“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.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
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.
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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.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Reflective questions for Psalms 15:1 (KJV):
*What does Psalms 15:1 mean to me?
*What message is God giving me through Psalms 15:1?
*About what other verse or verses does Psalms 15:1 remind me?
*What do I think King David was thinking when he wrote Psalms 15:1?
*What do I need to better heed God’s message to me in Psalms 15:1?
Now, it is your turn.
I am so glad you are here. I feel that at least one of the things I am called to do through the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations is to encourage people to read God's Word, pray, and rely on God for answers. It is easy to get caught up in worldly things. That is why I believe that we are called to stay close to God.
What are your thoughts? I believe that we can encourage each other and learn from one another. When one is down or confused another can pray and encourage and vice versa. I look forward to reading your comments.
If you find value in Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations, please feel free to share it with others. I pray that it helps people to look into their own lives and find ways to get closer to God in their own faith journey. Also, if you haven't already done so, please feel free to sign up below to receive the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations and other faith content in your inbox. Thank you. God bless.
“If ye love me, keep my commandments.”
John 14:15 (KJV)
How are you? If you read last week’s post of the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations, this verse may look familiar to you. Yes, I used John 14:15 as the focal verse as well. However, if you remember, I used John 14:15 to encourage Christians to have compassion and understanding for new Christians or almost Christians. This week, I will ponder the words in John 14:15 in the way that I normally do with the focal verse.
I believe that the entire chapter of John 14 is of Jesus’ talk with his apostles (and maybe some other disciples) about what is going to happen after his crucifixion. Jesus is reassuring his followers that “everything will be okay” in that they will see him again (John 14:3), even if others don’t and they will have a “Comforter” (John 14:16) after he leaves them.
I can’t even imagine what Jesus’ disciples were thinking and feeling during this talk. It seemed to confuse His apostles. Thomas (John 14:5) and Philip (John 14:8) both asked questions. I think if I were one of them, I would have thought that Jesus was talking in riddles. He was talking about things in the future that they didn’t understand. Can you imagine being an apostle back then and hearing all of this, not knowing what we know now?
Anyway, to me, it seems like John 14:15 is part of an agreement of sorts. Well, maybe more of a testimony of how Jesus and His disciples will be able to realize that they love and care for each other. Before that, Jesus states that He is of the Father and the Father is in him, and that anyone who believes in Jesus, will be able to do greater works than he has done (John 14:11-12). Then, Jesus goes on to say, “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.” (John 14:13-14 KJV)
I believe that Jesus was trying to tell his apostles in this conversation, that he loves them. He knew that they didn’t understand what he was telling them and didn’t know what was going to happen. So, he was trying to reassure them.
Within this conversation, Jesus tells his apostles what they can do to show their love. In John 14:15 (KJV) Jesus says, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”
Have you ever loved some people and looked to them that you wanted to do extra well for them? Have you ever felt like if you could just do so fabulously that it would impress one of these loved ones, that he or she would know just how much you love him or her? I have felt that before. It was a childlike and inexperienced thought or feeling. It wasn’t a feeling that love could be bought. It was just a feeling of love and admiration from someone who was young and caring.
Maybe the words in John 14:15 could be likened to a close-knit family who wanted to keep up the family honor, so they did good out of respect and love for the family. The driving force for the action is love.
As I mentioned in last week’s Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations, sometimes when we hear “If you love me, you will ______” it is a manipulation. The driving force isn’t love at all. However, when Jesus says it, we know it is out of love and truth. We know it isn’t out of manipulation or any alternative motive.
If we love Jesus, we will obey his commandments. Not out of obedience or law, but out of love. We will trust that he knows what is best for us and will only tell us what is good for us. Jesus will only tell us things that will lead to glorifying God and being with Him eternally. What are your thoughts? How do you show Jesus you love him? Do you obey his commandments?
Thank you for your infinite love. Thank you for sending your Son, Jesus, to be our ultimate role model. Help us to remember that you have our best in mind. Help us to realize that the words in John 14:15 was spoken by Jesus out of love, not out of any sort of alternative motive. Help us to show our love of our Savior, Jesus, be keeping his commandments. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Reflective questions for John 14:15 (KJV):
*What does John 14:15 mean to me?
*Have I ever felt like I wanted to show someone that I loved him or her by
doing something extra special that you think he or she would know your
love for him or her?
*Have I ever felt manipulated by an “If you love me…” statement?
*Do I know that Jesus wasn’t being manipulative with this statement?
*Do I show Jesus that I love him by keeping his commandments?
*What message is God giving me in John 14:15?
*What can I do to better heed the words in John 14:15?
Now, it is your turn.
Thank you so much for being here. I appreciate your kindness and support. I enjoy sharing God's Word with you. I pray that you use my little tidbits and ponderings to read God's Word for yourself and pray for understanding. I pray it encourages you to reflect upon yourself and do what you can to grow in your faith. God bless.
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“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.
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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.
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“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.
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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.
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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.
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“Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”
Luke 6:38 (KJV)
How are you? In doing my research for this blog post, it seems that this verse is used to encourage people to tithe or give to a specific cause. However, I am wondering if that is the way this verse is meant to be spoken. In that use, the speaker is seeking something. Yet, in the way Jesus says it, the hearer is the one who will reap its rewards if followed.
I think God probably cringes when we use His Word for our gain. “Will you buy me a new car? The Bible says, ‘It is better to give than to receive.’ (Wink, wink.)” Can you imagine what God is thinking or feeling with this? Sometimes, the message isn’t just what we say, but how we say it.
About what does this verse remind you? At first glance, the “good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over” reminds me of measuring something for a recipe. When scooping flour with a measuring cup, you may think you have the correct amount, but if you tap the measuring cup against the counter the flour will settle and you will find that you don’t have as much flour as you thought. So, my mind thinks, “Jesus is saying that if I give the amount that seems full when I first scoop, I will get back the amount that looks like that amount after that amount settles and more is added to make it look equal. As a matter of fact, it will be more than that, because it will not only be that amount, but running over.”
The part that confuses me with this verse is, “shall men give…”. I know that if we do God’s will, He will reward us, if not in this life, in everlasting life. Yet, people don’t always return kindness with kindness or cruelty with cruelty. People are more apt to return like for like, but not always. What are your thoughts on that? Jesus must have had a reason to say “shall men give…”. Was it to say that “people are more apt to treat others in the same way others treat them”? Or, was there more to the message?
So, what is it that we are measuring? Some, think it is money. Remember the wink, wink? However, to me it seems to be a general rule of life for reaping and sowing. The verses prior to Luke 6:38 talks about not only money (Luke 6:34), but also things like mercy (Luke 6:36), judgment (Luke 6:37) and forgiveness (Luke 6:37) as well.
