June 1, 2014 Bible Study — Stop Doubting and Believe

For today, One Year Bible Online links here.


Proverbs 16:14-15

    The wise do their best to avoid angering those who rule. Those who anger the people who govern a nation are in danger. On the other hand, those who please the people in charge will prosper. Whether these two facts are good or bad depends on whether the people in charge rule justly or not.


Psalm 119:153-176

    The psalmist continues his tribute to following God’s commands. God’s love is unfailing and His commands are truth. If we follow God’s instructions, He will rescue us from those who persecute us. If you hate falsehood, you will love God’s commands. The reverse is also true, if you love God’s commands, you will hate falsehood. Let us pray daily for God to give us the ability to discern His will for us. The final verse shall be my prayer:

have wandered away like a lost sheep;
come and find me,
for I have not forgotten your commands.


John 20:1-31

    When Jesus appeared to the disciples after His Resurrection, He told them to receive the Holy Spirit. Along with the Holy Spirit, He gave them the authority to forgive sins. I believe that we receive the same authority, and responsibility, when we receive the Holy Spirit through our faith in Jesus.
    Thomas was not with the other disciples the first time Jesus appeared to them after His Resurrection and refused to believe that they had actually seen Jesus. I am sure that the other disciples tried to convince Thomas, but he would not accept their word for it. He insisted that he needed to actually touch the wounds which Jesus had received when He was crucified. Thomas was a skeptic. We can learn a lot about converting skeptics from this story. No matter what argument Thomas’ close friends, the other disciples, made, he would not accept that Jesus could have risen from the dead. Then Jesus appeared before Thomas telling him to “Stop Doubting and believe”(NIV). When confronted with the living Jesus, Thomas cried out, “My Lord and My God.” We can make all of the arguments to skeptics that we wish, but until they encounter Jesus for themselves they will not believe.
    My final thought on this passage is for those of us who have encountered Jesus. We too need to take Jesus’ words to Thomas to heart. Let us too stop doubting and believe.


2 Samuel 18-19:10

    When David received news that Absalom was dead, he was grief-stricken. Joab had to confront him about his misplaced grief. Joab pointed out that if David’s army had lost, it would have been David who was dead. And not just David, but his wives and the rest of his sons. David grieved for the loss of his son and that was not completely inappropriate. However, he did so in a manner that made it seem as if he would have preferred the death of all of his loyal supporters to the death of his rebellious son.

May 31, 2014 Bible Study — It Is Finished

For today, One Year Bible Online links here.


Proverbs 16:12-13

    A ruler who wants stability will detest wrongdoing and build his rule on justice. When those who govern a society do not honour those who speak honestly, that society will suffer.


Psalm 119:129-152

    I want to have the same passion for God’s word that the psalmist had. I want to pant with expectation as I long for God’s commands. I want the Holy Spirit to guide my steps so that I will not be overcome with evil. I am insignificant, nobody of any importance, but I will follow God’s instructions. By acting according to God’s will, I will improve the world around me, even if only by a small amount. I ask God to give me understanding of His laws so that I may live.


John 19:23-42

    While Jesus was hanging on the cross, He saw His mother standing next to John. He told John to take care of His mother in His place and told His mother to treat John as her son. Then, having settled His affairs on this earth, He cried out, “It is finished” and gave up His life. He did not fear death, so He was able to recognize that the time had come and surrender to God’s will. We, also, have no need to fear death, because in Jesus we have victory over death. It is my goal to face death in the manner which Jesus did.
    John points out the various ways in which prophecies were fulfilled in the events surrounding Jesus’ death. In addition, it is important to John that when the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side blood and water poured out. I am not sure if John’s emphasis on this is because it is sure proof that Jesus was dead, or if there is theological significance to it. Considering that some people try to explain away the Resurrection by claiming that Jesus never actually died, the former is certainly distinctly possible. Further, when combined with Jesus’ comment about being thirsty just before He died, it gives us a complete picture into the cause of death that it is improbably that John would have been aware enough of to fabricate.


