JANUARY 14

Psalm 119:105
[A prayer to God, most likely from King David]: "Thy word [referring to the Bible, which is the written word of God] is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path [to guide my way, prevent me from being led astray (away from what is proper and desirable), and keep me safe]."

JANUARY 13

Luke 17:11-19 - Jesus Heals Ten Lepers

Verse 11: "And it came to pass, as he
[Jesus] went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of [middle of, or between] Samaria and Galilee."

Verses 12-14: "And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers
[see note below*], which stood afar off [at a distance, as required by law]: And they lifted up [raised] their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go [and] shew [show] yourselves unto the priests."

Verses 15-16: "And it came to pass, that, as they went
[to see the priests], they were cleansed [cured, healed]. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back [toward Jesus], and with a loud voice glorified [praised] God, And fell down on his face at his feet [meaning that he lay down, stretched out, face down, at Jesus' feet], giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan."

Verses 17-18: "And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the
[other] nine? There are not found [any of them] that returned to give glory to God, save [except] this stranger."

Verse 19: "And he
[Jesus] said unto him [the man who returned to thank him], Arise [get up], go thy way [to the priest, in obedience to the law, to prove that he was healed]: thy faith hath made thee whole [your faith has made you well]."

When our prayers are answered, we should always remember to give thanks to God.
_________________________

*If you're wondering what leprosy is, Albert Barnes describes it in his commentary on Matthew 8:2 as follows:

"No disease with which the human family has been afflicted has been more dreadful than that which is often mentioned in the Bible 'as the leprosy.' It first exhibits itself on the surface of the skin. The appearance is not always the same, but it commonly resembles the spot made by the puncture of a pin or the pustules of a ringworm. The spots generally make their appearance very suddenly. Perhaps its appearance might be hastened by any sudden passion, as fear or anger … The spots commonly exhibit themselves at first on the face, about the nose and eyes, and increase in size a number of years, until they become as large as a pea or a bean.

"There are three kinds of leprosy, distinguished by the appearance of the spots - the white, the black, and the red leprosy. These spots, though few at first, gradually spread until they cover the whole body.

"But, though the 'appearance' of the disease is at first in the skin, yet it is deeply seated in the bones, and marrow, and joints of the body. We have reason to suppose that in children it is concealed in the system for a number of years until they arrive at the age of puberty; and in adults for three or four years, until at last it gives fearful indications on the skin of its having gained a well-rooted and permanent existence. A leprous person may live twenty, or thirty, or even fifty years, if he received the disease at his birth, but they will be years of indescribable misery. The bones and marrow are pervaded with the disease. The malady advances from one stage to another with slow and certain ruin. 'Life still lingers amid the desolation;' the joints, and hands, and feet lose their power; and the body 'collapses,' or falls together in a form hideous and awful. There is a form of the disease in which it commences at the extremities: the joints separate; the fingers, toes, and other members one by one fall off; and the malady thus gradually approaches the seat of life. The wretched victim is thus doomed to see himself dying 'piecemeal,' assured that no human power can arrest for a moment the silent and steady march of this foe to the seat of life.

"This disease is contagious and hereditary. It is easily communicated from one to another, and is transmitted to the third and fourth generation. The last generation that is afflicted with it commonly exhibits the symptoms by decayed teeth, by a fetid breath, and by a diseased complexion.

"Moses gave particular directions by which the real leprosy was to be distinguished from other diseases … In compliance with the laws of the land, Jesus directed the man that he had healed to make the customary offering, and to obtain the testimony of the priest that he was healed. The leprosy has once, and but once, appeared in America. This loathsome and most painful disease has in all other instances been confined to the Old World, and chiefly to the Eastern nations.

"It is matter of profound gratitude to a benignant God that this scourge has been permitted but once to visit the New World. That awful calamity was on the island of Guadeloupe, in the West Indies, about the year 1730, and is thus described by an eye-witness: 'Its commencement is imperceptible. There appear only some few white spots on the skin. At first they are attended with no pain or inconvenience, but no means whatever will remove them. The disease imperceptibly increases for many years. The spots become larger, and spread over the whole body. When the disease advances, the upper part of the nose swells, the nostrils become enlarged, and the nose itself grows soft. Tumors appear on the jaws; the eyebrows swell; the ears become thick; the points of the fingers, as also the feet and the toes, swell; the nails become scaly; the joints of the hands and feet separate and drop off. In the last stage of the disease the patient becomes a hideous spectacle, and falls to pieces."

(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/matthew-8.html, "Verse 2")

JANUARY 12

Hebrews 9:24-26 - Jesus Died
Once to Pay for Our Sins

Verse 24: "For
[Jesus] Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands [referring to the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle of Moses and also in the temple that was built by King Solomon, where the Jewish high priest would enter once a year and sprinkle the blood of animals on the mercy seat to atone (pay) for the sins of the Jewish people], which [referring to the 'holy places made with hands'] are the figures [types, likenesses, representations] of the true [real, or actual, holy places in heaven]; but [the resurrected Jesus entered] into heaven itself [and sprinkled his own blood on the mercy seat there], now to appear [and he now appears] in the presence of God for us [on our behalf]:"

Verse 25: "Nor yet that he should
[neither should Jesus] offer himself [as a sacrifice for sins] often, as the high priest [does when he] entereth into the holy place [in the temple on earth] every year with blood of others [of animals, such as calves and goats];"

Verse 26: "For
[because] [if Jesus were to 'offer himself often,' or frequently,] then must he often have suffered [he would have suffered many, many times] since the foundation [beginning] of the world: but now once in the end of the world [in the Christian dispensation, or gospel age] hath he [the Son of God] appeared [on earth, in human form] to put away sin [remove our punishment for sin] by the sacrifice of himself [referring to his death on the cross]."

The Lord Jesus Christ (also called the "Lamb of God') died on the cross--only once!--to pay for the sin of the world. As a result, earthly sacrifices for sin are no longer necessary or acceptable to God.

JANUARY 11

Romans 2:1-3 - Judging Others
The apostle Paul originally wrote this to the Jews about the Gentiles, but it can also apply to us:

Verse 1: "Therefore thou art inexcusable [you cannot be excused for your own faults or sins], O man [or woman or child], whosoever thou art that judgest [others]: for wherein thou judgest another [when you do the same things for which you judge other people], thou condemnest thyself [you make yourself guilty before God]; for [because] thou that judgest [you who judge others] doest the same things [commit the same sins] [as the people you're judging]."

Verse 2: "But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth
[a true moral standard] against them which commit such things [sins]."

Verse 3: "And thinkest thou this
[do you think], O man [or woman or child], that [or 'who'] judgest them which do such things [commit those sins], and doest [do] the same [things], that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?"

It's not right to judge others' sins when we commit the same sins ourselves. And no matter who we are (Jew or Gentile), we'll all stand before God on judgment day.

JANUARY 10

1 Corinthians 1:17-18 - Preaching the Gospel
In a letter to the Corinthian church, the apostle Paul wrote:

Verse 17: "For [Jesus] Christ sent me not to baptize [as my main objective], but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words [not with human wisdom and great speaking ability (like Greek philosophers), but by the power of God (through the influence of the Holy Spirit)], lest the cross of Christ should be [so the cross of Christ (referring to Jesus' crucifixion) won't be] made of none [no] effect [to the salvation of mankind]."

Verse 18: "For the preaching of the cross
[of Christ; i.e., the message that Jesus died on the cross to pay for our sins] is to them that perish foolishness [meaning that to unsaved people who refuse to be saved and consequently will be sent to hell and tormented forever in the lake of fire, the preaching of the cross is a stupid, ridiculous concept, unworthy of belief]; but unto us which are saved [referring to born-again Christians] it [the preaching of the cross] is the power of God [unto salvation]."

