November 1, 2014 Bible Study — Let All That I Am Praise The Lord

For today, One Year Bible Online links here. I have been convicted over the last few weeks to seek to develop a disciplined prayer life. It is still a work in progress. Please pray for me, that the Holy Spirit may show me how to pray in a disciplined manner.


Proverbs 26:24-26

    Your enemies may say pleasant things to you while planning to destroy you later. Do not be fooled by what people say, judge them by what they do. Do not judge people by what they say, whether good or bad. Decide what you think about someone by what they actually do. The well-spoken person may harbor hate in their heart. The person who sounds hostile and angry may do nice things for everyone they meet.


Psalm 104:1-23

    Let all that I am praise the Lord! This psalm follows the same theme as yesterdays. Let all aspects of who we are praise God. Just looking at the world around us gives us a glimpse into how great God is. He created this world and every aspect of it. Look at how wonderfully made it is. Every piece works together so to maintain things the way they are. There are feedback loops which cause things to stabilize. Our Lord is marvelous.


Hebrews 3:1-19

    Having established that Jesus was both fully God and fully human, the author points out that this makes Him greater than the prophets. Moses was the greatest of the prophets (to the point that we often consider him a different category all together). Yet Jesus was greater than Moses, just as a son is greater than a servant. Moses was a faithful servant, but Jesus is in charge of the entire house of God. We are that house over which Jesus has charge.
    It is important that we do not our hearts to turn away from God by becoming evil and unbelieving. We must strive to avoid allowing ourselves to justify to ourselves doing wrong. Sin strives constantly to deceive us into hardening our hearts against God. Let us seek out fellow believers to hold us accountable for our actions, and let us encourage them to be faithful, warning them when they start to justify wrongdoing to themselves. The Israelites who listened to Moses, and witnessed God’s mighty acts through him, rebelled against God. Let us not make the same mistake.


Ezekiel 1-3:15

    Ezekiel describes the vision he had while on the banks of the river near Babylon. His description paints a vivid picture. I have read this passage multiple times, yet every time I do, all it is is a picture. I have heard preachers preach sermons about what this aspect of the vision means. Yet when I read it myself, I see a picture but it conveys nothing more to me than a statement of God’s greatness.
    Then I get to the second chapter and it is as if God is speaking directly to me. He is sending me to a nation of rebellious people (to some degree He is sending all of us to such people). We are to tell them “This is what the Sovereign Lord says.” It does not know whether they listen to what we say or not, so long as we speak the message truthfully. We must live our lives and speak His words so that people will know that we speak the words of God. The people we are sent to speak to are stubborn and hard-hearted. God tells us that they will not listen. That is not our problem, nor our concern. We are not to allow them to frighten us with their words, nor their actions. Let us not allow them to seduce us or frighten us into joining their rebellion against God.
    In chapter three I come to a message that I know is meant for me. I am not sure who, if any, among those of you reading this it is meant for, but it is meant for me. I am not being sent to a foreign people who speak another language, not even to people who speak the same language but use it differently than I do. Those people would listen. Indeed God is sending others to them and they are listening (praise God). The people God is sending me to will not listen to me any more than they have listened to God Himself. They are hard-hearted and stubborn, but God has made me just as hard-hearted and obstinate. Oh yes, I am obstinate and hard-hearted, people often tell me so. In addition, my head is as hard as granite. God has made me this way for a purpose and I will serve His purpose.

October 31, 2014 Bible Study — Jesus Understands What It Means To Be Human

For today, One Year Bible Online links here. I have been convicted over the last few weeks to seek to develop a disciplined prayer life. It is still a work in progress. Please pray for me, that the Holy Spirit may show me how to pray in a disciplined manner.


Proverbs 26:23

    The translation notes say that the Hebrew word translated as “smooth” (based on the Greek in the Septuagint) is “burning”. The NIV translates that word as “fervent”. I think that being aware of these different possible translations helps us understand this proverb. Often times a person will fervently protest their innocence to cover up their guilt. Some of the most intense protestations for judgement against those who do wrong are brought by those who do the very wrong they demand be judged harshly.


