2521.) 2 John

December 31, 2018

John, “the elder,” is one of Jesus’ twelve disciples and the writer of the Gospel of John, three letters, and the book of Revelation.

2 John  (NLT)

As we enter the New Year, we are looking at the five books in the Bible that have only one chapter. 


1This letter is from John, the elder.   I am writing to the chosen lady and to her children, whom I love in the truth—as does everyone else who knows the truth—2 because the truth lives in us and will be with us forever.

Perhaps this was an individual Christian woman John wanted to warn and encourage by this letter. Or, the term might be a symbolic way of addressing this particular congregation.

John probably did not name himself, the elect lady or her children by name because this was written during a time of persecution. Perhaps John didn’t want to implicate anyone by name in a written letter. If the letter was intercepted and the authorities knew who it was written to by name, it might mean death for those persons.

–David Guzik

3 Grace, mercy, and peace, which come from God the Father and from Jesus Christ—the Son of the Father—will continue to be with us who live in truth and love.

Now these are good gifts from God, for which we should daily give thanks! — grace, mercy, peace, truth, love!

Live in the Truth

4How happy I was to meet some of your children and find them living according to the truth, just as the Father commanded.

5 I am writing to remind you, dear friends, that we should love one another. This is not a new commandment, but one we have had from the beginning. 6 Love means doing what God has commanded us, and he has commanded us to love one another, just as you heard from the beginning.

If we love God, we will obey His commandments. We do this not as if His commandments are heavy burdens, but because we see that they are best for us. They are guides and gifts to us from God.

Mark 12:28-33 (NLT)

One of the teachers of religious law was standing there listening to the debate. He realized that Jesus had answered well, so he asked, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord.  And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’  The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”

The teacher of religious law replied, “Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth by saying that there is only one God and no other.  And I know it is important to love him with all my heart and all my understanding and all my strength, and to love my neighbor as myself. This is more important than to offer all of the burnt offerings and sacrifices required in the law.”

7 I say this because many deceivers have gone out into the world. They deny that Jesus Christ came in a real body. Such a person is a deceiver and an antichrist. 8 Watch out that you do not lose what we have worked so hard to achieve. Be diligent so that you receive your full reward. 9 Anyone who wanders away from this teaching has no relationship with God. But anyone who remains in the teaching of Christ has a relationship with both the Father and the Son.

10 If anyone comes to your meeting and does not teach the truth about Christ, don’t invite that person into your home or give any kind of encouragement. 11 Anyone who encourages such people becomes a partner in their evil work.

In the early church of John’s day, teachers traveled from place to place and Christians were expected to open their homes to them in kind hospitality. John instructs first century Christians to judge the veracity of the various teachers before welcoming them in. In our day, we can open our homes and our minds to all kinds of false teaching in many ways, including via televisions and computers. Beware, John says, that you are learning the truth about God from these teachers. Chose thoughtfully your books, movies, and TV entertainment. Know what is being taught in your own congregation, your children’s public schools, your church colleges and seminaries. Stand up for the truth of Christ! Do not be led astray and in so doing, lose your reward.


12I have much more to say to you, but I don’t want to do it with paper and ink. For I hope to visit you soon and talk with you face to face. Then our joy will be complete. 13 Greetings from the children of your sister, chosen by God.



HERE  is an instrumental version of the hymn “I Would Be True,” something the Apostle John certainly demonstrated for us all! May we be imitators of John, as he was of Christ!

The composer of the tune is Joseph Y. Peek; the arrangement is by David H. Hegarty.

The text for “I Would Be True,” was written by a young man in his early twenties in a poem that he titled “My Creed.” After graduating with honors from Princeton University in 1905, Howard Arnold Walter spent a year teaching the English language in Japan. While there he sent a copy of his “creed” to his mother back home in Connecticut. Mrs. Walter sent the poem to Harper’s Magazine, where it appeared in the May, 1907 issue.

Returning to the United States, Howard Walter entered Hartford Seminary and upon graduation served as an assistant minister at the Asylum Hill Congregational Church in Hartford, Connecticut. One day he showed his poem to an itinerant Methodist lay preacher, Joseph Peek. Although Peek had no technical knowledge of music, he immediately whistled a tune suited to Walter’s words.

Several years later, Howard Walter left for India to teach and minister. He died there in 1918, during an influenza epidemic.

  1. I would be true, for there are those who trust me;
    I would be pure, for there are those who care;
    I would be strong, for there is much to suffer;
    I would be brave, for there is much to dare.
  2. I would be friend of all—the foe, the friendless;
    I would be giving, and forget the gift;
    I would be humble, for I know my weakness;
    I would look up, and laugh, and love, and lift.
  3. I would be faithful through each passing moment;
    I would be constantly in touch with God;
    I would be strong to follow where He leads me;
    I would have faith to keep the path Christ trod.
  4. Who is so low that I am not his brother?
    Who is so high that I’ve no path to him?
    Who is so poor I may not feel his hunger?
    Who is so rich I may not pity him?
  5. Who is so hurt I may not know his heartache?
    Who sings for joy my heart may never share?
    Who in God’s heav’n has passed beyond my vision?
    Who to hell’s depths where I may never fare.
  6. May none, then, call on me for understanding,
    May none, then, turn to me for help in pain,
    And drain alone his bitter cup of sorrow,
    Or find he knocks upon my heart in vain.