2 Samuel 17:1-29

    One of David’s advisers, Ahithophel, had defected to Absalom. David had sent another, Hushai, to join Absalom’s advisers to offset the advice of the first one. Ahithophel advised Absalom to send him with troop of men after David at once. Hushai played on both Absalom’s fear of his father, emphasizing the fighting prowess of David and his men, and his ego, recommending that he lead the troops himself. Absalom chose to take the advice of Hushai. Ahithophel recognized that Absalom’s only chance of victory was to move quickly to defeat David before David had time to plan his campaign. When Ahithophel realized that Absalom would not follow that course of action, he put his affairs in order and took his own life. Ahithophel realized that David would be victorious.
    When I read this account, and Absalom’s response to the advice he was given, I see a lesson here for us. Absalom’s mistake grew out of the two key flaws in his personality. He respected his father for the wrong reasons. He saw only his father’s military prowess and did not recognize the role David’s faith in God played in his successes. Absalom’s other flaw was his desire to be loved and honoured without having to do the work to earn that love and honour.

May 30, 2014 Bible Study — What Is Truth?

For today, One Year Bible Online links here.


Proverbs 16:10-11

    I like the NIV a little better here. Merchants and tradesmen who use honest measuring devices serve God. When we carefully measure so as to deliver as much as we told people they were paying for, it is as if God Himself made our tools.


Psalm 119:113-128

    I will not let evil-doers distract me from keeping God’s commands. Those who stray from God’s commands are fooling themselves, true joy only comes from following God. I turn to God for sustenance. Let us turn to God for discernment so that we can understand His instructions. Let us live as servants of God, so that we may experience His unfailing love. As we obey His commands, He will teach us ever more how to live according to His will. His commands are more valuable than anything we can imagine or desire. They will provide us with a better life than any amount of wealth.


John 18:25-19:22

    When the religious leaders brought Jesus to Pilate, Pilate asked them what they charged Him with. Rather than answering his question, they replied by saying that they would not have brought Jesus to Pilate if He was not guilty of something. When the religious leaders would not tell him what they were accusing Jesus of, he questioned Jesus directly. Let us take a lesson from Jesus, when the opponents of Christianity have accused us of non-specific wrong doing, we should not testify against ourselves. When Pilate asked Jesus if He was a king, Jesus replied by asking Pilate if that was his own idea, or did someone else suggest it to him. Jesus responded that His kingdom was not of this world. He had no intention of mounting a revolution and violently overthrowing the political order of the day.
    Pilate then asked the natural question, if Jesus did not intend to overthrow the political order, why did the local political leaders desire His death? Jesus’ answer was that He came to testify to the truth. The implication here is that the powers-that-be are threatened by the truth. Pilate then stated the question so many ask when they desire to dismiss their own wrong-doing, “What is truth?” I follow Christ and believe that there is objective truth to be learned. It is not that I believe that I know that truth in its entirety, but I know that such truth exists and desire to learn it. Those who wish to justify their own actions will often deny that there is such a thing as objective truth. Let us never fall for that deception and continue to seek to know God’s Truth.


2 Samuel 15:23-16:23

    As David fled Jerusalem ahead of his son Absalom’s army, he was cursed by Shimei, who was from the same clan as Saul. When one of David’s men sought to strike Shimei down, David prevented him. From later passages it seems that Shimei played some important role in the Kingdom of Israel. David was unwilling to damage the running of the Kingdom in order as part of his struggle for power with Absalom. He did not strike down Shimei, even though Shimei was opposing him, when doing so would not advance his position in his struggle with Absalom.

May 29, 2014 Bible Study — Everyone Knows What I Teach

For today, One Year Bible Online links here.


Proverbs 16:8-9

    I completely agree with this proverb. I would rather live an honest, godly life in poverty than gain great wealth through dishonesty and cheating others. The second part of this is important to remember as well. I have seen it in my own life where time and again I have tried to make plans according to what I see as God’s will for my life, only to have circumstances change so as to be unable to continue with those plans. I know that no matter what plans I make, only those which are truly what God wants will come to pass.


