“The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.”
Proverbs 13:4 (KJV)
How are you? I hope you had a blessed week. I have been writing on the topic of “thankfulness”. This may not be directly related to thankfulness. However, I can make a connection by saying that most people who are thankful for opportunities, work to use those opportunities to the fullest. Make sense? LOL. I hope so.
Now, let’s look at Proverbs 13:4. It is a verse of comparing and contrasting those who work hard and those who are lazy. It is implied that both the sluggard and the diligent have dreams and wishes about their life. They both may have a wish list of things they want. They both may want things like a high sum of money, a good job, a nice house, a new car, and a dream lifestyle. They may both want great relationships with God, friends, and family members. I think we all have hopes, dreams, and desires at times. However, the difference comes in the amount of work that one is willing to put in to get the things they want.
The first part of Proverbs 13:4 (KJV) says, “The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing:”. This makes sense. Those who are not willing to do anything won’t end up with much as a result.
I know what you are thinking. Okay, maybe I don’t. But… you might be thinking that there are some people who are born into money and seem to get anything they want without lifting a finger. How does this verse fit into their life? Well, you might have a different thought, but I am thinking that even though they may not lift a finger for what they get, their heart may not be happy and satisfied with what they are getting. They may want to be out there making a difference. They may want to be out of the “castle”, so to speak, and to live like “the rest of the world”. We don’t know their heart’s desires. So, it is wrong to assume that they are getting what they desire, just because they are wealthy in monetary value and seem to be spoiled.
So, does sluggard mean someone who does nothing at all? I don’t think this is necessarily true. I think sluggard could also means someone who does the least amount possible or those who try to find the easy way out. I think a sluggard might be someone who works hard for maybe a few days or weeks and expects to have as much as someone who has worked a lifetime. A sluggard might be someone who isn’t focused and who jumps from one thing to another to another and doesn’t work on one desire for very long. It is someone who ends up spinning their wheels and digging a rut, because of the lack of focus and diligence on one goal. I also think that we need to really look sometimes, because it might feel like we are being diligent, but we are really being more of a sluggard.
In contrast, the last part of Proverbs 13:4 (KJV) states, “but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat”. To put this in simple terms, it means that those who work hard will reap a big reward for their efforts. This makes sense as well. Often times, people will give up before reaching their goal or chooses another goal thinking that their goal isn’t quite right. Yet, a diligent person will work at it and stick with something until achievement. Sometimes, a goal and its path need to be adjusted. However, a diligent person will know that and be willing to do that as well. I think a diligent person also makes allowances for various contingencies in order to get to the end goal.
A diligent person might also be considered as someone who has “all their bases covered” so to speak. They especially know that prayer and a relationship with God is their best resource in choosing and working towards a goal. If we have goals that align with God’s will for us, we will be more apt to be able to achieve what we want as well. Being diligent might be a “mindset” as well as actual work. A diligent person might work “smart” as well as hard. He or she might utilize all the given resources and opportunities, including things like prayer, faith, courage, and obedience, as well as the actual physical work.
Another thing to remember is that a diligent person keeps working even when he or she doesn’t see success. God might be showing them that they are really working for a more heavenly goal than the one they think they want. Just because a person may not be in a season of monetary wealth and may not feel successful, or may even be in a time of trials, doesn’t mean that he or she should give up. A diligent person will pray for guidance and keep on going in the direction God calls him or her to go.
I have one last thought about Proverbs 13:4 and it’s message. I think that we can’t judge a book by its cover. We can’t necessarily look at someone and tell whether they are a sluggard or a diligent person. Remember the story of Mary and Martha. Martha was in the kitchen doing things and preparing things. She thought that Mary was being lazy in not helping her. However, Mary was doing something. She was listening, learning, and following Jesus. (Luke 10:38-42)
Thank you for being our Provider, our Heavenly Father, and our Creator. Thank you for giving us a road map to follow and being our Guiding Light down the path of life. Help us to be the diligent person in life, instead of the sluggard. Help us to know that diligence isn’t just an act, but also a mindset. Help us to do our due diligence in heeding your Word and your will for us. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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Reflective questions for Proverbs 13:4 (KJV):
*What does Proverbs 13:4 mean to me?
*Am I a sluggard or a diligent person?
*Do I seem to achieve my goals and get the desires of my heart?
*Do I agree that diligence is a mindset as well as the act of working?
*What other verse or verses remind me of Proverbs 13:4?
*How can I better heed the words in Proverbs 13:4?
If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy ponderings on:
*2 Corinthians 13:5
Now, it is your turn:
I am so thankful that you are here. In a post like this, please know that I am not judging. I offer these posts so we all can self-reflect on our own actions or inaction, pray, and ask for guidance from our loving Lord. I pray that God speaks to you and blesses you through this time of pondering and self-reflection.
If you feel called to do so, please feel free to leave a comment or contact me. I am always looking for what you might want to ponder next. I enjoy digging deeper into God's Word. I hope you enjoy it with me.
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“When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.”
John 6:12 (KJV)
How are you? I have been writing posts on the topic of thanksgiving during the month of November. At first glance, John 6:12 might not seem like a topic of thanksgiving. There is no word that resembles “thanks”, “thankfulness”, “thank you”, “thankful”, “giving thanks”, or “thanksgiving” in the verse. Yet, to me, it fits in so many ways.
Let’s refresh our memory about what happened before this verse. Jesus just fed about or over five thousand people starting with five barley loaves and two small fish. (John 6:9-10) Now, we are hearing that there are leftovers.
Before we dive into meaning and thoughts about John 6:12, let’s think about our food practices for a moment. How often do we forget that we have something in the fridge and it gets pushed aside just to spoil? How often do we have leftovers and not want to eat them, so we just throw them away?
I don’t know about you, but Thanksgiving Day is a prime time to have leftovers. And, once we look into it and ponder it awhile, I think we will see that John 6:12 has more to do with thanksgiving than leftovers.
So, what can we learn from the words in John 6:12? Well, from the first part of the verse we can see that the people were filled. It wasn’t just a snack or a crumb that Jesus gave the people to “hold them over” until they could eat again. They were filled!
I have to wonder just how thankful everyone in the crowd was that Jesus gave them such a gift. I mean, not only did Jesus perform a miracle right in front of them, but also they got to eat of its bounty. It must have been an awesome experience!
From the words in John 6:12, we can also tell how Jesus feels about wasting food. The Bible has a number of verses about not wasting things, so I am guessing that waste of any sort is not anything that Jesus likes. We can learn from this verse, that it isn’t good to be wasteful.
Also, I think being wasteful is not a way to show thankfulness. Remember, Jesus gave thanks for the barley loaves and fish before they were multiplied. Did people give thanks after they were received? Would they have thrown away the leftovers if Jesus hadn’t told his disciples to go pick up them up? What do you do with your leftovers?
I can’t help but think that maybe this verse is about more than food. I think we can look at it and also ponder how we look at everything God gives us. Are we wasteful about our home, our family, our vehicle, our friends, our possessions, our body, our land, or our time? Are we wasteful of our thoughts, emotions, spirit, presence, or life? Are we wasteful of our skills or talents? Are we wasteful of our impressions, expressions, guidance, or care?
There are many ways to be wasteful. It isn’t just throwing away leftovers instead of eating them or forgetting that something was in the fridge and letting it go bad. Wasteful can be in many forms. It can be in the form of not keeping up the maintenance on your vehicle or not letting things get in a state of disrepair, so they don’t last as long as their potential duration. Being wasteful can come in the form of not valuing a person, their talents, or skills that God puts into your path. Wastefulness can come in the form of not embracing the “personal development” opportunities that God puts in front of you. I am thinking about all those times when God says to reach outside of our comfort zone and rely on Him and we say…. “No, we are too scared.” I am sure we could spend all kinds of time pondering about the meaning of wastefulness. There are so many ways to be wasteful!
Now, let’s consider not only our own wastefulness, but also the wastefulness of those around us. Are we convicted for just our own wastefulness or are we also convicted for not trying to dissuade the wastefulness in others? It might seem like we are only convicted about our own wastefulness. After all, in Deuteronomy 24:16 (KJV) we read, “The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.” That doesn’t sound like we are to be convicted for other people’s wastefulness. However, we also have verse like Colossians 3:16 which tells us to admonish one another and Hebrews 10:24 which tells us to provoke each other to do good things. So, maybe we are convicted if we don’t at least encourage others not to be wasteful or show them that it isn’t a good thing to do. Maybe we can even brainstorm ways to be less wasteful. And, of course it is always good to encourage each other to use our gifts, talents, blessings, resources, knowledge, thoughts, feelings, time, and life to the fullest.
There is something else about John 6:12 that we can wonder. Do you know what it is? Are you wondering it too? We all know that God knows all and can do all. He knew how much each would eat. So, how come when He multiplied the fish and barley, He didn’t make just enough? I know I sometimes make extra on purpose, so that I can use it for multiple meals and in different ways. That way, I don’t always have to cook every meal. I can just pop something in the microwave. (Well, my hubby does most of the cooking, because I don’t care for cooking. But… I have cooked and have done that, and so does he.)
