The LORD is Exalted Far Above All gods #2

Saturday, January 7, 2012

“For thou, LORD, art high above all the earth: thou art exalted far above all gods” (Psalm 97:9 KJV).

The LORD is “the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy” (Isaiah 57:15). “Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable… The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works” (Psalm 145:3,8,9).

Our finite human minds struggle to grasp Someone as magnificent and exalted as JEHOVAH our Creator because He differs from what we judge as “normal.” JEHOVAH is transcendent, existing independently of everything. He is everlasting, having neither beginning nor end. The LORD is sinless and holy. We never see Him physically or hear Him audibly. He exists outside of our universe.

Someone whose thoughts astronomically surpass our mental capabilities, whose ways (manners, behavior) are far grander and more complex than our simple activities (Isaiah 55:8,9). A Being who could devise a magnificent plan that would extend into the eons of eternity future, who could speak forth quadrillions of bodies into existence and then arrange them to form intricate systems (Hebrews 11:3), and finally set them into motion for His glory to accomplish that plan (Psalm 19:1)! How can He relate to us scrawny mortals?

Amazingly, JEHOVAH left that glory behind to become one of us! He “humbled Himself” and became “a Man of no reputation” (Philippians 2:5-11). Why? To die and shed His innocent blood for us to receive forgiveness of our sins. Wow… no idol ever did that!

Among the world’s gods, JEHOVAH alone can save you because JEHOVAH alone died to save you! Will you trust in the shed blood and resurrection of JEHOVAH (Jesus Christ), thereby receiving eternal salvation? Please do.

“Righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne… confounded be all they that serve graven images [manmade idols], that boast themselves of idols: worship him [JEHOVAH Jesus Christ], all ye gods” (Psalm 97:2,6). Hallelujah! Praise the LORD indeed—He will always be exalted far above all gods!

He Shall Know of the Doctrine

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

“If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself” (John 7:17 KJV).

One of the Bible’s prevailing teachings is mankind’s free will. God is God, whether or not mankind wants to acknowledge it. Man can choose to cooperate with God, or he can decide to work against Him. Either way, God’s will—His “eternal purpose” (Ephesians 3:11)—will still be accomplished.

In today’s Scripture, the Lord Jesus Christ speaks of individuals who “will do [God’s] will.” If someone truly desires to do God’s will, the Bible says that God will give him or her the capacity to first know His will. No one will be without excuse because everyone has a chance to know God’s will. Those who do not want to know the will of God will remain in spiritual ignorance (Romans 1:18-32).

There were many ignorant Jews during Christ’s earthly ministry. These Jews viewed Jesus Christ as a devil-possessed, mentally disturbed imposter (Matthew 9:34; Matthew 12:24; Mark 3:21-23; John 9:16; et al.). In their sinfulness, they refused to acknowledge the truth (that He was their Messiah), so they remained spiritually blind. But, those who wanted to see God’s truth saw and believed it (Jesus’ apostles and disciples).

The context of today’s Scripture explains that as Jesus taught in temple (verses 14,15), “the Jews marveled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?” Rather than focusing on the doctrine Jesus taught, His audience was sidetracked, bewildered by His literacy! (Ridiculous!)

If you want to know if what you are reading here is true, ask God (that is, refer to His written Word, the Bible). Jesus told His audience that if they wanted to know if He was telling the truth (speaking on behalf of God), or lying (speaking of Himself), they could find out. They were to compare His doctrine to what they knew from the Old Testament (there was no New Testament written at that time).

So, do you will to know God’s doctrine? You have the Bible, so you are without excuse.

A Memory and a Reality

Saturday, December 31, 2011

“But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel;” (Philippians 1:12 KJV).

What a prosperous ministry year it has been, beloved! How we thank our heavenly Father for the opportunities we had to teach, verbally and through writing, the precious truths of His Word to family, friends, acquaintances, professors, classmates, and complete strangers. We can only wonder how many souls were edified and saved worldwide.

Interestingly, during the past year, our newspaper ministry, this devotional blog’s “predecessor,” saw its final months. We are grateful to have had opportunity to publish Bible studies in a weekly newspaper column. (A few weeks after that avenue was discontinued in May, this devotional blog was launched. So, had the newspaper column not been cancelled, you would have never even read this blog!)

