November 1, 2015 Bible Study — Today, You Will Hear God’s Voice

For today, One Year Bible Online links here.


Proverbs 26:24-26

    There are people who will say nice things about you to your face, but behind your back they are trying to bring you down. Do not be deceived.


Psalm 104:1-23

    I will praise the Lord with all that I am. He has created the world and the universe. He made the world a place of balance. Food and water for animals in their place. The moon and the sun each playing their role. He established feedback loops to keep everything in balance. The psalmist says it much better than I do.


Hebrews 3

    The writer continues with his exposition on Jesus as both man and God. In yesterday’s passage, the writer made the point that Jesus was fully human. In today’s passage, he implies that Jesus is God when he says that Jesus is deserving of more praise than Moses just as the builder is deserving of more praise than the house (thus implying that Jesus created Moses).
    However, the part of this passage that really struck me today is where it says: “Today when you hear his voice, don’t harden your hearts…” Part of why this strikes me is that the writer puts it in twice. The first part that strikes me is that we WILL hear God’s voice today. God is speaking to us every day of our lives. We need to be listening to His voice when He speaks. There is another side to this as well. That other side is that we must not harden our hearts against the message God is speaking to us. It is not enough to hear God’s voice, we must also listen to what He says and act accordingly. To reiterate: God will speak to us today. We need to listen to what He says and follow His direction. Finally, if we are faithful and trust in God to the end, we will share in all that belongs to Christ.


Ezekiel 1:1-3:15

    When God called Ezekiel He told him that he needed to speak God’s message whether the people listened or not. In particular, God told Ezekiel that the people He was sending Ezekiel to would not listen to Ezekiel any more than they had listened to God. The people to whom Ezekiel was sent were hard-hearted and obstinate, but God made Ezekiel just as hard-hearted and obstinate as they. There is nothing wrong with being hard-hearted and obstinate in preaching God’s message. I do not believe that Ezekiel’s call is for all of us, but some of us are indeed called to speak God’s message to those who will not listen. If we are so called, we must not allow their words, nor their scowls, not even their threats to dissuades us from preaching the message which God has given us.
    There is however a point made here which can be easily overlooked, but must not be if we hope to faithfully serve God. When God gives us His message, we must let it sink into our own hearts before we speak it to others. Let us carefully listen to God’s words and live our lives according to them. God has spoken to us today. Let us ask ourselves these questions each day, “What is God saying to me today? What does He want me to do?”

October 31, 2015 Bible Study — Jesus Was Tempted Just As We Are Tempted

For today, One Year Bible Online links here.


Proverbs 26:23

    Just because a person says the right thing does not mean they are a good person. Do not judge people by their words, judge them by their actions.


Psalm 103

    Let all that I am praise the Lord, not just part of me. I will not forget the good things which God has done for me. He has forgiven my sins and removed them for from me. He knows our weakness and takes it into account. His love will never fail for those who fear Him. Yes, all that I am will praise the Lord.


Hebrews 2

    The key take away from this passage is that Jesus was made fully human in order that He might die to break the power of death. There have been those who have claimed that Jesus was some sort of spirit being and not truly human. This passage clearly refutes that idea. It is only possible to hold to that by rejecting the Book of Hebrews as Scripture. In addition, this passage makes it clear that Jesus has accepted those who receive salvation through Him as His brothers and sisters. Jesus was tempted in the same ways in which we are tempted. As a result, He is able to help us when we are tempted.


Lamentations 4-5

    The prophet continues his lament over the fall of Jerusalem and the suffering of the Jewish people. Reading this, in some ways it seems to predict the the future of the Jewish people up through today.

So they fled to distant lands
and wandered among foreign nations,
but none would let them stay.

and this regarding the modern state of Israel:

We looked in vain for our allies
to come and save us,
but we were looking to nations
that could not help us.

All of this occurred/occurs because of the sins of the leaders of the people who were complicit in the shedding of innocent blood. The people were also complicit for continuing to follow such leaders. A similar fate awaits the people of other nations who are likewise complicit in the shedding of innocent blood.

October 30, 2015 Bible Study

For today, One Year Bible Online links here.


Proverbs 26:21-22

    If you constantly find yourself in fights, it is likely that you are the one causing them. Just as fire needs something to burn, so a fight requires someone being quarrelsome to get started.


Psalm 102

    Our lives are short and the prime of our days does not last for long. If we rely on our strength and ability we will end our days in sorrow. But God is forever strong and He never changes. The earth and the sky will pass away, but God will remain long after they are gone. Let us praise the Lord and worship Him. If we rely on Him He will continue to give us joy into our twilight years.


