Expecting Nothing – Luke 6

There is a lot going on much in the 6th chapter of Luke, and much to learn from it. But here I want to focus on verses 32-36. It is a “love even your enemies passage. But is so much more than that. It is about doing good. Let’s look closely, beginning in verse 34:

 

if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, …for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.

English: The evangelist portrait from the Gosp...

English: The evangelist portrait from the Gospel of Luke (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Clearly, “lending” to those who are in need without expecting anything in return is valued greatly by the Lord. Being charitable is one of the hallmarks of Christianity. But it goes further that giving food, clothing, or even money. It also encompasses mere kindness.

 

Perhaps that seems obvious. But how easy is it really? And how easy is it to violate that principle? How often do we “snub” someone else without even realizing we are doing it. Sometimes we all do so, I have no doubt. In business, it is often said that it shows great character when someone is kind and helpful to those who can do nothing to improve that person’s career.

 

It is the same principle in everyday life. God will judge how we treat those who may not possess the character or ability to treat us as we would like.

 

/Bob’s boy

 

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Colossians and Luke

 

Luke 2, Luke 3, Luke 4, Luke 5, Luke 6

 

___________________

 

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

 

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

 

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Proverbs 13 – Always Rejoicing

In verses 7-9, the Holy Spirit teaches us that which is of the greatest value in life, yet is seldom seen as such by most people. Nobody begins life as an adult by seeking to be unsuccessful. We get the best education that we can. We try to earn our wages in a field in which we possess some skill; and if possible, we try to put some away for our later years when we are no longer able to work. For some, success at doing these things comes very easily. Others do not always find that to be the case.

early 1890sV. 7
One pretends to be rich, yet has nothing;
another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth.
V. 8
The ransom of a man’s life is his wealth,
but a poor man hears no threat.
v. 9
The light of the righteous rejoices,
but the lamp of the wicked will be put out

Are the wealthy always so much better off than the poor indeed? The accumulation of such great wealth, though appealing to most of us, does not always result in the best quality of life. Mountains of money and endless possessions did not seem to make life joyous for Howard Hughes. Elvis Presley’s fame and fortune often kept him from going out in public, and he died seemingly “before his time” as did Michael Jackson.

family reunionMy parents were “products” of the Great Depression, and knew first-hand what poverty was like. My father had to leave school in the 8th great to go to work just so the family could survive. They never had much in worldly possessions when they were growing up; and after the Great War, life was still a struggle. We never had great wealth even after I was born, but I and my siblings never knew what it was like to be truly hungry or to do without any of what most people would consider to be the real necessities of life. All the way into my teenage years, I often marveled at the simple life my grandparents still lived in a house no larger in square footage than the game room in my current home.

But who is rich, and who is poor really? My grandparents and their siblings made up a large extended family that was always close through the years before and after the “baby boom.” And though they had little in the way of material wealth, they were incredibly happy because they had been given a precious gift – great love for the Lord, and for each other. and nearly 60 years later, the family reunions have remained large in numbers.

Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 6:8-10 come to mind:

…We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Song of Solomon 3 – The Bride’s Dream

The third chapter finds the bride in her bed at night with what we must suppose is a dream, filled with erotic thoughts and desires, and anxious inquisitiveness concerning the whereabouts of her beloved. The theory of a separate shepherd boy being the object of her true desires is clearly shown to be wrong, as her beloved has sent watchmen for her in this dream – and she herself has inquired of them as to his whereabouts. What would such watchmen have to do with a shepherd boy? The girl mentions Solomon by name no less that three times here, and what purpose would God have for using the Scripture to celebrate any adulterous desires on her part anyway?

Dream of Solomon

Dream of Solomon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

She refers to Solomon as the one “whom my soul loves,” and finding him in that dream, she holds him close, bringing him into her mother’s house. But again in verse 5, she wishes not to “stir up or awaken love until it pleases.” Then, in a very public display of pomp, circumstance, and romantic affection, Solomon has her escorted by sixty of the kingdom’s mighty men onward to their nuptials. It is here that we are reminded of his words about enjoying “life with the wife whom you love” (Ecclesiastes 9:9)

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  

Proverbs 24 – Precious and Pleasant Riches

family-002By wisdom a house is built,
and by understanding it is established;
by knowledge the rooms are filled
with all precious and pleasant riches.

Clearly the wisdom referred to here is that which is gained from knowledge of the Lord through His word.  Through studying God’s word, one gains the understanding to avoid building “on the sand” (Matthew 7:24-27).    God has given us the plans for the architecture, the answers to the important questions of life – how to live one’s life, how to treat our husbands and wives, how to raise our children, and how to love one another.  Knowledge and application of all these things will surely fill our homes with precious and pleasant riches; and such knowledge is therefore, by example and instruction, passed down to our children and their children, even though they dwell in a wicked world.  These rooms are a more precious gift for our heirs than any worldly wealth.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Understanding the Cross of Christ – Part 2 (What is Sin?)

This series began in Part One as a search for a more meaningful answer to an aspiring young Christian’s question: “Why did God send His only son to die?”  The short answer “to save us from our sins,” while correct, really only serves to raise more questions.  Whether the question comes from a young person or someone older, I should be able to do better.  Hopefully I will be more prepared to answer that question by the end of this series.

A real understanding of the answer to this question naturally begins with understanding some things about sin.  So as we turn to that subject, the first set of questions we brought up in part one center around just what the problem is with sin.