New Living Translation (NLT)   Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
St. John.    https://readingacts.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/john-icon.jpeg
truth in love.  https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/truth_in_love1.jpg
love God, love people.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/love-god-love-people.png
welcome.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/welcome.jpg

2520.) Psalm 75

December 28, 2018

Yes, God will judge each one of us, according to righteousness and his grace.

Psalm 75 (ESV)

God Will Judge with Equity

To the choirmaster: according to Do Not Destroy. A Psalm of Asaph. A Song.

1We give thanks to you, O God;
we give thanks, for your name is near.
We recount your wondrous deeds.

 “We should praise God again and again. Stinted gratitude is ingratitude. For infinite goodness there should be measureless thanks.”

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon

2“At the set time that I appoint
I will judge with equity.

The rightness, the timing, and the power of God’s judgments are all worth of our deep consideration.

3When the earth totters, and all its inhabitants,
it is I who keep steady its pillars.

1 Samuel 2:8 (ESV)

He raises up the poor from the dust;
   he lifts the needy from the ash heap
to make them sit with princes
   and inherit a seat of honor.
For the pillars of the earth are the LORD’s,
   and on them he has set the world.

4I say to the boastful, ‘Do not boast,’
and to the wicked, ‘Do not lift up your horn;
5do not lift up your horn on high,
or speak with haughty neck.'”

“Lifting one’s horn against heaven is the equivalent of shaking one’s fist in God’s face.”

–James Montgomery Boice

6For not from the east or from the west
and not from the wilderness comes lifting up,
7but it is God who executes judgment,
putting down one and lifting up another.

Years ago when I was an Army wife, I was introduced to this verse by a sergeant-major’s wife during a Bible Study. The promotion list was soon to come out, and many of the women in our study were eagerly / anxiously / hopefully waiting to see if their husband’s name would be on it. Promotion depended on so many factors, but a large one was the evaluation of the service member’s immediate commander. This means, of course, that if one’s husband didn’t get promoted, one could blame it on his boss. (As we progress up the military ladder, however, the coin shows another side — that if a person under your husband doesn’t get promoted, the wife could blame your husband.)

So that particular morning, as women were sharing horror stories of what their husbands had to put up with under terrible bosses — this woman opened her Bible to this verse. It is not from the Army that promotions come, she said to us.  It is God who chooses who will get promoted and when. Then she added, since we know that God is a loving father, we can trust him to do the right thing for us on the promotion list.

“Promotions in any direction, to positions of credit, influence, or consideration, are the gift and the work of God.”

–F. B. Meyer

My husband was eligible for promotion that year — but his name was not on the list. He was very discouraged amid the public “humiliation” that comes with being passed over. But the next year he was promoted to lieutenant colonel, and right then his #1 choice of a battalion command came open. Had he been promoted a year earlier, he would not have been free at the right time. So we spent two wonderful years at his dream job — leading the 313th Military Intelligence Battalion, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina.  Wonderful years!

Yes, the Lord knew what he was doing. “We give thanks to you, O God;  we recount your wondrous deeds.”

8 For in the hand of the LORD there is a cup
with foaming wine, well mixed,
and he pours out from it,
and all the wicked of the earth
shall drain it down to the dregs.

“The metaphor of Psalm 75:8, in which judgment is represented as a cup of foaming wine, which God puts to the lips of the nations, receives great expansion in the prophets, especially in Jeremiah, and recurs in the Apocalypse. There is a grim contrast between the images of festivity and hospitality called up by the picture of a host presenting the wine cup to his guests, and the stern compulsion which makes the ‘wicked’ gulp down the nauseous draught held by God to their reluctant lips.”

–Alexander Maclaren

9But I will declare it forever;
I will sing praises to the God of Jacob.
10 All the horns of the wicked I will cut off,
but the horns of the righteous shall be lifted up.



You could think horns of bulls, I guess. But I prefer righteous French horns! Steve Park, a horn teacher at Utah State University, plays his French horn beautifully for this, Noctorno Op. 7, by Franz Strauss,  HERE.  If you are a lover of French horn, as I am, you can find many more pieces recorded by him on youtube.

“We give thanks to you, O God, we give thanks” — the first words of this psalm. As you listen, give thanks to God!


English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
Only God can judge me.    http://www.mytinyphone.com/uploads/users/sexyflakita/280420.gif
Living and dead.   https://images.knowing-jesus.com/i/1-peter-4-5-they-will-give-an-account-to-him-who-judges-orange-8161
82nd Airborne Division patch.   http://www.clevelandseniors.com/images/events/airborne-2007/82nd-airborne-shoulder-sleeve.jpg
God, our righteous judge.   https://www.slideserve.com/bishop/god-our-righteous-judge

2519.) Psalm 93

December 27, 2018

Psalm 93 (The Message)

It is my daily joy to live on an island set in the ocean.

