Saturday, March 8, 2014

Proverbs 8 Mar 2014

  1. Lady Wisdom calls out and Madame Insight raises her voice at the main street. 
  2. Anyone seeking out to be wise should be delighted to meet Lady Wisdom. 
  3. She is telling everyone how to live at our best. 
  4. Only true and right words come out of her mouth. 
  5. Those with truth-ready and open minds will be able to recognize her true words. 
  6. She tells us to prefer her life disciplines over chasing after money, and knowledge of God over career. 
  7. Wisdom is precious than all those trappings of wealth. 
  8. Lady Wisdom dwells together with knowledge and prudence. 
  9. To fear Lord means to hate evil. 
  10. Lady Wisdom loves those who love her. 

The day I started searching answer for the question, "Why is wisdom called 'She,'" changed my life (completely) for good. Anyone on the path of meeting Lady Wisdom, can vouch the same. What an awesome and blessed journey! 

This is a wonderful chapter. I could not tell which verse to abbreviate. Hence, am adding the entire chapter for those interested. Check out if Lady Wisdom appeals to you. 

Proverbs 8

1 Does not wisdom call out?
    Does not understanding raise her voice?
2 At the highest point along the way,
    where the paths meet, she takes her stand;
3 beside the gate leading into the city,
    at the entrance, she cries aloud:
4 “To you, O people, I call out;
    I raise my voice to all mankind.
5 You who are simple, gain prudence;
    you who are foolish, set your hearts on it.
6 Listen, for I have trustworthy things to say;
    I open my lips to speak what is right.
7 My mouth speaks what is true,
    for my lips detest wickedness.
8 All the words of my mouth are just;
    none of them is crooked or perverse.
9 To the discerning all of them are right;
    they are upright to those who have found knowledge.
10 Choose my instruction instead of silver,
    knowledge rather than choice gold,
11 for wisdom is more precious than rubies,
    and nothing you desire can compare with her.
12 “I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence;
    I possess knowledge and discretion.
13 To fear the Lord is to hate evil;
    I hate pride and arrogance,
    evil behavior and perverse speech.
14 Counsel and sound judgment are mine;
    I have insight, I have power.
15 By me kings reign
    and rulers issue decrees that are just;
16 by me princes govern,
    and nobles—all who rule on earth.
17 I love those who love me,
    and those who seek me find me.
18 With me are riches and honor,
    enduring wealth and prosperity.
19 My fruit is better than fine gold;
    what I yield surpasses choice silver.
20 I walk in the way of righteousness,
    along the paths of justice,
21 bestowing a rich inheritance on those who love me
    and making their treasuries full.
22 “The Lord brought me forth as the first of his works,
    before his deeds of old;
23 I was formed long ages ago,
    at the very beginning, when the world came to be.
24 When there were no watery depths, I was given birth,
    when there were no springs overflowing with water;
25 before the mountains were settled in place,
    before the hills, I was given birth,
26 before he made the world or its fields
    or any of the dust of the earth.
27 I was there when he set the heavens in place,
    when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep,
28 when he established the clouds above
    and fixed securely the fountains of the deep,
29 when he gave the sea its boundary
    so the waters would not overstep his command,
and when he marked out the foundations of the earth.
30     Then I was constantly[e] at his side.
I was filled with delight day after day,
    rejoicing always in his presence,
31 rejoicing in his whole world
    and delighting in mankind.
32 “Now then, my children, listen to me;
    blessed are those who keep my ways.
33 Listen to my instruction and be wise;
    do not disregard it.
34 Blessed are those who listen to me,
    watching daily at my doors,
    waiting at my doorway.
35 For those who find me find life
    and receive favor from the Lord.
36 But those who fail to find me harm themselves;
    all who hate me love death.”

Mark 12

In this chapter, we read about the parable of an owner of a vineyard. He sent out his servants to his tenants to collect the fruits of his vineyard. Those servants were abused, treated shamefully, and some were even killed. In hopes that his tenants will respect his son, he then sent his loving son, who was killed too. The owner then came and snatched the vineyard from his tenants and gave it to someone else.

The chief priests and elders knew Jesus was talking about them and they sought ways to kill Jesus. Therefore, they sent few Pharisees and Herodians to trap Jesus in his own words. Sounding innocent, they asked Jesus, “Teacher, we know that you are a man of integrity. You aren't swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not? Should we pay or shouldn't we?”

Recognizing their hypocrisy, Jesus answered, “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.”

