A Higher Education: It Is Up to You!

Thursday, May 19, 2022

“Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12 KJV).

Sixteen years ago today, I graduated high school. Consequently, we dedicate this devotional to high school students who are nearing graduation.

Are you about to graduate high school? What would God have you do afterward? Go to college? Trade school? Something else? What career should you pursue? If you do plan on education after high school, where should you attend school? These are tough questions, and while God’s Word does not answer them, you can make decisions that conform to sound Bible doctrine—that is God’s will.

In today’s Scripture, Paul encourages downcast Timothy. Timothy was considerably younger than the Apostle Paul. Older people who are teaching false doctrine are intimidating young Timothy: “Tim, you are too young to teach God’s Word. Let us handle it.” Young Timothy conceded, became silent, and allowed the (“older and wiser”) false teachers to continue teaching their damnable heresies (cf. 1 Timothy 1:3-7; 2 Timothy 1:5-8). Paul replied, “Timothy, Speak up! Let no man despise thy youth!”

Christian youth can be just as effectual in their station in life as Christian adults. The lost world is watching us Christians, and we need to be sure that our actions are in accordance with the sound Bible doctrine we claim to believe (lest we be guilty of confusing the already-puzzled unbelievers). Whether “young or old,” our speech, our lifestyle, our acts of love, our determination, our belief in sound Bible doctrine, and our separation from that which God hates, is the way we communicate to the lost world God’s Word and its preeminence in our lives and hearts (today’s Scripture).

Above all, dear graduates, whatever you do post-graduation, “do all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God and the Father by him” (Colossians 3:17). After all, it really is not your life—it is Christ’s life in you (Galatians 2:20; Colossians 3:4), so He alone deserves the glory! 🙂

*Based on a Bible study by the same name, which can be read here. Also, see the study “The Spirit-Filled Student.”

By the way, you may also be interested in reading this archived special-edition study about my own college experience.

Mother: A Virtuous Woman

Sunday, May 8, 2022

“Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies” (Proverbs 31:10 KJV).

Today is Mother’s Day, so we dedicate this devotional to godly women (specifically mothers). I especially dedicate this to the virtuous woman who has been in my life for almost 34 years… my mom!

Today’s Scripture is the first verse of the Bible’s “Virtuous Woman” passage (Proverbs 31:10-31). King Solomon explained that the virtuous woman:

  • has a husband who safely trusts in her (verses 11,12).
  • is not lazy, but is strong because she works to feed and clothe her family and herself (verses 13-19,21,22,24,25,27).
  • pities the poor and needy (verse 20).
  • has a husband who is well-known because of her godly lifestyle (verse 23).
  • opens her mouth with wisdom, and speaks kindly and lovingly (verse 26).
  • has children and a husband who praise her (verse 28).
  • excels in what she does (verse 29).
  • has works that praise her (verse 31).

Verse 30 explains the virtuous woman is “a woman that feareth the LORD.”

The Apostle Paul wrote that godly women should: not slander/gossip, not be controlled by alcohol and emotions (sober minded), be teachers of good things, love their husbands and children, be cautious and modest, maintain the home, be “good,” and should obey (respect) their husbands… “that the word of God be not blasphemed” (Titus 2:3-5). A Christian woman, especially a mother, should be a virtuous woman in beliefs as well as in deed. She needs to set an example for her children (especially her daughters).

A Christian woman and/or Christian mother places her faith in this sound Bible doctrine, the indwelling Holy Spirit will then take that doctrine and transform her for God’s glory (1 Thessalonians 2:13). Her mind will be renewed by sound Bible doctrine, and that will transform her outward activity (Romans 12:1,2).

Are you a Christian woman or Christian mother who desires to be the woman God intends you to be in Christ Jesus? Place your faith in this sound Bible doctrine, and God will take care of the rest!

 HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY TO OUR READERS WHO ARE MOTHERS!

*Adapted from a larger Bible study with the same name. The Bible study can be read here or watched here.

Archived: “What does the Bible say about motherhood?

A Prayer According to God’s Will

Thursday, May 5, 2022

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;(1 Timothy 2:1-3 KJV).

On this United States’ National Day of Prayer, we pray you pray according to the Lord Jesus Christ’s will for today!