JANUARY 9

Matthew 13:54-58 - Jesus Didn't Waste His Time on Unbelief

Verse 54: "And when he was come into his own country
[when Jesus arrived in Nazareth], he taught them [his neighbors] in their synagogue, insomuch that [so that] they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man [from where did Jesus get] this wisdom, and [the ability to perform] these mighty works [miracles]? [Answer: From Almighty God, not from the devil, as some may have believed.]"

Verses 55-56: "Is not this
[person, referring to Jesus] the carpenter's [Joseph's] son? is not his mother called Mary [who was a virgin when she conceived and gave birth to Jesus]? and his brethren [brothers], James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence [from where] then hath this man [Jesus] [gotten] all these things [i.e., wisdom and the ability to perform miracles]?"

Verses 57-58: "And they were offended in
[by] him [because, since Jesus had no formal education and came from a working-class family, they considered him to be no better than themselves]. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save [except] in his own country, and in his own house [family]. And he [Jesus] did not [do] many mighty works there [in Nazareth] because of their unbelief."

The above verses are a perfect illustration of the saying, "Familiarity breeds contempt," which (according to online dictionaries) means that extensive knowledge of or close association with someone or something leads to a loss of respect for them or it.

JANUARY 8

2 Timothy 2:24-26 - The Apostle Paul's Advice to Christians
Paul wrote this in a letter to Timothy, who was a minister of the gospel:

Verse 24: "And the servant of the Lord [Jesus Christ--referring mainly to ministers (preachers) but also to all born-again Christians] must not strive [argue, quarrel, fight] [with others]; but [must] be gentle unto all men [people], apt [likely] to teach, [and] patient,"

Verses 25-26: "In meekness
[mildness, humility] instructing [teaching] those that oppose themselves [to the truth of the gospel, meaning unbelievers, or those who resist and deny biblical truth or who embrace (accept, believe) error or false teaching]; if God peradventure [perhaps] will give them repentance [a change of mind] to the acknowledging [acceptance, belief] of the truth [of the gospel]; And that they [i.e., 'those that oppose themselves'] may recover themselves out of [may come to their senses and escape or be rescued from] the snare [trap, net] of the devil, [referring again to 'those that oppose themselves' and meaning those people] who are taken captive [captured] by him [Satan, the devil] at his will [to carry out his will, or do what he wants them to do]."

Sinners are more likely to repent and be saved when the Bible is taught, and the gospel is delivered, in the proper way (i.e., with kindness and humility). This is because people's reactions vary depending on how things are said.

Here are some examples from "The Biblical Illustrator" of why we should use kind words when speaking to others:

"Kind words never blister the tongue or lips, and we never hear of any mental trouble arising from this quarter. Though they do not cost much, yet they accomplish much. They help one's own good nature and good will. Soft words soften our own soul; angry words are fuel to the flame of wrath, and make it burn more fiercely. Kind words make other people good-natured. Cold words freeze people, and hot words scorch them; and bitter words make them bitter, and wrathful words make them wrathful. There are such a number of other kinds of words, that we ought occasionally to make use of kind words. There are vain words, and idle words, and silly words, and hasty words, and empty words, and profane words, and boisterous words, and war-like words. But kind words soothe and comfort the hearer; they shame him out of his sour, morose, unkind feelings. We have not yet begun to use kind words in such abundance as they ought to be used."

[Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/2-timothy/2-24.html, "The Biblical Illustrator: Kind words"]

JANUARY 7

Colossians 3:21: "Fathers
[and mothers, too], provoke not your children to anger [don't make them annoyed or angry by teasing or finding fault with them, being too strict and demanding, punishing out of anger rather than love, etc.], lest they be discouraged [or they'll become depressed and disheartened (having no hope or enthusiasm) and will stop trying to obey and please you]."

Regarding the phrase lest they be discouraged, one Bible commentator wrote:

"Too many instructions, too many 'don'ts', too exacting a standard will only lead to discouragement, rebellion and reluctant eye-service. Not enough instruction will lead to doubt and uncertainty, and even despair. Children need to know what they should do, but also why they should do it or not do it. They are common sense creatures."

(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/colossians/3-21.html, "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible")

JANUARY 6

Romans 10:17: "So then faith
[in God] cometh by hearing [the gospel, or message of salvation], and hearing [comes] by the word of God [being preached and/or read]."

Knowing what's in the Bible gives us faith to believe that it's true and to live accordingly. That's why preaching is so important--not only for salvation but also for our Christian growth. Hopefully, you're in the habit of attending church services and/or listening to sermons, either in person or online, on a regular basis.

JANUARY 5

Galatians 2:21
[In a letter to the churches of Galatia, the apostle Paul wrote]: "I do not frustrate [disregard, reject, make void] the grace [unmerited (undeserved) favor] of God: for if righteousness [justification, salvation--the only condition that is acceptable to God] come by the law [of Moses (i.e., because we obey ceremonial [religious] and/or moral laws, such as the Ten Commandments); in other words, if we can earn salvation by doing good works], then Christ is dead in vain [Jesus died needlessly, for no reason]."

"What is righteousness?" explains what righteousness is and how we get it: If you want to read the article, here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/righteousness.html.


Concerning the phrase if righteousness come by the law, Albert Barnes said:

"If justification can be secured by the observance of any law - ceremonial or moral - then there was no need of the death of Christ as an atonement. This is plain. If man by conformity to any law could be justified before God, what need was there of an atonement? The work would then have been wholly in his own power, and the merit would have been his. It follows from this, that man cannot be justified by his own morality, or his alms-deeds, or his forms of religion, or his honesty and integrity. If he can, he needs no Saviour; he can save himself. It follows also that when people depend on their own amiableness, and morality, and good works, they would feel no need of a Saviour; and this is the true reason why the mass of people reject the Lord Jesus. They suppose they do not deserve to be sent to hell. They have no deep sense of guilt. They confide in their own integrity, and feel that God ought to save them. Hence, they feel no need of a Saviour; for why should a person in health employ a physician? And confiding in their own righteousness, they reject the grace of God, and despise the plan of justification through the Redeemer. To feel the need of a Saviour it is necessary to feel that we are lost and ruined sinners; that we have no merit upon which we can rely; and that we are entirely dependent on the mercy of God for salvation. Thus feeling, we shall receive the salvation of the gospel with thankfulness and joy, and show that in regard to us Christ is not 'dead in vain.'"

(Source:
https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/galatians-2.html, "Verse 21")


Charles Spurgeon, another Bible commentator, summarized the verse like this: "If a man can be saved by his own works, and willings, and doings, then Christ's death was an unnecessary piece of torture; and, instead of being the most glorious manifestation of divine love, it was a shameful waste, putting upon Christ a terrible burden of suffering which was totally unnecessary." (Source:
https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/galatians-2.html, "Verses 16-21: Galatians 2:21")

JANUARY 4

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 - Paul's "Thorn in the Flesh"
In a letter to the Corinthian church, 14 years after he was caught up to the third heaven (the dwelling place of God)], the apostle Paul wrote:

Verse 7: "And lest I should be exalted above measure [so that I wouldn't be filled with spiritual pride] through the abundance of the revelations [because of all the things that I saw and heard while in heaven], there was given to me [with permission from God] a thorn in the flesh [probably a bodily affliction (infirmity or pain) of some kind; many people have tried to guess, but nobody knows for sure exactly what it was], [by] the messenger of Satan [one of Satan's angels (a demon, or devil)] [who was sent] to buffet [attack] me, lest I should be exalted above measure."

Verses 8-9: "For this thing
[the thorn in the flesh] I besought [urgently requested, begged] the Lord [Jesus Christ] thrice [three times] [through prayer], that it might depart [be taken away] from me. And he [Jesus] said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee [meaning that Jesus said no to removing the 'thorn,' but he promised instead to support Paul in his trials and help him withstand his discomfort and pain]: for my strength is made perfect in [your] weakness. Most gladly therefore will I [Paul] rather glory [take pleasure] in my infirmities [physical and/or mental weaknesses (diseases, afflictions, etc.)], [so] that the power of Christ may rest upon me."