Next, the Sadducees who never believed in resurrection, approached Jesus and asked another tricky question. They inquired if a woman married seven times and after her death, whose wife will she be. Jesus clarified, "When the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven."

Further, Jesus taught them pointing the scripture that God is the God of the living, and not of the dead.

Another teacher of the law came and asked Jesus about the greatest commandment. Jesus recited the Old Testament and taught about loving one’s neighbor as oneself.
Mark 12:29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.
30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’
31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
Notice this teacher - when he heard Jesus' answer, he acknowledged the wisdom he just heard. In response, Jesus admired his attitude and commented positively, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”

From then on, nobody dared to question Jesus anymore.
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Citing Psalm 110, Jesus asked the Pharisees, "Why did David call his son, the Messiah, ‘Lord.’ How then can the Lord be his son?”

Nobody could answer this question. Jesus then issued a warning against the teachers of the law.
Mark 12:38-40 As he taught, Jesus said, “Watch out for the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. These men will be punished most severely.”
While observing the crowd putting money into temple treasury, Jesus commented on the percentage of their offerings rather than the size of their offerings. He noticed a widow who contributed 100% of her earnings, though it was worth just two small copper coins. We see Jesus admiring her generosity and sacrifice.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Matthew 22

Jesus told them a parable:
Matthew 22:2 “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. 3 He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come."
A certain king invited people to a wedding feast, but they do not come. Instead, they abused and killed those servants who came with the invitation. The king avenged himself, then made a broader invitation to all, those who were good and bad. A certain guest came in, without wearing a wedding garment. The king told his servants to bind his hands and legs and throw him into the outer darkness, where there was wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Matthew 22:14 “For many are invited, but few are chosen.” 
In short, Jesus is saying, "Many get invited into the Kingdom of Heaven, but only a few make it.
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Pharisees asked Jesus a tricky question whether it was lawful to pay taxes to Caesar. Jesus told them to pay Ceasar what was Ceaser's and pay God what is God's.

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Sadducees, who denied resurrection asked Jesus whose wife a woman who has married seven brothers would be, during resurrection. Jesus replied that during resurrection people do not marry, but will be like angels of God in heaven.
Matthew 22:29 Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.
30 At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven." 
Noticing that Jesus silenced the Sadducees, a Pharisee lawyer stepped in and asked Jesus which was the greatest commandment. Jesus quoted the shema, and summarized the rest of the law and the prophets by saying. ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’.
Matthew 22:37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’
38 This is the first and greatest commandment.
39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
In return, Jesus asked them a question.

Jesus: “What do you think about the Messiah? Whose son is he?”

Pharisees: “The son of David.”

Jesus: “How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord’? For he says, in Psalm 110:1 “‘The Lord says to my Lord:
    “Sit at my right hand
until I put your enemies
    under your feet.”’

If then David calls him ‘Lord,’ how can he be his son?”

Nobody could answer this question, and from that day onward, no one dared to ask Jesus any more questions.

The Messiah is not only David’s son, but also his Lord.
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Additional Info:
In olden days, the king used to go out into the midst of people and throw coins into the crowd. This was with the understanding that once the king was in need, people will return the favor. 

John 12

Jesus along with his disciples came to Bethany, and they were attending a dinner hosted in Jesus' honor. The hosts are Martha, Mary and Lazarus, who was raised from the dead. While Martha served Jesus, Mary anointed the feet of Jesus with expensive oil - it was worth a year's pay.
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Judas Iscariot objected that Mary might have sold the oil and given the money to the poor. Judas is not saying this due to his love for the poor, but due to his love towards money. Judas who was in charge of their money embezzled them.
John 12:7 “Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial.
8 You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”
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A large crowd came to see Jesus and the resurrected Lazarus. The Jews plot to kill both Jesus and Lazarus.

The next day, Jesus entered Jerusalem sitting on a colt, lauded by crowds waving palm leaves.
John 12:13 They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Blessed is the king of Israel!”
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Jesus said that the hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. He then reminded them how a grain of wheat that is buried produces life.

A troubled Jesus prayed: ‘Father glorify your name.’

Suddenly, a voice thundered from the heavens, "I have glorified it and will glorify it again."

Jesus said the voice they heard was not for his benefit, but for those onlookers. Jesus said he will eventually be lifted up from the earth, and will draw all people towards him.