Despite the great stress, extreme heartache, persecution, and months of severe depression, we rejoice that the Gospel of the Grace of God still went forth for His glory. We agree with our Apostle Paul, who wrote in today’s Scripture that God’s Word will be published, especially during difficult times. In Paul’s case, God allowed Paul to be imprisoned so he could preach the Gospel there (Philippians 1:7,13,14)! Indeed, our suffering was well worth it. 🙂

Saints, how we thank God for “your fellowship in the gospel” (Philippians 1:3-5). We are bound to thank you, whose fervent prayers encouraged us during those painful months. By God’s grace, which has borne us thus far, we will continue to endure and we cannot wait to see what the Lord will do next year! We ask for your continued prayer, for we will face even more satanic opposition in the upcoming year.

As 2011 fades into the recesses of memory, and 2012 becomes a reality, we should keep this sound doctrine in mind: Like the difficulties of this past year, the things which [will happen unto us will fall out] rather unto the furtherance of the gospel!” Lord willing, in 2012, we hope to “continue fighting the good fight of faith…” no matter what else it may cost us (1 Timothy 6:12).

HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM arC MINISTRIES!

Bethlehem Ephratah

Thursday, December 22, 2011

“But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2 KJV).

Today’s Scripture, written about 700 B.C., prophesies the exact birthplace of Israel’s Messiah. Notice the Bible is very specific. “Bethlehem Ephratah specifies the Bethlehem in southern Israel (there was another Bethlehem, in Galilee, northern Israel). Bethlehem of Judaea, as today’s Scripture teaches, is “little among the thousands of Judah” (a little-known village).

The Bible tells us that Bethlehem Ephratah was the birthplace of King David (1 Samuel 16:1-18). John 7:42 reads: “Hath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was?” Recall that Jesus Christ will inherit His father David’s throne, and that David is a type (preview/shadow) of Jesus Christ (Isaiah 9:6,7; Luke 1:31-33). Thus, they share Bethlehem Ephratah as their birthplace (cf. Luke 2:4).

“Bethlehem” is an interesting word. Jesus Christ likened Himself to the manna of the Old Testament. He claimed, “For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world…. I am that bread of life: I am the bread which came down from heaven…. I am that bread of life” (John 6:33,35,41,48). Jesus was born in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:1,5,6): “Bethlehem” is Hebrew for “house of bread.” Thus, the “Bread of Life,” Jesus Christ, was born in the “House of Bread,” Bethlehem. Fascinating!

Furthermore, Joseph (Jesus’ legal father) lived in Nazareth. When Roman emperor Caesar Augustus sent out a decree for taxing the people of the empire (conducting a census), Joseph had to leave Nazareth and go to Bethlehem of Judaea, taking pregnant Mary with him (Luke 2:1-5). Christ was born there in Bethlehem. Some 700 years beforehand, the Bible knew Joseph and Mary would not be in Nazareth for Christ’s birth, but in Bethlehem, thereby fulfilling the prophecy of today’s Scripture. Amazing!

These are evidences that the Bible is a supernatural Book—it is God’s Book.

Was It a White Christmas?

Monday, December 19, 2011

“And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night” (Luke 2:7,8 KJV).

Religious tradition demands Christmas is Christ’s birthday. Was our Lord Jesus really born in wintertime? Today’s Scripture replies with an emphatic NO. According to the Bible, on the night of Jesus’ birth, there were shepherds out in the fields watching their flock. Would shepherds be abiding outside on a cold winter’s (perhaps snowy) night? This is only one line of biblical evidence that Jesus was not born on Christmas. However, there is a biblical significance to late December.

God had commanded Israel through Moses that Jews were to celebrate many feasts year-round. One of them was the Feast of Tabernacles, observed during late September/early October. During this seven-day feast, Jews were to dwell in “booths” (tents, tabernacles) (Leviticus 23:39-44; Nehemiah 8:13-18).

The Bible likens our physical bodies to “tabernacles” for our souls and spirits (2 Corinthians 5:1-4; 2 Peter 1:13-15). Furthermore, Isaiah 40:22 says God “spreadeth [the heavens] out as a tent to dwell in:” God created the universe so He could dwell in it, specifically on a little planet… earth. When Jesus Christ was born, “the Word was made flesh [God became a man], and dwelt among us [He “tabernacled” in a human body]” (John 1:14). Jesus Christ came to tabernacle/abide with mankind on earth, to establish that earthly kingdom prophesied throughout the Old Testament!

To make the Word flesh (for Jesus Christ to be a man), God’s Holy Spirit conceived a physical body inside of the virgin Mary, a body in which Jesus’ Spirit could dwell (Matthew 1:18-20; Luke 1:35; Hebrews 10:5-9). Jesus was named “Immanuel,” or “God [dwelling] with us” (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23). As we will see in tomorrow’s devotional, the Bible indicates that Jesus was conceivednot born—in late December. Jesus Christ was actually born in late September (coinciding with the Feast of Tabernacles).

