The Bible’s Season of New Life

Monday, April 13, 2020

“God that made the world and all things therein… he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;” (Acts 17:24,25 KJV).

May we never forget the true meaning of Eastertime!

Satan is the master counterfeiter: from Genesis to Revelation, the Scriptures reveal how the devil schemes to “be like the most High” (Isaiah 14:14). Whatever God does, Satan defiles that work by introducing false doctrine, distracts mankind from God’s truth by mimicking His actions, discourages God’s people from His ministry by using incorrect thinking patterns, and so on. Why? Satan wants the worship that God alone deserves (Matthew 4:8-10; Luke 4:5-8).

Consider Christmastime. Centuries before Christ, Satan had pagans worshipping the birth of the sun god in early winter—near the date that Jesus Christ (God the Son) took upon human flesh in the virgin Mary’s womb! Now, consider Eastertime. Centuries before Christ, Satan had pagans worshipping fertility deities and new life in early spring, near the date that Jesus Christ (God the Son) died for our sins and resurrected victoriously over sin, death, hell, and Satan to give us new life! (To Satan’s delight, today’s average church member is not mindful of relevant sound Bible doctrine during Christmastime and Eastertime—the devil’s distractions have never lost their efficacy!)

The God of the Bible instituted in Israel a festival, Passover (the killing of a spotless lamb and its bloodshed in early spring), while they were still in Egypt (Exodus chapter 12)—Passover’s annual observance reminded them of JEHOVAH delivering them from Egyptian slavery unto new life. Israel did not understand its meaning until 1,500 years later. The true Passover lamb, Jesus Christ, died and shed His sinless blood during that annual Passover feast (early spring), and He resurrected in new life to give them spiritual life and liberty.

Yes, the pagans may have “hijacked” this time of year for the devil’s glory, but we can disregard their ignorance: spring is God’s season for new life. We can still use this season to bring the God of the Bible glory by remembering that He has given us physical life (today’s Scripture), and He offers us new life (that is, spiritual life) through Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection! 🙂

Christ Liveth in Me

Sunday, April 12, 2020

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20 KJV).

“He is risen” is not a simple blasé cliché!

When Jesus’ disciples came to His tomb on that glorious Sunday morning nearly 2,000 years ago, they were startled to find it empty! Angels inform them that He has resurrected, but they are still in shock (Matthew 28:1-8; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-8). Jesus Christ Himself must later explain the Scriptures to them regarding what happened those last few days (Luke 24:44-46).

However, until Paul’s ministry, Christ’s finished crosswork is not preached as good news for salvation. Peter and Israel’s other apostles simply preach that Jesus Christ is now resurrected to “sit on [David’s] throne” (Acts 2:30)—that is bad news for much of Israel, for they still reject Him, weeks and months after His resurrection and ascension. Throughout early Acts, Israel’s apostles warn her that Jesus Christ is coming back to judge them.

When we come to the Apostle Paul’s ministry, we learn that we Gentiles can benefit from Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork. Israel’s rejected Messiah is now our way to heaven! Yes, Israel hated Him, and demanded that He experience the most awful method of execution devised, but God allowed it in order to accomplish His will. Satan attempted to hinder God’s will by having Christ killed, but all that did was provide the method whereby God could save us pagan Gentiles. Calvary’s finished crosswork frees us from Satan’s evil system and gives us a chance to be God’s people (Acts 26:17,18)!

As people who have trusted Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as sufficient payment for our sins, that crucifixion is our death to self and sin, and that resurrection is our raising to walk in newness of life—His life (today’s Scripture; cf. Romans 6:1-11)!

Indeed, Jesus Christ is alive, and He lives in and through those who walk by faith in God’s Word to them, Paul’s epistles of Romans through Philemon! 🙂

HAPPY EASTER!

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

Messiah’s Joy Amidst Calvary’s Grief #2

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2 KJV).

Do you ever wonder what our Lord Jesus Christ was thinking about while He hung there on Calvary’s cross?

