Inspiration for Today's World

Category: Wisdom (Page 1 of 13)

Kay Arthur

Kay Lee Arthur was born November 11, 1933, in Michigan and is an American Christian author, Bible teacher, and co-founder of Precept Ministries International. She has won the ECPA Christian Book Award four times. Arthur graduated from nursing school in 1955 when she was 21 years old and married her first husband but was divorced in 1961. She became newly committed to Christianity in 1963.

Arthur moved to Chattanooga, Tennessee to attend Tennessee Temple University, where she earned a Nursing diploma. There, she met Jack Arthur who had graduated from TTU with a Graduate in Theology in 1956. The couple married in 1965 and served as missionaries in Mexico. After returning to Chattanooga, Arthur began teaching teenagers about the Bible in the couple’s living room while Jack took over as manager of a local Christian radio station.

Arthur has hosted a daily radio, television, and online Bible study teaching program called Precepts for Life. She won the Gold Medallion Book Awards for her books A Marriage Without Regrets, The New Inductive Study Bible, His Imprint My Expression, and Lord, I Need Grace to Make It Today. Kay has three sons, two from her first marriage, one from her second, and nine grandchildren. Arthur’s husband, Jack, died from Alzheimer’s disease in Chattanooga, on January 9, 2017, at age 90.

“Sin will take you farther than you ever expected to go; it will keep you longer than you ever intended to stay, and it will cost you more than you ever expected to pay.”

“What is courage? It is the ability to be strong in trust, in conviction, in obedience. To be courageous is to step out in faith – to trust and obey, no matter what.”

“The problem is that so often we forget that we are in warfare and that Satan’s target is our mind.”
“Faith is not faith until it is tested!”

“Christianity isn’t a religion, it’s a relationship. And as we all know, a relationship requires a high commitment to communication.”

Thomas Paine

Paine was born in Thetford, England, in 1737, to a Quaker father and an Anglican mother. Thomas Paine was an influential 18th-century writer of essays and pamphlets. Among them were “The Age of Reason,” regarding the place of religion in society; “Rights of Man,” a piece defending the French Revolution; and “Common Sense,” which was published during the American Revolution. “Common Sense,” Paine’s most influential piece, brought his ideas to a vast audience, swaying the otherwise undecided public opinion to the view that independence from the British was a necessity.

Paine received little formal education but did learn to read, write and perform arithmetic. At the age of 13, he began working with his father as a stay maker (the thick rope stays used on sailing ships) in Thetford, a shipbuilding town. To compound his professional hardships, around 1760, Paine’s wife and child both died in childbirth, and his business, that of making stay ropes, went under. In the summer of 1772, Paine published “The Case of the Officers of Excise,” a 21-page article in defense of higher pay for excise officers. It was his first political work, and he spent that winter in London, handing out the 4,000 copies of the article to members of Parliament and other citizens. In the spring of 1774, Paine was fired from the excise office and began to see his outlook as bleak. Luckily, he soon met Benjamin Franklin, who advised him to move to America and provided him with letters of introduction to the soon-to-be-formed nation.

Paine moved back and forth between England and America during his lifetime. He lobbied for the colonies to see their freedom from England. Paine died alone on June 8, 1809. Only six mourners were present at his funeral — half of them formerly enslaved. You can read his full story by clicking HERE.

“A body of men holding themselves accountable to nobody ought not be trusted by anybody”

“The mind once enlightened cannot again become dark.”

“These are the times that try men’s souls.”

“To argue with a man who has renounced the use and authority of reason, and whose philosophy consists in holding humanity in contempt, is like administering medicine to the dead, or endeavoring to convert an atheist by scripture.”

“Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigues of supporting it.”

“Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one.”

“Character is much easier kept than recovered.”

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell was born in North Carolina, on June 30, 1930. Sowell is an American economist, historian, social theorist, and senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. He is a National Humanities Medal recipient for the innovative scholarship which incorporated history, economics, and political science. Thomas Sowell grew up in Harlem, New York. Due to financial issues and deteriorated home conditions, he dropped out of Stuyvesant High School and served in the Marine Corps during the Korean War. Upon returning to the United States, Sowell enrolled at Harvard University, graduating magna cum laude in 1958. He earned a master’s degree in economics from Columbia University in 1959 and earned his doctorate in economics from the University of Chicago in 1968.

Sowell has served on the faculties of Cornell University, Amherst College, University of California, Los Angeles, and, currently, Stanford University. His libertarian-leaning philosophy made him particularly influential to the new conservative movement during the Reagan Era. Sowell is the author of more than 45 books.

”Many of the great disasters of our time have been committed by experts”

“It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong.”

“I have never understood why it is ‘greed’ to want to keep the money you have earned but not greed to want to take somebody else’s money.”

“When you want to help people, you tell them the truth. When you want to help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear.”

“The first lesson of economics is scarcity: There is never enough of anything to satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics.”

“Much of the social history of the Western world over the past three decades has involved replacing what worked with what sounded good.”

“Some of the biggest cases of mistaken identity are among intellectuals who have trouble remembering that they are not God.”

“Socialism in general has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it.”

“Despite a voluminous and often fervent literature on “income distribution,” the cold fact is that most income is not distributed: It is earned.”