I think it is just like in gardening. If you plant peas, peas will grow or if you plant beans, beans will grow. I think it is the same with Luke 6:38, if you give money, you will get money or if you give cruelty, you will get cruelty. And, of course, if you give love, you will get love. Maybe that is what the last sentence of the verse means, “For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” If you give someone a pint of berries, you will get an overflowing pint of berries in return. If you give someone love, you will get more love in return.
It may seem strange that this works out, especially when humans are involved. I mean, we may know and believe that God will reward our love, faith, and obedience. But why would it make sense that “shall men give…”?
This is why I like to reflect and find other verses in which the verse reminds me. Sometimes God’s Word is difficult to understand unless we make connections with other verses. After all, God’s Word speaks about heavenly ways and we are used to hearing about worldly ways, so it may seem a bit strange to us at first.
So, why does it make sense that even men could repay like with like or even with more than given? Matthew 7:12 says, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” The Golden Rule, as we call it, tells us to treat others as we would want to be treated. I believe that speaks to the repay same with same, especially if kindness is given.
Matthew 5:40-41 speaks about not only giving, but also giving more. Matthew 5:40 says, “And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.” Nobody wants to be sued, but whether we are compelled through the court or through compassion, I believe we are called to give even more than expected.
We are to ensure that we aren’t the person in debt, but the person who has given more than owed. In that way, we are called to follow Jesus’ example. He gave His life for us, even though He didn’t owe us anything.
Matthew 5:41 reinforces Matthew 5:40. It says, “And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.” We are called to not only give of our earthly possessions, or of our emotions, but of our time and memories as well. We are called to spend more time with someone than even asked.
Like I said, it may seem strange, but even though this is not the way the world is, it is the way it was meant to be. God always calls us to give. God gave man a “help mate”. I believe it wasn’t just because He loved man and didn’t want man to be lonely, but also because He meant people to help one another.
Sadly, things are always as they “should” be, but that doesn’t take away from the truth. Truth is truth. The way God planned things is truth and the way they “should” be.
In the beginning of the post, I mentioned something about a message being not only the words but also how they are used. So, what is the message in Luke 6:38? I think the message is in the first word of the verse, “Give!” Don’t give because it is said in a sermon or because people ask you to give. Don’t give because you feel guilty or embarrassed. Don’t give because you are manipulated. Give because God calls us to give. Give out of compassion and love.
Thank you for your Word. Even though it may seem “strange” at times, because we are used to worldly words, help us to trust in Your Words and in heavenly ways. Oh Lord, help us to not only seek your Word and ways, but to share them in the spirit in which they were intended. Help us to honor you and praise you by following the example of your Son, Jesus, in giving more than we owe or are asked. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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Reflective questions for Luke 6:38 (KJV):
*What does Luke 6:38 mean to me?
*Does Luke 6:38 speak of worldly things, heavenly things, or both?
*What are we to give?
*Of what verses does Luke 6:38 remind me?
*What can I do to better heed the words in Luke 6:38?
If you are interested in "reap what you sow" posts, you might also be interested in this post.
Now, it is your turn.
Luke 6:38 is a large verse. It is quite a bit to take in. We may or may not understand it all. I would like to hear from you though. What are your thoughts and understanding of the verse? Let us all learn from and encourage each other in God's Word.
Thank you for being here. I appreciate your kindness and support. I pray that you are blessed by the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations. If you are finding value in the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations, please share it with your friends, family, and church members. Also, if you haven't done so already, please consider signing up below to receive the Faith Blog and other faith content in your inbox. Thank you.
“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap”
Galatians 6:7 (KJV)
How are you? Today, I want to talk about times when people have said, “Don’t touch this or you will be in trouble.” Or, maybe they said, “Don’t cross this line or you will be sorry.” Then, nothing happened. It is like bullies were warning us to get us scared, hoping that we wouldn’t call their bluff.
These bullies like to manipulate the truth to get others to do what they want. They want to mock others for being afraid of them. They want to keep us down, so they feel strong.
However, when people call the bully’s bluff, they may jeer at the bully, “I touched it. I touched it”, because they touched it and nothing happened. Or, they crossed the line and nothing happened. So, the bully is then mocked. The bully didn’t have the strength or courage to follow through with his or her threats.
With this image and frame of mine, let’s now look at Galatians 6:7. The first part says, “Be not deceived.” That is don’t be mistaken. God can definitely follow through with whatever He says will happen. God has infinite power. God does not trick or manipulate people to get His way. God tells the truth. God is truth.
The second part of the verse says, “God in not mocked.” In other words, God will follow through with whatever He says He will do. There will be no, “I touched it, I touched it,” from sinners who thought they got away with something.
We may “think” we are getting away with things, because our consequences don’t always come immediately. They come in God’s time, not in the time we always think they will come. For example, if we are told we are going to gain weight if we eat something and then don’t gain weight immediately, we may think that we got away with something. However, what we may not know is that it is probably working unseen negative effects on the body and we will end up gaining weight in the long run because of it.
Another example might be, if we smoke after being told it causes cancer and we don’t get cancer right away, we might feel like we got away with something. However, what we might not realize is that sometimes it takes time for the effect of the nicotine to take hold and the cancer to start. It might also be that the cancer is starting inside the body, but we can’t see it yet.
No matter what the unhealthy action and sin we may do, we must not think we “got away with something” if our consequences don’t come immediately. Our consequences may not even come during our time on earth, but we will be judged on whatever we do. Our consequences or rewards will come eventually, in this life or in eternity.
The last part of Galatians 6:7 (KJV) says, “for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” When consequences don’t come immediately, we may forget or not believe that they will come. Yet, again, God doesn’t lie. He tells the truth and is truth. Even if we forget about them, the consequences are coming.
It may also be that the consequences are put to us in worldly terms, but the consequences are according to God’s law and not worldly law. For example, we may “steal something” and not get caught. So, we won’t go to jail and “pay” for the crime. So, we may think that we “got away with something”. However, that is worldly law. God still knows that we stole something and He will still give us His consequences.
If we do good things and follow God’s Word, we will reap the rewards He promises. On the other hand, if we sin and don’t heed God’s Word, we will reap the consequences He promises as well. Even if we don’t see the rewards or consequences in this life, we can be sure that we will see them in eternity. As it says in the beginning of the verse, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked.”
Thank you for your Word. Thank you for the truth and direction you give us. Help us to heed your words and to remember that consequences and rewards are coming according to your Word, even if they don’t come in the time we may expect. We ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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Reflective questions for Galatians 6:7 (KJV):
*What does Galatians 6:7 mean to me?
