The Propensity to Acquire Our Currency

Friday, August 31, 2012

“For ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise. For ye suffer, if a man bring you into bondage, if a man devour you, if a man take of you, if a man exalt himself, if a man smite you on the face” (2 Corinthians 11:19,20 KJV).

Sinful mankind naturally seeks dishonest material gain, and today’s Scripture explains that clerics are no exception.

Since Hurricane/Tropical Storm Isaac has passed through my area, police and other state officials are cautioning residents to be wary of phony contractors who are going door-to-door and “offering” their (fraudulent) services of rebuilding and demolition. These persons, like false religious teachers, prey on the weak and desperate, and we need to guard ourselves against them.

The Corinthians, although Christians, had precious little understanding of God’s Word rightly divided. Hence, they were vulnerable to doctrinal error (heresies), which abounded in their assembly (the Apostle Paul wrote First Corinthians to reprove them): “For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be manifest among you” (1 Corinthians 11:19). Now, a year or so after writing that, Paul wrote today’s Scripture, and evidently the Corinthians are still “approving” these false teachers.

Notice Paul’s sarcasm in today’s Scripture: “Ye suffer [allow/permit] fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise.” Essentially, “You Corinthians are so ‘wise’ that you gladly listen to a bunch of fools!” (Unfortunately, Paul would write this to Christendom today!) These false teachers discouraged the Corinthians from heeding and obeying the Lord’s Word through the Apostle Paul, and the Corinthians gladly allowed themselves to be deceived (cf. Galatians 3:1-4; Galatians 4:15-21). Today’s Scripture shows these false teachers acquired both the Corinthians’ trust and their income!

Saints, let us be “perfect” (spiritually mature) and “edified” (spiritually built up, strengthened) in God’s Word rightly divided, “that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight [trickery] of men, and cunning craftiness [scams], whereby they lie in wait [secretly] to deceive;” (Ephesians 4:12,14).

Let us be wary of false teachers, who have “the propensity to acquire our currency.”

A Miraculous Escape

Thursday, August 30, 2012

“Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him” (Acts 12:5 KJV).

Evil King Herod has imprisoned the Apostle Peter, but the saints are praying to God for him, and those prayers will be answered!

It is nighttime. Peter is firmly imprisoned: guards are protecting the prison doors, and he is sleeping between two Roman soldiers, bound with two chains (verse 6). The Lord must intervene, or Herod will soon execute Peter!

As the angel of the Lord appears, he illuminates the prison, and strikes Peter on his side. Waking Peter, he commands, “Arise up quickly,” and Peter’s chains instantly and literally fall away (verse 7)! Can you just imagine this? It was not some “miracle” (sham) of a televangelist or magician; it really happened. But there is more!

The angel instructs Peter, “Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals,” which Peter does, and then the angel commands Peter, “Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me,” and Peter obeys (verse 8). “And he went out, and followed him; and wist not that it was true which was done by the angel; but thought he saw a vision” (verse 9). Peter is so overcome that he believes this is a dream!

They pass the first and the second ward, and come to the iron gate that leads to the city—“which opened to them of his own accord (verse 10)—and soon Peter is freed from prison and the angel has immediately vanished. Imagine that: God’s Word says the gate opened by itself! “And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a surety, that the Lord hath sent his angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews” (verse 11). Amazing!

Brethren, while we should not be expecting these miraculous demonstrations in this the Dispensation of Grace, we can study them in the Scriptures and appreciate how God performed them for His “signs and wonders” people, Israel, in her program (John 4:48; 1 Corinthians 1:22). Saints, praise the amazing God we serve!

Refuge in the Storms of Life

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21 KJV).

Whether in life, or in death, our refuge is Jesus Christ our Lord.

Later today, here in south-central Louisiana, we are expecting a category 1 hurricane, Isaac. Its sustained winds of over 74 miles per hour (119 kilometers per hour) and its potential flooding have many residents worried, especially considering the damage Hurricane Katrina inflicted here along the United States Gulf Coast exactly seven years ago today. But, as during every “storm of life,” we rest in Jesus Christ!

