In Every Thing Give Thanks

Thursday, November 23, 2017

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you (1 Thessalonians 5:18 KJV).

Dear saints, take a moment this Thanksgiving to learn a valuable lesson from the Holy Scriptures!

God wants “all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3,4). To be “saved” here means you have been rescued from the penalty of sin (hell and the lake of fire), and that you have a home in heaven, because you have trusted the death, shed blood, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ as sufficient payment for your sins. To “come unto the knowledge of the truth” is when a person who has trusted Christ, begins to understand why God saved him or her, and how God will use him or her for His glory. Although soul salvation is instantaneous, spiritual maturity is a life-long process (that is especially true regarding handling difficulties, the grace way!).

It is human nature to avoid difficulties and stress, to flee them, rather than confront them. This self-preservation is advantageous, particularly in “life or death” situations. However, running from troubling circumstances is not the way God has designed our life in Christ to function. Today’s Scripture says, In every thing give thanks,” notFor every thing give thanks.” We do not thank God for our troubles; we thank God while we are enduring those troubles. This is tough, I know, but it takes time for us to learn it. Even the Apostle Paul had to learn this.

“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. 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. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:11-13).

Be thankful in every thing. God’s grace is sufficient for you, dear saint, in all of life’s circumstances. When you learn this, you are “[coming] unto the knowledge of the truth.”

*Excerpted from our Thanksgiving 2012 Bible study with the same name. That study can be read here or watched here.

You may also see, “What are our spiritual blessings in Christ?

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!” 🙂

Graduated!

Monday, August 21, 2017

“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13 KJV).

Death is never easy, but the death of a Christian is easier. It is somewhat easier when an aged person dies, but a young person’s decease is quite difficult. Yet, if that young person was “in Christ,” that death is easier to bear.

Recently, an online friend passed on to Heaven after a long battle with cancer. She was only 18 years old. Even though she suffered much, she was a strong testimony for God’s grace. As her friends struggled with trying to reconcile how God could let His saint grow so horrifically ill, she reminded them that, while Father God has redeemed our souls, He has yet to redeem our bodies from sin’s curse. A firm foundation in the Bible rightly divided caused her to rejoice even in the midst of great trouble. While we are secure in Christ, there is no guarantee we will meet our Lord without first experiencing unspeakable bodily infirmities. An aged ministry coworker just told me his aching body was “falling apart.”

I just read the obituary of a dear saint whose Bible studies benefited me. The article was certainly written from the grace perspective. It began by saying that the brother “‘graduated’ on… to be with his Lord whom he loved and served so faithfully.” He was an evangelist for 40 years: “He loved preaching in Rescue Missions, proclaiming the Gospel of the Grace of God to the lost. His passion in life was leading people to Christ and encouraging the body of Christ.” After preaching the Gospel for so long, he at last experienced its hope. Doubtless, he is still enjoying the Lord’s presence all these years later!

Yes, we sorrow, but we sorrow not as those which have no hope. We have a sure expectation that our loved ones in Christ are not lost forever. Father God has them in His loving care, and we will see them (and Him) in His own time. There will be an endless eternity to fellowship with them around the Word of God. For now, dear brethren, we must remember that they want us to continue being ambassadors for Christ down here! 🙂

Confidence

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day (2 Timothy 1:12 KJV).

What assurance the Christian has!

I recently watched a sad documentary on the kidnapping and murder of a teenager. Her murderer had been captured, incarcerated, and executed. Near the end, her father, a preacher, revealed that “she knew where she was going.” In her farewell note, she urged her family to keep on living for Jesus Christ, and that all would turn out right. Undoubtedly, God’s grace is the only reason this family has coped with such a loss all these decades. While it will never bring her back here, it gives them hope to see her in Heaven one day.