*About what does Galatians 6:7 make me think?
*How can I relate Galatians 6:7 to a situation in today’s world?
*What do I need to do to better heed the words in Galatians 6:7?
Now, it is your turn.
I am so glad that you are here. I appreciate your kindness and support. I feel blessed to write the Faith Blog. I feel God has called me to do so. I pray before I write and trust God to give me the words and message that He wants written. I pray you are blessed by it also.
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I look forward to your thoughtful comments. Please, feel free to comment below or to contact me.
“Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.”
Proverbs 16:24 (KJV)
How are you? I hope you are well. There are many verses in the Bible about the power of words. Yet, do we really think about that power in our every day lives? Words must be powerful, after all, God spoke the world into existence. Words can be powerful in a negative and in a positive way, depending on what we say and how we say it. Yet, in the case of Proverbs 16:24, words can make a powerful and positive difference.
Let’s look at the first part of Proverbs 16:24, “Pleasant words are as an honeycomb…”. As important as words are to God and how powerful He knows them to be, there must be a reason that the word “honeycomb” was chosen over the word “honey”. So, I did some research about honey versus honeycomb. It seems that as one may expect, honeycomb and the honey within it is healthier for you than the honey we buy from the store. It is in its natural element and how God made it to be, instead of processed and extracted. Honey has many, many nutrients and is good for us in so many ways, but honeycomb has even more and is even better for us.
When we speak, do we take time to think about whether we are using “pleasant” words or not? Let’s look at the word “pleasant” for a moment. What does pleasant mean? I think we can all agree that hearing a loved one tell us that they love us is pleasant. I think sometimes, other things might get a little cloudy in our mind as to whether or not it is “pleasant” or not.
For example, if you tell someone who has on a hat that you do not like, that they have a “beautiful hat” and you like how it looks on them, is that considered “pleasant words”? Some people may say “yes” because the words seem nice, polite, and even encouraging. Yet, is it really pleasant and encouraging when we are told lies, no matter how nicely they are put? I don’t know about you, but I would rather know the truth. I would like it to be said as nicely as possible, but I would rather hear the truth, so that I know that I can trust that person with other things. (Whether or not a hat is liked or not seems like it is of no real consequence, but if someone lies with little things, will they lie about bigger things?) We can dislike something and still say something nice that is honest and more meaningful like, “That hat isn’t my style, but if you like it, I am glad you are wearing it.” (The latter is not only honest, but it also acknowledges that people have different styles, and encourages people to be themselves.)
Even if we are rebuked for doing something that goes against God’s will for us in a kindly way, it can be pleasant for us in the most “heavenly” use of the word. We want to do our best for God and to serve Him in the way that He calls us to do so. We want to be close to God and to receive the gifts and love He has for us.
To me, it isn’t only the words that are called to be pleasant, but the way we speak the words as well. Words as simple as “yes” and “no”, can be spoken in a nasty tone or demeanor, or a pleasant tone and demeanor. The words still have the same meaning, “yes” means “yes” and “no” means “no”. However, they can help or hurt, in the manner in which they are spoken. For example, in Proverbs 15:1 (KJV), God tells us, “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.” I think most of us have probably experienced both “soft words” and “grievous words” and can understand the difference.
Now, that we have pondered the meaning of “pleasant words” for a while, let’s look at the second part of Proverbs 16:24 (KJV), “…sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.” Can you imagine that every time you speak, you have the power to bring someone sorrow, hardship, depression, anger, sadness, and even ill health or death or you have the power to bring encouragement, truth, love, kindness, happiness, empathy, or even heath and life? That is a huge consideration and responsibility. Yet, God wouldn’t have told us this if it wasn’t important for us to learn.
I know that for me, it makes a difference how and what people speak to me. Encouragement and truth have empowered me and brought me joy, while mean words and lies have hurt and discouraged me. Can you relate?
Many of us have heard, “Don’t say things in anger” or “think before you speak”. The words in Proverbs 16:24 is a good reason for these sayings. The question is, “Will we understand the importance and heed these words?”
Thank you for your heavenly love and direction. Thank you for the message and instructions you gave us through Proverbs 16:24. Help us to understand the power of our words and help us to speak “pleasant words” to each other, so that our words will be “sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.” Also, help us to realize that when we heed your words, we glorify you.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Reflective questions for Proverbs 16:24 (KJV):
*What does Proverbs 16:24 mean to me?
*Do I think before I speak?
*Do I speak “softly” and with “pleasant words”?
*Do I understand the power of words?
*How can I better heed God’s words in Proverbs 16:24?
Now, it is your turn.
I am so glad you are here. I pray that God is encouraging you and making the words in the Faith Blog to be "sweet to the soul, and health to the bones" for you. I also pray that these words help you to read and ponder God's Word for yourself.
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I look forward to reading your thoughts, comments, prayer request, prayers, questions, and suggestions. Hopefully, they are said in "pleasant words", but I look forward to them. Feel free to comment below or contact me. Thank you for your support and kindness. I appreciate it.
“Prepare thy work without, and make it fit for thyself in the field; and afterwards build thine house.”
Proverbs 24:27 (KJV)
How are you? Are you a planner? Some people like to plan and some people do not. However, we are often called to plan. Let’s look at Proverbs 24:27 for an example. It seems to be instruction on literally making a house, which it could possibly be. Yet, I believe it is good advice for many situations.
The first part of Proverbs 24:27 (KJV) says, “Prepare thy work without”. In a physical sense, like in building a house, you have to do some of the preparations before you can even bring the materials to the home site. You have to cut the trees, mill the lumber, make the floor plans, and things like that before you can even think about starting to actually build a house. (We may not cut down our own trees and mill our own wood any more, but it still fits.)
We can look at it in a spiritual and emotional way as well. We often have dreams and ideas that we find desirable. Sometimes, though, we leap before we look. Before we get all excited to the point of really, really wanting something, it is good to do some thinking and some research. Once we internalize things and feel passionate about it, we often do not want to turn back or listen to reason. We just want it.
If we look at the second part of Proverbs 24:27 (KJV), it says, “and make it fit for thyself in the field…”. In our house building experience, that is in keeping with milling, cutting, and planing the lumber before you bring it to the house site.
There are reasons not to bring it to the house site first. There are practical reasons, such as it belongs at the mill or you don’t want to spend extra gas money bringing to the house and then taking it to the lumber mill. You may also not want the lumber under foot while you are digging and pouring the foundation.