1-2 God is King, robed and ruling,
God is robed and surging with strength.
And yes, the world is firm, immovable,
Your throne ever firm—you’re Eternal!

“There is a decisiveness in the Hebrew for The Lord reigns which at least calls for an exclamation mark (as in TEV, ‘The Lord is king!’). It has the ring of a proclamation.”

–Derek Kidner

3-4 Sea storms are up, God,
Sea storms wild and roaring,
Sea storms with thunderous breakers.
Stronger than wild sea storms,
Mightier than sea-storm breakers,
Mighty God rules from High Heaven.

“He sits as King, higher than the spray is tossed, deeper than the fathomless depths, mightier than the strongest billow. Let Him but say, ‘Peace, be still!’ and the greatest storm that ever swept the waves with wild fury sinks into the tranquil sleep of childhood.”

–F. B. Meyer

5 What you say goes—it always has.
“Beauty” and “Holy” mark your palace rule,
God, to the very end of time.

“Is all this so? Does Jehovah reign? Then let us offer the sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving. He is worthy to receive; and in our giving, there is also the receiving of the benefits of His reign which enrich and glorify our lives.”

–G. Campbell Morgan

One of my favorite sea poems — for all of us water people!

Sea Fever
by John Masefield

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way, where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.



HERE  is “Our God, He Reigns,” with Israel Houghton. Take this with you today and tomorrow and all your life long!


The Message (MSG)    Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson
Images courtesy of:
Psalm 93:4.  https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/psalm93a.jpg
sailing.  https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/catamaransailingwptw.png

2518.) Psalms 68

December 26, 2018

Psalm 68   (NRSV)

Praise and Thanksgiving

Christ may have come as a baby, but he is always and forever a powerful king, full of love and strength, mercy and deliverance for his people!

To the leader. Of David. A Psalm. A Song.
1 Let God rise up, let his enemies be scattered;
let those who hate him flee before him.



HERE  is Paul Wilbur and “Let God Arise.” Complete with shofars!


2 As smoke is driven away, so drive them away;
as wax melts before the fire,
let the wicked perish before God.
3 But let the righteous be joyful;
let them exult before God;
let them be jubilant with joy.

from Whispers of His Power,
by Amy Carmichael

Psalm 68:3 — But let the righteous be glad, let them rejoice before God, yea, let them exceedingly rejoice.

In Pilgrim’s Progress the Interpreter showed Christian the fire burning against the wall, and one standing by it, always casting much water upon it to quench it. But when he went to the “backside” of the wall, “he saw a man with a vessel of oil in his hand, of the which he did also continually cast, but secretly, into the fire.”

There are times in most lives when it is hard to see how the fire is kept burning. We see him who casts the water. We do not see the Man with the vessel of oil in His hand. And yet He is there all the time. This “wall” which prevents us seeing what truly is, teaches us to walk by faith and not by sight.

But in His tender love our Lord does give us proof of His presence behind the wall. We cannot see Him, but we can hear Him speak. As a mother’s voice can reassure her child in the dark, so indeed can His voice reassure us even though we cannot see Him.

“It may be my imagination.” The whisper is as a drop of that water that is perpetually cast on the fire of faith and love. Let a question answer it for us. “Can imagination stay the heart? It may uplift it for a moment, but can it steady it, hold it in peace? Can it strengthen it?” No, it cannot, so let us trust and not be afraid. It was our Lord and not another who spoke to us.

Let us “be delighted with joy” then, as the Septuagint translates “exceedingly rejoice.” Let us not waste one hour in fear, in dullness, in despondency, for He is never nearer than when we do not see Him but yet stay our hearts on Him.

4 Sing to God, sing praises to his name;
lift up a song to him who rides upon the clouds—
his name is the Lord—
be exultant before him.

5 Father of orphans and protector of widows
is God in his holy habitation.

God’s greatness isn’t only defined by military-like triumphs. It is also seen in His compassionate concern and care for the weak and needy. The name Yahweh is connected to God as the Becoming One (Exodus 3:13-14), the God who becomes what His people need. The fatherless need a father; Yahweh is there. The widows need a defender; God is there.

–David Guzik

6 God gives the desolate a home to live in;
he leads out the prisoners to prosperity,
but the rebellious live in a parched land.

7 O God, when you went out before your people,
when you marched through the wilderness,
8 the earth quaked, the heavens poured down rain
at the presence of God, the God of Sinai,
at the presence of God, the God of Israel.

Mount Sinai (traditional site pictured above) was a significant place in Israelite history. Here Moses first heard God’s call upon his life, to go to the Pharaoh for the release of the people of Israel. Here a short time later the twelve tribes gathered and received the law of the Lord. With thick clouds and loud thunder on Mount Sinai, God seemed to be present with them.

