Grace Ambassadors

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

“Now then we are ambassadors for Christ…” (2 Corinthians 5:20a KJV).

We rejoice in our Lord Jesus Christ because arC Ministries celebrates its sixth anniversary today!

In July 2007, I saw the need on Facebook for a sound Bible study group. Back then, any Bible groups—let alone sound ones—were rare on Facebook. Thus, “ambassadors for the risen Christ” was born. I wrote one or more Bible studies a week and emailed them to our members. Over the next two years, the Bible study group grew to become “ambassadors for the risen Christ Ministries” (and expanded to Myspace). (The logo “arC” is stylized because the emphasis is not on the ambassadors, but on Christ!) In fact, our original Bible study group is still on Facebook, still reaching countless souls six years later. 🙂

The ministry began to reach my college classmates and professors on campus (still ongoing). By late 2010, we expanded to write a weekly newspaper Bible study column (for 22 weeks before cancellation) and a nursing home ministry (currently on hiatus). In 2011, we again expanded to become this daily devotional blog.

Last year, we initiated a grace study Bible project (currently underway) and another Bible study blog, this blog’s sister site (still ongoing). This year, we started home Bible studies and launched a YouTube channel (1611kjvambassador). Today, we launched our Twitter feed (@kjvambassador). I hope and pray regarding additional expansions into more avenues and mediums, so we can be grace ambassadors there to the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Saints, Jesus Christ is still tarrying, so let us continue to labor in Him in the ministry. It will be worth it (1 Corinthians 15:58)!! Despite the challenges and discouraging moments, we can look back on all of them and shout, “My, if faced with the choice to do it all again, our answer would be, ‘What a privilege and joy to suffer for our Saviour’s name!’” We thank God for all of you who have been with us right from “day 1,” and we look forward to serving you in the future, as God’s grace enables…. ONWARD! 🙂

You can now follow us on Twitter.

The King, the Donkey, and the Horse #7

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

“…[T]he sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow” (1 Peter 1:11 KJV).

The King appeared once, and He shall return….

In the context of today’s Scripture, the Apostle Peter comforts Israel’s little flock (believing remnant) enduring the temptation and persecution of the seven-year Tribulation, by reminding them that just as the Old Testament prophets foretold of Jesus Christ’s sufferings, those Scriptures also prophesied of the glorious coming kingdom He will establish on planet earth one day. These Jewish kingdom saints are to “hang in there,” to patiently wait for their King who will ride a horse to their rescue! He will deliver them from Satan’s evil world system, and make them God’s vessel to evangelize the Gentiles in that kingdom.

Zechariah 14:9 foretells: “And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.” Daniel 2:44 elaborates: “And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.” (Although Jesus Christ will reign forever, there is a 1,000-year transition period into eternity future.)

Isaiah 9:6,7 affirm:[His First Coming] For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: [His Second Coming] and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.”

Father God is very zealous about appointing His Son Jesus Christ as King over all creation. Jesus Christ, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS” (Revelation 19:16).

Yea, the King came once on a donkey. Indeed, He shall come again… on a horse! 🙂

The King, the Donkey, and the Horse #6

Monday, July 29, 2013

“…[T]he sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow” (1 Peter 1:11 KJV).

The King appeared once, and He shall return….

Peter, writing to Israel’s believing remnant enduring the (future) seven-year Tribulation, consoles them during that time of great trouble and testing. He reminds them of the “appearing of Jesus Christ” (verse 7)—Christ’s Second Coming to conclude that Tribulation.

The Apostle Peter continues (today’s Scripture with its context): “[Jesus Christ] Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow(1 Peter 1:8-11).

Isaiah the prophet wrote 700 B.C.: “And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD. As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever. Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising” (Isaiah 59:20–60:3).

Believing Israel is to be patient during that awful Tribulation! Her Messiah is coming and they are to be mindful of that glorious coming kingdom He is bringing. They will be saved, to also participate in His glory….

The King, the Donkey, and the Horse #5

Sunday, July 28, 2013

“…[T]he sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow” (1 Peter 1:11 KJV).

The King appeared once, and He shall return….

Society is becoming increasingly hostile toward Christianity (Jesus Christ never was popular with mankind anyway!). The Bible abounds with verses that discuss Jesus Christ reigning over this planet. After all, “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created” (Revelation 4:11). Creation was to originally glorify its Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ, but a usurper, a trespasser, Satan, desires that worship. Hence, there exists “this present evil world” (Galatians 1:4; cf. 1 John 5:19). If Jesus Christ is to reign over this planet, all individuals who oppose His will must be forcefully evicted first.

In the book of the Revelation, the Holy Spirit through the Apostle John summarizes all of the Old Testament prophecies of Jesus Christ’s return to earth (those not fulfilled at His first coming). He came once—meek and lowly to “suffer” and die for man’s sins (today’s Scripture). Now, He is coming back to righteously judge whoever rejects that sacrifice He made at Calvary, to dispossess the earth from Satan and purify it so as to reign over that creation that was originally made for Him—“the glory that should follow” (today’s Scripture).

