Spiritual Cardiosclerosis #4

Sunday, April 18, 2021

“And the LORD said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go” (Exodus 4:21 KJV).

Exactly what is “spiritual cardiosclerosis?” How can we avoid this invisible, destructive malady?

During Christ’s earthly ministry, Israel’s religious leaders were stricken with spiritual cardiosclerosis: “And when he [Jesus] had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other” (Mark 3:5). Instead of believing on Jesus as Christ—who had demonstrated His Messiahship via innumerable healing miracles—they rejected Him in unbelief! Alas, even the disciples fell prey to that terrible affliction of spiritual cardiosclerosis.

“For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened (Mark 6:52). When Jesus walked out on the water of the Sea of Galilee to meet the disciples in their ship, they were amazed at His ability to calm the storm that had troubled them for so long! Having forgotten His miracle of feeding the 5,000 several hours prior, they still found it hard to accept His extraordinary power. After miraculously feeding the 4,000 later, Jesus warned His disciples about the “leaven” of false doctrine deceiving and contaminating Israel. Lacking spiritual eyes to see spiritual truth, they assumed He was speaking of literal leaven or physical bread. “And when Jesus knew it, he saith unto them, Why reason ye, because ye have no bread? perceive ye not yet, neither understand? have ye your heart yet hardened?” (Mark 8:17).

The Lord Jesus even spoke of spiritual cardiosclerosis as causing divorce: “He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts* suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so” (Matthew 19:8). “And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart* he wrote you this precept” (Mark 10:5). (*In the New Testament, this is the translation of the Greek “sklerokardia,” from which we derived our English equivalent.)

When Messiah arrived, Israel was hardhearted….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How can Luke 2:1 report ‘all the world’ was subject to Caesar Augustus?

Found Out and Fractured in Twain #23

Sunday, January 31, 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?

While social problems affect every age group, they have compounded among young Americans in recent decades. Youth—particularly Millennials (my generation, born 1980–2000)—were not adequately disciplined at home. They did not learn to esteem and trust the Scriptures, discern right from wrong, respect authority, learn the roles of the two sexes, avoid drug and alcohol use, be faithful spouses and responsible parents, accept and handle losses, appreciate their national identities, and so on.

Having discarded the Bible, the resultant vacuum in our nation’s heart has sucked in anything and everything. Boundaries and benchmarks are long gone. Many have no idea what constitutes personhood. Hence, in the name of “tolerance,” we continue to accommodate increasingly deviant behavior. “I allow my children to choose their gender!” “Since we have not gotten our way, we are vindicated in rioting and vandalizing!” “I can marry anyone I love, and we can even cohabitate without marriage as well!” “Skin color must determine beliefs and values!” Utter, complete, hopeless confusion. There is no longer a standard for anything; all is in flux, subject to perpetually change with every whim and feeling. Life founded on shifting sand—a civilization based on vacillation—will perish.

We go to great lengths to justify aborting (murdering) unborn members of our species. “It is just a clump of cells and tissue, not an actual human!” How paranoid we have become as touching environmental issues—global warming/climate change, clean energy, et cetera! “Science, science, science” is a golden calf, a mantra mindlessly repeated. “Racism, racism, racism” is another overused and cheapened term. Allegedly “woke,” conscious of social injustices everywhere, they really do not have a clue as to what really matters. Boasting in their “light,” they languish in spiritual pitch blackness. Our society is scrambling so frantically to fix its problems. Nevertheless, proceeding without sound Bible doctrine (and even unaware it lacks that knowledge!), it will only aggravate its misery….

Found Out and Fractured in Twain #5

Wednesday, January 13, 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?

The LORD God created Adam, and Adam was briefly the only human. Genesis chapter 2: “[20] And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. [21] And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; [22] And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. [23] And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. [24] Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. [25] And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.”