Psalm 103:1-22

    The opening praise sums up this psalm and should be my prayer every day. “Let all that I am praise the Lord.” Yes, let all that I am and all that I do praise Him. May He receive glory and praise because of my thoughts, words, and actions. I desire that everything about me brings praise to God.


Hebrews 2:1-18

    In yesterday’s passage the author of Hebrews made it clear that Jesus was God, that as God He created the Universe. He makes clear that Jesus is not just a superior angel, but is God Himself. In today’s passage the author presents the other part of orthodox Christology. Jesus was/is a man. He is fully and completely human. Jesus became fully human so that He could experience temptation just as we do. It is because He went through the temptations which we experience that He is able to help us deal with those temptations. He was faced all of the struggles we face in this life, and more. Only as someone who was fully and completely human could He experience everything that we experience. From time to time, someone will say, “You don’t understand. You have never gone through this.” Jesus does understand. He did go through this.


Lamentations 4-5:22

    The land of Judah suffered terribly because those who should have pointed them towards God, the priests and the prophets, instead sinned. Those who the people looked on for guidance towards righteousness used their position to satisfy their own desires. They were defiled by sin and shed the blood of the innocents. If God would allow Jerusalem to be sacked for the sins of its people, how much more will He bring judgement against our country today? God’s judgement is coming. If people do not turn from their sins, turn towards God, and live upright lives, the devastation that is coming will be complete.

October 30, 2014 Bible Study — Do Not Worship Angels

For today, One Year Bible Online links here. I have been convicted over the last few weeks to seek to develop a disciplined prayer life. It is still a work in progress. Please pray for me, that the Holy Spirit may show me how to pray in a disciplined manner.


Proverbs 26:21-22

    There are some people who are constantly at the center of strife and trouble. They choose to spend their lives stirring up trouble and fomenting arguments. If you want a peaceful life, avoid spending time with such people.
    It is satisfying to hear rumors. However, we need to be careful about them. They can easily become accepted as facts without confirmation and we, all too easily, judge people on the basis of things we believe to be true that isn’t. As soon as you hear a rumor work to confirm it, or dismiss it as untrue.


Psalm 102:1-28

    Let us emulate the psalmist when trouble comes upon us. Let us call out to the Lord and beg for His mercy. Let us acknowledge our fault in causing His anger and repent of our sins. Most importantly, let us recognize that it is only through God’s strength that we can accomplish His will. If we fail to do this, He will break our strength to show us our need for Him.


Hebrews 1:1-14

    Jesus is the Son of God and one with God. The writer tells us that Jesus, the Son of God, laid the foundation of the earth. That is, He took part in the Creation of the Universe. We worship Jesus as God because He is God.
    This passage contains another message that is important. It is one that I only realized the importance of in recent years. The author tells us that angels are only servants, that we should not worship them. Angels are spirits sent to serve and care for those who have accepted God’s salvation. This message is important because there are those in our society who place too much focus on angels. Angels are messengers of God and are only due the honour of a messenger.


Lamentations 3:1-66

    Yes, we will suffer the consequences of our sins. Let us submit to the discipline the Lord lays on us for our sins. It is wrong to complain about the things we suffer. Instead let us examine our ways and turn back to the Lord. Let us confess our sins and acknowledge that we deserve the suffering which we experience (and probably more than we experience).
    I love verse 23:

Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.

Things may have been bad yesterday, but each morning God offers us a fresh day to come before Him and do His will. We may cry in fear and despair, but if we call on the Lord, He will answer our cry. He will come when we call out to Him, we need not fear. He offers us salvation and tells us not to fear.

October 29, 2014 Bible Study — Who Decides How I Use My Assets?

For today, One Year Bible Online links here. I have been convicted over the last few weeks to seek to develop a disciplined prayer life. It is still a work in progress. Please pray for me, that the Holy Spirit may show me how to pray in a disciplined manner.


Proverbs 26:20

    Gossip is fuel for quarrels in the same way that wood is fuel for a fire. If you take away the fuel the fire will go out. If both parties, and everyone around them, stop spreading gossip about them the quarrel will fade away.


Psalm 101:1-8

    This psalm is a wonderful basis for a personal devotion. If we remind ourselves of each piece of this everyday, it will help us live godly lives.

