Joy to the World! #3

Monday, December 13, 2021

“For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody” (Isaiah 51:3 KJV).

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

“No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.”

God’s Word to Adam just after he sinned included the following pronouncement, “…[C]ursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee” (Genesis 3:17,18). This is part of the “bondage of corruption” of which Romans 8:21 speaks. Sin tainted creation. Thorns and thistles began to grow, making Adam’s labor in the field even more grueling. Paradise was indeed lost… but not forever!

When God created the heaven and the earth, He selected a special location on Earth as His home. Exodus 15:17,18 say: “Thou shalt bring them [Israel] in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, O LORD, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in, in the Sanctuary, O LORD, which thy hands have established. The LORD shall reign for ever and ever.” Isaiah 40:22 says God “stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in.” While Adam’s sinful actions delayed God’s earthly kingdom, God would take care of those mistakes and still accomplish His original intention.

Israel’s mistakes further delayed God’s earthly kingdom. However, God will restore Earth’s ecology to its original, pre-Fall (pre-sin) conditions. This is true especially of Zion, Jerusalem, which will be the global and universal capital city. There will be joy and gladness, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody. All believers in heaven (Body of Christ) and earth (redeemed Israel) will join the angels in song. The curse has been lifted, and Jesus Christ has been exalted (Isaiah 11:1-9)!

Joy to the World! #2

Sunday, December 12, 2021

“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 two latest Bible Q&As: “‘In your patience possess ye your souls?’” and “What does ‘pernicious’ mean?

The Greatest Philanthropist #3

Monday, November 8, 2021

“But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,…” (Titus 3:4 KJV).

Today’s Scripture tells us about the Greatest Philanthropist to ever live!

While John 3:16 is often presented as “the Gospel” today, it lacks any reference to Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork on Calvary. Romans 5:6-8, elaborating on today’s Scripture, more fully illustrates God’s love: “[6] For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. [7] For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. [8] But commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” God “commendeth”—entrusts us with, recommends to us as worthy of our acceptance—His love toward us. He offers His love to us, the unselfish mental attitude He has for us. While we as sinful creatures are not praiseworthy, His love toward such wholly undeserving sinful creatures is!

Read today’s Scripture in context: “[4] But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, [5] Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; [6] Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; [7] That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” God is kind and loving toward us, not because of our religious works but because His very nature is mercy (holding back what we deserve) and grace (giving what we do not deserve). Again, He is the Greatest Philanthropist!

When we ask the questions, “Does God love me? Does He care about me?,” we are not being mindful of what the Holy Bible has said for the last 2,000 years. Through Jesus Christ’s fully-satisfying payment for sin at Calvary, we can be “saved” (spiritually healed, delivered from the effects of sin). Here is the greatest gift Almighty God could ever give us, worth infinitesimally more than all silver, gold, and precious stones: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). May we trust this Gospel message in our heart, and be thankful for His generosity!

The Greatest Philanthropist #2

Sunday, November 7, 2021

“But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,…” (Titus 3:4 KJV).

Today’s Scripture tells us about the Greatest Philanthropist to ever live!

When many people think of the God of the Bible, they imagine Him to be nothing more than a strict, bloodthirsty monster who throws tantrums when He does not get His way. This is a crude caricature, a most childish view—but we can expect nothing less from empty religious tradition and those who sat at its feet. On the contrary, friends, it is far better we look at the Scriptures as a whole rather than isolate “pet” passages, considering the entire Bible instead of relying on snippets we heard at our denominational churches and/or catechetical schools.

In today’s Scripture, the God of the Bible possesses the quality of “kindness.” We can compare this verse to Ephesians 2:7: “That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” That Greek word, “chrestotes,” was also rendered in our King James Bible in other ways. For example, it is “goodness” in Romans 2:4: “Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” The same is true of Romans 11:22: “Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.”