Verse 10: "Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities
[physical and mental weaknesses], in reproaches [contempt and scorn (criticism and disrespect) from others], in necessities [of life, meaning lack of basic things like food and shelter], in persecutions, in distresses [difficulties that I encounter] for Christ's sake [on behalf of the gospel]: for [because] when [through my own efforts] I am weak [without strength], then [with God's help] am I strong [and able to endure all things]."

Albert Barnes expressed some interesting thoughts about humility and prayer (including why God may not answer our prayers) in his commentary on the above verses. Here are the excerpts:

Heading: "Verse 7"

"To buffet me - … The general truth taught in this verse is, that God will take care that his people shall not be unduly exalted by the manifestations of his favor, and by the spiritual privileges which he bestows on them. He will take measures to humble them; and a large part of his dealings with his people is designed to accomplish this. Sometimes it will be done, as in the case of Paul, by bodily infirmity or trial, by sickness, or by long and lingering disease; sometimes by great poverty and by an humble condition of life; sometimes by reducing us from a state of affluence where we were in danger of being exalted above measure; sometimes by suffering us to be slandered and calumniated, by suffering foes to rise up against us who shall blacken our character and in such a manner that we cannot meet it; sometimes by persecution; sometimes by lack of success in our enterprises, and if in the ministry, by withholding his Spirit; sometimes by suffering us to fall into sin, and thus greatly humbling us before the world.

"Such was the case with David and with Peter; and God often permits us to see in this manner our own weakness, and to bring us to a sense of our dependence and to proper humility by suffering us to perform some act that should be ever afterward a standing source of our humiliation; some act so base, so humiliating, so evincing the deep depravity of our hearts as forever to make and keep us humble. How could David be lifted up with pride after the murder of Uriah? How could Peter after having denied his Lord with a horrid oath? Thus, many a Christian is suffered to fall by the temptation of Satan to show him his weakness and to keep him from pride; many a fall is made the occasion of the permanent benefit of the offender. And perhaps every Christian who has been much favored with elevated spiritual views and comforts can recall something which shall be to him a standing topic of regret and humiliation in his past life. We should be thankful for any calamity that will humble us; and we should remember that clear and elevated views of God and heaven are, after all, more than a compensation for all the sufferings which it may be necessary to endure in order to make us humble."

Heading: "Verse 8"

"Thrice - … The probability … is, that Paul on three different occasions earnestly besought the Lord Jesus that this calamity might be removed from him. It might have been exceedingly painful, or it might, as he supposed, interfere with his success as a preacher; or it might have been of such a nature as to expose him to ridicule; and he prayed, therefore, if it were possible that it might be taken away. The passage proves that it is right to pray earnestly and repeatedly for the removal of any calamity. The Saviour so prayed in the garden; and Paul so prayed here. Yet it also proves that there should be a limit to such prayers. The Saviour prayed three times; and Paul limited himself to the same number of petitions and then submitted to the will of God. This does not prove that we should be limited to exactly this number in our petitions; but it proves that there should be a limit; that we should not be over-anxious, and that when it is plain from any cause that the calamity will not be removed, we should submit to it.

"The Saviour in the garden knew that the cup would not be removed, and he acquiesced. Paul was told indirectly that his calamity would not be removed, and he submitted. We may expect no such revelation from heaven, but we may know in other ways that the calamity will not be removed; and we should submit. The child or other friend for whom we prayed may die; or the calamity, as, e. g., blindness, or deafness, or loss of health, or poverty, may become permanent, so that there is no hope of removing it; and we should then cease to pray that it may be removed, and we should cheerfully acquiesce in the will of God. So David prayed most fervently for his child when it was alive; when it was deceased, and it was of no further use to pray for it, he bowed in submission to the will of God …"

Heading: "Verse 9"

"And he said unto me - …

"It is one of the instances in which the fervent prayer of a good man, offered undoubtedly in faith, was not answered in the form in which he desired, though substantially answered in the assurance of grace sufficient to support him. It furnishes, therefore, a very instructive lesson in regard to prayer, and shows as that we are not to expect as a matter of course that all our prayers will be literally answered, and that we should not be disappointed or disheartened if they are not. It is a matter of fact that not all the prayers even of the pious, and of those who pray having faith in God as a hearer of prayer, are literally answered. Thus, the prayer of David … was not literally answered; the child for whose life he so earnestly prayed died. So the Saviour's request was not literally answered … The cup of suffering which he so earnestly desired should be taken away was not removed. So in the case before us … So in numerous cases now, Christians pray with fervour and with faith for the removal of some calamity which is not removed; or for something which they regard as desirable for their welfare which is withheld. Some of the reasons why this is done are obvious:

"(1) The grace that will be imparted if the calamity is not removed will be of greater value to the individual than would be the direct answer to his prayer. Such was the case with Paul; so it was doubtless with David; and so it is often with Christians now The removal of the calamity might be apparently a blessing, but it might also be attended with danger to our spiritual welfare; the grace imparted may be of permanent value and may be connected with the development of some of the loveliest traits of Christian character.

"(2) it might not be for the good of the individual who prays that the exact thing should be granted. When a parent prays with great earnestness and with insubmission for the life of a child, he knows not what he is doing. If the child lives, he may be the occasion of much more grief to him than if he had died. David had far more trouble from Absalom than he had from the death of the child for which he so earnestly prayed. At the same time it may be better for the child that he should be removed. If he dies in infancy he will be saved. But who can tell what will be his character and destiny should he live to be a man? So of other things.

"(3) God has often some better thing in store for us than would be the immediate answer to our prayer Who can doubt that this was true of Paul? The promised grace of Christ as sufficient to support us is of more value than would be the mere removal of any bodily affliction.

"(4) it would not be well for us, probably, should our petition be literally answered. Who can tell what is best for himself? If the thing were obtained, who can tell how soon we might forget the benefactor and become proud and self-confident? It was the design of God to humble Paul; and this could be much better accomplished by continuing his affliction and by imparting the promised grace, than by withdrawing the affliction and withholding the grace. The very thing to be done was to keep him humble; and this affliction could not be withdrawn without also foregoing the benefit. It is true, also, that where things are in themselves proper to be asked, Christians sometimes ask them in an improper manner, and this is one of the reasons why many of their prayers are not answered. But this does not pertain to the case before us."

(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/2-corinthians-12.html, "Verses 7-9")

JANUARY 3

1 Timothy 6:8-10 - Love of Money

Verse 8: "And having food
[things to eat and drink] and raiment [clothing and shelter] let us be therewith content [satisfied with those things]."

Verse 9: "But they that will
[those who have a strong desire or craving to] be rich fall into temptation [to do wicked things] and a snare [trap], and into many foolish and hurtful lusts [desires], which drown men in destruction and perdition [ruin--of their happiness, virtue (moral excellence), reputations, and souls]."

Verse 10: "For the love of money is the root
[source, basic cause] of all [kinds of] evil: which while some [people, including professing Christians] coveted after [it (money), because they were greedy and had an insatiable (uncontrollable) desire to be rich], they have erred [wandered away, departed] from the faith [of Christ; i.e., the Christian religion], and pierced themselves through with many sorrows [have caused themselves much heartache, pain, and sadness]."