But, it isn’t like the disciples were just going to gather the leftovers, wrap them in foil or plastic wrap, and put them in the fridge. They gathered the leftovers into baskets, which they would probably have to carry for quite a distance. So, why create the extra food, so that they would have to carry it?
Obviously, we may not ever know the real answer to that. We might not even be called to question it. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if it wasn’t to teach us multiple things. Maybe it was as pragmatic as the fact that He knew that Jesus and the disciples would need food to eat later on. Maybe it was to tell us that it is okay to have leftovers and they should be valued as well as the original meal.
The reason could be something above and beyond the pragmatic though. It could be that God wants to show us that when we give thanks, when we ask, and when we have faith, that He can and will give us even something even better and even more than what we ask. It could be to show us that He is an awesome God and cares for us and provides for us more than we can ever imagine. What do you think?
Thank you for being such an awesome God. Thank you for creating us and for providing for us. Thank you for the meaning blessings, gifts, and resources you give us. Thank you for the love you have for us. Thank you for your Word and for your Son, Jesus. Help us to not be wasteful, but to be thankful and value the gifts you give us instead. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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Reflective questions for John 6:12 (KJV):
*What does John 6:12 mean to me?
*What are all the ways it means to be wasteful?
*Am I wasteful?
*In what ways and in what areas of my life am I wasteful?
*Do I encourage others to not be wasteful?
*Am I thankful for the gifts and blessings God gives me?
*What other verses remind me of John 6:12?
*What other verses help me to understand John 6:12?
*What can I do to better heed the words in John 6:12?
If you liked this post, you may also like the following posts:
*2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Now, it is your turn:
I am thankful that you are here. I appreciate your kindness and support. I hope that you are enjoying the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations. If you are finding value with it, please feel free to share it with others.
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Happy Thanksgiving! Have a great week! And... remember to be mindful about wasting. God bless.
“And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”
Colossians 3:17 (KJV)
How are you? I am enjoying these posts on thankfulness. I hope you are enjoying them too. I don’t know about you, but God is convicting me and changing my heart as I research and write about these verses. I hope we all have a more thankful heart by the end of this month.
In last week’s post, I pondered the words in Ephesians 5:20. You can read it here. The words in Ephesians 5:20 are quite similar to the words in Colossians 3:17.
Let’s think about the reasons we do things for a moment. When we are children, many times we do things because our parents or teachers tell us to do them. Now, we may do things to please our spouse or to keep our jobs. We may do things to make our children happy or to help them. We might take care of ourselves better for our children, so we can be there for them longer. We might even do something just because we enjoy it. What are some of the reasons you do things?
These are considered very good reasons. However, it may not be “THE reason” we are called to do things. We are called to focus on God, even more than on our parents, teachers, kids, bosses, or selves. God may ask us to do the same exact things. He may remind us of the love of our family and the righteousness in having integrity in our selves and in our job. Yet, we are called to do things “for Him” and in Jesus’ name.
It is easy to think that we can do this or that for a family member, a friend, and an employer. We can “see” them and touch them physically. And, it may be easy to think that we are going to church or feeding the poor “for God” or in Jesus’ name. Although, we are called to do more “for God” and in Jesus’ name than just the “churchy” and “volunteer” type things. We are called to do ALL things for God and in Jesus’ name.
So, what does that mean? It means that everything we do or say we do it for God and in Jesus’ name. Why am I trying to lose weight? I am trying to lose weight because God has asked me to be obedient and be healthier. Why am I writing this blog? I am writing this blog because God has called me to write it and to encourage others to read the Bible and pray more. Why do I try to be a good wife? God has called me to be a good wife. We are called to do every thing, from the most impressive and exciting to the most inconsequential and mundane, for God and in the name of Jesus.
It may be more difficult for us to do things for God instead of for our family, for our friends, or for our boss. At first, we might not know that we are called to do things for God. However, once we do know, it can still be difficult. It might be so ingrained in us from our culture and upbringing to do things for those around us, that we might forget that we are called to do things for God. We might feel strange or afraid to say that we are doing things for God, while our culture still says to do things for those around us and for ourselves. Or, because we don’t physically see God and we do our family, it might be hard to remember to do things for God instead of those around us that we do physically see.
Yet, the more we build a relationship with God and the more we get close to Him, the more apt we are to remember to put Him first and to do things for Him. We will pray in the morning and ask God what we can do for Him during the day. Then, we will be more apt to do each thing that we do or say for Him. Not only will we be more apt to do things for God, but we will also be more apt to do things better. After all, aren’t we more apt to do things better for those we love, for those we respect, for those we admire, and for those we want to impress?
So, let’s look at Colossians 3:17 more closely, before I close this post. The first part of Colossians 3:17 (KJV) says, “And whatsoever ye do in word and deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus…”. I have touched on quite a bit of this already. (In the last post, I gave a link to a great explanation for doing things in the name of Jesus and what it means. You can read my last post here. However, in this post, I will ponder the words myself.)
So, what does it mean to do things in the name of Jesus? We may all have our own answer to this. For me, it is doing something as Jesus has shown us to do, because He has called us to do it. It is doing something with Jesus’ power, strength, peace, or will. It is doing something because Jesus died on the cross for us and we are so thankful. It is doing something because we are Jesus’ brothers and sisters and we are called to the same mission of loving our Father in heaven and building His kingdom. It means doing something the way Jesus wants us to do it because we are proud to be on “team Jesus” and want to do everything we can to stop, put down, dismiss, and overcome “team devil”.
I hope I said that well. What do you think? What do you think it means to do things in the name of Jesus?
There is one last point to Colossians 3:17. Not only are we called to do everything in the name of Jesus for God, we are also called to do it while “giving thanks to God and the Father by him”. I know that some of the things we are called to do aren’t very fun. We might be called to do some very difficult, mundane, strenuous, emotional things during some times of hardship, displeasure, fear, and awkwardness. However, even then, we are called to do everything while giving thanks to God. (I gave more thought to the thankfulness while pondering Ephesians 5:20 in the last post. You can read it here.) For me, this seems like the most difficult part. We aren’t used to giving thanks in difficult times. What do you think?
Thank you for your heavenly Word and your precious gift of Jesus, your only begotten Son. Thank you for showing us your will and guiding us through your Word and prayer. Help us to “remember” to do things for you and in the name of Jesus. Help us to focus on you, even more so than the loved ones that we can physically see. Help us to do all things for you and with you. And, help us to be thankful to you as we do the things we are called to do. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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Reflective questions for Colossians 3:17 (KJV):
*What does Colossians 3:17 mean to me?
*What does it mean to do all things for God?
*Do I do all things for God? (If no, why not?)
*What does it mean to do things in the name of Jesus?
*Do I do things in the name of Jesus? (If not, why not?)
*What does it mean to do everything while giving thanks to God?
*How are we called to give thanks to God even in difficult times?
*What other verses come to mind when I read Colossians 3:17?
*What can I do to better heed the words in Colossians 3:17?
If you enjoyed this post, you may like the following similar posts:
*Focusing on God
*Doing things in Jesus' name
Now, it is your turn:
I am so thankful that you are here. I feel blessed to be called to write the Faith Blog. I believe that we are called to encourage each other in the Word of God and to help each other through life. I hope that the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations encourages you to read the Word of God, to pray, and to put on the entire armor of God more than you do already. Lean on Him and let Him bless you. God bless.
If you feel called to do so, please leave a comment. I am always interested in your thoughts, ideas, questions, and understanding surrounding God's Word and what we are called to do as Christians.
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“O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people.”
Psalms 105:1 (KJV)
How are you? Since this is the month of Thanksgiving, I thought it would be nice to write some posts on thankfulness. I think Psalms 105:1 asks us to go all out in our thankfulness.
Psalms 105 highlights some of the key parts of Jewish history and the many reasons they have to be thankful. The psalm points out some of the wonderful and miraculous things that God has done for His people. It was written by King David and sung at the time when the ark was being brought back to Jerusalem. So, it was sung at a very special and joyous time.
Psalms 105:1 kind of reminds me of show and tell in a kindergarten class. It is fun to watch a child bring in a treasured belonging from home and share it with the class. He or she often has such an excitement and sense of value when sharing his or her item. Sometimes, it is a new gift that was recently received. Just by listening to the child, you can tell that he or she is thankful and values the blessing.
Children often show an all out exuberance and thankfulness for something they receive that they treasure. I can just picture a young child’s eyes lighting up, while he or she jumps up and down with excitement when seeing the gift for the first time, and him or her running to the gift bearer, and with a big hug, saying “Thank you, thank you, thank you. This is what I have always wanted. I love you.”
