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?

Careful—But Not Careful! #3

Monday, March 30, 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!”

As our world undergoes the coronavirus pandemic, and people adjust to this new way of living to limit its spread, they have become quite basic. They can begin to glimpse what life without materialism is really like. Considering the economic decline—unemployment, less work hours, and so on—people cannot live extravagantly like they did before. With restaurants, concerts, theaters, casinos, and sporting events closed for business, they cannot be frequented anymore for “entertainment.” Money cannot be loved if it cannot be acquired!

First Timothy chapter 6, while referring to finances and ministry, is also the proper way to view personal money matters: “[3] If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; [4] He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, [5] Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. [6] But godliness with contentment is great gain. [7] For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. [8] And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. [9] But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. [10] For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”

Please understand, there is nothing sinful about money per se. The love of money” is the problem (be careful not to misquote it like it often is). “Godliness with contentment is great gain…. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.” In this “new world,” “food and raiment [clothing]” can be cherished now more than ever….

Careful—But Not Careful! #2

Sunday, March 29, 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!”

There are over a dozen references to “joy” and “rejoicing” in the Apostle Paul’s epistle to the Philippians (1:4,18,25; 2:2,16-18; 2:28; 3:1,3; 4:1,4,10). The most famous is: “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice” (4:4). When the Holy Spirit moved the Apostle Paul to write to Philippi, Paul was not reclining in an air-conditioned palace, flying on a private jet, or dining at his favorite restaurant. Where was he?

When the Book of Acts closed, the Holy Spirit reports: “And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him, Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him” (Acts 28:30,31). Paul, for preaching the Gospel of Grace, was under house arrest for two years (his legal problems began back in chapter 21). Yea, Philippians was written from a prison! On four occasions within the document itself, Paul refers to “bonds” (1:7,13,14,16)—literal, physical shackles. At least one Roman soldier was always present with him, likely chained to him at the hand (see Acts 28:16,20; cf. Acts 21:33). Here was where serving Jesus Christ got him!

Read today’s Scripture within context: “[4] Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. [5] Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. [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. [8] 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.”

Indeed, a prisoner wrote today’s Scripture….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Was Jesus’ last name ‘Christ?’

Careful—But Not Careful! #1

Saturday, March 28, 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!”

As you have heard, society around the world has undergone a significance transformation in recent weeks. The word “coronavirus” is now a part of everyday speech. At this point, we seem to be living on a planet other than Earth. It feels like we are cast in a science-fiction movie!

“Social distancing” is another term added to our vernacular. Individuals keep their distance when out in public. There is neither handshaking nor hugging. Face masks and gloves are commonplace. People have been forced to stay in their houses, trapped inside tiny apartments for weeks. They have a sporadic work schedule—if at all. People cannot return to their home countries because of travel restrictions. Governmental officials, with no real experience in such large-scale health issues, are scrambling to relieve and assist their citizens in whatever ways they can.

Non-essential stores, golf courses, theme parks, casinos, and schools are closed. Conferences and sporting events are cancelled. Restaurants are either shut, or accepting only drive-thru or delivery orders. Airlines, hotels and motels, and cruise lines are struggling to stay open. Some businesses have even shuttered permanently. Noisy and busy streets are now empty. Hospitals are being constructed rapidly; medical supplies are slow in arriving or non-existent. Millions upon millions of students, unable to enter physical classrooms, are now taking classes online at home. To think that this is all on a global scale is inconceivable!

What makes coronavirus so dangerous is how little we know about it and how quickly it spreads. Some 150 countries have cases now. The elderly and those with serious preexisting health issues are especially at risk. Unfortunately, there is currently no cure or vaccine. Experiments are being conducted to better understand how to fight this infectious respiratory disease. Emotions are running, people are fearful, and misinformation and disinformation are rampant. We should be careful in exercising caution who we meet, where we go, and what we do. However, as touching worrying, we should “be careful for nothing….”

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How is Jesus Christ ‘Prophet, Priest, and King?’

Perfect Peace #3

Monday, March 16, 2020

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength” (Isaiah 26:3,4 KJV).

Despite their grim circumstances, those who trust in the God of Scripture will be kept in “perfect peace!”

