All Joy and Peace in Believing

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost (Romans 15:13 KJV).

With coronavirus restrictions gradually being relaxed around the world, society has begun to transition back to “normal.” It remains to be seen, however, exactly how this new world will be different from the old world of just a few months ago. Regardless, in Christ, we can be “filled… with all joy and peace in believing, that [we] may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.”

Some individuals cannot fathom how 2020 could get any worse—and we are not yet halfway through the year! Hundreds of thousands of people have died. Schedules have been severely disrupted or even abolished. Fortunes have been greatly reduced or completely lost. Businesses have closed—some permanently. Loneliness, depression, and other mental stresses have set in due to prolonged confinement and isolation. Face masks, gloves, and “social distancing” are still seen in various and sundry places.

During these last few months, the people of the world have had opportunity to contemplate eternity like never before. Better understanding their own mortality, and how this physical world can change in a moment’s notice, they have become more receptive to spiritual truth. Having additional free time, they have certainly read the Bible more. A portion of them undoubtedly got saved by trusting Jesus Christ alone as sufficient payment for their sins.

While we will not see a global revival until the Lord Jesus returns at His Second Coming, we do expect to see more people around the world continue to come to Him by faith and join the Church the Body of Christ. More and more will realize that if all they are living for is the “here and now,” they will surely be disturbed, disappointed, and hopeless. However, if they are conducting themselves with spiritual eyes, and appreciating and trusting the Word of God rightly divided, the Holy Spirit will cause them to have joy, peace, and hope (today’s Scripture). As verse 4 says, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”

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….

Careful—But Not Careful! #12

Saturday, April 18, 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!”

Let us read today’s Scripture with its subsequent verses: “[6] Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. [7] And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. [8] Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. [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.”

Remember, our “mind” affords us the ability to know; our “heart” is what we use to exercise faith or trust. We can know information without actually believing it; however, if it is in our heart, it is communication we trust. Through Christ Jesus—knowing and believing the sound Bible doctrine that defines what He did for us at Calvary and all its resultant realities—we are protected. Provided we are concentrating on God’s Word rightly divided, Satan’s lies cannot penetrate our inner man.

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” These are descriptions of the Holy Bible—whatever is “true” (factual, trustworthy), “honest” (honorable, dignified), “just” (right, correct), “pure” (uncorrupted, wholesome), “lovely” (acceptable, pleasing), and “of good report” (well spoken of). We are to think on that which is virtuous (upright) and praiseworthy (exemplary). Again, at all times, it is crucial for us Christians to have clear thinking in order to nullify Satan’s lies that threaten us….

Careful—But Not Careful! #11

Friday, April 17, 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!”

Satan cannot harm the Lord Jesus Christ. Nonetheless, he can do the next best thing—harm us, the Church that is His Body. We Christians are at war! Consider Ephesians 6:12: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Turn to 2 Corinthians chapter 10 now: “[3] For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: [4] (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; ) [5] Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;….”

The evil world system attacks us internally—mentally. Just as in a physical battle, there are injuries and casualties. Usually, Christians are not thinking as their Heavenly Father designed them. They are not renewing their minds with His Word rightly divided. Hence, their Christian lives are functioning improperly—if at all. Romans chapter 12 reminds us: “[1] I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. [2] And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

Instead of wasting our time with human wisdom, we enjoy God’s peace that exceeds human understanding. We “mind [think about] the things of the Spirit” (Romans 8:5). Consequently, our Heavenly Father “shall keep [guard, protect from Satan’s assaults] [our] hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” We have victory with God’s power, and we have God’s power when we arm ourselves with His words to us….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Who was ‘Caesar?’

Careful—But Not Careful! #10

Thursday, April 16, 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!”

Human nature is weak. While we in our sinfulness like to think of ourselves as “gods”—independent, self-reliant, self-sustaining—we know deep down inside we are but feeble creatures. Once disaster strikes, we are jolted out of our fantasy world and have no choice but to see our many limitations. When there is no more strength and health in our physical bodies, no longer money in our bank account, and so on, then we realize we have to look beyond ourselves for stability and security. It is time to set our focus on something outside of this time-space continuum!

As Christians, we are absolutely not immune to suffering. Just like they trouble lost people, economic downturns, physical illness, natural disasters, and other traumatic experiences eventually affect us all. While our lot is the same, our response should be different. Whereas non-Christians have no personal relationship with the one true God, we do. In prayer, we may freely come to Him with our worries and give them to Him instead of carrying them around.

“What is happening? Where is God? What have I done wrong? Why me? What does the future hold? Will this ever end? How will I escape?” As opposed to such nagging questions besetting or overcoming us, we have “the peace of God” (today’s Scripture). That is because we read His Word rightly divided first, and then spoke to Him concerning our circumstances in accordance with that Word. Prayer underpins in our hearts and minds what we already know He said. We already know exactly what the future ultimately holds. We already know exactly where the Lord is. We already know precisely what He is doing. The Holy Spirit used Pauline doctrine to show us!