Jesus knew Bible prophecy had to be fulfilled: He had to suffer in accordance with the Old Testament prophets. Even when He spoke seven times from the cross, He quoted various Old Testament verses. The Old Testament prophets also gave Him comfort: for the joy that was set before him endured the cross” (today’s Scripture).

For instance, He remembered that Jonah’s prophecy had to be fulfilled: “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:40). On the third day, He would live again, and be reunited with His heavenly Father!

He knew that His Father would resurrect Him. His spiritual torment and physical death were only temporarily, as David quoted Jesus 1000 B.C., “For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption” (Psalm 16:10; cf. Acts 2:24-31).

Our Lord thought of reigning over that glorious kingdom that His Heavenly Father would give Him after His resurrection. As the psalmist wrote centuries before Calvary’s crosswork, “Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession” (Psalm 2:6-8). “Begotten” refers to Jesus’ resurrection, not His nativity in Bethlehem (Acts 13:33,34).

Jesus Christ, during His torturous crucifixion, thought about and rejoiced in the promises in the Scriptures that applied to Him. Likewise, we, during difficult circumstances, can remember and joy in God’s promises to us—Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon.

We too can share Messiah’s joy amidst grief! 🙂

Messiah’s Joy Amidst Calvary’s Grief #1

Friday, April 10, 2020

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2 KJV).

Do you ever wonder what our Lord Jesus Christ was thinking about while He hung there on Calvary’s cross?

Psalm 22:1-21 provides us with a glimpse of Jesus’ thoughts as He endured that awful crucifixion: He is greatly tormented physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Various verses in Psalm 69 provide additional insight, especially as death begins to close in on His soul. Written about 1000 B.C., these and other “Messianic psalms” graphically describe assorted events in our Lord’s earthly life (in this case, His crucifixion)… centuries before they occurred!

What Jesus Christ thought about while suspended on Calvary’s cross was the Holy Scriptures. He had faith in the Old Testament passages that applied to Him. No matter what happened to Him, He knew it was His Father’s will, and His Father would be glorified. As He stated earlier, “Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup [of Thy wrath; Revelation 14:10] from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt (Mark 14:36). “…The Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him (John 8:29bc).

Do you realize what today’s Scripture is saying? Jesus Christ felt immense physiological and spiritual pain, but He thought about the overall view: for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame” (cf. Psalm 16:8-11). Yes, the Old Testament spoke of His suffering, and those Scriptures must be fulfilled, but it also testified of His glorious kingdom that would follow, and those Scriptures also were to be fulfilled in due time! “…The sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow” (1 Peter 1:11). While it did not diminish the extent of His distress and suffering, Jesus Christ kept in memory the glory His Father would give Him once He had endured the crucifixion (Philippians 2:8-11). It gave Him such joy. He felt grief unspeakable, but He also had joy unfathomable!

Our archived Bible Q&A: “Where was Jesus during the three days between His death and resurrection?

Excruciating Thursday

Thursday, April 9, 2020

[Reader discretion advised: Christ’s sufferings are graphically described below.]

“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man” (Hebrews 2:9 KJV).

His three years of earthly ministry have expired, but His greatest work is yet to come!

During the all-night interrogation in the “kangaroo court,” His sentence is passed—execution by crucifixion. They have scourged, beaten, and punched Him. Covered in their spit, they laugh at Him, and strike His head with a rod to force on the crown of thorns. His back shredded, His skull possibly fractured, His beard ripped off. His massive blood loss weakens Him further. Having been stripped of His clothing, He struggles to carry His heavy cross to Mount Calvary: Simon must carry His cross for Him. The crowds watch Him, laughing and jeering. His little flock looks on in total shock.

They lay Him on the wooden cross, yanking His limbs to nail them in place. His bones unbroken, but exposed, and His limbs dislocated. They pierce His hands and feet with long spikes, severing the median nerve in the hands, causing permanent hand paralysis. They raise up that cross, and He hangs, slowly suffocating due to His own weight. Every breath becomes increasingly difficult, His lungs fill with fluid, His heart becomes progressively strained. Eventually, He cannot breathe, and thus dies.