Hebrews 1

    The author makes the point that Jesus is greater than the angels. First he points out that God called Him His Son. Then He points out that the Son was present at the Creation. Therefore, Jesus was not Created. Since the only thing which was not created was God, this makes Jesus God. While I do not believe that this passage is enough to support the idea of the Trinity by itself, it is the starting point for that understanding. The Mormons teach that Jesus is first among the angels. This passage clearly rejects that notion.


Lamentations 3

    The writer expresses deep depression. He is suffering great torment, yet despite the terrible things he is experiencing he has hope in God. He knows that God is faithful and that His mercy endures forever. God is good to those who depend on Him. Wait quietly for the Lord and good things will come to you. Yes, God will bring grief to those who break His commands, but He will show compassion to those who repent of their sins and turn once more to Him.

October 29, 2015 Bible Study

For today, One Year Bible Online links here.


Proverbs 26:20

    This proverb reminds us that gossip is to a quarrel like dry wood is to a fire. If we cut off the supply of gossip, the ill feeling will die down just as a fire will die down if we cut off its supply of wood.


Psalm 101

    This psalm gives a great list of how we should live our lives.

  • Do not look at anything vile or vulgarHave nothing to do with those who deal crookedly
  • Reject perverse ideas and stay away from everything evil
  • Be intolerant of slander and refuse to be haughty and conceited

And most importantly:

  • Seek out people who are faithful for your companions



    This letter reminds us that it is better to do things because we desire to do good than because we are required to do good. Paul goes so far as to offer payment for any financial loss which Philemon suffered, even though Philemon owes Paul a debt much greater than that. In like manner, when we consider what others owe us, let us remember how much greater is the debt which we owe to God, our Creator and theirs.


Lamentations 1-2

    This passage recounts the sorrow that awaits for those who rebel against God. But it also contains a hint of the hope they can have if they turn back to God and obey Him once more.

October 28, 2015 Bible Study — Saved To Do Good

For today, One Year Bible Online links here.


Proverbs 26:18-19

    Lying to a friend is as devastating as shooting them with flaming arrows. It is not made any better by telling them, “I was only joking.”


Psalm 100

    Shout with joy to the Lord. We are His people. I will go before Him with thanksgiving and praise and invite you to do likewise.


Titus 3

    Paul instructs believers, us, to be subject/obedient to the government and government officials. He gives us some context so as to show us what he means when he tells us to do so. Our obedience to government authorities is a matter of being ready to do good at all times. We should not slander anyone, let alone government authorities (note that there are two important parts that make something slanderous: first, something must be false in order to be slander; second, something is only slanderous if we are saying it our of malice). Over and above not slandering anyone, we should be peaceable, gentle, and considerate in our dealings with others.
    One of the points Paul makes here is that we are not saved because we do good. Rather, we do good because we are saved. All of us are have lived in malice and envy. If we no longer do so it is only because of God’s wonderful grace. On the other hand, if we do still live in malice and envy, we must seek God’s grace to leave such a life behind. Further Paul instructs us to avoid those who insist on being argumentative and divisive. This passage is where the idea for “three-strikes” rules comes from. Paul tells us to warn people two times and the third time have nothing more to do with them.


Jeremiah 51:54-52:34

    This passage makes clear that Jeremiah prophesied the fall and complete destruction of Babylon when that nation was still the mightiest on earth. Nevertheless, he sent his prophesies to be read among the Jewish Exiles who were already living there. The lesson here is that no matter how mighty a nation, and no matter how well-defended it may be, if it refuses to heed God’s commands it will fall. If its people do not repent and turn to God, it will be as if that nation never was.

October 27, 2015 Bible Study — Live Wisely and Teach the Truth

For today, One Year Bible Online links here.


Proverbs 26:17

    Expressing an opinion about an argument other people are having is likely to cause both of them to turn on you. Even if that does not happen, you are unlikely to have understood what the argument is about and may end up supporting the person who was in the wrong.


Psalm 99

    The Lord is king and I will bow before His throne. Mighty men (and women) of faith have called on Him in their time of need and He answered them. He will answer us today, if we turn to Him.


Titus 2

    Paul instructs us to teach everyone to live wisely, not getting drunk and being filled with love and patience. We, ourselves, should be examples to those around us, living lives of integrity and teaching the truth. If we stick to God’s truth those who oppose us will have nothing bad to say about us.


