When you think about beginnings, what comes to mind? Do you think about story beginnings, your beginnings, or world beginnings? Do you think about world beginnings or Bible beginnings? Do you think of foundations, renewals, and newness? What about the words, “in the beginning”? What comes to mind with those words? Read today’s post and see how pondering these words can not only teach us about many beginnings, but also help build our faith.
“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.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
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:
*We are Called NOT to be Wasteful, but to be Thankful
*We are Called to be Renewed in our Heart and Our Mind
*How Does God Call Us to Speak?
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.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
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:
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.
I look forward to reading your thoughts and comments. If you feel led, please feel free to leave a comment on the post. If you would like to contact me privately with questions, comments, requests, ideas, suggestions, prayer requests, praise reports, testimonies, or anything faith related, please feel free to do that.
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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.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
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, you may also like these posts:
*Psalms 13: Sing to the Lord out of Joy!
*We are Called NOT to be Wasteful, but to be Thankful
*Salt of the Earth
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.
If you haven't done so already, you may want to sign up below to receive the Faith Blog and other Faith content in your inbox.
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".
*Love and Fear
*Do You Love God with Your Whole Being?
*Charity Among Ourselves
*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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Please, if you feel called, feel free to leave a comment or contact me. I look forward to your thoughts and questions regarding God's Word, the Faith Blog, prayer requests, praise reports, testimonies, and suggestions.
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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 reading these other encouraging posts:
*Do You Love God with Your Whole Being?
*Love and Fear
*We are Called to do Everything for God
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 119:66, 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 some other encouraging posts:
*Give God Thanks Always
*We are Called NOT to be Wasteful, but to be Thankful
*Being Unequally Yoked is not Productive
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:
*Good vs Evil
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 attitude, 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.
Also, if you haven't done so already, you may want to sign up below to receive the Faith Blog and other faith content in your inbox. (Please, remember you will have to confirm before you are on the list. If you have any trouble, please feel free to contact me.)
“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.
Also, if you haven't done so already, 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.
“Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord:
this shall not be unto thee.”
Matthew 16:22 (KJV)
How are you? Let’s look at Matthew 16:22 today. This verse kind of baffles me in many ways. Jesus had already asked Peter who he says that Jesus is earlier in the chapter (Matthew 16:15) and Peter answers correctly in Matthew 16:16 as we can see: “And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
The part that baffles me is, if Peter knows who Jesus is at this point, why would he be so bold as to rebuke him and to his face no less? I am not trying to be self-righteous or anything, but I don’t know if I could do it so boldly like that, if at all. Could you?
In the second part of Matthew 16:22, Peter says, “Be it far from thee, Lord.” I wonder if Peter was trying to be kind and saying, “I hope it isn’t so. I hope they won’t kill you.” Looking at just the middle part of Matthew 16:22, it kind of sounds like Peter is trying to be kind. However, this is why we need to put each word, phrase, and verse into perspective. We need to look at the whole and not just a verse, phrase, or word out of context.
In the last part of Matthew 16:22, Peter flat out tells Jesus, “this shall not be unto thee”. I wonder why Peter thought that he knew better than Jesus in that matter. Peter is human and can’t tell what is going to happen in the future and certainly not better than Jesus. Did Peter think that he could stop it or that Jesus would stop it somehow? What do you think Peter was thinking when he spoke the words written in Matthew 16:22?
It may sound that I am trying to judge Peter or trying to be self-righteous. That is not my intention. I believe it is important to not only read the Bible, but to also ponder and reflect upon the words and meaning. We can learn quite a bit by the actions of those depicted in the Bible. We can read about what they said and did, then ponder and pray about why or how they did it and what God is telling us through their experience.
Another reason that I am not trying to be self-righteous or judge Peter is that I know he is human and humans make mistakes. I also know that I am human and make mistakes. Plus, I know that it is not my place to judge Peter.
The real question for us is, “How do we ‘rebuke’ Jesus with our words or actions?” We may not think of it in that way, but I am guessing at times, we do “rebuke” Jesus through actions or words. Through our actions and words, there are many ways we tell Jesus, “No, it isn’t true. We know better. Our way is better than your way. I want to do it my way and not your way.”