“Since this is an era when many people are concerned about ‘fairness’ and ‘social justice,’ what is your ‘fair share’ of what someone else has worked for?”

“Freedom has cost too much blood and agony to be relinquished at the cheap price of rhetoric.”

“One of the consequences of such notions as ‘entitlements’ is that people who have contributed nothing to society feel that society owes them something, apparently just for being nice enough to grace us with their presence.”

“Rhetoric is no substitute for reality.”


Saint Francis of Assisi

Francis of Assisi (Italian: San Francesco d’Assisi; Latin: Sanctus Franciscus Assisiensis), born Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone, informally named as Francesco (1181/1182 – 3 October 1226), was an Italian Catholic friar, deacon, philosopher, mystic and preacher. He founded the men’s Order of Friars Minor, the women’s Order of Saint Clare, the Third Order of Saint Francis and the Custody of the Holy Land. Francis is one of the most venerated religious figures in Christianity. Indulged by his parents, Francis lived the high-spirited life typical of a wealthy young man. As a youth, Francesco became a devotee of troubadours and was fascinated with all things Transalpine. He was handsome, witty, gallant, and delighted in fine clothes. He spent money lavishly. Although many hagiographers remark about his bright clothing, rich friends, and love of pleasures, his displays of disillusionment toward the world that surrounded him came fairly early in his life.

Around 1202, he joined a military expedition against Perugia and was taken as a prisoner at Collestrada, spending a year as a captive. An illness caused him to re-evaluate his life. It is possible that his spiritual conversion was a gradual process rooted in this experience. One morning in February 1208, Francis was hearing Mass in the chapel of St. Mary of the Angels, near which he had then built himself a hut. The Gospel of the day was the “Commissioning of the Twelve” from the Book of Matthew. The disciples are to go and proclaim that the Kingdom of God is at hand. Francis was inspired to devote himself to a life of poverty. Having obtained a coarse woolen tunic, the dress then worn by the poorest Umbrian peasants, he tied it around him with a knotted rope and went forth at once exhorting the people of the country-side to penance, brotherly love, and peace. Francis’ preaching to ordinary people was unusual since he had no license to do so.

His example drew others to him. Within a year Francis had eleven followers. In 1209 he composed a simple rule for his followers (“friars”), the Regula primitiva or “Primitive Rule”, which came from verses in the Bible. The rule was “To follow the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ and to walk in his footsteps”.  Francis set out to imitate Christ and literally carry out his work. This is important in understanding Francis’ character, his affinity for the Eucharist and respect for the priests who carried out the sacrament. He preached: “Your God is of your flesh, He lives in your nearest neighbor, in every man.”

Hands of a laborer, hands of a craftsman, hands of an artist

He and his followers celebrated and even venerated poverty, which was so central to his character that in his last written work, the Testament, he said that absolute personal and corporate poverty was the essential lifestyle for the members of his order. He believed that nature itself was the mirror of God. He called all creatures his “brothers” and “sisters”, and even preached to the birds and supposedly persuaded a wolf in Gubbio to stop attacking some locals if they agreed to feed the wolf. Saint Francis is the saint of wildlife.

“He who works with his hands is a laborer.  He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman. He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.”

“Remember that when you leave this earth, you can take with you nothing that you have received – only what you have given: a full heart, enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice and courage.”

“Lord, help me to live this day, quietly, easily. To lean upon Thy great strength, trustfully, restfully. To wait for the unfolding of Thy will, patiently, serenely. To meet others, peacefully, joyously. To face tomorrow, confidently, courageously.”

“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”

“Do all you can to preach the gospel and if necessary use words!”

“God requires that we assist the animals, when they need our help. Each being (human or creature) has the same right of protection.”

“Ask the beasts and they will teach you the beauty of this earth.”

“All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle.”

“If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.”

“The only thing ever achieved in life without effort is failure.”

“What do you have to fear? Nothing. Whom do you have to fear? No one. Why? Because whoever has joined forces with God obtains three great privileges: omnipotence without power, intoxication without wine, and life without death.”

“Not to hurt our humble brethren is our first duty to them, but to stop there is not enough. We have a higher mission – to be of service to them whenever they require it.”

Dedicated to the Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission

Joe Bastardi

Joe Bastardi was born July 18, 1955, is a professional meteorologist and weather forecaster. He is a frequent guest on TV news shows. Bastardi is an outspoken denier of human-induced global warming who is at odds with the scientific consensus.

Bastardi was born in Providence, Rhode Island. He spent his childhood moving frequently, first to Texas in 1960, then to Somers Point, New Jersey in 1965. He enrolled at Penn State University, where he was a member of the varsity wrestling team. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in meteorology in 1978. In his free time, Bastardi enjoys bodybuilding, and has won the NABBA American Bodybuilding Championships.
Bastardi worked for AccuWeather from 1978 until February 2011. Afterwards, he joined WeatherBell Analytics LLC as Chief Forecaster in March 2011.

Bastardi prefers to make definitive, rather than probabilistic, predictions. He has been critical of National Weather Service forecasts.

“Ignorance of the past leads to arrogance of the future.”

“The weather [is] an opponent that never quits, and the best you really can get is a tie with it.”

