Behold the Lamb!


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Have you ever wondered why the angels announced the tidings of Jesus’ birth to the shepherds? (Luke 2:1-14) Why not announce it to carpenters or fishermen or merchants or priests or kings? I have heard sermons and teachings about shepherds and how dirty and repulsive and disreputable they were, and that God therefore brought these tidings to the lowest of the low. But, in all my reading and years of research I have not found in the Old Testament a basis for shepherds being scoundrels. Instead what I have seen is that many important individuals in the Old Testament were shepherds and were not frowned upon, such as Abel, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and David and many others in Israel. Furthermore, God calls Himself a shepherd in Ezekiel 34, and David in Psalm 23 calls God his shepherd.

“The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside the still waters.”

The shepherds watching their flocks by night in Bethlehem the evening of Jesus’ birth were not just any old shepherds however, and the sheep raised in Bethlehem were not just any old sheep. Shepherds in Bethlehem, according to Jewish history, were specifically those who were raising flocks for Temple sacrifice in neighboring Jerusalem and for all the sacrifices for God’s feast days, including Passover.

Not only this, but shepherds only kept watch over their flocks by night when it was “lambing season”. Lambing season was the time of year when baby lambs were born. It was then that shepherds had to be on high alert. A mother lamb often carried more than one lamb in her womb (upwards to 3), and so the shepherds had to be close at hand in case those little lambs got all tangled up and were not being birthed properly. So, these were very important Temple shepherds and very important sacrificial sheep.

Furthermore, little lambs were born in the Spring (sometimes into the early summer), and specifically the lambs for Passover would have to have been born one year before the Passover on which they would be sacrificed. After all, it is stipulated in scripture that the spotless lambs sacrificed on Passover were to be one year old (Exodus 12:5).

But, still, why would the Angel of the LORD proclaim to these important shepherds that the Messiah had been born?

We can find the simple answer to this in John 1:29, “The next day when John [the baptist] seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” First Peter 1:19-20 says, “But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot, who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you…”

The Angel of the LORD and the angelic host of heaven revealed this message of the Savior to the Temple shepherds on a night that they were watching for lambs to be birthed among the Temple sheep because Jesus was the spotless LAMB of God spoken of in Isaiah 53 who had come into the world to die as a Temple sacrifice on Passover. And since God is so orderly and is indeed the one who created the times and seasons and holy days, at what better time for Jesus to be born than at the time of year when all other Passover lambs were being birthed in the fields? It is no wonder then that Jesus, the Lamb of God, was born among Temple sheep in Bethlehem during lambing season in the Spring around Passover and was laid in a humble manger. In this timeless passage (Luke 2) of remarkable simplicity and incredible power, God reveals to us His fulfillment of prophecy with intricate precision and glorious harmony.

Helpful Source:

Jonathan Cahn


Hymn Lyrics: He Giveth More Grace


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He Giveth More Grace

by Annie Johnson Flint

He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater, 
He sendeth more strength when the labors increase; 
To added affliction He addeth His mercy; 
To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace. 

When we have exhausted our store of endurance, 
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done, 
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources, 
Our Father’s full giving is only begun.

 Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision, 
Our God ever yearns His resources to share; 
Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing; 
The Father both thee and thy load will upbear.


His love has no limit; His grace has no measure. 
His pow’r has no boundary known unto men; 
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus, 
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again!

Hymn Lyrics: His Eye Is On the Sparrow


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His Eye Is On The Sparrow

by Civilla Martin

Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heaven and home,
When Jesus is my portion? My constant friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

“Let not your heart be troubled,” His tender word I hear,
And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears;
Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

Whenever I am tempted, whenever clouds arise,
When songs give place to sighing, when hope within me dies,
I draw the closer to Him, from care He sets me free;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.


I sing because I’m happy,
I sing because I’m free,
For His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.

