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?

The Little Gift and the Gift of Eternal Life

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

“For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth” (2 Corinthians 13:8 KJV).

Dear friends in Christ, it is no secret our world abounds with evil. At every turn, in every institution, in every realm, Satan’s policy of evil is alive and well. Even in so-called “Christian” circles, the Scriptures are largely ignored (unless they can be quoted to support a favorite theological position!). Oftentimes, the average believer cannot help but suppose maintaining and teaching sound Bible doctrine is a lost cause. “What can I possibly do to advance the truths of God’s Word? I am no preacher or teacher! I am just one person! Bible-believers are outnumbered by the billions so what difference could I possibly make for the Lord’s glory?!”

Long ago, a lady was preparing a package to send to missionaries far away overseas. A child gave her a penny, so the woman used it to buy a Gospel tract to place into the box. That Gospel tract reached the chief of a people in that foreign land. He came to trust Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour, and he shared his testimony with his friends (most of whom also believed unto eternal life). Also, a local church was eventually founded there, and over 1,500 other natives believed on Jesus Christ to pass from death to life. It all began with one child giving a single penny!

“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8,9). “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).

Saints, share this devotional throughout social media platforms (only the Lord knows how far it will travel—or whom it will influence for His glory!).

Christ Liveth in Me

Sunday, April 17, 2022

“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).

“He is risen” is not a simple blasé cliché!

When Jesus’ disciples came to His tomb on that glorious Sunday morning nearly 2,000 years ago, they were startled to find it empty! Angels inform them that He has resurrected, but they are still in shock (Matthew 28:1-8; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-8). Jesus Christ Himself must later explain the Scriptures to them regarding what happened those last few days (Luke 24:44-46).

However, until Paul’s ministry, Christ’s finished crosswork is not preached as good news for salvation. Peter and Israel’s other apostles simply preach that Jesus Christ is now resurrected to “sit on [David’s] throne” (Acts 2:30)—that is bad news for much of Israel, for they still reject Him, weeks and months after His resurrection and ascension. Throughout early Acts, Israel’s apostles warn her that Jesus Christ is coming back to judge them.

When we come to the Apostle Paul’s ministry, we learn that we Gentiles can benefit from Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork. Israel’s rejected Messiah is now our way to heaven! Yes, Israel hated Him, and demanded that He experience the most awful method of execution devised, but God allowed it in order to accomplish His will. Satan attempted to hinder God’s will by having Christ killed, but all that did was provide the method whereby God could save us pagan Gentiles. Calvary’s finished crosswork frees us from Satan’s evil system and gives us a chance to be God’s people (Acts 26:17,18)!

As people who have trusted Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as sufficient payment for our sins, that crucifixion is our death to self and sin, and that resurrection is our raising to walk in newness of life—His life (today’s Scripture; cf. Romans 6:1-11)!

Indeed, Jesus Christ is alive, and He lives in and through those who walk by faith in God’s Word to them, Paul’s epistles of Romans through Philemon! 🙂

HAPPY EASTER!

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

The Only Praise That Counts

Monday, February 28, 2022

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 4:5 KJV).

It is always wonderful to be recognized and appreciated for doing a good job. Therefore, people vie for titles such as “Employee of the Year,” “Best Leader,” “Most Distinguished Citizen,” “World Champion,” “Best Worker,” and “Most Learned Scholar.” Of course, egos are at stake—also, grant money, reputations, employment, and educations. The greatest disadvantage, however, is we as mere mortal humans can never really read hearts to discern who is truly doing good (heart of faith) and who is not (heart of unbelief).

The only life the God of the Bible will ever accept is that of the Lord Jesus Christ—absolute, complete, total perfection, utter sinlessness. If anyone is ever actually doing “good,” it would only be Jesus Christ living in and through that person. Human efforts—which is what non-Christians and fleshly Christians can only ever provide—get no award or praise from God (the ultimate Judge) though human evaluation commends them.

