A Life That Will Please

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20 KJV).

Today’s Scripture tells us who alone can live a life pleasing in God’s sight!

Everyone does “good” deeds. Yet, doing “good” is not necessarily good. For instance, people often do “good” just to receive praise/reward, make up for their wrongs, feel good, et cetera. Furthermore, despite our “good” deeds, we have plenty more bad ones! Pride, lying, evil thoughts, being a false witness, and being contentious are some of the things the LORD hates (Proverbs 6:16-19).

Mankind cannot even keep 10 simple rules from God. However, religion continues to urge us to keep seven sacraments, utter various prayers, give assorted offerings and “tithes,” attend numerous feasts and festivals, and perform sundry other tasks to “hopefully” please God and avoid hellfire. Whether we attempt to keep a church’s laws, our laws, or God’s laws, our flesh is far too weak to ever measure up. Just look at what God’s religion did to Israel—how much worse some man-made religion does to us!

As Saul of Tarsus, the Apostle Paul was a Pharisee, a religious leader of Israel. He was a nitpicker concerning Law-keeping, and yet, after his soul salvation, he admitted that all of his religion was “but dung” compared to Jesus Christ’s righteousness (Philippians 3:3-11). Even for the Christian, to live a perfect life is impossible (read of Paul’s miserable existence in Romans chapter 7). Paul had to forsake his vain religion and learn today’s Scripture: the Christian life is NOT the performance of the Christian, but the Lord Jesus Christ living and working in the Christian, as the Christian walks in an intelligent understanding of God’s Word to him or her!

If we trust a Saviour who will save—the Lord Jesus Christ—and trust a Book that will teach—the King James Bible—we can redeem the year for the great God and our Saviour, “who loved [us], and gave himself for [us]!” 🙂

Redeem the Year!

Sunday, January 1, 2023

“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:15-17 KJV).

What great advice for 2023!

Despite 2,000 years of Bible schools and seminaries, 2,000 years of a completed Bible canon, 2,000 years of Bible reading in churches, several decades of “Christian” television and radio, and just over a decade of widespread use of “Christian” websites, how sad that Bible ignorance is still quite extensive (it is as if God never gave His Word to start with!).

Frankly, the Church the Body of Christ needs to wake up! The verse previous to today’s Scripture says, “Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light” (verse 14). Paul, loosely quoting Isaiah 60:1, reminded us that the spiritual ignorance that gripped Israel in Isaiah’s day seized Christians in his day—and it still grips Christians 20 centuries later. Feel-good sermons, enjoyable “worship” services, and rites, rituals, and ceremonies will NOT solve this problem—they exacerbate it!

“[God] will have all men to be saved…” (1 Timothy 2:4a). Do you want this New Year to count for God’s glory? First, you need to get saved from sins and hell! You need to become a Christian by trusting in and relying on Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as sufficient payment for your sins (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). That is only part of God’s will for you, for 1 Timothy 2:4b continues, “[God] will have all men… to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” Now, God’s will for your Christian life is daily, personal Bible study to renew your mind, so your faith in those verses can cause God to work in your life—it will be His life, thus making you “perfect [spiritually mature], throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16,17).

Today’s Scripture urges us to buy back the time Satan has robbed from God (time created for God’s glory). By faith, we need to make that time glorify the Lord Jesus Christ by applying His Word, particularly Paul’s epistles of Romans through Philemon, to our lives. Have a good year in Christ! 🙂

You can download our free “One-Year Bible Reading Schedule.”

See our archived Bible Q&A: “What Scriptural advice can you give me for the New Year?

The Person of the Year

Saturday, December 31, 2022

“Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow…” (Philippians 2:9,10a KJV).

Let us praise the 2022 Person of the Year—our Lord Jesus Christ!

Society’s most stressful time of year, the Christmas Season, is winding down. The year 2022 is nearly over, and a new year, 2023, will dawn soon. At this time every year, various groups and publications feature their particular choice for “Person of the Year.” Whether a chief of state, a philanthropist, a religious leader, a distinguished author or scientist, a television or radio personality, or some other “professional” who impacted society in a negative or positive way the most during the past year, they are all still people with limitations and frailties. One can accomplish all sorts of praiseworthy, generous, and awe-inspiring feats. However, what carries the most weight is the attitude, the heart, underlying the action, not the action. Was it Jesus Christ, or simply the flesh?