  • lead a life of integrity…even when no one can see
  • refuse to look at anything vile or vulgar…whether on television, at the movies, or on the Internet
  • have nothing to do with those who deal crookedly
  • reject perverse ideas, and stay away from evil…even when they promise pleasure
  • call out those who slander others

And the key to accomplishing these things is seeking out faithful people with whom to companion. If we spend our time hanging out with faithful people and people who are above reproach, we will be inspired to be the same.


Philemon 1:1-25

    This letter reminds me of Jesus’ parable of the unforgiving debtor. In this letter to Philemon Paul reminds us that we should extend our kindness to those who are “beneath” us. More than that, we are to consider our fellow believers our siblings. That means that no matter how the world sees them, they are socially our equals.
    There is one other thing worth noting. Paul does not order Philemon to take the actions he wishes, which involve economic issues for Philemon. Paul merely requests that he do so (with a reminder that Philemon owes him a non-economic debt of much greater value). Paul does not say, “God calls you to offer this economic asset to His work, so I am just going to take it and use it to do God’s work.” Instead Paul tells Philemon that it is his Christian duty to use his economic assets to do God’s work, but leaves it up to Philemon to choose how to use his assets in doing the Lord’s work. It is not God’s will that we demand that others use their assets to do what we think is God’s work. Each of us is responsible to determine the best way to use what God has given us in order to serve Him.


Lamentations 1-2:22

    Jerusalem fell and its people suffered. This happened because of the sins of its people. However, we should mourn for those who suffer such a fate, even though they brought it on themselves. It is a sin to rejoice at the suffering of others, even those who have brought such suffering on themselves. Let us call out to God to relieve their suffering. At the same time, let us encourage them to call out to God as well. If we suffer such a fate, let us not blame God. Rather let us recognize the ways in which we have brought our suffering on ourselves and turn to God for relief and for rescue.

October 28, 2014 Bible Study — Obey Government Authority and Do What Is Good

For today, One Year Bible Online links here. I have been convicted over the last few weeks to seek to develop a disciplined prayer life. It is still a work in progress. Please pray for me, that the Holy Spirit may show me how to pray in a disciplined manner.


Proverbs 26:18-19

    Someone who deceives their neighbor as a joke is like a madman randomly shooting into a crowd. The opportunity for causing harm is great, even if there is no intent to do so.


Psalm 100:1-5

    We will all come before the Lord sooner or later. Let us do so now with singing and joy, rather than later, sullen and in fear. I will enter into the presence of God with thanksgiving and praise. Shout to the Lord.


Titus 3:1-15

    We are to submit to government authority, even when it is a bad government. God calls us to be peaceable, considerate and gentle towards everyone. However, in the same sentence where Paul tells us to be obedient to the government and its agents he tells us to always be ready to do whatever is good. Here and elsewhere, Paul tells us that government authority is established by God and thus we should obey it. However, in telling us to always be ready to do whatever is good, he is spelling out the limits of government authority. The government does not have the authority to tell us to do that which God has told us not to do (which is anything which is not good).
    Paul reiterates a theme here which permeates all of his writing in one form or another. We were not, and are not, saved as a result of our righteous actions. However, we were, and are, saved in order that we may perform righteous acts. We are not capable of living righteous lives on our own. However, God wishes us to be righteous, so He freely redeemed us and gave us the Holy Spirit in order that we might become able to live righteous lives. It is when we recognize that it is only through the Holy Spirit working in us that we are able to behave in a righteous manner that we are able to accept the Holy Spirit working in us to do that which is righteous.


Jeremiah 51:54-52:34

    The people of Judah and Jerusalem were convinced that God would protect them from all enemies, despite their refusal to follow His commands, until the day when He allowed the Babylonian army to destroy His Temple. This is a message for people of all generations. If we do not live according to God’s will, it is only a matter of time until death and destruction come upon us.

October 27, 2014 Bible Study — Live Wisely

For today, One Year Bible Online links here. I have been convicted over the last few weeks to seek to develop a disciplined prayer life. It is still a work in progress. Please pray for me, that the Holy Spirit may show me how to pray in a disciplined manner.