Psalm 119:97-112

    The psalmist reminds us that God’s words and commands provide us with guidance for our lives. By studying God’s path and following His commands we will gain wisdom. God’s word supplies us with the light which allows us to see obstacles in the path of our lives so that we may either avoid them, or know how to deal with them when we must go through them. I have experienced the truth of the psalmist’s words. As I study God’s word and embrace His commands, I discover that I become ever more unwilling to follow paths which involve lies and deceit. The more I seek after God’ Truth, the more I dislike that which is false.


John 18:1-24

    When Jesus was brought before Annas, the high-priest’s father-in-law, Annas questioned Him about His teachings. Jesus replied by telling him that He had preached openly, none of His teaching was in secret. He told them to ask those who had heard Him teach. It reminds me of a saying I have heard from time to time. If it was illegal to be a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict me? Or to put it another way, if those we meet in our every day lives were asked to testify, could they tell the court what we believe?
    I will strive to live my life so that those around me will know what I believe. If I make sure that those around me know what I believe, the Holy Spirit will bring to me those who are open to being convinced.


2 Samuel 14-15:22

    Joab recognized that David was heart-sick at having exiled Absalom. So he sent a woman to David with a story to convince David to bring Absalom home. The woman reminded David that God seeks ways to bring us back to Him when we have been separated by our sins. David took this advice to heart and brought Absalom back. But when he did so, he did not fully follow God’s example. When God brings us back to Him, He embraces us and makes sure we know His love for us. David brought Absalom back, but he did not embrace him as his son. David continued the course of fatherly neglect which had led to the problem in the first place. Let us remember that when we forgive those who have sinned against us, we must show them our love. David failed to show his sons his love in a way which conveyed it to them. Just as David’s failure to convey his love led to Absalom’s rebellion against him, so too will any other father’s failure to convey their love to their children lead those children to rebel.

May 28, 2014 Bible Study — We Do Not Belong To This World

For today, One Year Bible Online links here.


Proverbs 16:6-7

    There has been debate in the last few days about the young man who had “everything” yet went on a killing spree. People have been trying to figure out why he committed this act. In a way, this proverb answers that question. No one ever taught him to fear the Lord. Those who fear the Lord avoid evil. This young man, rather than avoiding evil, chose evil.


Psalm 119:81-96

    It may seem like God is long-delayed in coming to our rescue when we experience difficult times, but if we continue to obey His commands, He will rescue us. Those who hate God’s commands will dig traps for those who are faithful, but we will avoid those traps by carefully keeping God’s commands. God’s word and His love are eternal. I will remember and follow God’s commands. As I do so, He will, in His time, deliver me from all troubles.


John 17:1-26

    Here John recounts a prayer which Jesus prayed for His disciples, but not just those who were with Him at the time, but also for all who would believe in Him through the testimony of those who were present. Let us seek to be in perfect unity with all who are filled with the Holy Spirit. Jesus is sending us into the world in the same way in which the Father sent Him into the world. Let us not flinch from the blows the world will send our way in the same manner which it sent blows toward Jesus. Let us stand up to the world in service to God and His truth because following the truth of God’s message will bring us great joy. The world will hate us because we refuse to serve it. Let us take that hate as a sign of honour.


2 Samuel 13:1-39

    As I read this passage I see the problems described in this passage arising from two sources. First, David’s sons saw how their father behaved in the affair with Bathsheba. His power allowed him to have what he wanted, and while David knew the suffering he experienced as a consequence of his actions his sons were unlikely to see the connection. Second, David did not discipline his sons. He allowed them to believe that they could get away with whatever they wished. David had too many wives and too many children to be a good father to his sons. He failed to instill in his sons the same faith in God which he himself possessed.

May 27, 2014 Bible Study — “Take Heart, I Have Overcome the World!”

For today, One Year Bible Online links here.