As touching victorious Christian living, God’s kindness works in us so that we conduct ourselves with “gentleness” and “kindness.” “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness [chrestotes], goodness, faith,…” (Galatians 5:22). “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness [chrestotes], humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;…” (Colossians 3:12). To be “kind” is to be friendly toward someone, considerate, generous. In archaic English, the word carries the additional idea of loving or affectionate. When and where was God kind toward mankind? When and where was He loving toward mankind? Let us see what the Scriptures say about the appearance of these attributes of God….

The Greatest Philanthropist #1

Saturday, November 6, 2021

“But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,…” (Titus 3:4 KJV).

Today’s Scripture tells us about the Greatest Philanthropist to ever live!

“Philanthropy” is derived from two Greek words—“philos” (“loving”) and “anthropos” (“man”). In fact, our King James translators rendered “philanthropia” as “love… toward man” in today’s Scripture. Just so we understand, “philanthropy” is defined as “the desire to promote the welfare of others, expressed especially by the generous donation of money to good causes.” While there are many kind people in the world willing to give much to those who are less fortunate, it is absolutely certain that none are more generous toward mankind than the God of the Bible!

In order to grasp today’s Scripture, we should begin at the verse preceding it. “For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another” (verse 3). This is the sinful lifestyle of lost mankind, and, according to the Bible, this was also our conduct before we trusted Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour. Such unsaved people are “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1); therefore, they are separated from God’s life. They do not believe God’s Word or have His indwelling Holy Spirit; therefore, they do not think like Him. Consequently, they do not appreciate God’s life or His plan for their lives. Their actions are unrestrained; they do whatever they want, whatever makes them feel good. Satan’s policy of evil has deceived them, so they envy, hate, and harm each other. If you think about it, mankind is not only naturally anti-God, he is also anti-man! The Bible is painfully honest about us.

BUT, today’s Scripture presents a contrasting thought. God is love! Man hates God, and thus, man hates man—but God loves man. Just as man shows his “love” for his fellow man by seeking his harm, the Lord proves His love for man by seeking his good! This complete selflessness is the very attitude of all three Persons of the Godhead—Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. In the upcoming studies, let us allow the Apostle Paul to show just how the generosity of the Greatest Philanthropist appeared….

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. 🙂

Joy to the World! #3

Sunday, December 13, 2020

“For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody” (Isaiah 51:3 KJV).

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

“No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.”

God’s Word to Adam just after he sinned included the following pronouncement, “…[C]ursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee” (Genesis 3:17,18). This is part of the “bondage of corruption” of which Romans 8:21 speaks. Sin tainted creation. Thorns and thistles began to grow, making Adam’s labor in the field even more grueling. Paradise was indeed lost… but not forever!

When God created the heaven and the earth, He selected a special location on Earth as His home. Exodus 15:17,18 say: “Thou shalt bring them [Israel] in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, O LORD, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in, in the Sanctuary, O LORD, which thy hands have established. The LORD shall reign for ever and ever.” Isaiah 40:22 says God “stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in.” While Adam’s sinful actions delayed God’s earthly kingdom, God would take care of those mistakes and still accomplish His original intention.

Israel’s mistakes further delayed God’s earthly kingdom. However, God will restore Earth’s ecology to its original, pre-Fall (pre-sin) conditions. This is true especially of Zion, Jerusalem, which will be the global and universal capital city. There will be joy and gladness, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody. All believers in heaven (Body of Christ) and earth (redeemed Israel) will join the angels in song. The curse has been lifted, and Jesus Christ has been exalted (Isaiah 11:1-9)!

Joy to the World! #2

Saturday, December 12, 2020

“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: “‘For such an high priest became us?’

Careful—But Not Careful! #15

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6,7 KJV).

Friend, as we live in these strange times, let us “be careful for nothing!”

Even as Christians, we are never, ever guaranteed a life without pain, suffering, hardship, sickness, grief, or loss. Still, that does not mean God does not love us or care about us. We look to Calvary’s cross—not our circumstances—to see God’s love for us. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

No matter our surroundings—good or bad—Father God has fully equipped us with His grace to handle everything. Second Corinthians chapter 12: “[9] And he [the Lord Jesus] said unto me [Paul], 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.”

