thank you. Also, if you haven't already, please consider signing up below to receive the Faith Blog and other faith content by email. Thank you. God bless.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Matthew 5:3 (KJV)
How are you? I enjoy reading the Beatitudes, which was part of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. (You can read more about the definition of Beatitudes on Wikipedia here.) They are encouraging and inspirational words that gives us the map to true happiness. So, I thought that I would do a series on the Beatitudes. I pray you are blessed by it.
Speaking of blessed, what does it mean to be blessed? Some people use it every day, but do we really know what it means? I have heard the word blessed be defined as another name for happy. I have read somewhere else, that it is more than happy. I guess, I think of it as being more than happy, more like a spiritual happiness instead of a mere emotional happiness.
The first beatitude is found in Matthew 5:3, “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” So, what does that mean? What does poor in spirit mean? I have researched it, thought about it, and prayed about it. I am still not sure if I know what it means for sure. What makes the most sense to me is that people who put believe that without God, they would be nothing. In other words, people who are poor in spirit don’t put their trust and belief in themselves, but in God alone.
Recently, I wrote a post about being self-made or God-made, which also reminds me of this concept. Many people like to say that they are self-made, that they learned things and did things because of their hard work and determination. Worldly people in society believe this is a good thing. Yet, it is when we know that we are reliant on God and can’t do or be without Him, that we gain more than we know.
Many of us have heard the saying, “you are full of yourself.” Again, that would be like the self-made person. That person thinks he or she is great and can do this or that so wonderfully, etc. To me, the poor in spirit would be just the opposite. The poor in spirit would be more like an infant crying for a parent’s help or a child asking questions and asking for help. However, instead of asking each other for help, we rely on God to give us all that we need.
To me, the second half of this statement is a bit more difficult to understand, “for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” I have read where that could mean God’s kingdom on earth. The words “theirs is” get me the most though. That usually means it belongs to you, as in ownership. Yet, it is easier to understand if it is that you are a part of it, not owner of it.
I think we all have our own thoughts and ideas on the kingdom of God. We take what we read and come to our own conclusions.
I guess for me, I can understand Matthew 5:3 if I look at it like, if people think they rely on themselves, they won’t get closer to God. They will rely only on themselves and won’t get closer to God or His kingdom. Yet, if people know they are nothing with out God and reach out to God, trust Him to be their provider and Father, know that He is their creator, then people will be closer and among those in the kingdom of God. Then, if we think about being part of the kingdom of God, we will be blessed beyond measure. We will feel and be happier than we can even imagine. We will enjoy the peace Jesus can give us, the joy of being with our Heavenly Father, and so much more.
Thank you for sending Jesus to us to give us the message of the Beatitudes. You are so loving and merciful; that you want to give us every chance and guidance you can to show us the path to you. I thank you and praise you for that. Help us to be poor in spirit, so that we may gain your kingdom. I ask you that through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Reflective Questions for Matthew 5:3 (KJV):
*What does Matthew 5:3 mean to me?
*What is my definition of blessed?
*What do I think “poor of spirit” means?
*Am I poor of spirit?
*What do I think “for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” means?
*What can I do to better live according to the words in Matthew 5:3?
Now, it is your turn.
I am thankful that you are here and would like to know your thoughts as well. Please, comment below or feel free to contact me. Also, if you have an idea or request for a topic, I would really enjoy knowing that as well. If you find value in the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations, please share it with friends and family. And, if you haven't already, please consider signing up to receive the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations and other faith content by email.
“And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.”
Luke 1:38 KJV
How are you? Other than the verses that directly relate to Jesus, this is one of my favorite Christmas verses. It shows the faith and obedience of Mary, who is a great example for all of us.
I don’t remember where I got the information, however, I remember hearing or reading something about Mary being very young as she was betrothed at this point. I don’t remember the age, this source mentioned, but it seems like it was probably like 10-13 years old. I don’t know her age at this time and maybe it doesn’t matter, but I do believe she was young and I do admire her faith and obedience.
I can’t imagine being told that I was going to have a baby created by the Holy Spirit and not through the normal means. I don’t know if I would be scared, confused, mistrusting, pleased, humbled, or what. I have no idea. What about you?