It is interesting that little children often don’t hold back their emotions. It is only as we grow older, that we learn to hold back in the name of being dignified. It is good to have self-control. However, in things like love, worship, praise, and thanksgiving to God, we are often called not to hold back. We owe God everything, even our life, as we couldn’t be here without Him, so thanksgiving, praise, love, and worship should be more ingrained and forthcoming without holding anything back. Nothing is too good for our God, for our Creator, for our Heavenly Father.
Psalms 105:1 calls us to do three things: give thanks to God, call upon His name, and testify to others what God has done. Let’s ask ourselves if we do this. Our answers will vary, of course, but we could probably all work on doing all three better.
The way we give thanks to God, the way we call upon His name, and the way we testify to others might look different for each one of us. It might also look different each time we do these things. For instance a shy person might not get up in front of a congregation to testify about what God has done for him or her, but may tell a friend during a quiet outing. It’s okay to be different. God made us all different and we are all called to have a personal relationship with God. We aren’t called be the same or to do things the same.
One last thing about Psalms 105:1, that isn’t explicitly stated in the verse, but I think we are called to do is to give God the credit. I think the “make known his deeds among the people” part of the verse could be a reminder for us that God gave us life, gave us our talents, gave us our minds, gave us our hearts, gave us our strength, gave us our opportunities, gave us so many things. We often forget that we couldn’t have this or that or couldn’t do this or that without God. We sometimes talk about things as if they are our accomplishments and don’t give God proper acknowledgement and thanks for able to do these things.
Thank you for being our Creator, our Provider, our God, and our Heavenly Father. Help us to be thankful, to praise your name, and to testify to others what you have done for us. Help us to act according to your will and in a way that others will glorify you because of the way we act, speak, and glorify you. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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Reflective questions for Psalms 105:1 (KJV):
*What does Psalms 105:1 mean to me?
*How do I imagine that it looked like when this psalm was first sung?
*Which part of Psalms 105:1 do I do most often?
*Which part of Psalms 105:1 do I do the least?
*What can I do to better heed the words in Psalms 105:1?
*What is God telling me through the words in Psalms 105:1?
*What other verse or verses remind me of Psalms 105:1?
If you enjoyed this post and would like to read another on a similar topic, please press the following link.
*Thankfulness/Giving God the credit
Now, it is your turn:
Thank you for being here. I pray that God blesses you in some way. If you feel called, please leave a comment and/or share the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations with someone. I believe that we can all share and learn from each other. I also believe that we are called to encourage each other in God's Word and God's ways.
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Until next time, God bless!
“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.”
Matthew 22:37 (KJV)
How are you? We often hear how much God loves us and He does love us so much. However, do we think about and talk about how we should love God? We are not only called to love God, but also commanded to love Him. And, of course, we are given free choice as to whether or not we will follow through and obey that command.
Before we look more closely at the words in Matthew 22:37, let’s ponder the word “love” and what a “godly love” might look like. When you think of a godly love, what kinds of thoughts, feelings, and actions come to mind? If you were playing a word association game, what sort of words would come to mind when you think about godly love? I ask these questions, because it seems to me that it is difficult to talk about a verse highlighting love, without calling to mind what it means to love.
Some of the things that come to mind when I think about a godly love are:
*A deep care about how others are feeling and doing
*A strong willingness to help others and lift them up when we can
*Faithfulness to those we love and not abandoning them
*Trusting that our loved ones love us and want the best for us
*Being trustworthy, so that others can depend on the fact that we love them
*Being joyful that our loved ones are a part of our life
*Being thankful for all our loved ones do for us
*Seeking to do things with and for those we love
This is not an exhaustive list of what love may look like and how we show love. What are some things that come to you mind when you think about showing godly love?
Now, let’s look at what Jesus tells us through the words in Matthew 22:37. Notice that the love we are to have for God isn’t just a fleeting love in a certain way. Notice that it isn’t a partial love. We are called to love God with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our mind.
First, Jesus tells us that we are to love God with all our heart. To me, the heart is the center of our feelings and emotions. To me, we are to have an emotional love for and connection with God. He is not to be considered a stranger, but someone close and familiar. Think of the love you have for your closest friend or closest family member. Think about how it pulls at your heart strings when that person is feeling down and how it fills you with joy when that person is happy. Think about how you feel when you get to spend time with your loved one, and how happy you feel to share that time together. Do you have that same love for God?
Second, Jesus tells us that we are to love God with all our soul. To me, our soul is the deepest and truest part of ourselves. It is what we have when we peel the shell of our body away. It is the part of us that may sometimes be hidden from ourselves or from others, but never from God. However, sometimes it is thought of as an entire being as in mind, body, and spirit. We may think of this kind of love as “with every fiber of our being”.
Third, Jesus tells us that we are to love God with all our mind. To me, “with our mind” can mean two kinds of things. In one way, it can mean that we are just saying that we love someone. We love them intellectually, but not emotionally. We don’t really have a bond with them, but knowledge of a love, a kindness, or a friendship. It can also mean a logical trust, faithfulness, and even companionship that come with loving someone. I think it also encompasses the understanding that if we love someone, we will treat them with respect, spend time with them, help them, do things for them, care about them, etc.
Matthew 22:37 is such a deep and wonderful verse. In a way, it describes our purpose and meaning in life in one sentence. It is also a one sentence guide to how we should live our life, because if we do this all other things will fall into place. It is also a very personal command, because each one of us will have a different life, a different love, and a different relationship with God.
I encourage you to go out and live your most fulfilled, most lively, and most loving life you can, according to God’s will for you. Love God with your whole being, in the most full, most giving, most meek, and most honest way possible.
Thank you for being our Creator and Heavenly Father. Thank you for loving and providing for us. Help us to love and appreciate you with our whole beings as well. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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Reflective questions for Matthew 22:37 (KJV):
*What does Matthew 22:37 mean to me?
*What does love mean to me?
*What does loving God with my whole heart mean to me? Do I do it?
*What does loving God with my whole soul mean to me? Do I do it?
*What does loving God with my whole mind mean to me? Do I do it?
*What other verses remind me of Matthew 22:37?
*How can I better heed the words in Matthew 22:37?
*What message is God giving me through Matthew 22:37?
If you like this post on "love", you may also like these other posts on "love".
*How Do You Show Jesus You Love Him?
*Do You Reflect the Love of God?
*Do You Practice Pure Religion?
Now, it is your turn:
I am so thankful that you are here. I hope you are encouraged to pray and read God's Word more through reading the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations. I pray God has a message for you in each post.
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“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”
Isaiah 26:3 (KJV)
How are you today? Before I talk about Isaiah 26:3 specifically, I want to discuss some concepts that go with the verse. Let’s first think about having a “one-tracked” mind. Have you ever had a one-tracked mind? You know the sort, when you are hyper focused on something and right or wrong, once you have it in your head to do something a specific way, nothing can stand in your way.
I have experienced that before in myself and in others. I know that when I am focused on something that strongly, I can forget all that is around me. I could forget that I have water boiling on the stove or forget that my husband is in the room and not hear him ask me a question. Our brains are “funny” in that way.
Think about the “placebo effect”. If people believe enough, often sugar pills can help as much as the “real” medicine or cure for something. The mind is focused on the fact that it will work. It believes. It trusts that it will work.
Another thing to think about is the “power of thought”, especially the “power of positive thinking”. If we think positively, often times positive things happen. If we think negatively, often times negative things happen.
I find it interesting that we bring up these principles to encourage each other when we are down. We often believe these sentiments as true and good. We think we are doing good to encourage others with these things. And, many times, we do feel a certain amount of encouragement. They do seem to help us many times when we are down. Yet, these are worldly sentiment. None of it gives credit to God. None of it gives us what God can give us.
Now, let’s look at Isaiah 26:3 and ponder it a while. The first part of Isaiah 26:3 (KJV) reads, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace”. When do we need peace or think about needing peace? It is when we are troubled, anxious, frustrated, confused, angry, depressed, or scared that we need to be reassured that God can give us peace. We also need peace when we are sinful and do the wrong things. We may feel sorry, ashamed, or self-conscious. We need the peace of knowing that we are forgiven, wiped clean, and back on the right path. We need to know we are not in conflict with each other, with ourselves, or with God. This is the type of peace that God can offer. It is a peace in our heart, not just in our mind, that He loves us and will keep us safe. (It might not be a worldly safe at times, but it is a heavenly safe. It will be in His arms and not lost or out of His sight.) God’s peace is more than just a lack of fighting and turmoil. It is a heavenly peace that touches more than our mind and heart. It touches us deeply within in our spirit.
It seems to me that when we fear something, it is the not knowing or worry that we really fear. Often, I fear trying new things. It isn’t really the fear of trying new things that really bother me, it is more that I fear making mistakes, wasting materials, or getting into trouble. I fear flying. It isn’t really that I fear flying, but more that I fear crashing and dying. I fear dying, but it isn’t so much that I fear dying. It is more that I fear not knowing what it will be like or being afraid that I won’t be with God in heaven. (These fears come and go depending on how I am feeling. My mind knows that I have nothing to fear, because I believe in God and love Him. My heart isn’t always as calm as my mind. My spirit isn’t always at peace.) See how our fear can seem to be one thing but really another? God can help us. He can give us a peace, but not just any peace, a heavenly and perfect peace.
