Darkened Counsel

Friday, June 23, 2017

“Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?” (Job 38:1,2 KJV).

Can we hear God’s question echoing today?

Many years ago, a friend in the ministry was preaching at his church when a man showed up carrying several books under his arm. The man lied down on the floor and spread several books before him. After the service, my friend approached the man to learn that he had actually brought 10 different Bible translations to read. He would flip through each one! As my pastor friend began to talk to this man, he learned that the man did not actually believe any of those books… and why should he, seeing as to they all read differently?!

Modern Bible publishers have devised various clever sales pitches to advertise their products. They talk about the “up-to-date scholarship,” the thorough system of references, the nice leather cover, the online resources, the wide margins and/or large print, the “easy-to-read” wording, and so on. Yet, they will not tell you that they are actually introducing more confusion in the minds of people concerning the Bible. Why have dozens upon dozens of Bible versions? Is it really to make the Bible clearer? Certainly not, for the diversity of versions and readings make the Bible less clear. The point is, people want to produce their own sectarian or denominational handbook, and if they can change the derivative work enough, they can secure a copyright and start “cashing in” on God’s Word!

While there are many sincere, unsuspecting people in the Bible versions debate, we must also be mindful that many in the leadership know exactly what they are doing. They are not excused from their spiritual wickedness; their polluting lost and saved souls alike is not to be, and will not be, overlooked. Just as JEHOVAH God rebuked Job for rattling on and on about spiritual things he knew nothing about, so God condemns the religious leaders who make His Word harder to understand. They need to hush and study the Bible, gaining knowledge, before they start attempting to teach it to others!

Daniel’s Culpability

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Then the king Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face, and worshipped Daniel, and commanded that they should offer an oblation and sweet odours unto him. The king answered unto Daniel, and said, Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing thou couldest reveal this secret. Then the king made Daniel a great man, and gave him many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon. Then Daniel requested of the king, and he set Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, over the affairs of the province of Babylon: but Daniel sat in the gate of the king (Daniel 2:46-49 KJV).

Scripture always tells the truth about its characters, even faults. What was Daniel’s sin?

When a heathen worshipped the Apostle Peter, Acts chapter 10 says: “[25] And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him. [26] But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man.The Apostle John worshipped an angel in Revelation chapter 22: “[8] And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things. [9] Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.”

When pagans worshipped Apostles Barnabas and Paul, they objected in Acts chapter 14: “[13] Then the priest of Jupiter, which was before their city, brought oxen and garlands unto the gates, and would have done sacrifice with the people. [14] Which when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out, [15] And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God….”

After pagan Nebuchadnezzar had his mysterious dream, Daniel, by the power of the one true God, recovered and interpreted it. Nebuchadnezzar worshipped Daniel. Scripture never says Daniel protested!

The Finger of God

Monday, June 19, 2017

Then the magicians said unto Pharaoh, This is the finger of God: and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said (Exodus 8:19 KJV).

What does it mean, “the finger of God?”

If ever we wonder about the meaning of a certain Bible expression, it is best to search for another verse that uses it. Using this method, we can restrict possible definitions, eliminate senses, and identify the most likely explanation. “The finger of God” appears four times in the King James Bible; its first occurrence is today’s Scripture. Let us look at those remaining instances.

Exodus 31:18 says the following: “And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.” Reading Deuteronomy 9:10: “And the LORD delivered unto me two tables of stone written with the finger of God; and on them was written according to all the words, which the LORD spake with you in the mount out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly.”

Finally, the Lord Jesus Christ said in Luke 11:20: “But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.” This verse is especially helpful in identifying “the finger of God,” for its parallel verse, Matthew 12:28, says: “But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.” Notice how “the finger of God” and “the Spirit of God” are used interchangeably—they are synonyms.

Therefore, the Bible phrase “the finger of God” should be taken to mean the Person of God the Holy Spirit. By the Holy Ghost, the Godhead judged wicked Egypt for enslaving His people, the nation Israel. By the Holy Ghost, the Godhead issued their divine and living words to Israel. Finally, by the Holy Ghost, the Godhead purged Israel of Satanic possession and influence. While it is commonly assumed the Holy Spirit is not found in the “Old Testament,” we can clearly see this is an erroneous supposition.

Father: A Godly Man

Sunday, June 18, 2017

“And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4 KJV).

Since today is Father’s Day, we dedicate today’s devotional to the godly (Christian) fathers.

What is a godly father? Oftentimes, fathers are either too authoritative (very strict) or too carefree (little to no concern for their children). According to the Bible (today’s Scripture in particular), fathers must have a balance between setting boundaries and enforcing them, and refraining from being a heartless tyrant.

  • On one hand, the Christian father is to “bring [his children] up in the nurture of the Lord.” “Nurture” is simply defined as “caring for and encouraging their growth or development.” All too often, fathers (sadly) ignore this, usually being too rough, or even, apathetic (unconcerned).
  • On the other hand, the Christian father is to “bring [his children] up in the admonition of the Lord.” “Admonition” is simply defined as “authoritative counsel or warning.” He is to lovingly guide them in life, instructing them from God’s Word rightly divided.

A father is not simply one who procreates. God’s Word makes it very clear that they should serve a lifelong, active role in their children’s lives. A Christian man, especially a father, should be a godly man in beliefs as well as in deed. He needs to set an example for his children (especially his sons): it is his duty as an older Christian man to set an example for younger men.

