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act of God

But your eyes have seen all the great acts of the Lord which he did. (Deuteronomy 11:7)

Moses reminded Israel of all the "great acts of the Lord" which they had seen including the drowning of Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea. Also called a great act of the Lord was the literal opening up of the earth and the swallowing of the households of Dathan and Abiram for their rebellion against God. This incident foreshadowed the fate of the wicked who will actually be cast into the same place as Dathan and Abiram's household—the middle of the earth, or hell, according to many scriptures. Psalm 55:15 says the wicked "go down quick into hell," and Jesus said in Luke 10:15 that people are "thrust down to hell." "The way of life is above to the wise, that he may depart from hell beneath" (Proverbs 15:24).

Insurance companies today refuse to cover acts of God, or natural calamities, as they label it. Apparently, they aren't responsible for what God does. The Lord offers fire and life insurance of a different sort, but unlike others, He covers "acts of God."

all things are possible

And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible. (Mark 10:27)

People like to think that all things are possible concerning man's abilities, but according to the Bible, the phrase "all things are possible" is true only with God. Jesus made this statement in response to a question from His disciples as to whom could be saved. The Lord had just told them that it was very difficult for a rich man to enter heaven, but with God this was not impossible. If nothing were impossible for man, we wouldn't need God. We should be thankful for the things that are impossible for us, for these things force us to go to God.

all things to all men

To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. (1 Corinthians 9:22)

This expression is mistakenly understood by some Christians to mean that beliefs can be compromised in order to get along with others for the ultimate purpose of getting people saved. A Christian shouldn't lie in order to befriend a liar; he shouldn't become worldly in order to win the world. Paul spoke of winning souls, not by any means necessary, but by becoming a servant to others.

The seasoned saint learns to become all things to all people by taking on the different roles of a Christian such as a teacher who explains the scriptures, a fisherman who fishes for souls, a farmer who tends his crops, and a soldier who practices warfare.

There are many other roles that allow the Christian to truly become "all things to all men." The Christian's life, therefore, is a mastery of numerous occupations, making the believer a jack-of-all-trades and a master of many. If you truly want a well-rounded education, try Christianity.

all to the good

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

Everybody's heard the advice that "everything will work out for the better." Once again, this expression is true only if that person is a believer according to the verse of scripture above—"to them that love God." Unbelievers who claim this promise are deceiving themselves and others. This expression is usually spoken when something awful has happened and someone is trying to comfort himself or others.

The next time you hear this phrase used, you might want to tell that person that things aren't going to work out for him if he's not a Christian. Of course, you'll then be bombarded with how judgmental you are. That's when the believer needs to remind this person that Paul prayed that our love "may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment" (Philippians 1:9). Things may work out for an unbeliever, but they won't work out for his or her good.

apple of one's eye

He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye. (Deuteronomy 32:10)

Moses described God's feelings about Israel in the book of Deuteronomy as "the apple of His eye." Anything or anyone that is considered dear to another is termed the "apple of one's eye." God considered Israel dear to Him, not because Israel was better than the other nations, but, as God said, to fulfill His plan for the redemption of mankind. This plan was promised to Abraham and his descendants, which is Israel.

Jews refer to themselves as "the chosen people," but they must remember that God could have chosen any nation to carry out His plan. Another reason God chose Israel was to confound the wise with the fact that a tiny nation such as Israel could play such a major part in the history and future of the world. Just witness the entire Mideast crisis, and you will see that the entire conflict all revolves around who will control the city of Jerusalem—the Muslims, the Jews, or the Christians. It is no accident that Jerusalem has been center stage in world history, and according to Revelation, it will be once again. Stay tuned.

as a tree falls, so shall it lay

If the clouds be full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth: and if the tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be. (Ecclesiastes 11:3)

An expected happening or a natural result of a situation can be described by saying, "As a tree falls, so shall it lay." Another similar saying would be, "The apple doesn't fall very far from the tree."

When a tree falls, its end is final. It's not going to prop itself back up.

The same analogy applies in our lives. The Bible often compares trees to people. We can devise many things to manipulate the direction of our lives, and to say to ourselves, "there is still time," but once we die, the chance for repentance is gone (Revelation 22:11).

as good as dead

Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable. (Hebrews 11:12)

God promised Abraham, the patriarch of Israel that from his seed would come the Messiah, the savior of the world. Abraham had reached one hundred years of age, but he and Sarah were still childless. God then decided to give Sarah a child, and she "received strength to conceive seed" (Hebrews 11:11). One hundred-year-old people having babies today would be quite a spectacle.

