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!).

The Evangelistic Window

Friday, April 1, 2022

“And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up” (Deuteronomy 6:7 KJV).

An evangelist conducted a survey at one of his meetings. About 4,500 people were in attendance. The polling data revealed 400 had become Christians before age 10, some 600 had become Christians between the ages of 16 and 20, but only 25 had become Christians after age 30. A staggering 1,875 were still unsaved!

Saints, if these figures are accurate, this is what we face in ministry. While there is always that extremely slim possibility a person will trust Jesus Christ as his or her personal Saviour in the final moments of this life (recall Luke 23:39-43), with advancing years comes increasing hardness toward spiritual truths. The old cliché “set in his or her ways” is definitely more applicable as one progresses in age. Whatever worldview was formed in the soul during its first 20 years will almost certainly remain for the rest of that earthly life. God, as Creator, knew this all too well. Therefore, He specifically wrote Bible verses with that fact in mind. For instance, see today’s Scripture, the LORD’S directions to Israelite parents who were to emphatically teach His words to their children. Or, that classic command, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).

There is absolutely no guarantee all whom we reach with the Gospel will believe it. In fact, most will not believe it—ever. Whatever they do with God’s Word after we give it to them is their responsibility, not ours. If the children with whom we share the Gospel now eventually grow up to be the worst criminals in history, or if they or those adults we reach ultimately die and go to Hell being as lost as lost could be, at least we can say we did what we could to prevent it. Our conscience is clear. No blood is on our hands. We took advantage of the “evangelistic window”—it was they who did not.

Bible Q&As #939 and #940: “What does ‘bray’ mean in Job?” and “What does ‘descry’ mean?

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?’

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….

A Reunion (x2)

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

“For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18 KJV).

Another member of the Church the Body of Christ has graduated to our Lord’s presence….

Here, nearly 10 years ago, I reported the death of Mr. Hadley Castille, a saint and world-renowned Cajun fiddler living here in southern Louisiana. Now, we can rejoice that his widow, Mrs. Earline, has gone on to Heaven to be reunited with him! I had ministered to Brother Hadley during his last days alive. For the next decade, my family and I, and other saints, attended to his wife. Over the course of this past year, her health had been steadily declining, and she was approaching age 85 when her lengthy Christian journey on Earth ended. Like her departed husband, she had a testimony of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. She is back with him, and she is also with a late sister-friend in Christ whom she had also missed. Not long ago, we visited all three graves.

Today’s Scripture was some of the verses we would share with Mrs. Earline to encourage her. Her physical body was breaking down, growing sicker and frailer, but we reminded her to focus on the inner man, leaving behind denominationalism and maturing in God’s grace. We can be sure that she is now at peace, free from her abounding distresses and overwhelming grief. There is coming a day when we will see her again, for those in Christ are united forever by His precious blood. While we are on Earth, saints, let us be about our ministry to see that we lead others to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ alone, that they too go to be with Him as we will do in His own timing.

-IN MEMORIAM-
Mrs. Mary Earline Shay Castille
October 10, 1937 – February 6, 2022

An Increase Long After Our Decease

Monday, January 24, 2022

“Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase” (1 Corinthians 3:5-7 KJV).

Even death itself cannot stop the Lord’s ministry!

Several years ago, a dear Christian sister shared the Gospel of Grace with an unsaved man. He trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour, and passed from death to life! She relayed the news to me and we rejoiced together, but, for the next four years, we heard from him just a few times. The lady eventually graduated to Heaven because of an accident, but she always wondered whatever happened to him. Over a year after her death, I receive a phone call. It is he! He had just learned about her moving to Heaven, and was so dismayed he wanted to reconnect with me, and tell me what had been happening since we last heard from him. I explained to him how we had thought about him often—and though her absence was a devastating loss to us all, we would see her again in the Lord’s presence and he could thank her there.

Over the last two years, he and I have tried to keep in more contact. Recently, he has informed me he is endeavoring to reach his adult children and young grandchildren with the Gospel of Grace—but they are so entangled in works-religion (his former denomination, Roman Catholicism) that it is most difficult. Moreover, he is still battling other denominationalists in a church he had started attending before he believed the Gospel of Grace. I encouraged him with more Scriptures and ministry advice, especially how the lady dealt with her own family (all of whom were of the same cult as he was and his family still is).

The sister now in Heaven almost three years will be most excited to hear one day how the Lord’s ministry through her continued to bear fruit long after she left us. She planted, we watered, but God gives the increase (cf. today’s Scripture). Indeed, long after our decease, His words will take care of themselves!

Bible Q&A #915: “Is it fair for John to refer to them as ‘the Jews?’

“Fifth-Amendment” Believers

Saturday, March 6, 2021

These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue (John 9:22 KJV).

What are “Fifth-Amendment” believers?

The Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution affords us the right to refuse to answer questions, especially in criminal trials, which might self-incriminate. In Scripture, we find such “secret” believers in Christ. They dare not publicly declare their faith, lest they be shunned, teased, or even killed!

“Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God (John 12:42,43). “There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him” (John 3:1,2). (Nicodemus sneaked around in the dark, fearing his unbelieving colleagues.)

Once Jesus healed the blind man in John chapter 9 (cf. today’s Scripture), the Pharisees harass the man’s parents: “[19] And they asked them, saying, Is this your son, who ye say was born blind? how then doth he now see? [20] His parents answered them and said, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind: [21] But by what means he now seeth, we know not; or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: he is of age; ask him: he shall speak for himself. [22] These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue. [23] Therefore said his parents, He is of age; ask him.”

The Apostle Paul thus besought the Ephesians to pray for him in Ephesians 6:19,20: “…that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.”

Found Out and Fractured in Twain #33

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

“But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23 KJV).

Doubtless, we never want to sensationalize or exaggerate. However, the fact remains, some dark days are ahead for the United States and the rest of the world. What can we Bible-believing Christians do?

Not only are non-Christians living contrary to God’s will for them, many of us “Christians” are equally disobedient. As they refuse to hear the truth, so we have ignored the rightly divided Scriptures to keep our church traditions. Just as they have their “holy books,” so we have used 100 modern English (different!) Bible translations to confuse and divide us for 120 years. As they bow to their pagan idols, so we have worshipped our “wafer gods,” relics, scholarship, statues, and “experiences.”

The sins of the flesh are easy to spot, but the sins of the spirit are more insidious. Relying on the sins of the spirit to fight the sins of the flesh, have we finally learned we cannot conquer sin with sin? Substitutes tricked us. We were religious, but not Christian: we were “playing” church. If we read the Bible, it was a quick verse here and there, passages our denominations approved. Whatever Bible we read, we really did not believe it. Our “feel-good” inspirational/motivational speeches distracted us from sound Bible doctrine. If this is how we got into this mess, then we do the opposite to escape it.

We must get back to the King James Bible: we need one final authority, not a hundred competing books. Also, we must return to the principles of grace, the Apostle Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon—Jesus Christ’s ministry today. Paul is our apostle (Romans 11:13), God’s spokesman to us. Supporting lies appears to bring harmony and progress, but there is no true, lasting unity and victory without sound Bible doctrine. The lost world must learn that, but we as believers in Christ must realize it first. We expect lost people to think and act like Christians when we do not think and act like Christians ourselves! Ridiculous! Until we believers are thankful for testimony of the Scriptures—grateful for our Bible heritage (albeit meager)—we have no testimony ourselves.

Let us summarize this devotionals arc….