Maybe the verses that baffles us the most are the ones about which we need to pray the most. It could be that God uses our emotions and thoughts to point us in the direction we need to look to reflect on our own words and actions. What do you think?
Thank you for your infinite wisdom and love. Thank you for sending your Son, Jesus, to save us and to be the ultimate roll model in how we should live. Help us to be not only mindful and respectful of that, but to also praise you and honor Jesus’ words instead of to try to do things our own way. Help us to follow Jesus and not contradict his words and your will for us. Help us to learn the message you are giving us. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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Reflective questions for Matthew 16:22 (KJV):
*What does Matthew 16:22 mean to me?
*What does “rebuke” mean to me?
*What made Peter think that he could rebuke Jesus?
*What did Peter mean by his words spoken to Jesus in Matthew 16:22?
*Could I have rebuked Jesus to his face like that?
*What actions or words of mine can be considered as rebuking Jesus?
*What is God telling or showing me in this verse?
*How can I better adhere to the message in this verse?
Now, it is your turn.
I am thankful that you are here. I pray that you are blessed by the Faith Blog. I want to say that I have been blessed to be called to write it. There is quite a bit to take in with today's post. I pray that you ponder it and pray about it. I look forward to your comments, ideas, and feedback. Please, comment below or feel free to contact me. Your ideas are important and they allow us all to learn from each other.
If you find value in the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations, please consider sharing it so others can find value in it as well. You may have friends, family, and church members who may be interested in the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations. It is also a great stepping stone in starting to read the Bible. I do encourage you to read the Bible for yourself and not just take the word of others about what it says.
Also, if you haven't already done so, I encourage you to consider signing up below to receive the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations and other faith content in your inbox. Then, you don't have to remember to look back each week to read the new post. Not only that, but you get a free gift for doing it to help you delve deeper into God's Word. God bless.
“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”
James 1:27 (KJV)
How are you today? Last week, I wrote about James 1:26, which was about fake religion. This week, I chose to write about James 1:27, which is about true or pure religion. Do we ever think about the difference between fake religion and pure religion? Do we ever check ourselves and pray as to which we are practicing?
It is often thought of that religion means going to church on Sunday. Yet, worshiping is only one part of religion. Going to church is only a small part of pure religion. As we see in James 1:27, pure religion includes loving others, because God loves us. It includes doing things such as visiting and helping orphans, widows, sick, poor, and those who have troubles in some way or another. It includes helping a friend, a neighbor, and even a stranger during difficult times. We all have troubles and it is a religious and Christian thing to help others in whatever way we can.
In other words, religion is a lifestyle, not a once a week date at church. It is serving and comforting those in need, not being pious, prim, and proper. Pure religion is serving others with humbleness, not trying to bring all attention to yourself or your deeds. Pure religion is keeping your focus on God and not the various fads of the world.
So, it is time to look into our hearts and see which we are doing? Are we participating in fake religion or pure religion? What is in our heart? God knows so we can’t fool Him. We may be fooling others, and ourselves but we can never fool God.
For many of us, it may be that we are some where in the middle. That isn’t all that good either. We are to love God with our whole heart. Speaking for myself, I have room for improvement. Do you?
Sometimes, I think we get into a routine, where we don’t really think about how we are doing. I think we may go to church or read the Bible or even volunteer at certain events and think we are doing well. Yet, we don’t always take a good look at what we are doing and how well we are following God’s Word and God’s will for us. We think we are doing well, because we aren’t cheating or stealing or breaking any of the commandments of the Old Testament. Yet, are we following the commandment of Jesus? Do we love God with our whole being in all that we do and loving others as ourselves? This is pure religion.
Thank you for your love and guidance. Thank you for giving us your Word in order to know how we should live and what we should do. Help us to work towards pure religion and not fake religion. Help us to serve you and not to be like those in the world, but those in your kingdom. Help us to love you with our whole heart and whole being and to love others as ourselves. Help us to know that this is what you want for us and from us. Help us to look towards Jesus as our true example and to listen to your Holy Spirit for direction. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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Reflective Questions for James 1:27 (KJV):
*What does James 1:27 mean to me?
*Do I practice fake religion or pure religion?
*Is religion a weekly visit to a church or an every day lifestyle practice for
*What can I do different to better practice pure religion?
