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pointed biblical thoughts for today and tomorrow

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The Wisemen or the Shepherds?

Which do you like to hear about more? If you are like most of us today, it is probably the shepherds, though many in the early, mostly-Jewish church may have chosen the wisemen. Nineteen CHRISTMAS BASKETBALL lines with 1, 2, or 3 point values are shown below. Which line do you like best? One of my favorites is the one about the shepherds & angels passage being like a bridge between heaven and earth (Luke 2:14).

For more on this and Christmas Basketball, click the link below to go to the Christmas page.


December 16, 2021

Psalm 119 Devotional Video

Today, I made a 13 minute video on Psalm 119 to share with an online fellowship of missionaries here in Japan. I skipped through Psalm 119 touching upon various stanza and verses while sharing ministry experiences and making applications. It is devotional, but it has depth to it as well. Click the photo below to view the video.


December 14, 2021

Thoughts on the Life of Solomon

There are now nine studies on the life of Solomon. Each study end with a paragraph on application. Please read the small print on the cover below to begin. Click on it to enlarge. Then click on the button below to go to the Solomon page.


December 8, 2021

How do Proverbs and Ecclesiastes Differ?

Solomon is the author of Ecclesiastes and much of the Book of Proverbs. So there are obvious similarities, such as in the lines against laziness in Ecc. 4:5 and Prov. 26:15. One of the big difference, however, is how God is referred to in the two books. As the chart below shows, in Proverbs God is usually referred to as "the Lord," using his covenant name.

In Ecclesiastes, however, God is NEVER referred to by his special covenant name. Rather he is simply called 'God' about 40 times and the Creator once or twice (Ecc. 12:1, 6). Why is this significant? Well, it shows that Ecclesiastes is more for people in general than the book of Proverbs which is more for God's chosen people. Therefore Ecclesiastes may be better to use in evangelism. Indeed, the title of the book in Japanese means "the book of the evangelist."


November 6, 2021

Psalm 134 is UNUSUAL because...

How would you finish this sentence? It is unusually short. There is no opposition or persecution mentioned. It is directed toward lowly Levites working in the temple at night. It is one of the 15 Songs of Ascents. It is the final, climactic song of Ascents. In addition, unlike most other psalms, it begins with "behold," showing that it is closely connected to Psalm 133 in which harmony among God's servants is stressed. Perhaps the key point is that lowly service for God "on the nightshift" is just as important in God's eyes as what is done publicly by more senior workers during the day. When this humbling fact is fully appreciate, harmony and other blessing from God finally can be realized.

HOW DO YOU EAT SALAD?I'm working on Proverbs for a pastor's seminar in November.  If possible, I would love to determine what "flavor" each chapter has, but this is like personally adding dressing to a tossed salad. Compared to other Bible books, the emphasis of each chapter in Proverbs is more in the eyes of the beholder. (Some like Italian but others French.) How then should Proverbs be taught or read? One "bite"  or "veggie" at a time, or more as a whole?
Do you eat all the mini-tomatoes first? Probably not. Yet some like to study Proverbs one theme at a time. I don't think this is the best approach. Likewise, sadly systematic theology, though helpful, does not work well sometimes either. Too many theologians are like picky eaters who take what they like and leave the rest. The radish of repentance, for instance, is not very popular, even though there is a lot of it in Proverbs.

October 6, 2021

Personal Blessing in Psalm 134

At night the Levites / priests who served in the temple blessed the Lord (134:1-2), since the people did not come with sacrifices at night. During the day, however, the priests blessed the people (134:3). Thus this short Psalm contrasts what was done by the priests during the night and during the day. The nightshift work was NOT of lesser importance! (There are two verses about it.)
. . . Moreover, the giving of the blessing during the day in 134:3 was personal toward each individual worshipper, like in Numbers 6:24-27 as well. Though many were blessed, the blessing was personal upon each one. The "you / thee" in 134:3 is singular rather than plural. He cares for each one!

October 6, 2021


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© 2021 by Jon F. Mahar, Hakusan City, Japan