Relax in Grace

Friday, September 22, 2017

“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).

“Be careful for nothing”—pray the Pauline way and relax in grace!

Recently, a dear Christian friend underwent a “claustrophobic” medical procedure. She had asked others and me to pray for her because she was terrified of being inside that cramped imaging machine. When I phoned her after the procedure, however, she said that it was not as bad of an experience as she thought it would be. She felt awful that she had “let the Lord down” for not trusting Him. I told her that it the weakness of the flesh, something that she not worry about. Today’s Scripture says we should not worry about worrying.

Being a Christian does not mean that we have automatic peace about everything. The way we experience God’s peace is by praying the Pauline way. Notice today’s Scripture: “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.”

Satan seeks to use bad doctrine to injure us internally. Thus, God has designed prayer to lead to the “keeping” (or guarding) of our hearts and minds. Prayer is speaking to God in light of His Word to us. The Word of God spoken to us, then reinforced in us when we pray according to it, will dominate and correct the false doctrine Satan seeks to advance. Thus, anxiety is the result of not praying properly or not praying at all.

Let us remember 2 Corinthians 12:9,10 in all times of difficulty: “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. 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.

Bible Q&A articles #419 & #420: What does ‘implacable’ mean?” and Why does Ephesians conclude with such a ‘dark’ passage?

God’s Offer to the Nations

Monday, September 11, 2017

“…[T]hat God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:19 KJV).

Today’s Scripture is God’s offer to all the nations of the world today.

September 11, 2001 was a day that changed our nation forever. It was the worst terrorist attack in our two-century national history. Afterward, many Americans began to talk about “God Bless America” and “God Save the United States.” These phrases are not as commonplace as they used to be.

In the 16 years that have passed since that awful day, it is a sad commentary that “God” is now the least of our nation’s concerns. With the redefining of marriage, controversial political arena, moral decay, skyrocketing national debt, and the uncertainty as to what constitutes a human life and what does not, obviously, the God of the Bible has been largely pushed out… until we need His help, and then we cry out to Him. Unless we need Him, we rather not think about anything He has to say.

While many argue that God is judging America today for its sins, the Bible does not support such an idea. Certainly, God dealt with Israel in that manner—“Do good and I will bless, but disobey and I will curse” (Leviticus chapter 26; Deuteronomy chapter 28)—but we have no relation to that Old Covenant of Law.

For the last 20 centuries, God has offered His grace to all the world’s nations, to have a right standing before Him by trusting Jesus Christ. People still die and go to hell, but today’s Scripture says that God is not judging nations for their sins. Through Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork, God offers reconciliation to sinners, whether here or around the world. However, that grace is exhaustible, and one day, it will be replaced with His wrath (Romans 2:1-16). Still, we believers are not appointed to God’s wrath; we are saved from all wrath through Jesus Christ (Romans 5:9; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:9).

The only hope for America—yea, for any nation—is faith in Jesus Christ alone!

*You can also see our 2011 Bible study commemorating the 10th anniversary of 9/11. It can be watched here or read here.

A Pattern of Longsuffering

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting (1 Timothy 1:15,16 KJV).

God could be righteously angered and vengeful today. Thankfully, He is not!

A friend saw a television preacher claiming to “heal” someone. The disabled person showed no improvement, so the minister obviously faked it. My friend wondered why God did not strike that preacher dead for using the name “Jesus Christ” to deceive millions. I explained to my friend that, as opposed to the strict Dispensation of Law, where God was so severe in meting out judgment on such charlatans, we live in the Dispensation of Grace.

God’s “longsuffering” is typified in the Apostle Paul (see today’s Scripture). His salvation is a “pattern” of how people are saved into Christ today. Saul was an unbelieving, rebellious, indoctrinated, self-righteous, zealous Jew. In early Acts, he traveled and arrested, tortured, and executed any Jew—including women!—who followed Jesus of Nazareth. The Lord Jesus Christ observed it all from Heaven. He could have easily struck down Saul and whisked him off to Hell! Contrariwise, the Lord chose to extend mercy and love toward that wretched sinner. He personally appeared to Saul in Acts chapter 9. Saul, amazed and humbled, trusted the Lord Jesus Christ whom he had passionately hated.

Indeed, God chose that leader of sinners, the head of Israel’s rebellion against Jesus Christ, to become the Apostle Paul. He commissioned that man to go to all nations and preach the same grace God had shown him. Hence, God’s spokesman to the world opens each of his 13 epistles with, “Grace and peace.” Rather than wrath and war, God is (temporarily) patiently tolerating sinful man. The Lord Jesus Christ has paid our sin debt; hence, we enjoy grace and peace today. However, to benefit from it forever, like Paul, we must receive and trust it. “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3,4).

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How did the Great Flood’s water save the eight souls in 1 Peter 3:20?

Great Peace

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

“Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them” (Psalm 119:165 KJV).

“Friends” come and go. Spouses come and go. Health comes and goes. Financial stability comes and goes. Life comes and goes. Dear readers, sin divides, destroys, and dissolves what we hold close to us. Indeed, the human condition is fraught with uncertainties and losses of all kinds. However, the God of the Bible offers us stability. Provided that we rely on Him, nothing will “offend” us (cause us to stumble and fall).

