Careful—But Not Careful! #4

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

“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).

Friend, as we live in these strange times, let us “be careful for nothing!”

The coronavirus pandemic has brought many drastic changes to our daily life. We are social beings, so confinement to our houses is difficult. It is particularly vexing for children, for many cannot play outside and/or go to an actual school building. While all the transformations are inconvenient, some are actually beneficial. For example, today’s society is spoiled—especially we in America. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with having possessions, taking trips or vacations, eating out at restaurants, or seeking various forms of entertainment, it can be (and usually is) overdone. If our lives are so bound up in these, how traumatic is their absence! Coronavirus precautions and restrictions have eliminated or reduced these experiences.

With such distractions removed, and added stress due to medical and economic concerns, the world’s people are actually more receptive to spiritual truth than ever. They have come to realize what the Scriptures laid out 2,000 years ago: “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17). Material possessions are “uncertain.” While we will certainly lose them (due to theft, economic downturn, death, et cetera), the timing of their forfeiture is unknown.

Another reality they are learning firsthand is James 4:14: “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” Living for the “here-and-now”—as if this life is the only one, as if there is no afterlife—has its limits. Life on Earth is ever so fragile, as any small threat (illness or accident) can immediately end it. Is it prudent to enjoy this life at the expense of the next one? No! At this time, people are contemplating their own mortality, and they had better keep heading toward the Scriptures….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Feeding the 4,000 and feeding the 5,000—same or different?

In Every Thing Give Thanks

Thursday, November 28, 2019

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?

What is God Doing? #22

Saturday, January 26, 2019

“Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou know? The measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea” (Job 11:7-9 KJV).

What exactly is God doing? Can we say? Or, must we remain clueless?

Romans 5:1-5 says, “[1] Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: [2] By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. [3] And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; [4] And patience, experience; and experience, hope: [5] And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”

Long-term, we “rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” This is our heavenly abode, our eternal destiny as members of the Church the Body of Christ. Once sinners, “come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), we are now saints, appointed to glorify the God of the Bible in Heaven. Short-term, until then, we must endure “tribulations” (troubles). Rather than fear them as Divine punishment, we “glory” (or find value) in them. We are justified, having “peace with God,” never worrying about seeing His angry face or coming under His wrathful hand.

Tribulations can benefit us—they can work patience fully (peace under pressure), that patience can work experience fully (skill in circumstances), that experience can work hope fully (complete confidence in God’s promises coming to pass), and that hope will neither fail nor disappoint, “because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”

When we understand what God is doing, and what He is not doing, then we will begin to comprehend His boundless love for us. This “love of Christ” is featured in Ephesians 3:19, which love we are to experience and fathom. When all is accomplished, the goal is “that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” All control over our lives has thus been surrendered to the Lord Jesus Christ….

What is God Doing? #21

Friday, January 25, 2019

“Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou know? The measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea” (Job 11:7-9 KJV).

What exactly is God doing? Can we say? Or, must we remain clueless?

Friends, honestly, God owes us absolutely nothing. Our selfish human nature, however, refuses to believe that. We demand He “do this” or He “should be doing that,” much like an inexperienced child attempts to “guide” (wiser) adults to behave a certain way. Let us be people (creatures), and let us let God be God (Creator). He made us; we did not make Him. It will be a happy day in the lives of billions when they get off the throne of their lives and trust the Lord Jesus Christ to sit there instead. “Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen” (Romans 1:25).

We can grow accustomed to seeing problems as occasions to inquire, “Where is God?” Indeed, if we are not thinking properly, that will we wonder. Having adopted the view of the world, the mindset of religious traditionalists, we lose sense of reality and wind up in the trap of delusion. Poor choices bring about horrible outcomes, yes. A fallen creation causes us suffering, indeed. Satan employs others to persecute us Christians, certainly. Nevertheless, despite the difficulties, the God of the Bible offers to work on our behalf. Still, He will respond as He sees fit, not as we see fit.

The Apostle Paul had to learn this personally: “[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” (Philippians 4:11-13). Rather than God removing our troubles, He gives us the grace (ability) to bear them….

In Every Thing Give Thanks

Thursday, November 22, 2018

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?

Selfless!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:3-5 KJV).

Without further delay, we need to live for the benefit of others, not ourselves.

“Sin” perfectly summarizes human nature: the middle letter of “sin” is “i” (also, “Lucifer” and “pride”). A sinner is, by nature, self-centered and self-willed. That is what makes human nature so drastically different from God’s nature. God’s whole controversy with man is that man does not live like He does: God designed man to reflect His life but man (namely, Adam) willfully chose to rebel and make a new lifestyle for himself and his ancestors, namely us (sinful living).

In stark contrast, as today’s Scripture indicates, Christian living is all about Christ living. How did He live on Earth? In total submission to His Heavenly Father’s will! Verses 6-8 capture His mentality: “[6] Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: [7] But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: [8] And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”

Romans chapter 15 amplifies: “[1] We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. [2] Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. [3] For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written [Psalm 69:9], The reproaches of them that reproached thee [Father God] fell on me [Jesus Christ].” Christ set aside His own desires and obeyed Father God’s will, all the way to the cross of Calvary (see Hebrews 10:4-13; cf. Matthew 26:39-44)!