Today, religious people—the general public, clergy, and government officials—will assemble nationwide, like they do every year, and pray for spiritual and moral revival of the “Christian” (?) United States of America. We commend their noble efforts, but God’s Word says there will be no godly revival of any of the world’s Gentile nations until Jesus Christ returns to earth at His Second Coming (Isaiah 11:9; Isaiah 59:20–60:3; Zechariah 8:20-23; Revelation 11:15; et cetera).

The LORD’s words to King Solomon are often quoted on this day: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

Friends, this is certainly God’s Word, but has nothing to do with Gentiles in the United States in the Dispensation of Grace. This verse has a context often overlooked—the nation Israel under the Mosaic Law, praying in relation to God’s Temple in Jerusalem (verses 15,16). Actually, that Temple was destroyed over 19 centuries ago! Unlike Israel, the United States was never a divinely-founded nation. The American people as a whole are not God’s people like Israel was.

Rather than praying 2 Chronicles 7:14, remember today’s Scripture (God’s Word to us Gentiles). The verse following today’s Scripture says, “[God] Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). Pray for those in authority, that they would trust Jesus Christ alone as their personal Saviour, and then grow in His Word to them so they can make wise decisions on behalf of the people they govern.

Believing Unbelievers #4

Saturday, March 26, 2022

“Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man” (John 2:23-25 KJV).

Is it possible to be a believing unbeliever? According to today’s Scripture, YES!

Imagine being in today’s Scripture. To watch the Lord heal the sick, cast out devils, and do other mighty miracles would have truly been a sight to behold! It is beyond our comprehension. Yet, He was not seeking to entertain anyone—and He knew who was present just for amusement, to experience a spiritual high or adrenaline rush.

Consider modern Christendom. We notice many people walking aisles, making professions of faith, kneeling and bawling uncontrollably at “altars,” dancing and lifting hands to “praise and worship” music, packing stadium “sanctuaries,” sitting in confessional booths, being water baptized, reciting the “sinner’s prayer,” teaching Sunday School classes, preaching fervent sermons, knocking on doors, passing out tracts and Bibles, joining faculties of prestigious seminaries, sitting on Bible translation committees, talking about “Jesus” and “the Holy Ghost,” writing “Christian” study “aids,” memorizing creeds and confessions, organizing missions trips, travelling and setting up “healing tents,” and a host of other activities. The average person cannot help but remark, “Look at all these ‘Christians!’”

One brother in Christ observed: “God did not give the Scriptures for the purpose of scholarly intellectual exercise.” Yet, as he pointed out, innumerable people have used them—are using them—for just that. Textual critics study Greek, Hebrew, Latin, and Aramaic. They pore over ancient manuscripts, teach theology and church history classes, and debate “Christian” philosophy, but is there any personal heart faith in the Bible itself? How many of them are actually Bible-believing Christians? Who are members of the Church the Body of Christ, and who are simply members of manmade denominations? Do they know what the Gospel of Grace even is? Could they show us verses for victorious Christian living?

Intellectual assent is no substitute for heart faith….

Bible Q&A #935: “What are ‘victuals?’

We Are Just Men #5

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

“And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another” (1 Corinthians 4:6 KJV).

If there is one thing that does not belong in the Christian’s life, it is that ugly sin of pride. Egos are at stake—and may we be willing to lose them!

The Lord, at the Judgment Seat of Christ, will judge or evaluate men’s ministries, meaning they themselves are not important or above suspicion (verses 1-5). Speaking on behalf of Apollos, Paul reminded the Corinthians how they (Paul and Apollos) viewed grace ministry. It was not about “I prefer Paul,” it was not about “I like Apollos,” it was not about “I fancy Cephas [Peter],” and it was not about “I choose Jesus’ earthly ministry.” These believers at Corinth were “puffed up for one against another” (today’s Scripture). Instead of following God’s pattern for this the Dispensation of Grace, and doing it humbly (!), they were proudly exalting mere men (Paul, Apollos, Cephas/Peter) and seeing them and their adherents as competitors or enemies.