As today’s Scripture says, God’s Word can impart internal strength unfathomable. Circumstances can and will change, but if there is spiritual stability inside our inner man, the Bible says we can endure the good and the bad. Quoting Philippians 4:11-13: “[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.”

It is a “learning” process—take note (verse 11)! We do not automatically feel content in times of trouble, no. When things are going well, there is no worry or bother. Yet, strangely, the Scriptures say we need to adopt that same attitude when we find ourselves in difficult circumstances. Rather than praying for God to remove the problems from our life, we can take advantage of those times and make them opportunities to rely more on our Heavenly Father than on ourselves.

Philippians 4:6,7 reminds us that we should pray in order to bring that Word of God into our experience: “[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.” We have our problems, yea, but we have our Lord Jesus Christ… and we have His peace, too! 🙂

Special-edition Bible Q&A #400: “Must I be a ‘King James Bible, Pauline dispensationalist’ to have eternal life?

Merciful to a Sorry World

Thursday, June 15, 2017

This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting (1 Timothy 1:15,16 KJV).

You can trust that!

The United States—yea, the world—has been rocked by so many tragedies in recent days. Current trends on social media read, “Sending our thoughts and prayers.” Scoffers ask, “How is that working out?” To wit, despite all the “thoughts and prayers,” well wishes, and hopes of religious people, violence and bloodshed remain “front page” news. Where is God? When will He get enough? Will He ever show Himself? Does He even care? When will enough be enough? Is “He” even there?

Christians, who have the Holy Bible, the true Word of the true God, should be leading the world in understanding prayer. They should know what prayer is, and what it is not. Alas, how ignorant they are—how unbelievably and pathetically uniformed! They have the Scriptures but have no idea what they say about prayer. Now we see why skeptics say what they do—they mock people who really do not know the truth either! Beloved, religious people talk about “God” so flippantly we need not criticize the scoffers for doing likewise!

Friends, here is the simple truth. God is not working according to the way most people are praying. Hence, people pray for a certain outcome that actually does not come. They pray for violence to end, for peace, for God to come and judge the evildoers. Actually, here is a shocker…. God is not working today as He did in time past. What He is interested in today is having people come to His Son, Jesus Christ, by faith, that they receive forgiveness of sins and a home in Heaven. Rather than God pouring out wrath today, ushering in world peace today, He is pouring out peace and grace on undeserving sinners!

He will come back in due time and judge this wicked world. Today, He silently offers grace, extending an opportunity for all to be made right with Him! 🙂

Be of Good Cheer!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

“And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee” (Matthew 9:2 KJV).

The (dreaded) United States’ Election Day is here, but Be of good cheer!

Our King James Bible uses the exhortation, “Be of good cheer,” on seven occasions—during depressing circumstances. Today’s Scripture, the first instance, is Jesus encouraging the paralyzed man He is about to heal (physically, but more importantly, spiritually)!

As a storm violently rocks the disciples’ boat, Jesus walks on the water, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid” (Matthew 14:27). Mark 6:50 reads: “For they all saw him, and were troubled. And immediately he talked with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.” On the night of His arrest, just hours before His crucifixion, Jesus tells His disciples in the upper room: “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

After Paul was violently attacked in Jerusalem, he is arrested and stands before the Sanhedrin (Israel’s governing religious body). “And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome” (Acts 23:11). While Paul sails to Rome, inclement weather threatens the ship. Acts 27:22 and 25 quote his words to his companions: “And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man’s life among you, but of the ship… Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.” (According to verses 23 and 24, an angel had appeared to Paul to comfort him and his fellow travelers.)

Saints, no matter the election outcome, let us “be of good cheer.” We are “ambassadors for Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:20), and this is not our home anyway! Furthermore, as our Lord said, Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world(John 16:33)! 🙂

In light of the U.S. Presidential Election, you may read our archived study: “Is ‘divine right of kings’ a Scriptural teaching?

His Son #9

Thursday, October 27, 2016

“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:1-3 KJV).

What can today’s Scripture teach us?

Scripture says of God’s Son, Who being the brightness of his [Father’s] glory….” This “brightness” is radiance, a brilliant light shining forth. Psalm 104:1-2 says, “Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty. Who coverest thyself with light as a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain….” This light—which actually is a rainbow (Ezekiel 1:28; Revelation 4:3)—is God’s righteousness on display. First Timothy 6:16 describes Jesus Christ (verse 15) as: “Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto….” The Lord Jesus is literally the perfect reflection of Father God concerning His radiant righteousness and glory.

In today’s Scripture, we also read of God’s Son as being, “…the express image of his [Father’s] person….” The Greek term rendered “express image” is actually “charakter” (from which we get our English word “character”). Jesus Christ resembles God the Father in every way—His faithfulness, truth, wisdom, love, mercy, grace, peace, power, kindness, and so on. There is nothing dark or mysterious about Father God if we look at His Son, for His son is a clear representation, or explicit portrait, of His Father.

Jesus Christ, “the only begotten Son,” declares the invisible Father unto the nation Israel (John 1:18). Our Lord Jesus said, “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father” (John 14:9). If Israel knows Jesus Christ, they know the Father, and have fellowship with both (1 John 2:22,23). Any Jew who rejects Jesus will never know anything about the Father God whom He epitomizes. He will remain in the spiritual darkness he prefers (John 3:18-20).

Now we conclude this devotionals arc….