One Bible commentator went into great detail explaining verse 9. He wrote:

"'But those who want to get rich': Here is the danger of seeking wealth as the prime end of life …

"'Fall into temptation and a snare': All men are tempted, but this is the person who has fallen into a state of temptation, that is who is yielding to one temptation after another. The term 'snare' means a 'trap'. The word 'fall' is also in the present tense, suggesting a continual falling. This desire to be rich at all costs brings one temptation to compromise after another. Thus they are tempted to sacrifice morality, principles, honesty, kindness and friendship to get ahead. 'When top priority is given to amassing riches, such things as honesty, generosity, and helpfulness have to take second place, or third or fourth place!' …

"'And a snare': 'The idea here is that they who have this desire to become rich become so entangled that they cannot easily escape. In their efforts to make money, they can no longer be free men. They find themselves entrapped in temptation to lie, cheat, steal, to sell products they know to be harmful' … Please note also that many people who desire to get rich-never reach the goal. For every greedy person who reached the top there are thousands who found themselves entrapped in one bad business deal after another, or falling for one scam after another. There are many people in our current society who are willing to take advantage of and exploit the person who wants to get rich quick.

"'And many foolish': Greed will move a person to make unwise choices, and such desires are foolish in the sense that they do not yield the happiness they promised. In addition, people infected by greed often live in an unreal world, a world in which they demand that every desire they have be fulfilled and that the things they possess bring them happiness. It is foolish to believe that money can make us happy and it is equally foolish to believe that we deserve that every desire we have be fulfilled in the exact way in which we demand. Added to this, greed creates the false illusion that material possessions bring with them security and safety.

"'And harmful desires': Greed is often very harmful to oneself and others. 'They do great damage to one's character and spiritual life … [and] destroy relationships that are rich and full' …

"'Which plunge men into ruin and destruction': The term here rendered 'plunge' or 'drown' refers not merely to a person drowning, but of a wreck, where the ship and all that is in it go down together … The terms 'ruin' and 'destruction' refer to utter ruin. Some believe that the distinction here is between the ruin in this life, that is, the total ruin of happiness, virtue, reputation, marriage, family and the destruction that awaits in eternity. 'It gives the picture of these lusts overwhelming the man, like the waves covering a sinking ship, and plunging him into perdition' …

"The ruin mentioned in the above verse also would involve personal unhappiness and misery, for the person who desires to be rich above all else, is never satisfied even if they become rich …  In reaching this goal they often have sacrificed everything else that is of true and lasting value … Life is tragic for the person who has plenty to live on but nothing to live for."

(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/1-timothy/6-9.html, "Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible")

JANUARY 2

Hebrews 11:1: "Now faith is the substance
[foundation] of things hoped for [i.e., our basis for believing that the things which have been promised will eventually come true (for example, that we'll have a home in heaven someday)], [and it is also] the evidence of things not seen [i.e., our belief that what we have been told is true, even though we don't have visible proof (for example, the gospel message--that Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and rose again the third day--and that we must be 'born again' in order to be saved from hell)]."

Faith is important because we can't be saved without it (see verse quoted below). This means that before you can become a Christian, you must believe that the facts and promises contained in the Bible are true (see above examples in brackets).

Ephesians 2:8-9 says: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."

JANUARY 1

2 Corinthians 5:17: "Therefore if any man
[or woman or child] be in Christ [is united to Jesus Christ by faith; i.e., has been saved, or born again, according to the Bible--see important note below*], he [or she] is a new creature [created being, or creation--in a moral sense]: old things are passed away; behold, all things [in regard to the mind--thoughts, principles, and practices] are become new."

Albert Barnes has a good commentary on this verse. Here are some excerpts:

"Therefore if any man be in Christ - … The affirmation here is universal, 'if any man be in Christ;' that is, all who become true Christians - undergo such a change in their views and feelings as to make it proper to say of them that they are new creatures. No matter what they have been before, whether moral or immoral; whether infidels or speculative believers; whether amiable, or debased, sensual and polluted yet if they become Christians they all experience such a change as to make it proper to say they are a new creation.

"A new creature - … It means, evidently, that there is a change produced in the renewed heart of man that is equivalent to the act of creation, and that bears a strong resemblance to it - a change, so to speak, as if the man was made over again, and had become new. The mode or manner in which it is done is not described, nor should the words be pressed to the quick, as if the process were the same in both cases - for the words are here evidently figurative. But the phrase implies evidently the following things:

"(1)That there is an exertion of divine power in the conversion of the sinner as really as in the act of creating the world out of nothing, and that this is as indispensable in the one case as in the other.

"(2)that a change is produced so great as to make it proper to say that he is a new man. He has new views, new motives, new principles, new objects and plans of life. He seeks new purposes, and he lives for new ends.

"If a drunkard becomes reformed, there is no impropriety in saying that he is a new man. If a man who was licentious becomes pure, there is no impropriety in saying that he is not the same man that he was before. Such expressions are common in all languages, and they are as proper as they are common. There is such a change as to make the language proper. And so in the conversion of a sinner. There is a change so deep, so clear, so entire, and so abiding, that it is proper to say, here is a new creation of God - a work of the divine power as decided and as glorious as when God created all things out of nothing. There is no other moral change that takes place on earth so deep, and radical, and thorough as the change at conversion. And there is no other where there is so much propriety in ascribing it to the mighty power of God.

"Old things are passed away - … It was true of all who were converted that old things had passed away. And it may include the following things:

"(1) In regard to the Jews - that their former prejudices against Christianity, their natural pride, and spirit of seducing others; their attachment to their rites and ceremonies, and dependence on them for salvation had all passed away. They now renounced that independence, relied on the merits of the Saviour, and embraced all as brethren who were of the family of Christ.

"(2) in regard to the Gentiles - their attachment to idols, their love of sin and degradation, their dependence on their own works, had passed away, and they had renounced all these things, and had come to mingle their hopes with those of the converted Jews, and with all who were the friends of the Redeemer.

"(3) in regard to all, it is also true that old things pass away. Their former prejudices, opinions, habits, attachments pass away. Their supreme love of self passes away. Their love of sins passes away. Their love of the world passes away. Their supreme attachment to their earthly friends rather than God passes away. Their love of sin, their sensuality, pride, vanity, levity, ambition, passes away. There is a deep and radical change on all these subjects - a change which commences at the new birth; which is carried on by progressive sanctification; and which is consummated at death and in heaven.

"Behold, all things are become new - That is, all things in view of the mind. The purposes of life, the feelings of the heart, the principles of action, all become new. The understanding is consecrated to new objects, the body is employed in new service, the heart forms new attachments. Nothing can be more strikingly. descriptive of the facts in conversion than this; nothing more entirely accords with the feelings of the newborn soul. All is new. There are new views of God, and of Jesus Christ; new views of this world and of the world to come; new views of truth and of duty; and everything is seen in a new aspect and with new feelings. Nothing is more common in young converts than such feelings, and nothing is more common than for them to say that all things are new. The Bible seems to be a new book, and though they may have often read it before, yet there is a beauty about it which they never saw before, and which they wonder they have not before perceived. The whole face of nature seems to them to be changed, and they seem to be in a new world. The hills, and vales, and streams; the sun, the stars, the groves, the forests, seem to be new. A new beauty is spread over them all; and they now see them to be the work of God, and his glory is spread over them all, and they can now say:

"'My Father made them all.'

"The heavens and the earth are filled with new wonders, and all things seem now to speak forth the praise of God. Even the very countenances of friends seem to be new; and there are new feelings toward all people; a new kind of love to kindred and friends; and a love before unfelt for enemies; and a new love for all mankind."

(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/2-corinthians-5.html, "Verse 17")
_________________________

*NOTE: Unless you're already a Christian, a wonderful way to start the new year would be to get saved. If you believe that Jesus died on the cross to pay for your sins, and that he was buried and rose again, simply ask him to come into your heart and save you so you can go to heaven when you die. If your prayer is sincere (i.e., if you really mean what you pray), you will be the "new creature" described above.

For a more detailed explanation of the plan of salvation, please read one or more of my gospel tracts. You'll find them on the "Printable Gospel Tracts" page of my website. Here's the link: www.mansioninheaven.com/PrintableGospelTracts.html.


