Diligent Versus Slothful

Monday, September 3, 2012

“The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man is precious” (Proverbs 12:27 KJV).

Today, we in the United States celebrate Labor Day, a day to remember our hard-working citizens.

Beloved, when God placed the first man, Adam, on earth, Adam was not to loaf around, doing nothing: “And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it” (Genesis 2:15). Adam was to cultivate the land (that is, be a farmer and a caretaker, to prepare it so God could come down and dwell with the human race on earth). Originally, Adam’s work was easy, but once sin entered, farming grew more difficult, even as it is to this day (see Genesis 3:17-19).

The book of Proverbs (12:24; 15:19; 18:9; 19:15,24; 21:25; 22:13; 24:30; 26:13-15) says much about slothfulness, or laziness. “Slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep; and an idle [motionless] soul shall suffer hunger” (19:15). Proverbs 26:14 provides an amusing, vivid description: “As the door turneth upon his hinges, so doth the slothful upon his bed.” The only movement the door and the slothful make is rotating about a permanently fixed point: some hinges and a mattress, respectively.

In today’s Scripture, we read about the “slothful man” who relies on someone else to hunt game to provide his food, and the “diligent man” who works hard to obtain his own “substance” (possessions, wealth). What a contrast! Proverbs 13:4 amplifies: “The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat [prosperous].” And Proverbs 21:25 expounds further: “The desire of the slothful killeth him; for his hands refuse to labour.”

According to 1 Thessalonians 4:11,12 and 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15, the Apostle Paul rebuked lazy members of the Body of Christ. Ephesians 4:28 concludes: “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.”

Saints, let us not be lazy, for God’s Word says working is a “good thing!” 🙂

The Saints with the Hoary Head

Saturday, August 25, 2012

“The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness” (Proverbs 16:31 KJV).

What is a “hoary head,” and why does Proverbs refer to it as “a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness?”

The Bible uses the term “hoary head” only twice. It is found once in today’s Scripture. The other time the Bible uses it is when God instructed Israel in the Mosaic Law: “Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the LORD” (Leviticus 19:32).

Leviticus 19:32 explains that “hoary head” is connected to “old man.” In fact, “hoary” is defined as “white or gray haired; aged.” In other words, the expression “hoary head” actually refers to the gray hair of the elderly. Interestingly, the Bible uses “hoary” to also describe the white frost that falls from heaven and covers the ground (Job 38:29).

We “young” people can learn much by listening to the counsel of the older generations, since they have had more experience in life. But, notice how today’s Scripture shows that the “hoary head” that is “a crown of glory”—literally the older person to be praised and honored—is the hoary head that “be found in the way of righteousness.”

We do not hearken unto the advice of just any older person, but the older people who are saints, who have trusted Jesus Christ alone as their Saviour and who value God’s Word. They (should) show us how they apply God’s Word to various life situations by being examples.

For example, within the local church, God wants “aged [Christian] men” to be “sober [clear mind], grave [serious], temperate [self-controlled], sound in faith [not an heretick], in charity [deeds of love], in patience [endurance],” setting an example for the young Christian men (Titus 2:2). The “aged [Christian] women” are to “be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers [gossipers, liars], not given to much wine [having responsible minds], teachers of good things…,” setting an example for the young Christian women (verse 3).

The Mind That Ought Not Be Wasted

Monday, July 23, 2012

“For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16 KJV).

A mind is a terrible thing to waste, especially if it is the mind of the Lord!

Mankind is inherently spiritually dead, unable to communicate with God and completely oblivious to God’s Word. Our world wallows in deep ignorance regarding the things of God, and all too often this (unfortunately) applies even to Christians. What makes this most pitiful? It does not have to be that way!! God has already intervened in human history and He has revealed Himself and His plan for the heaven and earth by means of a Book, His Book, the Holy Bible, a Book that He preserved down through the ages. Today, we can hold in our hands and study for ourselves the preserved Word of God, the Authorized King James Bible.

