Days of Usefulness #3

Monday, July 8, 2019

Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;… (Ecclesiastes 12:1 KJV).

What can today’s Scripture teach us?

Long ago, he was a wise, young king (1 Kings chapter 3). However, he was not immune from sin. Making literally hundreds of terrible choices, Solomon fully aligned himself with Satan’s lie program—false religion (chapter 11). Now, in his final days, the Holy Spirit moves him to write Ecclesiastes. A parent desperately tries to reason with a rebellious child: “I have been there, I have done that, take my advice. Please do not do what I did!” Solomon warns those who are living for self (sIn!). These instructions carry significant weight in the prophetic program. Israel should resist the seduction of Antichrist and his “natural-man philosophy.” That evil world system exists now, tempting us to engage in ungodliness too.

Ecclesiastes documents man’s futile attempts to conduct his earthly life without following the Creator God. While this is atheism, agnosticism, and skepticism, it is also works-religion. As long as it is not God’s Word rightly divided, it is Satan’s lie program. With Antichrist, it will be pagan idolatry—not the absence of God but the replacement of God (Daniel 11:36-39; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-12). Antichrist and his followers will be their own rulers, doing their pleasure while appearing religious. In the end, it will be dying Solomon—sorely disappointed because, after all those years of work, nothing of eternal value was produced!

Departing Solomon confessed (my paraphrase), “I learned philosophy but did not find meaning. I amassed great material wealth but did not find happiness. I toiled acquiring entertainment and other pleasures but found no lasting peace. I found religion but no hope.” See Ecclesiastes 12:8 (the context of today’s Scripture): “Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity.” “Worthlessness! Emptiness! I lived apart from the Creator God’s guidance for years. Here, this earthly sojourn is over. Now, I lose everything I have gained in this natural world. All my selfish efforts have profited me nothing. My physical body is falling apart, and I wasted so much precious time. Alas, I cannot return to my youth and redo life….”

What is God Doing? #17

Monday, January 21, 2019

“Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou know? The measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea” (Job 11:7-9 KJV).

What exactly is God doing? Can we say? Or, must we remain clueless?

Long ago, God’s chief spirit creature—a “cherub” named “Lucifer”—said in his heart, “I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High” (Isaiah 14:12-15). We also see him in Ezekiel 28:11-19, the attractive creature who “wast perfect in [his] ways from the day that he [wast] created, till iniquity was found in [him]” (verse 15). He was “full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty” (verse 12). Verse 17 says Lucifer’s heart “was lifted up because of [his] beauty.”

Lucifer decides to attempt to usurp God’s throne. Thus, he led a rebellion in Heaven, recruiting numerous angelic beings to oppose the Creator God. Lucifer became “Satan” (adversary—Luke 10:18), he and his angelic cohorts were evicted from Heaven, and we thus read of “the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41). In Genesis chapter 3, Satan—the “serpent,” a calculating character—entices Adam and Eve (our parents) to join him in his revolt against the Creator God. Adam, the head of humanity, was not deceived: he intentionally followed his wife, Eve, in following Satan (1 Timothy 2:14). Thus, Earth was corrupted with sin—cursed with thorns, thistles, childbirth pain, sickness, and ultimate death (Genesis 3:16-19).

Romans chapter 8 comments: “[20] For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, [21] Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. [22] For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now….” Creation awaits the day of its deliverance from evil….

Bible Q&A #570: “Would God want me to share the Gospel?

What is God Doing? #16

Sunday, January 20, 2019

“Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou know? The measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea” (Job 11:7-9 KJV).

What exactly is God doing? Can we say? Or, must we remain clueless?

The God of the Bible is a strong advocate of free will. He does not have to be in control of every last detail of every single event. Since He is God, all-powerful, He has the right/power to give His creation permission to make its own choices. However, let it be clearly understood that, regardless of who does what, no matter how disruptive that “who” or “what” is, the Creator has purposed to accomplish a specific goal and it will be achieved in the end. His creatures can cooperate or oppose, but His counsel shall nonetheless stand forever!