Jeremiah 51:1-53

    Jeremiah continues his prophesies about how the mightiest nation on earth will fall. He warns the people of God to be prepared to separate themselves from those who revel in that nation’s sins. However, he also warns them not to panic, just leave as the opportunity presents itself. Do not stand and watch the coming fall.

October 26, 2015 Bible Study — Everything Is Pure to Those Whose Hearts Are Pure

For today, One Year Bible Online links here.


Proverbs 26:13-16

    The lazy person sees danger around every corner. They are convinced that the dangers involved in getting any work done outweigh any benefit from the work.


Psalm 97-98

    These are two psalms of praise which make good meditation for the day. The first reminds us of God’s power and judgment against those who oppose Him. God is supreme over all the earth. He is exalted above all gods. The second reminds us of the joy which comes from singing praises to God. When we worship God and truly praise Him, our hearts will be filled with joy. God judges with justice and fairness.


Titus 1

    Once again Paul lays out the qualifications to be an elder in the Church. These read much the same as what he wrote in 1 Timothy. An elder must be the husband of one wife. His children must be believers and not have a reputation for rebelliousness or wild living (which suggests that someone is not qualified for the role until their children are grown). As I said, these are essentially the same qualifications as laid out in 1 Timothy, which to me suggests that those who try to interpret them to allow for other qualifications are wrong. I do believe that Paul’s exposition on the qualifications to be an elder here adds some useful understanding. In this passage, he puts greater emphasis on hospitality, spiritual discipline, and standing up for the truth.
    Paul makes an interesting comment in this passage, which I am going to apply in a way that is slightly out of context. Paul writes, ” Everything is pure to those whose hearts are pure. But nothing is pure to those who are corrupt and unbelieving, because their minds and consciences are corrupted.” This is a true observation about people. Those whose hearts are pure do not see double entendres, let alone make them (except, perhaps, in the eyes of others). They give others the benefit of the doubt when their actions are questionable. We are warned from time to time in the Bible to be cautious about naivete which results from having a pure heart. On the other hand, those whose hearts are corrupt see the worst in others. They see dishonesty and betrayal when others do not act as they wish they would, sometimes even when they do. By examining how we interpret others’ behavior we can judge whether or not our own hearts are pure. I would rather be naive than judge that others’ actions are always from base motives.


Jeremiah 49:23-50:46

    Jeremiah continues his prophesies concerning what will happen to the rest of the world (as known to him) after the fall of Jerusalem. However, he also warns those who think that they can rely on Babylon to bring stability. The Babylonians, in their arrogance, will continue to bring disruption and pain until God brings judgment against them as well. God will bring deliverance to those who choose to trust in Him.

October 25, 2015 Bible Study — If Only You Would Listen To His Voice Today!

For today, One Year Bible Online links here.


Proverbs 26:9-12

    The writer tells us that hiring a fool is like shooting into a crowd at random and that fools will eagerly repeat their foolish actions. Yet, he tells us that there is more hope for a fool than for someone who thinks they are wise.


Psalm 95-96

    This psalm contains a line which makes my heart cry out for my friends, and others, who do not know the Lord. I meet and know so many people who are dealing with problems and difficulties in this life that would be solved if only they would listen to God’s voice today. They insist that there is nothing there for them, yet I look at the problems they are experiencing and see that they are the result of not listening to God and trusting in His love.
    Let us sing to the Lord and praise His name. God made the heavens and the earth. All other gods are mere idols. Each day I will proclaim the news that God saves all who turn to Him. If only those I referred to in the previous paragraph would accept this truth.


2 Timothy 4

    Paul instructs us to be prepared to preach the word of God, whether we think the time is right or not. The time is coming, I believe that it has come, when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead of listening to the truth, they seek out teachers who tell them what they want to hear. In this setting we should be willing to suffer, if need be, to remain faithful and carry out the ministry which God has given us. Let us continue to “fight the good fight”, to fight to serve God, until the last of our life has been poured out as an offering to God. I will work at acting and speaking so as to give others the opportunity to listen to God’s voice.


Jeremiah 48:1-49:22

    Judgment had fallen on Israel and Judah for their idolatry and sins. Now Jeremiah prophesies against the nations which surrounded them. Nations which had made idolatry and sin their national religion. This is a reminder that when the God’s judgment comes against those nations which He had formerly favored, the entire world will be thrown into turmoil. I look at the world today and I see judgment coming against the U.S. (I think there is still time for people to turn to God, but it is running short). I, also, see the people of other nations rejoicing to see that judgment coming. Those people fail to see the turmoil that will engulf the earth when God finally brings judgment against the U.S. for the sins of its people.