In the context of today’s Scripture, the poor Corinthian believers had ignored the doctrine God gave them through the Apostle Paul, preferring rather to piddle about in spiritual ignorance with vain human philosophy (as documented in 1 Corinthians chapters 1-3). Oh, what a pity!! What a pity indeed, but again, this happens all too often in Christendom today! Most discard God’s mind—God’s wisdom, the Holy Bible—and substitute it with religious tradition, their own beliefs, and everything else but sound Bible doctrine. They too literally waste the mind of God.

How does God “instruct [us]?” Today’s Scripture declares that if we want to know God’s instructions regarding life and how to handle its issues, we MUST consult God’s Word (especially Paul’s epistles Romans through Philemon, which God wrote specifically to us Gentiles in the Dispensation of Grace). “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16,17).

Beloved, let us not waste the mind of God. Study and believe it rightly divided, and it will work mightily in you for God’s glory (1 Thessalonians 2:13).

333’s 400th: Liberty to Publish God’s Word

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

“For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13 KJV).

Today we commemorate the United States’ 236th anniversary and our 400th devotional.

Just as we Americans celebrate our nation’s birthday and independence today on this Fourth of July, we Christians worldwide reflect on the “liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free [from sin, death, hell, and the condemnation of the Mosaic Law]” (Galatians 5:1).

Moreover, God our Father has entrusted us with the ministry of sharing with the lost world the spiritual freedom we have found exclusively in the Lord Jesus Christ. Our role in the Christian ambassadorship is to publish God’s pure (unadulterated) Word, the Holy Bible. Whether preaching and teaching it rightly divided, or translating and literally printing it, “The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it” (Psalm 68:11).

God, through His Son’s finished crosswork on Calvary, has freed us from the bondage of the Law and sin. Christ’s blood has “redeemed” us, and it is our responsibility to tell others of that “redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24). The lost and dying souls of the world need to hear the words of Jesus Christ, the words that “are spirit and… [that] are life” (John 6:63b). They need to hear about the eternal life found only in Jesus Christ. They need to hear it from us, God’s people!

God’s grace has saved us, not so we could live any way we want (we were doing that before God’s grace saved us!). We should use our liberty in Christ to “by love serve on another” (today’s Scripture). God’s love motivates us to teach Holy Spirit-indwelt (but denominational) Christians Pauline dispensational Bible study, and to preach to the lost world God’s saving grace in Christ (Paul’s Gospel of 1 Corinthians 15:1-4).

Saints, as we reach another milestone, we thank you for your continued prayer for this ministry. And, we thank our Lord Jesus Christ, who has given us liberty to publish God’s Word….

Lord willing, on to #500. 🙂

You can also see our 2011 Fourth of July study “Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land,” which can be watched here or read here.

Jesus Christ: A Minister of the Circumcision #1

Friday, June 29, 2012

“Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:” (Romans 15:8 KJV).

Today’s Scripture clearly explains to whom Jesus ministered during His earthly ministry, but most of Christendom absolutely refuses to believe it.

Someone rightly stated that “Christianity” is merely “bastardized Judaism.” Today, what is called “Christianity” is actually Old Testament Judaism with “New Testament” verses tacked on. The root cause of the abounding doctrinal error and chaos in Christendom is a failure to believe today’s Scripture, and to practice dispensational Bible study, “rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). All of the Bible is for us, but not all of the Bible is to us or about us.

The doctrine that God gave us through the Apostle Paul for this the Dispensation of Grace is almost totally ignored today. It was to Paul alone that God revealed our mystery program, the Church the Body of Christ and God’s purpose and plan for heaven (Ephesians 3:1-9). What has Christendom done? It has mostly ignored Paul’s epistles, preferring to steal the Bible verses—especially the Four Gospels—that God gave strictly to Israel. Israel’s doctrine does not belong in our dispensation, yet denominations continue to attempt to obey God’s will for Israel.