Now imagine His spiritual suffering. Three hours into His crucifixion, His heavenly Father and the Holy Ghost have abandoned Him. For the first time ever, He is totally alone. Physical and spiritual darkness now cover the earth. The weight of all the world’s sin and sins of all time crushes His soul. God’s undiluted wrath falls upon Him, as it does on those suffering in hellfire. He cries out in agony. Hanging on that cruel cross, with His spiritual eyes, He observes Satan himself and all his evil creatures snickering and cheering. He looks out to see His disciples staring at His helpless disfigured body. Oh, if only they knew how His physical and spiritual bodies were being tormented, utterly tortured beyond imagination!

After six hours of excruciating pain, He finally lets Himself die….

Please check out our archived Bible Q&A: “Was Jesus Christ really crucified on Friday?

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How will God ‘chasten’ the seed of David?

To Pray a Better Way #10

Saturday, March 7, 2020

“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God” (Romans 8:26,27 KJV).

How does the Holy Spirit “maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God?”

Father God “searcheth [investigates, looks into] the hearts;” He is aware of “the mind of the Spirit” (today’s Scripture). The Holy Spirit works in us by activating His inspired words that we have read and believed rightly divided. Consequently, we can pray in agreement with Father God’s current will. The Holy Spirit uses sound Bible doctrine to work in the grace saint as that child of God prays with a heart of faith. He enlightens the believer’s understanding, so that saint not only perceives God’s will for the present age, but can also pray accordingly. Unlike in religion, in the Bible, the Christian is not left clueless, wondering how to pray!

Provided we are aware of “the Dispensation of the Grace of God” (Ephesians 3:2)—the doctrine outlined in Paul’s Epistles, Romans through Philemon—then we will not be disappointed with “unanswered prayer.” We cannot make God do something He is not doing. If the content of our prayers conflicts with Pauline doctrine, then displeasure and doubt will constantly beset us. Praying like a saint in Israel’s prophetic program, will get us nowhere because we are the Church the Body of Christ and we are in the mystery program. We cannot take Israel’s verses, assume God will respond that way, and then complain He “lied” when our expectations are not met. Indeed, non-dispensational prayer is more harmful than no prayer!

Saints, if we have any hope in the world of praying effectually, we must let God speak first. He has already spoken in Paul’s Epistles. Have we listened to Him before asking Him to listen to us? Or, are we operating in unbelief, naming and claiming non-Pauline Bible passages as though they are to and about us? Articulating dispensationally-correct prayers is to pray a better way! 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Who are the ‘Scythians’ and the ‘Barbarians?’

To Pray a Better Way #9

Friday, March 6, 2020

“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God” (Romans 8:26,27 KJV).

How does the Holy Spirit “maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God?”

Friend, provided we are willing to “read” Paul’s epistles (Ephesians 3:4), if we are ready to “study… rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15), provided we are willing to “consider what [Paul] say[s]” (2 Timothy 2:7), and if we are ready to “believe” those Divine words (1 Thessalonians 2:13), the indwelling Spirit of God will take that sound Bible doctrine and transform us from the inside out.

Living in this fallen, sin-cursed world, our circumstances are complex. It is also daunting to try and express our concerns in words (groanings which cannot be uttered;” today’s Scripture). We are really unable to say what God’s will is regarding the matter. It is here that the Holy Spirit intervenes to transform our minds, using the verses we have read and believed. Exercising the mind of Christ, we seeing the matter as He Himself does. Difficulties distract and cloud our thinking. We entertain the notion that God does not love us and He does not care. How wrong we are!

In great tenderness, the Lord spoke to soothe suffering Paul: “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). Once asking the Lord to remove his “thorn in the flesh”—that mysterious, multilayered hindrance—Paul learned to think differently. The Apostle publicized what he had learned: “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong” (verse 10). Yes, the grace saint can find great value in his troubles rather than escaping them.

Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

To Pray a Better Way #8

Thursday, March 5, 2020

“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God” (Romans 8:26,27 KJV).

How does the Holy Spirit “maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God?”

Returning to 2 Corinthians chapter 12, we better understand Paul’s example: “[7] And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. [8] For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. [9] And he said unto me,….”

Paul became aware of a reality through direct revelation from the resurrected, ascended, and glorified Lord Jesus Christ. Instead of praying according to the prophetic program (with the rabbinical understanding he had growing up), he learned to pray a better way. That better way is set off by the expression, “And he said unto me…” (verse 9). What mattered at that point in time is what the Lord told Paulnot what the Lord had told Israel centuries earlier! Rather than seeing difficult circumstances as a hindrance to ministry, Paul began to view them as a benefit. Instead of God changing Paul’s situation (his expectation), He adjusted the Apostle’s mentality.

Continue in 2 Corinthians chapter 12: “[9] And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. [10] Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” The Holy Spirit took what the Lord Jesus Christ said directly Paul, and then worked in Paul to transform his prayer life. With Paul understanding the new dispensational change, he saw relief—not in deliverance from the problems but in comfort during the problems….

To Pray a Better Way #7

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God” (Romans 8:26,27 KJV).

How does the Holy Spirit “maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God?”

Prayer would be utterly impossible without the ministry of the third Member of the Godhead. He intercedes or mediates by connecting our spirit with Father God. We better understand this by remembering the Holy Ghost played a vital role in producing the Holy Bible. “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1:20,21). “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16,17). When God inspired the Bible, He put His Spirit in some words.

Once we believed the Gospel of the Grace of God—Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day (1 Corinthians 15:3,4)—the Holy Ghost came to dwell within us. See Ephesians chapter 1: “[12] That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. [13] In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, [14] Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”

God the Holy Spirit works by illuminating His inspired and preserved Word that we read, allowing us to believe it, and then causing us to pray in accordance with those Bible verses. Provided we permitted God to speak first, then speaking to Him will not be difficult….

Saints, please remember us in your monthly giving—these websites do cost money to run! 🙂 You can donate securely here: https://www.paypal.me/ShawnBrasseaux, or email me at arcministries@gmail.com. Do not forget about Bible Q&A booklets for sale at https://arcgraceministries.org/in-print/booklets-bible-q-a/. Thanks to all who give to and pray for us! By the way, ministry emails have really been backed up this year. I am handling them as much as humanly possible. Thanks for your patience. 🙂

To Pray a Better Way #6

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God” (Romans 8:26,27 KJV).

How does the Holy Spirit “maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God?”

It is no secret that prayer is a daunting exercise for most. Today’s Scripture pinpoints the reason: “for we know not what we should for as we ought.” We should know how to pray, but we do not. That is, we should know how to glorify God the most in any given situation. Alas, two problems hamper effectual prayer.

One was applicable in Paul’s day. At the time of the Acts period (during the writing of Romans), God has not yet revealed everything about the Dispensation of Grace. “I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 12:1). All of Paul’s Epistles are not fully revealed and written—Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon were penned after Acts. It took approximately 35 years for the mystery program to completely unfold, the culmination of Pauline revelation being 2 Timothy (his final writing).

The other reason for unanswered prayer is a lack of personal awareness of what God has already revealed. Whether Christians in the 1st century or 21st century, unless there is individual Bible study, we cannot expect to know how to pray. God is not going to “zap” us with truth as we kneel and beg earnestly in a prayer closet! We must open the Holy Scriptures and read them for ourselves. There will be no voice whispering in our ears, and no “warm, fuzzy feelings” in our heart. God has already spoken, and He will not speak further. He has preserved that inspired record so we can read it. Friends, if we fail to read the Bible and learn His will, it is not His fault. It is our (!) responsibility to “search and see.” Once we open the Scriptures, though, the Holy Spirit begins to intercede for us….