By delaying Eve’s creation, the LORD taught Adam a lesson. Adam’s yearning for a creature like himself instilled in him the realization that life is not about living for self. When he recognized his wife Eve as taken from his own body, he considered her part of himself (and rightly so). They were to function as one unit. Unfortunately, Satan—who had since fallen from his position in Heaven—came to Earth to recruit mankind to his side. Read chapter 3 of Genesis. Not only did Adam and Eve follow Satan in his rebellion against their Creator, they participated in the destruction of their marriage. They could no longer fellowship with God, for their sin found them out and fractured them in twain. Also, they could no longer fellowship with each other, for their sin found them out and fractured them in twain. The world has never been the same, sin finding it out and fracturing it in twain….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What is the ‘shambles?’

Mother: A Virtuous Woman

Sunday, May 10, 2020

“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 32 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.

Sin Divides #8

Saturday, February 8, 2020

“Trust ye not in a friend, put ye not confidence in a guide: keep the doors of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom. For the son dishonoureth the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter in law against her mother in law; a man’s enemies are the men of his own house” (Micah 7:5,6 KJV).

In religious circles, it is frequently bemoaned, “Doctrine divides! Doctrine divides! We should throw away ‘doctrine’ and just assemble around ‘love!’” Today’s Scripture and its context expose that dictum for the utter foolhardiness that it really is….

Let us read today’s Scripture—written 700 years before Christ—in context: “[1] Woe is me! for I am as when they have gathered the summer fruits, as the grapegleanings of the vintage: there is no cluster to eat: my soul desired the firstripe fruit. [2] The good man is perished out of the earth: and there is none upright among men: they all lie in wait for blood; they hunt every man his brother with a net. [3] That they may do evil with both hands earnestly, the prince asketh, and the judge asketh for a reward; and the great man, he uttereth his mischievous desire: so they wrap it up.

[4] The best of them is as a brier: the most upright is sharper than a thorn hedge: the day of thy watchmen and thy visitation cometh; now shall be their perplexity. [5] Trust ye not in a friend, put ye not confidence in a guide: keep the doors of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom. [6] For the son dishonoureth the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter in law against her mother in law; a man’s enemies are the men of his own house.

Had Adam held to the sound Bible doctrine God gave him, had Eve held to that doctrine, their marriage would not have become so complicated! If Cain had retained sound Bible doctrine, he would not have murdered his brother Abel! Moreover, had Israel guarded the sound Bible doctrine JEHOVAH God gave her through Moses at Mount Sinai, her people would not be in the spiritual mess of the Prophet Micah’s time! Yea, had sound Bible doctrine not been abandoned, none of these painful family rifts would have ever resulted….

 

Sin Divides #7

Friday, February 7, 2020

“Trust ye not in a friend, put ye not confidence in a guide: keep the doors of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom. For the son dishonoureth the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter in law against her mother in law; a man’s enemies are the men of his own house” (Micah 7:5,6 KJV).

In religious circles, it is frequently bemoaned, “Doctrine divides! Doctrine divides! We should throw away ‘doctrine’ and just assemble around ‘love!’” Today’s Scripture and its context expose that dictum for the utter foolhardiness that it really is….

Let us imagine a world where man is enjoying unrestricted fellowship with his Creator, husband and wife are moving together as one unit in the right direction, brother is loving brother, sister is looking after sister, parent is nurturing child, and neighbor is caring for neighbor. There are no selfishness, evil thoughts, malicious words, wars, poverty, divorce, abuse, murder, theft, sickness, suffering, death, and so on. Here is the way life once worked—how the LORD God intended it to operate.

In just a matter of seconds, Adam wrecked it all. When he followed Satan in his rebellion against God, he acted deliberately. “Adam was not deceived” (1 Timothy 2:14). Adam knew exactly what he was doing, and he did it! Now, what was once simple is complicated beyond our wildest imaginations. Life is hard. It is painful. Harmony is long gone. Nature is messed up. Civilization is a disaster. World peace—especially in the Middle East—is tirelessly sought but perpetually elusive. Even if we destroyed all weapons, and secured all people everywhere in handcuffs and leg restraints, the fact remains that sin is alive and well in every human heart. No matter how hard we try to curb our behavior, we cannot reform our nature. It will not work!