The middle part of Isaiah 26:3 (KJV) reads, “…whose mind is stayed on thee…”. That is the person who will get the perfect peace from the first part of the peace, the person whose mind is focused on God. That is why it is good to have some Bible verses committed to memory, so we can remember the inspirational and helpful words God gave us. It is the reason why we should be in the habit of praying about every little thing, so when we are upset it will almost be second nature to pray about it and to ask God for help.
Let’s go back to what I was saying earlier about being super focused on something. When we are super focused on someone or something, we get tuned in to just that person or thing. We tune out and sometimes even forget other things and people around us.
The more we focus on God, His Word, and His love for us, the more at peace we begin to feel. The more we do this, the more we yearn for a relationship with Him, and the more we grow to feel and understand these things more deeply. As we do that, the stronger and more real our peace becomes.
So, when we are down or afraid or have any number of negative emotions, we have two choices. We can focus on the fear and negative emotions or we can focus on God. Which would you rather do? Now, it might sound simple to just say, “Focus on God.” Well, it is not always that simple. It can be one of the more difficult things to do amongst some strong emotions and tumultuous situations. However, the more we do it, the more God will change our hearts, and the easier it will become.
The last part of Isaiah 26:3 (KJV) says, “…because he trusteth in thee”. If we didn’t believe in God, if we didn’t trust God’s love and faithfulness, we wouldn’t put in the time or the effort to get to know Him or to focus on Him. We didn’t believe that He could give us perfect peace. We wouldn’t love Him and yearn to be close to Him.
May God give you and may you accept His heavenly peace, my friends.
Thank you for being our Heavenly Father and for wanting the best for us. Thank you for giving us your protection, comfort, guidance, and love. Help us to focus only on you. Help us to remember your words and promise of peace, especially in times of fear and tribulation. Help us to feel and accept your heavenly peace that you want to give us. I ask you this through Jesus, your Son. Amen.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Reflective questions for Isaiah 26:3 (KJV):
*What does Isaiah 26:3 mean to me?
*What does “perfect peace” mean to me?
*How is God’s peace different from worldly peace?
*Have someone I know or I ever been super focused? What has it felt like?
*Do I trust God?
*What can I do to better heed the words in Isaiah 26:3?
*What other verses remind me of the message in Isaiah 26:3?
*What is God telling me right now through Isaiah 26:3?
If you enjoyed this post, you may enjoy the following posts on similar topics.
Now, it is your turn:
Thank you for being here. I appreciate your kindness and support. I pray you are enjoying and finding value in the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations. If you do, please feel free to share the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations with your friends and family. They may enjoy it and find value in it as well. Also, if you haven't done so already, you may want to sign up below and get the free gift as well. You will also receive the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations and other faith content in your inbox.
I welcome your thoughts, questions, comments, ideas, and requests. Please, feel free to comment below or contact me. Thank you and God bless.
“Teach me good judgment and knowledge: for I have believed thy commandments.”
Psalms 119:66 (KJV)
How are you? Today we look at a verse from one of the longest psalms and the longest chapter of the Bible. It also contains a topic of prayer about which I pray quite often.
I have read the Bible quite a few times. However, each time I learn something else. God uses His word to speak to us all. He has the same basic commandments for all of us. Yet, God does use His Word to speak a different message to each of us. He may also speak a different message to each of us each time we read His Word.
One would think that once we read His Word and study His commandments, that we would “know it” and wouldn’t need to ask for knowledge or good judgment. Unfortunately, that is just not true. We need to continually as for knowledge and good judgment. We are human and don’t always “remember” or follow through with what is right.
So, let’s take a look a Psalms 119:66 a little closer. There are three statements and topics in Psalms 119:66. Let’s start with the last part of Psalms 119:66 (KJV) which reads, “…for I have believed thy commandments”. If we don’t believe that God’s Word is the right way to live, if we don’t trust God, if we don’t believe that we are to do as God calls us to do, we might as well not ask Him to give us good judgment or knowledge.
Sometimes we may say that we believe, but our actions are different than our words. Our actions don’t match what is written in God’s Word. That has happened since the second human was created. Our nature of sin is the reason we need to pray the first part of this verse.
There are two main groups of people in the world, believers and nonbelievers. (There are also “on the fence” people.) Once we realize and admit, especially to God, that we are believers, than we can go on to the first two parts of Psalms 119:66.
In the second part of Psalms 199:66, the psalmist is asking God to teach him knowledge. To me, there are different levels of knowledge. When we learn math as a kindergarten student for example, we learn things like identifying numbers, adding and subtracting numbers up to ten, counting by ones and fives and tens, and the basic coins. Those are the types of things a kindergarten student can know and understand. Asking a kindergarten student to solve long algebraic equations would be wrong. No matter how much a kindergarten student tries, he or she couldn’t have the knowledge to solve such a difficult problem. The same goes with God’s Word.
Every time we read God’s Word, we may have a new understanding. We may have more knowledge and be able to understand it’s meaning a little better. Sometimes we go through the motions of reading God’s Word, but don’t take the time to take it in, study it, or pray about it. We may know God’s Word on one level, but not to the extent that we could with more study and prayer. We might know the words in our mind, but not know the words in our heart.
This brings us to the first part of Psalms 119:66 (KJV) which reads, “Teach me good judgment…”. As I mentioned earlier, it is one thing to know the difference between right and wrong, but it is another thing to actually follow through and do what is right. This is the part of the verse where we acknowledge the fact that we are sinners and need to ask God to help us good judgment often.
Satan has a way of giving us temptations and trying to get us to go down the wrong road each day. So, praying for help in having good judgment needs to be something that is continual instead of a one-time thing. The first time we pray, we might learn how to have good judgment when one problem comes up. However, we might not have the strength to make a good judgment the second time it comes up. We may also not know how to make a good judgment when a different problem arises.
To me, Psalms 119:66 is a prayer that we can pray always. Like other verses in God’s Word, we can learn something new from it as we grow in our faith, our relationship with God, our knowledge, and also grow in our abilities to do things such as make good decisions.
Each time we grow in knowledge and faith in God, we can know God’s Word on a higher level. We can know His Word and know the knowledge in our hearts as well as our minds.
Thank you for your precious Word. Help us to pray the words in your Word and seek the wisdom you want to share with us continually. Help us to have faith in you and trust in you always. Help us to not only know your Word, but also to reflect upon it in order to make good judgments. Give us the strength to do what is right and follow your Word and way for us, I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Reflective questions for Psalms 119:66 (KJV):
*What does Psalms 119:66 mean to me?
*Why must we continually pray for knowledge?
*Why must we continually pray for the ability to make good judgments?
*What is the difference between judgment and knowledge?
*Do I trust God’s Word? Do I show it?
*What can I do to better heed the words in Psalms 119:66?
*What message is God giving me right now through Psalms 119:66?
If you enjoyed this post, you may like similar posts on the same topics.
Now, it is your turn:
Thank you for being here. I appreciate your kindness and support. I pray that you find God talking to you through the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations. If you are finding value in the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations, please feel free to share it with others, so that they might find value as well. If you would like me to address a specific topic or verse, please feel free to contact me. I welcome all comments, questions, ideas, thoughts, and requests regarding God's Word and growing our faith. Please, feel free to share prayer requests, testimony, and praise reports as well. And, if you haven't done so already, please consider signing up below so you can receive the Faith Blog and other faith content in your inbox. Thank you. God bless.
“For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.”
Proverbs 24:16 (KJV)
How are you? Today’s Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations is on a topic with which we can all relate - - making mistakes. Being human, we all make mistakes. However, in Proverbs 24:16, we see that there is a difference in a way that our mistakes effect us based upon whether we are just or wicked.
Before we talk about Proverbs 24:16 directly, let’s talk about mistakes. We know that we all make mistakes. Our mistakes affect us in various ways. Often times, the affect depends on the size of the mistake, the consequences, and how we view mistakes. As usual, we might find that attitude has quite a bit with how mistakes affect us.
This is where attitude comes in. Are we righteous or are we self-righteous? There is a big difference in the two. Once we recognize this, then we can start understanding Proverbs 24:16 in a better light.
Righteous people are those who are believers and try to live a godly life. They try to do things with a heavenly view and according to God’s Word. Does that mean that they don’t make mistakes? No, not by a long shot, because everyone makes mistakes, even St. Paul who God used to do so much for the early church and to build the kingdom of God. For example, we might remember the words of Paul in Romans 7:15 (KJV), “For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.” Like Paul, the righteous people can recognize and admit their mistakes. They don’t try to hide them.