*Do I stop and check myself often to make sure I am doing my best to
practice pure religion or do I get caught up in the habit without thinking
Now, it is your turn!
I would like to hear your thoughts and comments. Please, comment below. Also, if you are enjoying this blog, please subscribe to get updated content in your inbox and share this blog with your friends. Thank you.
“Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”
Ephesians 6:11 (KJV)
How are you? I hope you are well. In a busy and confusing world, it can be difficult to know and to do the correct thing all the time. Not only that, but we are all tempted from time to time. So, for us who want to do the right thing, what can we do to help us stay on the right track, especially when difficult times come?
We can, as we are called, put on the armor of God. I have read this and heard this many times. Most of the time, I wasn’t sure what it meant really. Yet, as I get older and closer to God, I am starting to get the true meaning of this statement.
You may be wondering, “So, what is the armor of God anyway? And, why out of all the words, the word ‘armor’ was chosen to describe these things?” In Ephesians 6, we see a great description of the whole armor of God. Ephesians 6:13-18 list things such as breastplate of righteousness, shield of faith, helmet of salvation, and sword of the Spirit to help us in any tangles with the devil.
Not all of us have been to war, so we may not really understand how crucial things like breastplates, shields, helmets, and swords are for protection. And, actually, even if we have been to war, most of these items aren’t really used today.
This idea of being is kind of new to me as well. It is something that I didn’t think much about before. Yet, again, as I grow older and as I get closer to God, I can understand and see just what this concept of “war” means. There is a “war” and there are two sides. We are either for God or for the devil. That is the tug of the society that we feel, the difference of opinions, the not knowing what is right, the temptations, the stress, the lost feeling, the violence, the depression, the hate. All of that is provoked by the devil. God’s ways are the way of truth, love, hope, and faith. I don’t know about you, but I am for God. Every moment of every day, we have a choice: do we do something for God or do we do something for the devil? Sadly, sometimes we sin and do something that brings us farther from God and closer to the devil. Thankfully, we all can ask for forgiveness, repent, and get closer to God again.
I guess we could think of life as one big game of tug-o-war, but it isn’t a game at all. There are high stakes at risk here. On one side there is our Heavenly Father, Jesus, and His Holy Spirit and on the other side there is the devil. As we read the Bible, pray, grow in faith, keep the commandments, treat others as we want to be treated, we tug the rope and move ourselves closer to God. As we give into temptation, treat others badly, break the commandments, and sin, we tug the rope and move ourselves closer to the devil. We have multiple choices every day in what we think, do, say, feel, and believe. These thoughts, actions, words, feelings, and beliefs all tug the rope in one direction or the other. It is a war.
In order to resist the tugs of the devil, we need armor to protect us. We get that protection through God. We need to know Him, to believe in Him, to trust Him, and to love Him. We stay close to Him by reading the Bible, praying for ourselves and others, as well as others praying for us, having faith, and through the blood of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit.
Friends, I hope your day is going well. I hope your tugs have been towards God and not away. I pray that these thoughts have blessed someone. And, I pray that you are all cloaked with the full armor of God. God bless you.
Thank you for this day. Thank you for creating us, for being with us, and for giving us the tools we need to navigate through life and to ward off the devil so that we may be on your side of this war. Thank you for sending us your only begotten Son, Jesus, as a role model and savior for us, and your Holy Spirit as our guide and comforter. Thank you for allowing us and encouraging us to come to you in prayer. Help us to grow in faith with each step towards you we take. We thank you and praise you through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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Reflective Questions for Ephesians 6:11 (KJV):
*What does Ephesians 6:11 mean to me?
*How do I feel about the concept of life being one big tug-o-war?
*On which side of the tug-o-war am I? On which side do I want to be? Do
my actions reflect this?
*Am I wearing the full armor of God?
*What can I do better in order to be fully protected with God’s armor?
Now, it is your turn. What are your thoughts?
Leave a comment below. Also, if you would like to receive the Faith Blog posts in your inbox or would like to have questions to reflect upon as you read the Bible, sign up and take advantage of the FREE download below.