He should be a hard worker, he should meditate on the things of God (the Bible), his speech should conform to sound Bible doctrine, he should be hospitable and caring, kind and loving, he should respect and love his wife, he should love his children, and he should be reserved and cautious in his actions.

Are you a Christian man or Christian father who desires to be the man God intends you to be in Christ Jesus? Place your faith in this sound Bible doctrine, and God will take care of the rest! Then, you will become the godly man described on the pages of Scripture.

*Adapted from a larger Bible study with the same name. The Bible study can be read here or watched here.

Merciful to a Sorry World

Thursday, June 15, 2017

This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting (1 Timothy 1:15,16 KJV).

You can trust that!

The United States—yea, the world—has been rocked by so many tragedies in recent days. Current trends on social media read, “Sending our thoughts and prayers.” Scoffers ask, “How is that working out?” To wit, despite all the “thoughts and prayers,” well wishes, and hopes of religious people, violence and bloodshed remain “front page” news. Where is God? When will He get enough? Will He ever show Himself? Does He even care? When will enough be enough? Is “He” even there?

Christians, who have the Holy Bible, the true Word of the true God, should be leading the world in understanding prayer. They should know what prayer is, and what it is not. Alas, how ignorant they are—how unbelievably and pathetically uniformed! They have the Scriptures but have no idea what they say about prayer. Now we see why skeptics say what they do—they mock people who really do not know the truth either! Beloved, religious people talk about “God” so flippantly we need not criticize the scoffers for doing likewise!

Friends, here is the simple truth. God is not working according to the way most people are praying. Hence, people pray for a certain outcome that actually does not come. They pray for violence to end, for peace, for God to come and judge the evildoers. Actually, here is a shocker…. God is not working today as He did in time past. What He is interested in today is having people come to His Son, Jesus Christ, by faith, that they receive forgiveness of sins and a home in Heaven. Rather than God pouring out wrath today, ushering in world peace today, He is pouring out peace and grace on undeserving sinners!

He will come back in due time and judge this wicked world. Today, He silently offers grace, extending an opportunity for all to be made right with Him! 🙂

Our One Baptism!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13 KJV).

Behold, our one baptism!

If there is one controversial topic in Christendom, friend, it is the issue of water baptism. Someone once rightly called it, “religious TNT!” Throughout the centuries, and even today, church members of various groups argue about whose mode of water baptism is correct. Not long ago, somebody emailed me to complain about one of our Bible studies on water baptism. Of course, the individual did not care to hear what the Bible said; clearly, all that mattered to him was church tradition!

There are many misconceptions about water baptism. The chief one is that we Christians must be water baptized today in order to show that we have been buried with Christ and raised to walk in newness of life. That is nothing but religious tradition, and it will profit us nothing in eternity. In Ephesians 4:5, we read that there is one baptism” operating in the Dispensation of the Grace of God. According to 1 Corinthians 1:17, the Apostle Paul admitted, “For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel….” Clearly, the one baptism for today is not water baptism! Could there be a “baptism” other than water?! Horror of horrors! Religious people are shocked to discover the answer is “yes!”

Today’s Scripture talks about the one baptism that is valid in this the Dispensation of Grace. It is not water baptism either! The one and only baptism we need today is when the Holy Spirit takes us—after we believe the Gospel of the Grace of God (1 Corinthians 15:3,4)—and places us into the Church the Body of Christ. We have no reason to squabble or get confused about sprinkling, pouring, immersion, formulas, et cetera, because water baptism has absolutely nothing to do with us anyway! Horror of horrors!

Now, friends, do we believe the words of the Holy Spirit through Paul? Or, does religious tradition mean everything to us?

Our latest Bible Q&A: How did John’s converts ‘justify God?’

Dirty Mouths Made Clean

Saturday, June 10, 2017

“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers” (Ephesians 4:29 KJV).

May we let the grace of God purge our mouths, friend!

Recently, while at a store, I saw a woman and her two young children. Her son was about five years old, and her daughter was approximately 12. The boy was running around and misbehaving: he was stomping his feet and taking off his shoes. She began to use profanity to try and discourage her son’s bad behavior. Next, she harshly barked at her daughter, “Stop standing so close to me!” The mother spoke sharply again to the girl, “Stop digging in my purse!” The girl then fussed her little brother, “Get off my foot!” I was so embarrassed. The storeowner was also silently watching that “circus!”

Dear friends, when we have adults acting like animals, that is most tragic. Here was a mother who could have treated her children with respect, and all she did was shout and humiliate them in public. We can only wonder what they will be like as parents! Her mother or father probably treated her the same way. We expect lost people to act like lost people; they can be no one than what they are by nature. However, when Christians do such things, it brings such reproach upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, today’s Scripture exhorts us to use our mouths carefully. If our words do not conform to the principles of grace, if they are not intended to exalt Jesus Christ and His crosswork, it is better to say absolutely nothing! If they tear people down instead of building sound Bible doctrine in them, we would do well to not speak at all! The blood of Jesus Christ purged our souls, friends, and now the grace of God must purge our mouths. We are no longer the children of Satan; we are the children of God. We have clean souls, so let us speak clean, healthy, life-giving words… “wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and… the doctrine which is according to godliness” (1 Timothy 6:3)! 🙂