What Child Is This? #2

Saturday, November 30, 2019

“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!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Does Satan whisper evil words to us?

What Child Is This? #1

Friday, November 29, 2019

“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: “But, what if I do not accept the Bible’s authority?

In Every Thing Give Thanks

Thursday, November 28, 2019

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?

Many, Many, Many!

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

“And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold” (Matthew 24:11,12 KJV).

What a statement—“many…many… many!”

Dear friends, while today’s Scripture is still future, we would do well to look at this list of three “many’s” and how they parallel Paul’s epistles and God’s current dealings with man:

  • “MANY FALSE PROPHETS SHALL ARISE.” A “prophet” is a man who claims to speak on God’s behalf (whether genuine or fake). When we look at today’s religious world, it is rather easy to see how these words of Christ will be fulfilled after our Dispensation of Grace has run its course. The operative word here is “many.” Christ did not say “a few.” There will be “many” people pretending to represent the God of the Bible. Doubtless, they will speak of “Jesus,” the “Holy Ghost,” and the “Gospel.” Unless they employ such biblical terms, they would never be able to successfully pass themselves off as authentic. Many… corrupt the word of God” (2 Corinthians 2:17).
  • “THEY SHALL DECEIVE MANY.” The “many” false prophets will have a far greater impact than we would care to admit. As opposed to small pockets of misled and confused souls, there will be massive spiritual damage inflicted when they will conduct their ministries. “(For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:…” (Philippians 3:18). Here are genuine Christians deceived by false doctrine—not just “a few,” but “many!” We can see this today as well.
  • “THE LOVE OF MANY SHALL WAX COLD.” With bad doctrine circulating, “iniquity” (injustice, evil) is proliferating. God’s Word absent, man’s sinful flesh naturally takes over. Unbelievers will mercilessly attack believers in Christ. Furthermore, believers would turn on fellow believers! Even in our dispensation, this is evident. One of the last verses Paul penned was, “This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes” (2 Timothy 1:15). Here is a massive apostasy or turning from sound Bible doctrine. Their love faded for God’s spokesman to them; tragically, they have abandoned the Apostle as he awaits execution in a Roman prison!

Be on guard, brethren!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Are our mystery program and its promises better than Israel’s prophetic program and its promises?

The Dark House

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Yea, the light of the wicked shall be put out, and the spark of his fire shall not shine. The light shall be dark in his tabernacle, and his candle shall be put out with him (Job 18:5,6 KJV).

Look! What do we see? A dark house staring back at you and me!

The Bible speaks of the “light” or “candle” of the evil person going out. Notice today’s Scripture. A parallel is Job 21:17: “How oft is the candle of the wicked put out! and how oft cometh their destruction upon them! God distributeth sorrows in his anger.” Proverbs 20:20 adds: “Whoso curseth his father or his mother, his lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness.” Finally, Proverbs 24:20: “For there shall be no reward to the evil man; the candle of the wicked shall be put out.”

When we consider Middle Eastern culture of Bible times, it becomes clear exactly what this phenomenon entails. All night long, people kept an olive lamp or candle burning in their tent or house. If the residence was dark, that meant no one was home. Returning to today’s Scripture, Bildad, a “friend” of Job, accuses Job of wrongdoing. Bildad argues that Job is evil; hence, Job is suffering his tragedies. “Surely such are the dwellings of the wicked, and this is the place of him that knoweth not God” (verse 21). To paraphrase Bildad, “Job, we all know evildoers will have dark houses one day!”

After his “friends” “consoled” him, Job proceeded to declare in Job 21:17: “How oft is the candle of the wicked put out! and how oft cometh their destruction upon them! God distributeth sorrows in his anger.” He understood the wicked wind up having dark houses, they reaping what they have sown. Centuries later, King Solomon went on to write in Proverbs two corroborating statements. We will read them again: “Whoso curseth his father or his mother, his lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness” (20:20). “For there shall be no reward to the evil man; the candle of the wicked shall be put out” (24:20).

Ultimately, the houses or tents of the wicked will be vacated. Physical death will remove them from this world. They had better know Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour before their house goes dark!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Can you explain Romans 4:17—‘[God] calleth those things which be not as though they were?’

333’s 3100th – My Words

Monday, November 25, 2019

“Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away” (Mark 13:31 KJV).

Dearly beloved, we have reached devotional #3100!

Today’s Scripture is actually one of three times wherein the Lord Jesus Christ spoke of His Word—yea, rather His “words,” notice—in conjunction with the end times. We will now read the parallel verses. “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matthew 24:35). “Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away” (Luke 21:33).

All three verses are part of “the Olivet Discourse,” “Jesus’ Second Sermon on the Mount” (Matthew chapters 24–25; Mark chapter 13; Luke chapter 21). The Lord is sitting on the Mount of Olives, responding to His disciples’ questions about His Second Coming and subsequent activities. He not only summarizes the Old Testament prophecies, He adds further insight by revealing things previously unknown. Some intense trials are coming on Israel and the rest of the world. Here we are, 20 centuries later, these passages still awaiting fulfillment. Therefore, what was spoken long ago loops forward to the future from us—Israel that will exist after our Dispensation of Grace.

If the believing Jews are to survive those forthcoming violent and destructive times, with Heaven and Earth being considerably reformed, they will have to fall back on Christ’s words. Since His words will never pass away, Israel’s believing remnant has something solid on which to rely: they need to trust those words, waiting for the Lord to bring to pass everything He said regarding them (curses and blessings). While they have a glorious future, there must first be a time of suffering.

Brethren, we have come quite far in our studies these last 3,100 days, have we not? We have paid attention to “the words”not merely the thoughts—of the Holy King James Bible. Special emphasis was given to words because words are the most basic components of thoughts. If the preserved words of God will preserve the believers in Israel in their prophetic program, then, surely, those preserved words will preserve us in our mystery program. No matter how grim our conditions are, the inspired and preserved words of God will see us through to our eternal destiny as well!

Onward we go to devotional #3200! 🙂

Share with Care!

Sunday, November 24, 2019

“And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:10,11 KJV).

Friend, be careful what you share on social media!

Not long ago, a dear brother in Christ was telling me how he had shared something “Christian” on social media. Then, he actually read what he had posted and passed on to others. He realized it was not Christian at all—just “Christian” in name only (religious tradition and man’s opinions being passed off as Christianity). He quickly deleted the post, but, by then, people had already been exposed to it and had associated him with it.

We would do well to take note of the above scenario. It happens more often than we care to think. We can never be too cautious online. If we are not careful, we will inadvertently aid the Devil in his cause! It is a sad reality, brought to pass most easily. There are Bible believers who accidentally share false teaching, but can we find a false teacher who unintentionally shares Bible truth?

Over the last few years, we have heard much about the propagation of “fake news.” People are peddling unverified or outright fabricated information as though it were true—especially in the field of so-called “journalism.” Extensive damage is inflicted. It might have been a simple, unintentional error. Unfortunately, if recurrent, malice is likely involved, and apologetic “fake-news organizations and individuals” are merely “sorry they got caught!”

Saints, before you share anything on social media—and pay extremely close attention here—read the whole article or watch the entire video. If you are not judicious, you may wind up endorsing something you actually disagree with. In the event that you are unsure of something, it is better not to “share” it with others until you can verify it. Compare it with the Bible rightly divided, “searching the scriptures daily, whether those things [are] so” (today’s Scripture). If you are still unsure, the safest action to take is not share it all because more harm than good may result. Share with care!

Bible Q&A #670: “Will living in Heaven forever be boring?