31 March 2020

A Few Thoughts About Values and Meaning

Values equals standards of right and wrong.
Meaning equals a reason and purpose for living.

B1 Defined
C1 A never changing standard of right and wrong.
C2 The principles that help you to decide what is right and wrong, and how to act in various situations: (Source)
B2 The best set of values is the standard of the Kingdom of God
C1 God (Yahweh) is King of all kings:
D1 Revelation 19:16 NLT On his robe at his thigh was written this title: King of all kings and Lord of all lords.
D2 Psalm 136:2 NLT Give thanks to the God of gods. His faithful love endures forever.
D3 1 Timothy 6:15 NLT For at just the right time Christ will be revealed from heaven by the blessed and only almighty God, the King of all kings and Lord of all lords.
C2 God’s kingdom is the Kingdom of God. He will come and set up the kingdom. God sets up His kingdom so it will be correct and perfect. Daniel 2:44 NLT During the reigns of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed or conquered. It will crush all these kingdoms into nothingness, and it will stand forever.
C3 Mosaic Law has ~613 laws that Israel (Jews) must obey: Deuteronomy 8:6 NET So you must keep his commandments, live according to his standards, and revere him.
C4 Believers obey the Law of Messiah/Christ:
D1 John 14:15, 21, 24 NLT If you love me, obey my commandments. ... 21 Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them." ... 24 Anyone who doesn't love me will not obey me. And remember, my words are not my own. What I am telling you is from the Father who sent me.
D2 Revelation 14:12 NIV This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep his commands and remain faithful to Jesus.
C5 The beauty of God’s way and His kingdom
D2 Isaiah 65:25 NLT The wolf and the lamb will feed together. The lion will eat hay like a cow. But the snakes will eat dust. In those days no one will be hurt or destroyed on my holy mountain. I, the LORD, have spoken!"
D3 Isaiah 11:6-9 NLT In that day the wolf and the lamb will live together; the leopard will lie down with the baby goat. The calf and the yearling will be safe with the lion, and a little child will lead them all. 7 The cow will graze near the bear. The cub and the calf will lie down together. The lion will eat hay like a cow. 8 The baby will play safely near the hole of a cobra. Yes, a little child will put its hand in a nest of deadly snakes without harm. 9 Nothing will hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain, for as the waters fill the sea, so the earth will be filled with people who know the LORD.
D4 The following things will not happen in God’s Kingdom: Galatians 5:19-21 WEL Now the works of the flesh are obvious. They are adultery, sexual sins, moral corruption, unrestrained lust, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, strife, provoking jealousy, hot anger, pushing to be first, selfish scheming, dissensions, heresy, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, wild partying, and so on, about which I have told you before, and as I have also told you in the past that those who practice such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
D5 These things will happen in God’s Kingdom: Galatians 5:22-23 WEL But, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, and self-control. There is no law against such things.

B1 Why am I here? This is a common question.
C1 We are here to have fellowship with God and serve Him forever.
D1 Fellowship
E1 Christians are invited into fellowship with God and other believers: 1 Corinthians 1:9 ESV God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
E2 We have a choice as all believers. Do we fellowship with God and His people or the other crowd. 2 Corinthians 6:14 ESV Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?
E3 We have fellowship with God. There are characteristics of those who fellowship with God. Darkness is the opposite of truth, opposite of righteousness, opposite of a false spirituality. We are required to be in fellowship in thoughts, desires, words, and deeds. When we sin, we have a Messiah. 1 John 1:3, 6-7 ESV that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. ... 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
D2 Serve Him
E1 All Christians are servants of God: Colossians 3:23-24 NIV Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
E2 God’s yoke (authority and rulership) is easy and His burdens (laws) are light. He is a delegator, not a dictator. Matthew 11:28-30 NIV Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
E3 We are free, but not to do anything: 1 Peter 2:16 ESV Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.
E4 Rewards for serving God: John 12:26 BSB If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, My servant will be as well. If anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.
C2 God does not need our fellowship. He just enjoys our fellowship.
C3 He never abandons us: Matthew 28:20 GW Teach them to do everything I have commanded you. "And remember that I am always with you until the end of time."
C4 Without God’s help and supply (providence), we cannot be eternally successful. John 15:4-5 GW Live in me, and I will live in you. A branch cannot produce any fruit by itself. It has to stay attached to the vine. In the same way, you cannot produce fruit unless you live in me. 5 "I am the vine. You are the branches. Those who live in me while I live in them will produce a lot of fruit. But you can't produce anything without me.