Jesus Christ Himself foretold, “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory” (Matthew 25:31). We see a brief glimpse of that “glory” at the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 16:28–17:8; Mark 9:1-8; Luke 9:27-36).

At His Second Coming, Jesus Christ will leave the third heaven, with tens of thousands of mighty angelic soldiers following Him. They will glide over the Middle East, utterly conquering Satan and his troops gathered against believing Israel (Psalm 68:1-35; Psalm 83:1-18; Isaiah 63:1-6; Joel 3:1-16; Zechariah 14:1-5; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9; 2 Thessalonians 2:8; Jude 14,15; Revelation 19:11-21; et al.). With the opposition gone, Jesus Christ can dismount His horse and reign over earth….

The King, the Donkey, and the Horse #4

Saturday, July 27, 2013

“…[T]he sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow” (1 Peter 1:11 KJV).

The King appeared once, and He shall return….

When Jesus Christ came to His nation Israel, He had every right to utterly consume them in His wrath. They had ignored Him ever since their early days, nearly 2,000 years before, by worshipping pagan idols. When He was born as a human, they treated Him no better. For three years, He was ridiculed and slandered as being crazy, an imposter, a drunkard, a devil-possessed individual, et cetera.

Ultimately, Israel demanded the Roman government crucify Him, and they did—yea, Jesus experienced the death of a despicable criminal. Christ’s crucifixion was extremely horrific, and although He knew everything that was coming, He never fought against it. Again, the Old Testament prophets spoke of Jesus Christ as being meek and lowly, the attitude He had leading up to His death. These prophets spoke of “the sufferings of Christ” (today’s Scripture). That was His Father’s will, and He came to please His Father! “Abba, Father… nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt(Mark 14:36; cf. Matthew 26:39; Luke 22:42; John 18:11).

Jesus Christ will one day return to earth. This time, however, He will not be a meek and lowly donkey-rider. In those Bible days, when a king rode a horse into a foreign city or country, he was demonstrating an attitude of war toward that land’s government. Interestingly enough, the Apostle John writes in Revelation 19:11: “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.” This is Jesus Christ’s Second Coming, when He sheds His enemies’ blood and reigns as earth’s Supreme King, fulfilling the “glory” that today’s Scripture, and the Old Testament prophets, foretold….

The King, the Donkey, and the Horse #3

Friday, July 26, 2013

“…[T]he sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow” (1 Peter 1:11 KJV).

The King appeared once, and He shall return….

Five centuries after the prophet Zechariah wrote, Israel’s Messiah-King (Jesus) rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, fulfilling Zechariah 9:9. However, Israel cried out, “We have no king but Caesar!” (John 19:15). Jesus was crucified, buried, and resurrected the third day, but Israel still refused Him. He went back into heaven as an exile, rejected of His own people. As the book of Acts progresses, we learn that Israel is content in unbelief, refusing to listen to Jesus Christ’s apostles and prophets in early Acts (who urge their brethren to accept Him so that they can avoid His wrath when He returns).

Remember, the prophet Zechariah also wrote: “Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south” (Zechariah 14:1-4).

Jesus Christ came to earth the first time riding on a donkey, a gesture of peace toward Israel. Israel refused Him. After His death, burial, and resurrection, He ascended into heaven, where even today He waits until the time when He is to come back. He will return to earth on a horse, bringing salvation to Israel’s believing remnant, but declaring war on all of His (unbelieving) enemies. The “glory” of today’s Scripture must be fulfilled….

The King, the Donkey, and the Horse #2

Thursday, July 25, 2013

“…[T]he sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow” (1 Peter 1:11 KJV).

The King appeared once, and He shall return….

At about age 30, Jesus Christ began His public ministry in Israel (Luke 3:23). Three years later, near His earthly ministry’s conclusion, He rides on a donkey’s foal, a young colt, into Jerusalem (Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-10; Luke 19:28-40; John 12:12-19)—the so-called “Triumphal Entry.” Jerusalem is “the city of the great King” (Matthew 5:35; cf. Psalm 48:2). Thus, Jesus Christ, Israel’s King, is offering Himself to her by coming into her capital city, humbly riding on a donkey, fulfilling Zechariah 9:9.

Interestingly enough, in those Bible days, when a king rode a donkey into a foreign city or country, he was demonstrating an attitude of peace toward that land’s government. He was not interested in war, so he came meek and gently. By riding on the donkey, Jesus Christ is not only fulfilling prophecy, but He is also showing Israel that He desires peace between them: He wants them to turn back to Him by faith (Mark 2:17; Luke 19:9,10; Acts 3:24-26; et cetera)!

Recall when the Samaritans refused to receive Christ as He passed through their city years earlier, Apostles James and John asked Him if He wanted them to command fire to come down from heaven and consume those rebels. Jesus replied, “Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them” (Luke 9:55,56). Our Lord affirmed that He did not come to destroy sinners in His righteous wrath but rather He has come to save them! Remember, He is “having salvation” (Zechariah 9:9)—Jesus wants to save Israel, not destroy her.