I really like what Mary said though. First she says, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord.” She acknowledges that she is God’s servant. How often do we acknowledge the fact that we are indeed God’s servants? We are created by God out of love and are meant to serve and give back out of love.
Then, Mary goes further to say, “be it unto me according to thy word”. She knew that she was God’s servant and acknowledged that it what the angel told her would come true. She was open to God’s Word. She accepted God’s Word.
May we all learn from Mary’s words and behavior. May we all acknowledge that we are God’s servants and acknowledge that His will be done.
Thank you for your Word and for role models to teach us to grow our faith and obedience in you. Help us to follow Mary’s example to acknowledge that we are your servants and help us to say that your will be done. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Reflective questions for Luke 1:38 (KJV):
*What does Luke 1:38 mean to me?
*Do I acknowledge that I am God’s servant?
*Do I acknowledge that God’s will be done?
*Do I acknowledge that I was made out of love and should give
out of love?
*How would I feel if I got the message Mary received?
*How can I better act according to Mary’s example?
Now, it is your turn.
I appreciate you being here and reading your comments. What is your favorite Christmas verse? Speaking of Christmas, I wish all of you a Merry Christmas. May God touch your heart with the spirit of the true season.
If you value what I write, please consider sharing it with friends and family. Also, if you haven't already, please consider signing up to receive the Faith Blog in your inbox. Thank you.
“Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:”
Colossians 2:16 (KJV)
How are you today? Last week, I asked you to ponder the words in Jeremiah 10:3-4 and relate them to the tradition of decorating trees for Christmas. This week, I would like to ponder the words in Colossians 2:16. These too, have to do with celebrating.
Taken alone and out of context, Colossians 2:16 can be misinterpreted. It could sound like we can do anything we want to and we shouldn’t let anyone tell us differently. That sounds pretty snobby and self-righteous. Yet, that isn’t quite what Colossians 2:16 means. It doesn’t say that we can have a free for all and do anything we want.
If we take this verse in perspective, it is saying that since we have died to ourselves and have followed Jesus, don’t let anyone judge the things we do. When we are acting in Christian ways, it may seem uncool, silly, strange, or foreign to the world. It might not make sense to others.
What we eat, drink, do, celebrate, observe and how we do it might be different than those of others. Yet, it doesn’t mean we are doing it wrong. If we are following Jesus and doing the will of God, then we don’t have to do things as others do, not even as other Christians.
Unfortunately, people have a tendency to judge others. Although, this is a task better left for God. Sadly, this is true of believers and nonbelievers alike.
Nonbelievers may judge, because they don’t know God and His will for us. They may not know the Bible and what we are called to do. They may judge us out of anger or ignorance. Nonbelievers may try to “groom us” to follow more worldly practices. In my humble opinion, this can be seen in things like businesses being open on Sundays, encouraging people to work and shop on a day that is meant to be set aside for rest and spiritual rejuvenation or political correctness that says it isn’t right for us to say, “Merry Christmas” to others, to pray in school with a moment of silence, or any other number of things that it isn’t politically correct to say or do. (Am I judging here?)
Even other Christians sometimes judge the way we do things. Some Christian religions have different practices than others, and everyone tends to believe that they have the right way and only way to do things.
Yet, just because things are different, doesn’t mean they are wrong. Let’s look at something as simple as eating a peanut. Peanuts are a great source of many nutrients and can be very healthy for you. However, if you are allergic to peanuts, they can be very dangerous. The eating of peanuts are “right” for some and “wrong” for some. We are not to judge others or let people talk us into or out of doing what we believe is right for us.
The same is true in spiritual things. In spiritual things, whatever helps us to stay focused on God and whatever is God’s will for us, is what we should do. That is why we are to look to God for answers and let God be our judge, not people. We are called not to cave under peer pressure and not to let people sway us from our beliefs. If we think someone brings up a “good point” about what we are doing and we find ourselves questioning our actions, we are called to look to God through prayer, fasting, and reading the Bible for answers.