Colossians 4:2 EMTV Be devoted to prayer, keeping alert in it with thanksgiving;

29 March 2020

A Few Thoughts About Peace

A song by the great blues musician Landon Spradlin

Seeking peace
B1 Psalm 34:14 NIV Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.
C1 Most of us at one time or another have said something true or not, then have been attacked by bullying, shaming, gas-lighting, false accusations, etc.
C2 The Christian response must be, “Let’s talk this over.” We are not to seek revenge, bully, shame, rage against them, making others feel they are crazy, lie, etc. We need to seek peace. Proverbs 15:28 NLT The heart of the godly thinks carefully before speaking; the mouth of the wicked overflows with evil words.
C3 The Christian response must be, “Let’s wait to talk this over.” We are not to go on the attack and argue. We need to seek peace, not pick a fight. Proverbs 15:1 NIV A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
C4 We have all failed many times, but with God’s grace we can do what is right.
C5 The word peace is שָׁלוֹם shâlôwm. It means safety, health, peace, friendship, tranquility, etc.
C6 The word seek is בָּקַשׁ bâqash. It means seek, search, make request, etc.
C7 The word pursue is רָדַף râdaph. It means to run after, chase, with diligence and perserverance. It is a high priority.
C8 In seeking and pursuing peace let us remember: Romans 12:9-10 NLT Don't just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. 10 Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.
C9 1 Peter 3:8-11 GW Finally, everyone must live in harmony, be sympathetic, love each other, have compassion, and be humble. Don't pay people back with evil for the evil they do to you, or ridicule those who ridicule you. Instead, bless them, because you were called to inherit a blessing. "People who want to live a full life and enjoy good days must keep their tongues from saying evil things, and their lips from speaking deceitful things. They must turn away from evil and do good. They must seek peace and pursue it.
B2 Matthew 5:9 GW Blessed are those who make peace. They will be called God's children.

Being in peace, calm, and tranquility
B1 Isaiah 26:3 CSB You will keep the mind that is dependent on you in perfect peace, for it is trusting in you.
C1 ESV: You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.
C2 NLV: You will keep the man in perfect peace whose mind is kept on You, because he trusts in You.
C3 The word for dependent, stayed, kept, etc. is סָמַךְ çâmak. It means to lean on something for support. We lean on Him, so He is solid support. The flesh may die, but the soul is kept:
D1 Psalm 3:5 NET I rested and slept; I awoke, for the LORD protects me.
D2 John 10:28-30 NIV I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. 30I and the Father are one."
C4 Anxieties are common in this life. Worries about money, health, relationships, family, etc. We face these things.
D1 It is not a sin to worry. There is no verse that states worry is a sin.
D2 Worrying does not mean we do NOT trust God. We can trust God completely and still worry and have cares.
D3 God comforts us in our worries: Psalm 94:19 CSB When I am filled with cares, your comfort brings me joy.
D4 He is the greatest counselor. He does listen and hear our worries, troubles, fears, sorrows, pains, etc. He is there!!! Psalm 142:2-6 NLT I pour out my complaints before him and tell him all my troubles. 3 When I am overwhelmed, you alone know the way I should turn. Wherever I go, my enemies have set traps for me. 4 I look for someone to come and help me, but no one gives me a passing thought! No one will help me; no one cares a bit what happens to me. 5 Then I pray to you, O LORD. I say, "You are my place of refuge. You are all I really want in life. 6 Hear my cry, for I am very low. Rescue me from my persecutors, for they are too strong for me.
D5 He does not leave us: Nahum 1:7 NLT The LORD is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes. He is close to those who trust in him.
D6 He wants us to talk to Him: 1 Peter 5:7 NLT Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.
D7 Messiah, Yeshua, knows; yes, He knows! Isaiah 53:3-5 NLT He was despised and rejected--a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care. 4 Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! 5 But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.

25 March 2020

A Few Thoughts About Learning God’s Ways

Psalm 27:11 NLT Teach me how to live, O LORD. Lead me along the right path, for my enemies are waiting for me.

Psalm 25:4 NIV Show me your ways, LORD, teach me your paths.

Isaiah 2:3 NIV Many peoples will come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths." The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

Hebrews 3:10 NIV That is why I was angry with that generation; I said, 'Their hearts are always going astray, and they have not known my ways.'

