Faith During Life’s Storms #8

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

“And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm” (Matthew 8:25,26 KJV).

Like Israel learned in today’s Scripture, we too must realize to trust the Lord Jesus Christ when “the storms of life” batter us.

We re-read Romans 5:1,2: “[1] Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: [2] By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” What is that “hope of the glory of God?”

Blackness abounds in our universe—astronomical dark voids between celestial bodies. One day, God Himself will illuminate them with His glory… with us! Romans 8:18,19 explain: “[18] For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. [19] For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.”

While we Christians are God’s children today, we do not look it. These sinful bodies cannot reflect Jesus Christ’s radiant glory (manifested in Matthew chapter 17). Our inward bodies (soul and spirit) are redeemed; our outward bodies are not (Romans 8:18-25). They are “earthy” (bearing Adam’s marred image), but one day—the Rapture—we will have “heavenly” outward bodies (1 Corinthians 15:40-58). Those bodies will shine very brightly, manifesting outside the glory we have inside now, lighting up the heavens for Jesus Christ’s glory (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:14)! “And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6,7).

Saints, always thank Father God in prayer, rejoicing that He will one day physically remove us from this fallen world forever. Until then, life’s troubles that Satan uses to distract us, are to be considered not worthy of our consideration, and not worthy to be compared with our glorification! 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Should the King James’ term ‘Christ’ actually be ‘Lord’ in 2 Thessalonians 2:2?

 

Roll Call in the Heavens

Monday, June 2, 2014

“Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth” (Isaiah 40:26 KJV).

Today’s Scripture explains how the Almighty Creator calls His universe to order!

As NASA’s Voyager 1 space probe was exiting our solar system in 1990, technicians turned its camera around to take a most stunning snapshot, “Pale Blue Dot” (search the internet for the image). From a distance of 3.7 billion miles (6 billion kilometers)—roughly 40 times the distance between the Earth and the Sun—Voyager 1 captured a photograph of a literal blue speck suspended in a vast field of blackness. It was truly “Earth viewed against the grand scheme of things!”

As Earth rotates on its axis, sunlight disappears, night falls, and God “bringeth out their host by number” (today’s Scripture). We “lift up [our] eyes on high,” and see a few thousand dots of light—stars, spheres of bright gas—but we are viewing the heavens through a ridiculously-small window. One estimate of the number of stars in our universe is a number that exceeds the sum of the sand grains on all of Earth’s beaches!

Today’s Scripture provides a most striking illustration. JEHOVAH, the Lord Jesus Christ, “calls roll” regarding the quadrillions upon quadrillions of stars appearing in the celestial sphere at night; as less sunlight is seen, more stars shine. They appear as He calls them individually. “He telleth [or, counts] the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names” (Psalm 147:4). Yes, the God of the Bible has a name for every single star!

The context of today’s Scripture is the Prophet Isaiah’s discourse about JEHOVAH, Israel’s God, versus pagan idols that Israel foolishly worships (chapters 40-48). JEHOVAH asks in the verse prior to today’s Scripture, “To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One” (verse 25). It is a rhetorical question in light of today’s Scripture. The answer is, “Only JEHOVAH can call roll in the heavens!” 🙂

Who Is a Saint? #5

Friday, August 30, 2013

“But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:” (1 Corinthians 1:30 KJV).

Behold, the identity that we Christians have in the Lord Jesus Christ!

In religion, “saints” are nothing more than intercessors who influence God to grant us favors. In Scripture, they are something else entirely. God—yea, God alone—creates saints through Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork (today’s Scripture). Saints are not for our selfish desires: they are for God to use to glorify His Son Jesus Christ forever and ever and ever.

Among other things, Jesus Christ is our “sanctification” (today’s Scripture). The writer of the book of Hebrews, when describing Israel’s salvation, used the same terminology the Apostle Paul utilized to refer to us, the Church the Body of Christ. “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all…. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified (Hebrews 10:10,14; cf. Hebrews 13:12; 1 Peter 1:2; Jude 1).

Just as God will separate (sanctify) these believing Jews from the unsaved descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (like He separated Aaron and his sons from the common Israeli bloodline for service in the Levitical priesthood), so He has separated us from the ordinary human race. Just as He will redeem Israel from her sins and Satanic bondage using Jesus Christ’s shed blood (via the New Covenant; Hebrews 8:8-13), so He has bought us out of that slave market of sin and death (redemption; today’s Scripture).

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). In Christ, we have a new nature: we are a new type of mankind, the Church the Body of Christ, the “one new man” (Ephesians 2:15). All saints are equal in Jesus Christ—all Christians are in one body.

When God saved us, He not only delivered us from His wrath in everlasting hellfire, but He made us “saints” in Jesus Christ (today’s Scripture) to use us for His glory forever….

The King, the Donkey, and the Horse #6

Monday, July 29, 2013

“…[T]he sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow” (1 Peter 1:11 KJV).

The King appeared once, and He shall return….

Peter, writing to Israel’s believing remnant enduring the (future) seven-year Tribulation, consoles them during that time of great trouble and testing. He reminds them of the “appearing of Jesus Christ” (verse 7)—Christ’s Second Coming to conclude that Tribulation.