Something just is not right in creation. Even without the Bible’s testimony, we can sense it. We expect there to be justice, and yet, where is it? We envisage prosperity, health, and happiness all around, and there abounds poverty, sickness, and misery. Life—no matter how long and glorious—still ends in death. Indeed, something is wrong… something is terribly wrong. What, oh what, is it?

Friends, terrible choices were deliberately made long ago. Though we had nothing to do with them, we must live with their consequences. Immediately, the Bible scoffer rises to make his case. “See, if God is loving, He would not allow such suffering, such injustice! He must therefore not be loving. If He can do nothing to stop the evil, then He must not be God!” Unfortunately for him, the God critic has not gathered enough evidence (though he thinks he has).

In his rash zeal to free himself from a holy, righteous God, he has overlooked the following counterargument: “Right choices were intentionally made long ago as well. Though we had nothing to do with them either, we must live with their consequences too.” Overall, there is a balance. The Creator God was not outsmarted, and He has certainly not been outdone either. Behold, what wisdom He has displayed for us all to see….

Joy to the World! #2

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

“Sing unto the LORD with the harp; with the harp, and the voice of a psalm. With trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise before the LORD, the King. Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. Let the floods clap their hands: let the hills be joyful together Before the LORD; for he cometh to judge the earth: with righteousness shall he judge the world, and the people with equity” (Psalm 98:5-9 KJV).

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

“Joy to the earth! the Saviour reigns;
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat the sounding joy.”

When Adam sinned, sin entered the world, and death by sin (Romans 5:12), plunging creation into suffering. What God had intended to last forever was now languishing away and dying off! “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth together in pain until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit…” (Romans 8:22,23).

We humans, pinnacles of God’s creatures, are so ungrateful to our Creator. Even in such a fallen state, our universe is amazingly complex and it is a miracle it even functions at all with its abounding impediments! Rather than praising our Creator for giving us life, we complain about our “problems” and then write books, display billboards, and give lectures about His “non-existence.” We mock His name, laugh at His Bible, stick out our tongues at Him, and wag our fingers in His face. Newsflash—God will not tolerate that forever!

In His own time, Almighty God will make all things right. That means getting rid of that which (and who) is wrong/evil. As 1 Timothy 6:14,15 say: “…the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords;” No matter what mankind does—cooperate with Him by faith, or protest by throwing a tantrum in unbelief—God has already determined what He is going to do. Jesus Christ, whether people like it or not, will be King over all creation!

Hot Air—And Cold!

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits (Ecclesiastes 1:6 KJV).

Behold, a most curious verse in a most interesting place!

Scoffers and skeptics portray the Bible writers as primitive, bumbling ignoramuses. They were not as “sophisticated” as we, “knowledgeable” as we, “enlightened” as we. Whereas they were so “superstitious,” here we are so “scientific.” The fact is, not only do we have an inflated view of ourselves, we hold a naïve view of them.

Earth’s atmosphere circulates in a highly complicated manner. We can think of it as a series of conveyor belts stretching from pole to pole, with “cells” or “belts” swirling up and down (vertically), and north and south (horizontally). Air parcels or air masses, depending on their temperature, will rise (warm) or fall (cool). This movement—greatly influenced by the Sun, Earth’s rotation, and vast ocean basins—drives our winds and the other weather phenomena we experience (as in fronts and storms).

Interestingly, today’s Scripture, written by King Solomon some 3,000 years ago, depicts wind movement just as we understand it according to modern science. The Bible is not a science textbook, but when it speaks of science, it speaks most accurately. Notice the word “circuits.” This is the idea of circles, or loops, or (if you prefer) a series of conveyor belts passing over rollers. The wind “returns” as it cycles around—down, south, up, north; or up, north, down, south. Most aptly, they are termed “wind belts.” Depending on the latitude, north or south of the Equator, wind travels along Earth’s surface in large sweeping motions.