The one single event in history that pleased God the Father most was when His beloved Son, Jesus Christ, went by faith in His Word, to an awful Roman cross to suffer the worst possible and most graphic death a human ever experienced, to pay for our sins. “Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased (Mark 1:11). It is through that finished crosswork of Jesus Christ that He is still doing mighty works, 20 centuries later. How our Lord Jesus Christ has saved countless souls from sins and hell this past year, and how He has saved innumerable Christian souls from false doctrine and spiritual ruin.

Jesus Christ, who in death defeated His greatest enemy (Satan), was raised by God the Father and is now the ascended and glorified Lord Jesus Christ (today’s Scripture). Saints, may we ever thank and praise our Saviour Jesus Christ for what He has done for us, what He has done with us, and what He will do with us next year… and all the countless ages thereafter….

NOTE: Saints, believe it or not, we close yet another year of grace ministry. Thank you for your continued prayer and encouragement these last 12 months. We surely needed it. While we have come so very far, we still have so much more ground to cover, so much more sound Bible doctrine to learn and believe, and we look forward to serving you here for at least another year (provided our Lord Jesus Christ wills it). So, with that, I sign off for 2022. See you in 2023! 🙂

Scrooges and Christians

Friday, December 16, 2022

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV).

To the old identity, we say, “Bah, Humbug!” To the new, we say, “God has blessed us, everyone in Christ.”

Other than Jesus Christ’s conception and birth as found in the Holy Bible, there is one other classic story associated with Christmastime. British author Charles Dickens’ 1843 book, A Christmas Carol, focuses on the transformation of Ebenezer Scrooge (the novella has some Christian influence).

From the onset, Scrooge is a wealthy, miserable, mean, stingy, and selfish old man. His employee, Bob Cratchit, is underpaid (yet, strangely, Ebenezer observes, Cratchit is cheerful). Scrooge refuses to donate to charities collecting for the destitute—to him, Christmastime is a time for others to “pick his pocket.” He even refuses to attend his nephew’s Christmas party. What a miser!

Through visitations by four Spirits—his deceased business partner, Jacob Marley; and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Future—Scrooge is forced to realize what a thoroughly rotten man he is. Once confronted with his future, the awful events that lie ahead, he asks for another chance to make things right (which, thankfully, he receives and does!). The Scrooge at the end of the book is drastically different from the Scrooge at the beginning. Scrooge is now loving, warm, cheerful, and generous—he is a brand-new man.

Bible-believing Christians recognize parallels between Dickens’ work and the Holy Scriptures. The sinner starts off rotten, a rebel from birth—selfish, miserable, and mean. When he or she comes to realize that pitiful condition he or she is in, and comes by simple faith in Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork as sufficient payment for their sins, God gives him or her a new identity (today’s Scripture). That identity is designed to influence subsequent actions. Scrooge did not simply change his outward activity; he had a change in heart first. This Christmas, let us be submissive to God’s Holy Spirit working in our hearts, as He uses sound Bible doctrine to manifest in our behavior our identity in Christ, that we be not Scrooges.

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing #5

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

“For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:14-17 KJV).

The final verse of the classic Christmas carol highlights today’s Scripture.

“Adam’s likeness, Lord, efface,
Stamp Thine image in its place:
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in Thy love.
Let us Thee, though lost, regain,
Thee, the Life, the inner man:
O, to all Thyself impart,
Formed in each believing heart.
Hark! The herald angels sing,
Glory to the newborn King!”

Religion has done an excellent job (wrongly) teaching us that God likes to rehabilitate humans—that He wants to make us quit doing certain things (“fleshly”) and make us start doing other things (“churchy”). What a very shallow, and actually a false, perception. God wants to do much more than what we could ever do by ourselves.

For good works to reign in our lives, God has to kill us! As sinners, in Adam, we are dead in our trespasses and sins, no life in ourselves (see today’s Scripture). Nothing we can do in our own strength will ever change our (sinful) nature in Adam. However, God offers us death to Adam and a new identity through Christ at Calvary. When we trust that Jesus Christ died for our sins, in God’s mind, we died to sin, too. Christ did not simply die for us but as us. Romans chapters 5 through 8 describe the victory is in Christ, not in Adam or in ourselves. Success is by the power of the Holy Ghost working with the grace doctrines we study and believe, not in our struggles to do right. And so, “Christ [is] formed in [us]” (Galatians 4:19).