What are God’s ways?
B1 God’s beliefs
B2 God’s attributes
B3 God’s worldview
B4 God’s lifestyle
B5 God’s rules
B6 God’s government
C1 Administrative
C2 Judicial
B7 God’s design
B8 God’s work ethic
B9 God’s religion

What are God’s ways?
B1 God’s beliefs
C1 This is His teaching, His doctrine, His theology, His principles of government. Essentially, it is everything about God and who He is.
C2 This would include His thoughts, desires, words, and deeds.
C3 The totality of His beliefs would be considered truth.
C4 Since God is perfect in every aspect of wisdom, knowledge, holiness, love, etc., we would consider His beliefs as the best possible worldview, lifestyle, and convictions.
C5 Bible verses about God’s ways:
D1 Deuteronomy 8:6 CSB So keep the commands of the LORD your God by walking in his ways and fearing him.
D2 Joshua 22:5 NLT But be very careful to obey all the commands and the instructions that Moses gave to you. Love the LORD your God, walk in all his ways, obey his commands, hold firmly to him, and serve him with all your heart and all your soul.
D3 Psalm 25:10 CSB All the LORD's ways show faithful love and truth to those who keep his covenant and decrees.
D4 Psalm 103:7 CSB He revealed his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel.
C6 Contrasting God’s ways with other ways
D1 The violent person: Proverbs 3:31 CSB Don't envy a violent man or choose any of his ways;
D2 Angry people: Proverbs 22:24-25 CSB Don't make friends with an angry person, and don't be a companion of a hot-tempered one, 25 or you will learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare.
D3 Motives considered: Proverbs 16:2 CSB All a person's ways seem right to him, but the LORD weighs motives.
D4 God pays people for what they do: Jeremiah 32:19 NET You plan great things and you do mighty deeds. You see everything people do. You reward each of them for the way they live and for the things they do. (Compare Romans 6:23)
D5 Jesus came as a servant: Acts 3:26 NIV When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways."
D6 Peter contrasts the difference between God’s standards and desires with human standards and desires: 1 Peter 4:1-4 WEL So just as Christ has suffered in the flesh for us, equip yourselves in the same way with the same attitude, for he who has suffered in the flesh wants nothing to do with sin, 2 So that he should no longer live the rest of [his] life in the flesh [yielding] to human lusts but to the will of God. 3 For in times gone by, it may have satisfied us to have done the will of the Gentiles [non-Christians], when we led a life of sexual promiscuity, evil desires, drunkenness, carousings, drinking parties, and depraved idolatries. 4 They think it strange in that you don’t rush into the same excessive, unrestrained actions, [and so] start cursing you.
B2 God’s attributes (For a rather complete list see here)
B3 God’s worldview
C1 Worldview is a particular philosophy of life or conception of the world. (Source is Bing via Oxford Dictionary).
C2 God’s worldview answers the question, “What is truth?”
C3 It is the broad set/categories of rules/standards, see Exodus 20:1-17.
C4 The summary statement: Mark 12:28-31 NIV One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?" 29 "The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' 31 The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these.
C5 As seen in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7).
C6 Compare Psalm 104. Note His intelligence, knowledge, wisdom, ability, creativity, authority, beauty, etc.
B4 God’s lifestyle
C1 As seen in the life of Jesus, His life, how He dealt with friends and enemies, and in many situations.
C2 Consider Psalm 1.
C3 Psalm 24:3-4 NIV Who may ascend the mountain of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place? 4 The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god.
C4 Micah 6:8 NLT No, O people, the LORD has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.
B5 God’s rules
C1 The Old Testament has ~613 laws.
C2 The New Testament has >1,000 rules. For example, James 3.
B6 God’s government
C1 Administrative
D1 God is a delegator, not a dictator. God is a manager but not a micromanager. See here and here.
D2 God condemns the dictator: 3 John 1:10-11 NIV So when I come, I will call attention to what he is doing, spreading malicious nonsense about us. Not satisfied with that, he even refuses to welcome other believers. He also stops those who want to do so and puts them out of the church. 11 Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God.
D3 Compare: Luke 7:8 NIV For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, 'Go,' and he goes; and that one, 'Come,' and he comes. I say to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it."
C2 Judicial
D1 God:
E1 Compare Psalm 82.
E2 1 Corinthians 4:5 NIV Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.
D2 Others: for example, Isaiah 10:1 NLT What sorrow awaits the unjust judges and those who issue unfair laws.
B7 God’s design (everything done in wisdom, skill, love, and holiness)
C1 Isaiah 45:18 BBE For this is the word of the Lord who made the heavens; he is God; the maker and designer of the earth; who made it not to be a waste, but as a living-place for man: I am the Lord, and there is no other.
C2 Psalm 19:1 NLT For the choir director: A psalm of David. The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship.
C3 Studying beauty, the theology of beauty.
D1 Here is a starting place behaps: Beauty
D2 Or here: Beauty
B8 God’s work ethic
C1 On call 24/7/365: John 5:17 NLT But Jesus replied, "My Father is always working, and so am I."
C2 Supplies need (providence): Isaiah 55:10-11 NLT The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. 11 It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.
C3 Position of authority: Psalm 22:28 NET For the LORD is king and rules over the nations.
C4 Principle of rest: Genesis 2:2 NLT On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so he rested from all his work.
B9 God’s religion
C1 No one else is god: Isaiah 45:21 NET Tell me! Present the evidence! Let them consult with one another! Who predicted this in the past? Who announced it beforehand? Was it not I, the LORD? I have no peer, there is no God but me, a God who vindicates and delivers; there is none but me.
C2 Holiness and righteousness: Proverbs 21:3 NET To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.
C3 Provides salvation: Acts 4:12 NET And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among people by which we must be saved.