The same considerations can be made in our spiritual and emotional examples. For example, we want to keep things in their place. We want to keep work things at work and home things at home and not let stress build up between them. We can also think about what fits for our life and our situation at the moment. Just because someone else does it one way, doesn’t mean that it is the way we need to go. Our “fit” might not be the same as someone else’s “fit”. This is the same for physical fit, emotional fit, financial fit, spiritual fit, social fit, time fit, talent fit, and other kinds of “fit”. So, before we take on things we may really want to do or are asked to do by others, we need to consider our “fit” for it.
Now, let’s look at the third part of Proverbs 24:27 (KJV). It says, “…and afterwards build thine house.” Does this sound a little like, “don’t put the cart before the horse”? Or, maybe it sounds like, “There is a time and place for everything.” All these verses are not only good advice, but biblically based, which is what we want in our life.
Whether we are building a house or reading God’s Word, or anything in between, we can heed the words in Proverbs 24:27. We talked about the building of the house and that we need to research what it entails, make the plans, draft the floor plan, and get the supplies ready, before we even start to build the house. It is the same with reading God’s Word. We need to sit quietly, prepare our hearts, make sure we have time to read, and then read, study, and pray God’s Word. It is then, that we are ready to internalize it and accept God’s gift of making it a reality in our life.
Maybe that last part is the point when we ask God for something that seems good, but we don’t seem to get it. We may “WANT” something, but God may know that we are not ready to accept His gift of it. We may need to “prepare our work without and make it fit for ourselves in the field” first.
Before I close, I want to consider another way we can think of these words. We know that our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. So, let’s consider that as “our house”. Wholesome food is grown in the garden and not in a laboratory. We prepare a field for gardening and make sure the soil is fertile. We plant the seeds and work the gardens. We also harvest the food and wash it, before we end up eating it so it can nourish us. We can’t eat it before we do all the other things and we shouldn’t eat it, if it isn’t from God, like the wholesome foods from a garden. After all, the verse doesn’t say, “prepare it in a laboratory”.
I don’t know. It might be a reach to look at it in this way. However, I pray before I write and God brought the thought to my mind. I think it can fit. Does it “fit” for you?
Thank you for being our Heavenly Father and for loving us the way you do. Thank you for giving us guidance in the way we should live. Help us to take time to plan things out, research, and set a firm foundation, before we internalize it and go forward with our plans. You know what is a “fit” for us and when, but help us to lean on you and to follow YOUR plan instead of our own in your timing. Help us to ready ourselves to receive and accept your gifts, instead of just getting impatient if we don’t get what we want right away. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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Reflective questions for Proverbs 24:27 (KJV):
*What does Proverbs 24:27 mean to me?
*What does “prepare thy work without” mean to me?
*What does “and make it fit for thyself in the field” mean to me?
*What is God trying to teach me with Proverbs 24:27?
*How can I better live my life to heed the words in Proverbs 24:27?
Now, it is your turn.
I am so thankful you are here. I pray that you find value in the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations. I value your thoughts. Please, feel free to leave a comment and let me know your thoughts. If you do find value in the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations, please share it with friends, family, and church family members. Let us all strengthen each other in God's Word.
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“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
2 Chronicles 7:14 (KJV)
How are you? Today’s verse, 2 Chronicles 7:14, is a long one with many parts to it. In researching and praying about the verse, I have found that there are many interpretations of the verse. As always, I pray that you read God’s Word, pray, and research yourself for the meaning of the verse. However, I would like to give you some food for thought.
First of all, it is interesting to notice that this is an “If/then statement.” We read, if this happens, then that will happen. It is one of those times when we are called to know and understand that even though God has unconditional love, His actions and answers to prayer are not necessarily unconditional. Out of His unconditional love, He tries to discipline His people and teach them right from wrong, so that they will seek Him and do His will for them.
The first part of 2 Chronicles 7:14, says, “If my people…”. And, actually, that first part of “my people” is clarified further by “which are called by my name...”. I have noticed in my research that there is disagreement among interpreters as to who is meant by “If my people, which are called by my name…”.
At the time, it was meant for God’s chosen people, the Israelites. However, since God’s Word, like God himself, transcends all time, and since God opened up his Word to everyone to have the opportunity to believe, I think it is meant for all believers and followers of God. What are your thoughts?
Another thing to point out about 2 Chronicles 7:14 before I go much further is that this isn’t the only time that God has said these basic words. He has warned and encouraged His people time and time again with these words. And, this isn’t the first time God has said these words. There had been other times in history where these words were said and things were good for a while, but then the Israelites turned away from God and His commands and started worshipping idols, so God brought the famine or exile or promised consequence until His people listened to His message to “humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways”.
We are called to do four different things in 2 Chronicles 7:14. We are called to humble ourselves, to pray, to seek God’s face, and to turn from our wicked ways. Let’s look at that first one, especially.
I think to humble ourselves is difficult for all of us, because of our human nature. What does it mean to humble ourselves? I think if we were to put it simplistically, it would mean to not think that we know it all, because we don’t. To humble ourselves might mean to apologize, even though it may seem like we are making ourselves look weak or wrong. In a way, being humble is being honest and kind. We don’t know it all, God does. So, if we are honest, we will show that in our words and actions. If we are kind, we will care about others and be honest, take responsibility for our actions, even our mistakes and apologize. We wouldn’t want to hurt someone or do something wrong without making amends and helping the other feel better. Being humble is showing that we don’t think we are bigger, stronger, more important, smarter, or better than anyone else, including God.
Once we realize these things, it seems easier to pray, to ask God for forgiveness, to be honest, to admit our faults and limitations, to turn to God and to seek Him, as well as to ask God for help and for guidance. As we turn to God and get closer to Him, it will be easier for us to turn from our wicked ways.
Isn’t it wonderful that God loves us and gives us a schematic in the way we should go!?! It is such a blessing that God loves us so much to be not just our Creator, but also our Heavenly Father. He cares enough to be a loving parent, to teach us right from wrong, to reward us if we do right, to show us the way to go and what is best for us, and to love us like we have never been loved before.
There is one other point that I want to bring up. Right now, we are going through a pandemic. People are fighting about rights. There are arguments about whether or not we should get vaccinated and whether or not we should be required to wear masks. There are people struggling, losing life, losing money, losing jobs, worrying about loved ones, working under pressure, and many other things with this pandemic. I wouldn’t hesitate to say, that no matter which side of the arguments or theories we are on, we are probably all tired of the pandemic.
So, it might be interesting to look at the pandemic in light of 2 Chronicles 7:14 and other similar verses. Does that mean I am saying that God created the pandemic? NO! I am not saying that at all. I don’t know whether God created it or is allowing it or what. Are we being called to learn a lesson from the pandemic? Are we being called to humble ourselves, to pray, to turn to God, and to turn from our wicked ways, so that God can heal our land?