Previous Verses
BaptistTop1000.com - Top Baptist Websites
January 2018
JANUARY 14

Psalm 119:105
[A prayer to God, most likely from King David]: "Thy word [referring to the Bible, which is the written word of God] is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path [to guide my way, prevent me from being led astray (away from what is proper and desirable), and keep me safe]."

JANUARY 13

Luke 17:11-19 - Jesus Heals Ten Lepers

Verse 11: "And it came to pass, as he
[Jesus] went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of [middle of, or between] Samaria and Galilee."

Verses 12-14: "And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers
[see note below*], which stood afar off [at a distance, as required by law]: And they lifted up [raised] their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go [and] shew [show] yourselves unto the priests."

Verses 15-16: "And it came to pass, that, as they went
[to see the priests], they were cleansed [cured, healed]. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back [toward Jesus], and with a loud voice glorified [praised] God, And fell down on his face at his feet [meaning that he lay down, stretched out, face down, at Jesus' feet], giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan."

Verses 17-18: "And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the
[other] nine? There are not found [any of them] that returned to give glory to God, save [except] this stranger."

Verse 19: "And he
[Jesus] said unto him [the man who returned to thank him], Arise [get up], go thy way [to the priest, in obedience to the law, to prove that he was healed]: thy faith hath made thee whole [your faith has made you well]."

When our prayers are answered, we should always remember to give thanks to God.
_________________________

*If you're wondering what leprosy is, Albert Barnes describes it in his commentary on Matthew 8:2 as follows:

"No disease with which the human family has been afflicted has been more dreadful than that which is often mentioned in the Bible 'as the leprosy.' It first exhibits itself on the surface of the skin. The appearance is not always the same, but it commonly resembles the spot made by the puncture of a pin or the pustules of a ringworm. The spots generally make their appearance very suddenly. Perhaps its appearance might be hastened by any sudden passion, as fear or anger … The spots commonly exhibit themselves at first on the face, about the nose and eyes, and increase in size a number of years, until they become as large as a pea or a bean.

"There are three kinds of leprosy, distinguished by the appearance of the spots - the white, the black, and the red leprosy. These spots, though few at first, gradually spread until they cover the whole body.

"But, though the 'appearance' of the disease is at first in the skin, yet it is deeply seated in the bones, and marrow, and joints of the body. We have reason to suppose that in children it is concealed in the system for a number of years until they arrive at the age of puberty; and in adults for three or four years, until at last it gives fearful indications on the skin of its having gained a well-rooted and permanent existence. A leprous person may live twenty, or thirty, or even fifty years, if he received the disease at his birth, but they will be years of indescribable misery. The bones and marrow are pervaded with the disease. The malady advances from one stage to another with slow and certain ruin. 'Life still lingers amid the desolation;' the joints, and hands, and feet lose their power; and the body 'collapses,' or falls together in a form hideous and awful. There is a form of the disease in which it commences at the extremities: the joints separate; the fingers, toes, and other members one by one fall off; and the malady thus gradually approaches the seat of life. The wretched victim is thus doomed to see himself dying 'piecemeal,' assured that no human power can arrest for a moment the silent and steady march of this foe to the seat of life.

"This disease is contagious and hereditary. It is easily communicated from one to another, and is transmitted to the third and fourth generation. The last generation that is afflicted with it commonly exhibits the symptoms by decayed teeth, by a fetid breath, and by a diseased complexion.

"Moses gave particular directions by which the real leprosy was to be distinguished from other diseases … In compliance with the laws of the land, Jesus directed the man that he had healed to make the customary offering, and to obtain the testimony of the priest that he was healed. The leprosy has once, and but once, appeared in America. This loathsome and most painful disease has in all other instances been confined to the Old World, and chiefly to the Eastern nations.

"It is matter of profound gratitude to a benignant God that this scourge has been permitted but once to visit the New World. That awful calamity was on the island of Guadeloupe, in the West Indies, about the year 1730, and is thus described by an eye-witness: 'Its commencement is imperceptible. There appear only some few white spots on the skin. At first they are attended with no pain or inconvenience, but no means whatever will remove them. The disease imperceptibly increases for many years. The spots become larger, and spread over the whole body. When the disease advances, the upper part of the nose swells, the nostrils become enlarged, and the nose itself grows soft. Tumors appear on the jaws; the eyebrows swell; the ears become thick; the points of the fingers, as also the feet and the toes, swell; the nails become scaly; the joints of the hands and feet separate and drop off. In the last stage of the disease the patient becomes a hideous spectacle, and falls to pieces."

(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/matthew-8.html, "Verse 2")

JANUARY 12

Hebrews 9:24-26 - Jesus Died
Once to Pay for Our Sins

Verse 24: "For
[Jesus] Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands [referring to the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle of Moses and also in the temple that was built by King Solomon, where the Jewish high priest would enter once a year and sprinkle the blood of animals on the mercy seat to atone (pay) for the sins of the Jewish people], which [referring to the 'holy places made with hands'] are the figures [types, likenesses, representations] of the true [real, or actual, holy places in heaven]; but [the resurrected Jesus entered] into heaven itself [and sprinkled his own blood on the mercy seat there], now to appear [and he now appears] in the presence of God for us [on our behalf]:"

Verse 25: "Nor yet that he should
[neither should Jesus] offer himself [as a sacrifice for sins] often, as the high priest [does when he] entereth into the holy place [in the temple on earth] every year with blood of others [of animals, such as calves and goats];"

Verse 26: "For
[because] [if Jesus were to 'offer himself often,' or frequently,] then must he often have suffered [he would have suffered many, many times] since the foundation [beginning] of the world: but now once in the end of the world [in the Christian dispensation, or gospel age] hath he [the Son of God] appeared [on earth, in human form] to put away sin [remove our punishment for sin] by the sacrifice of himself [referring to his death on the cross]."

The Lord Jesus Christ (also called the "Lamb of God') died on the cross--only once!--to pay for the sin of the world. As a result, earthly sacrifices for sin are no longer necessary or acceptable to God.

JANUARY 11

Romans 2:1-3 - Judging Others
The apostle Paul originally wrote this to the Jews about the Gentiles, but it can also apply to us:

Verse 1: "Therefore thou art inexcusable [you cannot be excused for your own faults or sins], O man [or woman or child], whosoever thou art that judgest [others]: for wherein thou judgest another [when you do the same things for which you judge other people], thou condemnest thyself [you make yourself guilty before God]; for [because] thou that judgest [you who judge others] doest the same things [commit the same sins] [as the people you're judging]."

Verse 2: "But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth
[a true moral standard] against them which commit such things [sins]."

Verse 3: "And thinkest thou this
[do you think], O man [or woman or child], that [or 'who'] judgest them which do such things [commit those sins], and doest [do] the same [things], that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?"

It's not right to judge others' sins when we commit the same sins ourselves. And no matter who we are (Jew or Gentile), we'll all stand before God on judgment day.

JANUARY 10

1 Corinthians 1:17-18 - Preaching the Gospel
In a letter to the Corinthian church, the apostle Paul wrote:

Verse 17: "For [Jesus] Christ sent me not to baptize [as my main objective], but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words [not with human wisdom and great speaking ability (like Greek philosophers), but by the power of God (through the influence of the Holy Spirit)], lest the cross of Christ should be [so the cross of Christ (referring to Jesus' crucifixion) won't be] made of none [no] effect [to the salvation of mankind]."

Verse 18: "For the preaching of the cross
[of Christ; i.e., the message that Jesus died on the cross to pay for our sins] is to them that perish foolishness [meaning that to unsaved people who refuse to be saved and consequently will be sent to hell and tormented forever in the lake of fire, the preaching of the cross is a stupid, ridiculous concept, unworthy of belief]; but unto us which are saved [referring to born-again Christians] it [the preaching of the cross] is the power of God [unto salvation]."

