Thursday, December 29, 2016

Merry Fifth Day of Christmas—God Knows Exactly What We Need

The best gifts come from those who know us best, and no one knows us better than God. These passages tell us about how well He knows each of us.

As usual, all scriptural text is from the New Jerusalem Bible and the blue scriptural citations are hyperlinks that will get you to other translations.

But whether you stand up or you sit down, whether you go out or you come in, I know it.

Yahweh's eyes rove to and fro across the whole world to support those whose hearts are loyal to him.

For his eyes keep watch on human ways, and he observes every step.

From heaven Yahweh looks down, he sees all the children of Adam, 14 from the place where he sits he watches all who dwell on the earth; 15 he alone molds their hearts, he understands all they do.

You know well the insults, the shame and disgrace I endure. Every one of my oppressors is known to you.

As tenderly as a father treats his children, so Yahweh treats those who fear him; 14 he knows of what we are made, he remembers that we are dust.

Yahweh, you examine me and know me, 2 you know when I sit, when I rise, you understand my thoughts from afar.3 You watch when I walk or lie down, you know every detail of my conduct.

4 A word is not yet on my tongue before you, Yahweh, know all about it. 5 You fence me in, behind and in front, you have laid your hand upon me. 6 Such amazing knowledge is beyond me, a height to which I cannot attain.

7 Where shall I go to escape your spirit? Where shall I flee from your presence?8 If I scale the heavens you are there, if I lie flat in Sheol, there you are.

9 If I speed away on the wings of the dawn, if I dwell beyond the ocean, 10 even there your hand will be guiding me, your right hand holding me fast.

11 I will say, 'Let the darkness cover me, and the night wrap itself around me,'12 even darkness to you is not dark, and night is as clear as the day.

13 You created my inmost self, knit me together in my mother's womb.14 For so many marvels I thank you; a wonder am I, and all your works are wonders.

You knew me through and through,15 my being held no secrets from you, when I was being formed in secret, textured in the depths of the earth.

16 Your eyes could see my embryo. In your book all my days were inscribed, every one that was fixed is there.
23 God, examine me and know my heart, test me and know my concerns. 24 Make sure that I am not on my way to ruin, and guide me on the road of eternity.

For the eyes of Yahweh observe human ways, and survey all human paths.

The eyes of Yahweh are everywhere: observing the wicked and the good.

Sheol and Perdition lie open to Yahweh; how much more the human heart!

God observes the very soul and accurately surveys the heart, listening to every word.

You know me, Yahweh, you see me, you probe my heart, which is close to yours.

I, Yahweh, search the heart, test the motives, to give each person what his conduct and his actions deserve.

Your Father knows what you need before you ask him

So do not worry; do not say, "What are we to eat? What are we to drink? What are we to wear?"32 It is the gentiles who set their hearts on all these things. Your heavenly Father knows you need them all. See also Luke 12:29-30

Can you not buy two sparrows for a penny? And yet not one falls to the ground without your Father knowing. See also Luke 12:6

Lord, you can read everyone's heart

No created thing is hidden from him; everything is uncovered and stretched fully open to the eyes of the one to whom we must give account of ourselves.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Merry Fourth Day of Christmas—God’s Gifts Are Always Good for Us.

Did you ever get a gift that ended up not being good for you? Maybe chocolates or a video game you end up wasting way too much time on.  The giver meant well, and you did have fun for a while, but it netted out negative.

God’s gifts are never like that. They always produce net good for us and others. They may—in fact, probably will—be more demanding than the type of gifts just discussed, but they are guaranteed to truly bless.

Here are some verses discussing that. As you unwrap them, remember that the blue scriptural citations are hyperlinks that will get you to other translations.  

As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him.

How blessed is anyone who rejects the advice of the wicked and does not take a stand in the path that sinners tread, nor a seat in company with cynics, 2 but who delights in the law of Yahweh and murmurs his law day and night. 3 Such a one is like a tree planted near streams; it bears fruit in season and its leaves never wither, and every project succeeds.

How blessed are all who take refuge in him!

Yahweh is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2 In grassy meadows he lets me lie. By tranquil streams he leads me 3 to restore my spirit. He guides me in paths of saving justice as befits his name.
4 Even were I to walk in a ravine as dark as death I should fear no danger, for you are at my side. Your staff and your crook are there to soothe me.
5 You prepare a table for me under the eyes of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup brims over.
6 Kindness and faithful love pursue me every day of my life. I make my home in the house of Yahweh for all time to come.

No one is disgraced who waits for you

Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.

Taste and see that Yahweh is good. How blessed are those who take refuge in him.

Put your trust in Yahweh and do right, make your home in the land and live secure.4 Make Yahweh your joy and he will give you your heart's desires.
5 Commit your destiny to Yahweh, be confident in him, and he will act, 6 making your uprightness clear as daylight, and the justice of your cause as the noon.

The lives of the just are in Yahweh's care, their birthright will endure for ever;19 they will not be put to shame when bad times come, in time of famine they will have plenty.

Turn your back on evil and do good, you will have a home for ever, 28 for Yahweh loves justice and will not forsake his faithful. Evil-doers will perish eternally, the descendants of the wicked be annihilated, 29 but the upright shall have the land for their own, there they shall live for ever.