A few thoughts to start our study and thinking about God’s ways. It is a lifetime of study.

We are weak; He is strong. He gives His grace to help us accomplish and understand His ways.

2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.

22 March 2020

A Few Thoughts About Doubt

Luke 7:18-20 WEB The disciples of John told him about all these things. 19 John, calling to himself two of his disciples, sent them to Jesus, saying, “Are you the one who is coming, or should we look for another?” 20 When the men had come to him, they said, “John the Baptizer has sent us to you, saying, ‘Are you he who comes, or should we look for another?’”

Sometimes we doubt
B1 If we are a Christian
B2 If Jesus existed
B3 If Jesus is whom He said He was
B4 If God exists
B5 If Christianity is true (stemming from hard questions like the problem of evil)

Some doubters in the Bible
B1 John the Baptist (Luke 7:18-20)
B2 Thomas the Apostle (John 20:24-29)

Doubt arises from
B1 Hard questions (people ask questions that have no easy answer or an answer that is different than expected, for example, the problem of evil).
B2 Hard experiences (for example, suffering)
B3 Wrong expectations (for example, Christians are always happy)
B4 Reminders of the past (for example, Was Paul’s thorn in the flesh satan’s reminding Paul of his evil past? See Acts 26:9-11 and 2 Corinthians 12:7)
B5 Ignorance or misunderstanding of Scriptures (for example, Eve in Genesis 3:1-6)
B6 Misunderstanding about prayer (for example praying for something and it doesn’t happen, so we think God doesn’t love me or God is not powerful enough)

B1 Doubt is not a sin.
B2 Doubt is common.
B3 Christianity is a reasonable faith.
B4 Questions are welcomed (or at least they are supposed to be, for I have read of many who left the faith because their parents or pastor could not (or would not) answer even simple questions)
B4 Search for answers
C1 Many questions are not new questions and most likely you can find one answered online.
C2 Some sources:
D7 Creation Ministries International (frequently asked questions page)
D9 Lighthouse Trails Research (see side bar at the right for topics)
D10 Ariel Ministries (frequently asked questions page)
D11 And many others.
B5 Not understanding some topics
C3 Evil and Free Will (The Problem of Evil and Free Will)
B6 Proper Bible interpretation
C1 Regular definitions, not redefined words
C2 The Bible as the highest authority, instead of theology, philosophy, some teacher, etc. We have a reasonable faith regarding the inspiration of the Scriptures (see here and here).
C3 Resources:
D1 Bible Interpretation by Cooper Abrams III (long formshort form)
D3 Approach to Bible Prophecy by Precept Austin
D5 An example of handling a supposed contradiction: Bible Contradiction? Did Jesus ask God to save him from crucifixion?
B7 Praying and understanding prayer
C1 Prayer is simply talking with God.
C2 Prayer is fellowship with God (1 Corinthians 1:9, John 14:7,
C3 Prayer is seriously seeking fellowship with God (Psalm 42:1-2)
C4 Prayer is not
D1 Being united with God (being in one with God)
D2 Experiencing His presence
D3 Hearing His voice
D4 Manipulating God is some way
D5 Saying some formula that guarantees God’s answer
D6 Expecting answers and blessings in prayer when living the lifestyle of the flesh (the sinful desires of the flesh being followed) See James 4:1-4.
C3 Resources

B1 We need to believe God. Belief is not an experience. It is not a feeling. We can have a rotten, depressive day when nothing goes well, but we can still know God loves us. Don’t we consider our friends and family still love us when we have a bad day? (Hebrews 3:12-13, Hebrews 2:1)
B2 Many of the Psalms deal with doubt. It is good to read them. God is a wonderful counselor. He wants to hear our complaint. (See Psalm 13, Psalm 38, Psalm 69, etc.).
B3 God is an encourager. (Romans 15:4)
B4 God does not forsake or abandon us. (Isaiah 41:10). Even in temptation He does not leave us (1 Corinthians 10:13).
B5 The Christian life sometimes is discouraging. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).