Like Crushed Roses


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free bing desktop wallpaper music piano keys red rose

As Christians we have all had different experiences, different joys, different pains, different disappointments, different regrets, different afflictions, but we all have the same Jesus. We all have experienced ups and downs, highs and lows, sorrows and joys, and through it all Jesus has said, “My Grace is sufficient” (2 Corinthians 12:9). Story after story in the Bible relates to us the incredible trials and successes of believer after believer, from childless Abraham and Sarah who in their old age saw the fulfillment of God’s promise though the birth of their son Isaac (found in the book of Genesis); to Job who lost everything including all seven of his grown children, his wealth, and his joy, but who saw it restored and multiplied in the end (the book of Job); to Paul who was a Hebrew of Hebrews and a well-respected man of standing among the Jews who then for Jesus lost it all, was beaten, went hungry, endured hardships, pain, shipwreck, loneliness, and eventually was martyred for Jesus, and yet before his death saw the Gospel spread throughout the known world because of his labors (2 Corinthians 11). They each had different trials, but they all had the same Lord. And through their stories we can see that God did not leave them comfortless. We also can see through their stories that God comforts us through the stories of their experiences.

And this is still the same for Christians throughout history. Many of the hymns that we sing to the Lord when we gather together were inspired through the trials, tragedy, hardships and grief of their authors. Though not all of us have been through the same experiences, we all have experienced the unending love and incredible mercies of Christ throughout our lives, and have been sweetened by His presence, giving off a fragrant aroma like that of crushed roses.

Now, let’s take a closer look at what a few of the hymn writers have been through, and how their pains and joys still inspire us today as we continue to sing their songs unto the Lord.

His Eye Is On The Sparrow”

Civilla Martin and her husband became very close to a couple named Mr. and Mrs. Doolittle. Mrs. Doolittle was bedridden 20 years, and Mr. Doolittle wheeled himself to and from work in a wheelchair. Yet, in spite of their great afflictions, they were full of joy and were a comfort for all who knew them. When Mr. Martin asked them what the secret to their cheerfulness was, Mrs. Doolittle responded, “His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.” It was through this relationship and because of those words that Civilla Martin penned the inspirational song, “His Eye Is On The Sparrow.”

“Just As I Am”

“Just As I Am” was written by a young woman named Charlotte Elliott. She was an angry, bitter lady, for she had a disability that could not be overcome. Her anger was directed at God, for she felt that God must not love her. Her family wanted to help her, so they invited a Swiss minister to dinner. It was at this dinner that she erupted violently. After her embarrassed family exited the dining room, the minister gently spoke with her. At one point, Charlotte asked him, “If I wanted to become a Christian and to share the peace and joy you possess, what would I do?” To which the minister replied, “You would give yourself to God just as you are now, with your fightings and fears, hates and loves, pride and shame.” Then thoughtfully she inquired, “I would come to God just as I am? Is that right?” And so, she came to believe in Jesus during that heart-to-heart discussion. Later for the sake of her minister brother who was raising funds for a school for poor ministers she wrote a poem that was published entitled, “Just As I Am.” That poem went on to become the most famous hymn in history. Though for the rest of her life she still struggled with her infirmities and disability, she was encouraged by letter after letter sent to her by those who had been profoundly touched by her poem that later became a hymn made popular during the altar call at the Billy Graham crusades.

He Giveth More Grace”

Annie Johnson Flint was born on Christmas Eve and was to her parents the “greatest earthly gift.” A short 3 years later, Annie would lose her mother who died in childbirth, and a short time after that would also lose her father who had been “suffering from an incurable disease.” Her father, a godly man, willed Annie and her baby sister to a good baptist family named Flint, in order that they be raised in a solidly Christian household. At the age of 8 while attending a revival meeting, she believed in Jesus for herself and was truly converted. She was a cheerful and optimistic child, full of hope and undying faith.

Later, two years into a teaching career, the debilitating affliction of rheumatoid arthritis began to rear its ugly head in her life. On top of this, her sister and her were made orphans again when both of their adoptive parents died within a few short months of each other. The two of them had very little money, but her love of music and poetry became a monetary blessing. “Two card publishers printed some of her greetings and released the first little brochure of her poems,” and through the Sunday School Times she began to correspond with countless hurting people who did not understand what they were enduring. Through the poems and other words that she wrote to them, “she became convinced that God intended to glorify Himself through her in her weak, earthen vessel; and like Paul, she gained real assurance and could say with the apostle, the promise granted to him: “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” She could also say with Paul, “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” She believed that God had laid her aside for a purpose, even though that purpose was obscure to her at times” (any quotes about Annie Flint are taken from

“God Leads Us Along”

God Leads Us Along” was written by George A. Young. Not much is known about Young, but what is know is that he was a carpenter and preacher of the Gospel. Researchers believe he more than likely lived between the years 1855-1935, and diligently served the Lord in small rural areas of the United States. Though he held no known huge revival meetings nor had a mega church nor was a popular television preacher, he sought to preach the Gospel wherever he went while at the same time raising his beloved family. After years of scrimping and saving, he and his wife were able to build their own small home. However, not long after the completing of this home, those who hated his message of the Bible burned it down while he was away ministering to others. In 1903 he wrote the words and composed the music to “God Leads Us Along” which depicts a lovely Psalm 23-like pastoral scene with a chorus of profound meaning.