Many of those Jews who saw the signs performed by Jesus would not believe in him. Then there were others who saw and believed, but would not acknowledge the truth they saw and felt.
John 12:42 Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue;
43 for they loved human praise more than praise from God.
Jesus is disappointed at all these people who are afraid of acknowledging his deeds. He cried out aloud.
John 12:44-50 Then Jesus cried out, “Whoever believes in me does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. The one who looks at me is seeing the one who sent me. I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness. If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day. For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken. I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.”

Proverbs 7 March 2014

  1. The teachings of King Solomon are as precious as our eyesight and hence we need to guard them. 
  2. Talk to Lady Wisdom like a sister, and treat Lady Insight as our companion. 
  3. Together, they will protect us from the temptress and seductress. 
  4. The temptress and seductress will lead you like a calf led to a butcher shop, without knowing that your life is over. 
  5. Never fool around with a temptress or seductress; don't even stroll through her neighborhood. 
  6. Countless men have been victims to her spell. 
  7. She's the very cause of death for many men. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Mark 11

Jesus sent two of his disciples to bring a colt. Many threw their cloak over the the colt and Jesus sat over it. He made a triumphal entry into Jerusalem while people spread their cloak on the road, while others spread the branches they cut in the fields.
Mark 11:9 Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted,
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
10 “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!”
“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
Once Jesus entered Jerusalem temple, he looked around. Since it was late, he went to Bethany with his twelve disciples.
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In the morning, Jesus was hungry and he came beside a fig tree with no fruits. He cursed the tree for not having any fruits. He then proceeded to Jerusalem temple and drove out those money lenders and those who did business in temple courts.

The chief priests and teachers of law were looking for a reason to kill him. They did not make any bold moves as the crowd respected him.

The next morning while they were walking, Peter brought to Jesus' attention, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!”

Jesus explained the power of faith, which can move mountains. He also told, "Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins."

Again they arrived in Jerusalem and while he was walking in the temple courts, his credentials were questioned. He asked them a tricky question, whether John's baptism was of heavenly or earthly origin. They did not answer it, and hence Jesus refused to answer those who questioned his credentials as well.

Proverbs 6 Mar 2014

  1. We should run like a deer from the hunter, or fly like a bird from a trapper if we have locked ourselves in a deal with a stranger. 
  2. Let the ant teach us a lesson - especially if we are lazy. 
  3. Catastrophe is just around the corner, for those riffraff and rascals who talk out of both sides of their mouths.  
  4. God hates these seven things - the eyes that are arrogant, a lying tongue, hands that murder the innocent, a heart that hatches evil plots, feet that race down a wicked track, a mouth that lies under oath, and a troublemaker in the family. 
  5. When it comes to adultery, follow your father's advice and remember your mother's teachings. 
  6. Adultery is a brainless act, soul-destroying, self-destructive and earns bad reputation. 
  7. Jealousy will detonate rage in a cheated husband, and no bribe will ever calm him down. 

Luke 19

While going through Jericho, the wealthy chief tax collector named Zacchaeus was desperate to see Jesus. As he was a short man, he could not see Jesus through the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed up a sycamore tree so he could see Jesus when he came by.

When Jesus arrived under the tree, he called out, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.”

Soon, Zacchaeus scrambled out of the tree, hardly believing his good luck, delighted to take Jesus home with him. Those who witnessed the incident were indignant and grumped, “What business does he have getting cozy with this crook?”

While at the house, Zacchaeus said to Jesus, "Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”
Luke 19:9 Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham.
10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.
While the people were listening, they thought the Kingdom of God was going to appear at once. Jesus told them a parable - a certain master gave his servants ten minas each, and condemned one who does not invest it.

As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, to get him a colt. Jesus rode on the colt into Jerusalem, as a King, lauded by the people.
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Everyone was cheering:
Luke 19:38 “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
Some Pharisees who were in the crowd asked Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”

“I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”
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Jesus prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem.
Luke 19:41 As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it
42 and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes.
43 The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side.
44 They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.
Jesus cleansed the temple by driving out those who were conducting business. “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be a house of prayer’; but you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’”

The high priests the religious scholars and leaders were finding a way to get rid of Jesus.

My Thoughts
If we met Jesus on the way, and if told us he was planning to stay at our house tonight, will we have the guts to invite Jesus to our house? Do we worry about what our friends may think of inviting such a guest into our house? Suppose we do, will we say, "Jesus, please wait here... let me clear out certain things from my house before you enter." And once He enters, will we have few rooms locked so that he won't see what's going on there?

The big question I have for myself is, "Do I have the courage and audacity to invite Jesus into my home the way it is right now - just like Zacchaeus?" 