Thank you for giving us your Word, as words to live by. Help us to hold strong in our faith and beliefs as we follow Jesus. Help us to not be turned away or conflicted in our beliefs by worldly practices and judgment of others. Help us to focus only on you, Lord, in the things that we do. If we are uncertain in what we do, think, feel, or say, help us to turn to you through prayer, fasting, and reading your Word. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Reflective questions for Colossians 2:16 (KJV):
*What does Colossians 2:16 mean to me?
*What are some things where people tend to judge me, but I am doing right
*Do I judge others?
*What are some things that are right for some people but wrong for others?
*What were some of things for which Jesus and his apostles were judged?
*Do I cave in or let others sway the way I believe, act, think, speak, or
*How can I better heed the words in Colossians 2:16?
Now, it is your turn.
I look forward to hearing your views. Please, leave a comment below or feel free to contact me. Thank you for being here. I appreciate your support. If you find value in the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations, please share it with a friend, family member, or even your church family. I appreciate it.
Also, if you haven't already, please consider signing up to get the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations and other faith content in your inbox. Just check the "faith" box (and any other interest) as you sign up. Thank you.
Note: I will also be changing the site for DUO Inspirations a bit soon. Please, feel free to check it out in order to get the before and after feel.
“For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.”
Jeremiah 10:3-4 (KJV)
How are you today? I hope you are well. My topic for today’s Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations may not be a popular one. However, I think we are all called to evaluate ourselves, our actions, as well as the traditions we follow. I was researching verses for today’s post and I came across Jeremiah 10:3-4. It kind of surprised me. I have read the Holy Bible quite a few times and I hadn’t remembered this passage. Could it be that I didn’t remember it, because I didn’t want to remember it or maybe because I wasn’t ready to evaluate myself next to the words in this passage? I don’t know.
The words in Jeremiah 10:3-4, sound much like what we do in decorating Christmas trees. So, do we need to look at this tradition and evaluate whether or not we are really called to do it? Regardless of what we decide in the end, I do think it is a good idea to weigh what we do against God’s Word. Are we following and living in accordance to God’s Word?
The phrase that hits home for me in this whole passage is “For the customs of the people are vain.” Regardless, of whether we believe we are supposed to set up a Christmas tree as part of our celebration or not, I think if we are honest with ourselves, we will realize that it is a vain tradition.
I mean, chopping down a tree purchasing one, whether fake or real, costs quite a bit of money. There is also the extra expense of decorating it, not to mention the extra high electric bill in having the lights on the tree. Do we really need to spend that money? Do all those (real) trees really need to die, just so we can enjoy them lit up and decorated for a month or so? The answer to both questions is probably, “no.” We probably do not need to spend that extra money and live trees probably do not need to die for such a tradition.
So, why do we put up a tree? It is tradition! And, this is what I pray we can all evaluate. Are our traditions good in the sight of God?
Full disclosure, if you read on in Jeremiah 10 and put this passage in perspective, it probably does not have anything to do with Christmas trees. It is more about making idols out of trees to worship, which is definitely bad in God’s eyes. Yet, this still doesn’t answer the question about our custom of decorating Christmas trees.
It touches my heart to bring this up, because we are called to be “in this world, but not of this world.” (See John 15:19 for example.) The world likes to “suck us in” to worldly traditions and beliefs. Yet, we are not of the world. We are called to act in accordance with God’s will for us. I do believe that celebration of Christmas (not just the decoration of trees) is very commercialized. In the commercialized world, the focus is definitely not on the birth of our savior.
However, I can’t say whether decorating a tree, as part of a Christmas celebration is right or wrong. I don’t see anywhere in God’s Word, where we are called to decorate a tree. Yet, the right or the wrong of it might be for each one of us to decide. I urge you, and I will as well, to pray about it and really examine whether or not it is right for you. Don’t just blindly follow along with everyone else, because it is tradition.
Thank you for giving us your Holy Word to show us the way to live. Help us to examine ourselves in accordance to you Word, and let us not be afraid to change, even if it is against our worldly traditions. Help us to pray before we act and let you guide us, instead of doing things our own way. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Reflective questions for Jeremiah 10:3-4 (KJV):
*What does Jeremiah 10:3-4 mean to me?