Proverbs 16:4-5

    God made everything that exists and He made them for a purpose. Even the wicked serve His purpose on the day of destruction. God will punish those who proudly believe they are better than others. He will show them that all people are equally loved by Him, and that He shows favoritism to none.


Psalm 119:65-80

    I love this psalm. Indeed God does only good and gives us the measure of what it means to be good. I have wandered from God’s path for me, but He disciplined me and brought me back to Him. Difficult times are good for us because they teach us to follow God’s commands. Following God’s instructions is more valuable than any amount of wealth. God created me and formed me into what I am. I pray that He continue to form me into one wise enough to do His works. I will join with those who fear the Lord.


John 16:1-33

    Jesus could not remain on earth among us because He could only be in one place at a time. By returning to the Father, He was able to send the Holy Spirit to us. The Holy Spirit is capable of being with each and every one of us. The Holy Spirit by its coming shows that we do not need to be controlled by sin. We will have grief and sorrow on this earth, but that grief and sorrow will only be for a short time. The Holy Spirit will come to us and bring us joy. We may have peace in Christ, because while the world will bring us many trials, sorrows, and troubles, Jesus has overcome the world.


2 Samuel 12:1-31

    In many places throughout the Bible, we are told how much God loved King David. Here we see that even though God truly loved David, He still punished him for his sins. David was not satisfied with his own multiple wives. He lusted after the wife of Uriah, his faithful follower. In order to get her, he arranged to have Uriah killed. He seemed to have escaped judgement for his sin, but God knew. God held David accountable when no one else could. The same will hold true for us. We may think that we have escaped punishment for our sins because there are none who can hold us accountable. But there is always One who can, and will, hold us accountable, no matter how powerful we are, or how careful we have covered our tracks.

May 26, 2014 Bible Study –Jesus Is the Vine and We Are the Branches

For today, One Year Bible Online links here.


Proverbs 16:1-3

    It is only by seeking God’s direction and guidance that we will be able to make plans which will succeed. God knows why we do the things we do and will judge us based on our motives.


Psalm 119:49-64

    God’s promises hold my hopes and dreams. They revive me and give me comfort, no matter how deep the trouble I may face. I will not be ashamed of honouring God, even though the proud and mighty hold me in contempt for doing so. God’s words and instructions bring me comfort when I meditate upon them. My daily study of His word settles my mind and helps me live as I should. Oh Lord, I am Yours and You are mine. Teach me each day to follow your precepts.


John 15:1-27

    There parable Jesus told of the vine and the branches contained two important thoughts for us. If we fail to produce fruit, God will cut us off from Jesus and leave us on the pile to be destroyed. However, if we are indeed connected to the vine which is Jesus we will indeed produce abundant fruit. The important thing to remember from this is that we do not receive the blessings we receive from God in order to make our lives more comfortable. We receive those blessings in order to serve God and produce the fruits of righteousness. When we fulfill the commands which Jesus has given us, we demonstrate God’s love for those around us. As we remain in Jesus by fulfilling His commands we will experience joy. That joy will flow out from us on to all those around us.
    Jesus goes on to remind us that the world will not love us any more than it loved Him. Since the world crucified Jesus, we should examine our actions and beliefs very carefully when we are not being condemned by the world around us. There may be times when we are treated well by the world, just as there were times when Jesus was treated well by the crowds. However, we will always face opposition from those who view themselves as the “best and the brightest” in our society, just as Jesus did. Even those times when the crowds honour us will be short, just as they were for Jesus. Let us always remember that the world hated Jesus and that hate was most expressed by those who were seen as the “righteous” in society.


2 Samuel 9-11:27

    In the account of how David came to sin with Bathsheba we learn that David failed to do what he should have done. Rather than lead his armies himself, he sent them off to war under Joab. If David had been leading his armies, he would not have been in Jerusalem to be tempted by the sight of Bathsheba. This is an important lesson for us. The best way to avoid sinning is to avoid temptation. The best way to avoid temptation is to keep busy doing the Lord’s work. Temptation will still come to us, but we will find it much easier to resist if we are busy doing God’s work.