No matter our thoughts on the pandemic, it might do us well and to show God our love to humble ourselves, to go to Him in prayer, to seek His will for us and His guidance in this situation, and to turn from our wicked ways.
I know. It is difficult at times to think that anything we do is really wicked. However, that isn’t the point. It is good to know that we are sinners and big or small, sin is sin. So, no matter how good we think we are, we can still learn from this verse.
Thank you for being our Creator and our Heavenly Father. Thank you for loving us and guiding us. Help us to put our trust in you and to follow your will for us. Help us to live according to your Word. Help us realize your love and be thankful for it. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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Reflective questions for 2 Chronicles 7:14 (KJV):
*What does 2 Chronicles 7:14 mean to me?
*Do I understand that God truly loves me, even enough to discipline me?
*Do I understand the difference between unconditional love and unconditional doing things for others?
*Do I understand that showing our loved ones the difference between right
and wrong is a wonderful form of love?
*What is God teaching me through 2 Chronicles 7:14?
*Is God teaching me something through the pandemic or other hardships?
*How can I reframe my thinking to better understand 2 Chronicles 7:14?
Now, it is your turn.
Thank you for being here. I appreciate your kindness and support. I look forward to reading your comments and ideas. What are your ideas and comments in regards to 2 Chronicles 7:14? What is God trying to teach you through those words? Do you think we can relate those words to the pandemic?
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“Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”
Psalms 16:11 (KJV)
How are you? I hope and pray that you are well. Today, I would like to talk a bit about joy. Do you feel joyful? Do you know what joy feels like? I think we may have fleeting moments of joy. I think we may be happy over this or that circumstance in our life. But, most often, it fades away as circumstances change.
It is like, we can think about and imagine how sad it is to lose a loved one, but we never know until it happens to us. We can empathize and try to sympathize with our friends and neighbors as it happens to them, but we can’t truly know their sadness until it happens to us.
On the flip side, we can hear about how joyous it is to have a child and to hold our baby in our hands for the first time, but unless we have a child and experience it for ourselves, we don’t truly know that joy. We can only imagine.
So, with this in mind, we can start to imagine the monumental encouragement in this verse. We can only imagine what the psalmist is thinking or feeling. We can tell that he puts his trust in God and has great hope for the future and everything God promises.
Let’s look at the first part of Psalms 16:11. It says, “Thou wilt shew me the path of life.” The psalmist has great faith and trust in God. It doesn’t say, “Please, show me the path to life.” It doesn’t say, “Will you show me the path of life.” It doesn’t even say, “If I am good, you will show me the path of life.” The psalmist is very positive and sure of the outcome. He has complete faith and trust in God. Do we have such trust in God?
In Matthew 21:22, it says, “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” It seems to me that the psalmist shows that sort of faith in exclaiming that God will show him the path of life. Do we go to God with that same unwavering faith?
The second part of Psalms 16:11 says, “In thy presence is fulness of joy.” I think this is where we need to consider that we don’t even know what joy means at this point. We may have experience a partial joy in different moments of our life. However, I don’t think we can even wrap our head around the idea of what “fulness of joy” could even mean in reality. We might think we can imagine a joy so magnificent and so total as being in God’s presence forever. I just don’t think it is possible to even imagine the joy we will feel.
The last part of Psalms 16:11 says, “…at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” I am not sure if the psalmist could even know or imagine just how wonderful and majestic these pleasures may be. I don’t know that any of us can. However, we can see his belief, trust, faith, and passion in this verse.
The psalmist may not have fully understood his own statement in Psalms 16:11. Although, he believed what God told him through prayer and scriptures about leading him to eternal life and the joy of being in the presence of God for eternity.
Thank you for your infinite love and faithful guidance. Thank you for your mercy and grace. Help us to value your Word and take to heart your truth as did the psalmist is Psalms 16:11. Help us to pray and rejoice with the same confidence and faithfulness that the psalmist did. Thank you for showing us your ways and your love for us. Help us to love and appreciate all you do for us. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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Reflective questions for Psalms 16:11 (KJV):
*What does Psalms 16:11 mean to me?
*Do I know what “fulness of joy” really means?
*Can I imagine what it would be to be in God’s presence forever?
*Can I see and feel the belief, trust, faith, and passion of the psalmist?
*Do I have this same sort of belief, trust, faith, and passion?
*What does God want me to learn from Psalms 16:11?
*How can I better heed the words in Psalms 16:11?
Now, it is your turn.
I am thankful that you are here. I appreciate your support and kindness. I hope and pray that I will find the belief, hope, faith, love, and passion that the psalmist shows in Psalms 16:11. I believe God is working on me with this. I hope and pray that you will find it also, if you haven't already.
I look forward to reading your comments, thoughts, beliefs, faith, and testimonies. Please, feel free to leave a comment below or to contact me.
I pray that you are finding value with the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations. I pray that it at least touches your heart and gets you to thinking or encourages you to read God's Word more. If you are finding value with the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations, please share it with friends and family. Thank you.
Also, if you haven't done so already, you may want to consider signing up below to receive the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations and other faith content in your inbox. Get my free gift of the "5 Reflective Questions to Delve Deeper into God's Word" by DUO Inspirations as my thank you. I pray it helps you to get more out of God's Word as you read it.
“Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”
John 6:54 (KJV)
How are you? I pray you are well, if not physically, then spiritually. Today’s verse may be difficult to understand. When one reads John 6:54, it might seem a bit cannibalistic. Whoever heard of eating someone’s flesh and drinking someone’s blood and having eternal life?
I can imagine that back when the words were written, many people were wondering just that. At least now, over 2000 years later, we have had time to get used to the idea that this is the Bible. It is God’s Word. And, those who believe in God, mostly believe that to be true. I can only imagine what were going through the minds of the people who first heard these words when Jesus spoke them. What do you think?
Now, let’s look at the meaning of John 6:54. As we know, Jesus often didn’t say things right out plainly. He often said things in parables or metaphors. The concepts He taught were difficult for people to understand. Not only that, but not everyone was meant to know and understand things right away.
The first part of John 6:54 says, “Whoso eateth my flesh….” Jesus wasn’t talking about physically eating his flesh, so what did He mean? I think the key to knowing that is in looking at some of the other metaphors Jesus uses about himself.
Earlier in the chapter, in John 6:35, Jesus says, “…I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” John 6:35 is similar to John 6:54 in that they both talk about taking Jesus in as nourishment. To me, John 6:35 states it a little more plainly in stating Jesus is the “Bread of life”. However, Jesus isn’t talking about physical nourishment, but spiritual nourishment.