Something about which the angels cannot sing, but we can, should, and do! 🙂

Tornado Day

Saturday, October 29, 2022 🌪️

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain (Philippians 1:21 KJV).

Exactly 20 years ago today, I awoke to some startling news….

I had been a high school student for two months. One particular morning, Mom woke me up early to inform me I would not be going to school that day. She had learned from a local television news broadcast that a tornado had just touched down at my school’s campus and caused significant damage. Heavy cinderblock walls had been toppled into some classrooms. The walls and roof of the gymnasium had collapsed and the multipurpose room—another enormous structure—had also fallen inward. If that tornado had come just a few hours later, students (including me) and teachers would have been there to be seriously injured or killed!

Out of school for almost two weeks, all 400 of us finally relocated to a nearby abandoned school campus. This small place had been renovated especially for us. To make up for lost time, we even had some Saturday classes. Being in that new, cramped environment was definitely stressful for all of us. We were not able to return to our old school until the next school year some 10 months later. “Tornado Day” and its ensuing trials seem only like yesterday, so it is hard to fathom 20 years have passed!

Dear saints, the above account illustrates how quickly life can change because of this sin-cursed world (also see Luke 12:16-21 and James 4:13-15). Natural disasters, illnesses, financial losses, broken relationships, and even physical death will come our way if the Lord tarries. We are “creatures of habit,” meaning we grow extremely accustomed to our surroundings and are greatly displeased when adjustments must be made. Though tomorrow’s challenges are uncertain, we can join our Apostle Paul in today’s Scripture: “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” In fact, he was writing as a prisoner (see the “bonds” [chains, shackles] of chapter 1, verses 7,13,14,16). When a “Tornado Day” comes our way, remember that it is our opportunity to let Jesus Christ live His life in and through us. Even if we lose our physical life during those conditions, we have still gained Heaven! 🙂

The Ravings of a Madman! #2

Saturday, October 8, 2022

“And the multitude cometh together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread. And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself” (Mark 3:20,21 KJV).

Who here is “beside himself?” Why has this designation been applied?

Observe Ephesians chapter 4: “[17] This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, [18] Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: [19] Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness [rampant/wild/unrestrained acts], to work all uncleanness with greediness.” Like Romans 1:18-32, this is the description of the world’s nations ever since the Tower of Babel 4,000 years ago.

While the LORD God was dealing with and imparting spiritual light to Israel (Romans 2:17-24; Romans 3:1,2; Romans 9:3-5), He had given the Gentiles (non-Jews) over to Satan and sin’s darkness (Acts 14:15-17; Acts 17:22-31; Ephesians 2:11,12). That was “time past.” However, with the “but now,” the Apostle Paul’s ministry, salvation and blessing from Israel’s God were now going to the Gentiles without Israel’s national conversion and without her rise to kingdom glory (see Romans 11:11-14; cf. Isaiah 60:1-3).

Paul’s converts, including the saints in Ephesus, were to no longer think and live like lost people because they no longer were lost people. They were now fellowshipping with the one true God through Jesus Christ’s heavenly ministry (Paul’s ministry). Ephesians chapter 4 resumes: “[20] But ye have not so learned Christ; [21] If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: [22] That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; [23] And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; [24] And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”

That evil world system to which lost Gentiles belong, Israelites during Christ’s earthly ministry had allowed it to contaminate their own nation, causing Israel to have a negative view of Jesus Christ Himself (today’s Scripture)….

The Ravings of a Madman! #1

Friday, October 7, 2022

“And the multitude cometh together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread. And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself” (Mark 3:20,21 KJV).

Who here is “beside himself?” Why has this designation been applied?

Throughout the last 20 centuries, believers in the Lord Jesus Christ have been ridiculed (and even tortured, imprisoned, and murdered!) for their alleged “craziness.” It is not uncommon for the lost family members and friends of new Christians to reply even now, “What in the world happened to you?! You have completely lost it, you are totally flipped out, you are utterly fanatical!