Proverbs 26:17

    Getting involved in someone else’s quarrel is as dangerous as grabbing the ears of a stray dog. It is foolish to rush into an argument that you are not otherwise involved in. If you are tempted to get involved in a quarrel not your own, think carefully before doing so.


Psalm 99:1-9

    The Lord is king and sits on His throne. All of the earth and everyone on it should fear Him. God enforces justice and righteousness and all of the earth. Moses, Aaron, and Samuel (interesting that the psalmist chose those three examples) called on the Lord for help and He answered them. The same will happen today. If we call on the Lord, He will answer us with great power. Are we willing to do so?


Titus 2:1-15

    This passage contains instructions on how we should live at different stages of our lives. The theme that runs through all of it is the idea that we should live wisely. While Paul gives separate instructions for men and women, and for older and younger men and women as well, we will do well to pay attention to all of his instructions no matter at what point in life we find ourselves, or what gender we are.
    Older men are to exercise self-control, be worthy of respect, and live wisely. Well, that is certainly worth doing. It is worth pointing out that while the young should respect their elders, that becomes much easier if those elders are worthy of respect. Older women should not be heavy drinkers, nor should they slander others. Well, no one should do those things. They should also teach others what is good. In particular, they are to teach young women to be good wives and mothers. Again, something we all should do. Older men should teach younger men to be good husbands and fathers. Even those who are younger should strive to teach others to do the same, at the very least by demonstrating how to do so.
    Our lives should be an example to others, consistent with the Gospel message. In both our teaching and how we live we should show integrity and seriousness (note: “seriousness”, not “somberness”). Let us teach the truth, which means making sure that the stories we use to illustrate what we say are accurate (or, if we are unable to confirm their truth, explain that the story as told illustrates the point, even if the actual facts turn out to be different). We should never let others denigrate the truth because we failed to do our homework.


Jeremiah 51:1-53

    Babylon was once the most powerful kingdom on earth. God used it to bring His judgement against the people of Judah and Jerusalem, and against the people of many other nations. But the people of Babylon reveled in her power and mistreated those of other nations. They indulged in idolatrous rituals and did not do the Lord’s will. They acted wickedly in many ways. As a result, God raised up an army to destroy the kingdom and city of Babylon completely.
    The United States has been the most powerful nation on the earth for all of my life. It has been used by God to execute His will on the earth. However, its people have reveled in its power and, more and more, started indulging in idolatrous rituals. The analogy breaks down because, at least up until now, the United States has supported and defended the state of Israel, rather than used its military might to overthrow it. Even so, we need to pay attention to the prophesies Jeremiah made against Babylon. If the people of the United States do not soon turn from their wicked sins, God will bring a judgement against them that will put that He leveled against Babylon into the shadows.

October 26, 2014 Bible Study — Live Blameless Lives

For today, One Year Bible Online links here. I have been convicted over the last few weeks to seek to develop a disciplined prayer life. It is still a work in progress. Please pray for me, that the Holy Spirit may show me how to pray in a disciplined manner.


Proverbs 26:13-16

    A lazy person is afraid of the dangers of taking action. They overstate the dangers in order to excuse doing nothing. When you are considering the dangers of a particular course of action, think about whether you are truly looking at the dangers, or if you are merely looking for an excuse to do nothing.
    Those who are lazy are convinced that they are wiser than any number of advisers whose advice advocates taking actions they wish to avoid. If everyone else thinks that some action is your best course of action, but you do not, you should think about whether you are merely being lazy.


Psalm 97-98:9

    Those who love the Lord will hate evil. They will live godly lives and God will rescue them from the wicked. The Lord is ruler over all the earth and all other gods (and whatever people view as gods) will be forced to submit to Him. Those who worship anything other than God will be disgraced. Let us sing songs of praise to the Lord, both new songs and old songs. The joy which those who love the Lord feel because of His greatness overflows all bounds. Shout for joy those who love the Lord for He is victorious. The mountains and oceans will sing His praise. The Lord will judge the earth and everything in it with justice and fairness. If you love the Lord and His righteousness this will fill you with joy.


