Growing, Multiplying, and Prevailing

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

“And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:31 KJV).

Despite the persecution, the Word of God will be proclaimed, it will grow, it will multiply, and it will prevail!

In chapter 3, Apostles Peter and John heal the lame man who has sat at the Temple gate for many years. Peter begins to deliver his second sermon in Jerusalem, urging apostate Israel to repent and prepare for (resurrected) Jesus Christ’s return. As chapter 4 opens, the nation’s religious leaders are very displeased to hear about the Lord Jesus. They imprison Peter and John, releasing them after threatening them and telling them not to preach at all in Jesus’ name. Today’s Scripture is believing Israel’s prayer to God that they might speak His Word with confidence in the midst of mistreatment.

We read in Acts 6:7, several months later: “And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.” Once chapter 12 begins, King Herod kills the Apostle James brother of John. He is trying to silence God’s message by slaying God’s messenger. As prideful Herod gives a speech, “immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten with worms, and gave up the ghost” (verse 23). In contrast to its now-deceased opponent, But the word of God grew and multiplied” (verse 24). Describing the Apostle Paul’s Gentile ministry out in modern Turkey, far from Jerusalem, Acts 19:20 says: “So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.” These pagans gave up their witchcraft and other occult practices, and they embraced sound Bible doctrine!

While Satan throughout the Book of Acts tried his absolute best to stamp out God’s Word, to prevent it from spreading, he failed. It “prevailed.” However, he is active today, 20 centuries later, still tirelessly opposing it via governmental oppression and corrupting it through religious tradition. As Acts demonstrates, however, he is fighting a losing battle! Praise the Lord! Like before, “so mightily grew the word of God and prevailed!

Inside Not Outside

Monday, October 9, 2017

“But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7 KJV).

Whether 3,000 years ago or right now, today’s Scripture is one still worth memorizing!

A dear Christian lady once entered a church building. Having very little money, she wore the best outfit she owned. After the services, the pastor and his wife approached her. They informed her that she was not welcome to return because her clothes were not good enough! Deeply offended, she wanted nothing to do with Christianity or the Bible for a long time. (I recently ministered to her.)

I explained to the lady that that denominational church was too focused on externalism, formalism, outward appearances. While we should definitely dress modestly and sensibly, our financial situation may not permit us to buy expensive clothing. Furthermore, it is most unbecoming of a pastor to ban people from church services simply because they cannot afford nicer clothes. What if this physically poor person was really a spiritually poor person interested in coming to know Jesus Christ as his or her personal Saviour? Is God going to bar from Heaven one who cannot afford formal attire? No, the people kept out of Heaven are those depending on their self-righteousness, those who wear spiritual “fig-leaf” garments! Never forget, dear friends, that outward beauty does not make null and void ugly hearts of unbelief!

Thankfully, the God of the Bible looks beyond social standings, nationalities, physical sizes and shapes, ethnicities, wardrobes, financial statuses, romantic lives, faces, and external behaviors. Today’s Scripture says He looks on the inside—specifically the heart. The heart is part of our soul, the innermost region of our spiritual makeup where we make decisions (exercise faith or unbelief). Romans 10:10a says: “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness….” Hebrews 11:6 reminds us: “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Can you explain Genesis 4:7?

The Common Man Needs to Hear

Sunday, October 8, 2017

“Therefore go thou, and read in the roll [scroll/volume/book], which thou hast written from my mouth, the words of the LORD in the ears of the people in the LORD’S house upon the fasting day: and also thou shalt read them in the ears of all Judah that come out of their cities” (Jeremiah 36:6 KJV).

All should hear the LORD God’s words!

Early English Bible translator William Tyndale penned (early 1500s): “I have perceived by experience how it is impossible to establish the lay people in any truth, except the Scriptures were plainly laid before their eyes in their mother tongue, that they might see the process, order, and meaning of the text.”

Mark 12:37 says, “…And the common people heard him gladly.” Scripture says the lay people “heard [the Lord Jesus Christ] gladly.” Their religious leaders, who should have taught them God’s Word, withheld it. The ordinary Jews had been so thoroughly starved of truth for so many decades. Consequently, the nation as a whole was unable to recognize Jesus as Messiah/Christ. Now that salvation has “come unto the Gentiles” through the Apostle Paul’s ministry (Romans 11:11-13), God wants the “common people” of all nations” to hear His Word plainly in their native language. Brother Tyndale thus labored so tirelessly to give us our English Bible rendered from the original Hebrew and Greek. In fact, we “common people” can be grateful that 75% to 85% of our King James Bible is actually Tyndale’s translation.

Bible translation is ever so important, as it gives we “common people” of the world the opportunity to have God’s words in our native tongue. Romans 1:5: “By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:….” Romans chapter 16: “[25] Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, [26] But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:….”

Brethren, may we faithfully translate God’s words into the languages of the “common people” of “all nations.”

Love in Discipline

Saturday, October 7, 2017

“He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes” (Proverbs 13:24 KJV).

People ages 20 to 40 years old—“the Millennials”—are tremendously misguided. Today’s Scripture makes it unmistakably clear who is partly responsible for such an unfortunate dilemma that permeates our society.