Matthew 11:28-29 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

17 March 2020

A Few Thoughts About Vows

B1 English
C1 a solemn oath, commitment, or undertaking that binds one to a particular act, service, or condition. (Source)
C2 A set of solemn promises committing one to a prescribed role, calling, or course of action, typically to marriage or a monastic career. (Source)
B2 Hebrew
C1 Example: Genesis 28:20 NAS Then Jacob made a vow, saying, "If God will be with me and will keep me on this journey that I take, and will give me food to eat and garments to wear,
C2 1 Samuel 1:11 GW She made this vow, "LORD of Armies, if you will look at my misery, remember me, and give me a boy, then I will give him to you for as long as he lives. A razor will never be used on his head."

A vow should be for a set time, say a week or a month.
A vow should be for a set circumstance, say asking for wisdom.
A vow should include a sacrifice, say a sum of money (an offering) or some community good deed (the community could be the congregation or civil care).
A vow should include prayer, Bible reading and study, etc.
An answered vow should see God being praised and the prescribed offering completed as soon as possible. (See Psalm 22:25).
An answered vow should give praise and thankfulness to God. (See Psalm 50:14)
A public vow should give a public praise and thankfulness to God publicly.
An unanswered vow should also cause praise and thankfulness to God for NOT allowing it.
An unanswered vow should be understood that the answer is no. If a person vowed to God for wisdom about a certain job, and the job did not come into being, then we shouldn’t try to force obtaining that job.
A vow can be private (only known to God and me), small group (known to God, family, or a few friends, and me), or public (known to a large group of people).

It is better not to vow, and not keep the agreement:
B1 Proverbs 20:25 GW It is a trap for a person to say impulsively, "This is a holy offering!" and later to have second thoughts about those vows.
B2 Ecclesiastes 5:4 BSB When you make a vow to God, do not delay in fulfilling it, because He takes no pleasure in fools. Fulfill your vow.
B3 Ecclesiastes 5:5 BSB It is better not to vow than to make a vow and not fulfill it.
B4 Ecclesiastes 5:6 BSB Do not let your mouth cause your body to sin, and do not tell the messenger that your vow was a mistake. Why should God be angry with your words and destroy the work of your hands?

Other verses and comment
B1 Matthew 5:33-34 BSB Again, you have heard that it was said to the ancients, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill your vows to the Lord.’ 34 But I tell you not to swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne;
Adam Clarke comments on this verse:
Thou shalt not forswear thyself] They dishonour the great God, and break this commandment, who use frequent oaths and imprecations, even in reference to things that are true; and those who make vows and promises, which they either cannot perform, or do not design to fulfil, are not less criminal. Swearing in civil matters is become so frequent, that the dread and obligation of an oath are utterly lost in it. In certain places, where oaths are frequently administered, people have been known to kiss their thumb or pen, instead of the book, thinking thereby to avoid the sin of perjury; but this is a shocking imposition on their own souls. See Clarke on De 4:26; "De 6:13".

Perform unto the Lord thine oaths] The morality of the Jews on this point was truly execrable: they maintained, that a man might swear with his lips, and annul it in the same moment in his heart. Rab. Akiba is quoted as an example of this kind of swearing.
B2 Jephthah:
C1 Judges 11:30-31 GW Jephthah made a vow to the LORD. He said, "If you will really hand Ammon over to me, 31 then whatever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me when I return safely from Ammon will belong to the LORD. I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering.
C2 Judges 11:39-40 GW At the end of those two months she came back to her father. He did to her what he had vowed, and she never had a husband. So the custom began in Israel 40 that for four days every year the girls in Israel would go out to sing the praises of the daughter of Jephthah, the man from Gilead.
Adam Clarke comments (go to the passage and read it all as it is very interesting):
Verse 40. To lament the daughter of Jephthah] I am satisfied
that this is not a correct translation of the original lethannoth lebath yiphtach. Houbigant translates the whole verse thus: Sed iste mos apud Israel invaluit, ut virgines Israel, temporibus diversis, irent ad filiam Jepthe-ut eam quotannis dies quatuor consolarentur; "But this custom prevailed in Israel that the virgins of Israel went at different times, four days in the year, to the daughter of Jephthah, that they might comfort her." This verse also gives evidence that the daughter of Jephthah was not sacrificed: nor does it appear that the custom or statute referred to here lasted after the death of Jephthah's daughter.