Attempting to grasp the complexities of our natural world is quite exhausting. Our brains are fairly limited, yet our Creator has endowed us with some ability to analyze and understand His handywork. We, being so further removed from creation than the Bible writers, are actually less enlightened. Moreover, despite our technological advances, we (like them) still struggle with the basic challenges of this fallen world. We have yet to eliminate rampant crime, ceaseless war, rank cruelty, extreme poverty, absolute starvation, and so on. The human race, as a whole, has drifted further and further from the LORD God… just like the wind!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why did Saul of Tarsus not refuse his water baptism by Ananias?

Benoni and Benjamin #1

Sunday, April 15, 2018

And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Benoni: but his father called him Benjamin (Genesis 35:18 KJV).

Dear friend, look and see—herein lies prophecy!

Bible deriders never sincerely study what they speak evil of; they merely skim and gripe. Dodging the “trouble” of studying, they dismiss Scripture as “a random collection of Jewish campfire fantasies.” There is very little, if any, personal investigation underlying that claim. Rather, something silly was heard at a “Christian” church, something preposterous was read in a “Christian” book, and the skeptic thus embarks on his lifelong, pompous crusade, “Look here and look there, the Bible is riddled with superstition and mistakes everywhere!” (He has no idea that his controversy is not with Scripture, but rather with religionists who distort and complicate Scripture.)

The Bible is no ordinary Book. Friend, you approach it with an arrogant, faultfinding attitude, and you will never get one hint of truth out of it. It will tightly lock so you will not gain its insight. At that point, God will then let you use it (!) to prove whatever you want. You can therefore quote Scripture and mock, “Error, error, error!,” but you will look completely foolish. God already gave you over to error, and looking at the Bible thereafter, all you are capable of seeing is error. This is exactly where atheists, agnostics, and freethinkers have placed themselves. They did not want to know—so now they do not know! However, all hope is not lost. Friend, as long as you are living and breathing, and not in the Devil’s Hell where you belong, you can obtain forgiveness of sins through simple faith in Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). You also still have opportunity to start understanding and enjoying the Bible.

Today’s Scripture, at first glance, seems like easy reading. Some woman died in childbirth after naming her boy, but her husband called their newborn by another name. Big deal! The critic passes over it as trivial, whereas the Bible student pauses and investigates. We are Bible students (yes?), so we now stop and study. There is something downright marvelous here, but ONLY (!) if we are willing to receive and believe it….

Bible Q&A #485: “Can you explain the ‘spot’ in Deuteronomy 32:5?

How to Know God

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened (Romans 1:19-21 KJV).

Friend, have you ever wondered how to know God?

Many today are allegedly “looking for God.” After “soul-searching,” they uncover nothing but disappointment. Visiting “church,” they find nothing but confusion. Appealing to scientists and philosophers, they realize nothing but disagreement. Glancing at society, they discover nothing but evil. In light of the disappointment, confusion, disagreement, and evil, they throw up their hands in defeat and plead ignorance: “It is impossible to know for sure if there is a God!” Those most damaged in this faulty approach reach the well-known conclusion, “There is no God” (or, its softened variation, “There is probably no God!”).

Doubtless, God exists. Firstly, today’s Scripture says a physical creation demands a Creator be behind it: observing the universe allows us to see He is intelligent and orderly. Secondly, Romans 2:14,15: “For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)….” Every person possesses a conscience—a system of standards and norms that evaluate (good / bad) and regulate behavior (do / do not do). We also see that the Creator has established right and wrong; we naturally have some sense of truth and error (although sin and our unique cultural upbringing modify it).

Alas, maybe we blatantly reject this most basic knowledge. Ungrateful of the Creator God and His provisions given us, we do not worship Him. Entertaining empty thoughts, our foolish heart becomes darkened. Despite our claims, we have no interest in discovering and knowing God. But, then again, what if we do?