“Around 1942, hymn writer Haldor Lillenas (The Bible Stands; Wonderful Grace of Jesus) decided to track down George Young’s widow, and find out more. He got an address in a small town and, driving there, he stopped at a gas station to ask for directions. When the attendant saw the address, he said, “Why sir, that’s the County Poor House up the road about three miles. And mister, when I say poor house, I really mean poor house!”

Not knowing what to expect, Lillenas made his way there. He found Mrs. Young, a tiny, elderly woman, in surroundings that were far from congenial. However, she radiated the joy of the Lord, and spoke of how He’d guided her and her husband over many years. Then, she exclaimed, “Dr. Lillenas, God led me here!” I’m so glad He did, for you know, about every month someone comes into this place to spend the rest of their days….So many of them don’t know my Jesus. I’m having the time of my life introducing them to Jesus! Dr. Lillenas, isn’t it wonderful how God leads!”” (Al Smith’s Treasury of Hymn Histories, by Alfred B. Smith (Dickinson Press Incorporated, 1981 quoted on

Practical Application

We as Christians can know that God cares about us. He did not just care about the Bible story characters nor just about these hymn writers. He cares about us. That’s why these hymns were born. They were born so that we could be comforted through them, inspired through them, be encouraged through them. Psalm 40:5 says, “Many, O LORD my God, are . . . thy thoughts which are to usward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.” Psalm 139:17-18a says, “How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand…” Not only this, but 1 Peter 5:6-7 says, “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: casting all your care upon him, for he careth for you.” So first of all, know that God cares for you!

Furthermore, whether we have been inspired by another’s trial or our own, in good times and joy, in grief and great loss, bitterness and uncertainty and broken dreams, we all like these hymn writers, have a testimony, a story to tell. In 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 we see that God comforts us so that we in turn can comfort others. “3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” Truly, we are to edify one another with songs, hymns and spiritual songs as seen in Ephesians 5:18-21.

So, number one, let’s remember that God cares for each of us individually. Let’s not forget all of His daily benefits (Psalm 68:19)! As it says in Psalm 103:1-6,

“Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.

2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:

3 Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;

4 Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;

5 Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

6 The LORD executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed.”

Let’s also remember that we are here for others as well because God cares for them, and wants to love them through us. As long as we breathe, we have purpose. These hymn writers could easily have given up, but instead they sang a song that is still resonating today, even now in your hearts. We may never write a great hymn nor be famous, but we can still give a word of encouragement or comfort to someone we know. That’s all these hymn writers did at the time. They were not great. They were not famous. They were simply Christians going through trials and tribulations who chose to praise God through the midst of it, and wrote a song, a song which has survived the test of time and still inspires God’s people today. Like crushed roses smell sweeter, even so, may the fragrance of our trials minister to the needs of others. May we not forget that we are the body of Christ, God’s Holy of Holies, and it is our purpose to build up one other and share our stories to encourage and inspire each other to press on. Remember, God cares for us, and therefore, we all have a story to tell!

Various Sources:


Morgan, Robert J., Then Sings My Soul, 2006.

Osbeck, Kenneth W., Amazing Grace: 366 Hymn Stories for Personal Devotion, 1990.

Alfred B. Smith, Al Smith’s Treasury of Hymn Histories, Dickinson Press Incorporated, 1981).


His Eye is On the Sparrow:

His Eye Is On The Sparrow,”

He Giveth More Grace:

“He Giveth More Grace,”, August 19, 2011.

“Do You Ever Wonder About Great Hymns Like He Giveth More Grace?”,, by Tami Nantz, May 2015.

“Annie Johnson Flint,”, (excerpts)

Just As I Am:

“Miss Charlotte Elliott, 1789-1871,”

“Charlotte Elliott Faced God with One Plea,”

“History of Hymns: “Just As I Am” Comes from Writer’s Struggle with Confining Illness,”, article by Irene Ting-Ting Lai, via Discipleship Ministries, the United Methodist Church website.