What is sin anyway?

English: Man's Sin, and God's Promise; as in G...

English: Man’s Sin, and God’s Promise; as in Genesis 3:1-6, 13-15; illustration from a Bible card published by the Providence Lithograph Company (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Simply put, sin is that which is contrary to God’s will, His commandments, even that which is against His very nature.  Sin came into the world in what we know as “the fall” way back in Genesis 3.  At that time, man had a practical paradise on earth, as well the blessing of being really close to God.  But despite clear warning, he threw it all away in rebellion against the Lord, and nothing has been the same since that time.  God’s first reference to sin as a word in the scripture appears in Genesis 4, when Cain had become angry.  God had warned him that sin was “crouching at his door,” after which he in fact murdered his own brother.  Since that time, many specific acts that are sinful have been named in the Bible.  Some of those are named by Paul as “works of the flesh” in Galatians 5:19-20.  The fact that this is not a complete list of all sins is obvious, and made clear by the words “and things like these” at the end of the passage.

We know that those things in Paul’s letter to the Galatians are wrong.  We even know that such things as lying and murder are wrong.  But if there is no clearly exhaustive list of sins in the Bible to which we can refer, how should one know what else may be sinful?   The answer is by studying God’s word – the Scriptures.  The more we learn by reading and hearing God’s word, the more we know about what is right, what is wrong, and what is abhorrent to God (Proverbs 6:16-19, for example).   But we usually have to look no further than our own hearts.  God gave us a conscience; and if we truly examine ourselves with honesty, our internal conflict will betray our true knowledge of what God really expects from us (Romans 2:14-16).

English: The Story of Cain and Abel; as in Gen...

English: The Story of Cain and Abel; as in Genesis 4:3-15; illustration from a Bible card published by the Providence Lithograph Company (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So why does sin matter so much to God?

God has revealed Himself in many ways to us.  One of those of those ways is by His word. One could write a dissertation on that very subject, but we should know that the Bible declares (among other things) that God is the very definition of goodness and faithfulness, and that He has enduring and steadfast love (Psalm 100:5) – indeed that He is love (1 John 4:8)!  And from His word, we know that He is truth and holiness (Leviticus 19:2) – that He is light, and in Him is no darkness (1 John 1:5).  There is no evil in His character, and He is too pure to tolerate sin or evil (Habakkuk 1:13).

Why should sin matter to us?

We will have more to say about this in Part Three of this series.  But sin is important to us first and foremost because it separates us from God.  That separation is absolutely the worst thing that has ever happened to mankind.  It separated man from God after “the fall” of Genesis 3, and God has been at work to restore that relationship with Him ever since then.  The good news is that He has a plan to do just that very thing; and that hope for us has always pointed to the Cross.

On a Sunday within the next few short weeks, we will present part three of this series with a look at God’s response to sin. as we begin to examine His plan for our salvation and hope for being with Him forever.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
image © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Proverbs 10 – Integrity and Love

Today, we begin our weekly Tuesday reading of the chapters in Proverbs which look more like what we would expect from the book.  Chapter 10 has 32 verses; but for today, this blog will look closer at just three that deal with integrity and love. For tips on getting the most out of Proverbs, see this previous post.

“Whoever walks in integrity walks securely,but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.” (Proverbs 10:9)

heart001If we consistently try to do the right thing in all situations, refusing to compromise on truth, honor, and good will toward others, it fosters a peace within us.  When we know that our intentions are pure, our conscience gives us serenity.  We know that we will bring no justifiable harm upon ourselves because of our own actions, nor will we be as likely to bring others to harm.  But, as 1 Timothy 5:25-26 agrees, those who scheme and connive, who try to hide their corrupt actions and their deceitful heart cannot keep such a secret forever.  How many times in the last few years have we known of someone, famous or not so famous, whose scandalous behavior over a period of years finally came out?  The shame they brought upon themselves was bad enough, but what about the people close to them that were hurt?  Integrity matters – to God, and to us.

“Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.” (Proverbs 10:12)

“The one who conceals hatred has lying lips, and whoever utters slander is a fool.” (Proverbs 10:18)

It is easy to move many people to discord, gossip, and to be hurtful to one another by our own hateful thoughts, words, or actions. Sometimes people do so without realizing they are doing wrong.  It is a matter of the heart; and the cure is love. James 5:20 and 1 Peter 4:8 repeat that “love covers a multitude of sins.”  When we seek to think of, and to do good to, others in a manner that shows we truly care about them, that love affects us  as well.  The reason that “love covers all offenses” is that it changes us – our hearts, our minds, and our lives.  It makes us better and happier men and women.  It was this wisdom that Jesus was trying to convey when he said that loving your neighbor was the second greatest commandment in Matthew 22:37-39.

The first part of verse 18 makes it clear that it is not enough to just hide ones hatred for someone and keep ones mouth shut about it.  Your words then betray you and make you worse than a mere hater, because you become a liar as well.  The change must come from within the heart.  The second part of the verse (“whoever utters slander is a fool”) ties the two verses together.  The answer is not to just “let it all out” and speak ill of those for whom you hold ill will, for by doing so, you harm them as well as yourself.

Wisdom demands that we examine our own thoughts and actions, and let the Lord speak to us through His word, helping us to shape our lives and our hearts.  What can we do this week to show someone we care about them?

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy

Please “like” us on Facebook at  https://www.facebook.com/bobsboy01

___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.