May 25, 2014 Bible Study –Don’t Be Troubled Or Afraid

For today, One Year Bible Online links here.


Proverbs 15:33

    I like the NIV for today’s proverb. It tells us that wisdom teaches us to fear the Lord and that if we want to be honoured we must first be humble.


Psalm 119:33-48

    In the first portion, the psalmist reminds us to follow God’s instructions and commands. I will turn to God for teaching and understanding. I will cry out to the Lord:

Help me abandon my shameful ways;
for your regulations are good.

    Then in the second portion, the psalmist tells us that if we trust in God’s word and obey His commands we can stand with confidence before everyone whom we meet. We will have no need to be ashamed and will be able to provide answers to those who attempt to mock us.


John 14:15-31

    If we love Jesus we will follow His instructions, we will do what He has told us. Those who do not do as He directs, do not love Him. When we do what Jesus directs God lives within us. The Holy Spirit will give us further instruction and remind us of what Jesus taught when He was here on earth. We have a two-fold way to learn and follow Jesus. First, we have the written word which tells us what He taught when He was here on earth. Second, we have the Holy Spirit within us, showing us how to understand what was written. The Holy Spirit will never tell us something which conflicts with the written word, but it may show us that we had misunderstood the meaning of the written word. Let us call on the Holy Spirit to reveal to us the meaning of the written word which we read.
    If we love Jesus and do as He commands, He will give us peace. This is a more lasting and filling peace than anything the world can offer. The only peace which the world can truly offer is the peace of death. Jesus offers us a peace which conquers death. We have no reason to be troubled or afraid, because, even though the ruler of this world is approaching and has set himself against us, he has no power over us; Jesus has defeated him and stands by our side. Let us do what God requires of us, just as Jesus did. Then the world will know that we love God.


2 Samuel 7-8:18

    When David desired to build a Temple for God, God sent him a prophecy. In the past when I have read this prophecy, I have seen it as a prophecy about Solomon building the Temple in Jerusalem. And it is indeed that. However, today as I read it I realized that it was also a prophecy about Jesus. God raised up Jesus, a descendant of David, a gave Him a kingdom which will never end. Jesus in turn built a house in which God dwells. That house is the Church and those who are part of the Church. We, each and everyone who puts their faith and trust in Jesus, are God’s house and He dwells within us.
    When David received God’s prophecy, rather than be disappointed because God rejected his desire to build a temple he praised God and was grateful for God’s promises. We should be similarly grateful to God for His making His dwelling within us. There is no other god like unto the God we worship. He has done great things. I will be His servant in all that I do.

May 24, 2014 Bible Study — Love One Another

For today, One Year Bible Online links here.


Proverbs 15:31-32

    If you are unwilling to listen to constructive criticism you will be uncomfortable spending time around people of wisdom. Failure to take such advice will harm only you. On the other hand accepting and following that advice will increase your own wisdom.


Psalm 119:17-32

    Today the psalm continues the themes from yesterday. I will pray to God that He open my eyes to the truths contained in His instructions. I will gain wisdom and understanding by obeying His laws and meditating on His instructions. I know that I do not fully understand how God would have me live. But I know that as I strive to do those things I do understand that He wants I will gain the wisdom and insight to see more clearly what God wants from me. I am encouraged by meditating on God’s law.


John 13:31-14:14

    Jesus told His disciples, and through them us, that they should love one another. He told them that people would know they were His disciples by their love for one another. As Jesus was giving His last sermon before His crucifixion to His disciples they still did not fully understand what He was teaching them. John makes this clear by recounting how three different disciples asked similar questions of what Jesus was saying. While Jesus chided them for having missed the point of things He had said, He did not condemn them. Rather He gently presented the ideas in yet another way.
    The disciples wanted to know where Jesus was going and how they could join Him there. Jesus told them that He was going to be with the Father and the only way to get there was through Him. There are those who claim that there are many ways to heaven. Jesus makes it clear here that there is only one path to heaven and that path is through faith in Him. Those who have faith in Jesus will do the same works He did, healing the sick, helping the poor, forgiving the sinner, and proclaiming the kingdom of God.