For the past 2,000 years, religious tradition has instructed us to obey what Jesus taught in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Entire denominations and churches are built and sustained by “naming and claiming” (actually “taking and faking”) the ceremonies, prayers, doctrines, and promises found in the Four Gospels.

In religion, “Follow Jesus” is a phrase mindlessly and faithlessly uttered. Repeating the so-called “Lord’s Prayer” is greatly emphasized, as is “following Jesus in ‘believer’s baptism’” and “claiming the Beatitudes.” No wonder people are so confused about the Bible! They are claiming verses that belong to a program God is not operating today, and when the verses do not work, the Bible is ridiculed.

Jesus Christ, during His earthly ministry, ministered only to Israel (the “circumcision”): He was not speaking to us Gentiles (today’s Scripture)!

The Steps of a Good Man

Sunday, June 24, 2012

“The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way” (Psalm 37:23 KJV).

For those who complain about the King James’ italicized words, you certainly want “good” in today’s Scripture if it is to make sense!

In this fallen creation, good is oftentimes considered evil and evil is usually called good. Sinful man always totally turns God’s standards upside-down (see Isaiah 5:20).

A Jew living in the Old Testament economy was acceptable to God only if he, by faith, obeyed the Mosaic Law (as given in Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy). Anyone who did not by faith follow God’s Word given through Moses, was completely out of God’s will and was under God’s wrath: this individual was not a “good man,” for his steps were not “ordered by the LORD,” and “he delighted [not] in [God’s] way.”

Just as God set forth Moses to be a pattern for any believing Jew in the Old Testament economy of Law, God has given us a pattern for us who live in the Dispensation of Grace.

If your Christian service is to be acceptable to God, the doctrine you believe and practice MUST be in accordance with Paul’s epistles of Romans through Philemon. Notice what Paul wrote in Philippians 3:17: “Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.” (Link “walk” here with “the steps of a good man” of today’s Scripture.)

Paul pronounced the test for spirituality in this the Dispensation of Grace: “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 14:37). When we follow the Apostle Paul by faith, we are following Jesus Christ in this the Dispensation of Grace. To follow anyone else but Paul—and that includes Moses and even Jesus in the Four Gospels—is to be outside of God’s will. Paul is God’s spokesman to us.

Do you want your steps to be “ordered by the LORD?” Study and believe the doctrine in Paul’s epistles!

The Greatest Hero

Monday, May 28, 2012

“For God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8 KJV).

In the United States, today is Memorial Day, when we remember those who sacrificed their time and lives to provide our physical freedom. Likewise, as Christians, we have spiritual freedom, which was more costly. Someone had to die to give us the eternal life we now enjoy….

Scripture describes a spiritual warfare between good and evil, God’s truth program versus Satan’s lie program: “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles [schemes] of the devil. 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” (Ephesians 6:11,12; see also verses 13-20).

Satan distracts mankind from God’s pure Word, the Bible, keeping unbelievers lost (dead in their sins), and preventing unbelievers and Christians from knowing God’s will. The devil draws them away (seduces them) from God’s Word by using religious tradition and human “wisdom” (1 Timothy 4:1-3; cf. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5; Galatians 3:1-3).

God loves us, so at Calvary’s cross, Christ fought for us sinners, died in battle (today’s Scripture), shed His divine sinless blood, and eternally rescued us from Satan and sin: “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; and having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (verses 14,15).

Hebrews 9:12 says Jesus Christ has “obtained eternal redemption for us.”

If we have trusted Jesus Christ alone as our personal Saviour, God “hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Colossians 1:13). Now, God can use us for His glory for all eternity.

Beloved, let us rejoice in our victory over sin, death, and hell that Jesus Christ secured for us by going to Calvary’s rugged cross! Jesus Christ is now alive forevermore—He is our Hero, the Greatest Hero!

*Adapted from a larger Bible study with the same name, which can be read here or watched here.