JANUARY 9

Matthew 13:54-58 - Jesus Didn't Waste His Time on Unbelief

Verse 54: "And when he was come into his own country
[when Jesus arrived in Nazareth], he taught them [his neighbors] in their synagogue, insomuch that [so that] they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man [from where did Jesus get] this wisdom, and [the ability to perform] these mighty works [miracles]? [Answer: From Almighty God, not from the devil, as some may have believed.]"

Verses 55-56: "Is not this
[person, referring to Jesus] the carpenter's [Joseph's] son? is not his mother called Mary [who was a virgin when she conceived and gave birth to Jesus]? and his brethren [brothers], James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence [from where] then hath this man [Jesus] [gotten] all these things [i.e., wisdom and the ability to perform miracles]?"

Verses 57-58: "And they were offended in
[by] him [because, since Jesus had no formal education and came from a working-class family, they considered him to be no better than themselves]. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save [except] in his own country, and in his own house [family]. And he [Jesus] did not [do] many mighty works there [in Nazareth] because of their unbelief."

The above verses are a perfect illustration of the saying, "Familiarity breeds contempt," which (according to online dictionaries) means that extensive knowledge of or close association with someone or something leads to a loss of respect for them or it.

JANUARY 8

2 Timothy 2:24-26 - The Apostle Paul's Advice to Christians
Paul wrote this in a letter to Timothy, who was a minister of the gospel:

Verse 24: "And the servant of the Lord [Jesus Christ--referring mainly to ministers (preachers) but also to all born-again Christians] must not strive [argue, quarrel, fight] [with others]; but [must] be gentle unto all men [people], apt [likely] to teach, [and] patient,"

Verses 25-26: "In meekness
[mildness, humility] instructing [teaching] those that oppose themselves [to the truth of the gospel, meaning unbelievers, or those who resist and deny biblical truth or who embrace (accept, believe) error or false teaching]; if God peradventure [perhaps] will give them repentance [a change of mind] to the acknowledging [acceptance, belief] of the truth [of the gospel]; And that they [i.e., 'those that oppose themselves'] may recover themselves out of [may come to their senses and escape or be rescued from] the snare [trap, net] of the devil, [referring again to 'those that oppose themselves' and meaning those people] who are taken captive [captured] by him [Satan, the devil] at his will [to carry out his will, or do what he wants them to do]."

Sinners are more likely to repent and be saved when the Bible is taught, and the gospel is delivered, in the proper way (i.e., with kindness and humility). This is because people's reactions vary depending on how things are said.

Here are some examples from "The Biblical Illustrator" of why we should use kind words when speaking to others:

"Kind words never blister the tongue or lips, and we never hear of any mental trouble arising from this quarter. Though they do not cost much, yet they accomplish much. They help one's own good nature and good will. Soft words soften our own soul; angry words are fuel to the flame of wrath, and make it burn more fiercely. Kind words make other people good-natured. Cold words freeze people, and hot words scorch them; and bitter words make them bitter, and wrathful words make them wrathful. There are such a number of other kinds of words, that we ought occasionally to make use of kind words. There are vain words, and idle words, and silly words, and hasty words, and empty words, and profane words, and boisterous words, and war-like words. But kind words soothe and comfort the hearer; they shame him out of his sour, morose, unkind feelings. We have not yet begun to use kind words in such abundance as they ought to be used."

[Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/2-timothy/2-24.html, "The Biblical Illustrator: Kind words"]

JANUARY 7

Colossians 3:21: "Fathers
[and mothers, too], provoke not your children to anger [don't make them annoyed or angry by teasing or finding fault with them, being too strict and demanding, punishing out of anger rather than love, etc.], lest they be discouraged [or they'll become depressed and disheartened (having no hope or enthusiasm) and will stop trying to obey and please you]."

Regarding the phrase lest they be discouraged, one Bible commentator wrote:

"Too many instructions, too many 'don'ts', too exacting a standard will only lead to discouragement, rebellion and reluctant eye-service. Not enough instruction will lead to doubt and uncertainty, and even despair. Children need to know what they should do, but also why they should do it or not do it. They are common sense creatures."

(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/colossians/3-21.html, "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible")

JANUARY 6

Romans 10:17: "So then faith
[in God] cometh by hearing [the gospel, or message of salvation], and hearing [comes] by the word of God [being preached and/or read]."

Knowing what's in the Bible gives us faith to believe that it's true and to live accordingly. That's why preaching is so important--not only for salvation but also for our Christian growth. Hopefully, you're in the habit of attending church services and/or listening to sermons, either in person or online, on a regular basis.

JANUARY 5

Galatians 2:21
[In a letter to the churches of Galatia, the apostle Paul wrote]: "I do not frustrate [disregard, reject, make void] the grace [unmerited (undeserved) favor] of God: for if righteousness [justification, salvation--the only condition that is acceptable to God] come by the law [of Moses (i.e., because we obey ceremonial [religious] and/or moral laws, such as the Ten Commandments); in other words, if we can earn salvation by doing good works], then Christ is dead in vain [Jesus died needlessly, for no reason]."

"What is righteousness?" explains what righteousness is and how we get it: If you want to read the article, here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/righteousness.html.


Concerning the phrase if righteousness come by the law, Albert Barnes said:

"If justification can be secured by the observance of any law - ceremonial or moral - then there was no need of the death of Christ as an atonement. This is plain. If man by conformity to any law could be justified before God, what need was there of an atonement? The work would then have been wholly in his own power, and the merit would have been his. It follows from this, that man cannot be justified by his own morality, or his alms-deeds, or his forms of religion, or his honesty and integrity. If he can, he needs no Saviour; he can save himself. It follows also that when people depend on their own amiableness, and morality, and good works, they would feel no need of a Saviour; and this is the true reason why the mass of people reject the Lord Jesus. They suppose they do not deserve to be sent to hell. They have no deep sense of guilt. They confide in their own integrity, and feel that God ought to save them. Hence, they feel no need of a Saviour; for why should a person in health employ a physician? And confiding in their own righteousness, they reject the grace of God, and despise the plan of justification through the Redeemer. To feel the need of a Saviour it is necessary to feel that we are lost and ruined sinners; that we have no merit upon which we can rely; and that we are entirely dependent on the mercy of God for salvation. Thus feeling, we shall receive the salvation of the gospel with thankfulness and joy, and show that in regard to us Christ is not 'dead in vain.'"

(Source:
https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/galatians-2.html, "Verse 21")


Charles Spurgeon, another Bible commentator, summarized the verse like this: "If a man can be saved by his own works, and willings, and doings, then Christ's death was an unnecessary piece of torture; and, instead of being the most glorious manifestation of divine love, it was a shameful waste, putting upon Christ a terrible burden of suffering which was totally unnecessary." (Source:
https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/galatians-2.html, "Verses 16-21: Galatians 2:21")

JANUARY 4

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 - Paul's "Thorn in the Flesh"
In a letter to the Corinthian church, 14 years after he was caught up to the third heaven (the dwelling place of God)], the apostle Paul wrote:

Verse 7: "And lest I should be exalted above measure [so that I wouldn't be filled with spiritual pride] through the abundance of the revelations [because of all the things that I saw and heard while in heaven], there was given to me [with permission from God] a thorn in the flesh [probably a bodily affliction (infirmity or pain) of some kind; many people have tried to guess, but nobody knows for sure exactly what it was], [by] the messenger of Satan [one of Satan's angels (a demon, or devil)] [who was sent] to buffet [attack] me, lest I should be exalted above measure."

Verses 8-9: "For this thing
[the thorn in the flesh] I besought [urgently requested, begged] the Lord [Jesus Christ] thrice [three times] [through prayer], that it might depart [be taken away] from me. And he [Jesus] said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee [meaning that Jesus said no to removing the 'thorn,' but he promised instead to support Paul in his trials and help him withstand his discomfort and pain]: for my strength is made perfect in [your] weakness. Most gladly therefore will I [Paul] rather glory [take pleasure] in my infirmities [physical and/or mental weaknesses (diseases, afflictions, etc.)], [so] that the power of Christ may rest upon me."