THE following is Dr. Hales' exposition of Jephthah's vow:
"When Jephthah went forth to battle against the Ammonites, he vowed a vow unto the Lord, and said, 'If thou wilt surely give the children of Ammon into my hand, then it shall be that whatsoever cometh out of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall either be the Lord's, or I will offer it up (for) a burnt-offering,' Jud 11:30, 31.

According to this rendering of the two conjunctions, vau in the last clause 'either,' 'or,' (which is justified by the Hebrew idiom thus, 'He that curseth his father and his mother,' Ex 21:17, is necessarily rendered disjunctively, 'His father or his mother,' by the Septuagint, Vulgate, Chaldee, and English, confirmed by Mt 15:4, the paucity of connecting particles in that language making it necessary that this conjunction should often be understood disjunctively,) the vow consisted of two parts: 1. That what person soever met him should be the Lord's or be dedicated to his service; and, 2. That what beast soever met him, if clean, should be offered up for a burnt-offering unto the Lord.

"This rendering and this interpretation is warranted by the Levitical law about vows.

"The neder, or vow, in general, included either persons, beasts, or things dedicated to the Lord for pious uses; which, if it was a simple vow, was redeemable at certain prices, if the person repented of his vow, and wished to commute it for money, according to the age or sex of the person, Le 27:1-8: this was a wise regulation to remedy rash vows. But if the vow was accompanied with cherem, devotement, it was irredeemable, as in the following case, Le 27:28.

"Notwithstanding, no devotement which a man shall devote unto the Lord, (either) of man, or beast, or of land of his own property, shall be sold or redeemed. Every thing devoted is most holy to the Lord.

"Here the three vaus in the original should necessarily be rendered disjunctively, or as the last actually is in our translation, because there are three distinct subjects of devotement to be applied to distinct uses, the man to be dedicated to the service of the Lord, as Samuel by his mother Hannah, 1Sa 1:11; the cattle, if clean, such as oxen, sheep, goats, turtle-doves, or pigeons, to be sacrificed; and if unclean, as camels, horses, asses, to be employed for carrying burdens in the service of the tabernacle or temple; and the lands, to be sacred property.

"This law therefore expressly applied in its first branch to Jephthah's case, who had devoted his daughter to the Lord, or opened his mouth to the Lord, and therefore could not go back, as he declared in his grief at seeing his daughter and only child coming to meet him with timbrels and dances: she was, therefore necessarily devoted, but with her own consent to perpetual virginity in the service of the tabernacle, Jud 11:36, 37; and such service was customary, for in the division of the spoils taken in the first Midianitish war, of the whole number of captive virgins the Lord's tribute was thirty-two persons, Nu 31:15-40. This instance appears to be decisive of the nature of her devotement.

"Her father's extreme grief on the occasion and her requisition of a respite for two months to bewail her virginity, are both perfectly natural. Having no other issue, he could only look forward to the extinction of his name or family; and a state of celibacy, which is reproachful among women everywhere, was peculiarly so among the Israelites, and was therefore no ordinary sacrifice on her part; who, though she generously gave up, could not but regret the loss of, becoming 'a mother in Israel.' And he did with her according to his vow which he had vowed, and she knew no man, or remained a virgin, all her life, Jud 11:34-39.

16 March 2020

A Few Thoughts About Reasons We Are Deceived

Mark 12:24-27 WEL Jesus replied saying to them, “Isn’t this the reason you are deceived? For you don’t know the Scriptures, or the power of God. 25 “For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage but are like the angels who are in heaven. 26 “Regarding the dead in that they rise, haven’t you read about the bush in the book of Moses. How God spoke to him saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? 27 “He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living; therefore, you are greatly deceived.”

Why are they deceived?
B1 They don’t know the Scriptures.
C1 They don’t read the Scriptures?
C2 If they do, they don’t believe or live it.
C3 They put their theology as a higher authority than the Scriptures.
C4 Their eschatology was in great error.
C5 Their method of interpretation was in error.
B2 They don’t know the power of God.
C1 Recognize?
C2 Accept it?
C3 Believe it possible?
C4 Excuse it?
C5 Willful ignorance

The Sadducees:
B1 A note from Treasury of Scriptural KnowledgeAs the five books of Moses were the only scriptures which the Sadducees admitted as Divine, our Lord confutes them by an appeal to these books, and proves that they were ignorant of those very writings which they professed to hold sacred. He not only rectified their opinions, but so explained the doctrine as to overthrow the erroneous decision of the Pharisees, that if two brothers married one woman, she should be restored at the resurrection to the first.
B2 A note from Robertson’s Word PicturesThe Sadducees posed as men of superior intelligence and knowledge in opposition to the traditionalists among the Pharisees with their oral law. And yet on this very point they were ignorant of the Scriptures. How much error today is due to this same ignorance among the educated.

