A Life That Will Please

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20 KJV).

Today’s Scripture tells us who alone can live a life pleasing in God’s sight!

Everyone does “good” deeds. Yet, doing “good” is not necessarily good. For instance, people often do “good” just to receive praise/reward, make up for their wrongs, feel good, et cetera. Furthermore, despite our “good” deeds, we have plenty more bad ones! Pride, lying, evil thoughts, being a false witness, and being contentious are some of the things the LORD hates (Proverbs 6:16-19).

Mankind cannot even keep 10 simple rules from God. However, religion continues to urge us to keep seven sacraments, utter various prayers, give assorted offerings and “tithes,” attend numerous feasts and festivals, and perform sundry other tasks to “hopefully” please God and avoid hellfire. Whether we attempt to keep a church’s laws, our laws, or God’s laws, our flesh is far too weak to ever measure up. Just look at what God’s religion did to Israel—how much worse some man-made religion does to us!

As Saul of Tarsus, the Apostle Paul was a Pharisee, a religious leader of Israel. He was a nitpicker concerning Law-keeping, and yet, after his soul salvation, he admitted that all of his religion was “but dung” compared to Jesus Christ’s righteousness (Philippians 3:3-11). Even for the Christian, to live a perfect life is impossible (read of Paul’s miserable existence in Romans chapter 7). Paul had to forsake his vain religion and learn today’s Scripture: the Christian life is NOT the performance of the Christian, but the Lord Jesus Christ living and working in the Christian, as the Christian walks in an intelligent understanding of God’s Word to him or her!

If we trust a Saviour who will save—the Lord Jesus Christ—and trust a Book that will teach—the King James Bible—we can redeem the year for the great God and our Saviour, “who loved [us], and gave himself for [us]!” 🙂

Redeem the Year!

Sunday, January 1, 2023

“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:15-17 KJV).

What great advice for 2023!

Despite 2,000 years of Bible schools and seminaries, 2,000 years of a completed Bible canon, 2,000 years of Bible reading in churches, several decades of “Christian” television and radio, and just over a decade of widespread use of “Christian” websites, how sad that Bible ignorance is still quite extensive (it is as if God never gave His Word to start with!).

Frankly, the Church the Body of Christ needs to wake up! The verse previous to today’s Scripture says, “Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light” (verse 14). Paul, loosely quoting Isaiah 60:1, reminded us that the spiritual ignorance that gripped Israel in Isaiah’s day seized Christians in his day—and it still grips Christians 20 centuries later. Feel-good sermons, enjoyable “worship” services, and rites, rituals, and ceremonies will NOT solve this problem—they exacerbate it!

“[God] will have all men to be saved…” (1 Timothy 2:4a). Do you want this New Year to count for God’s glory? First, you need to get saved from sins and hell! You need to become a Christian by trusting in and relying on Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as sufficient payment for your sins (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). That is only part of God’s will for you, for 1 Timothy 2:4b continues, “[God] will have all men… to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” Now, God’s will for your Christian life is daily, personal Bible study to renew your mind, so your faith in those verses can cause God to work in your life—it will be His life, thus making you “perfect [spiritually mature], throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16,17).

Today’s Scripture urges us to buy back the time Satan has robbed from God (time created for God’s glory). By faith, we need to make that time glorify the Lord Jesus Christ by applying His Word, particularly Paul’s epistles of Romans through Philemon, to our lives. Have a good year in Christ! 🙂

You can download our free “One-Year Bible Reading Schedule.”

See our archived Bible Q&A: “What Scriptural advice can you give me for the New Year?

The Person of the Year

Saturday, December 31, 2022

“Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow…” (Philippians 2:9,10a KJV).

Let us praise the 2022 Person of the Year—our Lord Jesus Christ!

Society’s most stressful time of year, the Christmas Season, is winding down. The year 2022 is nearly over, and a new year, 2023, will dawn soon. At this time every year, various groups and publications feature their particular choice for “Person of the Year.” Whether a chief of state, a philanthropist, a religious leader, a distinguished author or scientist, a television or radio personality, or some other “professional” who impacted society in a negative or positive way the most during the past year, they are all still people with limitations and frailties. One can accomplish all sorts of praiseworthy, generous, and awe-inspiring feats. However, what carries the most weight is the attitude, the heart, underlying the action, not the action. Was it Jesus Christ, or simply the flesh?

The one single event in history that pleased God the Father most was when His beloved Son, Jesus Christ, went by faith in His Word, to an awful Roman cross to suffer the worst possible and most graphic death a human ever experienced, to pay for our sins. “Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased (Mark 1:11). It is through that finished crosswork of Jesus Christ that He is still doing mighty works, 20 centuries later. How our Lord Jesus Christ has saved countless souls from sins and hell this past year, and how He has saved innumerable Christian souls from false doctrine and spiritual ruin.