Another metaphor that speaks about Jesus can be found in John 1:14, which says, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” So, is Jesus physically the Bible? Again, I believe it is a metaphor. Jesus knows all that is in the Bible. He spoke the same words. He knows and taught the same truth. Just like the Bible contains the physical words of God’s will and is often considered to be like a road map to eternal life, Jesus spoke the words that lead to eternal life. Yet, this metaphor goes a little more in depth, because Jesus is the key or way to eternal life. If one doesn’t believe in Jesus, his words, his miracles, his death and resurrection, his being Christ, his being our Savior, or all he did for us, one won’t have eternal life.
So, how do we take Jesus in as nourishment? How do we benefit from the “Bread of life” and the “Word that was made flesh”? We get to know Him. We spend time with Him and build a relationship with Him. We read the Bible and learn all we can about Him and God’s will for us. We believe.
Let’s now look at the second part of John 6:54 where Jesus says, “…and drinketh my blood…” Again, Jesus isn’t talking about literally and physically drinking his blood. No. I believe that Jesus is talking about following in his footsteps and following his ways. Blood is often a symbol for sacrifice. I believe that Jesus is saying here that we are to be willing to not only believe in Him, but also to give our physical life (if necessary) to follow God’s will for us and for the good of others.
To me, John 6:54 is both similar to and points to Mark 12:30, which says, “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.” If we spend time with Jesus, believe in Him, get to know Him, read the Bible, get to know God, and appreciate all that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit does for us, and be willing to follow Jesus even including sacrificing our physical life to do God’s will, then we are following this first commandment and will gain eternal life.
Thank you for loving us so much that you gave us Jesus as our brother and Lord and Savior. Thank you for giving us Jesus as the Word and Way to eternal life. Thank you for the love and salvation you have given us. Help us to love you and show you our appreciation. Help us to follow Jesus according to your will. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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Reflective questions for John 6:54 (KJV):
*What does John 6:54 mean to me?
*What does Jesus mean when he says, “eateth my flesh”?
*What does Jesus mean when he says, “drinketh my blood”?
*Do I understand John 6:54 or should I research and pray more?
*How can I better live and follow the words in John 6:54?
Now, it is your turn.
Have I confused you yet? I feel like I John 6:54 is so in depth, that I could write a mini book or pamphlet on it. However, to me, the main point is that if we believe in Jesus and follow him with all that we have and do, if we love and appreciate what he did for us (all God does for us), then we will gain eternal life. What do you think?
I am so glad you are here. May God bless you for your kindness and support. If you are finding value with the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations, please share it with others. Maybe your family and friends, including your church family, will find value in it as well. Also, if you haven't already done so, you may want to consider signing up below to receive the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations and other faith content in your inbox. (You will get my free gift of the "5 Reflective Questions to Delve Deeper into God's Word" by DUO Inspirations in the process.) Thank you.
“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”
Proverbs 17:22 (KJV)
How are you today? How are you feeling? Are you happy in life? Do you have a positive outlook or a negative one? When stress hits, do you handle it well or do you let it handle you? It is good to self-reflect on such things once in a while. It is even better to pray and to ask God how you are doing in such areas. Now, that we have acknowledged our feelings and reflected on our outlook, let’s delve into God’s Word.
The first part of Proverbs 17:22 says, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine”. This verse is wonderful encouragement to have a positive outlook instead of a negative one. When you are happy overall, when you trust God and fear nothing but Him, and when you are able to find joy even though others cannot, you go a long way in staying healthy, not only emotionally, but spiritually and physically as well.
Let’s look at the phrase, “like a medicine” for a moment. Medicine can sometimes be a controversial topic. Some believe that medicine, or at least man-made medicine does more harm than good. Others take medicine as needed and believe it is what is needed to help, if not cure their ailment and condition. However, we look at it, we know from the context that the author meant “medicine” to be a good thing just as a “merry heart” is a good thing and causes good things to happen.
The second part of Proverbs 17:22 says, “but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” We have all probably felt down or depressed at one time or another. As people who have chronic depression can testify, being depressed can be debilitating not only emotionally, but also physically and spiritually as well. Even feeling down or depressed for a short time, we can sometimes notice how it changes our physical and spiritual health in a negative way too.
I know there have been times when I have felt down or depressed and I felt old. I felt slow, unstable, unsure of myself, and hesitant. My posture was kind of hunched over and my body ached. I just felt bad overall. Have you ever felt like that? I hope you haven’t, but if you have, you know the feeling I mean.
So, if we are down or depressed, how can we have the “merry heart” instead of the “broken spirit”? We can try things like listening to music, talking with a friend, smiling or laughing (even for no reason), taking up a hobby that we might enjoy, Christian fellowship, going to church, or any number of things. However, there is only one true way.
Here are some verses that can help:
“Ye shall walk in all the ways which the LORD your God hath commanded you, that ye may live, and [that it may be] well with you, and [that] ye may prolong [your] days in the land which ye shall possess.”
Deuteronomy 5:33 (KJV)
“But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.”
Matthew 19:26 (KJV)
“And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”
Matthew 17:20 (KJV)
“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”
Isaiah 41:10 (KJV)
“Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.”
Mark 11:24 (KJV)
“And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.”
Luke 18:27 (KJV)
So, if we are down or depressed, if we can only remember Proverbs 17:22 and other verses that encourage us to find joy in the Lord. It will be better for us not only emotionally, but also physically and spiritually as well. Before we think, “Oh, it is not my fault I am depressed. I can’t just be happy”, we have to remember that only part of that is partially true. The cause of our depression may not be something we did or created. And, while we may not be able to “just be happy”, all things are possible with God. We can’t do anything alone and that is good to remember. However, we need to pray and call on God for help. He can help us find the joy we need. We need to remember that as well.
Thank you for being our Father in heaven. Thank you for loving in a way that we couldn’t even imagine. We know that you are a loving God, a Father of all Fathers, and we know that you only want what is best for us. If we are down and depressed, either for a short time or chronically, help us to remember your infinite love and to call on you to bring us out of our depression. Help us to find joy in You, Lord. Help us to remember your Word, in Proverbs 17:22 in times us despair. Be our strength and hold on for us, when we don’t know how ourselves. Touch our mind, our heart, and our spirit, so that we can see and appreciate your work in our life. Help us to reach up to you, even when we don’t think we have the strength to reach anywhere at all. Help us to find the hope and joy you want us to find. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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Reflective questions for Proverbs 17:22 (KJV):
*What does Proverbs 17:22 mean to me?
*Am I happy in life?