Titus 1:1-16

    Once more Paul gives lays out what characteristics we should look for in those we are considering selecting for Church leadership. These are the “job requirements” for the position. Unlike in many job ads these are actual requirements. Unfortunately all too many Church groups treat them like the “job requirements” in many job ads: “things we would like to see, but as long as you have most of them, we will consider you”. Not only are these God’s requirements for Church leadership, they represent characteristics we should all strive to have in our lives (well, OK, if you are a woman you should not strive to “be faithful to your wife”, but I think you already knew I did not mean that).
    Twice Paul says that a Church leader must live a blameless life. The fact of the matter is that the other things he lists are examples of what that means. We should all live blameless lives. Paul’s list of what it means to live a blameless life is not comprehensive and he does not intend it to be. However, it is a pretty good list to start with. Paul also mentions that a Church leader must have a strong belief in the message he has been taught (the NIV says “hold firmly”). We should strive to have such a belief so that we, also, can teach others and show those who teach differently where they are wrong.
    He contrasts this teaching with those who teach distortions of the truth in order to get rich. This gives us a hint about how to recognize those teaching a false doctrine. If someone is claiming to teach the Christian message and has gotten rich from doing so, it is likely that some aspect of what they are teaching is not in accordance with God’s word. There may be exceptions, but we should be cautious about accepting the teachings of someone who got rich through preaching.


Jeremiah 49:23-50:46

    Jeremiah continues to warn the countries around Judah that they will not escape the destruction which fell upon Judah. Their failure to stand together against the coming destruction means that it will fall upon them one by one. As important, Jeremiah tells Babylon, the originator of this destruction, that it too will fall to the wrath it has unleashed. Those who believe that they can unleash the destruction of war and have it fall only upon their enemies are wrong. When war, famine, and disease begin to spread they will not fall only on our enemies. If we do not want to face similar destruction we must muster our efforts to stop them while they are still far away.
    Jeremiah had predicted the fall of Jerusalem, the suffering of those who were God’s chosen people. That suffering was coming upon them because they had failed to faithfully follow God. However, Jeremiah now prophesied that the tool which God had used to bring about that suffering would in turn fall. God would raise up a power to bring down those who had brought violence and mayhem all around. At the same time He punished those who mistreated His people (something God allowed because of their sin), He would restore His people. This is something we can hold close to our hearts. When we see persecution and suffering coming for God’s people, we need to remember that it will be temporary, only for a short time. God will rescue those who faithfully serve Him through the times of trouble.

October 25, 2014 Bible Study — Teachers Who Tell People What They Want To Hear

For today, One Year Bible Online links here. I have been convicted over the last few weeks to seek to develop a disciplined prayer life. It is still a work in progress. Please pray for me, that the Holy Spirit may show me how to pray in a disciplined manner.


Proverbs 26:9-12

    All of today’s proverbs warn us about the dangers of becoming involved with a fool. Verse eleven tells us how to recognize if we are a fool. All of us do foolish things from time to time. However, only a fool does the same foolish thing over and over.


Psalm 95-96:13

    Will you join me in singing praises to God, in shouting out loud about His great works? Please join me in coming before the Lord in humble thanks giving. Let us listen to His voice today. I will not harden my heart and rebel against Him. Oh Lord send Your Spirit into me so that I do not try Your patience.

Sing to the Lord; praise his name.
Each day proclaim the good news that he saves.
Publish his glorious deeds among the nations.
Tell everyone about the amazing things he does.
Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise!

The gods whom others worship are mere idols, but our God is the Creator of heaven and earth. In the past I have read this psalm as an enthusiastic encouragement for people to praise the Lord. Today, I read this as a plea. Please come and worship the Lord. There is joy to be had in doing so. Do not wait for Him to bring His judgement against evil.


2 Timothy 4:1-22

    We are instructed to preach the word of God at all times, whether the time is favorable or unfavorable. It is not enough to tell people about our faith when they are receptive. We must discuss our faith even when they are unreceptive. Let us correct, rebuke, and encourage those around us, but remember to do so patiently and gently. We are in a time when people do not want to listen to sound doctrine. People seek teachers who will tell them what they want to hear rather than the hard truths. People will reject the truth and seek after myths which allow them to do what they want to do. There will come a time when we will suffer for serving the Lord, for remaining true to the Gospel. Rather than fear such suffering let us embrace it as evidence that we are being faithful.
    I must admit that I struggle with that last. I see a time of persecution coming and I am afraid that I will not be strong enough to stand up under it. I fear that I will not remain faithful in the face of persecution. Oh Lord, set your Holy Spirit upon me that I will remain faithful even when it costs me.