Put your hope in Yahweh, keep to his path, he will raise you up to make the land your own; you will look on while the wicked are annihilated.

The upright have Yahweh for their Saviour, their refuge in times of trouble; 40 Yahweh helps them and rescues them, he will rescue them from the wicked, and save them because they take refuge in him.

How blessed are those who put their trust in Yahweh

A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.You will only look with your eyes and see the recompense of the wicked.

I shall not be ashamed if my gaze is fixed on your commandments

Discretion will watch over you, understanding will guard you; 12 Saving you from the way of the wicked, from those whose speech is perverse.13 From those who have left the straight paths to walk in the ways of darkness, 14 Who delight in doing evil and celebrate perversity; 15 Whose ways are crooked, whose paths are devious;

My son, do not let these slip from your sight: hold to deliberation and planning; 22 So will they be life to your soul, and an adornment for your neck. 23 Then you may go your way securely; your foot will never stumble; 24 When you lie down, you will not be afraid, when you rest, your sleep will be sweet. 25 Do not be afraid of sudden terror, of the ruin of the wicked when it comes; 26 For the Lord will be your confidence, and will keep your foot from the snare.

Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you.

The wisdom of the shrewd enlightens their way

The fear of the Lord is a strong defense, a refuge even for one’s children. 27 The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, turning one from the snares of death.

Whoever listens closely to the word finds happiness; whoever trusts Yahweh is blessed.

He who keeps the commandment keeps his life

The fear of the Lord leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied; he will not be visited by harm.

Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.

Trust him and he will uphold you, follow a straight path and hope in him.
7 You who fear the Lord, wait for his mercy; do not turn aside, for fear you fall.
8 You who fear the Lord, trust him, and you will not be robbed of your reward.
9 You who fear the Lord, hope for those good gifts of his, everlasting joy and mercy.
10 Look at the generations of old and see: whoever trusted in the Lord and was put to shame? Or whoever, steadfastly fearing him, was forsaken? Or whoever called to him and was ignored?
11 For the Lord is compassionate and merciful, he forgives sins and saves in the time of distress.

Those who obey her will give sound judgments; those who pay attention to her have true security.

The wisdom of the poor lifts their head high and sets them among princes.

Rely on her for support, and you will never know the disgrace of failure.

Whoever obeys me will not be put to shame, and those who serve me will never go astray.

Therefore, thus says the Lord God: See, I am laying a stone in Zion, a stone that has been tested, a precious cornerstone as a sure foundation; whoever puts faith in it will not waver.

Lord Yahweh comes to my help, this is why insult has not touched me, this is why I have set my face like flint and know that I shall not be put to shame.8 He who grants me saving justice is near! Who will bring a case against me? Let us appear in court together! Who has a case against me? Let him approach me!9 Look, Lord Yahweh is coming to my help! Who dares condemn me? Look at them, all falling apart like moth-eaten clothes!

Blessed is anyone who trusts in Yahweh, with Yahweh to rely on. 8 Such a person is like a tree by the waterside that thrusts its roots to the stream: when the heat comes it has nothing to fear, its foliage stays green; untroubled in a year of drought, it never stops bearing fruit.

“You have said harsh things about me,” says Yahweh. And yet you say, 'What have we said against you?'14 You have said, 'It is useless to serve God; what is the good of keeping his commands or of walking mournfully before Yahweh Sabaoth? 15 In fact, we now call the proud the happy ones; the evil-doers are the ones who prosper; they put God to the test, yet come to no harm!'

16 Then those who feared Yahweh talked to one another about this, and Yahweh took note and listened; and a book of remembrance was written in his presence recording those who feared him and kept his name in mind.17 “On the day when I act, says Yahweh Sabaoth, they will be my most prized possession, and I shall spare them in the way a man spares the son who serves him.18 Then once again you will see the difference between the upright person and the wicked one, between the one who serves God and the one who does not serve him.”

19 “For look, the Day is coming, glowing like a furnace. All the proud and all the evil-doers will be the stubble, and the Day, when it comes, will set them ablaze, says Yahweh Sabaoth, leaving them neither root nor branch. 20 But for you who fear my name, the Sun of justice will rise with healing in his rays, and you will come out leaping like calves from the stall, 21 and trample on the wicked, who will be like ashes under the soles of your feet on the day when I act, says Yahweh Sabaoth.”

Whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother.

Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.

Blessed [] are those who hear the word of God and keep it!

Do this and you will live.

“I am the light of the world,” he said. “Whoever follows me will have the light of life and will never walk in darkness.”

I am the vine, and you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will bear much fruit

God's peace, which is far beyond human understanding, will keep your hearts and minds safe in union with Christ Jesus.

All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness

Behold, I am laying a stone in Zion, a cornerstone, chosen and precious, and whoever believes in it shall not be put to shame

For the Lord watches over the righteous and listens to their prayers; but he opposes those who do evil. 13 Who will harm you if you are eager to do what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for doing what is right, how happy you are! Do not be afraid of anyone, and do not worry. 15 But have reverence for Christ in your hearts, and honor him as Lord. Be ready at all times to answer anyone who asks you to explain the hope you have in you

But whoever keeps his word, the love of God is truly perfected in him. This is the way we may know that we are in union with him