Christopher Columbus

Christopher Columbus, the son of a wool merchant, was born in Genoa in about 1451. When he was still a teenager, he got a job on a merchant ship. He remained at sea until 1470, when French privateers attacked his ship as it sailed north along the Portuguese coast. The boat sank, but the young Columbus floated to shore on a scrap of wood and made his way to Lisbon, where he studied mathematics, astronomy, cartography and navigation. He also began to hatch the plan that would change the world forever.

“By prevailing over all obstacles and distractions, one may unfailingly arrive at his chosen goal or destination. ”

“No one should fear to undertake any task in the name of our Saviour, if it is just and if the intention is purely for His holy service. ”

“Riches don’t make a man rich, they only make him busier.”

“I am a most noteworthy sinner, but I have cried out to the Lord for grace and mercy, and they have covered me completely. I have found the sweetest consolation since I made it my whole purpose to enjoy His marvellous Presence. “

We Three Kings from the Orient

Micah 5:1-21NIV New International Version Translations
1 Marshal your troops, O city of troops, for a siege is laid against us. They will strike Israel’s ruler on the cheek with a rod. 2 “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”

Isaiah 60:5-6
5 Then you will look and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with joy; the wealth on the seas will be brought to you, to you the riches of the nations will come. 6 Herds of camels will cover your land, young camels of Midian and Ephah.  And all from Sheba will come, bearing gold and incense and proclaiming the praise of the LORD.

Psalms 72:10-11
10 The kings of Tarshish and of distant shores will bring tribute to him; the kings of Sheba and Seba will present him gifts. 11 All kings will bow down to him and all nations will serve him.

Jeremiah 6:20
20 What do I care about incense from Sheba or sweet calamus from a distant land? Your burnt offerings are not acceptable; your sacrifices do not please me.”

Ezekiel 27:22
22 “The merchants of Sheba and Raamah traded with you; for your merchandise they exchanged the finest of all kinds of spices and precious stones, and gold.”


In Christian tradition the Magi, also known as the Three Wise Men, The Three Kings, or Kings from the east, are Zoroastrian judicial astrologers or magi from Ancient Persia who according to the Gospel of Matthew came “from the east to Jerusalem”, to worship the Infant Jesus, whom they describe as the Christ “born King of the Jews”. According to Matthew, they followed a star, know to become the Star of David, and as they approached Jerusalem, Herod tried to trick them into revealing where Jesus was so he could be put to death. Upon finding Jesus, the magi gave him an unspecified number of gifts, amongst which are three highly symbolic ones.

The Magi were then warned in dreams that revealed Herod’s true deadly intentions for the child and decided to return home by a different route in order to thwart them. This prompted Herod to resort to killing all the young children in Bethlehem in an act called the Massacre of the Innocents to attempt to eliminate a rival heir to his throne, although Jesus’ family had escaped to Egypt beforehand.

The story of the nativity in Matthew glorifies Jesus, likens Him to Moses, and shows His life as fulfilling prophecy. The story of the magi is not without its controversies.

Items for Discussion

  • Why should we care about Biblical prophecies?
  • Why are stories like the magi so important to our Christian faith?
  • What Bible stories about Christmas are your favorites?
  • When relating stories such as the magi and Jesus to our children, what are some of the benefits they might derive?


Matthew 2:1-12
1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.” 3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: 6 “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.’” 7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.” 9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.


The Christmas story has been so steeped in tradition, that we may have been misled by some of that dogma, so it is reasonable to spend a few moments and look at the scriptural and historical context of the event.
In Matt. 2:1-2, Matthew introduces us to King Herod and the Magi. King Herod, known as Herod the Great, died in 4 BC, placing Jesus’ birth as much as two years before that, around 6 BC. Furthermore, since the description of the birth describes shepherds in the fields watching over their flocks, the time was most likely Spring or Summer, not winter as tradition has held. The early church celebrated Easter, not Christmas, as there was no indication of the date of Jesus’ birth. The churches of Asia Minor started celebrating Christmas, choosing January 6th as the day to do so. The Roman churches replaced the pagan celebration of Saturnalia that was celebrated on December 25th. Eastern Orthodox churches still celebrate Christmas on the 6th of January.

King Herod ruled over Israel for over thirty years. He was appointed to the position by the Roman government, succeeding a series of kings from the Hasmonean dynasty by marrying his cousin, Miriamne, of the Hasmonean family. As a half-Jew, hated by the Jews for his Roman allegiance, hated by the Hasmoneans for taking the throne, his reign was marked with violence that was brought on by his insecurity. He dealt with any threat to his reign with ruthless violence. During his reign he killed his wife and two sons, and even at his death he ordered the killing of another son who he had planned to succeed him to the throne. He was succeeded by his son, Antipas who reigned during Jesus’ ministry. His grandson, Agrippa I is mentioned in Acts 12, and his great-grandson, Agrippa II, is mentioned in Acts 26.

Finally, the Magi, the wise men from the East are introduced. Most likely, these were followers of the Zoroastrian religion, a sect that looked for guidance from the stars, and came from the area of Persia, since the word for “wise men” is of Persian origin. Much of our perception of the visit of the wise men comes from the Christmas carol, “We Three Kings” rather from scripture, a carol that bears little scriptural resemblance. We have no idea of how many visitors there were. The assumption that there were three is based upon the three gifts that were given. The traditional assignment of names, Gaspar, Melchoir, and Balthasar is pure fantasy. The word rendered “wise men” is used only two other places in the New Testament, in Acts 8:9 to describe the magician who Peter confronted, and in Acts 13:5 to describe the magician who Paul confronted. In both of these other cases, as with the modern interpretation of the word, magician, there is an anti-Christian connotation to it. Following the reign of Cyrus, King of Persia, who allowed the Jews to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple under Nehemiah, the relationship between the Jews and Persians was peaceful, so the Magi from Persia would be treated with respect.