Friend, if you listen to, read, and/or watch the Millennials (especially on their online, social-media platforms), you will recognize very few have a healthy worldview. Usually, they are emotionally-driven, naïve, indoctrinated individuals. As a Millennial myself, I see most of my peers holding to an extremely perverted sense of reality. They have been so thoroughly educated in colleges and universities to share their professors’ philosophies. In fact, they believe the world revolves around them—that they are entitled to have their way every time. It takes little to make them protest, rail, scream, vandalize, riot, and even weep and literally throw tantrums like spoiled brats!

Once, an older Christian complained about today’s foolish young people. When I asked him if he educated his own children in the Scriptures during their upbringing, he had nothing to say! Make no mistake, dear friends: we make our own decisions, and God holds us responsible for them. However, there is more than enough blame to fall on the parents. What, oh what, did the Millennials learn at home? Their parents grumble they were misled at institutions of “higher learning,” but what morals and values did they teach those children before they attended school? Why grow upset with people who taught your children what they believed and deemed important, when you did not think your beliefs were worth passing on to those children before college?

Were the Millennials ever taught right and wrong at home? Concerning most, the answer is a resounding NO! Today’s Scripture, dear friends, says that a parent disciplining a child with corporal punishment—spanking—is an act of love. To forbear (avoid) such punishment is really hatred. Furthermore, that correction is to start “betimes” (early), not when the children are too advanced in years and “set in their ways.” “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture [encouragement] and admonition [warning/advice] of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).

The Things to Think About

Friday, October 6, 2017

“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” (Philippians 4:8 KJV).

Behold, the things to think about!

Recently, a dear Christian brother phoned me. As our conversation progressed, he told me how he had been suffering major anxiety. We began to talk about the Scriptures. Near the end, he told me how he had become calmer. I explained to him that our minds are designed to only think about one subject at a time. If the Scriptures can “distract” us during our anxiety, then our worries melt into peace. Of course, our mind will wander from the Bible. Therefore, we will have to remember and repeat today’s Scripture.

When the new generation of Israelites prepared to enter the Promised Land under Joshua, the LORD said: “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate [think/ponder/consider] therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success” (Joshua 1:8). As long as the Jews were mindful “day and night” of the Mosaic Law, God’s Word to them, Satan’s false doctrine could not sidetrack or deceive them. God’s Word not only educates, but also furnishes us with something about which to think.

Just prior to today’s Scripture, the Holy Spirit said: “[6] Be careful [anxious, worrisome] 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.” The verse following today’s Scripture says: “Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me [Paul], do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”

Dear readers, when we think on God’s Word rightly divided, praying in accordance with it, then the Devil’s efforts to disorient and terrify us will be greatly hindered. “Think on these things!” 🙂

Light Bulbs and Lenses #10

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

“The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple” (Psalm 119:130 KJV).

Light… bright… lenses… sight!

Dear friends, in this world of intensifying spiritual darkness, God’s Word rightly divided provides us great light. Yea, in this world of increasing obscurity, we can be blessed with great understanding from God’s words dispensationally understood. For us English-speaking people, the rightly divided King James Bible is a brilliant beacon in these times of abounding uncertainty, mass confusion, and widespread ignorance.

The Holy Spirit will teach us using the Holy Bible, provided that we pay special attention to His words spoken through the Apostle Paul. First Corinthians 2:13 says, “Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” And, 2 Timothy 2:7: “Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.” Finally, today’s Scripture: “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.”

Dear brethren, as we let God’s grace teach us, we are, “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;…” (Titus 2:13). The earthly life we have in Christ now will continue into eternity future, the heavenly places. God the Holy Spirit illuminates us about this and other important Christian truths, as Ephesians chapter 1 says: “[17] That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: [18] The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,….”

In light of Pauline revelation, we understand that we are the Church the Body of Christ, never to be confused with the nation Israel. We are under grace, not law, thus free to walk in the victorious identity given us in Christ. Sin does not have to reign over us. We can enjoy God’s life, now and forever. As long as we respond positively to the spiritual light we have, God will honor that and give us more… light… bright… lenses… sight! 🙂

Light Bulbs and Lenses #9

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

“The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple” (Psalm 119:130 KJV).

Light… bright… lenses… sight!

Most church members believe successful Christian living involves keeping the 10 Commandments, remembering the Beatitudes, following the “Golden Rule,” et cetera. Nonetheless, when the Holy Spirit through Paul spoke about Christian living, He said the teacher was God’s Grace, not God’s Law.

Titus chapter 2 again: “[11] For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men [12] Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; [13] … the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; [14] Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” Alas, even many “grace believers” have a shallow understanding of grace. Their misconduct causes other Christians (and even lost people) to cling to strict rules and regulations even more. Grace does not save us according to how we live, but it should influence how we live.

Romans chapter 6 is what grace teaches: “[6] Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. [7] For he that is dead is freed from sin. [8] Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: [9] Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. [10] For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.

“[11] Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. [12] Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. [13] Neither yield ye your members [body parts] as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. [14] For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

We conclude this devotionals arc….

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