As opposed to being so shallow-minded and spiritually juvenile, the Corinthians were (and we are!) to meekly adopt this principle: “Wherefore I beseech [beg, ask] you, be ye followers of me [Paul]…. Be ye followers of me [Paul], even as I also am of Christ (1 Corinthians 4:16; 1 Corinthians 11:1). The operative words are “even as I also am of Christ.” It was Jesus Christ preached according to the mystery who ultimately mattered (1 Corinthians 3:10,11; cf. Romans 16:25,26)! God’s spokesman to them was not the Apostle Peter, and not Jesus during His earthly ministry. While Apollos was a ministry coworker of the Apostle Paul, the Lord Jesus Christ had revealed the doctrine first and foremost to and through Paul (Galatians 1:11,12; Ephesians 3:1-3; Colossians 1:23-26). Apollos had learned grace doctrines from Paul’s friends, Aquila and Priscilla, whom Paul himself had first taught (Acts 18:1-3,24-28). We magnify Paul’s “office” or ministry, not Paul the man (Romans 11:13)!

Dear saints, remember: That ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written.”

We Are Just Men #4

Monday, March 21, 2022

“And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another” (1 Corinthians 4:6 KJV).

If there is one thing that does not belong in the Christian’s life, it is that ugly sin of pride. Egos are at stake—and may we be willing to lose them!

The Holy Spirit through Paul corrected the dear saints at Corinth in chapter 3: “[4] For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal [fleshly, worldly]? [5] Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? [6] I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. [7] So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.” Who ultimately mattered was not Paul or Apollos (for they were just men); God was most important, for it was His words that Paul and Apollos preached and taught in Corinth.

Now, chapter 4, the context of today’s Scripture: “[1] Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. [2] Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. [3] But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. [4] For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord. [5] Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.” Concerning ministry, Paul neither evaluated himself nor depended on other people to properly assess him. He knew the Lord would do this one day—and for all saints (Apollos, the Corinthians, et cetera). Let us not think of men above that which is written….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What is the ‘train’ in 1 Kings 10:2?

We Are Just Men #3

Sunday, March 20, 2022

“And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another” (1 Corinthians 4:6 KJV).

If there is one thing that does not belong in the Christian’s life, it is that ugly sin of pride. Egos are at stake—and may we be willing to lose them!

Corinth was just a two-day journey from Athens, the intellectual capital of the then-known world. Therefore, not surprisingly, Greek philosophy had infiltrated Corinth both before and after the Apostle Paul’s arrival. Human viewpoint, man’s wisdom, was a lingering problem that arrested the spiritual development of these Corinthian saints. The Holy Spirit issued frequent warnings about this in the opening three chapters of 1 Corinthians (but note particularly chapter 1, verse 17, all the way to the end of chapter 2). Philosophy—founded on heathen (natural-man, non-Christian) speculations—is definitely not the means whereby we obtain spiritual insight into God’s will and work. At the Judgment Seat of Christ, anything and everything in our soul incompatible with Pauline (sound) Bible doctrine will be considered “wood, hay, stubble” (worthless) and thus will be burned up (see 1 Corinthians 3:10-23)—a loss of Christian reward.

Although the Corinthian believers in Christ had access to the Word of God’s Grace, they were not using the indwelling Holy Spirit to properly interpret that material. God’s wisdom and man’s wisdom are two different languages, hopelessly unharmonious, the spirit of man being wholly incapable of discerning the words of the Spirit of God. “Educated” Apollos himself had to learn this in Acts 18:24-28, after being long-time behind concerning Divine revelation. Once converted to dispensational truth, he eventually became a valuable coworker of Paul in Corinth (see 1 Corinthians 1:12; 1 Corinthians 3:4-6,22; 1 Corinthians 4:6; 1 Corinthians 16:12). Alas, the Corinthians began gravitating toward Apollos the man, Paul the man, Peter (Cephas) the man, and Christ’s earthly ministry (see 1 Corinthians 1:12-16). These denominations sprung up because, as the natural or lost man operates, people were being followed instead of doctrine….

We Are Just Men #2

Saturday, March 19, 2022

“And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another” (1 Corinthians 4:6 KJV).

If there is one thing that does not belong in the Christian’s life, it is that ugly sin of pride. Egos are at stake—and may we be willing to lose them!