9 Rain in abundance, O God, you showered abroad;
you restored your heritage when it languished;
10 your flock found a dwelling in it;
in your goodness, O God, you provided for the needy.

11 The Lord gives the command;
great is the company of those who bore the tidings:

This is the message of the Gospel, the Good News of Jesus Christ. God won a great victory through the Person and work of Jesus Christ and His people gain everything through that victory in a battle they did not directly fight. This is the message that we as a great company are to proclaim.

–David Guzik

12   ‘The kings of the armies, they flee, they flee!’
The women at home divide the spoil,
13   though they stay among the sheepfolds—
the wings of a dove covered with silver,
its pinions with green gold.
14 When the Almighty scattered kings there,
snow fell on Zalmon.

The dove represents Israel: 

Psalm 74:19-20 (NIV)

Do not hand over the life of your dove to wild beasts;
   do not forget the lives of your afflicted people forever.
Have regard for your covenant,
   because haunts of violence fill the dark places of the land.

15 O mighty mountain, mountain of Bashan;
O many-peaked mountain, mountain of Bashan!
16 Why do you look with envy, O many-peaked mountain,
at the mount that God desired for his abode,
where the Lord will reside for ever?

17 With mighty chariotry, twice ten thousand,
thousands upon thousands,
the Lord came from Sinai into the holy place.
18 You ascended the high mount,
leading captives in your train
and receiving gifts from people,
even from those who rebel against the Lord God’s abiding there.

Ephesians 4:7-13 (NIV)

But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.  This is why it says:

   “When he ascended on high,
   he took many captives
   and gave gifts to his people.”

(What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions?  He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.)  So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers,  to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up  until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

19 Blessed be the Lord,
who daily bears us up;
God is our salvation.
20 Our God is a God of salvation,
and to God, the Lord, belongs escape from death.

21 But God will shatter the heads of his enemies,
the hairy crown of those who walk in their guilty ways.

God made this promise long ago, in Genesis 3:15, when he told the serpent, 

And I will put enmity
    between you and the woman,
    and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
    and you will strike his heel.”

22 The Lord said,
‘I will bring them back from Bashan,
I will bring them back from the depths of the sea,
23 so that you may bathe your feet in blood,
so that the tongues of your dogs may have their share from the foe.’

Many commentators believe this Psalm is connected with the coming of the ark of the covenant into Jerusalem (2 Samuel 6) celebrating not only that event, but also the faithfulness of God to give Israel victory over her enemies, secure enough to bring the ark into Jerusalem. The next verses describe the parade!

24 Your solemn processions are seen, O God,
the processions of my God, my King, into the sanctuary—
25 the singers in front, the musicians last,
between them girls playing tambourines:
26 ‘Bless God in the great congregation,
the Lord, O you who are of Israel’s fountain!’
27 There is Benjamin, the least of them, in the lead,
the princes of Judah in a body,
the princes of Zebulun, the princes of Naphtali.

28 Summon your might, O God;
show your strength, O God, as you have done for us before.
29 Because of your temple at Jerusalem
kings bear gifts to you.

Matthew 2:9-11 (CEV)

The wise men listened to what the king said and then left. And the star they had seen in the east went on ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. They were thrilled and excited to see the star.

When the men went into the house and saw the child with Mary, his mother, they knelt down and worshiped him. They took out their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh and gave them to him.

30 Rebuke the wild animals that live among the reeds,
the herd of bulls with the calves of the peoples.
Trample under foot those who lust after tribute;
scatter the peoples who delight in war.
31 Let bronze be brought from Egypt;
let Ethiopia hasten to stretch out its hands to God.

32 Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth;
sing praises to the Lord,
33 O rider in the heavens, the ancient heavens;
listen, he sends out his voice, his mighty voice.
34 Ascribe power to God,
whose majesty is over Israel;
and whose power is in the skies.

35 Awesome is God in his sanctuary,
the God of Israel;
he gives power and strength to his people.

 The God who is actively involved in the life and victory of His people is worthy of praise.

–David Guzik

Blessed be God!


The New Revised Standard Version (Anglicized Edition), copyright 1989, 1995 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Psalm 68:19.   https://dazocrfitness.wordpress.com/2017/11/29/psalm-6819/
from Pilgrim’s Progress.    http://womenwithfaith.org/bunyan/PilgrimImages/013.The.Work.of.Grace.jpg
Mount Sinai.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/sinai.jpg
dove.   http://www.faqs.org/photo-dict/photofiles/list/346/698dove.jpg
spiritual gifts.     https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/spiritual_gifts1.gif
foot on the head of the serpent.   https://redeeminggod.com/genesis_3_14-15/
three wise men presenting their gifts to the Christ Child.    http://straphaelschurchthykoodam.org/more_verse.php?page=27

2517.) Christmas Day

December 25, 2018

Christmas Day

John 1:14 (NIV)

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Almighty God, you have made yourself known in your Son,
Jesus, redeemer of the world.
We pray that his birth as a human child will set us free
from the old slavery of our sin;
through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns
with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.  Amen.