“All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”
2 Timothy 3:16-17 (KJV)
How are you today? I am not trying to get nosy or personal here, but do you read the Bible? You don’t have to answer. There is no quiz at the end of the post. It is just a question you can ask yourself. You may also ask yourself, if so, why do you read the Bible or if not, why not.
It might be the same for you, but I have gone through seasons of reading and not reading the Bible. Now, I am definitely in a season of reading the Bible. I enjoy reading the Bible, learning about God’s Word, about God himself, about Jesus, about God’s Holy Spirit, about God’s will for me, about the people in biblical times, and about the lessons God wants me to learn. I now read the Bible for many reasons.
I know that some people are intimidated by reading the Bible. They may have started reading a difficult translation, such as the King James Version, and couldn’t understand it through all the “thees” and “thous” in that particular version. Others may have started at the beginning and tried to read it like a book, which is difficult to do if you are new to reading the Bible, especially for the first time. For others, time or obedience, may be the issue.
Those have all been reasons I haven’t read the Bible at one time or another. So, on a logical level, I understand. Yet, today, I yearn to read the Bible. I want to read God’s Word! Reading the Bible, like prayer, is time I get to spend with God, to learn from God, to know God better, to see the path that God has set for me. It is personal and rewarding. It brings me joy. Each time I read the Bible I see something new, learn something new, and understand something new. That isn’t to say that the words are different, but as I mature and as my needs change, different things about God’s Word catch my eye and tug at my heart. Also, the more I read the Bible, the more I learn and the deeper my understanding goes.
During biblical times, St. Paul wrote a letter to Timothy telling him all about the bad and evil ways of people in “the last days”. (2 Timothy 3) Yet, St. Paul was trying to encourage Timothy by the words at the end of the chapter, saying pretty much that, “It is going to be okay for you. You have God’s Word, and that is all you need to show you the way.”
Just as St. Paul encouraged Timothy, it is one of my prayers and hopes through the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations to encourage you to read, pray, and rely on scriptures for your compass in life. If you feel intimidated or have trouble reading the Bible, please feel free to comment or contact me. I will try to give you some ideas, prayers, and encouragement.
Why Read the Bible?
I go to church, so why do I need to read the Bible? I know for me, I wanted to know why my parents and my church were asking me to do this or that. I wanted to see what the Bible said about things that happened at church and at home. Maybe I was rebellious, but I wanted to know for myself what God said. It isn’t that I distrusted my parents or my minister. (Although, some people and even ministers don’t relay God’s words truthfully.) I just didn’t want to rely on them for the information.
That reason may not be your reason for wanting to read the Bible. Like reading the Bible and learning from the Bible, the reasons to read the Bible are personal. We each have our own set of reasons.
As St. Paul tells Timothy in 3 Timothy 2:16, there is more than one reason to read scriptures. The Bible can be used to teach, to learn, to correct, to discipline, to encourage, to understand, to pray, to talk, and to relate. Often, we will have different reasons to read or proclaim scriptures each time we do it.
Thank you for giving us your holy Word! Thank you for providing scripture for us to read and to use as a compass in our life to show us the path you have set for us. Help us to read and understand the Bible, so that we will know You better, know Jesus better, and know your Holy Spirit better, and know your will for us better. Show us through the Bible the lessons in life you want us to learn. Help us to be better people, better Christians, better neighbors, better friends, better stewards, better ministers, better parents, and better children through reading the Bible. Help us to be healthier and wiser through reading the Bible. Help us to seek you, to praise you, and to worship You more fully, by reading the Bible. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
Reflective Questions to Ask Yourself:
*What does 2 Timothy 3: 16-17 mean to me?
*Do I read the Bible? If so, why? If not, why not?
*Do I want to read the Bible?
*How do I feel reading the Bible?
*What are my Bible reading goals?
*What would help me read the Bible?
What are your thoughts? I would like to read your comments!
I am always open to feedback, comments, and ideas. I would enjoy knowing your thoughts. I am happy to learn from you and encourage you.
Here is a Resource for YOU!
I have created a resource for you to get more out of your Bible reading. They are "5 Reflective Questions to Delve Deeper into God's Word" by DUO Inspirations. They are questions to ask yourself as you read and reflect on the verses you read to understand God's Word at a deeper level. Sign up and start using these reflective questions today!
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.