B1 Deception is the Greek word πλανάω planáō. It means to use some method to cause someone or something to leave safety, truth, or virtue. What would cause this wandering away?
C1 Deception from a false teacher, false prophet, false interpretation, etc.
D1 From a skilled teacher with much charisma who has false beliefs from pride, and seeking power, money, sex, two of these, or all three.
D2 From a trusted source who fell away or is deceived.
C2 Imagination instead of reality. Falsehood instead of truth. For example: Jeremiah 14:14 GW Then the LORD told me, "These are the lies that the prophets are telling in my name: They claim that I sent them, commanded them, and spoke to them. They dreamed up the visions they tell you. Their predictions are worthless. They are the products of their own imagination.
C3 Concealment to cover up a person’s sin, etc. They reinterpret something to justify their actions. For example: Luke 8:17 NET For nothing is hidden that will not be revealed, and nothing concealed that will not be made known and brought to light.
C4 Pride: Hosea 13:4-6 BSB Yet I am the LORD your God ever since the land of Egypt; you know no God but Me, for there is no Savior besides Me. 5 I knew you in the wilderness, in the land of drought. 6 When they had pasture, they became satisfied; when they were satisfied, their hearts became proud. As a result, they forgot Me.
B2 Know is the Greek word εἴδω eídō. It means to see or perceive and thus to know and/or understand. It is a willful blindness. It is seen in the attitude of the mockers that Peter writes about: 2 Peter 3:5 BSB But they deliberately overlook the fact that long ago by God’s word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water, [Emphasis is added]

Why are they deceived?
B1 They don’t know the Scriptures.
C1 They don’t read the Scriptures?
D1 Many read theology instead of Scriptures.
D2 Many ignore reading/studying Scriptures.
D3 Many just listen to and/or read some author instead of reading the Scriptures for themselves.
C2 If they do, they don’t believe or live it.
D1 I’ve had people tell me that the Scriptures are the old manna, but “I get new manna from God Himself. “(This is nothing more than the mystical voice of “god.”)
D2 I’ve had people tell me that the letter (the Scriptures) kills but the spirit (the mystical voice of “god” gives life).
D3 I’ve had people tell me that the Scriptures are for those who lived long ago.
C3 They put their theology as a higher authority than the Scriptures.
D1 They interpret the Scripture by eisegesis instead of exegesis.
D2 They redefine words to fit their theological beliefs.
C4 Their eschatology was in great error.
D1 Instead of interpreting the Bible in its plain, normal sense consistently through all of Scripture including prophetic passages, they develop schemes to explain away the plain sense.
D2 They ignore prophetic passages claiming they are too hard to understand and are divisive.
C5 Their method of interpretation is in error.
B2 They don’t know the power of God.
C1 Recognize?
D1 Some make God so sovereign that He decrees everything good or evil.
D2 Some make God so weak that He cannot know future decisions of people or animals.
D3 When I read the Bible, I see that God is so sovereign that He can decree a measure of libertarian free will (the ability to resist). Some passages are meaningless unless there is a measure of free will.
E1 Free will
F1 Proverbs 1:29 BSB For they hated knowledge and chose not to fear the LORD.
F2 Isaiah 56:4 MKJV For so says the LORD to the eunuchs who keep My sabbath, and choose things that please Me, and take hold of My covenant
F3 Psalms 119:173 BSB May Your hand be ready to help me, for I have chosen Your precepts.
F4 1 Peter 4:17 GW The time has come for the judgment to begin, and it will begin with God's family. If it starts with us, what will be the end for those who refuse to obey the Good News of God?
F5 Isaiah 65:12 AB I will deliver you up to the sword, you shall all fall by slaughter; for I called you, and you hearkened not; I spoke, and you refused to hear; and you did evil in My sight, and chose the things in which I do not delight.
E2 Sovereign and cannot be resisted.
F1 Unconditional promises. For example: Genesis 3:15 BSB And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”
F2 Isaiah 43:13 BSB Even from eternity I am He, and none can deliver out of My hand. When I act, who can reverse it?
F3 John 7:17 GNT Whoever is willing to do what God wants will know whether what I teach comes from God or whether I speak on my own authority.
C2 Accept it?
D1 Some reject anything supernatural.
D2 Some reject any involvement of God in today’s universe.
D3 The truth is that God is very involved.
E1 Acts 14:17 NET yet he did not leave himself without a witness by doing good, by giving you rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying you with food and your hearts with joy."
E2 Psalms 145:15-16 BSB The eyes of all look to You, and You give them their food in season. 16 You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.
C3 Believe it possible?
D1 Can God do these things?
D2 Luke 1:36-37 GW "Elizabeth, your relative, is six months pregnant with a son in her old age. People said she couldn't have a child. 37 But nothing is impossible for God."
C4 Excuse it?
D1 It’s only natural phenomena
D2 It’s a magic trick, an illusion
D3 It really never happened
D4 Bible:
E1 Romans 1:20 WEL For the invisible things about him since the creation of the world are unmistakably seen. They are understood by the things that are made, both his eternal power and Godhead [what we understand as Trinity], [making] these [people] without excuse.
E2 God’s master intelligence and creativity in design is seen everywhere:
F1 On earth: Hebrews 3:4 GW After all, every house has a builder, but the builder of everything is God.
F2 In heaven: Hebrews 11:10 GW Abraham was waiting for the city that God had designed and built, the city with permanent foundations.
C5 Willful ignorance
D1 The attitude of knowing the truth but rejecting the obvious: Hebrews 11:10 GW Abraham was waiting for the city that God had designed and built, the city with permanent foundations.
D2 It is necessary to accept truth and reject myths: 2 Timothy 4:7 BSB But reject irreverent and silly myths. Instead, train yourself for godliness.