God Leads Us Along

“God Leads Us Along,”

Because He Lives:

“Courage and Strength For His Child: Because He Lives,”, as taken from Lindsay Terry’s Stories Behind 50 Southern Gos pel Favorites, 2005.

“Rev. McDowell: The Story Behind the Gaither’s “Because He Lives,”, article by Rev. Dan McDowell, special to the Oleans Times Herald, April 25, 2017.

“Because He Lives: The Story Behind a Worship/Southern Gospel Classic,” (Quote by Gloria Gaither), article by Tony Cummings.

Hymn Lyrics:

“His Eye Is On The Sparrow,”

“He Giveth More Grace”

Poetry Corner: We All Have A Story


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why I write

“We All Have A Story”

Poem by Chaplain H. E. Basaar, February 2017

We all have a story, of pain and of glory;

We all have a tale to tell

Of how Jesus saved us, encouraged and changed us

To live for Him well.

We all have a melody, of sorrow and laughter;

We all have a spiritual song;

Hymns of God’s graciousness, and of His holiness

That make believers strong.

We’ve all been through trials, of despair and of grief

Thus, all have comfort to share

To those who are hurting, striving and learning

To cast upon God all their care.

We all have a story, we all have a song

All have something to give.

No matter our status, no matter our gifting

Through us may the Savior live.

No matter our age, we all still have purpose

Revealed to us from above.

To comfort, encourage, and to build up the body

With anthems of glorious love.

Poetry Corner: The Road Not Taken

why I write
“The Road Not Taken”
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
free bing wallpaper yellow woods
AUTHOR: Frost, Robert, 1874–1963.
TITLE: Mountain interval, by Robert Frost.
PUBLISHED: New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1920.
PHYSICAL DETAILS: 75 p. front. (port.) 23 cm.
ISBN: 1-58734-017-8.
CITATION: Frost, Robert. Mountain Interval. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1920;, 1999. [Date of Printout].
ON-LINE ED.: First published December 1995; published July 1999 by; © Copyright, Inc. (Terms of Use).

Poetry Corner


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why I write

Poetry Corner is a little nook I decided to create recently on my blog. I love good poetry, and have determined to post various poems by various authors that have inspired me throughout the years and that inspire me still. They will be carefully documented. The name of the author and title of the poem will be clearly displayed; and at times the date of the poetry as well as a bit of background information, particular websites that may have valuable tidbits about them, and their impact on my own life will possibly be added as well. Enjoy!

God’s Still Plays Music On Broken Chords


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There is a true story found in the pages of a book entitled, Tramp for the Lord. The story is that of brokenness, specifically the brokenness of the country of Germany after WWII. The people of that nation were devastated at the end of the war, and many were astounded to hear of Hitler’s atrocities. Some who had had positions of importance had lost everything, including their home, their job, their family, and their dignity.

It was into this scene that Corrie ten Boom enters, turning a concentration camp of horror into a transitional home for those who were destitute. While visiting such a transformed facility, she met an older woman who sat in a corner of a large room that she shared with three families. The woman had been a concert pianist and a professor of music before the war. Now, she had lost everything. However, a pastor offered her the use of a piano miles away in a church that had been demolished by bombs, but the piano was untouched.

One thing led to another, and Corrie ten Boom was invited to hear this woman play. After walking miles and miles (since there was no other mode of transportation), they finally reached their destination. As the woman sat down to play, she asked Corrie if she would like to hear something in particular. Breathing a prayer, Corrie responded, “The Chromatic Fantasy” ( Well, Ms. Ten Boom was appalled with her selection for it is one of Bach’s (and truly one of classical music’s) most difficult pieces ever written. Not only this, but though the piano had survived the bombs it had not survived the inclement weather. It was soggy, dilapidated, with all of its peddles broken off. The ivory of the keys was non-existant, and the chords were terribly rusting and some were even broken. Corrie looked on in horror, wondering what on earth was about to happen.

The older concert pianist smiled however, poised her fingers above the broken keys, and prepared to play. Her fingers flew across those decaying keys, and unexpected heavenly music danced in Corrie ten Boom’s shocked ears. How could such a weather worn piano play with such elegance, and how could such a war-crushed woman play with such poise? (For the rest of the story read: Tramp for the Lord, page 47-50, “Music from Broken Chords”).