Notice James chapter 4, the first two verses: “From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.” There is a war inside us humans, and it manifests itself outwardly in strivings and contentions….

Sin Divides #6

Thursday, February 6, 2020

“Trust ye not in a friend, put ye not confidence in a guide: keep the doors of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom. For the son dishonoureth the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter in law against her mother in law; a man’s enemies are the men of his own house” (Micah 7:5,6 KJV).

In religious circles, it is frequently bemoaned, “Doctrine divides! Doctrine divides! We should throw away ‘doctrine’ and just assemble around ‘love!’” Today’s Scripture and its context expose that dictum for the utter foolhardiness that it really is….

Genesis chapter 4 opens: “[1] And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD. [2] And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. [3] And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. [4] And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: [5] But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell…. [8] And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. [9] And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?”

In chapter 3, we saw sin caused two divisions: it split man from God, and it separated man from woman. Free will attacked, marriage struck, Satan proceeded to destroy the family unit in chapter 4. Unbelieving Cain mercilessly killed his believing brother Abel! The Holy Spirit through the Apostle John comments: “For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous. Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you” (1 John 3:11-13).

Here is where we loop to today’s Scripture….

Sin Divides #5

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

“Trust ye not in a friend, put ye not confidence in a guide: keep the doors of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom. For the son dishonoureth the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter in law against her mother in law; a man’s enemies are the men of his own house” (Micah 7:5,6 KJV).

In religious circles, it is frequently bemoaned, “Doctrine divides! Doctrine divides! We should throw away ‘doctrine’ and just assemble around ‘love!’” Today’s Scripture and its context expose that dictum for the utter foolhardiness that it really is….

Genesis chapter 2 again: “[8] And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. [9] And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil…. [15] And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. [16] And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: [17] But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. [18] And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.”

It was “not good that the man should be alone” because he—created in God’s image (Genesis 1:26-28)—is meant to live for another’s benefit. Eve’s absence stirred within Adam a longing to have a complement. Once God created Eve, Adam should have been her spiritual leader and sought her best interest. Alas, he failed to communicate to her God’s words originally given to him. She thus listened to Satan, Adam followed Eve, and man fell into sin (Genesis 3:1-11). When God urged confession, Adam rather blamed Eve (really accusing God)—“The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat” (verse 12). Sin has split God and man, and pitted man against woman….

Saints, please remember us in your monthly giving—these websites do cost money to run! 🙂 You can donate securely here: https://www.paypal.me/ShawnBrasseaux, or email me at arcministries@gmail.com. Do not forget about Bible Q&A booklets for sale at https://arcgraceministries.org/in-print/booklets-bible-q-a/. Thanks to all who give to and pray for us! By the way, ministry emails have really been backed up this year. I am handling them as much as humanly possible. Thanks for your patience. 🙂

Sin Divides #4

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

“Trust ye not in a friend, put ye not confidence in a guide: keep the doors of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom. For the son dishonoureth the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter in law against her mother in law; a man’s enemies are the men of his own house” (Micah 7:5,6 KJV).

In religious circles, it is frequently bemoaned, “Doctrine divides! Doctrine divides! We should throw away ‘doctrine’ and just assemble around ‘love!’” Today’s Scripture and its context expose that dictum for the utter foolhardiness that it really is….

Skeptics, and anyone else approaching the Scriptures from an immature spiritual perspective, will conclude God forgot to place Eve with Adam. How could the “omniscient” Almighty Creator not remember to give the first man a wife? Genesis chapter 2 says: “[20] And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. [21] And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; [22] And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. [23] And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. [24] Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. [25] And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.”

Why did the LORD permit Adam to exist alone for a time? There was no negligence on God’s part whatsoever. In Adam, there was reinforced the understanding that his life involved more than his own existence. Eve’s absence afforded Adam a firsthand lesson to learn this in no uncertain terms: like his Creator, Adam should be living for another! Once God gave Eve to Adam, Adam grasped their intimate unity. The first human relationship was a marriage, founded on selflessness not selfishness. However, division soon ensued….

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.