Jeremiah 48-49:22

    Jeremiah gave prophesies against Judah’s neighbors, lands which had rejoiced to see the downfall of Israel and Judah. However, the peoples of these lands had boasted of their riches, power, and gods as protecting them from the fall which struck down Israel and Judah. The lesson which strikes me today is that it is a mistake to revel in the misfortune of others. When disaster strikes, whether natural or man-caused, it does not respect borders. If our neighbor suffers misfortune, we should do our best to help, otherwise that same misfortune may strike us as well.

October 24, 2014 Bible Study

For today, One Year Bible Online links here. I have been convicted over the last few weeks to seek to develop a disciplined prayer life. It is still a work in progress. Please pray for me, that the Holy Spirit may show me how to pray in a disciplined manner.


Proverbs 26:6-8

    Trusting a fool to deliver your messages will have a predictable outcome, and it is one that will be unpleasant. Proverbs can be useful shortcuts for learning, but a fool will use a proverb to avoid learning anything.
    We generally honour people in order to encourage others to emulate them. If you honour a fool it is likely people will emulate the foolish behavior rather than that which you intended.


Psalm 94:1-23

    It may seem like God is taking His time in bringing the wicked to judgement. It may seem like God is not listening to the cries of the poor and oppressed. The wicked think that they can avoid suffering any consequences for killing widows, foreigners, and the fatherless. However, He who made our ears can surely hear, and how would He know to make eyes if He could not see?
    Those who accept God’s discipline and learn from His instruction will experience joy. He will give them relief in troubled times. God will cause to be established governments which make judgements based on justice. He will raise up virtuous people who will pursue justice. When we start to doubt, let us call out to God. Then He will support us and lift us up. Trust in God and turn to Him when evil seems triumphant. He will turn the sins of the evil against them.


2 Timothy 2:22-3:17

    Paul tells us to stay away from foolish, ignorant arguments. They serve no purpose other than to start fights. This does not mean that we should stay away from all arguments, just foolish, ignorant ones. However, even with arguments we should get involved in we are to avoid being quarrelsome. Rather we should be king to everyone, able and willing to teach, and, most important for this context, patient with difficult people. Rather than argue forcefully and angrily, we should gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Let us rely on God to change the minds of those we disagree with, rather than trying to do so by the force of our arguments or personality. An important element of this is the willingness to allow God to change our minds if we are the ones in the wrong.
    Paul describes what people will be like in the last days. He sounds like he is describing what many people are like today (in context it sounds like he was describing the people of that day as well). People love only themselves and their money. He describes such people in detail telling us that they will act religious but reject the power of God which could actually make them godly. The important point is that we should stay away from such people. He warns us that such people worm their way into people’s homes and gain control over gullible women. Women who are vulnerable to such people are burdened with guilt and controlled by various desires. Paul describes such women as always willing to listen to new teaching, but never coming to an understanding of the truth. Those who prey on such women have depraved minds and a counterfeit faith. A little further on Paul points out an important characteristic of such teachers. They will go from bad to worse. Most importantly, they will both deceive others and be deceived themselves.
    It is worth repeating that those who work hard to deceive others about God’s truth are often easily deceived. This gives us an important lesson. When we are marshaling our arguments for the truth, check the facts we plan to use. If we allow ourselves to use “facts” which are not actually true, even if they support a true argument, we are setting ourselves up to be misled. We need to do our due diligence on the things we hear and confirm that they are true from sources who were either present when they happened or heard from someone who was there. If the story does not contain information which will allow you to check its veracity (where did it happen, when did it happen, who was there) do not use it in your arguments (except perhaps as an illustration of your point, rather than as support for your point).