We all in a way are like that piano. Even the woman in the story was like that weathered, battered piano. We too are weathered. She thought life had robbed her and left her a mere shell, devoid of purpose. We too have been through experiences that have left us less than perfect. The rains of life have left us soggy but not unusable. The rust of life has crept up on us over time, even as weeds encroach upon a garden, but our chords are still musical. We too are still capable of playing beautiful music. We too are vessels that can still be used by God.

There are many in the Bible who were weathered and worn, but one in particular stood out to me, and her name is Naomi. We read in the book of Ruth that Naomi first had to leave her home, family and friends behind because of a devastating famine (vs. 1). Then, while trying to survive in a foreign land, her husband died (vs. 3). Still reeling from the loss of her husband and hoping that all was turning around, Naomi went on to lose not one but both of her childless sons (vs. 5). All too easily we can glance over those verses and hurry on to the rest of the story. But truly it is astounding to note that in a mere 5 verses we catch a glimpse of the enormity of Naomi’s losses. For indeed, she’s lost everything. In verse 13 she states that she felt the hand of the Lord was against her (vs 13). Later when she returns to the land of Israel, she tells her old friends to call her Mara meaning “bitter” instead of Naomi which means “sweet” (vs 20). She goes on to say that when her family and she had left the land of Israel because of the famine, her heart and life had been full. There may have been a horrible famine, but life was good. However now, though she still owned the land, it meant nothing to her for she was returning to it empty (vs 21). She had no husband, no sons, no grandchildren and no prospect of them, no money and no prospect of it, and therefore, no future. Or so she thought…

For the story doesn’t end there, for unbeknownst to her, her daughter-in-law, the young, quiet, gentle, Moabite woman who begs to accompany her in her devastation and despair, is ordained by God to become the great grandmother of King David and was to be in the lineage of Jesus, the Savior of the World.

But, all too often we can be like Naomi, focused on our losses, focused how we used to be full but now are empty, focused on the past, thinking we’ve no future. The devil loves to keep us in the slough of despond, wallowing about unable to move beyond our present experiences. Or maybe we think our best days are over, that we’ve no real purpose now. The devil loves to keep us thinking like this too, for it keeps our minds on what we are not, instead of on who God is in us.

In 2 Corinthians 4:6-7 we read,

“For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”

Now, this passage talks to us about “light” and “earthen vessels” and “glory”. So let’s take a closer look!

First of all, what is this “light”? In Genesis 1 God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God separated the light from the darkness. This was a physical light that the darkness could not overwhelm. In John 1 God said He sent the Light of Jesus into the World. He is the spiritual light of the world that the darkness could not understand nor overcome. This same light of Jesus has shined in our hearts, and His fellowship with us has brought about illumination to our spirits that we might begin to comprehend who He truly is.

Second of all, what are the “earthen vessels”? In Exodus 31-32 God wrote His law on actual stone tablets. It says that with His finger He wrote it and engraved it. However, God predicted that the day would come when He would write His Word upon the hearts of His people and not on stone. 2 Corinthians 3:3 states that Christians are the “epistles” or letter of Christ written by the Spirit of God on “fleshly tables of the heart.” Indeed, we are those “fleshly tables,” those “earthen vessels” made of clay and extremely fragile. Nevertheless, upon these earthen vessels are written the very Words of God.

And lastly, what is “glory”? “Glory” means to think or recognize. It is the value of something or someone based on God’s perfect objective opinion. When speaking of the glory of God it means His unchanging essence.

When we give God glory we are giving Him His full recognition. Thus, the “glory of God” is essentially what He is, and the “glory of man” is what God created him to be.

2 Corinthians 3:7,9,13, 18 states,

“But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance…for if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory…And not as Moses, which put a veil over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished…”

“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

Now, from these passages it appears that “glory” also has a light to it, because Moses had to veil his face because of the glory of God that shone from it. Not only did Moses’ face glow, but the glow faded. It was actually more the fading of the light that was covered by the veil than the glow.

However, the glory of God in the “face of Jesus” is unfading and undimmed, and we all look with unveiled face upon His radiance and splendor, and are changed from glory to glory to look more and more like Him. Though we are simple, fragile pottery made of clay, He has written His Word on us and has filled us with the treasures of His light and understanding. Each of us is written on by God, filled with the unfading glory of God, and are storage vessels of God’s vast treasure. We contain the wealth of heaven, glow with God’s essence and are engraved by God’s finger.