For example, I once knew someone who won a prestigious award as a teacher. Yet, had she been competing for the “good Christian friend” or “mature Bible student” award, she would have lost most miserably. Were her efforts at her workplace God’s Spirit moving in her via sound Bible doctrine, or just her flesh? The Lord alone can and will answer that one day. Or, think of how I was acquainted with a local false teacher who “studied the Bible.” He deceived a great many souls—and repeatedly (but unsuccessfully) tried to corrupt me as well. Numerous people regarded him as a “scholarly” man, and he had some clout in religious circles (especially online), but, if he were striving for the “most honest educator” or “sound in the faith leader” title, he would have never even come to close to being qualified. Did he die a saved man, or simply religious? The Lord alone can and already has determined that.

Remember, dear saints, let us seek to have “praise of God” alone (today’s Scripture). His judgment is what ultimately counts!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Who are ‘abjects?’

Assurance

Sunday, February 27, 2022

“And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:42,43 KJV).

Behold, the security this believing malefactor’s soul had!

I just read the biography of a celebrity atheist. He had grown up in a religious household, but eventually became a millionaire television journalist who unashamedly wrote newspaper columns to make fun of God. Moving from agnosticism (maybe there is a God) to atheism (there is no God), spiritual darkness gradually overwhelmed him. In real life, he was a cantankerous person, complaining about practically everything—from major to trivial matters. He had many fans, but rebuffed them when they met him in public and asked for his autograph. Overall, he was a miserable soul.

More recently, I watched an interview of him. Now in his 90s, nearing retirement, he was discussing his long life and extensive, successful career. He said he “hated” growing old. When asked whether or not he thought about death, he replied he “did not like [the idea].” Death “did not appeal to him at all.” Five weeks later, eternity kept him where death found him.

How dreadful it is, dear friends, when the aforementioned writer lived in the United States of America for nearly a century, with our millions of Bibles everywhere, and wound up in such dire spiritual ignorance! Not only had he ignored creation as evidence of the Creator (Romans 1:18-25), he also disregarded his conscience—that which gave him some sense of right and wrong, and had allowed him to see his failure to live up to all that he knew was right (Romans 2:14,15).

In the context of today’s Scripture, the believing “malefactor” (evildoer) crucified with Jesus recognized his sin problem. He knew the Lord was innocent, but he freely confessed he himself rightly deserved Rome’s capital punishment meted out to him (see verses 39-43). The criminal needed not hate death, for, he was told, his soul was “verily” (truly, certainly) in the Lord’s hands and would ultimately wind up in the Lord’s kingdom. If we have also trusted in Jesus Christ alone as our personal Saviour, that assurance is ours too (2 Corinthians 5:6-8; 2 Timothy 4:18).

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What does ‘haunt’ mean in the Bible?

Only One Left? #7

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away (1 Kings 19:14 KJV).

Was the Prophet Elijah really “the only one left?”

Indeed, the Christian’s life is difficult, for it concerns surviving the pitfalls of the pervasive evil world system. Everyone, everywhere is actually walking through a spiritual minefield. As grace-oriented Christians, dispensational Bible students, we are even more mindful of the perils. Religious apostasy is universal!

Spending his last moments on Earth imprisoned in Rome, the Apostle Paul lamented: “This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes” (2 Timothy 1:15). The precious believers in Christ in Turkey—that is, Galatia, Ephesus, Colosse, Laodicea, and so on—had forsaken grace doctrine. Paul himself had led them to faith in Christ, and taught them several years. Awaiting his execution, he recalled the heartbreaking news of their departure from the truth.

Demas, once an immensely helpful ministry friend (Colossians 4:14; Philemon 24), deserted Paul too: “[Timothy] Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me: For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry. And Tychicus have I sent to Ephesus” (2 Timothy 4:9-12). Despite all that heartache, Paul was not the only one left: faithful Timothy, faithful Crescens, faithful Titus, faithful Luke, faithful John Mark (having recovered from his own disappearance from ministry a decade-plus prior; Acts 13:13), and faithful Tychicus remained. Paul himself would soon pass off the scene—but the Holy Spirit would use his epistles, Romans through Philemon, to continue his ministry right up to our current moment.

If ever our associates in even grace ministry leave us, or even if we must take a stand against them for their error, we will feel like the “only one left.” Yet, we are not alone, for if we are on the Lord’s side, He is with us, and He (that) is sufficient! 🙂

Only One Left? #6

Monday, February 21, 2022

And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away (1 Kings 19:14 KJV).

Was the Prophet Elijah really “the only one left?”