Self-righteous people are the opposite. They either think that they don’t make mistakes or they can hide their mistakes. They might not be able to notice their mistakes or don’t want to admit their mistakes to themselves or others.
Now, let’s look at this through the words in Proverbs 24:16. The first part of the verse (KJV) says, “For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again”. Yes, even righteous God fearing people make mistakes and fall. Making mistakes and falling is part of the life of a human for both righteous and self-righteous people. And, Proverbs 24:16 shows us that we don’t just make one mistake in life. We make many. (No, I don’t think that seven is meant to be an absolute literal number.)
The encouragement of Proverbs 24:16 is the part where the righteous will “riseth up again” after their mistakes. Praise God! This is good news. I don’t know about you, but to me, it is a relief that my mistakes don’t have to define me. I am so glad that I can recover from my mistakes.
Sadly, this isn’t true for everyone. Not everyone who makes mistakes will recover. In the second part of Proverbs 24:16 (KJV) it says, “but the wicked shall fall into mischief”. Why the difference? It might not seem fair. Isn’t everyone treated equally?
We are all God’s creations and all have free will to follow His will or not. Yet, not all of us do. This is where the difference comes in.
As I said before, those who are righteous recognize their mistakes and admit them. When one can recognize and admit their mistakes, they can also repent and ask for forgiveness. God can then forgive them and the mistakes are wiped away. They are once again made clean. This is why the righteous can rise again. They repent and are made clean again through Jesus.
Those who are self-righteous or wicked don’t repent. They don’t see that they did anything wrong. They don’t ask for forgiveness. So, instead of changing their ways and getting back on the right track, they continue doing wrong. They move farther and farther away from God.
It is during times of meditating on God’s Word and pondering their meaning like this as well as self-reflecting on our thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, and actions, we can see whether God’s Word is rewarding us or convicting us.
Thank you for your Holy Word. Thank you for your love and guidance. Help us to have a righteous mind and heart. Help us to recognize, admit, and repent our mistakes. Help us to ask for forgiveness with a humble and contrite heart. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Reflective questions for Proverbs 24:16 (KJV):
*What does Proverbs 24:16 mean to me?
*What does righteous mean?
*What does wicked mean?
*How do I approach the idea of mistakes?
*What do I do when I make mistakes?
Note, if you enjoyed this post, you may want to read these posts on similar topics:
Now, it is your turn:
I am thankful that you are here. I pray God is using the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations to encourage you to read and meditate upon His Holy Word. I pray He touches your heart as you read it and are moved to self-reflect.
If you are finding value in the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations, please feel free to others, so that others may find value as well. If you feel called to comment on a post, to testify about what God is doing in your life, or to reflect upon the words in a particular verse, please feel free to do so. I value your thoughts and hope we can encourage each other in God's Word. Also, I welcome thoughts, ideas, questions, prayer requests, and praise reports. Please, feel free to contact me.
Also, if you haven't done so already, you may want to sign up below to receive the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations and other faith information in your inbox. (That will save you from remembering to search for the new post each week.) Thank you. God bless.
“Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.”
Psalms 31:24 (KJV)
How are you? Have you ever had a time when you just didn’t feel like doing anything? Have you ever felt like you just couldn’t get out of your own way? Maybe you were ill or tired. Maybe you were depressed and uncertain about what to do. Maybe you felt lost or overwhelmed.
Often times when we feel at our worst, we don’t feel like we can do anything. It is during these times when we feel like we have no hope and have no courage. We may even feel paralyzed emotionally, physically, and spiritually. We may feel like we may not have an ounce of strength left and couldn’t lift even a finger to do anything.
Sometimes, it is a good thing to feel that low. Addicts say that they have to “hit bottom” before they are ready to quit and change. It isn’t until they know that they have to rely on God and the help of those who God puts in their way, that they come to accept and want change. If addicts still feel they can live “their way”, they are not ready to be healed. They aren’t ready to quit and to open up to God.
Whether you are an addict or just going through something very difficult and feel very low, it is then that we are called to be courageous. Can you imagine being courageous when you are at the lowest of lows? Doesn’t seem possible sometimes.
Have you ever heard of the saying, “God helps those who help themselves”? This saying reminds me of Psalms 31:24. Even though we are feeling low, scared, overwhelmed, ill, weak, or whatever the difficulty might be, we are called to take that baby step towards God. We are called to be courageous even though we may not feel it.
Why? Why should we be courageous in our lowest or scariest moments? It is easier to fold under, to complain, to back away, to sleep until we feel better, to push things under the rug and forget about them, or to just ignore them and hope they go away. Don’t you find those things easier than actually facing the problem and having courage?
Finding it easier to run away from the problem might be a great worldly technique, but it isn’t really the best technique. The best thing to do, what we are called to do is to take that baby step of courage in God’s direction. Be courageous and have faith that God is there for us. If we take that one simple step in having courage and relying on God, God will strengthen our heart. This is really good news. If we take one baby step towards God, He will take one giant step towards us.
Notice that Psalms 31:24 doesn’t say that God is going to solve the problem or cure us. There may be other verses with that sort of message, but this one isn’t one of them. No, it says that for those who have courage and put their hope in God, He will strengthen their heart. God will make us stronger, so that we can have the right attitude and get through the situation better.
There is another saying that helps us to understand Psalms 31:24. It is, “Attitude is everything”. We may have heard that a good attitude can go a long way in helping someone heal. For example, we can find that same sort of sentiment in Proverbs 17:22 (KJV) which says, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”
God knows how difficult it can be for us to be strong during difficult situations. He made us and he is all knowing. So, God gives us verses like Psalms 31:24 to encourage us to have that little bit of courage and rely on Him. He wants us to know that if we take that baby step, He will give us the strength we need to get through it.
Thank you for your love and compassion towards us. Thank you for being our loving Father. Help us to remember your Word and to have courage in our most difficult times. Help us to put our hope in you, even when we aren’t sure we have much hope left. Help us to know you will strengthen our heart, even when we don’t think we have any strength left. Help us to realize that we can rely on you during all times and to have the courage to take that baby step towards you. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
Reflective questions for Psalms 31:24 (KJV):
*What does Psalms 31:24 mean to me?
*Of which sayings does Psalms 31:24 remind me?
*Of which other Bible verses does Psalms 31:24 remind me?
*What does it mean to strengthen our heart?
*What is God telling me through Psalms 31:24?
*Am I courageous during difficult situations?
*What can I do to better heed the words in Psalms 31:24?
If you like this post you might enjoy these other posts on hope, strength, and difficult times. Enjoy!
Now, it is your turn.
If you feel called to comment, I looked forward to reading your thoughts. Please, feel free to comment or contact me at any time.
Please, feel free to share the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations with your friends and family. If you find value in it, they may as well. Thank you.
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“A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.”
Proverbs 18:24 (KJV)
How are you? Today’s post is on friendship. Take a journey with me in pondering the meaning of Proverbs 18:24 and what friendship means to us. As with most verses in the Bible, there are many opinions as to the meaning in Proverbs 18:24. Considering that God speaks to us personally and sometimes has differing messages for each of us, it is sometimes okay to have differing opinions as to it’s meaning.
Do you have many friends or few? Are you someone who just seems to be surrounded by people? Do have many invitations to go here or there? Are you the life of the party? Are you pleasant to be around? Are you always cracking a joke? Are you the type who feels kind of awkward in the crowd and sort of sits on the sidelines? Do you enjoy being out with one friend? Are you the person everyone comes to when in need? Do you have any friends?
I am not trying to make you feel bad if you don’t think you have friends or good if you have more friends than you can count. I am hoping to just get you started in thinking about friendship, so we can better contemplate the meaning of Proverbs 18:24.
Next, what do you think it means to be a friend or to be friendly? Is there a difference? Does a friend give you what you want or what you need? Does a friend seem agreeable all the time to you or correct you when you are wrong? Does friendly mean courteous, flirtatious, kind, giving, joyful, helpful, or any number of other things?
Now that we are thinking about friendship, friends, and friendliness, let’s look at Proverbs 18:24 and some of the varying meanings I saw as I researched for today’s post. (I will just summarize them in my own words.)
Varying meanings for Proverbs 18:24:
*Having too many friends will spread you too thin and you won’t be able to be
a good friend to anyone, so it is better to have just one good friend.
*If you aren’t friendly, you won’t have any friends.
*Some friends aren’t really friends, but more of just acquaintances. There
are only a few true friends.
*Many people who we think are friends will lead us down the wrong path in
life, but there is a friend who will lead us down the right path.
*We can have many friends, but Jesus is our only true friend.
With these meaning in mind, what are your thoughts for Proverbs 18:24? Some of these meanings are similar. Some are quite different. There are even more options than this if you look for them.
When I was a teenager, someone told me that it is better to have a few friends that you can count on than many friends that aren’t really friends. I think that is sage advice. Could it be the meaning of Proverbs 18:24?