Jesus Christ, who in death defeated His greatest enemy (Satan), was raised by God the Father and is now the ascended and glorified Lord Jesus Christ (today’s Scripture). Saints, may we ever thank and praise our Saviour Jesus Christ for what He has done for us, what He has done with us, and what He will do with us next year… and all the countless ages thereafter….

NOTE: Saints, believe it or not, we close yet another year of grace ministry. Thank you for your continued prayer and encouragement these last 12 months. We surely needed it. While we have come so very far, we still have so much more ground to cover, so much more sound Bible doctrine to learn and believe, and we look forward to serving you here for at least another year (provided our Lord Jesus Christ wills it). So, with that, I sign off for 2022. See you in 2023! 🙂

Scrooges and Christians

Friday, December 16, 2022

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV).

To the old identity, we say, “Bah, Humbug!” To the new, we say, “God has blessed us, everyone in Christ.”

Other than Jesus Christ’s conception and birth as found in the Holy Bible, there is one other classic story associated with Christmastime. British author Charles Dickens’ 1843 book, A Christmas Carol, focuses on the transformation of Ebenezer Scrooge (the novella has some Christian influence).

From the onset, Scrooge is a wealthy, miserable, mean, stingy, and selfish old man. His employee, Bob Cratchit, is underpaid (yet, strangely, Ebenezer observes, Cratchit is cheerful). Scrooge refuses to donate to charities collecting for the destitute—to him, Christmastime is a time for others to “pick his pocket.” He even refuses to attend his nephew’s Christmas party. What a miser!

Through visitations by four Spirits—his deceased business partner, Jacob Marley; and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Future—Scrooge is forced to realize what a thoroughly rotten man he is. Once confronted with his future, the awful events that lie ahead, he asks for another chance to make things right (which, thankfully, he receives and does!). The Scrooge at the end of the book is drastically different from the Scrooge at the beginning. Scrooge is now loving, warm, cheerful, and generous—he is a brand-new man.

Bible-believing Christians recognize parallels between Dickens’ work and the Holy Scriptures. The sinner starts off rotten, a rebel from birth—selfish, miserable, and mean. When he or she comes to realize that pitiful condition he or she is in, and comes by simple faith in Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork as sufficient payment for their sins, God gives him or her a new identity (today’s Scripture). That identity is designed to influence subsequent actions. Scrooge did not simply change his outward activity; he had a change in heart first. This Christmas, let us be submissive to God’s Holy Spirit working in our hearts, as He uses sound Bible doctrine to manifest in our behavior our identity in Christ, that we be not Scrooges.

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing #5

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

“For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:14-17 KJV).

The final verse of the classic Christmas carol highlights today’s Scripture.

“Adam’s likeness, Lord, efface,
Stamp Thine image in its place:
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in Thy love.
Let us Thee, though lost, regain,
Thee, the Life, the inner man:
O, to all Thyself impart,
Formed in each believing heart.
Hark! The herald angels sing,
Glory to the newborn King!”

Religion has done an excellent job (wrongly) teaching us that God likes to rehabilitate humans—that He wants to make us quit doing certain things (“fleshly”) and make us start doing other things (“churchy”). What a very shallow, and actually a false, perception. God wants to do much more than what we could ever do by ourselves.

For good works to reign in our lives, God has to kill us! As sinners, in Adam, we are dead in our trespasses and sins, no life in ourselves (see today’s Scripture). Nothing we can do in our own strength will ever change our (sinful) nature in Adam. However, God offers us death to Adam and a new identity through Christ at Calvary. When we trust that Jesus Christ died for our sins, in God’s mind, we died to sin, too. Christ did not simply die for us but as us. Romans chapters 5 through 8 describe the victory is in Christ, not in Adam or in ourselves. Success is by the power of the Holy Ghost working with the grace doctrines we study and believe, not in our struggles to do right. And so, “Christ [is] formed in [us]” (Galatians 4:19).

Something about which the angels cannot sing, but we can, should, and do! 🙂

Lead By Good Example

Monday, November 28, 2022

“And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God. And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar, And saying, If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself” (Luke 23:35-37 KJV).

When we compare today’s Scripture to Matthew chapter 27, we can make an interesting deduction….

As the Lord Jesus is crucified, they make fun of Him, taunting and insulting Him. They simply cannot fathom how this “great” “Saviour,” this “mighty” “King,” could now seem so defenseless while they mercilessly torture Him. Why does He not deliver Himself? The Roman soldiers tease Him, “If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself.” From where did they get this notion?

If we turn to the Book of Matthew, we find these remarks: “Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him” (Matthew 27:41,42). These “chief priests,” “scribes” (Bible copyists and teachers), and “elders” (aged men) are all members of Israel’s leadership. Apparently, once the Jews ridiculed the Lord, the Gentiles heard it and copied them! This was a reversal of God’s Old Testament hope for Israel, for the Jewish people (the worshippers of the one true God, sole possessors of His Book) were to be good spiritual examples to the Gentiles (who had nothing but mere idols and darkness).