When God Himself lived in human flesh, He was anything but selfish. Likewise, dear brethren, we follow Jesus Christ’s pattern—seeking the best interests of others, and not ourselves. “Let no man seek his own, but every man another’s wealth” (1 Corinthians 10:24).

Satisfied!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

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 KJV).

Without further delay, we need to be satisfied wherever we are.

Christian friend, are you content while facing hardship? Probably not. We often grumble and wallow in self-pity. Our Apostle Paul, equally human, was no different. Howbeit, he eventually began to look at his problems differently (remember 2 Corinthians 12:9?). The Bible says in today’s Scripture that he “learned” to be content: it was a process, not something automatic. A new believer does not suddenly become skilled in God’s Word. It takes time—some more than others. Additionally, rarely do believers become trained in God’s life. It takes time before you start looking at difficulties in a new light. Sadly, very, VERY few believers ever become able to adopt God’s view of their situations.

Our circumstances change over time (and how quickly they can change, for good or bad!!). Regardless, we can be content. Firstly, today’s Scripture says Jesus Christ has given us the grace, or capacity, to endure all extremes that life will throw at us—great wealth, abject poverty, exceptional health, terminal illness, many “friends” to few if any “friends,” and so on. Secondly, whatever does happen in this life, there will be a limit. It will not transpire everlastingly. This decaying and dying world will pass away, never to be seen again. Sin will be defeated; Satan will be removed. A glorious new world system is coming, one in which dwells righteousness. Through the eyes of faith, we already see it (remember 2 Corinthians 4:16–5:8 and Romans 8:18-25?).

Having acquired this renewed mind—God’s view—we can now come alongside our Apostle Paul, and declare with him, “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10)!

Saints, please remember us in your monthly giving. You can donate securely here: https://www.paypal.me/ShawnBrasseaux, or email me at arcministries@gmail.com. Do not forget about Bible Q&A booklets for sale at https://arcgraceministries.org/in-print/booklets-bible-q-a/. Thanks to all who give to and pray for us! 🙂

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?

To Abide in the Flesh

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you” (Philippians 1:21-24 KJV).

We Christians often want to go on to Heaven to meet our loved ones, instead of staying here in this present evil world. Countless brethren throughout the centuries have agreed with Paul that “to depart, and to be with Christ… is far better.” But, we must also agree with his other recognition!

Paul’s epistle to Philippi was written from a Roman prison—technically, he was under house arrest (Acts 28:30). When he penned in today’s Scripture, “this is the fruit of my labour,” the “this” was his “bonds,” his confinement (see Philippians 1:13). He was a hated man preaching an “illegal religion.” No doubt, in the midst of all his suffering for the Gospel’s sake, there were times when he just wanted to leave this wretched world forever. However….

The Holy Spirit transformed his mind. Despite the pleasure he would get in leaving to be with the Lord Jesus Christ, something was much more important than alleviating his pain and suffering. He needed to stay here on Earth in order to continue ministering to his Gentile converts. After struggling to decide what to do, notice his resolution in the verses following today’s Scripture: “[25] And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith; [26] That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again.”

Paul hoped to be freed, thereby allowing him to return to Philippi and encourage his Christian brethren in person. He decided Earthnot Heaven!—was the best place to be at the moment. Let us realize the same, brethren! There are still more people (lost and saved alike) for us (!) to reach with sound Bible doctrine, so let us be about “abiding in the flesh!” 🙂

Lifted and Fallen #3

Friday, February 10, 2017

“Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:12,13 KJV).

Does the Bible teach “entire sanctification?” Today’s Scripture screams, NO!

Verses 1-4 say Israel started right—a leader, Moses (God’s spokesman to them); the cloud (God’s presence); the Red Sea crossing (passing to new life in Christ); spiritual food (manna and quail); and spiritual drink (water). However, they were not content with God’s provisions.

We continue reading: “[5] But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. [6] Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. [7] Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. [8] Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. [9] Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. [10] Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.”

Verse 5, sinful Jews dying in the wilderness, refers to Numbers 14:29. Verse 6, them craving the old life (sinful pleasures) in Egypt, compares to Numbers 11:4-6. Verse 7 refers to Exodus 32:6, them worshiping the golden calf idol and engaging in orgies (lewd dancing parties). Verse 8 quotes Exodus 32:28,35—God striking those fornicators with a deadly plague. Verse 9 refers to Numbers 21:5,6—God sending serpents to bite and kill defiant Jews. Finally, verse 10 compares to Numbers 14:36-37 and/or Numbers 16:46-50—God destroying the complainers with a plague. They doubted He would bring them into the Promised Land. Rather than being thankful for His blessings, they preferred their old life. Instead of serving Him, they worshiped pagan idols. They repeatedly challenged Him and complained. Those same sins exist in the professing church today….