Now, let’s look at Proverbs 18:24 a little closer. The first part of the verse says, “A man that hath friends, must shew himself friendly”. (KJV) In most of the places I looked, people seem to take “friends” as meaning “many friends”. So, in today’s lingo, it might sound more like, “A man that has many friends must always appear friendly.” What do you think?
If we think of it in that way, we can see just how tiring that can be. I don’t know about you, but no matter how much I enjoy being with someone and doing things with others, there are times when I just need time for myself. I need time to unwind, regroup, and just enjoy the quiet. I need time to pray, read, and think. I enjoy doing things and being with people, but I also enjoy my quiet time too. If we have too many friends or get involved with too many things, we may not have time for that quiet time. We also may not have time to be a true friend to each and every person. It is especially difficult to be a friend and “be there” for others, when we don’t have time to “be with God”.
The second part of Proverbs 18:24 (KJV) says, “and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother”. Is this second part talking about God or that special friend we have on earth, our best friend so to speak? That special friend may be someone different for everyone.
I think that no matter whether scripture is talking about God or about that special best friend in our life, God is always part of that special friendship. After all, a true friend wants us to be the best we can be and to follow God’s will for us. They care for our spiritual wellbeing as much or more than our physical and emotional wellbeing. They lift us up in prayer, care enough to tell us the truth whether it hurts or not, help carry our burdens, love us, show kindness, and inspire us to do better. Even if that isn’t meant to be God himself, it sounds like a godly person who is following God’s will. So, God is definitely involved.
I think verses like Proverbs 18:24 are good to get us thinking. We can all relate in some way, even if we all have unique understandings. We all want friends. We can understand that we need to be a friend to have a friend, although it isn’t always followed. Deep down, we can still understand it. Most of us have had someone we have called a best friend at one time or another. We understand that we like and enjoy being around that one special person a bit more than being with other people. That one person is special and holds a bigger piece of us in their heart than most people do. It is also a verse that can mean something different to us at different times. Some of our friendships change, get stronger and closer, or fade away. We need a different message at different times in our life.
As I think about it right now, to me, it means that it is good to be friendly towards everyone. However, we should really cherish the special friends who encourage us to be the godly people we are called to be. We should always make time for quiet time to be with God through prayer, reading the Bible, meditation, reflection, and even going out with that one special friend whom God gave you to help you be closer to Him. Don’t have so many “friends” that you don’t have time for what is important and you can’t be a true friend for each. Besides, if you have “many friends”, probably most of them aren’t true friends anyway.
It is great encouragement for people who don’t feel they have any friends or don’t have many friends. It is encouragement for those who lament over not having as many friends as their neighbor. It is caution about comparing ourselves to others who may have more friends. It may be food for thought about the way to be a true friend. It can be a way to inspire us to keep God as our best friend. It could be telling us not to get too stressed by having too many social engagements.
Thank you for your friendship, for your love, for your parental care, for the kindness you show. Thank you for your Word to inspire us, to teach us, and to encourage us. Help us to be a true friend to others and especially to you, for you are a true friend to us. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Reflective questions for Proverbs 18:24 (KJV):
*What does Proverbs 1824 mean to me?
*What does being a true friend mean?
*Do I have a true friend?
*Am I a true friend?
*What does being friendly mean?
*Do I have many friends or few friends?
*Are all of my friends true friends?
*What can I do to be a better heed the words in Proverbs 18:24?
*What can I do to be a better friend?
*Do I cherish my friends?
*Do I have time to be a true friend to all of my friends?
Now, it is your turn.
I hope this post got you to thinking not only about Proverbs 18:24, but also what it means to be a true friend. I pray that you know what it means to be a true friend and to have a true friend. I pray that you have been able to experience both. And, if you haven't, I pray that you will experience it sometime soon.
I welcome your thoughts on Proverbs 18:24 and friendship. (Actually, I always welcome your thoughts that would further God kingdom, whether it is about the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations, prayer request, ideas, suggestions, questions, etc.) Please, feel free to leave a comment or contact me.
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“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.
I am thankful that you are here. I pray that God is blessing you through the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations. If you find it value in it, please share it with others, so God can bless them through it as well. Thank you.
If you feel led, please feel free to comment your thoughts, understandings, and feelings regarding God's Word or this post. Also, feel free to share your prayer requests and ideas about future topics as well. If you don't feel comfortable commenting below, please feel free to contact me.
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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 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.
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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.
“If ye love me, keep my commandments.”
John 14:15 (KJV)
How are you? This post is going to be a little bit different than usual. I am going to use this post to show how we may have to have a little extra compassion for those who may have trouble with reading the Bible and believing in God.
Before I go too far, I want you to know that I am not making excuses for nonbelievers or for those who don’t believe that the Bible is the Word of God. I am not trying to judge or condone anyone who may be in that situation. However, I think that we as Christians, if we realize what a nonbeliever or baby believer may be thinking or feeling, we can have extra compassion to encourage a person.
The way we act as Christians might make the difference in whether a nonbeliever or baby Christian might believe in the future. Our compassion or lack of compassion might determine how the person we meet feels towards our Lord in the future.
First, let me ask, what do you think of when you first read the words in John 14:15? I have to say that I am a seasoned Christian and one of my first thoughts were of manipulators who have told me things like, “If you love me, you would wear the outfit I like” or “If you love me, you would wear your hair the way I like” or “If you love me, you would do this for me”. Have you ever had people say things like that to you?
Don’t get me wrong, I am a seasoned Christian and know that Jesus is not trying to manipulate us by the words he spoke in John 14:15. However, for those who have had a more difficult life or aren’t a seasoned believer may not understand that Jesus’ words are not manipulative. He or she may relate the words solely on what he or she knows. And, if all he or she knows is manipulation and lack of love, then this may feel like more of the same to him or her.
So, why am I saying all this? Usually, I ponder the meaning of a verse to me. I don’t usually ponder what a verse is not. Don’t worry, I will ponder the meaning for John 14:15 next week. However, I feel called to write this post, because I think that the actions of Christians can sometimes have a strong influence on how nonbelievers or baby believers can react or believe.
Looking at Matthew 18:6 might help explain what I mean. Matthew 18:6 (KJV) says, “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” I don’t think Jesus was necessarily talking about just children in Matthew 18:6. I think he was talking about any new believer. (For me, it also kind of means a nonbeliever that is kind of on the edge of believing as well.) Jesus doesn’t want us seasoned Christians to do anything that would discourage belief in him.
I believe this concept is one that is difficult for many of us to understand. Sometimes, we may discourage belief in Jesus or discourage others from wanting to be Christians without even knowing it. Sometimes, we act in a way that is ungodly and un-Christian without even thinking about it.
Now, let’s tie this into John 14:15. Imagine a nonbeliever or new believer who comes across John 14:15 and immediately thinks about all the manipulators in his or her life. Maybe some of the hurt from the manipulation and selfishness of loved ones is triggered from this verse.
Imagine that because of the hurt, he or she might say something like, “This is bogus. This isn’t God’s Word. And, if it is, He doesn’t sound very loving to me.” It might not be exactly like that, but he or she may have thoughts and feelings that we may not understand. The might seem understandable to them and they may be honest feelings to them. But, we know that their thoughts and feelings don’t reflect the true nature of God.
Our first instinct might be to be protective and defend our Lord. This may be all well and good, not that God needs our protection and defense, but often we may not do it with compassion or tact. This lack of compassion or tact is what gives nonbelievers or baby Christians the wrong image of God.
We may be called to disagree with the wrong feelings that some get from verses like John 14:15, but we are called to do it with compassion and by following Jesus’ example. We are to do it gently. Instead of getting our dander up and starting an argument over the real meaning of the verse, we may say something more understanding and compassionate like, “I can understand why you might think that. I have had people in my life try to manipulate me in that way as well. It can be a hurtful thing. However, with time, an open heart, and more experience, you will see that God is not a manipulator. He is not like the people who have said, ‘If you love me, you will do this or that.’ Give it time. Experience His love and revisit this verse later.”
There are other instances where we can be “better off drowned with a millstone around our neck”, but when I read John 14:15 I felt called to bring up how we are to be good role models and encourage others in their belief in God. It is important to stress that how we respond to nonbelievers and new believers may impact how they believe in the future. Starting an argument and speaking harshly can lead to more wrong thinking or disbelief and compassion can lead to a better understanding and a stronger belief.
What do you think? Can you think of a time when you have been in this situation either as the nonbeliever/new believer or as the seasoned Christian? What was your reaction?
Especially during disagreement, I think new believers or possible believers need to see God’s love through us. We can disagree with them and even correct their misunderstanding, but we can do it gently and compassionately, so God’s love shines through us.
Thank you for your Holy Word. Thank you for sending your beloved Son, Jesus, not only to be our Lord and Savior, but to be our ultimate role model as well. Help us to have compassion for others, especially for unbelievers on the edge of believing or new believers, so we don’t turn them off from your love and give them a wrong picture of what it means to be a Christian. Give us the strength, knowledge and courage in doing what is right when someone has a wrong picture of you and reacts badly to your Word. I ask this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Reflective questions for John 14:15 (KJV):
*What does John 14:15 mean to me?