Jeremiah 44:24-47:7

    Jeremiah told the people of Judah who fled to Egypt that they could not worship both God and the “Queen of Heaven”. This whole exchange reminds me of many people today who call themselves “Christians”, yet read their horoscopes daily and follow other idolatrous practices. You have to choose if you are going to follow idolatrous practices, or if you are going to worship God. God will not accept divided loyalties. We need to examine our lives and root out all forms of idolatry.

October 23, 2014 Bible Study — Soldier, Athlete, and Farmer

For today, One Year Bible Online links here. I have been convicted over the last few weeks to seek to develop a disciplined prayer life. It is still a work in progress. Please pray for me, that the Holy Spirit may show me how to pray in a disciplined manner.


Proverbs 26:3-5

    Verses four and five contradict each other, but a little thought show the point the writer is making. On the one hand, if you allow yourself to be caught up in the logic, or lack thereof, of a fool’s arguments, you can all too easily lose sight of what the issue under discussion really is. On the other hand, if you do not respond to a fool’s arguments they, and others, may conclude that their arguments logically support their conclusions. There is a fine line between allowing a fool to drag you into his folly and allowing him to believe that you accept his arguments.


Psalm 92-93:5

    It is indeed a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord. Doing so is proper because of all that God has done for us, but more than that, there is great joy to be had praising the Lord. When I think of all that God has done for me, it gives me a thrill to realize how much He cares for me. If you are feeling depressed, start looking at your life and focus on those things God has done for which you are thankful. This will gradually lift you out of depression and fill your heart with joy (it may take more than this for those suffering from clinical depression, but even there it is worth a try).
    The floods may rise against us. Seas of trouble may rage against our lives, but God is mightier than the oceans deep and stronger than lightning and thunder. I will put my trust in Him. If I build my life on the foundation He has provided me, it will stand firm against all waves and storms which might rise.


2 Timothy 2:1-21

    Paul taught things which were confirmed by reliable witnesses. He then instructed Timothy to teach those things to trustworthy people who would pass them on to yet others. Are we willing to be trustworthy in passing these teachings on yet again?
    Paul then uses three metaphors for the Christian life: soldier, competitive athlete, and farmer. In all three cases Paul points out that these types of individuals do not allow themselves to be distracted by things that do not contribute to their goals, goals which are determined by things outside of their control. In the same way, we should be dedicated to the goal of serving God. The essence of that goal is to preach the Gospel, which is Jesus Christ, a descendant of King David, raised from the dead. Paul was willing to endure anything in order to preach that Gospel, are we?
    If we die with Christ, for preaching this Gospel, we will be raised with Him. If we suffer for the Gospel, we will reign with Him. On the other hand, if we deny Him, for whatever reason, He will deny us. However, He will remain faithful even if we are unfaithful, because God cannot be otherwise. Let us avoid fighting over words even as we work to correctly explain the word of truth. If we belong to the Lord, we will turn away from evil and seek to cleanse ourselves from impurity. That way we can become utensils that God can use for every good work.


Jeremiah 42-44:23

    Many of those who remained in Judah gathered because they were afraid of what Nebuchadnezzar would do when he heard that his governor had been killed. They went to Jeremiah and requested that he ask God what they should do and where they should go. They stated vehemently that they would do whatever God told them to do, whether they liked it or not. Jeremiah agreed to ask God to give him guidance for them. After ten days Jeremiah gave them the Lord’s answer. Jeremiah told them that if they stayed in the land of Judah, God would be with them and they would have peace. However, if they went to Egypt in an effort to escape war and hunger, war and hunger would follow them there. Jeremiah finished by telling them that he knew that they would not listen to what he had said. Instead they would go to Egypt and suffer the consequences which God had promised them.
    When the people heard what Jeremiah told them, their leaders immediately accused him of lying to them because Baruch wanted them to be killed or carried off into exile. They refused to listen to the message which God had given to Jeremiah. They took Jeremiah with them when they traveled to Egypt. When they arrived in Egypt, Jeremiah once more prophesied their downfall there. Further Jeremiah confronted them about their worship of various idols they had made for themselves in Egypt. Rather than deny that they were committing idolatry, the people blamed the fall of Jerusalem and the difficult times leading up to it on their being insufficiently dedicated to their idols.