No, he was not. Likewise, neither are we. To be sure, while there are far fewer genuine Christians than there could be, there are far more than we know personally. Although there is an even smaller number of mature saints among them, it involves more than you and me. The Message of Grace existed for almost 20 centuries before our birth; if the Lord permits, it will go on well after our death and subsequent graduation to Heaven. Our King James Bible has endured for over 400 years; it will outlast us. Whether we live or die, God’s rightly divided words will go on and on and on, throughout the endless ages to come. He will always be working through someone somewhere. “The word of our God shall stand for ever” (Isaiah 40:8).

Unquestionably, the very nature of the Dispensation of Grace is one of departure from the truth. Ever since Genesis chapter 3, it has always been popular to disregard God’s current revelation. Throughout the history of the nation Israel, God’s words were ignored. With the formation of the Church the Body of Christ these last 2,000 years, church history mirrors what happened with Israel. There was great spiritual light imparted at the beginning, but it was gradually overlooked and replaced with traditions and opinions of men. By the time of Christ’s earthly ministry, the doctrine He had given to Israel was just a hollow, worthless religious system. When He comes to take us at the Rapture, the organized church will be revealed to be a failure (a great many of the two billion “Christians” today left behind, lost as lost can be!); the few who are true believers, much of their doctrine will be exposed as insignificant at the Judgment Seat of Christ. As the Lord returns yet again for Israel, there will be another small believing remnant.

Again, even if it appears feeble and declining, God’s ministry goes on….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What does ‘had in abomination’ mean?

Only One Left? #5

Sunday, February 20, 2022

And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away (1 Kings 19:14 KJV).

Was the Prophet Elijah really “the only one left?”

As King James Bible-believing, Pauline dispensationalists, it is quite easy for us to grow discouraged. After all, not many church members—even genuine Christians (!)—are interested in learning what we have to teach them from the Scriptures. Precious few are willing to question or abandon their long-held religious traditions. We exclaim, exasperated, “No one wants to listen to me share the truth with them!”

Though we, like Elijah, may feel we are “the only ones left,” there are countless Bible-believing, grace-oriented Christians just like us all around the world. They also understand God’s Word rightly divided. We just have never heard of them, and they have never heard of us. Although we are mutually unfamiliar with each other, the LORD knows us both—just as He saw those 7,000 believers in Israel in 1 Kings 19:18 (of whom Elijah was unaware). With the advent of the internet and social media, we “stranded grace believers” have been connected for several years now. Our studies here reach thousands of interested people. I am not alone. You are not alone. Always bearing this in mind will guard us against self-pity.

Dear dispensational friend, it is important never to focus on self. “I am the only one with the truth. I am the LORD’S last remaining preacher or teacher.” No, that was Elijah’s assumption (verse 10 and today’s Scripture). Almighty God promptly corrected him: “Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.” We do as the Lord’s grace enables us in our little realm, but we let Him watch over the global outreach of His words of grace. He does not need our help, but He does invite us to “preach the word” (2 Timothy 4:2), that we share His delight by valuing what He does. It is His ministry, not ours….

Only One Left? #4

Saturday, February 19, 2022

And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away (1 Kings 19:14 KJV).

Was the Prophet Elijah really “the only one left?”

The Bible always tells the truth—even about its heroes. Whereas Elijah was spiritually victorious in chapter 18 because he relied on JEHOVAH God, by the time of chapter 19, he was terrified of unbelievers because he was depending on his flesh. God had taken care of him for years prior, protecting him in chapter 17, but once he doubted the LORD he started wallowing in self-pity and became depressed, his spiritual life disintegrating. He actually asked the LORD to kill him (19:4)!

Elijah started focusing on himself. I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts…. I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away” (verse 10). Again, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts…. I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away” (verse 14, today’s Scripture). The LORD responds, “Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him” (verse 18). Paraphrased, “Oh, Elijah, though you find it difficult to comprehend, I have 7,000 other Jewish believers just like you on My side. You do not know about them, but they have neither kissed nor genuflected/bowed before Baal’s statues.”

Paul summarizes in Romans chapter 11 about a believing remnant in Israel, “[2] …Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying, [3] Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. [4] But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. [5] Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.”

Now, let us see a modern parallel….