Stability for Your Christian Life

Saturday, December 10, 2011

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58 KJV).

Today’s Scripture is my mom’s favorite verse (today is her birthday—she will be reading this!). Consider the doctrine contained therein:

  • “Therefore”—Because we have “victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (verse 57)….
  • “My beloved brethren” — This is the love of Christ that all members of the Body of Christ have for one another (Romans 12:10; Romans 13:8-10; 1 Corinthians 16:24; et al.).
  • “Be ye stedfast, unmoveable”“Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might (Ephesians 6:10). “…Strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully persuaded that, what [God] had promised, he was able also to perform (Romans 4:20b,21). “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you [behave] like men, be strong(1 Corinthians 16:13). Read 2 Timothy 2:1: be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” Colossians 1:23: “Continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel(cf. Ephesians 4:11-16).
  • “Always abounding in the work of the Lord” — We are “[God’s] workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works” (Ephesians 2:10). “For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building” (1 Corinthians 3:9). God is doing something awesome today. As workmen,” we participate in His activities by placing our faith in His Word to us. He will then use that sound doctrine to work mightily in us (Philippians 1:6; Philippians 2:13; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 2:15).
  • “Forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” — The key to being “stedfast,” “unmoveable,” and “always abounding in the work of the Lord” is found here, the latter part of the verse. “Forasmuch” means “since; because.” Because we know that our Christian service is not a waste of time, we (by having faith in that hope) are “stedfast,” “unmoveable,” and “always abounding in the work of the Lord.”

-Dedicated to my mom, Paula Brasseaux-
Happy birthday Mom!

Like the Most High

Sunday, November 27, 2011

“…I will be like the most High” (Isaiah 14:14b KJV).

Satan (Lucifer speaking in today’s Scripture) is the arch-nemesis of God. The devil is the master counterfeiter. Notice:

  1. False witnesses (Psalm 27:12; Matthew 26:60,61) cf. the Lord’s witnesses (John 8:14; Acts 5:32).
  2. False visions (Jeremiah 14:14) cf. the Lord’s visions (Ezekiel 1:1).
  3. False dreams (Jeremiah 23:32) cf. the Lord’s dreams (Matthew 2:12,13).
  4. False prophets (Mark 13:22; 1 John 4:1) cf. the Lord’s prophets (Ephesians 3:5).
  5. False Christs (Matthew 24:24) cf. the Lord’s Christ (Psalm 2:2; Luke 2:26).
  6. False apostles (2 Corinthians 11:13) cf. the Lord’s apostles (Luke 11:46).
  7. False brethren (2 Corinthians 11:26; Galatians 2:4) cf. the Christian brethren (Philippians 1:14).
  8. False ministers (2 Corinthians 11:14,15) cf. the Lord’s minister to us, Paul (Romans 15:16).
  9. False gospels (Galatians 1:6-9; 2 Corinthians 11:3,4) cf. Paul’s Gospel (Acts 20:24; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4; 2 Timothy 2:8).
  10. False doctrines (1 Timothy 4:1) cf. Paul’s doctrines (1 Corinthians 11:1; 1 Corinthians 14:37; 2 Timothy 2:7).
  11. False wonders, miracles, and signs (2 Thessalonians 2:9; Revelation 13:13,14) cf. the Lord’s wonders, miracles, and signs (Mark 16:17-20; Acts 2:22).
  12. False spirits (1 John 4:1-6) cf. the Holy Spirit/Spirit of Christ (1 Peter 1:11; 2 Peter 1:21).
  13. False Bibles (2 Corinthians 2:17; 2 Thessalonians 2:2)—“as from us” indicates a letter appearing to be from the Apostle Paul, but it was actually a forged epistle because it contained false doctrine that troubled the Thessalonians—cf. God’s Bible (1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 4:12).

Satan knows that as long as you focus on his counterfeits, you will ignore God’s original. To Satan’s delight, whenever Israel would worship pagan gods, she would ignore the true God. As long as the Church the Body of Christ does not believe nor know of the things that God has specifically for us, then God cannot use us for His glory and purposes. Saints, be discerning, for Satan’s “cunning craftiness” abounds (Ephesians 4:14; cf. 2 Corinthians 11:3,4) and hold fast to the rightly divided King James Bible so you will not be deceived by the counterfeits.