Life is unpredictable. It has its good times, and its bad, and we never know which type will come when. Considering, almost nothing in life is certain… almost….

What is certain is that, regardless of our circumstances, God our Father has equipped us in Christ Jesus to handle them all: “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me(Philippians 4:11-13).

We as saints of the Most High God have within us the resurrection life of Jesus Christ. When we live by walking by faith in an intelligent understanding of God’s Word to us, it is literally Jesus Christ living in and through us (today’s Scripture). Our Lord Jesus Christ is our refuge, and His strength enables us to handle all of the troubles of life (our flesh is too weak).

Additionally, we have comfort that even if one of these “storms of life” causes our physical death, we will still have refuge in Jesus Christ. We will still be secure in Him, in perfect peace and free from this life’s troubles: “to be with Christ… is far better” (Philippians 1:23; cf. today’s Scripture). However, saints, until then, hang in there. God still has work to be done on Earth! 🙂

Access By the Holy Spirit

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

“For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father” (Ephesians 2:18 KJV).

We can neither see nor hear the Holy Spirit, but He plays an active role in our Christian lives on a daily basis.

When people mention prayer, they often speak as though it is talking to God way off in the third heaven, speaking to Someone far, far away from us. However, today’s Scripture explains that the indwelling Holy Spirit gives us this access to our heavenly Father, and that God is actually in close proximity to us. He literally lives in us, the Christians!

Remember, as people who have trusted in the finished crosswork of Jesus Christ on Calvary as sufficient payment for our sins, we have God the Holy Spirit living within us. Wherever we Christians go, we carry the Holy Spirit around in us! “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” (1 Corinthians 6:19). “…[T]he Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us(2 Timothy 1:14).

In today’s Scripture, Paul is describing how “we both”—both Jews and Gentiles (verses 11,12)—have equal access to Father God today in the Dispensation of Grace, and it is through Jesus Christ but by the Holy Spirit. (Notice today’s Scripture mentions all three members of the Godhead/Trinity.)

The indwelling Holy Spirit links us to Jesus Christ. Technically, the Holy Spirit supernaturally placed us into the Church the Body of Christ when we trusted Jesus Christ alone as our personal Saviour (1 Corinthians 12:13). When we pray—that is, talk to God the Father—we come through the mediatorship of Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 2:5), but it is by the intercession of the indwelling Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit appropriates (applies) to us everything that we have in Jesus Christ: He empowers us to do God’s will, He guarantees our salvation in Christ, He teaches us using God’s Word, the Bible, and so on (see Romans chapter 8; 1 Corinthians 2:9-16; Ephesians 1:13,14; Ephesians 4:30).

What a marvelous truth!

Living As Peaceably As Possible

Monday, August 27, 2012

“If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:18 KJV).

Having recently listened to family members and friends discuss their struggles, my advice to them was simple—apply today’s Scripture.

Saints, today’s Scripture is clear. We should make every attempt possible to get along with others, especially with our Christian brethren (as always, please remember that we never, EVER compromise sound Bible doctrine for the sake of unity). But, there does come a point where we cannot resolve conflict, and we must leave the situation alone. Notice today’s Scripture: “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” It is not always possible to live peaceably, even with fellow Christians (which is so sad).

In fact, there are such deep divisions among some Christians—including myself—that they cannot be resolved until heaven. I have met people who cause their own problems, thereby making other people’s lives—and mine—miserable. We all make mistakes, but what makes it sadder is that even after they are warned repeatedly, they continue in their error, with little to no remorse.

When dealing with these kinds of people who absolutely refuse to apply sound Bible doctrine in handling a disagreement, we must step back and say, “There is nothing more that I can do. It is time to leave these individuals alone.” Again we apply today’s Scripture and move on; otherwise we risk making the situation worse with hatred, bitterness, physical altercations, gossiping, cursing, et cetera.