2 Samuel 4-6:23

    After Abner’s death, Ishbosheth and those who looked to him as king became afraid of what would happen next. Two of Ishbosheth’s captains decided that his defeat was inevitable. So they decided to curry favor with David by killing Ishbosheth. When they brought evidence of Ishbosheth’s death to David, rather than reward them he had them executed. David chose not to encourage those who would turn traitor against his enemies.
    When the Philistines learned that David had become king over all of Israel, they mustered their armies against him. He defeated them twice when they attacked his capitol. The first time, David defeated them by a frontal assault. The second time, when they deployed themselves to face such an attack, he defeated them by outflanking them.
    Once he was secure in his position David brought the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. As part of the celebration, David abandoned all of his dignity in praising God. David’s wife Micah, Saul’s daughter, was upset with him because she felt his lack of dignity reflected poorly on herself and on him. David responded that He was willing to look foolish in order to bring praise and glory to God. Let us never stand on our dignity when it comes time to praise God. We should be willing to look like fools in order that God may be glorified.

May 23, 2014 Bible Study — Allowing Others To Serve Us

For today, One Year Bible Online links here.


Proverbs 15:29-30

    We can be confident that, no matter what appearance they put up, the wicked do not have God on their side. Indeed, they are far from God. While the righteous need only whisper their prayers for God to hear and respond.
    This proverb contains an important point, although it expresses only one side of it. People around us will reflect the mood which we express and we will tend to reflect the mood which they express. If we strive to present a warm, sunny demeanor those around us will be more cheerful. This will make us more cheerful. We can take it one step further. If we focus on good news rather than bad, we will be healthier, as will those with whom we share such news. Focus on the positive and you will be happier and healthier, as will those with whom you interact.


Psalm 119:1-16

    Every year when I read this psalm (in particular this section of it), I am inspired to continue this blog. It reminds me of the importance of studying the Scripture everyday (and this blog is what gives me the motivation to do that). Verse 5 reflects my desire:

Oh, that my actions would consistently
reflect your decrees!

While verse 7 tells us how we can truly express our thanks to God:

As I learn your righteous regulations,
I will thank you by living as I should!

Verse 11 tells us the first step in accomplishing these two things:

I have hidden your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you.

I want to quote more of it, instead, I will encourage you to follow the link (or open your own Bible) and read the entire passage.


John 13:1-30

    There are two important lessons in the account of Jesus washing the disciples feet. The first is that we should be willing to serve those around us, especially our fellow believers. Since Jesus, who is our Lord (the one whom we acknowledge as having authority to command us), served His disciples (the ones in that room with Him are proxies for the rest of us) by washing their feet, we too should serve our fellow believers to the point of accepting tasks which others might consider demeaning.
    The second lesson comes from the interaction between Jesus and Peter in this account. Peter initially refuses to allow Jesus to serve him. Jesus tells Peter that if he does not accept Jesus’ service to him, he, Peter, can have no part of Jesus. If we wish to be part of the Body of Christ, the Church, we must allow others to serve our needs. As I said, the lesson here is two-fold. We must serve our brothers and sisters in Christ. But we must also allow them to serve us. If we do not do both we are not part of the Body of Christ.


2 Samuel 2:12-3:39

    We have here an account of the civil war in Israel between David and Saul’s last remaining son, Ishbosheth. The battles were inconclusive, although David’s armies had the better of them. There was a stalemate between the two sides until Ishbosheth offended Abner, who commanded his armies. Abner then defected to David, only to be killed by Joab in revenge for killing Joab’s brother during one of the battles (and perhaps to defend Joab’s position as commander of David’s armies). All in all this passage tells us how important it is to maintain good relations with your subordinates. Ishbosheth lost his kingdom because he offended his subordinate, Abner. David was realized that he could not discipline Joab for killing Abner because he needed Joab’s support.