What Child Is This? #2

Monday, November 30, 2015

“And they [the shepherds] came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds” (Luke 2:16-18 KJV).

The second verse of the classic Christmas carol highlights today’s Scripture.

“Why lies He in such mean estate,
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christians, fear, for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.
Nails, spears shall pierce Him through,
The cross He bore for me, for you.
Hail, hail the Word made flesh,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.”

It was just as the angel of the Lord had told them. The Saviour, Christ the Lord, the King of Israel, was indeed born in Bethlehem, but not in a palace. The shepherds found Him lying in a trough, a structure out of which farm animals ate! How odd!

There were just so many things about Jesus’ nativity that did not make sense in the human mind. Firstly, a virgin had conceived and borne a child. Secondly, the God of creation had confined Himself to a tiny body that could be held in human hands. Thirdly, that the King of Israel had been born in a stinky, dirty barn and His crib was literally a trough. Lastly, that Someone so important did not have thousands of people flocking to His crib. Strange!

As the shepherds left Joseph, Mary, and Baby Jesus, they spread the news about what they had heard and seen. The Bible says that this audience “wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.” They could not fathom how it was possible, either. Even today, the natural (lost) mind of man not only struggles with, but outright refuses, to believe the simple truths of the Bible. They rather rail against and reject that which they do not understand, than acknowledge that they do not know everything and the God of the Bible is wiser than they are. To accept those truths would mean validating how Jesus Christ came to live that He would die for us sinners.

Yet, some hearers believed!

What Child Is This? #1

Sunday, November 29, 2015

“And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end” (Luke 1:30-33 KJV).

The first verse of the classic Christmas carol highlights today’s Scripture.

“What child is this, who, laid to rest,
On Mary’s lap is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet,
While shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing:
Haste, haste to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.”

Such an event had never before happened in human history. God had promised “the seed of the woman” to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:15), but it was 4,000 years later that Mary was identified as that “woman.” That the Creator God would take upon Himself the flesh of sinful man, though Himself never being defiled by sin (2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:22). Unheard of in pagan religions!

The angels understood the Old Testament prophecies about God’s Son being born of a human mother. She was a “virgin,” a young woman (perhaps in her teens) who had never had any sexual relations with a man (Luke 1:34). On the night of Baby Jesus’ birth into the human race—the culmination of humanity added to His deity—the angels appeared in the sky and sang, to encourage the shepherds in the nearby fields to hurry to Bethlehem to see a little Baby wrapped in swaddling clothes (Luke 2:8-14).

“[15] And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.”

Once the shepherds came to Bethlehem, and found Baby Jesus, they beheld such a strange sight!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “If God knows who will serve Him and who won’t, why witness?

NOTE: The 2015 Slidell Grace Bible Conference is now concluded. Videos will be posted to YouTube in the near future. Please stay tuned.

Attendance to Apprehending

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine (1 Timothy 4:13 KJV).

Grace Bible conferences are always a joyful and edifying time!

We meet new people and old friends, most of who are believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. They are really seeking God’s truth rather than those who would come to be merely religious or simply entertained. We desire Jesus Christ to live His life in and through us, and it will only come about by God’s Word renewing our minds on a daily basis. Conferences are not simply about Bible study, but Bible understanding so that it can become Bible application to life. While plenty of people read the Bible, very few study it; and of the few who study it, even fewer understand it; and of the few who understand it, even fewer apply it to life by faith. Our goal is to be in that last class listed, that very small remnant.

Father God is doing something wonderful today in creation and He wants us to participate. A grace Bible conference is to grasp the Bible on a large-scale, to the intent that we may see a fuller picture of the Bible rather than just a glimpse of it (as in a regular sermon or teaching session), that we may find where we are in Scripture (Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon), that we may then discover how Jesus Christ can give us His life and how He can fill us with it (grace living)!

It is an extremely high plane of living that very few Christians grasp, since organized religion opposes it and hides it from the masses (2 Corinthians 4:1-4), but oh, how we have cast off religious works and our vain performance (Philippians 3:1-21), how we have begun to search the Scriptures for ourselves (Acts 17:10,11), how we have a better understanding of such a wonderful Saviour who not only died that we might live but that we died with Him so that He might live in us! We assemble locally to study the Scriptures rightly divided to learn how Christ Jesus is living His life in each of ours, and we rejoice that it is not us, but Him (Galatians 2:20; Philippians 1:21; Colossians 3:4)!

NOTE: The 2015 Slidell (Louisiana) Grace Bible Conference is underway! Videos of the messages to be uploaded to YouTube in due time, so stay tuned for updates.

A Conference Worth Attending

Friday, November 27, 2015

“Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine” (1 Timothy 4:13 KJV).

A great Bible conference begins today!

This evening, we will hold our fourth annual Slidell Grace Bible Conference in southeastern Louisiana. It will be nice to see old friends in the ministry as well as new ones. We are all going to fellowship with each other around our Saviour (Jesus Christ), our final authority (King James Bible), and our apostle (Paul). There will be delicious food for the (temporary) outward man to enjoy, but more importantly, there will be strong spiritual meat on which the (eternal) inner man can feast forever!

We saints are not assembling to feel religious, but rather to be reminded of God’s life in us. We saints are not assembling to be entertained, but rather to be edified by God’s Word rightly divided. We saints are not assembling to fill our minds with complex denominational doctrines, but rather to fill our hearts with the simple doctrine that is in the King James Bible. We saints are not assembling to exalt preachers, but rather to encourage one another to continue in sound Bible doctrine. We saints are not assembling to tell God the Holy Spirit what He should be doing in the present-day, but rather to let God the Holy Spirit tell us what He is doing so we can by faith do that as well.