Imagine the pious lady who walked to her local “church” every day for 30 years before finally realizing she was in a cult and headed for Hell. Someone told her about the Gospel of Grace, she trusted it, and how bizarre it was that she never again visited her long-time “assembly.” (True story!) Consider the former marijuana-plant grower now talking about the Lord Jesus Christ. Friends and relatives could not fathom such a change. (True story!) Think of the woman who, having just trusted Jesus Christ as her personal Saviour, was so excited to share that good news with her religious—but unsaved—mother. Content to be lost, the mother exclaimed, “Stop talking about ‘God’ so much!” (True story!) Imagine the man who met an old classmate after many years apart: when she asked what he had done with his life, he replied that he was a pastor, so she rejoined in disbelief, “You?!” (True story!) Think of the drunkard couple, once dead in trespasses and sins, now alive in Christ and sober—their relatives stunned at the reversal. (True story!)

When the God of the Bible is at work in souls, people look and act differently. The change is unmistakable. Their thoughts and conduct show improvement; they bear no resemblance to what they used to be. To unregenerate people, they appear to be lunatic, mad, crazy, insane (their minds left behind). If we happen to be labeled as such, so be it….

Talking With Dictation Taken

Monday, September 26, 2022

“The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness” (Proverbs 15:2 KJV).

We can talk with sense—or talk nonsense….

One researcher estimated the average person spends in excess of 13 years talking overall. Roughly 18,000 words are used during daily conversation—equivalent to a 54-page book. Annually, each person generally speaks over 6.5 million words—some 66 books of 300 pages each! The most talkative men can utter more than 47,000 words a day—a staggering 17 million words every year (66 books of 770 pages each). Concerning the least talkative people, they may speak as few as 500 words daily—approximately one 550-page book a year.

Dear friends, if the above “books” of our individual days and entire lifetimes were actually printed and available for purchase, would we care to buy them and read them ourselves? Under what genres (categories) would they be listed—fiction, romance, thriller, satire, drama, spirituality, horror, mystery? Having read what we spoke that day, or even that lifetime, would we be proud of those words or ashamed and wishing a “do-over?”

The following has been rightly observed: since we have two ears and one mouth, we ought to listen twice as much as we speak. This is wise counsel that parents should especially impart to their children. We would also be prudent to take particular care that we are “using knowledge aright [properly],” not “pouring out foolishness” (today’s Scripture). Are we communicating sound Bible doctrine we read and heard (good), or something else we read and heard (evil)?

Addressing unbelieving Israel, the Lord Jesus Christ alerted: “O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto you, That every idle [unprofitable, useless, worthless, unhelpful] word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned” (Matthew 12:34-37). The world’s people would do quite well to remember their words are being recorded—those aforementioned “books” exist!!!

Bible Q&A #995: “What is a ‘latchet?’

Saved or Lost? #25

Sunday, September 25, 2022

“My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you” (Galatians 4:19,20 KJV).

Are these people really saved—or really lost?

They were really saved people, just thinking and acting like lost people. Such is still true of millions! Had God’s Word rightly divided actually been received and believed in the heart, we the Church the Body of Christ would be walking in God’s power and will: “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe (1 Thessalonians 2:13).

While the number of genuine Christians has always been low, the percentage of confused Christians has always been high. It is not that “Satan is so powerful,” but rather they have allowed his evil world system to place them into a mold of silly thoughts and unsightly deeds. The Holy Spirit wishes true believers in Christ heed His advice in Romans 12:1,2: “I beseech you therefore, brethren [Christians!!!], by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world [it can happen!!!]: 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.”

We close with the following true story. Several years ago, I tried to prevent it but nevertheless witnessed it come to pass. It was the fall of my spiritual mentor, someone under whose ministry I trained for over a decade and whom I still love dearly in the Lord. The entire controversy was painful and devastating beyond words, but, lest I fall with that grace Christian leader, I had to separate from him because of his apostasy (willful doctrinal error and unapologetic dishonesty and treachery). Indeed, we will meet in Heaven and only then will we be restored to fellowship, two saved men whose ministries Satan’s evil world system targeted—one destroyed and the other still not immune from ruin!

-FINIS!-