I wish you all, my dear readers, a happy Christmas with the presence of Jesus made wonderfully real to you. Thank you for being part of the DWELLING family as we learn more and more about the Word of God in Scripture and the Word made flesh in Christ. Every blessing be yours, through the grace of our Lord, Father, Son, and Spirit.



HERE  is a beautiful Christmas carol, “Infant Holy, Infant Lowly,” put to a new Christmas story. Jesus sets us all free.


Images courtesy of:
Luke 4:18-19.   https://ajoyousrejoicing.wordpress.com/2014/04/04/luke-418-19-2/
olivewood nativity set.   http://www.artinstituteshop.org/content/images/14523.jpg

2516.) Christmas Eve

December 24, 2018

The Coming of Christ,

Old and New Testaments

Genesis 3:13-15 (NIV)

Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”

The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

So the LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this,

“Cursed are you above all livestock
and all wild animals!
You will crawl on your belly
and you will eat dust
all the days of your life.
And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel.”

“Eve, After Eating the Forbidden Fruit” by Anna Lea Merritt, c. 1890


Genesis 22:15-18 (NIV)

The angel of the LORD called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said, “I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son,  I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies,  and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”

“The Binding of Isaac” by Alan Falk, 2002


Isaiah 9:6-7 (NIV)

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the LORD Almighty
will accomplish this.


Luke 2:6-7 (NIV)

While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born,  and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.



HERE  is “What Child Is This,” sung by Kitty Cleveland.


Images courtesy of:
stable scene.  https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/0000the-birth-of-christ.jpg
Merritt.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/eve_merritt1.jpg
Falk.  https://beyondcontradiction.org/2016/03/26/good-friday/
Jesus, lion, and lamb.    http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1076/899946019_e9c0ed54d5.jpg

2515.) Proverbs 22

December 21, 2018

Proverbs 22   (NRSV)

A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches,
and favor is better than silver or gold.

Ecclesiastes 7:1   (NLT)

A good reputation is more valuable than costly perfume.


“Good name in man and woman, dear my lord,
Is the immediate jewel of their souls.
Who steals my purse steals trash; ’tis something, nothing;
‘Twas mine, ’tis his, and has been slave to thousands;
But he that filches from me my good name
Robs me of that which not enriches him,
And makes me poor indeed.”

–William Shakespeare, Othello

The rich and the poor have this in common:
the Lord is the maker of them all.
The clever see danger and hide;
but the simple go on, and suffer for it.
The reward for humility and fear of the Lord
is riches and honor and life.

1 Peter 5:10   (NIV)

 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.

Thorns and snares are in the way of the perverse;
the cautious will keep far from them.
Train children in the right way,
and when old, they will not stray.

I learned this verse decades ago in the King James Version:

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

“What is the way in which a child should go? A more literal rendering of the Hebrew at once answers this question. Such translation would be: ‘Train up child according to his way.’In every child there are special and peculiar powers. The true business of training a child therefore, is that of discovering what those powers are, and developing them…Herein is revealed the need for individual work. No two children are alike.”

–G. Campbell Morgan

Or as Dorothy Sayers has one of her characters misquote it in her novel Unnatural Death:

“Train up a child and away she go, as the Good Book says.”

The rich rule over the poor,
and the borrower is the slave of the lender.

Consumer debt in the USA

The survey, conducted in 2016, found that the average card debt was $5,700 for households that carry a balance – 38 percent of all households.


Whoever sows injustice will reap calamity,
and the rod of anger will fail.
Those who are generous are blessed,
for they share their bread with the poor.
10 Drive out a scoffer, and strife goes out;
quarreling and abuse will cease.
11 Those who love a pure heart and are gracious in speech
will have the king as a friend.

12 The eyes of the Lord keep watch over knowledge,
but he overthrows the words of the faithless.
13 The lazy person says, “There is a lion outside!
I shall be killed in the streets!”

In his imagination, the outside world and the work required to function in it are so frightening that it is best avoided. 

14 The mouth of a loose woman is a deep pit;
he with whom the Lord is angry falls into it.

 “Unlike the sluggard’s fantasy of a man-eating lion roaming the city streets, these harlots are very real deadly predators in the streets.”

–Bruce K. Waltke

15 Folly is bound up in the heart of a boy,
but the rod of discipline drives it far away.

16 Oppressing the poor in order to enrich oneself,
and giving to the rich, will lead only to loss.

The Words of the Wise

Proverbs 22:17 begins a new section of the collection. We move from the long section (Proverbs 10:1 through 22:16) containing almost entirely two-phrase wisdom sayings with very little arrangement according to theme or context. Starting here, the structure of the wisdom sayings is often longer and they are more arranged according to some theme.

–David Guzik

17 Incline your ear and hear my words,
and apply your mind to my teaching;

Mark 4:23   (NLT)

“Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”

18 for it will be pleasant if you keep them within you,
if all of them are ready on your lips.
19 So that your trust may be in the Lord,
I have made them known to you today—yes, to you.
20 Have I not written for you thirty sayings
of admonition and knowledge,
21 to show you what is right and true,
so that you may give a true answer to those who sent you?