Regrettably, sin causes squabbling, which results in division. Our “friends” will turn other friends against us, and divorce destroys our marriages and families. It is most pitiful when these divisions occur within the local church, disrupting the unity of God’s people and furthering the plan of the adversary (Satan). While we do “forgive [others] as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven [us]” (Ephesians 4:32), we are not to be doormats. In this sinful world, we cannot live harmoniously with everyone.

“If it be possible,” saints, “IF it be possible,” “live peaceably with all men….”

The Gift to Be Refused

Sunday, August 26, 2012

“And thou shalt take no gift: for the gift blindeth the wise, and perverteth the words of the righteous” (Exodus 23:8 KJV).

Today’s Scripture describes one gift that you should never accept!

Deuteronomy 16:18-20 repeats today’s Scripture: “Judges and officers shalt thou make thee in all thy gates, which the LORD thy God giveth thee, throughout thy tribes: and they shall judge the people with just judgment. Thou shalt not wrest [distort] judgment [justice]; thou shalt not respect persons, neither take a gift: for a gift doth blind the eyes of the wise, and pervert the words of the righteous. That which is altogether just [fair, right] shalt thou follow, that thou mayest live, and inherit the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.”

We can compare that to Proverbs 15:27: “He that is greedy of gain troubleth his own house; but he that hateth gifts shall live.”

In the Mosaic Law, and later in Proverbs, God told the nation Israel not to accept “gifts.” What are these “gifts?” (Hint: Today’s politicians and clergy would do well if they refused them.) By examining these verses, we see that the Bible defines the term “gift.” This “gift” “blindeth the wise:” it pollutes the judgment of even the wisest person. Furthermore, it “perverteth the words of the righteous;” that is, it causes even the saint of God to fall into the trap of lying, and maybe far worse to cover up the deception. This is no ordinary “gift.” It is, in fact, a bribe, a gift of money or other incentive given to one in authority in order for this official to act in the giver’s favor!

Notice above how Deuteronomy 16:18-20 cautioned Israel’s leaders, that they rule fairly and honestly, refusing bribes. Sadly, centuries later, two of Israel’s judges (rulers), Samuel’s sons, “turned aside after lucre [money], and took bribes, and perverted judgment” (1 Samuel 8:2). Interestingly, their shameful actions were influential in Israel’s apostate decision to have a king rule over them instead

Let our decision-making be influenced by the King James Bible rightly divided, and not by the gift to be refused.

The Saints with the Hoary Head

Saturday, August 25, 2012

“The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness” (Proverbs 16:31 KJV).

What is a “hoary head,” and why does Proverbs refer to it as “a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness?”

The Bible uses the term “hoary head” only twice. It is found once in today’s Scripture. The other time the Bible uses it is when God instructed Israel in the Mosaic Law: “Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the LORD” (Leviticus 19:32).

Leviticus 19:32 explains that “hoary head” is connected to “old man.” In fact, “hoary” is defined as “white or gray haired; aged.” In other words, the expression “hoary head” actually refers to the gray hair of the elderly. Interestingly, the Bible uses “hoary” to also describe the white frost that falls from heaven and covers the ground (Job 38:29).

We “young” people can learn much by listening to the counsel of the older generations, since they have had more experience in life. But, notice how today’s Scripture shows that the “hoary head” that is “a crown of glory”—literally the older person to be praised and honored—is the hoary head that “be found in the way of righteousness.”

We do not hearken unto the advice of just any older person, but the older people who are saints, who have trusted Jesus Christ alone as their Saviour and who value God’s Word. They (should) show us how they apply God’s Word to various life situations by being examples.

For example, within the local church, God wants “aged [Christian] men” to be “sober [clear mind], grave [serious], temperate [self-controlled], sound in faith [not an heretick], in charity [deeds of love], in patience [endurance],” setting an example for the young Christian men (Titus 2:2). The “aged [Christian] women” are to “be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers [gossipers, liars], not given to much wine [having responsible minds], teachers of good things…,” setting an example for the young Christian women (verse 3).