Careful—But Not Careful! #6

Thursday, April 2, 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!”

In Luke chapter 10, we read about sisters Mary and Martha. (According to John chapters 11 and 12, they are actually Lazarus’ sisters.) The Bible says Martha hosted the Lord Jesus in her home. Mary “sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word” (verse 39). Yet, Martha “was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me” (verse 40). That Greek word rendered “cumbered” means “drawn around, distracted, driven about mentally, over-occupied, too busy.” Martha was hypervigilant, fretting about serving (likely food to her “honored Guest?”).

The Lord calmed her with a gentle rebuke: “Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her” (verses 41,42). “Careful” here is the Greek word identical to the one rendered “careful” in today’s Scripture: “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.”

Martha’s problem was anxiety: her circumstances distressed her and diverted her attention away from listening to Jesus’ words. On the other hand, her sister Mary had left her, and was now sitting at His feet and listening to Him teach spiritual truth. Mary would not be distracted like her sister, for she knew the Lord’s teaching was of greater value than her own efforts. Similarly, as Philippians chapter 4 says, instead of allowing our circumstances to sidetrack us, we simply pray the Pauline way. Prayer is the means whereby we reinforce in our minds what the Lord already said about those conditions. Therein is spiritual stability during such situations….

Careful—But Not Careful! #5

Wednesday, April 1, 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!”

Indeed, we should be cautious concerning contracting the coronavirus. Health risks are definitely nothing to take lightly—especially if we already have a compromised or weakened immune system! We should practice good hygiene such as frequently washing our hands with soap and water, keeping 6 feet (1.8 meters) from each other, and coughing and sneezing into tissues or our arms instead of our hands. Hugs and handshakes should be avoided, but (at the very least) we can still bump elbows or wave to greet each other. Trying not to touch our eyes, ears, or mouth is still taking some getting used to as well, right?

Yet, the Bible would not want us “careful” as in anxious or worrisome (cf. today’s Scripture). That Greek word is rendered “take no thought” to comfort the destitute believing Jews whom God will feed out in the wilderness in the future (Matthew 6:25,27,28,31,34; Luke 12:22,25,26) and to remind them His Holy Spirit will furnish them with the words to answer their persecutors (Matthew 10:19; Luke 12:11).

We should not be overwhelmed, panicking like poor Martha in Luke chapter 10: “[38] Now it came to pass, as they went, that he [Christ] entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. [39] And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. [40] But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. [41] And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful [worrisome, distressed!] and troubled about many things: [42] But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

Martha needed to relax, and listen to the Lord speak….

Bible Q&As #709 and #710: “Is ‘corn’ a mistake in the King James Bible?” and “Why does the Bible say, ‘Have no other gods before Me?’

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?’

Mother: A Virtuous Woman

Sunday, May 12, 2019

“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 31 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.

Mother: A Virtuous Woman

Sunday, May 13, 2018

“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 30 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.

The Mischievous Minister of Music #13

Thursday, February 8, 2018

“Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created (Ezekiel 28:13 KJV).

Who is this musician, and how did he destroy his ministry?

Dear friends, Satan knows music far more than we ever will. Yea, his superior intellect and expertise in musicology for thousands of years, afford him skill in operating in that unseen (!) realm to advance his cause. Satan’s policy of evil is summarized in Romans 1:25: “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.” What better way to worship and serve Satan than to fall into his trap of music designed to satisfy the lust of our flesh?

How do we guard against using music to glorify Satan instead of the God of the Bible? Primarily, we must, must, must know sound Bible doctrine. My, what rank spiritual ignorance there is in the tens of thousands of “Christian” churches worldwide! No wonder deception and immaturity abound. Religious tradition is deficient; the Word of God not rightly divided is dangerous. We must, must, must understand the Bible dispensationally delivered. No prayer in the world can save us from false teaching if we refuse to use the Bible God’s way.

Moreover, we must look beyond the type of music that is nothing more than a way to “feel good.” Contemporary “Christian” songs are often so shallow in doctrine; their rhythms induce physical movement, do they not? In the Pauline epistles, Romans through Philemon, however, we are encouraged to seek spiritual edification. Entertainment will profit us absolutely nothing in eternity. Let the Word of Christ rightly divided dwell in you richly, and then you will sing songs to the Lord to express gratitude (Colossians 3:16; cf. Ephesians 5:15-20). Jesus Christ will indeed be honored.

Dear friends, one final thought. If we let that mischievous minister of music into our assembly, he will surely destroy our ministry too!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Who will be Israel’s King in the Millennium—Jesus Christ or David?

The Mischievous Minister of Music #12

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

“Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created (Ezekiel 28:13 KJV).

Who is this musician, and how did he destroy his ministry?

Satan, the narcissistic creature that he is, will not eagerly surrender his mischievous ministry of music. What Lucifer was designed to utilize to glorify his Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ, he perverted to praise himself and all those other angelic beings that rebelled against God. Once he transformed into Satan, he brought that evil music ministry down to man. Whether man in the centuries preceding the Flood, or the nation Israel after her deliverance from Egypt, or the Jews after David’s demise, or Israel in Babylonian captivity, Satan tirelessly peddled his vain musical “arrangements.” Under no circumstances would he let music praise the Creator God. Even today, he subtly uses music to draw attention from the Creator to himself. The future will be no different.

The Bible’s final reference to music is Revelation 18:22: “And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee;….” After our dispensation, New Babylon, the Antichrist’s political-religious system, will play music for the Devil. Thankfully, it will be utterly destroyed at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Satan will never again be allowed to undertake his mischievous music ministry on the Earth! God’s praises thereafter will be heard and His Son will be glorified like this universe has never seen. The “New Song” Psalms are sung by all of God’s elect (people and angels) as their Heavenly Father inaugurates Jesus Christ as King over all the Earth (see Psalms 93–100). What a day that will be!

Until then, dear brethren, we had better (!!) not be ignorant of Satan’s devices (schemes). Those plans are very ingenious, hiding under the guise of “religious music.” We must guard our Christian lives from music that fails to express and reinforce God’s Word rightly divided. Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….