God had revealed to the wise men that the King of the Jews was born, and they had come to Jerusalem to find Him so that they could worship Him. Unfamiliar with scripture, they went to the Jewish King Herod to find out where the child was born, assuming that he would certainly know of the event and of the location of the “prince.”

Why would King Herod be disturbed by this news? Recall that he would perceive the coming of a king as a threat to his dynasty. In the past he dealt with all threats by killing those who would challenge his authority, and this would be no exception. He saw the birth as a threat. Why would Jerusalem be disturbed? There could be two reasons. First, any time the King was disturbed, there would be violent consequences, and any such worries would be well-warranted, as we shall see later in this chapter. Also, the Israelites had been waiting for the coming Messiah who would free them from foreign oppression. The birth of such a King would be the beginning of their freedom. They would see the reign of evil King Herod as one of the first to be destroyed by the new King. There was a lot of reason for unrest.

It is obvious that King Herod approached this subject with great gravity and importance. He called together all of the chief priests and teachers of the law. What was the purpose of this gathering? Apparently, Herod’s half-Jewish background lacked the teaching of the prophesies. He was a Jew by hypocrisy, led by his insecurities to act like a Jew so that he would be more accepted by the people. The location of the birth of the Messiah was prophesied by Micah (5:2) to be in Bethlehem. This is no surprise since Bethlehem was the city of David, the city where King David was born.

Herod’s hypocrisy is again revealed by his actions. Why did Herod call the Magi secretly? He did not want the Jews to know that he was looking for the Christ child. If this were public knowledge, what would happen? Certainly it would incite a revolt, as the Jews would know that Herod’s purpose would be to kill this threat to his throne. Such a revolt would be more dangerous to his throne than any individual would cause since Rome placed him there to keep the peace and maintain allegiance to Rome. His inability to maintain peace would result in his immediate replacement, and he would pay violently for the ruthlessness of his reign if it were ended. Obviously, Herod had no intention on worshipping the Christ Child.

After leaving the King, the star appeared again. They were overjoyed at its appearance. Certainly it was the first star of its kind they had ever experienced, and it was leading them personally to this child King that they were even now learning more about. The trip from King Herod to Bethlehem was about five miles, so it was probably about an hour-long journey. The star led them directly to the house where Jesus was.

Some commentators argue that there is no significance to the three gifts other than their great value, and valuable they were. However, we might gain some inference to the wisdom of the “wise” men if we look at the application of these gifts.

Gold was the most precious of metals, and was useful for all manner of commerce. Herod’s brutal attempt to kill the Christ would cause Joseph to flee to Egypt until after the King’s death. Certainly the gold would be useful to sustain them during this period. Frankincense is a valuable and rare incense that is burned to create a perfumed smoke that was given as an offering to God. Incense was often burned in the Tabernacle as an act of worship. The third gift, myrrh, is most unusual as a gift to a child. Myrrh is a valuable perfume, or ointment, that is used to embalm the dead. Gold is a gift for a man. Frankincense is a gift to God, and myrrh is a gift for one who is to die. Through these three gifts we see the three primary depictions of who the Christ was to be: a depiction of the Messiah that is true to prophesy, and contrary to the then popular belief that the Messiah would free Israel from Roman oppression. The gifts describe a man-King, as the people were expecting. However, they also describe a God, referring to Jesus’ deity as illustrated by his immaculate conception and later by His united relationship with God the Father, and again proved by his resurrection and ascension. They also prophesy his death on the cross as an atonement for the sins of all mankind, making a way for all mankind to be saved. The three gifts were valuable, and appropriate. These gifts were also brought by men who were unfamiliar with scripture, and were not aware of the dynamic Christian history that would unfold over the next hundred years.

The wise men did not return to Herod as he had asked them to do. They probably knew quite well of the king’s hypocrisy since their wisdom is evident in their actions. However, they were obligated to return to the king because of his authority. This question would have arisen after they had left the Christ child, if not even before they arrived in Bethlehem. God warned them in a vision not to return to Herod, so they returned to their homeland without going back to Jerusalem. They did this at their own peril, knowing that if Herod knew about their flight he would certainly hunt them down.

Matthew records Herod’s actions following the flight of the wise men. An angel comes to Joseph in a dream and tells him to leave immediately for Egypt to avoid Herod’s coming persecution. Herod, upon learning that he had been out-witted by the wise men, ordered the immediate killing of all male Hebrew children within the region of Bethlehem who were less than three years old. His orders were carried out, fulfilling the grievous and dooming prophesy of Jeremiah 31:15. Joseph would return after the death of Herod, but not to the still dangerous area of Bethlehem (Herod Agrippa was now in power), but to the new and less familiar area of Nazareth. This fulfilled yet another prophetic paradox, that had the Messiah coming from three different places: Bethlehem, Egypt, and Nazareth.