This story foreshadowed the birth of Jesus Christ, who, of course, was born miraculously of the virgin Mary. To be "as good as dead" is to be under the same conditions as death or similar to them. The birth of Abraham and Sarah's child Isaac also showed how God likes to bring life out of death, thereby teaching us the principle of life after death.

Spiritually speaking, people who don't know Jesus should also be considered "as good as dead" because the Bible says they are "dead" in their trespasses and sins. Though horror movies make fun of the idea of dead people walking, the dead do indeed walk the earth today, and this should also cause us to be horrified.

(ashes to ashes), dust to dust

In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. (Genesis 3:19)

As a result of Adam's disobedience in the garden, God cursed man with physical death and strenuous labor, neither of which existed at that time according to Genesis. Since God created man out of dust, death would result in man going back to dust. Yes, we are made of the dust, but combined with God's breath of life, we are living beings.

at death's door

Have the gates of death been opened unto thee? or hast thou seen the doors of the shadow of death? (Job 38:17)

We use the saying "at death's door" to speak of someone about to die. In the midst of Job's suffering and complaints, God answered him with a series of questions, one of which was "Hast thou seen the doors of the shadow of death?" Just like there are literal gates of pearl, or pearly gates, there are also the gates of hell, which are the doors of death. To say someone is "at death's door" is to speak of one's imminent death.

These doors have locks and keys according to Revelation 1:18 where Jesus says, I "have the keys of hell and death." Life boils down to choosing the right door.

Jesus also said, "I am the door" implying that there are many doors to choose from, but He is "the" only one that leads to eternal life.

at your wits' end

They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits' end. Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses. (Psalm 107:27–28)

A stark picture of God's view of the heathen is shown here in the book of Psalms. In this passage of Scripture the psalmist compares the lost to "a drunken man" and to a ship in a stormy sea (vv. 23–25). The psalmist also said they would call on the Lord when they reach "their wits' end." What an indictment of human nature that comment is! Man will only seek God when he has reached his wit's end, or the point of absolute desperation.

It is only when man has exhausted his own "wits" that he comes to God. That is a good thing, for our "wits" can't save us. Our knowledge is not sufficient to reach Him. We must all reach our wit's end and rely on God's wits if we truly seek to be saved. Needless to say, God's wits do not have an end.

B

baptism of fire

I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: (Matthew 3:11)

Some religious people talk of being "baptized with the Holy Ghost and fire," not realizing that to be "baptized with fire" means to go to hell. The next verse proves this assertion by stating that "he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire." The chaff is described in other references as the lost, and the unquenchable fire is the same fire Jesus mentions in Mark chapter 9, where He speaks of someone losing his soul and going to hell where the "fire is not quenched."

Secular people use this phrase to refer to someone being thrown into the middle of a task for the first time and experiencing all the suffering that goes with it. This secular interpretation actually comes closer to the real definition of the phrase than the modern religious interpretation.

be about your business

And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business? (Luke 2:49)

Mary and Joseph were looking for Jesus and found Him in the temple. The twelve-year-old so amazed the scholars and priests in the temple that the Bible said they were "astonished at his understanding and answers" (Luke 2:47). Jesus explained to His parents that He was just going about His Father's business.

People will tell you to go about your business if you're bothering them or if they feel you are meddling in their affairs. Sometimes, we Christians forget that we should make the Father's business, which is to preach the gospel, our business.

be of good cheer

These things have I spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)

Jesus Christ is the only man to have ever overcome every temptation put against Him, and when His Spirit dwells in us, and we yield to it, we can be of good cheer because we now have the power to overcome these temptations also. The "Don't worry, be happy" crowd should be very worried and very unhappy. They are rejecting the only person that can give them happiness.

beat the air

I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air. (1 Corinthians 9:26)

Other expressions similar to "beating the air" include "spinning your wheels" and "banging your head against a wall." The unbeliever is referred to as "beating the air" because he doesn't know his true purpose in life or how to obtain it. He is in the proverbial "rat race" and is running in circles. Conversely, the Christian knows the meaning and purpose of life through this one verse: "I am the way, the truth, and the life." Those nine words can stop you in a hurry from "spinning your wheels," "banging your head against a wall," and "beating the air."

become a byword

And thou shalt become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword, among all nations whither the Lord shall lead thee. (Deuteronomy 28:37)

God served warning on Israel that if they refused to walk according to His laws, He would curse everything to do with them. "Cursed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and cursed shalt thou be when thou goest out" (Deut. 28:19). God gave the law to Israel, not to see if they could keep it, but to show them that they couldn't because of their inherent sinfulness.

What Israel failed to recognize, and what man today also fails to recognize, is that only one Person could keep the law without ever breaking it. Perfection is the only standard God will accept, and anybody who thinks he is pleasing God with good deeds apart from faith will receive the same curses as those of Israel.