Israel will learn she cannot in and of herself be victorious over this evil world system. Her believing remnant must wait for Jesus Christ’s ultimate deliverance at His Second Coming. Psalm 68: “[1] Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered: let them also that hate him flee before him. [2] As smoke is driven away, so drive them away: as wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God. [3] But let the righteous be glad; let them rejoice before God: yea, let them exceedingly rejoice. [4] Sing unto God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name JAH, and rejoice before him.[34] Ascribe ye strength unto God: his excellency is over Israel, and his strength is in the clouds. [35] O God, thou art terrible out of thy holy places: the God of Israel is he that giveth strength and power unto his people. Blessed be God.”

The Holy Spirit, moving the Prophet Isaiah, is looking down through time—at least 2,700 years—to see Israel’s Little Flock at the end of Daniel’s 70th Week. Preparing to enter the Millennium, they are rejoicing. The LORD God has brought them through their horrendous suffering. By reading and trusting their prophetic promises in Scripture, they have been kept safe! Walking by faith in Isaiah, the Book that spoke of both their tribulation and their kingdom, they knew that, no matter what, they would survive to see His earthly kingdom. God was faithful!

Likewise, brethren, regardless of our struggles, heartaches, and uncertainties in this life, we already know our final destiny as members of the Church the Body of Christ remains unchanged! Our eternal future is certain; thus, our temporary trials are certainly bearable (1 Corinthians 10:13). “And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen” (2 Timothy 4:18). Enjoy that “perfect peace!” 🙂

Once Fallen Short, Now Rejoicing #8

Monday, October 21, 2019

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23 KJV).

Here is the bad news… Now, the good news….

Today’s Scripture should frighten sinners: how fearful it is to be “in Adam,” just one breath away from eternal hellfire, perpetually under the wrath of a righteous God! The Creator demands absolute (perfect) righteousness, what we naturally do not have. Struggling and striving to perform our religious “good” works, we offer these measly deeds that cannot and do not compare to Jesus Christ’s perfect sacrifice of Himself on Calvary’s cross. Our religious performance does not impress God, for it comes from a sinful heart “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9). This truth is most offensive to our flesh!

While we look better than some, we also look worse than others, so comparing ourselves among ourselves is not wise. Overall, God’s righteousness is the standard—and all people fall short of it. Being a “sinner” is not being worse than other humans; a sinner is someone unable to express the Creator God’s glory (who He is, what He believes, and what He does). God’s justice demands His righteousness be enforced, and—indeed, a terrifying prospect—endless punishment will eventually come on sinners (those who lack that righteousness)!

Having believed on Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour, His righteousness has been credited to our account, and we as saints “rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:1,2). We need not try to reproduce Christ’s life; it is our eternal possession! We need not fake a relationship with Almighty God; we have it now forever! We need not pretend like we have forgiveness; it is our eternal possession. We need not wonder about the Creator God’s glory. Through Calvary, we know… our eternal life now will carry on into eternity future! 🙂

“That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory(1 Thessalonians 2:12). “Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory (2 Timothy 2:10). “And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen” (2 Timothy 4:18).

Once Fallen Short, Now Rejoicing #7

Sunday, October 20, 2019

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23 KJV).

Here is the bad news… Now, the good news….

Father God has one overall purpose in creation—to glorify His Son Jesus Christ in heaven and earth. Through Christ’s finished crosswork, we by faith are now justified and fit to participate in achieving that goal. The Bible says, “we rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:2). We have hope, something this lost and dying world lacks. Lost people, those without Christ, are therefore said to be those “which have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13). Evil, suffering, and death surround us, so they cannot help but be depressed. If we do not keep our focus on the Lord Jesus Christ, we too will fall into despondency.

Brethren, we have joy because of the hope associated with the glory of God (Romans 5:1-5). If we have trusted Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as sufficient payment for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3,4), then we have passed from death to life. Now, we have “life eternal,” what the Lord defined as “knowing [intimately, personally] the one true God, and Jesus Christ whom [he] hast sent” (John 17:3). Not only do we fellowship with the Creator now (earthly life), such fellowship will extend into the heavenly places (afterlife).

One day, we will be glorified in heaven, that we may exalt Jesus Christ, that it finally praise Father God. Here is the goal of the mystery program and the formation of the Church the Body of Christ: “[7] But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: [8] Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory(1 Corinthians chapter 2).

Dear friends, read the Book of Ephesians: it underscores our destiny in the heavenly places. Also stressed are “the praise of [God’s] glory” (1:6,12,14), “the riches of the glory of [Christ’s] inheritance” (1:18), and “the riches of [God’s] glory” (3:16). Chapter 3, verse 21: “Unto him [Father God] be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”

We now summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….