22 Do not rob the poor because they are poor,
or crush the afflicted at the gate;
23 for the Lord pleads their cause
and despoils of life those who despoil them.

Matthew 19:21   (NIV)

Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

24 Make no friends with those given to anger,
and do not associate with hotheads,
25 or you may learn their ways
and entangle yourself in a snare.

Quotes about angry people:

People won’t have time for you if you are always angry or complaining.

–Stephen Hawking

Anybody can become angry–that is easy; but to be angry with the right person, and to the right degree, and at the right time, and for the right purpose, and in the right way–that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.


Getting angry doesn’t solve anything.

–Grace Kelly

26 Do not be one of those who give pledges,
who become surety for debts.
27 If you have nothing with which to pay,
why should your bed be taken from under you?
28 Do not remove the ancient landmark
that your ancestors set up.
29 Do you see those who are skillful in their work?
They will serve kings;
they will not serve common people.



Sometimes there is just no song like an old song. And we know there is no singer like Mahalia Jackson.  HERE  is “Precious Lord, Take My Hand.”


The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Chambers.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/chambers.jpg
Hello.   https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/science-small-talk/201207/whats-in-name?amp=
debt.   http://blog.ericlbachcpa.com/public/item/possible-solutions-for-an-unexpected-tax-bill
verse 11.   https://i.pinimg.com/originals/00/a9/55/00a95550c951c79a8750a858f32de91d.jpg
spanking.   http://www.duhaime.org/Portals/duhaime/images/spanking2.jpg
homeless family.    http://newsjunkiepost.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/4916397425_5397ef821c_b-448×303.jpg
angry face.   https://emojiisland.com/products/very-angry-emoji-icon

2514.) Psalm 115

December 20, 2018

Psalm 115   (NIV)

Not to us, Lord, not to us
but to your name be the glory,
because of your love and faithfulness.

I pray to be done with selfishness and vain ambition. I pray to live in and for the Lord! As John the Baptist said in John 3, “He must increase, I must decrease.”

Why do the nations say,
“Where is their God?”
Our God is in heaven;
he does whatever pleases him.
But their idols are silver and gold,
made by human hands.
5 They have mouths, but cannot speak,
eyes, but cannot see.
They have ears, but cannot hear,
noses, but cannot smell.
7 They have hands, but cannot feel,
feet, but cannot walk,
nor can they utter a sound with their throats.
8 Those who make them will be like them,
and so will all who trust in them.

Jeremiah 2:5   (NLT)

They worshiped worthless idols, only to become worthless themselves.

Model Jesus First, Gently.

A former Hindu who recently decided to follow Jesus, L.S. believes that believers in Christ must not speak to Hindus with condemnation. “This is where Christians should be very careful,” L.S. said. “You can’t tell them right off that they are worshipping false gods, because the mob will become ferocious. It should be within a certain framework.”

L.S. urges Christians to model Jesus first if they want Hindus to see Him.

“If you want to talk about Jesus, you must be Jesus here,” he said. “You must show all the qualities of Jesus, His love, His affection, His gentleness. If Jesus is reflected in any person who is a leader, all people will be drawn toward him, and they will find Jesus.”

As he reflected on those who worship idols as he formerly did, L.S. urged Christians to open their eyes to what is happening in his country. “India is not just a land of software,” he said. “It is a land of darkness.”

from The Christian Telegraph

All you Israelites, trust in the Lord—
he is their help and shield.
10 House of Aaron, trust in the Lord—
he is their help and shield.
11 You who fear him, trust in the Lord—
he is their help and shield.

12 The Lord remembers us and will bless us:
He will bless his people Israel,
he will bless the house of Aaron,
13 he will bless those who fear the Lord—
small and great alike.

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.

Each little flower that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colours,
He made their tiny wings.

The purple-headed mountain,
The river running by,
The sunset and the morning,
That brightens up the sky;

The cold wind in the winter,
The pleasant summer sun,
The ripe fruits in the garden,
He made them every one;

The tall trees in the greenwood,
The meadows for our play,
The rushes by the water,
To gather every day;

He gave us eyes to see them,
And lips that we might tell
How great is God Almighty,
Who has made all things well.

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.

–Cecil F. Alexander, 1848

14 May the Lord cause you to flourish,
both you and your children.
15 May you be blessed by the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

16 The highest heavens belong to the Lord,
but the earth he has given to mankind.

“All is his, but we are his substantial heirs and trustees. There is generosity in the phrase, ‘the earth he has given’; there is responsibility as well, for we are not its makers, nor is it simply ‘there’ as meaningless matter to exploit. Behind the gift is the Giver.”

–Derek Kidner

17 It is not the dead who praise the Lord,
those who go down to the place of silence;
18 it is we who extol the Lord,
both now and forevermore.