It is because of today’s Scripture that, at our Bible conference, we will “give attendance” (or, pay attention to) “reading,” “exhortation [encouragement/advice],” and “doctrine [teaching].” Very rarely is the Bible actually read in “Christian” churches today. They read novels, commentaries, and Greek grammars, but not much Bible (unless it fits the system the denomination promotes). Oftentimes, the “encouragement” in “Christian” churches today is some feel-good message instead of a sound (“healthy”) message. Very rarely is “doctrine” mentioned in most “Christian” churches today. “Boring” Bible study and “divisive” doctrine have been replaced by moving, jumping, and singing. No need to wonder why the professing church is so impotent and functionally dead!

Above all, we are meeting to glorify our Lord Jesus Christ, right now, and forever! 🙂

NOTE: For those of you who cannot attend our conference in person, we will have the videos available on YouTube within the next few weeks. On behalf of the speakers, Richard Jordan, Frank Redman, Charlie Fouche, and myself (Shawn Brasseaux), your prayer is greatly appreciated!

In Every Thing Give Thanks

Thursday, November 26, 2015

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you (1 Thessalonians 5:18 KJV).

Dear saints, take a moment this Thanksgiving to learn a valuable lesson from the Holy Scriptures!

God wants “all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3,4). To be “saved” here means you have been rescued from the penalty of sin (hell and the lake of fire), and that you have a home in heaven, because you have trusted the death, shed blood, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ as sufficient payment for your sins. To “come unto the knowledge of the truth” is when a person who has trusted Christ, begins to understand why God saved him or her, and how God will use him or her for His glory. Although soul salvation is instantaneous, spiritual maturity is a life-long process (that is especially true regarding handling difficulties, the grace way!).

It is human nature to avoid difficulties and stress, to flee them, rather than confront them. This self-preservation is advantageous, particularly in “life or death” situations. However, running from troubling circumstances is not the way God has designed our life in Christ to function. Today’s Scripture says, In every thing give thanks,” notFor every thing give thanks.” We do not thank God for our troubles; we thank God while we are enduring those troubles. This is tough, I know, but it takes time for us to learn it. Even the Apostle Paul had to learn this.

“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).

Be thankful in every thing. God’s grace is sufficient for you, dear saint, in all of life’s circumstances. When you learn this, you are “[coming] unto the knowledge of the truth.”

*Excerpted from our Thanksgiving 2012 Bible study with the same name. That study can be read here or watched here.

You may also see, “What are our spiritual blessings in Christ?

Your Right to Eat Meat

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

“For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer” (1 Timothy 4:4,5 KJV).

Before we advocate animal rights, let us understand that we have a God-given right to eat them!

An animal rights activist once appeared on television to complain about the consumption of turkeys on Thanksgiving. He argued that turkeys “feel pain” when they are slaughtered, and thus we should not eat them. His line of reasoning was, “If we would not eat our pet dog, then we should not eat turkey.” Such people, despite their sincerity, are ignorant of today’s Scripture.

Originally, all people and animals were herbivores; they only ate vegetation. “And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so” (Genesis 1:29,30).

Then, sin entered, and God incorporated meat into the human diet: “Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things. But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat” (Genesis 9:3,4).

When we ignore the fact that God gave us animals to eat, and we demand that others must also abstain from meat for religious (nature-worshipping) purposes, that is a “doctrine of devils” in this dispensation (1 Timothy 4:1-5). The creature should not be worshipped; only the Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ, should be worshipped (Romans 1:25). As long as we thank the Lord for whatever creatures we eat, consuming animal flesh is acceptable and godly. It does not sit well with the pantheists—who exalt nature as God—but it is approved of the living God, and that alone ultimately matters.

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Should we ‘name and claim’ Jeremiah 29:11?

Return, LORD! #6

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

And it came to pass, when the ark set forward, that Moses said, Rise up, LORD, and let thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate thee flee before thee. And when it rested, he said, Return, O LORD, unto the many thousands of Israel (Numbers 10:35,36 KJV).

Dear friends, we have reached the end of our 12-day devotionals arc!

Some 3,500 years after Moses spoke, with the completed Bible in our hands, we see today’s Scripture in the grand scheme of things. It was not just idle words. Rather, it uses the past to provide a glimpse of the future. Today’s Scripture is a small-scale preview of the large-scale events yet to be. Jesus Christ will “rise” from His Father’s right hand in heaven, to come to Earth and purge His Holy Land of all Jewish and Gentile participants in Satan’s policy of evil. Furthermore, Jesus Christ will “return” to Israel, His Messianic Jews, to bring them into the earthly kingdom their ancestors refused millennia ago.

After Jesus Christ stood in Acts chapter 7, He sat back down. No wrath came because He temporarily postponed that program to initiate ours. Throughout our Dispensation of Grace, the last 2,000 years, He has been sitting at His Father’s right hand (Colossians 3:1). One day, when our dispensation ends, He will stand again, to judge His enemies at His Second Coming. After He rids the land of Palestine of all unbelievers—Jews and Gentiles—and consigns them to eternal hellfire (Matthew 13:37-43), all that remains are Israel’s believing remnant and those Gentiles who blessed them (Matthew 25:31-46). They enter God’s kingdom “prepared for them [from] the foundation of the world” (verse 34).

David wrote interesting words in Psalm 3: “[7] Arise, O LORD; save me, O my God: for thou hast smitten all mine enemies upon the cheek bone; thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly. [8] Salvation belongeth unto the LORD: thy blessing is upon thy people. Selah.” God will not only save believing Israel from the attacks of her unbelieving brethren, but also from her Gentile persecutors. He will bring them into His kingdom, His “rest” (“Selah” is Hebrew for “pause”). But, that all relates to Israel’s program, not what God is doing today in our mystery program.

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why are all the tribes of Israel not listed in Revelation 7?