Items for Discussion

  • What can we learn from the magi about how to approach Christ?
  • What are the modern day parallels or metaphors that would align our giving of gifts today to the gifts of the magi?
  • How should we tell this story to our children?
  • What relevance to you assign to the fact that the magi were magicians?

Discussion Challenge

  • How do we keep the world from prostituting the Bible’s significant of gift giving?

Hoping Against Hope

Psalm 22:22-311NIV New International Version Translations 
22 I will declare your name to my brothers; in the congregation I will praise you. 23 You who fear the LORD, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, honor him! Revere him, all you descendants of Israel! 24 For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help. 25 From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly; before those who fear you will I fulfill my vows. 26 The poor will eat and be satisfied; they who seek the LORD will praise him—may your hearts live forever! 27 All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him, 28 for dominion belongs to the LORD and he rules over the nations. 29 All the rich of the earth will feast and worship; all who go down to the dust will kneel before him—those who cannot keep themselves alive. 30 Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord. 31 They will proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn—for he has done it.


We do not know when David wrote Psalm 22. He was very ill, or he was hurt badly. He writes about his suffering. But he also writes about the sufferings of other people. Here is an example. People often torture other people. Torture means to hurt very much. Near Judah was a place called Tyre. In Tyre this is how they tortured people: they fixed them to wood with nails. The nails went through their hands and feet. A nail is a piece of sharp iron, a few inches long. Psalm 22:16 talks about this.

So Psalm 22 is more than a psalm about the sufferings of David. His own agony made him think about the agony of other people. Christians believe he wrote about the agony of one very special person. We call that person the Messiah, or Christ. The Bible has 2 parts. The Old Testament tells us what happened before Jesus came to earth. The New Testament tells us about Jesus and the Church. One of the books in the New Testament is Acts. In Acts 2 is something that Peter said. He said it 7 weeks after Jesus died and rose again. In Acts 2:30 Peter said, “David was a prophet. He wrote about Christ”. Christ is another name for Jesus. A prophet says what will happen in the future.

In the New Testament are 4 Gospels. They all tell us about the death and resurrection of Jesus. The resurrection was when God raised Jesus from the dead. Someone said, “Psalm 22 is like the story of the death of Jesus in a 5th Gospel!” Jesus was killed by crucifixion. This means he was fixed to a cross of wood. They fixed him to it with nails. He hung on the cross until he was dead. 2 days before Easter is Good Friday. On Good Friday Christians remember how Jesus died. Many of them read (or sing) Psalm 22 on Good Friday. They believe that it is not only about the suffering of David. It is about the suffering of Jesus. Though he was God, Jesus was also a servant. We call him the suffering servant. From Psalm 22:22 to the end the psalm becomes happy. This is because God raised Jesus from the dead. Because Jesus died for us, we believe that God will raise us from the dead too. We must thank God for the death of Jesus for us!

Biblical Truths and Theology3

Psalm 22: 22: From here to the end the psalm changes. It is not about suffering. It is full of praise. This is because God heard when David prayed. This psalm is not only about David. It is also about Jesus. Near the end of the Bible is a book called Hebrews. In it, Jesus says: I will tell your name to my brothers. I will sing praises to you in the church. (Hebrews 2:12) This is wonderful! Jesus sings praises to God with us in church.

Psalm 22: 23: People in awe of God love him, but also know how great he is. They do not become too friendly. Seed is a special Bible word. In the Old Testament it sometimes means the Jews. In the New Testament it often means Christians.

Psalm 22: 24: “the man” and “him” mean David. David suffered. David prayed. God answered David. This is also true of Jesus. Jesus suffered when he died for us. But God raised Jesus from the dead. God answered when Jesus prayed. Jesus died for us so that God would save us!

Psalm 22: 25: Jesus will keep his promises to us. We must believe!

Psalm 22: 26 – 31: There is a book in the Bible that we call Leviticus. It is full of rules. One rule is in Leviticus 7:16. It says, “Eat your sacrifice on the day that you make your promise”. A sacrifice was an animal that the Jews killed. They burned part of it. This was God’s part. They ate the other part. Verses 26 and 29 are about this. The rich and the poor will eat the sacrifice. As a result people will praise God (verse 26) and worship God (verse 29).

On the evening before he died, Jesus ate supper with his friends. To us, this was Thursday evening. To the Jews it was the start of Friday! We call this supper the Last Supper. On that Friday, Jesus was the sacrifice. He went to heaven, where God lives. That was God’s part. Our part is the Lord’s Supper. When we eat the Lord’s Supper:

  • We remember that Jesus died for us
  • We tell everybody that Jesus died for us
  • We remember that Jesus will come back to the earth

Psalm 22: 26 – 31: gives us help to remember all this. It is very important to tell our children. What do we tell them? We tell them that GOD HAS DONE IT! Jesus was God. Jesus died for us. Psalm 22:1-21 is about this. But Jesus rose from the dead. He is alive today. He is alive in Heaven. He is alive in the Church. Psalm 22:22-31 is about this.

Items for Discussion

  • How accurate do you find this prophecy about Jesus? How does this strengthen your faith?
  • What are the specific points of this prophecy? What parts can you relate to Christ’s death on the cross?
  • What can we learn about eternal life in this Psalm?
  • Why would someone find David’s perspective on eternal life of comfort?
  • Can religion exist without a belief in the afterlife?
  • What is different in the Christian’s view of eternity?