God doesn't weigh your good deeds against your bad, and even if He did, everyone would fail that test as well. To "become a byword" means the same as it did in biblical days—to be notorious or infamous, just like Israel after God got through dealing with them.

bent out of shape

For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life. (2 Corinthians 1:8)

"Pressed out of measure's" modern equivalent, "bent out of shape," has changed slightly from its biblical meaning of being pushed to the limit, referring now to someone who gets upset over a matter rather easily. The apostle Paul was so pressed out of measure that he said he "despaired even of life." Yes, even the great Paul had times, when, despite his faith and calling to God's work, he was sure his death was an inevitable consequence of his circumstances. What is our reaction when we feel we are "bent out of shape"?

beside yourself

And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself. (Mark 3:21)

Jesus was falsely accused of many things in His day, one of which was being crazy. This accusation came from His so-called "friends" who wanted to apprehend Him. In Mark 3, Jesus spent time healing the sick and casting out unclean spirits, actions that upset the establishment of that day and caused the Pharisees to believe that He was beside Himself, or just plain crazy.

bid someone Godspeed

Whosoever transgresseth and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds. (2 John 9–11)

A careful reading of these verses would shock most people, for they fly in the face of what is taught even by the Christian establishment, and certainly the secular world. First off, having Jesus Christ is having the Father and the Son. Secondly, you are commanded not to let people into your home who teach false doctrine. It doesn't even matter if you're trying to win them to Christ. Thirdly, we are commanded not to wish these people Godspeed, which is to wish them God's blessings, in other words, to wish them well. To do so, John says, makes us an accessory to their "evil deeds."

bitter end

For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil: But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. (Proverbs 5:3–4)

The Bible describes the consequences of casual sex in this warning about promiscuous women. Solomon warns us of the whorish woman, saying that she talks sweet as honey, but "her end is bitter as wormwood." She is also described as a "twoedged sword," another biblical expression referred to later in this work.

Those mentioned in Scripture who engaged in casual sex are not deemed as "fooling around" or having "affairs," but are labeled as "whores" (see Ezekiel 16:33; Proverbs 6:26; Revelation 21:8 etc.). The Bible tells it like it is and doesn't mince words about immoral sexual conduct.

blind leading the blind

Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch. (Matthew 15:14)

One of the most popular of all biblical clichés is this one that Jesus used to characterize the Pharisees, the religious leaders of His day. After being informed that the Pharisees were offended at Him, Jesus told His disciples that these hypocrites were "blind leaders of the blind," and that they would end up in the ditch. When Jesus called them "blind," He was teaching that they were spiritually blind, that is, lost sinners, and not only they, but also their followers. You can't cure blindness by pretending to see, and the same applies spiritually.

The situation is no different today, just the names of the organizations have changed. If you want to pattern your life after Jesus, you should expect to have the same confrontations and the same enemies as He. We would never seek directions from a physically blind person, so why do so many seek guidance from the spiritually blind? The answer may be that if you're physically blind, there's no way you can absolutely know if someone else is also. The same holds true in the spiritual realm, and that's why we need Jesus, who makes the blind to see.

blood on your hands

And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood. (Isaiah 1:15)

God told Israel that He was sick of their burnt offerings and sacrifices: "To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the Lord: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats ... your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth" (Isaiah 1:11, 14).

Paul confirmed God's hatred for animal sacrifices in the New Testament when he said in Hebrews 10:6: "In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure." Though God instructed Israel to offer sacrifices, it might be asked, "Why then does He say He is sick of them?" God was sick of them because Israel was relying on the sacrifice to make them holy instead of focusing upon what the sacrifice pointed to: the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. In Hebrews 10:12, it states: "But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God."

The phrase "blood on your hands" signifies that a person is guilty of a matter and that there is evidence (blood) to prove it.

blow your own horn

Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. (Matthew 6:2)

Jesus said hypocrites like to "sound a trumpet" or "blow their own horns," and thereby brag about themselves or their accomplishments to others. The reason they do it, He says, is to get "glory of men," in other words, to get man's approval and praise.

One of the defining characteristics of a Christian is his refusal to be a "man pleaser." To a Christian, pleasing God is what matters. In Galatians 1:10, Paul said, "For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ." Jesus said men who are this way "have their reward." What he implied is that their reward from God is null and void.

bottomless pit

And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. (Revelation 9:1)

According to Revelation, the "bottomless pit" is the place inside of the earth filled with smoke and locusts—possibly an allusion to hell or the lake of fire. The implication of the phrase is a warning to unbelievers that hell cannot be too full for them—their punishment will not be commuted due to overcrowding.

The world, has taken this phrase and obscured its original implication to now refer to a person who can eat and eat and never get full.