Let us not be naive, lest we be deceived: Romans 16:18 GNT For those who do such things are not serving Christ our Lord, but their own appetites. By their fine words and flattering speech they deceive innocent people.

John 8:32 NLT And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

15 March 2020

Panic Leads to Poor Judgment

Proverbs 3:25 RSV Do not be afraid of sudden panic, or of the ruin of the wicked, when it comes;

Jeremiah 30:5 ESV Thus says the LORD: We have heard a cry of panic, of terror, and no peace.

Now, I am taking these verses out of context as far as interpretation, but I believe there is a principle taught.

Panic destroys judgment and leads to poor decisions, dangerous actions, and stupidity.

If you read the press and note people’s panic because of COVID-19, you see this happening.

Judgment is destroyed.

Poor decisions are being made.

Dangerous actions are taking place.

Stupidity reigns supreme.



I read of people posting the empty shelves of TP, hand sanitizer, bottled water, beef (hamburger), potatoes, etc. What’s next?

I read of people drinking, gargling, and wiping their faces with bleach and cow urine.

I read of one man who is a selling a special toothpaste with nano-silver. He claims if one brushes their teeth with it, they will not get sick with COVID-19.

I read of people who will not let their family outside the house for any reasons.


I’m a nurse. I’ve been in situations where a physician and I were doing a procedure. Suddenly, a unexpected situation arises that could lead to death of the patient. What are we going to do? Are we going to start running around the room screaming that the patient is going to die? Or, are we going to keep our cool and respond to the situation as our education, training, and experience have molded us to do?

According to WHO’s statistics from the 2017 (the latest I can find), there were over 10,000,000 new cases of TB and 1,300,000 people died. If so, then that is approximately 27,397 people becoming infected with TB and 3,562 people dying EVERY DAY. Who is panicking? Now this is serious.

We can get updates from WHO here and here.

If everyone would chill out, wash their hands with soap and water, not sneeze in the hands and then rubbing door knobs, magazines, carts, etc. with their contaminated hands (use a tissue or if nothing else your sleeve), washing their hands after sneezing (if unable to use soap and water, use hand sanitizer), take 1 gram of Vit C, 2000 IU of Vit D3, be sensible, things will be better.

Yes, COVID-19 is serious, but if we panic, we get stupid.

Other links:
B1 Proper hand washing (from John Hopkin’s Medical)
B2 Proper sneezing (from Hamilton Health Sciences)
B4 Effect of panic on decision making:
Research published in The Journal of Neuroscience explains how anxiety works to disengage the part of the brain that is essential for making good decisions. The area is the pre-frontal cortex (PFC), at the front of the brain, and it is the area that brings flexibility into decision-making.

The situation may be different than the Psalmist, but the application is sound: Psalm 56:3-4 NLT But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you. 4 I praise God for what he has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me?

The bottom line
B1 Don’t panic for it is bad for our well-being.
B2 Don’t be impulsive for it is bad for our health, our finances, our friends and family, etc.
B3 Choices have consequences.
B4 Breath slowly, enjoy nature, don’t make decisions without thinking.
B5 Pray for wisdom.