We could say that this verse teaches us that there are only two times we should praise the LORD – now and forever.

–David Guzik

Praise the Lord.



Verse 1 reads — Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.

HERE  is Nicole Nordeman and “Not to Us.”


New International Version (NIV)   Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Images courtesy of:
rainbow.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/psalm-115a.jpg
Hindu women.   http://www.documentarytube.com/articles/common-misconceptions-people-have-about-hinduism
John 6:68.   https://knowledgeofhim.wordpress.com/2018/08/19/august-19th-john-6-68/
child with butterfly.   http://www.inhabitots.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/butterfly.jpg

2513.) Psalm 112

December 19, 2018

Psalm 112   (ESV)

The Righteous Will Never Be Moved

When I was a young wife, a woman at a Bible Study I attended suggested that we should read this psalm for our husbands and our sons, substituting their names for the masculine pronouns — a male counterpart, if you will, to Proverbs 31 and the noble woman. (Note the similarities of the two passages as you read!) I have done that through the years, some times more than others, and I have realized that as I pray these things for the men in my life, I find myself on the lookout for those characteristics and qualities. Then when I find them on display in my husband’s life or my sons’ lives, I praise and thank the guys — which altogether makes for a happier, more pleasant house. I recommend this practice to you.

Of course, I have substituted feminine pronouns, too, for myself and for my daughter! Truly, may God bless us all to be righteous people who delight in his will and walk in his ways!

Praise the Lord!

“The Psalm cannot be viewed as the extolling of man, for it commences with ‘Praise ye the Lord;’ and it is intended to give to God all the honour of his grace which is manifested in the sons of God.”

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Blessed is the man who fears the Lord,
who greatly delights in his commandments!

He is serious and intentional in his faith life!

His offspring will be mighty in the land;
the generation of the upright will be blessed.

He’s got great kids!

Wealth and riches are in his house,
and his righteousness endures forever.

He’s rich in what matters!

Light dawns in the darkness for the upright;
he is gracious, merciful, and righteous.

He is kind and good!

It is well with the man who deals generously and lends;
who conducts his affairs with justice.
For the righteous will never be moved;
he will be remembered forever.

He’s generous!

He is not afraid of bad news;
his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord.

He isn’t controlled by fears!

His heart is steady; he will not be afraid,
until he looks in triumph on his adversaries.

He is poised and calm in every situation!

He has distributed freely; he has given to the poor;
his righteousness endures forever;
his horn is exalted in honor.

He has an excellent reputation!

10 The wicked man sees it and is angry;
he gnashes his teeth and melts away;
the desire of the wicked will perish!



HERE  is “The Mark of a Man of God”  by Steve Camp. The accompanying video is a Hall of Faith; I hope you enjoy it!

A Godly man is such a rarity today
So many start, strong and true,
And quickly fall away
A Godly man will take his stand
He can’t be bought or sold
Hand to the plow,
He won’t look back
Though other hearts grow cold
He keeps the faith
And keeps his conscience clear
He lives this life of grace
Through all his years

The mark of a man of God
Is what he’s faithful to
And what he’s fleeing from
And what he’s fighting for
The heart of a man of God
Is what he daily pursues
His family, friends, the word the church
And worship of the Lord
The Godly man daily takes up
The cross of Christ
And faithfully follows Him
As a living sacrifice

Not ashamed of the gospel
His sufficiency’s in Christ
The power of integrity
Is the passion of his life
Instead of reckless faith
He has proven his faith works
His ultimate priority
The Master’s plan for the church
Saved without a doubt
Because his first love is the Lord
And the Gospel according to Jesus
Is the truth he would die for

He lives his life
To teach the word
In season and in not
For he fears more than any man
The approval of his God
He lovingly, yet firmly
Leads those placed in his care
The power of his ministry
Is that he is a man of prayer

A Godly man takes
A young Timothy like me
And teaches me to run the race
To carry on this life of Grace
He sets the mark
And we keep the pace
With this man of God.


English Standard Version (ESV)  The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

2512.) Zechariah 14

December 18, 2018

Zechariah 14 (NIV)

The LORD Comes and Reigns

1A day of the LORD is coming, Jerusalem, when your possessions will be plundered and divided up within your very walls. 2 I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it; the city will be captured, the houses ransacked, and the women raped. Half of the city will go into exile, but the rest of the people will not be taken from the city.

Zechariah seems to have the very end times in view, when Jerusalem will be surrounded and attacked by some type of international force. When the Romans came against Jerusalem in A.D. 70 they came with a multinational army and brought terrible destruction on the city and its people. Yet there was none of the deliverance that Zechariah will describe in the following verses, so it is difficult to say that this was fulfilled in the Roman attack upon Jerusalem in A.D. 70.

–David Guzik

3 Then the LORD will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights on a day of battle. 4 On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south.