Romans 4:13-25
13 It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. 14 For if those who live by law are heirs, faith has no value and the promise is worthless, 15 because law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression. 16 Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. 17 As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.” He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were. 18 Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. 20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. 22 This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” 23 The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, 24 but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.

Background4 Matthew Henry Commentaries

Chapter four discusses the great gospel doctrine of justification by faith without the works of the law was so very contrary to the notions the Jews had learned from those that sat in Moses’ chair, that it would hardly go down with them; and therefore the apostle insists very largely upon it, and labors much in the confirmation and illustration of it. He had before proved it by reason and argument, now in this chapter he proves it by example, which in some places serves for confirmation as well as illustration. The example he pitches upon is that of Abraham, whom he chooses to mention because the Jews gloried much in their relation to Abraham, put it in the first rank of their external privileges that they were Abraham’s seed, and truly they had Abraham for their father. Therefore this instance was likely to be more taking and convincing to the Jews than any other. Paul’s argument stands thus: “All that are saved are justified in the same way as Abraham was; but Abraham was justified by faith, and not by works; therefore all that are saved are so justified;” for it would easily be acknowledged that Abraham was the father of the faithful. Now this is an argument, not only à pari—from an equal case, as they say, but à fortiori—from a stronger case. If Abraham, a man so famous for works, so eminent in holiness and obedience, was nevertheless justified by faith only, and not by those works, how much less can any other, especially any of those that spring from him, and come so far short of him in works, set up for a justification by their own works? And it proves likewise, ex abundanti—the more abundantly, as some observe, that we are not justified, no not by those good works which flow from faith, as the matter of our righteousness; for such were Abraham’s works, and are we better than he? The whole chapter is taken up with his discourse upon this instance, and there is this in it, which hath a particular reference to the close of the foregoing chapter, where he has asserted that, in the business of justification, Jews and Gentiles stand upon the same level. Now in this chapter, with a great deal of cogency of argument:

  • He proves that Abraham was justified not by works, but by faith, ver. 1-8.
  • He observes when and why he was so justified, ver. 9-17.
  • He describes and commends that faith of his, ver. 17-22.
  • He applies all this to us, ver. 22-25.

And, if he had now been in the school of Tyrannus, he could not have disputed more argumentatively.

Biblical Truths and Theology5 Jamieson Commentaries (Jamieson used KJV Version of the Bible)

13-15. For the promise,—This is merely an enlargement of the foregoing reasoning, applying to the law what had just been said of circumcision.

  • that he should be the heir of the world—or, that “all the families of the earth should be blessed in him.”
  • was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law—in virtue of obedience to the law.
  • but through the righteousness of faith—in virtue of his simple faith in the divine promises.

14. For if they which are of the law be heirs—If the blessing is to be earned by obedience to the law.
faith is made void—the whole divine method is subverted.

15. Because the law worketh wrath—has nothing to give to those who break is but condemnation and vengeance.

for where there is no law, there is no transgression—It is just the law that makes transgression, in the case of those who break it; nor can the one exist without the other.

  • 16, 17. Therefore,—A general summary: “Thus justification is by faith, in order that its purely gracious character may be seen, and that all who follow in the steps of Abraham’s faith—whether of his natural seed or no—may be assured of the like justification with the parent believer.”

17. As it is written,—(Ge 17:5). This is quoted to justify his calling Abraham the “father of us all,” and is to be viewed as a parenthesis.
before—that is, “in the reckoning of.”

  • him whom he believed—that is, “Thus Abraham, in the reckoning of Him whom he believed, is the father of us all, in order that all may be assured, that doing as he did, they shall be treated as he was.”
    even God, quickeneth the dead—The nature and greatness of that faith of Abraham which we are to copy is here strikingly described. What he was required to believe being above nature, his faith had to fasten upon God’s power to surmount physical incapacity, and call into being what did not then exist. But God having made the promise, Abraham believed Him in spite of those obstacles. This is still further illustrated in what follows.

18-22. Who against hope—when no ground for hope appeared.

  • believed in hope—that is, cherished the believing expectation.
  • that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be—that is, Such “as the stars of heaven,” Ge 15:5.

19. he considered not,—paid no attention to those physical obstacles, both in himself and in Sarah, which might seem to render the fulfillment hopeless.

20. He staggered—hesitated

  • not … but was strong in faith, giving glory to God—as able to make good His own word in spite of all obstacles.

21. And being fully persuaded,—that is, the glory which Abraham’s faith gave to God consisted in this, that, firm in the persuasion of God’s ability to fulfil his promise, no difficulties shook him.

22. And therefore it was imputed,—”Let all then take notice that this was not because of anything meritorious in Abraham, but merely because he so believed.”

23-25. Now,—Here is the application of this whole argument about Abraham: These things were not recorded as mere historical facts, but as illustrations for all time of God’s method of justification by faith.

Items for Discussion

  • Does it matter which comes first – faith or good works?
  • How do faith and good works work together?
  • Can a person be saved by faith without good works?
  • How do faith and good works work together over the life of the believer to enhance a believer’s worldly and spiritual life?

Discussion Challenge

  • While the roll of the Church is clear when it comes to faith building, what is its roll in good works?