*Have I ever had anyone say, “If you love me, you will…”?
*Have I ever been manipulated before?
*If I come across someone who has a wrong picture by the words in John
14:15, how would I react?
Thank you for staying with me this week. Next week, I will ponder what I think John 14:15 does mean instead of what I think the verse doesn’t mean. So, stay tuned.
Now, it is your turn.
I can’t wait to hear your thoughts. I know that this has been a little different, but do you know what I am trying to say? Have you been in this situation before? How have you reacted? Do you have thoughts for the rest of us on what we could do if we were in this type of situation?
Thank you for being here. I appreciate the kindness and support. I pray you are finding value in the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations. If you are finding value, please share the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations with friends and family. You may also want to use it as part of a family or church family discussion. Help spread God’s Word and encourage others in their faith.
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“He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.”
1 John 4:8 (KJV)
How are you? Today’s post is about love and knowing God. Before we get into 1 John 4:8, let’s put it in a little perspective. Earlier in the chapter John is warning believers that they may get many people telling them this or that about what to believe or do. However, as Christians, we only want to do and believe as God wills us. In a world full of sin and as many opinions as there are people, it can be difficult in choosing what to believe and how to go.
The next question is how can we even know what God’s will is for us if we do not know Him. Even some acquaintances might not know how to take something a family member might say or do. So, we that know the person might say, “Oh he loves me. It is just his way.” When we know the person, we understand their meaning. It is the same with God. We need to know God, which also means knowing His Word, in order to know His will for us.
Notice, that I haven’t even used the word “love” yet. Well, that is because I haven’t even gotten to the good part yet. I think it is easier to understand if we take it in bite size pieces, because this verse goes way beyond common words like “love” and “know”.
Now, let’s look at the words in 1 John 4:8 (KJV), “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” What does this mean to you? If we take it literally, I think it says that regardless of whether we call ourselves a Christian or not, if we don’t love and act in a loving way towards God, ourselves, or others, then we don’t really know God. To me, it is also saying that we aren’t close to God and aren’t right with God if we don’t have love in our hearts.
I think 1 John 4:8 warns us not only about other people who may not be of God, but also calls for us to reflect upon whether we are acting as God wills us. So, when we get advice, we can check it. If there is no love in it, then it definitely is not from God. If we don’t act in a loving way, then we are not acting in God’s behalf towards the world.
I think that 1 John 4:8 can be better understood if we take it in the light of Genesis 1:27 (KJV), which says, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” To me, if we remember that we are created in God’s image, then we will be more apt to be able to discern whether we are acting in accordance with God, because God is love, among other things.
Figuratively, we can put a mirror up to a person (including ourselves), as well as what he or she may say or do. If the reflection is a bright sign that says, “love of God”, then he or she (or the message) is of God. If the reflection is just of a plain person or anything less than the “love of God”, then we need to be cautious and discern carefully.
Something else I would like to mention about 1 John 4:8 and maybe the most difficult thing; and that is we need to be careful about the definition of “love”. Love isn’t just saying, “I love you.” Love isn’t always a “fuzzy, feel good” feeling. Love isn’t always something that we want to hear. Love doesn’t always agree with us. Love can be stern and admonishing as well. Love is truthful, righteous, disciplining, forgiving, merciful, and compassionate. Love, especially God’s love and God Himself, entails so much more than a love that we humans can even imagine or comprehend.
I think that many in the world are confused about love. Our lack of understanding about love is where many fights begin. Some think or say, “If you love me, you will do this.” Then, if the person doesn’t do it, then people think that they are not loved. But, we can’t just dictate whether someone loves us based upon whether or not they do what we want. The yardstick is much different than that. Figuratively, the yardstick is what we see in the mirror. We are called to show the love of God to others. If someone holds a mirror up to us, then figuratively they should see that bright sign that says “love of God”.
However, 1 John 4:8 (KJV) says, “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” It is a negative statement. So, we aren’t talking about those who love, but those who don’t love. It is still the same yardstick though. Whether we are reflecting on ourselves or trying to discern whether what someone is telling us is from God or not, we still need to figuratively look in the mirror and look for the “love of God”. If we don’t see it, then the person (including oneself) doesn’t know God. He or she isn’t reflecting God’s love or image. So, we need to beware.
Thank you for being our Heavenly Father. Thank you for giving us a yardstick in which to discern whether someone knows you. Thank you for your love. Help us to reflect your love to others in all that we do. Help us to discern the reflection of your love or lack thereof in others. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Reflection questions for 1 John 4:8 (KJV):
*What does 1 John 4:8 mean to me?
*What does love mean to me?
*Do I reflect on whether I love others and reflect God’s love?
*Do I hold others and the messages or actions of others up to the mirror to
discern whether or not they are of God?
*What can I do in order to heed the words in 1 John 4:8 better?
*What is God telling me in the words in 1 John 4:8?
Now, it is your turn.
I am so glad that you are here. I pray that the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations blesses you in some way. For those of you who don't know, I pray before I write it that God gives me the words to write, that they are His words and not my words, that He doesn't allow me to add, subtract, or change anything He asks me to say. I really hope and pray that I stay obedient to that prayer and God's message. In that way, I believe that God is blessing either me and/or one of the readers through the words in the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations. Is that person you? Are you being touched or called to do something through the words? And, as always, no matter what my words may be, I encourage you to read God's Word and pray for your personal understanding and message from God.
Not only do I appreciate your kindness and support, I also welcome your comments. I hope you will share your godly thoughts and understanding to encourage the rest of us. Thank you.
If you are finding value in the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations, please share it with others. Together, let's uplift others and grow the kingdom of God. God bless.
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P.P.S. - If you like this post on "love" and "reflecting God's love" and truth, you may also want to read this post.
“He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise.”
Luke 3:11 (KJV)
How are you? Not long ago, I wrote another post on sharing. You can read it here. That post was focused on how we sometimes tend to confuse “needs” and “wants”. Today’s post is about sharing, but with the focus on sharing from our excess.
In Luke 3:11 (KJV), it says, “He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; an the that hath meat, let him do likewise.” Here, John the Baptist is answering a question people have asked about what they must do. As we can see, the message is that we should give from our excess to those who don’t have all the necessities in life.
I believe the word “meat” doesn’t just refer to meat, but to all food and drink. John is talking about food that is a necessity. We need food and drink in order to live. It may be the same with “coats”. John may not be just talking about coats, but all necessary clothing. Clothing is a necessity as well.
Luke 3:11 reminds me of Matthew 19:21 (KJV) which says, “Jesus said unto him, If those wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.” Jesus’ answer maybe a little more drastic, but the message to be compassionate and giving to the poor is still the same.
One might ask, “Why doesn’t John tell people the same as Jesus did?” I believe there a couple of reasons. The first is that Jesus hadn’t yet started His ministry in the times of when John was speaking in Luke 3:11. I believe the second reason is that God likes to tell us things in baby steps as to not overwhelm us and so we can understand. People who came to John might not have been ready to hear that they must sell everything. God may have thought that they were only ready to hear that they must share from their excess.
I don’t know about you, but Luke 3:11 inspires me to think about what I have and what I give or don’t give. It gets me to thinking about how many of us have more coats and more clothes than they could possibly need and others don’t have all the necessities in life. Another thing I think about is that there is no mention of being asked by the poor for anything, only mention of giving to the poor. We are called to lovingly, graciously, and compassionately give to the poor out of excess in daily living necessities. We are called to take the initiative to ensure the poor at least have the necessities in life. What do you think about in reading Luke 3:11?
Do you think about how many pieces of clothing you have and how many people could use even one? Do you think of how much food you have and how much gets wasted while others struggle to fine any? Does your heart go out to those who struggle to just get the necessities in life? Do you even think about what that might feel like?
I pray that you are blessed by Luke 3:11 to reflect on what you have or need and what you can do to help those less fortunate. I pray we all take that time to not only reflect, but to do something about it, to compassionately and joyously give.
Thank you for your Holy Word. Thank you for caring for all your children, those who have as well as those who have not. Thank you for teaching us to give and share with others. Help us to be, not only obedient to your Holy Word, and give to others, but to give well with a loving and compassionate heart. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Reflective questions for Luke 3:11 (KJV):
*What does Luke 3:11 mean to me?
*Does Luke 3:11 inspire me to reflect on what I have and what I share?
*Do I have more food or clothing than I need?
*Do I have more possessions and money than I need?
*Do I share with the poor and those in need?
Now, it is your turn.
I am so thankful that you are here. I enjoy sharing my faith and my thoughts with you. I encourage you to read God's Word and grow in your own faith. I welcome any comments and ideas you may have so that we can all be encouraged and grow in our faith.