*Is Jeremiah 10:3-4 talking about Christmas trees?
*Do I believe that decorating a tree for Christmas is vain?
*Do I believe we are called to decorate a tree for any reason?
*Do I let decorating a tree take the focus off of Jesus in anyway?
*Have I prayed about the rightness or wrongness of decorating a tree?
*Why do I decorate a tree?
Now, it is your turn.
I am thankful you are here. I look forward to your comments and ideas. Please, let me know your thoughts by commenting below or feel free to contact me. Also, please pray for our Christmas ethics and practices. Let us put our focus on Jesus.
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“For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.”
Psalms 100:5 (KJV)
How are you today? I hope you are well. Today, I offer the last of the Psalms 100 Series. I pray you are enjoying it and being blessed by it. In today’s Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations, we look at Psalms 100:5.
In Psalms 100:1, we are told that Psalm 100 is a psalm of praise. I also mentioned that it is a joyful psalm to me. It is that joy which makes me happy to praise God. In Psalms 100:5, we are told other reasons why God is deserving of our praise.
There are three phrases or parts to Psalms 100:5. The first and second are pretty easy for us to understand as believers. We know of God’s goodness and mercy. Many of us have experienced both many, many times.
It is the third phrase or part where I think we find division. It is difficult for many people to believe that “his truth endureth to all generations.” I have heard where some people feel that there are parts of God’s Word that are outdated and no longer apply to their lives. Yet, in the last part of Psalms 100:5, we are told otherwise.
One might say, “Well, we are no longer required to sacrifice animals, so that is outdated.” The actual sacrificing animals may not apply to us today, but that isn’t because it is outdated. It is because Jesus died on the cross for us. He was the living sacrifice once and for all. This doesn’t mean that we may not be required to show some sort of sacrifice, to repent, to take some sort of responsibility, or to make some sort of amends. It doesn’t mean that we are not called to show our thanks and appreciation. These are some of the reasons behind the animal sacrifices. The actions and feelings behind the animal sacrifices are still very much appropriate for today’s believers.
Someone might ask, “But what about how the wife should be submissive to her husband? That is outdated. Nobody does that any more. Women are considered equal now a days. There are laws. It isn’t politically correct to think otherwise.”
First of all, it isn’t outdated to God. He still calls wives to be submissive to their husbands. Secondly, there are still women who are submissive to their husbands. It isn’t outdated for them either. Thirdly, just because worldly laws or trends and political correctness seem to wander from God’s truth, it doesn’t render God’s Word outdated or make it less of a truth today than it was when it was written. We are called to follow God’s Word whether it is outdated in worldly view or not, because it isn’t outdated in God’s eyes.
That is the real point. God’s Word endures forever. God’s Word is truth for people in all times. It doesn’t change and isn’t outdated. We are called to thank Him and praise Him, and follow the truth of His Word always, no matter what the worldly views of our times may be.
Thank you for being our Heavenly Father. Thank you for your holy word. Help us to remember and live the words of Psalm 100 and all of scriptures. Help us to remember that your words are truth to us for all times and don’t get outdated. Help us to live by your words and praise you always, for you are good and deserve it always. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Reflective questions for Psalms 100:5 (KJV):
*What does Psalms 100:5 mean to me?
*Do I believe in God’s goodness?
*Do I believe in God’s mercy?
*Do I believe that God’s Word never gets outdated?
*Are there any parts of my life where stray from God’s word, because of
*Is there anything I need to change in order to get back on track for God’s
will for me?
*Is there anything I can do to better live out the truth in Psalms 100:5?
Now, it is your turn.
If you haven't already, you may want to read the other posts in the Psalms 100 Series:
I am so thankful that you are here. I pray it blesses you in some way. I look forward to your thoughts and words. I hope you will share them here in the comments or contact me to share them there.
If there is anything I can do for you or if you have any prayer requests, ideas, or suggestions, I look forward to you contacting me.
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This is Jodi. I am so glad you are here! I am a Christian and life-long learner. I enjoy sharing and encouraging others. I pray you are blessed by this blog. Thank you for being here.