*Do I have a positive or negative outlook on life?
*Do I handle stress well or do I let stress handle me?
*What can I do to live according to the words in Proverbs 17:22 better?
*When I am down, do I pray and ask God to help me through it?
*What can I do to remember to rely on God instead of letting things get me
*What can I do better in order to have a “merry heart”?
Now, it is your turn.
I am so thankful that you are here. I pray that you are blessed by the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations. And, if you are depressed or down, I pray that this particular post touches you in a special way and I pray that you reach out to God for help, strength, and joy. He can help. Whether He helps supernaturally or gives you help through a verse, a thought, a song, a friend, or whatever, He can help. And, most of all, He WANTS to help. He loves you greatly!
Please, feel free to comment below or contact me. Feel free to share your story, leave a prayer for those who may be suffering from depression or hardship, or just to let me know your thoughts on Proverbs 17:22.
If you find value in the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations, please share it with friends and family, so that they can as well. Also, 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. You will also receive, as my gift, "5 Reflective Questions to Delve Deeper into God's Word". Thank you for you kindness and support.
“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.
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“Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed: but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded.”
Proverbs 13:13 (KJV)
How are you today? Last week I pondered the words in Psalms 119:127 and how the psalmist cherished God’s Word more than the finest gold. You can read it here. Proverbs 13:13 is similar to Psalms 119:127 in that it too shows that we are to cherish God’s Word and commandments.
Let’s look at the first part of Proverbs 13:13 (KJV). It says, “Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed.” What does the “destroyed” mean? To tell you the truth, I am not sure I want to find out. However, if we truly think of God as our Heavenly Father, we know that like any good parent, He only wants what is best for us. His Word will lead us to this goodness. “Destroyed” could be hardship in this life, as in if we don’t follow God’s Word and kill someone we could be sent to jail or even sentenced to death. I would guess that would be a way of being destroyed. Or, maybe we don’t follow God’s Word and we don’t trust Him, so we worry ourselves to death. That could be a way of being destroyed.
While these extreme examples of how not listening to God and how they can destroy us in this life, the worst way it can destroy us is in eternal life, or shall I say eternal death. It may be difficult to deal with the consequences of not following God’s Word in this life, I can’t imagine suffering the consequences in the eternity. I don’t want to be destroyed in this life or in eternity. Do you?
Now that we know we don’t want to be destroyed, let’s look at the second part of Proverbs 13:13 (KJV), “but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded.” It might be nice to know that the word “commandment” here doesn’t just refer to what we call the “Ten Commandments”, but to God’s Word and commands or will for us in general. I believe it means not only what God commands us in scripture, but also through prayer. What about you?
Another word to look at in the second part of Proverbs 13:13 (KJV) is the word “feareth”. What does “feareth the commandment” mean to you? Usually, when I think about “fear” I think about being so afraid of something that I don’t want to be near it. I want to turn and run away from something that I fear. (Insert a picture of a snake chasing me as I think, “feet don’t fail me now.”) However, this isn’t the meaning here. After all, God wants us close to Him and not far from Him. God wants us to cherish His word, to know it, read it, listen to it, and love it always. God doesn’t want us to run away from His Word.
This kind of fear is more of a reverence and respect. It is a fear of going against it, because of the terrible consequences, such as destruction and eternal death. It is like an extreme desire of wanting to do the right thing, to not disappoint God, and to follow His will, not only because we don’t want the consequences of doing something wrong, but also because we love Him and we know He loves us.
I like the last part of Proverbs 13:13 the most. I like the part about …”he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded”. I like the idea of being close to God throughout eternity. That is the ultimate reward for those who follow His Word. It is also another great reason to read the Bible. If we don’t know God’s Word, it is difficult to fear or follow it.
Two posts in a row about cherishing and following God’s Word. Can you tell that I am encouraging you to read scripture for yourself and follow God’s will for you? Like I said before, I am finding that the more I read God’s Word, the more I do cherish it.
Thank you for being our Father in Heaven. Thank you for you holy Word and for giving us a path to you. Help us to read and follow your Word as a way of life, this life and eternal life with you. Help us to take in, understand, and cherish your Word. Help us to be closer to you, now and in eternity. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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Reflective questions for Proverbs 13:13 (KJV):
*What does Proverbs 13:13 mean to me?
*What does “despiseth” mean to me?
*What does “destroyed” mean to me?
*Do I despise God’s Word?
*Do I cherish God’s Word?
*How do my actions show what I think of God’s Word?
*What does “feareth the commandment” mean to me?
*Do I fear the commandment of God? How do I show it?
*What does “shall be rewarded” mean to me?
*How can I better live according to the words in Proverbs 13:13?
Now, it is your turn.
I am thankful that you are here. I pray that you are finding value and even being blessed by the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations. I look forward to your comments. I enjoy reading your thoughts, understanding, and ideas. It helps us all to learn.
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“Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold.”
Psalms 119:127 (KJV)
How are you? Today’s post comes from Psalm 119, which is considered one of the “Pilgrimage Songs”. The human author of the psalm is unknown, however, the important point is it is part of God’s Word and God is the ultimate author.
Let me start by asking you, “What is your most prized possession?” I don’t mean family, friends, and other loved ones. I mean a tangible item, a possession. It could be something of great monetary value, maybe a house or a vehicle. It could be an inheritance from a loved one that has invaluable sentimental value with any amount of monetary value. Maybe it is something that has no monetary value at all, but it “means the world” to you for a personal reason. I don’t know. Whatever it is, keep it in mind and keep how much you cherish it in mind. Also, keep the reason you cherish it in mind.
Here is another question for you, before I actually start specifically pondering today’s verse. Do you have a favorite sentiment, saying, or quote that someone you know says that moves you, encourages you, endears you to him or her, or is valuable to you in one way or another? Who says it? How do you feel when he or she says it? Remember that feeling.
Okay, now, let’s look at the psalmists words in Psalms 119:127 (KJV) “Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold.” In a worldly way, some people feel that gold (precious metals/jewels) is the most valuable thing on earth. I am guessing the psalmist chose to make the comparison to gold, because of the worldly thinking that if you have gold you are rich and have something valuable. The comparison doesn’t stop there. No. The psalmist wants to stress his point, so he compares his feelings for the commandments with not only gold, but also the purest and highest quality gold.
With this comparison, we know that the psalmist holds God’s commandments near and dear to his heart. They are worth more to him than even the finest gold. The psalmist seeks the heavenly way of life instead of the worldly way of life. He treasures God’s commands, God’s will, and God’s Word instead of gold and other worldly riches. Psalm 119 is full of reasons why the psalmist holds the commandments with such high regard. How do you rank God’s commandments in the list of things that you cherish and love?