No, we may not be the grandparents of a king nor may we be in the lineage of the Savior of the World, but we are all individually God’s masterpieces created for good works in Christ, and those good works don’t end when we hit a certain age or when we lose a spouse or when we are unemployed or when we think we have no purpose. Bitter Naomi who thought life was over had impacted a young woman, altering that young woman’s life forever. In spite of all of Naomi’s disappointments and disillusionment, Ruth had seen the one true and real God in Naomi, and because of this, Ruth abandoned everything to follow Naomi and her God. Naomi still had purpose even when she thought she didn’t. Naomi thought she was too old, but she wasn’t. Naomi had given up, but God hadn’t.

Let us not limit God! For, indeed, no matter how broken we are, no matter how disappointed we are, no matter how flawed we are, no matter how old we are, no matter if our families are Christian or not, no matter how the rains of life have left us rusted and the strings of our piano broken, God has chosen to write upon us, to light us up with His glory, to stash His treasure into these vessels of clay, and to play His celestial music through our broken chords.

Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth


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Bible and Glasses

Last Bible Study

Last time we looked at 2 Timothy 3:15-17 which states that every letter and smallest mark of Scripture is holy to the Lord and every book therein is God-breathed or inspired. There is not the smallest part of Scripture that is not inspired, and Jesus even states that not one jot or tittle of the Bible will pass away until ALL is fulfilled (Matthew 5:18). Thus, as the inspired Word it is God’s voice to us, through which the Spirit can lead us into all truth. In the words of Corrie ten Boom, “Now you are listening to the voice of God. Keep listening. He has much more to say to you.”

The importance of God’s Word thus being established, let’s move on into the area of how we are to interpret the Bible.

Our Passage For Today

Second Timothy 2:15 states, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” In other words we are to “Zealously and diligently make every effort to stand approved (just as metal is in the fire) to God, an unashamed workman who accurately, correctly and skillfully handles the Word of Truth.” Since this is so imperative and important, what does it mean to “rightly divide” the Scripture?

Food For Thought

Let’s say it’s your job to assign everyone a duty based on their gifting. Some of you may think you know someone, we’ll call him “Doug”, pretty well just by looking at him, and you need to give him a job. So, because he likes music you decide he’s going to be a ballerina. You give him ballet slippers, a tutu, and tights. Did you interpret him correctly? Did you apply him to the right work? NO! “Doug” likes to sing, not dance!! (But, he says that if he had to do ballet he’d want a pink tutu like his granddaughters have!)

Your next assignment is to buy snacks for “Jennifer”. You haven’t really talked with her much, but you think you know her pretty well because you see her in the dining room every day. Something you always see on her tray is potato chips so you assume that she prefers salty snacks. So you buy her all sorts of salty things. But, did you interpret her correctly? Did you apply the correct snacks to her? NO! “Jennifer” prefers sweets!

Lastly you are to assign someone to be a hostess at a large party. Since you have seen “Sally” interacting with many different people, laughing in the hallway, dining room, and activity room you think she must be an extrovert who is good at socializing. So, you assign her to the role of party planner and hostess. But, were you right in your assumption based on your observations? NO!! “Sally” does not like parties nor is good at small talk and socializing!!

It’s all about CONTEXT. For years in school, professors would say, “Context, context, context.”

After all, a TEXT without CONTEXT is PRETEXT. A pretext is a half-truth based on faulty understandings. So, when we sit down and read the Bible, one must read it within context. How do we keep things in context?

1.) Look at the whole chapter, not just a single verse.

2.) Look at the whole book, not just the chapter.

Who is the audience?

How would the audience have understood that passage?

Who is the author?

What was happening historically/culturally at that time?

Ex. Luke 10:3-4 “Go your ways: behold I send you forth as lambs among wolves. Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way.”

Now that sounds downright unfriendly!!! Don’t salute anyone? However, Salute does not mean “hi” but was an elaborate form of greeting that included sitting down together and lots of talking about family and friends and could last far more than an hour!!

Be careful with grammar that appears contradictory:

Ex. Habakkuk 1:13

“Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity…”

Does NOT mean that God doesn’t see evil. What it means is that God does not condone evil.

Ex. 1 John 5:18 “We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not.”

Compared with 1 John 1:10 “If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”

So, what is going on here? Grammar!! When it says that those born of God sinneth not, it means they do not “habitually sin” anymore. We all have sinned in the past, but we are now no longer habitually sinning.