The Mount of Olives is actually a series of four hills, two of them directly east of the Temple Mount, rising up from the Kidron Valley.  Here is located the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus, in fervent prayer, counted the cost before he went to the cross.  Here also is where Jesus said farewell to his disciples before he ascended into heaven.  The picture above is facing west, looking across the Kidron Valley to the walls of the temple area; directly below the Dome of the Rock, note the Golden Gate / Eastern Gate, inaccessible and blocked shut.  Jews associate this gate with the coming of the Messiah.  Muslims believe the final judgment will occur here.  Christians remember Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem and look forward to his return in great glory!

5 You will flee by my mountain valley, for it will extend to Azel. You will flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the LORD my God will come, and all the holy ones with him.

6 On that day there will be neither sunlight nor cold, frosty darkness. 7 It will be a unique day—a day known only to the LORD—with no distinction between day and night. When evening comes, there will be light.

Revelation 21:23-25 (ESV)

And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there.

8 On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem, half of it east to the Dead Sea and half of it west to the Mediterranean Sea, in summer and in winter.

Today, the bare shores of the Dead Sea are dotted with ruins: Herod’s desert palace of Masada  where the Romans battled the last of the Jewish Zealots after Jerusalem fell, only to find upon their “victory” that the Zealots had opted for suicide rather than Roman captivity; Qumran, the ancient religious Essene commune near which the Dead Sea Scrolls were found; and the shattered homes of the old Beit HaArava kibbutz, where in the 1940s Zionist pioneers tried to create a life for themselves and their children on land no one else wanted.

Thirty years ago the Dead Sea, one of the world’s saltiest lakes, had two basins — a deep northern one and a shallow southern one. But by the mid-1980s, the southern basin had dried up, leaving a large area of salt flats.  Now the northern basin is drying up as well.

The Dead Sea is obviously shrinking, falling a yard in depth every year.  The Dead Sea relies on the fresh water of the Jordan River as its source.  But that once-wide Biblical river, where John the Baptist baptized Jesus, is now just a contaminated trickle.  Israel, Jordan and Syria siphon off 95 percent of the water for drinking and for irrigation. Over the past century, the water’s surface has dropped 80 feet; in the last two decades, the Dead Sea has shrunk by a third.  As the Dead Sea’s water disappears, it creates large sinkholes that make it dangerous even to approach the sea in certain spots.

Romans 8:22 (ESV)

For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.

9 The LORD will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one LORD, and his name the only name.

10 The whole land, from Geba to Rimmon, south of Jerusalem, will become like the Arabah. But Jerusalem will be raised up high from the Benjamin Gate to the site of the First Gate, to the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the royal winepresses, and will remain in its place. 11 It will be inhabited; never again will it be destroyed. Jerusalem will be secure.

God will gloriously save and restore Jerusalem!

12 This is the plague with which the LORD will strike all the nations that fought against Jerusalem: Their flesh will rot while they are still standing on their feet, their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths.

This “plague” reminds me of the descriptions I have read of the victims of the atomic bomb at Hiroshima.

13 On that day people will be stricken by the LORD with great panic. They will seize each other by the hand and attack one another. 14 Judah too will fight at Jerusalem. The wealth of all the surrounding nations will be collected—great quantities of gold and silver and clothing. 15 A similar plague will strike the horses and mules, the camels and donkeys, and all the animals in those camps.

16 Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, and to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles. 17 If any of the peoples of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, they will have no rain. 18 If the Egyptian people do not go up and take part, they will have no rain. The LORD will bring on them the plague he inflicts on the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles. 19 This will be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles.

20 On that day HOLY TO THE LORD will be inscribed on the bells of the horses, and the cooking pots in the LORD’s house will be like the sacred bowls in front of the altar. 21 Every pot in Jerusalem and Judah will be holy to the LORD Almighty, and all who come to sacrifice will take some of the pots and cook in them. And on that day there will no longer be a Canaanite in the house of the LORD Almighty.

In the Old Testament, holiness is expressed in strict separation—what was clean was to be separated from what was unclean. Remember reading Leviticus?! In the New Testament however, the coming of our Savior Jesus Christ brought a new emphasis and understanding to what is holy

 “The point is that the people and the city will be so holy that even these insignificant things will be fully dedicated to the Lord.”

–James Montgomery Boice

“God takes particular pleasure in acts of worship . . . that take place in the kitchen and workplace and on the streets” (Hebrews 13:16).

” . . . but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY”  (1 Peter 1:15, 16).  Moral purity is not separate, not distinct from what is “common” or “secular.”  We are called to live HOLY lives within the world in every regard.
The END  of the book of Zechariah.



HERE  Chris Tomlin sings “Holy Is the Lord.”


New International Version (NIV)   Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
HOLY to the Lord.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/arab_flat_text.jpg
Mount of Olives.   http://www.ilibros.net/images/MtOJeru6.jpg
Dead Sea.  http://deadseapower.com/clean_power/
nuclear danger sign.    http://www.clker.com/cliparts/0/5/4/5/12456932322116189065cherrypie_Nuclear_warning_sign.svg.hi.png
Holy.   http://www.parkstreetchristianchurch.org/sermons/holy-consideration-october-8/