Friends, there is no guarantee that our physical bodies will remain intact until we die (or reach Heaven via the Rapture). Due to various sicknesses and injuries, we may lose limbs, tissue, and organs. However, in Christ, we never have to worry about our spirits being separated from Almighty God. By simple faith in Jesus Christ’s finish crosswork, we have been bound forever to God Himself. The Apostle Paul, awaiting execution, wrote in today’s Scripture that he was “persuaded.” God was “able”—yes, more than able—to hang on to him. As someone would store a valuable item in a safe, so Paul had entrusted his soul to Father God. There was complete security in Christ: nothing would be lost or misplaced. God the Holy Spirit would personally see to it that Paul made it safely to Heaven. The Apostle would in the meantime have some obstacles to endure—ultimately, a decapitation—but his eternal abode in Heaven was sure!

Evidently, that was the confidence that that preacher and his wife had concerning their murdered daughter. She had lost her life at a very young age, but Father God did not lose her soul and neither did she. What persuasion, what hope, what confidence Calvary’s cross provides us! “That ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13).

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What is Romans 2:24 talking about?

Guarded

Tuesday, August 8, 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).

With today’s Scripture in our hearts and minds, those hearts and minds are guarded!

Second Timothy 3:12 tells us: “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” Acts 14:22 says of Paul and Barnabas: “Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” Whenever we purpose to live godly in Christ Jesus, we will suffer persecution. This is a fact of Christian doctrine, even though the popular idea in “churchianity” today is that God wants to remove all of our problems (or remove us from them).

If Satan cannot cause us to change or pervert the doctrine that we teach and preach, then he will do his best in using whatever he can to stop us from teaching and preaching. In other words, after unsuccessfully attacking the message, he proceeds to attack the messenger. Should we worry? Should that bother us? Should we fret? Should that discourage us from even trying to do right at all? No, dear friends, no! Today’s Scripture reminds us not to be “careful”—we should not be anxious, worrisome, taking thought of it.

In our circumstances, regardless of our circumstances, we are “by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving [to] let [our] requests be made known unto God.” Why? Prayer is not designed to change our circumstances, as commonly thought, but it is to change us within as we endure those circumstances. “The peace of God, which passeth understanding, shall keep [our] hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” The idea here with “keep” is guard. Satan is out to harm us internally (mentally and spiritually). Thankfully, God has given us the ability—through His written Word and us praying according to it rightly divided—so we can ward off his attacks. Ultimately, it will cause us to think of our circumstances the way God Himself does.

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?

What a Treasure!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

“I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil” (Psalm 119:162 KJV).

The Holy Bible—what a treasure!

Recently, I sat with a dear Christian lady who has been saved for just under two years. She came out of a false religion, and she is still taking “baby steps” in Bible understanding. It is an extremely slow process, as her background and age hinder her, but she is making progress and we thus rejoice in Christ. I was delighted to talk with her for a couple of hours, answering her Bible questions. How thankful she was to see how simple and enjoyable the Scriptures were!

Brethren, whether we have been in Christ for two years or two decades, we should be growing steadily in the Word. Sadly, some of us have stopped in our understanding. They never reached maturity, and they have ceased maturing. Once fervent in the Word, their zeal has diminished. They gradually drifted from the Word, and now they are ever so far away from where their Heavenly Father would have them. The cares of this world have distracted them, and, what little Bible knowledge they had is now suppressed. Sadly—and, oh, what a shame!—they have given up!

The moment a lost soul comes by faith to the knowledge of sin, and the knowledge of soul salvation found only in Jesus Christ, the Bible is seen as a great treasure. After all the years of misery, confusion, disappointment, and deception in various places, that soul has finally found the greatest answer of all. God’s Holy Word shows itself to be a fortune in the midst of poverty! Instead of meager crumbs, there is a spiritual feast! However, as the years pass, the Christian soul loses that grand perspective. If there is no steady (daily) intake of that same Word, the distractions will overwhelm them, and they will go back to thinking like the lost people they used to be.

Christian friend, if you find yourself in this dilemma, there is a solution. You need to adopt the view of the Bible you held when you first came to Christ. It is a great treasure! Get back in it and rejoice in it! 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why did Satan want to ‘sift’ the circumcision saints?