Never Rest Until You Have Found It

Hosea 14:4-61NIV New International Version Translations
4 “I will heal their waywardness and love them freely, for my anger has turned away from them. 5 I will be like the dew to Israel; he will blossom like a lily. Like a cedar of Lebanon he will send down his roots; 6 his young shoots will grow. His splendor will be like an olive tree, his fragrance like a cedar of Lebanon.


Hosea is supposed to have been of the kingdom of Israel. He lived and prophesied during a long period. The scope of his predictions appears to be, to detect, reprove, and convince the Jewish nation in general, and the Israelites in particular, of their many sins, particularly their idolatry: the corrupt state of the kingdom is also noticed. But he invites them to repentance, with promises of mercy, and gospel predictions of the future restoration of the Israelites and of the Jews, and their final conversion to Christianity.

Biblical Truths3

Israel seeks God’s face, and they shall not seek it in vain. His anger is turned from them. Whom God loves, he loves freely; not because they deserve it, but of his own good pleasure. God will be to them all they need. The graces of the Spirit are the hidden manna, hidden in the dew; the grace thus freely bestowed on them shall not be in vain. They shall grow upward, and be more flourishing; shall grow as the lily. The lily, when come to its height, is a lovely flower, Matthew 6:28,29. They shall grow downward, and be more firm. With the flower of the lily shall be the strong root of the cedar of Lebanon. Spiritual growth consists most in the growth of the root, which is out of sight. They shall also spread as the vine, whose branches extend very widely. When believers abound in good works, then their branches spread. They shall be acceptable both to God and man. Holiness is the beauty of a soul.

The church is compared to the vine and the olive, which bring forth useful fruits. God’s promises pertain to those only that attend on his ordinances; not such as flee to this shadow only for shelter in a hot gleam, but all who dwell under it. When a man is brought to God, all who dwell under his shadow fare the better. The sanctifying fruits shall appear in his life. Thus believers grow up into the experience and fruitfulness of the gospel. Ephraim shall say, God will put it into his heart to say it, What have I to do any more with idols! God’s promises to us are more our security and our strength for mortifying sin, than our promises to God. See the power of Divine grace. God will work such a change in him, that he shall loathe the idols as much as ever he loved them. See the benefit of sanctified afflictions. Ephraim smarted for his idolatry, and this is the fruit, even the taking away his sin, Isaiah 27:9. See the nature of repentance; it is a firm and fixed resolution to have no more to do with sin. The Lord meets penitents with mercy, as the father of the prodigal met his returning son. God will be to all true converts both a delight and a defense; they shall sit under his shadow with delight. And as the root of a tree; From me is thy fruit found: from Him we receive grace and strength to enable us to do our duty.

Items for Discussion

  • God says He will “heal” not “stop” the tendency of the Israelites to wander away from their God – What is the differences between healing versus stopping?
  • God says “dew” (it means like manna) so how would you interpret God’s actions with someone who has wandered away?
  • What would the similarities of someone be who is saved with that of the lily?
  • What would the “roots” of salvation look like?
  • What would the “splendor” of salvation look like?
  • What would the “fragrance” of salvation look like?


Philippians 1:21-30
21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me. Life Worthy of the Gospel 27 Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel 28 without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved—and that by God. 29 For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him, 30 since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.


The Philippians felt a very deep interest for the apostle. The scope of the epistle is to confirm them in the faith, to encourage them to walk as becomes the gospel of Christ, to caution them against Judaizing teachers, and to express gratitude for their Christian bounty. This letter is the only one, among those written by St. Paul, in which no censures are implied or expressed. Full commendation and confidence are in every part, and the Philippians are addressed with a peculiar affection, which every serious reader will perceive.

Bible Truths5

Death is a great loss to a carnal, worldly man, for he loses all his earthly comforts and all his hopes; but to a true believer it is gain, for it is the end of all his weakness and misery. It delivers him from all the evils of life, and brings him to possess the chief good. The apostle’s difficulty was not between living in this world and living in heaven; between these two there is no comparison; but between serving Christ in this world and enjoying him in another. Not between two evil things, but between two good things; living to Christ and being with him. See the power of faith and of Divine grace; it can make us willing to die. In this world we are compassed with sin; but when with Christ, we shall escape sin and temptation, sorrow and death, forever. But those who have most reason to desire to depart, should be willing to remain in the world as long as God has any work for them to do. And the more unexpected mercies are before they come, the more of God will be seen in them.

Those who profess the gospel of Christ, should live as becomes those who believe gospel truths, submit to gospel laws, and depend upon gospel promises. The original word “conversation” denotes the conduct of citizens who seek the credit, safety, peace, and prosperity of their city. There is that in the faith of the gospel, which is worth striving for; there is much opposition, and there is need of striving. A man may sleep and go to hell; but he who would go to heaven, must look about him and be diligent. There may be oneness of heart and affection among Christians, where there is diversity of judgment about many things. Faith is God’s gift on the behalf of Christ; the ability and disposition to believe are from God. And if we suffer reproach and loss for Christ, we are to reckon them a gift, and prize them accordingly. Yet salvation must not be ascribed to bodily afflictions, as though afflictions and worldly persecutions deserved it; but from God only is salvation: faith and patience are his gifts.