Verse 10: "Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities
[physical and mental weaknesses], in reproaches [contempt and scorn (criticism and disrespect) from others], in necessities [of life, meaning lack of basic things like food and shelter], in persecutions, in distresses [difficulties that I encounter] for Christ's sake [on behalf of the gospel]: for [because] when [through my own efforts] I am weak [without strength], then [with God's help] am I strong [and able to endure all things]."

Albert Barnes expressed some interesting thoughts about humility and prayer (including why God may not answer our prayers) in his commentary on the above verses. Here are the excerpts:

Heading: "Verse 7"

"To buffet me - … The general truth taught in this verse is, that God will take care that his people shall not be unduly exalted by the manifestations of his favor, and by the spiritual privileges which he bestows on them. He will take measures to humble them; and a large part of his dealings with his people is designed to accomplish this. Sometimes it will be done, as in the case of Paul, by bodily infirmity or trial, by sickness, or by long and lingering disease; sometimes by great poverty and by an humble condition of life; sometimes by reducing us from a state of affluence where we were in danger of being exalted above measure; sometimes by suffering us to be slandered and calumniated, by suffering foes to rise up against us who shall blacken our character and in such a manner that we cannot meet it; sometimes by persecution; sometimes by lack of success in our enterprises, and if in the ministry, by withholding his Spirit; sometimes by suffering us to fall into sin, and thus greatly humbling us before the world.

"Such was the case with David and with Peter; and God often permits us to see in this manner our own weakness, and to bring us to a sense of our dependence and to proper humility by suffering us to perform some act that should be ever afterward a standing source of our humiliation; some act so base, so humiliating, so evincing the deep depravity of our hearts as forever to make and keep us humble. How could David be lifted up with pride after the murder of Uriah? How could Peter after having denied his Lord with a horrid oath? Thus, many a Christian is suffered to fall by the temptation of Satan to show him his weakness and to keep him from pride; many a fall is made the occasion of the permanent benefit of the offender. And perhaps every Christian who has been much favored with elevated spiritual views and comforts can recall something which shall be to him a standing topic of regret and humiliation in his past life. We should be thankful for any calamity that will humble us; and we should remember that clear and elevated views of God and heaven are, after all, more than a compensation for all the sufferings which it may be necessary to endure in order to make us humble."

Heading: "Verse 8"

"Thrice - … The probability … is, that Paul on three different occasions earnestly besought the Lord Jesus that this calamity might be removed from him. It might have been exceedingly painful, or it might, as he supposed, interfere with his success as a preacher; or it might have been of such a nature as to expose him to ridicule; and he prayed, therefore, if it were possible that it might be taken away. The passage proves that it is right to pray earnestly and repeatedly for the removal of any calamity. The Saviour so prayed in the garden; and Paul so prayed here. Yet it also proves that there should be a limit to such prayers. The Saviour prayed three times; and Paul limited himself to the same number of petitions and then submitted to the will of God. This does not prove that we should be limited to exactly this number in our petitions; but it proves that there should be a limit; that we should not be over-anxious, and that when it is plain from any cause that the calamity will not be removed, we should submit to it.

"The Saviour in the garden knew that the cup would not be removed, and he acquiesced. Paul was told indirectly that his calamity would not be removed, and he submitted. We may expect no such revelation from heaven, but we may know in other ways that the calamity will not be removed; and we should submit. The child or other friend for whom we prayed may die; or the calamity, as, e. g., blindness, or deafness, or loss of health, or poverty, may become permanent, so that there is no hope of removing it; and we should then cease to pray that it may be removed, and we should cheerfully acquiesce in the will of God. So David prayed most fervently for his child when it was alive; when it was deceased, and it was of no further use to pray for it, he bowed in submission to the will of God …"

Heading: "Verse 9"

"And he said unto me - …

"It is one of the instances in which the fervent prayer of a good man, offered undoubtedly in faith, was not answered in the form in which he desired, though substantially answered in the assurance of grace sufficient to support him. It furnishes, therefore, a very instructive lesson in regard to prayer, and shows as that we are not to expect as a matter of course that all our prayers will be literally answered, and that we should not be disappointed or disheartened if they are not. It is a matter of fact that not all the prayers even of the pious, and of those who pray having faith in God as a hearer of prayer, are literally answered. Thus, the prayer of David … was not literally answered; the child for whose life he so earnestly prayed died. So the Saviour's request was not literally answered … The cup of suffering which he so earnestly desired should be taken away was not removed. So in the case before us … So in numerous cases now, Christians pray with fervour and with faith for the removal of some calamity which is not removed; or for something which they regard as desirable for their welfare which is withheld. Some of the reasons why this is done are obvious:

"(1) The grace that will be imparted if the calamity is not removed will be of greater value to the individual than would be the direct answer to his prayer. Such was the case with Paul; so it was doubtless with David; and so it is often with Christians now The removal of the calamity might be apparently a blessing, but it might also be attended with danger to our spiritual welfare; the grace imparted may be of permanent value and may be connected with the development of some of the loveliest traits of Christian character.

"(2) it might not be for the good of the individual who prays that the exact thing should be granted. When a parent prays with great earnestness and with insubmission for the life of a child, he knows not what he is doing. If the child lives, he may be the occasion of much more grief to him than if he had died. David had far more trouble from Absalom than he had from the death of the child for which he so earnestly prayed. At the same time it may be better for the child that he should be removed. If he dies in infancy he will be saved. But who can tell what will be his character and destiny should he live to be a man? So of other things.

"(3) God has often some better thing in store for us than would be the immediate answer to our prayer Who can doubt that this was true of Paul? The promised grace of Christ as sufficient to support us is of more value than would be the mere removal of any bodily affliction.

"(4) it would not be well for us, probably, should our petition be literally answered. Who can tell what is best for himself? If the thing were obtained, who can tell how soon we might forget the benefactor and become proud and self-confident? It was the design of God to humble Paul; and this could be much better accomplished by continuing his affliction and by imparting the promised grace, than by withdrawing the affliction and withholding the grace. The very thing to be done was to keep him humble; and this affliction could not be withdrawn without also foregoing the benefit. It is true, also, that where things are in themselves proper to be asked, Christians sometimes ask them in an improper manner, and this is one of the reasons why many of their prayers are not answered. But this does not pertain to the case before us."

(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/2-corinthians-12.html, "Verses 7-9")

JANUARY 3

1 Timothy 6:8-10 - Love of Money

Verse 8: "And having food
[things to eat and drink] and raiment [clothing and shelter] let us be therewith content [satisfied with those things]."

Verse 9: "But they that will
[those who have a strong desire or craving to] be rich fall into temptation [to do wicked things] and a snare [trap], and into many foolish and hurtful lusts [desires], which drown men in destruction and perdition [ruin--of their happiness, virtue (moral excellence), reputations, and souls]."

Verse 10: "For the love of money is the root
[source, basic cause] of all [kinds of] evil: which while some [people, including professing Christians] coveted after [it (money), because they were greedy and had an insatiable (uncontrollable) desire to be rich], they have erred [wandered away, departed] from the faith [of Christ; i.e., the Christian religion], and pierced themselves through with many sorrows [have caused themselves much heartache, pain, and sadness]."