Instead of approaching our dire situations and circumstances with human wisdom, we encounter them having “the peace of God.” It is here that inner tranquility—that “which passeth all understanding,” an attitude beyond human description—becomes ours….

Careful—But Not Careful! #9

Wednesday, April 15, 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!”

Luke chapter 10 again: “[39] And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. [40] But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. [41] And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: [42] But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” As opposed to fretting about her circumstances, Martha should have been paying attention to Jesus Christ (like her sister Mary). Likewise, we should follow Mary’s example instead of Martha’s. We now listen to the Lord’s words spoken to us through the Apostle Paul.

Romans 5:1-5: “[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. [3] And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; [4] And patience, experience; and experience, hope: [5] And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” Through Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork, we have “peace with God.” As we pray according to that truth, we have “the peace of God.”

Today’s Scripture again (verse 6): “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” Provided we follow this, the result is (verse 7): “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Instead of being nervous or fearful, we have “the peace of God….”

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What is the ‘potter’s field?’

Perfect Peace #3

Monday, March 16, 2020

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength” (Isaiah 26:3,4 KJV).

Despite their grim circumstances, those who trust in the God of Scripture will be kept in “perfect peace!”

Israel will learn she cannot in and of herself be victorious over this evil world system. Her believing remnant must wait for Jesus Christ’s ultimate deliverance at His Second Coming. Psalm 68: “[1] Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered: let them also that hate him flee before him. [2] As smoke is driven away, so drive them away: as wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God. [3] But let the righteous be glad; let them rejoice before God: yea, let them exceedingly rejoice. [4] Sing unto God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name JAH, and rejoice before him.[34] Ascribe ye strength unto God: his excellency is over Israel, and his strength is in the clouds. [35] O God, thou art terrible out of thy holy places: the God of Israel is he that giveth strength and power unto his people. Blessed be God.”

The Holy Spirit, moving the Prophet Isaiah, is looking down through time—at least 2,700 years—to see Israel’s Little Flock at the end of Daniel’s 70th Week. Preparing to enter the Millennium, they are rejoicing. The LORD God has brought them through their horrendous suffering. By reading and trusting their prophetic promises in Scripture, they have been kept safe! Walking by faith in Isaiah, the Book that spoke of both their tribulation and their kingdom, they knew that, no matter what, they would survive to see His earthly kingdom. God was faithful!

Likewise, brethren, regardless of our struggles, heartaches, and uncertainties in this life, we already know our final destiny as members of the Church the Body of Christ remains unchanged! Our eternal future is certain; thus, our temporary trials are certainly bearable (1 Corinthians 10:13). “And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen” (2 Timothy 4:18). Enjoy that “perfect peace!” 🙂

Perfect Peace #2

Sunday, March 15, 2020

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength” (Isaiah 26:3,4 KJV).

Despite their grim circumstances, those who trust in the God of Scripture will be kept in “perfect peace!”

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace….” Here, the LORD will “keep” in the sense of guarding. Satan’s evil world system is endeavoring to harm the saint’s soul. “Perfect” should be taken as “complete, thorough.” The word “peace” carries the meaning of “freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions.” If we combine all these concepts, our understanding of the phrase is thus: Almighty God is protecting the saint from the destructive spiritual effects of living in this sin-cursed world, this fallen creation.

“…[W]hose mind is stayed on thee….” Almighty God works in the mind—not through the emotional seat—of the saint (more on this later). “Stayed” is synonymous with “depending on, fixed to, leaning on.” Psalm 112:7,8 contains the parallel idea: “He shall not be afraid of evil tidings [news]: his heart is fixed, trusting in the LORD. His heart is established [same Hebrew word as “stayed”], he shall not be afraid, until he see his desire upon his enemies.”

“…[B]ecause he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD for ever.” This further amplifies the earlier statement concerning the saint relying on the LORD. Notice how “trust” and “stay” are identical concepts—resting or being wholly confident in Him. The exhortation is as follows: “No matter what, never cease such dependence on the LORD!”

…[F]or in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength.” Why should we trust in the LORD? In Him we find “everlasting strength.” Whereas Satan’s evil world system attempts to weaken and destroy us, we have endless might in “the LORD JEHOVAH.” This Hebrew title—“JAH JEHOVAH”—is unique. It appears only one other time in the King James Bible (more on this later). “JAH” is an abbreviated form of the frequent “JEHOVAH” (often rendered “LORD” in English). According to Psalm 68:4, “JAH” is the title that Jesus Christ will hold as He returns victoriously at His Second Coming in great power and glory….