Items for Discussion

  • Paul struggles with two good things, dying and being with Christ and being with Christ in life, both good – What is being with Christ in life mean to you?
  • What might the happiness be like in the life of a person who is living with Christ in life?
  • Paul tells us not to be afraid of our faith, yet many are persecuted for what they believe – what do you think he meant?
  • In what ways is the Christian life difficult in today’s world?
  • How is it different in other parts of the world?
  • Why is the struggle important to go through and win?
  •  Paul is encouraged by others at Philippi and he, in turn is encouraging to them – Why is this so important to Christ’s plans for salvation?

Discussion Challenge

  • How can we help others with living in this world with Christ?

From Humble Beginnings

Proverbs 22:1-41NIV New International Version Translations
1 A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold. 2 Rich and poor have this in common: The Lord is the Maker of them all. 3 The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty. 4 Humility is the fear of the Lord; its wages are riches and honor and life.


The second major section in the Book of Proverbs is Proverbs 10:1, to Proverbs 22:16. This section contains 375 short poems. Most poems have two lines, and each poem is one verse long. Each poem is in itself is a ‘proverb’.
The structure of this section is unusual. Solomon did not separate the proverbs into groups. The proverbs change from one subject to another. However, their order does matter. Solomon uses an ‘organic’ (that is, ‘natural’) order. This order is similar to a conversation. For example, one proverb might explain the previous one. Another proverb might contrast with the previous one.

Together, these proverbs are like a conversation. Imagine Solomon talking to his children about wisdom. His conversation would be similar to this section of the Book of Proverbs. The proverbs describe daily living, often describing both good things and bad things. They do not always explain whether something is good or bad. Here is where you need to use your own wisdom to decide.

Biblical Truths3

  1. We should be more careful to do that by which we may get and keep a good name, than to raise or add to great wealth.
  2. Divine Providence has so ordered it, that some are rich, and others poor, but all are guilty before God; and at the throne of God’s grace the poor are as welcome as the rich.
  3. Through our faith we foresee the evil coming upon sinners, and therefore, look to Jesus Christ as the sure refuge from the storm.
  4. Where the fear of God is, there will be humility. And much is to be enjoyed by it; spiritual riches, and eternal life.

Items for Discussion

  • What is some of the wisdom that you were given from your parents or grandparents? What are some of their “proverbs” that have been passed down to you?
  • What are the sources for today’s wisdom? Which ones are reliable and which ones are not reliable?
  • What are the attributes of the person(s) who gives good wisdom?
  • What are the attributes of the person(s) who give bad wisdom?
  • Where should the next generation of adults and leaders be obtaining their wisdom from?
  • What are the risks to society when bad sources of wisdom dominate the foundation of human thinking?


Luke 14:7-14
7 When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable: 8 “When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. 9 If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. 10 But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all the other guests. 11 For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” 12 Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. 13 But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”


The Gospel of Luke does not mention Luke’s name as the author. But few people doubt that Luke did write this book. Also, he wrote the Book of Acts. He sent both books to the same person called Theophilus (Luke 1:3 and Acts 1:1). Luke was not a Jew. We know this from Colossians 4:11-14. Paul names the three Jews who were with him in Rome. Luke was not one of them but he was with Paul there. All the other writers of the New Testament were Jews. Luke travelled with Paul on some of his journeys. The evidence for this is that, in several places in Acts, Luke uses the words, ‘we’ or ‘us’. Luke was a medical doctor by profession (Colossians 4:14). There is a tradition that he was born in the city called Antioch in Syria.

Luke was not one of the original disciples of Christ. But he studied the accounts of Christ’s life that were available to him. And he talked with those people who had been with Jesus. Some of the detail shows that probably Luke spoke with Mary the mother of Jesus. We do not know whether Luke wrote this book in Israel, Rome, or somewhere else. He probably wrote it sometime between 59 AD and 63 AD.

Luke’s purpose was to write a good and true account of the life of Jesus. This Gospel tells the story of Jesus from the time before he was born. And it ends when Jesus went back to heaven. Luke wanted Theophilus and all people to know the truth about Jesus. The Gospel of Luke tells us about the things that Jesus said. And it tells us about the things that he did. This helps us to understand how God saves people from sin. Luke shows us that Jesus is the Savior of the world. Sin ruins people’s lives. And after death, punishment is certain. People cannot save themselves. But Jesus came to look for and to save those people. Luke shows that Jesus was also a real man as well as the Son of God. Our verses today focus on Jesus teaching us humility.

Bible Truth5

Even in the common actions of life, Christ marks what we do, not only in our religious gatherings, but at our tables within our homes. We see in many cases, that a man’s pride will bring him low, and before honor is humility. Our Savior here teaches, that works of charity are better than works of show. But our Lord did not mean that a proud and unbelieving generosity should be rewarded. Christ taught His precept of doing good to the poor and afflicted should be observed with love.

Items for Discussion

  • The placement of guests at a table is often a reflection of importance. What other common actions in life can you think of that contrast one’s humility with self-admiration?
  • What affect do acts of humility have on those around us?
  • Why do you think that God loves humility so much?
  • Contrast humility with introversion, shyness, fear – how is it different?

Discussion Challenge

  • What are the effects on society if humility is abundant? If these affects are good, how do we learn it and teach it?
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