One Bible commentator went into great detail explaining verse 9. He wrote:

"'But those who want to get rich': Here is the danger of seeking wealth as the prime end of life …

"'Fall into temptation and a snare': All men are tempted, but this is the person who has fallen into a state of temptation, that is who is yielding to one temptation after another. The term 'snare' means a 'trap'. The word 'fall' is also in the present tense, suggesting a continual falling. This desire to be rich at all costs brings one temptation to compromise after another. Thus they are tempted to sacrifice morality, principles, honesty, kindness and friendship to get ahead. 'When top priority is given to amassing riches, such things as honesty, generosity, and helpfulness have to take second place, or third or fourth place!' …

"'And a snare': 'The idea here is that they who have this desire to become rich become so entangled that they cannot easily escape. In their efforts to make money, they can no longer be free men. They find themselves entrapped in temptation to lie, cheat, steal, to sell products they know to be harmful' … Please note also that many people who desire to get rich-never reach the goal. For every greedy person who reached the top there are thousands who found themselves entrapped in one bad business deal after another, or falling for one scam after another. There are many people in our current society who are willing to take advantage of and exploit the person who wants to get rich quick.

"'And many foolish': Greed will move a person to make unwise choices, and such desires are foolish in the sense that they do not yield the happiness they promised. In addition, people infected by greed often live in an unreal world, a world in which they demand that every desire they have be fulfilled and that the things they possess bring them happiness. It is foolish to believe that money can make us happy and it is equally foolish to believe that we deserve that every desire we have be fulfilled in the exact way in which we demand. Added to this, greed creates the false illusion that material possessions bring with them security and safety.

"'And harmful desires': Greed is often very harmful to oneself and others. 'They do great damage to one's character and spiritual life … [and] destroy relationships that are rich and full' …

"'Which plunge men into ruin and destruction': The term here rendered 'plunge' or 'drown' refers not merely to a person drowning, but of a wreck, where the ship and all that is in it go down together … The terms 'ruin' and 'destruction' refer to utter ruin. Some believe that the distinction here is between the ruin in this life, that is, the total ruin of happiness, virtue, reputation, marriage, family and the destruction that awaits in eternity. 'It gives the picture of these lusts overwhelming the man, like the waves covering a sinking ship, and plunging him into perdition' …

"The ruin mentioned in the above verse also would involve personal unhappiness and misery, for the person who desires to be rich above all else, is never satisfied even if they become rich …  In reaching this goal they often have sacrificed everything else that is of true and lasting value … Life is tragic for the person who has plenty to live on but nothing to live for."

(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/1-timothy/6-9.html, "Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible")

JANUARY 2

Hebrews 11:1: "Now faith is the substance
[foundation] of things hoped for [i.e., our basis for believing that the things which have been promised will eventually come true (for example, that we'll have a home in heaven someday)], [and it is also] the evidence of things not seen [i.e., our belief that what we have been told is true, even though we don't have visible proof (for example, the gospel message--that Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and rose again the third day--and that we must be 'born again' in order to be saved from hell)]."

Faith is important because we can't be saved without it (see verse quoted below). This means that before you can become a Christian, you must believe that the facts and promises contained in the Bible are true (see above examples in brackets).

Ephesians 2:8-9 says: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."

JANUARY 1

2 Corinthians 5:17: "Therefore if any man
[or woman or child] be in Christ [is united to Jesus Christ by faith; i.e., has been saved, or born again, according to the Bible--see important note below*], he [or she] is a new creature [created being, or creation--in a moral sense]: old things are passed away; behold, all things [in regard to the mind--thoughts, principles, and practices] are become new."

Albert Barnes has a good commentary on this verse. Here are some excerpts:

"Therefore if any man be in Christ - … The affirmation here is universal, 'if any man be in Christ;' that is, all who become true Christians - undergo such a change in their views and feelings as to make it proper to say of them that they are new creatures. No matter what they have been before, whether moral or immoral; whether infidels or speculative believers; whether amiable, or debased, sensual and polluted yet if they become Christians they all experience such a change as to make it proper to say they are a new creation.

"A new creature - … It means, evidently, that there is a change produced in the renewed heart of man that is equivalent to the act of creation, and that bears a strong resemblance to it - a change, so to speak, as if the man was made over again, and had become new. The mode or manner in which it is done is not described, nor should the words be pressed to the quick, as if the process were the same in both cases - for the words are here evidently figurative. But the phrase implies evidently the following things:

"(1)That there is an exertion of divine power in the conversion of the sinner as really as in the act of creating the world out of nothing, and that this is as indispensable in the one case as in the other.

"(2)that a change is produced so great as to make it proper to say that he is a new man. He has new views, new motives, new principles, new objects and plans of life. He seeks new purposes, and he lives for new ends.

"If a drunkard becomes reformed, there is no impropriety in saying that he is a new man. If a man who was licentious becomes pure, there is no impropriety in saying that he is not the same man that he was before. Such expressions are common in all languages, and they are as proper as they are common. There is such a change as to make the language proper. And so in the conversion of a sinner. There is a change so deep, so clear, so entire, and so abiding, that it is proper to say, here is a new creation of God - a work of the divine power as decided and as glorious as when God created all things out of nothing. There is no other moral change that takes place on earth so deep, and radical, and thorough as the change at conversion. And there is no other where there is so much propriety in ascribing it to the mighty power of God.

"Old things are passed away - … It was true of all who were converted that old things had passed away. And it may include the following things:

"(1) In regard to the Jews - that their former prejudices against Christianity, their natural pride, and spirit of seducing others; their attachment to their rites and ceremonies, and dependence on them for salvation had all passed away. They now renounced that independence, relied on the merits of the Saviour, and embraced all as brethren who were of the family of Christ.

"(2) in regard to the Gentiles - their attachment to idols, their love of sin and degradation, their dependence on their own works, had passed away, and they had renounced all these things, and had come to mingle their hopes with those of the converted Jews, and with all who were the friends of the Redeemer.

"(3) in regard to all, it is also true that old things pass away. Their former prejudices, opinions, habits, attachments pass away. Their supreme love of self passes away. Their love of sins passes away. Their love of the world passes away. Their supreme attachment to their earthly friends rather than God passes away. Their love of sin, their sensuality, pride, vanity, levity, ambition, passes away. There is a deep and radical change on all these subjects - a change which commences at the new birth; which is carried on by progressive sanctification; and which is consummated at death and in heaven.

"Behold, all things are become new - That is, all things in view of the mind. The purposes of life, the feelings of the heart, the principles of action, all become new. The understanding is consecrated to new objects, the body is employed in new service, the heart forms new attachments. Nothing can be more strikingly. descriptive of the facts in conversion than this; nothing more entirely accords with the feelings of the newborn soul. All is new. There are new views of God, and of Jesus Christ; new views of this world and of the world to come; new views of truth and of duty; and everything is seen in a new aspect and with new feelings. Nothing is more common in young converts than such feelings, and nothing is more common than for them to say that all things are new. The Bible seems to be a new book, and though they may have often read it before, yet there is a beauty about it which they never saw before, and which they wonder they have not before perceived. The whole face of nature seems to them to be changed, and they seem to be in a new world. The hills, and vales, and streams; the sun, the stars, the groves, the forests, seem to be new. A new beauty is spread over them all; and they now see them to be the work of God, and his glory is spread over them all, and they can now say:

"'My Father made them all.'

"The heavens and the earth are filled with new wonders, and all things seem now to speak forth the praise of God. Even the very countenances of friends seem to be new; and there are new feelings toward all people; a new kind of love to kindred and friends; and a love before unfelt for enemies; and a new love for all mankind."

(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/2-corinthians-5.html, "Verse 17")
_________________________

*NOTE: Unless you're already a Christian, a wonderful way to start the new year would be to get saved. If you believe that Jesus died on the cross to pay for your sins, and that he was buried and rose again, simply ask him to come into your heart and save you so you can go to heaven when you die. If your prayer is sincere (i.e., if you really mean what you pray), you will be the "new creature" described above.

For a more detailed explanation of the plan of salvation, please read one or more of my gospel tracts. You'll find them on the "Printable Gospel Tracts" page of my website. Here's the link: www.mansioninheaven.com/PrintableGospelTracts.html.


Verse of the Day
Archives
__________























Earlier years are
on a separate page.
Click here to view
them: Archives
BaptistTop1000.com - Top Baptist Websites