**Whenever we think there is a contradiction in the Bible, that seeming contradiction is because of our own misunderstanding of the grammar or history/culture of the time! The Bible NEVER contradicts itself!!!**

Ex. My friend and the yoke vs. yolk. Jesus said, My yoke is easy and my burden is light. Well, my high school friend thought this meant an over-easy yolk of an egg. Not only is this a grammatical issue but is a spelling issue!! After all, Jesus was speaking about a yoke for oxen not the yolk of an egg!!

3.) Look at books by the same author to see if something more is said on the topic

4.) Look at books by different authors in the New Testament

The topic of “Judging” in Matthew 7 vs. Corinthians 6

5.) Look at the books by different authors in the Old Testament.

Only AFTER a thorough examination are we to APPLY the Word to us today. It is only after ALL of this that we can more accurately apply Scripture to our daily lives.

This may seem like a lot. You might think, shouldn’t we just read it? Just reading it is a good start, but, 2 Timothy states that we are to skillfully handle the Sword of the Spirit that is the Word of God. And, Proverbs 25:2 states, “It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.” We are not merely to read; we are to search through God’s Word as for buried treasure.

We must not assume or jump to conclusions when reading God’s Word. We may think we understand it because we read through it completely at some point in our lives or because we heard a good sermon on the passage or we memorized that passage when we were ten. But, that is not “rightly dividing”. When it says in 2 Timothy that we are to “Study”, that means we are to do so “zealously, making every effort with all earnestness”. First Peter 2:2 says, “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby…” We’re supposed to be hungry for God’s Word. For according to Jesus, “man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).

Our Current Passage

Now, according to 2 Timothy 2:15, why are we to “rightly divide” the Bible? To show ourselves “approved unto God”. Approved carries the concept of metal that has been tried in the fire. For it goes on to say in verses 20-21, “But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honor, and some to dishonor. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.”

Thus, those who are studying God’s Word, seeking its hidden treasures, hungering and thirsting for it like babies are ravenous for nourishment, are like gold and silver that have been refined in the fire, are vessels of honor in God’s house, and able to please Him.

The Chapter

In contrast to the one who diligently studies the Bible, 2 Timothy 2 speaks of those who do not study God’s Word, but are instead, studying man’s words such as the words of their own opinions, empty discussions, foolish questions, and quarreling. They are those who are “ever learning” but “never able to come to a knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:7).

The Book

Second Timothy is the last of Paul’s epistles, and is written to a young pastor named Timothy. He is imprisoned in Rome. Nero is emperor in the 60s. Paul is facing his own imminent execution. Young Timothy is pastoring in Ephesus (1:18; 4:19), and is facing persecution outside of the church and false teachers inside of the church. Since evil words from seducers and deceivers were flying everywhere like fiery darts, Timothy is to “Study to show himself approved, rightly dividing the word of truth.” He is to preach that word of truth and sound doctrine and make “full proof of his ministry” (4:1-5).

Paul’s Other Letters

The subject of Knowing God’s Word is emphasized in Paul’s other letters as well. In 1 Corinthians he calls them spiritual babes who still need milk when they should be ready for the meat of the Word. And in Galatians he calls them foolish for abandoning the unpolluted Gospel for another Gospel of works.

The New Testament

Hebrews 5:11-14 says that the readers were “dull of hearing” and were in need of milk instead of meat, and are therefore, “unskilful in the word of righteousness…but strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”

And Acts 17 praises the Berean people for searching the Scriptures daily to see if what Paul taught was true.

The Old Testament

And then in the Old Testament we see such verses as Deuteronomy 8:3 which Jesus quoted, “…that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live” and Psalm 1:1-2 “Blessed is the man…[whose] delight is in the law of the Lord, and in his law doth he meditate day and night”, and Proverbs 6:23, “For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life.”


Just because Brother “Doug” loves music does not make him a dancer much less a ballerina. Just because Sister “Jennifer” is seen to have a bag of potato chips at her table does not mean that she prefers salty snacks over sweet ones. And just because Sister “Sally” is heard talking and laughing with numerous people does not mean she would ever be a gifted socialite or perfect party planner. We must not just assume things with each other, thinking that we know each other.