The Apostle Peter continues (today’s Scripture with its context): “[Jesus Christ] Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow(1 Peter 1:8-11).

Isaiah the prophet wrote 700 B.C.: “And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD. As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever. Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising” (Isaiah 59:20–60:3).

Believing Israel is to be patient during that awful Tribulation! Her Messiah is coming and they are to be mindful of that glorious coming kingdom He is bringing. They will be saved, to also participate in His glory….

The King, the Donkey, and the Horse #5

Sunday, July 28, 2013

“…[T]he sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow” (1 Peter 1:11 KJV).

The King appeared once, and He shall return….

Society is becoming increasingly hostile toward Christianity (Jesus Christ never was popular with mankind anyway!). The Bible abounds with verses that discuss Jesus Christ reigning over this planet. After all, “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created” (Revelation 4:11). Creation was to originally glorify its Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ, but a usurper, a trespasser, Satan, desires that worship. Hence, there exists “this present evil world” (Galatians 1:4; cf. 1 John 5:19). If Jesus Christ is to reign over this planet, all individuals who oppose His will must be forcefully evicted first.

In the book of the Revelation, the Holy Spirit through the Apostle John summarizes all of the Old Testament prophecies of Jesus Christ’s return to earth (those not fulfilled at His first coming). He came once—meek and lowly to “suffer” and die for man’s sins (today’s Scripture). Now, He is coming back to righteously judge whoever rejects that sacrifice He made at Calvary, to dispossess the earth from Satan and purify it so as to reign over that creation that was originally made for Him—“the glory that should follow” (today’s Scripture).

Jesus Christ Himself foretold, “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory” (Matthew 25:31). We see a brief glimpse of that “glory” at the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 16:28–17:8; Mark 9:1-8; Luke 9:27-36).

At His Second Coming, Jesus Christ will leave the third heaven, with tens of thousands of mighty angelic soldiers following Him. They will glide over the Middle East, utterly conquering Satan and his troops gathered against believing Israel (Psalm 68:1-35; Psalm 83:1-18; Isaiah 63:1-6; Joel 3:1-16; Zechariah 14:1-5; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9; 2 Thessalonians 2:8; Jude 14,15; Revelation 19:11-21; et al.). With the opposition gone, Jesus Christ can dismount His horse and reign over earth….

Messiah’s Feet Shod with Majesty

Monday, May 6, 2013

And [John the Baptist] preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose (Mark 1:7 KJV).

What did John the Baptist mean in today’s Scripture when he mentioned Jesus’ sandal straps?

God the Father commissioned John the Baptist to undertake a special ministry: “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light” (John 1:6-8).

John the Baptist was Christ’s forerunner, a prophet instructed to herald the arrival of Israel’s Messiah-King, Jesus, the “Light.” Matthew 3:3 expounds: “For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias [Isaiah 40:3], saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” “The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it” (Luke 16:16). The message John preached was the gospel of the kingdom: “And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2). John is announcing to Israel that her long-promised Messiah is about to present Himself to her, so she needs to accept Him.

During Bible times, one of the jobs of the servant was to untie and remove his master’s sandals. In today’s Scripture (cf. Luke 3:16), sinful John confessed to Israel that he is so lowly compared to the magnificent and holy Messiah Jesus whom is he is preaching, that he, as Jesus’ servant, is not worthy of even stooping down and untying his Lord’s sandals (John did not think he was good enough to perform one of the lowest types of service!). In fact, John declared in Matthew 3:11, “whose shoes I am not worthy to bear”—John said he was unworthy of also picking up Jesus’ shoes!

John cautioned Israel not to take Jesus’ arrival lightly (which they still did, despite that warning). Sadly, Israel ignored John’s message that even Jesus’ feet were shod with majesty.

A Doxology of Doctrine During Distressing Days #5

Friday, April 5, 2013

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; (2 Corinthians 4:17 KJV).

A brief, light annoyance—an everlasting, much heavier weight of praise and worship….

One of the primary causes of the charismatic movement, besides a failure to understand the Bible dispensationally, is that its proponents are seeking God’s power and love. They believe that God needs to demonstrate His power and His love for them by removing their troubles and healing their sick bodies. They want literal, physical, visible proof of God’s presence. Because it is ironic, the thought never occurs to them that God’s wisdom, love, and power could be—and are—demonstrated by Him not removing their troubles and sicknesses.

In the context of today’s Scripture (4:1–6:18), the Apostle Paul discussed the ministry we have as “ambassadors for Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:20). He lists various afflictions that he and we Christians suffer, but concluded: “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us” (2 Corinthians 4:7).

Notice, “that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” Why do we have the treasure—the life of Jesus Christ—in our earthen vessels—our weak, limited physical bodies? So the exceeding greatness of God’s power can be demonstrated and our inadequacy in and of ourselves can be manifested.

When the Apostle Paul later commented about his various sufferings, he wrote: “And [the Lord] 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 God 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 (2 Corinthians 12:9,10).

To wit, we can and do endure difficult circumstances, not because of ourselves, but due to God’s power strengthening us by transforming our inner man to become the very life of Jesus Christ. What a concept….!