Saturday, March 17, 2018

Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ (2 Corinthians 1:3-5 KJV).

Without further delay, we need to enjoy the solace of the God of all comfort.

Today’s Scripture is the Apostle Paul at the lowest point in his whole ministry. Keep reading: “[8] For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: [9] But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: [10] Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us;….” Did you sense Paul’s great depression in verse 8?

When the Apostle refers to his “trouble… in Asia,” that would have been something that occurred in Asia Minor (modern Turkey). On its western shore sat the city of Ephesus. Here, in Acts chapter 19, Paul had preached Jesus Christ and founded the church at Ephesus. You would do well to read the chapter sometime. Paul’s preaching the truth caused a revival in that spiritually dead, pagan city. With the idol-makers losing customers, they lashed out and caused a riot. Paul could have lost his life! Thankfully, God supported him physically (but most importantly, spiritually).

Saint, when you get “pressed out of measure” in ministry, “above strength, insomuch that [you] despair even of life,” you just keep on going! After all, “But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us;….” If the saints of old found solace in the God of all comfort, then we will too!

Our archived Bible Q&A: “Should Christians celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day?


Wednesday, March 7, 2018

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 KJV).

Without further delay, we need to be satisfied wherever we are.

Christian friend, are you content while facing hardship? Probably not. We often grumble and wallow in self-pity. Our Apostle Paul, equally human, was no different. Howbeit, he eventually began to look at his problems differently (remember 2 Corinthians 12:9?). The Bible says in today’s Scripture that he “learned” to be content: it was a process, not something automatic. A new believer does not suddenly become skilled in God’s Word. It takes time—some more than others. Additionally, rarely do believers become trained in God’s life. It takes time before you start looking at difficulties in a new light. Sadly, very, VERY few believers ever become able to adopt God’s view of their situations.

Our circumstances change over time (and how quickly they can change, for good or bad!!). Regardless, we can be content. Firstly, today’s Scripture says Jesus Christ has given us the grace, or capacity, to endure all extremes that life will throw at us—great wealth, abject poverty, exceptional health, terminal illness, many “friends” to few if any “friends,” and so on. Secondly, whatever does happen in this life, there will be a limit. It will not transpire everlastingly. This decaying and dying world will pass away, never to be seen again. Sin will be defeated; Satan will be removed. A glorious new world system is coming, one in which dwells righteousness. Through the eyes of faith, we already see it (remember 2 Corinthians 4:16–5:8 and Romans 8:18-25?).

Having acquired this renewed mind—God’s view—we can now come alongside our Apostle Paul, and declare with him, “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” (2 Corinthians 12:10)!

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Wednesday, February 28, 2018

For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted” (Hebrews 2:18 KJV).

Without further delay, we should let the succouring Saviour succour us.

The Book of Hebrews is not written to us members of the Church the Body of Christ. It refers to “the world to come” (Hebrews 2:5), the ages to come, events after our Dispensation of Grace. Still, because of parallels, we can benefit from Israel’s Scriptures at times.

Hebrews concentrates on the time of immense suffering, the abundant temptation and persecution, that Israel’s Little Flock will experience during the Antichrist’s rule (recall Psalm 10?). The writer of Hebrews reminds them of the Lord Jesus Christ being there to “succour” them, to assist them in their time of great need. As Christ suffered, but relied on Father God, so they can rely on Him to see it through their dark days.

Harmonizing with Hebrews, James and Peter both wrote to Israel suffering under the Antichrist. For example, James 1:2: “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;….” And verse 12: “Blessed [happy!] is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” Finally, 1 Peter 1:6,7: “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing [Second Coming] of Jesus Christ.” This is how believing Israel should view her end-times distress.

If God will comfort believing Israel during the worst (!) period of human history, then surely, brethren, He can aid us in our times of need. When we face difficulties, we know that He has equipped us to fully endure them. First Corinthians 10:13: “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Did not God send messengers to Gentiles prior to Paul’s apostleship?

The LORD Shut Him In

Monday, January 22, 2018

And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the LORD shut him in (Genesis 7:16 KJV).

Who shut whom in?