Luke 18:15-43

A rich man once approached Jesus and inquired how to obtain eternal life. Jesus told him to follow the commandments - no illicit sex, no killing, no stealing, no lying, and honoring parents. The man said he was obeying all these. Jesus then pointed out something he lacked - he was told to sell all his possessions and give it to the poor.

This mad the rich man terribly sad and he was unwilling to let go of those things he held dearly.
Luke 18:24 Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!
25 Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
The disciples were puzzled, especially they had abandoned everything to follow Jesus. They were told that they will receive many times over, and in the age to come eternal life.

Jesus then predicted his suffering, death and resurrection, but the disciples do not understand as the meaning was hidden from them.

While they were in Jericho, a blind beggar approached Jesus, and called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Jesus stopped on his way and ordered the blind man to be brought over to him. He said, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you. The blindness was healed instantly.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


SAT is under a wave of change. College Board CEO David Coleman today announced in Austin, TX, that starting 2016, the test will have three sections - Reading & Writing, Math and an Essay. The test will be for three hours, with an additional 50 minutes for essay. The essay section will utilize print and computers (forget everything I said about improving handwriting for SAT essays). The score scale would slide back to 1600.

Starting in spring 2015, they are teaming up with Khan Academy to provide test preparation materials.

Some may call this ironic, as it comes after a major overhaul. Whether students will benefit from this change or not - we will have to wait and see. Regardless, the educators, coaches and publishing industry will see their profit margins soar as there will be an influx of panic stuck parents running around like a chicken with it's head cut off. For students, they have to study no matter what, and their attitude will be like, "whatever... yolo!!!"

Tap here to read the Wall Street Journal article.

Tap here to check out what New York Times has to say.

Tap here to read an article from Inside Higher Ed.

For those who have crossed the SAT bridge, they can sit back, relax and watch the fun!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Matthew 21

While approaching Jerusalem, at Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus instructed a disciple to fetch a tied donkey and colt. The did precisely as Jesus said. Then, they placed their cloak on the donkey for Jesus to sit on it. A large crowd spread their cloak on the road, while others cut branches of palm leaves. Jesus was received as the son of David.
Matthew 21:9 The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,
Hosanna to the Son of David!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”
11 The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”
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Jesus drove out the sellers in the market, the money changers and all those who were conducting business there.
Matthew 21:13 “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’”
At Jerusalem temple, the children praised Jesus. Later when Jesus was hungry,  he cursed a fig tree that has only leaves on it. Seeing the fig tree withering immediately, his disciples asked him how he did this, and Jesus replied that he did it with faith.
Matthew 21:21 Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done.
22 If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.
The chief priests and elders then questioned the authority of Jesus. Rather than answering them, he said he will answer them if they told him whether John’s baptism was from heaven or earth. The elders reasoned: if they answered ‘from heaven’, Jesus will say, ‘Why did you not then believe him?’ They do not answer ‘from earth’, because people held John to be a prophet. They then safely replied that they did not know the answer. Jesus refused to tell them by whose authority he acted as well.

Next, Jesus narrated the parable of two sons. Both were instructed to go work in their father’s vineyard. The first one, equated with harlots and tax-collectors initially refused, but then he went and worked. The other presumably equated with the elders said he will go, but do not go at all.
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Another parable Jesus told was that of the wicked servants. A landowner leases out his vineyard to certain people. He sent his servants to receive its fruit, but they were either killed or abused. The owner sent his son to receive the fruit. The tenants killed the son so they could have his inheritance. Hearing all these, the landowner will come and destroy those wicked men.

Jesus quoted psalm 118 and spoke about the Kingdom of Heaven.
Psalm 118:22 The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone;
23 the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes.
Jesus said, “Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit."

The chief priest and elders knew Jesus was speaking about them, and they looked for ways to arrest him.
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Sunday, March 2, 2014

Proverbs 2 Mar 2014

  1. Let's tune our ears to the world of wisdom and set our hearts on a life of understanding. 
  2. Let's say, we won't take "No" for an answer while looking for insight.
  3. If so, before we know, Fear-of-God will be our's. 
  4. God gives out Wisdom free for those who seek it. 
  5. God keeps an eye on those who live honestly. 
  6. God pays special attention to those who are committed to Him loyally. 
  7. Lady Wisdom will be our best friend, and Brother Knowledge our companion.
  8. Together, both of them will prevent us from making wrong turns in life. 
  9. Depend on those wise friends - they will rescue us from temptress and seductress.
  10. Men who walk straight and women with integrity will last in this land.