Even so, we don’t want to assume to know the Bible, but must desire to know the Scriptures correctly so that we can correctly apply it to our lives and thus, glorify God. Let us therefore, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

Why We Study The Word


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Bible and Glasses

2 Timothy 3:1, 13-16 reads:

“1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

What Corrie ten Boom said is true: “Now you are listening to the voice of God. Keep listening. He has much more to say to you,” (Corrie ten Boom, Tramp for the Lord, page 127-130). Oh how God longs for His people to be in His word, to be listening to His voice written there. How often we run to devotionals, to popular literature by others about what they think the Bible says, and even to uninspired sermons based on the opinions of commentators and theologians. But what about His word that lies dusty on a shelf or under a stack of other books or in a drawer or laying in a corner somewhere? And when we do open it, we become so distracted that we don’t get much read and very little of it is thought about.

But, according to Jesus, we shall not live by bread (food) alone, but by every word of God (Matthew 4). And Paul in 2 Timothy 3:16 says that, “All Scripture is inspired.” The Greek for inspired there is God-breathed. This is the same word that is used in Genesis when it says that God breathed into Adam and Eve the breath of life, and they became living souls. God’s word is God-breathed too. Thus, it is “living and active” (Hebrews 4) and life giving.

I’m going to go just a little bit deeper a minute. Stick with me if you can.

There are two Greek words used for the Word of God in these verses. Ta hiera grammata meaning “holy scriptures” and pasa graphe meaning “all Scripture”. So….there are two different words here used for Scripture. Graphe and Grammata.

In verse 15 “holy Scripture”, reveals to us that every microscopic detail matters to God and has been consecrated to Him. To begin with, the adjective used to define writings/Scripture is the term SACRED, which is hieros in the Greek meaning, “sacred and that which may not be violated” and refers to one’s position of office not one’s character. Thus, the scriptures have been given a holy position by God Himself. They are holy because He has consecrated them and made them holy. The Scriptures that have been consecrated are the very “letters of the alphabet,” even each book is made up of those letters. The letters of the alphabet mentioned here would be the letters of the Hebrew alphabet specifically, which Timothy had been trained up in since a child. And these sacred letters of the Hebrew alphabet make up the words of the books of the Old Testament (Hebrew Scriptures). These letters and individual books have been made holy by the Lord.

What is the importance of every letter in Scripture? Jesus in Matthew 5:18 states, that “18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” A iota/jot is the smallest letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and a tittle is the Greek word keraia which refers to the small stroke of the pen that helped to distinguish the difference between the letters. Both the iota and keraia are extremely small, yet extremely important! After all, Jesus said that they are. The smallest marks of the pen in the Scriptures is extraordinarily significant. Indeed, every letter makes up a specific word, and every mark (that distinguished one letter from another) makes the message clearer. Indeed, every letter and mark is sacred, for all will be brought to pass.

In verse 16, ALL is the Greek word pasa meaning “every part of it together, and every part of the whole respectively and includes the idea of oneness, a totality of the whole”. Graphe is the Greek word most often used for Scriptures in the Bible. Thus, it could read, “every part of the Scriptures all together.”

Thus, when Paul writes that “all Scripture is God-breathed” he means quite clearly that every smallest letter and every tiniest mark is God-inspired. Not even the smallest part can be avoided, for every part of it all together is God-breathed and will be fulfilled. For indeed, God honors His word above His name (Psalm 138:2). Thus, He will bring every part of it to pass, both Old and New.

Now, according to this passage why is it important to know that the Bible in its totality is God-breathed?

1. We’re living in the last days and those perilous times are upon us. Evil men and seducers are waxing worse and worse, even infiltrating the Church, polluting the Gospel, and leading away believers into deception. There is an unseen war, and we are apart of it. Our weapon is the Word of God (Ephesians 6). There is a war of words, and the only way to win it is to know the Word. “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth,” (2 Timothy 2:15).

2. In them is the Gospel of salvation through Jesus (John 5:39, 46-47).

3. Furthermore, it changes us from the inside out, and is “profitable”

*for doctrine (biblically sound beliefs),

*for reproof (showing us where we are wrong),

*for correction (showing us the right way, getting us back on the right path),

*and for instruction in righteousness (it helps us put the Word of God to Action).

A lot of us have been in church a lot of years. A lot of us attended Sunday school as children. A lot of us have known Jesus a long time. But, I encourage us to continue reading the Bible. Don’t let tv or devotionals get in the way. If your eyes can’t read too well anymore, have someone read it to you. There is also the Bible on cassette tape or cd. You see, the Word of God is life for us. It is the voice of God to us. As Corrie ten Boom said, “Now you are listening to the voice of God. Keep listening. He has much more to say to you.”

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