If you are finding value in the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations, please share it with others. Encourage others to read God's Word and grow in their faith 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 be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; who comforteth us in all tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.”
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (KJV)
How are you? Have you ever wondered why you are going through a difficult time? Have you wondered what you did to deserve such a horrible time? I pray that in these times, your discomfort turns to comfort, even if only through the words in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4.
Sometimes the source of our discomfort is obvious. For example, you touching a hot stove will result in a burn. We know this. We can understand it. It doesn’t help the burn, but at least we know why the painful burn is there. We did something not so smart and we are suffering the consequences.
However, sometimes things happen and we are not sure why. We are suffering with something and we are not sure the cause. What did we do? Why are we suffering? Did we do something that wasn’t so smart? Did we bring it on ourselves? Did Satan do it to bring us down? Is God punishing us?
At times, these things are good to ask, so that we can reflect on where we are at in our relationship with God. There are lessons we can use from self-reflection and it seems like the lessons come the most through our mistakes and hardships.
Although, the “why of it” might not be the best question to ask or even the view to take. Maybe we should be taking it as it comes and asking God for comfort and mercy. More than that, maybe we should be noticing and acknowledging that comfort.
One of the reasons I like this passage so much is that it is so comforting and it shows the compassion and love of our Heavenly Father. Now, that we have started wondering the reasons of why bad things happen and why we go through hardships, let’s look at 2 Corinthians 1:3-4.
Let’s look at 2 Corinthians 1:3 (KJV), “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort”. We are called to praise God! As Christians, we know that and do that anyway. However, it is sometimes difficult to praise God during hard times. We feel angry or hurt during hard times, instead of thankfulness and the willingness to praise God. That is why I think we need to not focus on the hardship as much, but on God.
I think it is in “focusing on God more” that we will realize that God is our Heavenly Father, that He has mercy on us and comforts us. I think it is then that we can start blessing Him and praising His name, even during hardship, or closely thereafter, as Paul did. After all, this was written just after a time when he thought he would be killed and his daily condition probably wasn’t the best.
After being reminded of some very wonderful titles and traits of our Heavenly Father and being called to bless Him, we are reminded of some reasons why we should bless our Heavenly Father. Let’s now look at 2 Corinthians 1:4 (KJV), which says, “who comforteth us in all tribulation, that we may comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.”
To me, two of those reasons that we might not know about for our hardship might be explained in 2 Corinthians 1:4. Maybe one of the reasons that we have hardship is so that God can comfort us. I don’t mean that God causes hardship, so that He can some in like a knight in shining armor to rescue use and feel good about himself. It isn’t some sort of knight in shining armor syndrome. When God comforts us, it is the real thing. He comforts us as nobody else can.
God doesn’t want us to continue to suffer. He wants us to seek Him. We have seen this in Jesus’ personality and ways. We read in scripture how Jesus was compassionate towards those whom he met. We also see God’s compassion and mercy when Jesus says in John 16:7 (KJV), “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” Like any loving father, our Heavenly Father, provides for us and comforts us.
I mentioned that there are two reasons for our suffering that can be found in 2 Corinthians 1:4. Again, I don’t mean that God causes suffering, just so that He can comfort us. He may let it happen, so that we can benefit from His comfort and learn from the experience. The second, to me, is that we suffer so that God can comfort us and that we then in turn can comfort others. We are to testify of God’s kindness and comfort for us, so that others can be comforted as well. We are also called to physically and emotionally comfort others, as God has comforted us.
In a way, 2 Corinthians 1:4, shows us that we are called to “pay it forward”. God comforts us, so we are called to comfort others. Then, they can comfort others, as God comforted them through us, and on and on.
Of what verse does the “pay it forward” aspect of 2 Corinthians 1:4 remind you? It reminds me of Matthew 6:12 (KJV), “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors”. Isn’t it wonderful that God gives us examples of the good things that we are do. He treats us, as we are to treat others.
Thank you for being our Heavenly Father. Thank you for your love, mercy, and comfort. Thank you for showing us more and more the love for us. Help us to be thankful for the love, mercy, and comfort you provide. Help us to remember it and “pay it forward” during times when others are in need. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Reflective questions for 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (KJV):
*What does 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 mean to me?
*Do I praise and bless God in difficult times?
*Do I testify how God comforts me and has mercy on me?
*Do I “pay it forward” and comfort others?
*Of what other verses do 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 remind me?
*What message is God giving me through 2 Corinthians 1:3-4?
*What can I do to better heed the words in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4?
Every once in a while, I like to remind you that I am not a biblical scholar. I didn't go to seminary. I am a Christian who loves our Heavenly Father. I read the Bible to know Him and to know His ways and what I am called to do. I encourage you to do the same. A devotion, such as I offer in the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations, is a great starting place to get used to reading and thinking about God's Word. It is also a wonderful place for more experienced Christians and Bible readers to read the thoughts of other Christians on Bible verses, and to offer thoughts of their own.
*If you want to read another post on comfort, you may also want to read this one.
Now, it is your turn.
I am so glad you are here. I appreciate your kindness and support. I pray you are blessed by the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations and find value in it. I always look forward to your comments, ideas, and suggestions. I want to learn and grow in faith with you. So, please feel free to comment below. Also, if you are finding value in the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations, please share it with others. "Pay it forward." Let others find value in it as well. Thank you.
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“But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?”
1 John 3:17 (KJV)
How are you? I am touched by the words in 1 John 3:17. What about you? If we all thought about these words and prayed about these words, and acted upon these words, the world would be a better place.
As Christians, we try to do what is right. We may go to church, worship God and speak His name. We may pray not only for ourselves, but for others as well. Yet, is that all we are called to do?
We are asked a very good question in 1 John 3:17 (KJV), “But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?” With the “old time” words and way of saying things, this verse, like many others in the Bible, may be difficult to understand. However, it is basically saying, “If we are rich or have more than we need and see someone in need, but don’t share, how can we say that we have God’s love in us?” Or, we can also change that to, “How can we say we are Christians, followers of Jesus, and believers, if we don’t share out of our extra wealth with those in need?”
Let’s think about that question a minute. Pray about it. If we are truly following Jesus, how can we not share what we have with others? Jesus was always having compassion on others, healing them, encouraging them, and giving the good news to them. Shouldn’t we do the same, if we are able? Isn’t that what “following” means? Is that what it means to be Christian?
I think part of our issue in not heeding the words in 1 John 3:17 is that we interchange the words “need” and “want” too much in our society. We talk about “needing” things that we really “want”. We might say something like, “I need to get some chips for the picnic.” Well, that isn’t quite the truth. The truth is that we “want” to get some chips for the picnic. We might say, “I need a new car.” Well, that isn’t quite the truth either. Even if we feel we need a vehicle, the truth is closer to, “I need something to get me to and from work or the grocery store. But, I really want it to be a new car.” Our society says “need” too often when “want” is really the meaning.
With our nonchalant use of the word “need”, how can we really tell when someone needs something or not? More to the point, how can we tell if we have more than we need, if we always say we need something when we don’t? I think this badly, overused, misrepresented use of the word “need” has made us numb to the real needs of the world; of ours and of others.
I think if we learn to use the word “want” when we really mean “want” and use “need” when we really mean “need”, God will be more likely to open our hearts to have the compassion we should for others. Even if we have never had a real “need”, we may start to understand that there are people who do and our compassion will tug at us until we do something about it.
It is then that we can realize that we have a closet bulging with more clothes than we actually where, when there are others who barely have clothes on their backs and don’t even have a closet. Maybe then, we will share.
In preparing for this post and reading 1 John 3:17, it tugged at my heart some. I hope that God continues the tug at my heart. I pray that He continues to convict me with this verse, until I am moved to a depth so deep that His loves comes pouring through me. I pray the same for you as well, if you aren’t there already.
Thank you for sending your only Son, Jesus, to be our Savior and our ultimate role model. Oh, Lord, help us to know the difference between “needs” and “wants”. Touch our hearts, so they are opened to the needs of others and your compassion can flow through us. Help us to have compassion on those in need, not only in word and prayer, but also in action. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Reflective questions for 1 John 3:17 (KJV):
*What does 1 John 3:17 mean to me?
*Do I use the word “need” when I really mean “want”?
*Do I think that the needs and wants confusion numbs us?
*What message is God giving me through this verse?
*What can I do to better heed the words in 1 John 3:17?
*Do I have any excess that I can give to those in need?
Now, it is your turn.
What are your thoughts? Do you use "need" when you mean "want"? Why don't you think we give as much as we can to those in need? How do you think we call ourselves Christians and don't give to those in need? (I know some do give.) I would like to hear from you. Please, comment below to give us all something about which to think and pray. Thank you.
I am so glad that you are here. I appreciate your support and kindness. I hope you are finding value in the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations. If you are finding value, please share the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations with your friends, family, and church. Thank you.
Also, if you haven't already done so, please consider signing up below to receive the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations and other faith content in your inbox. Thank you.
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.