It is commonly assumed that Noah shut the door after he, his family, and all the animals entered the Ark. However, Scripture says, the LORD shut him in:” it was an act of Almighty God. Had Noah shut the door, there was no guarantee it would stay closed. He might not have pulled hard enough, or secured it tightly enough. Since God closed it, though, it certainly could not be opened.

Why was it important that God shut the Ark’s door? Remember what was aboard: the last remaining eight people, the last of the beasts of the field, the last remaining fowls of the air, and the last of the creeping things. All these creatures would have been exposed to the extreme weather outside and would have surely died. Satan had tried to corrupt the whole human race before the Flood; he failed. Now, he would try to destroy it entirely (when God intended survivors). The good news is that what God does, Satan cannot undo. Dear, friends, not even Satan could open that Ark door!

Jesus Christ told Israel’s believing remnant: “[27] My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: [28] And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. [29] My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. [30] I and my Father are one” (John 10:27-30). Noah’s secure Ark pictured that Little Flock that will live during the end-times, to survive God’s judgment in an “ark” themselves (1 Peter 3:20,21).

The Apostle Paul spoke of himself as a secure member of the Body of Christ, not because of his faithfulness but because of God’s ability: “For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep [guard] that which I have committed unto him against that day” (2 Timothy 1:12). 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Do Matthew 9:18, Mark 5:23, and Luke 8:42 contradict?

God’s Perfect Timing

Sunday, December 17, 2017

“But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons” (Galatians 4:4,5 KJV).

As today’s Scripture indicates, the birth of Jesus Christ was no accident—God planned its exact moment from eternity past.

When God placed the first man, Adam, on earth, He purposed that man would “subdue [control] it,” to “have dominion” over it and everything on it (Genesis 1:28). Nevertheless, Adam sinned by joining Satan in his rebellion against God. Because of sin, man was now unable to accomplish on earth what God originally created him to do. God left the human race a promise, however, that there would come a Man, who would do what Adam failed to do. Instead of cooperating with God’s adversary like Adam had, this “seed of the woman” would “bruise [Satan’s] head” (Genesis 3:15).

Traveling up through the Scriptures, we see how God lays the groundwork for that seedline. In Genesis 12:1-3, or 2,000 years after Adam’s sin, we read God’s covenant with Abraham, that through Abraham a nation, Israel, will be born, and salvation and blessing will flow to the Gentiles through Israel. The seed of the woman becomes the seed of Abraham (Galatians 3:16).

In 2 Samuel 7:12-16, and 1,000 years after Abraham, we read of God’s covenant with King David, that “his seed” will inherit his throne and reign forever. The seed of the woman and of Abraham becomes the seed of David.

About 1,000 years after David, Matthew 1:1 speaks of Christ’s birth, and declares, “…Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” This is exactly what God had promised for thousands of years!

Jesus Christ’s birth was not some haphazard event of nature. God the Father had preplanned the exact moment of the incarnation of His Son, Jesus Christ (today’s Scripture). Over a period of some 4,000 years, the three members of the Godhead worked to bring about the birth of man’s Redeemer, a plan they had even before man was created! Amazing!

Joy to the World! #2

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

“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!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Is Revelation 4:1 a preview of the Rapture?

Voluminous Victuals

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

“And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals” (Matthew 14:15 KJV).

Dear friend, do you see any unbelief here? Look closely!

We begin by reading the verses previous to today’s Scripture: “[13] When Jesus heard of it [John the Baptist’s death, verses 10-12], he departed thence by ship into a desert place apart: and when the people had heard thereof, they followed him on foot out of the cities. [14] And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.”

Today’s Scripture says that it is now late in the day. Those crowds are hungry and without food, in a desolate region far from cities. Notice what the disciples suggest: “This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals.” The disciples tell Jesus to send the multitude away! What a SAD, SAD, SAD proposition! Here is the God-Man, having performed all those healings, and now He is to send away those people who came seeking His help? Dear friend, can you imagine telling someone, “Go away from the Lord, and get your own food!”?

Keep reading: “[16] But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat. [17] And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes. [18] He said, Bring them hither to me. [19] And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. [20] And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full. [21] And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children.”

The disciples admitted they could do nothing to help the hungry, so Jesus says, “Bring them to Me and I will provide!” As they all learned, disciples and crowd alike, He did just that!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Who is the ‘foolish nation’ in Romans 10:19?