This is why Jesus Christ was so willing to die. He could have fought off the Roman soldiers, but He did not. Rather, from His arrest onward to Mount Calvary’s cross to the grave, He was humble and silent, quiet as a sheep being led away to be slaughtered (Isaiah 53:7; Matthew 27:14). He had to fulfill “the sufferings” of today’s Scripture….

The King, the Donkey, and the Horse #1

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

“…[T]he sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow” (1 Peter 1:11 KJV).

The King appeared once, and He shall return….

Circa 500 B.C., the prophet Zechariah wrote: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass” (Zechariah 9:9).

For centuries, Israel knew that her Messiah-King would come to her, and He would be riding upon a donkey; yea, the foal (young one) of a donkey would be His means of presenting Himself to His nation Israel. He would be meek (“lowly”) and He would bring Israel soul salvation (“having salvation”).

Near the end of His three-year ministry, Jesus goes to Jerusalem as He did many times before, but on this occasion, He takes a special mode of transportation. This historical narrative is recorded in Matthew 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-10, Luke 19:28-40, and John 12:12-19. Jesus Christ instructs two of His disciples to find the female donkey and her young colt tied in a particular location, and bring them to Him.

Matthew 21:4-11 says, All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass. And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them. And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they sat him [Jesus] thereon. And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest. And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.”

Let us see how these Bible passages teach a fascinating truth….

A Party Invitation to Ignore

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

“And she said unto them, Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me” (Ruth 1:20 KJV).

Discard this invitation to Naomi’s self-pity party!

The Jewess Naomi, her husband Elimelech, and their two sons Mahlon and Chilion leave Bethlehemjudah due to famine, and they travel to Moab (on the opposite [or eastern] side of the Dead Sea). There, Elimelech dies, and Mahlon and Chilion intermarry with the Moabites. About ten years later, Mahlon and Chilion pass away, leaving widowed Naomi with two daughters-in-law, Ruth and Orpah, also widowed.

When Naomi hears the news that God has provided food for His people in Bethlehemjudah, she decides to leave Moab and return home. Naomi instructs her two daughters-in-law to return to their (pagan) families, for she is returning to Bethlehem. However, Ruth 1:16 says, “And Ruth said, Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:”

Ruth accompanies Naomi back to Bethlehemjudah, and when the townspeople recognize Naomi, they ask in Ruth 1:19, “Is this Naomi?” Naomi replies, “Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me” (today’s Scripture). She has lost her husband and both sons, and is thus poverty-stricken, so she feels sorry for herself. Naomi (“pleasant”) prefers to be called “Mara,” Hebrew for “bitter.” Like many today, she is hurt and resentful, angry with God and blaming Him for her troubles. She cannot see with the eyes of faith—JEHOVAH has used her to rescue a former pagan (Ruth) from idolatry! God, for His own purposes, has used “poor” Naomi to reach out to lost Gentile Ruth.

Centuries after Naomi’s passing, we see her pity party was unjustified. Ruth 4:13-22 verifies Ruth became the mother of Obed, who was the father of Jesse, who was the father of King David, and King David was… the ancestor of Jesus Christ (Luke 1:32). Who is Naomi? Someone God used to establish the bloodline of Jesus Christ via Ruth!

Surrounded by Sinners

Monday, July 22, 2013

“Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene” (John 19:25 KJV).

Today’s Scripture seems insignificant, but it conveys a marvelous Bible truth….

You should have noticed that there are three Marys listed in today’s Scripture. Although not explicitly named here, we find in other Scriptures that Jesus’ mother’s name is “Mary” (Matthew 1:16; Luke 2:6-21; et cetera). So, in today’s Scripture, we have: (1) Jesus’ mother named Mary, (2) the wife of Cleophas named Mary, and (3) Mary Magdalene. There were thousands of people who stood by Jesus’ cross, so why did the Holy Spirit select these three people to list, all of whom are named Mary?

“Mariam” is the Greek form of the Hebrew name “Miriam,” from which we get “Mary.” The New Testament was written in Koine Greek, so these Jewesses’ Hebrew names were rendered in Greek, and then that Greek name “Mariam” was translated into “Mary” in our English Bible. Now, think about it: Who was Miriam in Scripture?

The Bible says that Miriam was the sister of Aaron and Moses (Numbers 26:59; 1 Chronicles 6:3). Miriam rebelled against Moses’ leadership in Numbers 12:1-16, and God judged her with leprosy (a skin disease) because of it. Interestingly, the Hebrew name “Miriam” means “rebelliously.” Now, we can begin to think of today’s Scripture in light of this information.

Of the thousands of people standing near Mount Calvary during Jesus Christ’s crucifixion, God the Holy Spirit selected three women who stood by, and He names them in His Word. It is no coincidence that the three women who are named are named Mary (today’s Scripture; cf. Matthew 27:55,56; Mark 15:40,41; Luke 23:49). What could God be teaching us through that?

Jesus Christ is hanging on Calvary’s cruel cross, dying for the sins of the people who hated Him. He was surrounded by Marys… He was surrounded by rebels… He was surrounded by sinners! In His own words, “They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Mark 2:17). Amazing!