Psalm 119 in general, but also Psalms 119:127 specifically shows us the importance God’s Word and God’s commandments and how much we should cherish them. If we take this a bit deeper, Psalms 119:127 gives us a great reason to read our Bible. It is difficult to know God’s Word, God’s will, and God’s commandments if we don’t read the Bible.
Thank you for your Word! Help us to cherish it, seek it, and abide by it above any earthly treasure. Help us to love your Word and your commandments more than the finest gold. Help us to love you and to seek your will and your Word above all else. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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Reflective questions for Psalms 119:127 (KJV):
*What does Psalms 119:127 mean to me?
*Do I cherish God’s Word and commandments as much as the psalmist does?
*How do I show where I rank God’s commandments in my life?
*Do I know all that God commands and expects of me or wants for me?
*Do I read the Bible?
*How can I know God’s commands, if I don’t read the Bible?
*How can I better live and appreciate the words in Psalms 119:127?
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“Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”
Matthew 5:11-12 (KJV)
How are you? Before I get to today’s passage, I would like to kind of ponder the scene during the Sermon on the Mount for a bit and the words relayed to us by Matthew, especially during the beginning. What do you imagine the Sermon on the Mount looking like?
Obviously we weren’t there and don’t really know the look and feel of the Sermon on the Mount. However, I kind of imagine that Jesus was sitting on a rock or outcropping of some sort. His closest friends and followers were sitting next to Him. These closest friends and followers probably came to the Sermon on the Mount with Jesus. Then, a crowd of people from the general public probably sat out from there. People in the crowd were probably made up of various groups of people. Some may have heard about Jesus and wanted to hear Him speak. Others may have been there in hopes of being healed. Others may have been there to “spy” in order to go back to the Pharisees and gossip about what Jesus said. We don’t know.
Yet, when Jesus spoke the words in Matthew 5:3-10, I believe He was probably speaking rather loudly, so the crowd could hear Him. (I don’t think they had a public announcement system back in the day, especially one that could be used on a mountain. I do wonder if Jesus was speaking through a horn or something to help His voice carry or if supernaturally He made it so everyone could hear Him.)
Although, when Jesus got to the words in Matthew 5:11-12, I can sort of imagine Him leaning in with a tender loving look on His face and telling his closest followers, “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” (KJV) Or, maybe He was speaking to the whole crowd, but wanted to reinforce the fact that they would be persecuted if they followed Him, yet they are in good company because the prophets were persecuted. They weren’t alone. Maybe Jesus wanted to reinforce the fact that they will be rewarded in heaven for following Him.
When I think of verses such as Matthew 5:11-12, I think of the persecution of the early church and people like Saul who were persecuting the Christians as we read about in Acts 8:3 (KJV), “As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.” I can’t imagine being persecuted in that way or to the point of death. Can you imagine someone coming into your home and forcing you to jail, not because you did something wrong, but because of your belief in God and in Jesus being the Son of God, the Christ and your Savior?
I look at the strength of those who have gone before us who did in fact endure all kinds of evil and persecution for following Jesus, even to the point of death, but didn’t sway in their belief. I pray that I can have that sort of endurance, faith, and belief, under any level of evil and persecution.
The most difficult part of this passage for us to understand and live out may be the beginning of Matthew 5:12 (KJV), “Rejoice: and be exceeding glad…”. We, as humans, don’t usually enjoy or feel glad about being persecuted. We don’t enjoy being picked on, abused, talked about, put down, shunned, ignored, or neglected for any reason. We don’t like being hurt in anyway. This way of thinking doesn’t come naturally to the human way of doing things.
So, how and why can we think about rejoicing when we are persecuted as followers of Jesus? Well, I would say the first reason why to do it, would be because our Lord and Savior told us to do it. Trusting in God and praying for help in being able to rejoice will be the answer in how we can do it.
I noticed that in Matthew 5:12, the prophets are mentioned, whereas they are not mentioned in Matthew 5:10 in almost the same sentiment. Is it because Jesus wanted to relate this important sentiment in a way that they would understand and in the way that would mean something special in the eyes of His very human followers. I can imagine that the Jewish people of the New Testament read the Old Testament and admired the words of the prophets and the fact that they saw those words coming true throughout their history. I can imagine they may have grouped the prophets in a group of godly people. Jesus may be using this thought to show that those who are persecuted for following Him, will join the prophets in the group of godly people. They will be in the heavenly group and not the worldly group. Even more importantly, we will be in God’s family.
It is definitely a joyful thought and worth rejoicing in knowing that you are part of God’s family and will be greatly rewarded. God’s Word has many verses encouraging us and reminding us that no matter what sort of hardship, hurt, persecution, and even death we may go through in our earthly lives, it doesn’t compare to the reward we will get in heaven as His followers. (This is one of the reasons we read the Bible, so we can know these verses and remember them in time of need.)
Thank you for your Word and your encouragement. Thank you for sending Jesus to us to teach us and to show us the way to you. Help us to stay strong throughout all the evil, hardship, and persecution we endure especially in following your Son, Jesus. Help us to follow His example, and endure no matter what, so that we can join you in heaven as well. I ask you this in His Holy name, Amen.
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Reflective questions for Matthew 5:11-12 (KJV):
*What does Matthew 5:11-12 mean to me?
*What is the difference between these verses and Matthew 5:10?
*What was it like for the prophets and people in biblical times to be
persecuted for righteousness’ sake?
*Was I persecuted for righteousness’ sake?
*If I was persecuted, when and how? How did it feel? How did I deal with
*Does it help to know that the prophets were also persecuted?
*Do I rejoice during times of persecution?
*What can I do to better live according to the words in Matthew 5:11-12?
If you enjoy this post, you may want to read the posts in The Beatitudes Series by DUO Inspirations.
*The Beatitudes Series by DUO Inspirations - Part 1
*The Beatitudes Series by DUO Inspirations - Part 2
*The Beatitudes Series by DUO Inspirations - Part 3
*The Beatitudes Series by DUO Inspirations - Part 4
*The Beatitudes Series by DUO Inspirations - Part 5
*The Beatitudes Series by DUO Inspirations - Part 6
*The Beatitudes Series by DUO Inspirations - Part 7
*The Beatitudes Series by DUO Inspirations - Part 8
Now, it is your turn.
I am thankful you are here and would enjoy reading your thoughts, ideas, comments, and suggestions. Let me know in the comments below or feel free to contact me. If you are finding value, please feel free to share the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations with family and friends. You may also want to share it with your pastor and church family. Thank you so much for your kindness and support. 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.
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.