Philippians chapter 4 again: “[11] Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. [12] 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. [13] I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

Contentment is not automatic but rather something “learned.” Sound Bible doctrine must be continuously absorbed. It also takes a long time to sort through the deception, misinformation, and confusion that often distract us from God’s Word rightly divided. The more difficult the situation, the harder it is to correct the distortion associated with it. Remember, we must be prepared for Satan’s attacks. That evil work is subtle, but with Romans through Philemon, we have “the mind of Christ” and can thus overcome the Adversary (1 Corinthians 2:16)! 🙂

-FINIS-

Careful—But Not Careful! #14

Monday, April 20, 2020

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6,7 KJV).

Friend, as we live in these strange times, let us “be careful for nothing!”

We should always use common sense. Being careful, or alert, is wise. We should do our best to preserve our health and life, and protect the health and lives of those around us. However, being “careful”—as in worrisome, consumed by hypervigilance—is unwise. Anxiety is actually counterproductive, as it weakens our health and shortens our life. Living in fear or paranoia is the very last thing God wants for us, members of the Church the Body of Christ.

Instead of fretting, we should take advantage of the provision our Heavenly Father already put in place for us. Worrying is the result of not knowing the future. However, if we are already familiar with Paul’s Epistles, Romans through Philemon, we know what God is doing with us now and what He will do with us later. Whatever else happens to us really does not matter. Eternity—that which never ends—outweighs anything and everything that could possibly come our way in this temporary world.

Taking a firm stand by faith in the sound Bible doctrine we have read, we now talk to our Heavenly Father. We know that He, as we keep reading that Divine revelation, will supply what we need—strength, wisdom, and so on. Since we have that assurance, we thank Him for it in advance. As long as we prayed the “Pauline way,” we will be neither surprised nor disappointed. If we failed to read and believe His words through Paul, then we had better go back and look to see what God is doing (lest we try to force Him to do something else, and wind up spiritually ruined!). Finally, we have God’s peace, inner tranquility, something far beyond human reasoning or explanation. Protected internally from all of Satan’s attacks—doubts, questions, concerns, and so on—we have the victory over every circumstance!

Let us now conclude this devotionals arc….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Can you explain Titus 1:12?

Careful—But Not Careful! #13

Sunday, April 19, 2020

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6,7 KJV).

Friend, as we live in these strange times, let us “be careful for nothing!”

When we scan Christendom—the professing “Church,” the tens of thousands of denominations that all claim to serve Jesus Christ—we see no spiritual strength. Some two billion church members worldwide all appeal to the Bible… and, yet, there is practically no unity among them. It is quite easy to figure out why! For the last 20 centuries, we have not been consistent in our handling of the Holy Scriptures. What we have done is treated the Bible as a buffet.

Snatching a “plate” in a frenzy, we grabbed from Scripture a little of “this”—but not too much! We clutched a little of “that” from the Bible—but not too much! Then, we simply “retranslated” or outright ignored whatever verses we found unappealing. Next, we heaped to ourselves assorted traditions and opinions of men. Finally, with our plate full, able to receive no more, we ran to sit and eat. Gobbling up that mess like starving animals, we violently wrench with sudden stomach pains. Expectedly, there is such disorder, disability, and disease!

We have utterly failed to obey 2 Timothy 2:15: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” Instead of “rightly dividing,” we have combined everything in the Bible and then “picked and chose” from that jumbled chaos. Had everyone simply followed the Apostle Paul as he follows Jesus Christ, there would be stability and unity. Christians could handle life’s problems—if they had only listened to and believed Pauline doctrine, Romans through Philemon!

Read Philippians 4:9: “Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.” Here is the Holy Spirit writing through the Apostle Paul. Provided we listen to this sound Bible doctrine, “the God of peace” will be with us. Let us summarize this devotionals arc….