October 24, 2015 Bible Study

For today, One Year Bible Online links here.


Proverbs 26:6-8

    Asking a fool to deliver your message is likely to do more harm than good. No matter how important it was to get the message through, you would probably have been better off if you had not sent a message at all. People and groups give out honors in order to encourage behaviors which they value and would like to see performed more often. However, if you honor a fool, they are likely to be encouraged to do something other than what you intended.


Psalm 94

    In Deuteronomy we are told that God will extract vengeance. God has promised to pay back the wicked what they deserve. This psalm repeats that promise. The wicked and proud will face God’s judgment. They may think He is not paying attention and/or does not care, but they are mistaken. The God who made our eyes can surely see and He who made our ears can surely hear. On the other hand, those who accept God’s discipline and turn from their sins will experience joy.


2 Timothy 2:22-3:17

    In today’s passage Paul addresses the paradox of yesterday’s proverbs. He tells us not to get involved in silly, stupid arguments. Instead, we should gently make our points and move on. It is not our job to convince people, merely to offer them the truth. We can leave it up to God to convict them so that they turn to Him in repentance. It is only by the action of the Holy Spirit that they will come to know and understand the truth.
    Paul goes on to describe what people will be like in the last days. It sounds like a description of what we see in so many people today. From the NIV:

People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power.

That really does not need much commentary, but I want to highlight the last phrase. There are those who speak about the need to love everyone without recognizing the power of God’s love to transform people.


Jeremiah 44:24-47:7

    We now see why the remnant from Judea refused to accept the word of God given them through Jeremiah. They refused to accept it because they were worshiping other gods as well. When they were told they had to choose either God, or the “Queen of Heaven”, they chose the “Queen of Heaven”. They wanted God’s blessings, but they refused to follow His instructions. We, too, must choose: worship God, or the things those around us worship.

October 23, 2015 Bible Study — Avoid Godless Chatter

For today, One Year Bible Online links here.


Proverbs 26:3-5

    We are reminded that we must use caution when arguing with fools. On the one hand, if one argues with a fool it is easy to get sucked into their foolishness. On the other hand, if you do not counter their foolishness, they, and others, may think that their arguments are actually wise.


Psalm 92-93

    It is good to give thanks to God and to praise Him. The psalm goes on from there and expounds on this point, but more does not really need to be said. It is indeed a good thing to give thanks to God.


2 Timothy 2:1-21

    Paul tells Timothy to avoid meaningless conversation because it leads one to become more and more ungodly. Comparing how the NLT translates(“worthless, foolish talk”) that to how the NIV translates(“godless chatter”) it gives us a good idea what Paul means when he writes this. This comes as part of his command that we avoid arguing over words, which is a command I struggle with understanding how it applies. I understand that it is important to not get caught up in arguing over the specific words used when those we are talking with agree about the basic teaching. On the other hand, I have seen false teaching disseminated by gradually changing the words used from ones that mean one thing to words which mean something similar but not quite the same. It is important that we choose our words with care, so that they express the meaning we intend, but we should avoid arguing with those who, unintentionally, use the wrong word to express the correct idea.
    The example which comes to mind was a Sunday School lesson a few years ago where the material contained a sentence which said something along the lines of, “We need to recognize that we continuously sin.” Many in the class with me accepted that sentence because they interpreted it as meaning, “We need to recognize that we continually sin.” It was clear to me from the rest of the lesson and from other things the author had written that they meant what they had written, but had written it that way for people to accept it the way the others in the class read it. The strategy being used was to get people to accept the idea that they were always sinning (as in, they were sinning every moment of every day) so that they could then be told, “Since you are always sinning, you are a hypocrite to point out that certain behaviors are sinful.” And yet, in that class I accomplished nothing by attempting to explain to the others there that “continuously” and “continually” had different meanings.


Jeremiah 42:1-44:23

    One of the leaders remaining in Judea after the fall of Jerusalem assassinated the governor appointed by the Babylonians (if you have been reading along you know this). The remaining people were afraid of how the Babylonians would react. They went to Jeremiah and asked him to pray to God to find out what they should do. They swore that they would do whatever Jeremiah told them that God said they should do, even if they did not like the answer. However, when Jeremiah gave them God’s answer, they claimed that Jeremiah was lying because he wanted to bring harm to them. When we ask for God’s guidance it is important that we follow it. I was going to say “even if it is not what we want to hear,” but the fact is it is important that we follow that guidance especially when it is not what we wanted to hear.