Arrogance is a mark of immaturity. We have not yet learned enough, we have not grown up, to know and appreciate the full extent of our weaknesses and limitations. The result is a distorted view of reality. We have an inaccurate opinion of ourselves. Also, we lack a clear picture of those around us, individuals just as human as we are. The Corinthian assembly of saints had sufficient exposure to the truth of God’s Word to form adult spiritual thoughts and make wise spiritual decisions. For at least 18 months, the Apostle Paul himself lived in Corinth, won them to Christ, and taught them sound Bible doctrine (Acts 18:11). Later, Apollos, a convert of Paul’s converts Aquila and Priscilla, taught in Corinth too (Acts 19:1). Alas, Corinth was a center of such pride.

For example, look at these “babes in Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:1-3) “puffed up” in today’s Scripture. Or, how they were “puffed up,” daring Paul to come back and straighten them out (1 Corinthians 4:18,19)! Furthermore, they were “puffed up” in connection to a fornicating brother they refused to reform (1 Corinthians 5:2). Of course, “Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth” (verse 1 of chapter 8). Finally, there was the admonition in chapter 13, verse 4, of how charity “is not puffed up;” these saints were using their spiritual gifts for the benefit of self, self, self instead of assembly, assembly, assembly. Imagine a set of bellows stirring up a fire, or a pump inflating a tire. They are swollen or bloated—unsightly in the Lord’s eyes! Consequently, the Holy Spirit through Paul intervenes, penning today’s Scripture and its context. These confused saints need godly examples of how to look at people, including genuine Christian leaders….

We Are Just Men #1

Friday, March 18, 2022

“And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another” (1 Corinthians 4:6 KJV).

If there is one thing that does not belong in the Christian’s life, it is that ugly sin of pride. Egos are at stake—and may we be willing to lose them!

Once, I spoke with an immature friend and brother in Christ who followed our ministry. When I related to him a certain problem in my life, he told me he was quite surprised to learn I even had challenges. Imagine! He did not believe I (of all people!) had problems. I quickly reassured him that I did indeed have troubles—and I would have to apply pertinent Bible verses to deal with them.

Never do we want to place anyone—especially religious leaders—“on a pedestal.” They might be knowledgeable in the Scriptures, they may have graduated Bible college or seminary (Bible cemetery!), and they might have even led us to the Lord Jesus Christ, but they are still just people who have the same sin nature we all do. They eat, sleep, and go to the restroom like everyone else! We should not “roll out the red carpet” and fall prostrate on floor when they enter the room. We should not drool with open mouths or stare at them with our eyes as large as saucers. We should not manufacture statues of them to $ell to the gullible “Christian” public. We should not seek their autographs. They are just men!

Personality cults have always been especially injurious throughout church history. Leaders have been portrayed in such a way so their followers believe they are above all suspicion of wrongdoing. Consequently, emotions cloud the issue, and people begin defending erring individuals instead of sound doctrine. For example, when a pastor or teacher is justly denounced for his false teaching or misconduct, his congregants cry out, “How dare you attack him and his ministry!” In their eyes, that man is immune from mistakes. They have not learned the lesson of today’s Scripture….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Did God give the stars for nations to worship?

Low Pricing, Low Prizing #3

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it” (Amos 8:11,12 KJV).

Unbelieving Israel has taken God’s words for granted for many centuries, so now He will be silent for the next 400 years. May we not be so foolish in declining the Divine revelation given us!

For 2,000 years now, the world has had a completed Bible, the full revelation from God and of God. Contrary to theologians’ speculations, there is no “secret will of God.” The Apostle Paul remarks in the first chapter of Ephesians: “[8] Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; [9] Having made known unto us the mystery [secret!] of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: [10] That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:….”

In the Bible Books of Romans through Philemon, we find “the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, but now is made manifest…” (Romans 16:25,26). Outside of those 13 Pauline epistles and the mystery program, we find in the rest of Scripture the prophetic program, “[the preaching of Jesus Christ concerning that] which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began” (Acts 3:21). Whether prophecy or mystery, it is all God’s Word. “For thou [O LORD] hast magnified thy word above all thy name (Psalm 138:2).

Billions of lost people, non-Christians, are quite eager to share with us whatever they believe. Are we believers in Christ just as enthusiastic about teaching them the Holy Scriptures rightly divided? If not, indeed, the low pricing of the Bible has resulted in our low prizing of the Bible!