“Therefore I [a Jew] will give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen [Gentiles], and I will sing praises unto thy name” (2 Samuel 22:50). “O praise the LORD, all ye nations [Gentiles]: praise him, all ye people” (Psalm 117:1). Declare his glory among the heathen [Gentiles], his wonders among all people” (Psalm 96:3). Saints, lest we be like ancient, apostate Israel at Calvary’s cross, may we properly represent the LORD before the unsaved world around us—leading them to honor the LORD instead of dislike Him!

NOTE: Brethren, this is our final original devotional for 2022, as our classic Christmas studies will now run the rest of the year.

He Will Teach the Sinners

Saturday, November 26, 2022

“Good and upright is the LORD: therefore will he teach sinners in the way. The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way” (Psalm 25:8,9 KJV).

What King David penned here 3,000 years ago is just as true in our modern world….

Recently, I was reading the biography of a famous politician. Although he was raised in a “Christian” home, and has even joined two “Christian” denominations in his lifetime, his faith (in his own words) “comes and goes.” He states he is not a “serious practitioner” of Christianity. It is a rather unfortunate situation, but this poor soul is definitely not alone in his grim predicament. When you study the questionable—yea, false—theology to which he has been exposed over the course of decades, it is no surprise that his spiritual life turned out the disastrous way it did. Countless millions in these groups also habitually experience the same type of “faith” that “comes and goes!”

As King James Bible believers, as Pauline dispensational believers, as grace believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we are truly blessed to have an overwhelming amount of spiritual light. Except for the grace of God, we too would be dead in our trespasses and sins, and deceived in religious circles. (Let us be grateful.) After all, considering the 38,000 (!) denominations in Christendom, the chances are extremely high that we (if not already) will eventually wind up getting involved with one or more of them and their heretical and/or apostate theological systems. While there is only one version of the truth, there are countless versions of error—and that solemn statistic alone should always prevent us from bragging “but I will always be loyal to the Lord and His pure Word!”

In today’s Scripture, “Good and upright is the LORD: therefore will he teach sinners in the way. The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way.” Provided we are “meek” (not proud), submissive (not defiant), the LORD is more than willing to show us what to believe and do. As long as this is our attitude, our faith will be settled, stable, and appealing to those seeking meaningful answers.

Let the Lord Praise Thee

Friday, November 25, 2022

Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips (Proverbs 27:2 KJV).

Friend, instead of praising yourself, let someone else do it….

Writing about himself online, a religious man itemized his many “saintly” accomplishments—how he was active in his community, joining this group, leading that group, and on and on and on. He doubtless impressed his audience and thus received significant commendation.

Likewise, we read of a boastful religious Pharisee: “And he [Jesus] spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publicanI fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted” (Luke 18:9-14). Observe the contrasts. Israel was composed of some humble people (believers who recognized their need for the Saviour—such as this publican or tax collector), but it also abounded with the proud (self-righteous, religious, unbelieving people—such as this Pharisaical leader in Israel who was obsessed with “I,” “I,” “I,” “I,” “I”).

“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. For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord. 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 (1 Corinthians 4:3-5). Friend, instead of praising yourself, let God do it! 🙂

In Every Thing Give Thanks

Thursday, November 24, 2022

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?

That I Might Save Some of Them #4

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

“For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them” (Romans 11:13,14 KJV).

The operative term here is “some!”

Dear brethren in Christ, the Apostle Paul never realized his ministry would last 2,000 (!) years, that God would extend His grace, mercy, and peace to all people without distinction for 20 centuries. Despite the persecution, his ministry was not a waste of time after all, was it? Has it not eternally touched and benefited even us?

We are not omniscient (all-knowing), so we can never really gauge with certainty whom we are impacting with the Holy Bible and our testimony. For example, as we share sound doctrine electronically (online written studies and videos, especially through social media) and/or physically (Bible and Gospel tract distribution, Christian literature circulation), there is no practical way to estimate just whom that information will reach or may already be reaching. Imagine those tremendous implications.

Leave a Gospel tract in a public place. Potentially, not only will one soul read it and believe its verses, he or she might share it with 100 others (and you will know nothing about it!). Maybe a pastor of thousands will be reached, and he will broadcast those Bible verses to his congregation. You might post an online Bible study video, receive just a few “likes,” and assume you made little to no difference. However, what you do not know is the countless people who saw and accepted that information in secret (if they were to publicly admit it by “liking” it would jeopardize their social status!). What you will never learn until you get to Heaven is the hundreds, thousands, or millions of souls the Lord used you to reach—“strangers” from around the world, to whom you ministered via videos and books, people you influenced decades (or even centuries) after your death!

Overall, though, we do not endeavor to save “most” or even “many” people from their spiritual error (blindness, darkness, impotence, immaturity). We conduct our grace ministries as the Holy Spirit enables, “if by any means… [we] might save some of them.”