Successful!

Friday, March 23, 2018

“Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (2 Timothy 2:1-3 KJV).

Without further delay, saints, let us realize how to be successful!

Today’s Scripture is some of the Apostle Paul’s final words to young Timothy. The Roman government is preparing to execute the imprisoned, aged Apostle for preaching an “illegal religion.” After 35 years of glorious grace ministry, Paul is finally going Home—to the third heaven!!!

Notice a portion of the Holy Ghost’s concluding words to us the Church the Body of Christ. In all the “ups and downs” of life and ministry, we are to “be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” Remember, when all else fails you, in the end, God’s grace will remain to sustain you. Paul is moving on to “be with Christ, which is far better” (Philippians 1:23). As his mentor passes off the scene, it is vital that Timothy never forgets that grace will abide. No matter how rough it gets down here, because of everything that Father God can do for us through Christ’s finished crosswork, we can endure it. Never should Timothy (or we) overlook that.

Furthermore, Paul instructs Timothy, “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” God taught us through Paul so we can teach the same to others. The key word here is same:” we do not change the message, do not compromise the doctrine, and do not water down Pauline truth!! Timothy should never forget this either—especially since mass apostasy (many Christians abandoning truth to embrace error) surrounds him.

“Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” In light of what was just stated, we are to “endure hardness” (“suffer trouble,” 2 Timothy 2:9; “endure afflictions,” 2 Timothy 4:5). Saints, an intense spiritual battle is being waged. We have a vicious Adversary (Satan) to face. Nevertheless, we are “good soldiers of Jesus Christ.” We will win only because of God’s grace! 🙂

Solace!

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ (2 Corinthians 1:3-5 KJV).

Without further delay, we need to enjoy the solace of the God of all comfort.

Today’s Scripture is the Apostle Paul at the lowest point in his whole ministry. Keep reading: “[8] For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: [9] But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: [10] Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us;….” Did you sense Paul’s great depression in verse 8?

When the Apostle refers to his “trouble… in Asia,” that would have been something that occurred in Asia Minor (modern Turkey). On its western shore sat the city of Ephesus. Here, in Acts chapter 19, Paul had preached Jesus Christ and founded the church at Ephesus. You would do well to read the chapter sometime. Paul’s preaching the truth caused a revival in that spiritually dead, pagan city. With the idol-makers losing customers, they lashed out and caused a riot. Paul could have lost his life! Thankfully, God supported him physically (but most importantly, spiritually).

Saint, when you get “pressed out of measure” in ministry, “above strength, insomuch that [you] despair even of life,” you just keep on going! After all, “But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us;….” If the saints of old found solace in the God of all comfort, then we will too!

Our archived Bible Q&A: “Should Christians celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day?

Succoured!

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted” (Hebrews 2:18 KJV).

Without further delay, we should let the succouring Saviour succour us.

The Book of Hebrews is not written to us members of the Church the Body of Christ. It refers to “the world to come” (Hebrews 2:5), the ages to come, events after our Dispensation of Grace. Still, because of parallels, we can benefit from Israel’s Scriptures at times.

Hebrews concentrates on the time of immense suffering, the abundant temptation and persecution, that Israel’s Little Flock will experience during the Antichrist’s rule (recall Psalm 10?). The writer of Hebrews reminds them of the Lord Jesus Christ being there to “succour” them, to assist them in their time of great need. As Christ suffered, but relied on Father God, so they can rely on Him to see it through their dark days.

Harmonizing with Hebrews, James and Peter both wrote to Israel suffering under the Antichrist. For example, James 1:2: “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;….” And verse 12: “Blessed [happy!] is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” Finally, 1 Peter 1:6,7: “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing [Second Coming] of Jesus Christ.” This is how believing Israel should view her end-times distress.

If God will comfort believing Israel during the worst (!) period of human history, then surely, brethren, He can aid us in our times of need. When we face difficulties, we know that He has equipped us to fully endure them. First Corinthians 10:13: “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Did not God send messengers to Gentiles prior to Paul’s apostleship?

Shocked!

Friday, February 23, 2018

“Why standest thou afar off, O LORD? why hidest thou thyself in times of trouble?” (Psalm 10:1 KJV).

Without further delay, we need to learn how to avoid shock.

Immediately after tragedy strikes, two things occur. Firstly, those who have had absolutely no time for God suddenly begin telling Him to do something for them. Secondly, those seeking to shift blame from themselves and sinners like them, begin to viciously accuse Him.

No matter how wicked our human nature is, we reach a point—however brief—when we realize our great limitations. Regardless of how high our skyscrapers get or our submersibles go, no matter how advanced our technology becomes, regardless of how great our understanding of the universe becomes, we are truly weaklings in the grand scheme of things. In those fleeting seconds before we conceitedly suppress that truth, we reach out to any “higher being” who may happen to be listening to or watching us in our pathetic plight. Whatever “it” is, if our situations and circumstances are grim, we can look to “it” for comfort or culpability. If “it” does not respond as we expect, we then bitterly lash out at “it.”

The Psalmist in today’s Scripture is puzzled: times are troubling and God is hiding! Reading through the psalm, we learn that its writer is really a member of the Little Flock, Israel’s believing remnant, suffering greatly under the reign of the despotic Antichrist. Shock and fear will grip these saints living beyond our day. Evil incarnate is ruling unfettered. Believing Israelites, scattered across the Middle East, are being imprisoned, tortured, and beheaded. Where is the supernatural deliverance? These Messianic Jews need to understand why God is delaying His return to forcefully crush the Antichrist.

As concerning God’s dealings with us in the Dispensation of Grace, we see a parallel in today’s Scripture. Where is God in our times of trouble? Again, Satan’s evil world system must run its full course. God has not abandoned us. He is indeed present, and we need not be shocked or troubled that evil prospers despite the existence of a loving God. Friends, if we acknowledge the reality of suffering and the presence of an intelligent Creator, we can shield ourselves from such devastating surprise.

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Is Hell almost full?

Paul’s Stocks and Bonds

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely: Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks (Acts 16:23,24 KJV).

Financial stocks and bonds are sources of great wealth. The Apostle Paul, although poor (2 Corinthians 11:27; Philippians 4:11-13), had much experience with “stocks” and “bonds.”

As the context of today’s Scripture proves (verse 12 onward), he, Silas, Luke, and others travel to Philippi (northern Greece) to preach the Gospel of Grace. A Gentile religious woman, Lydia, and an unnamed devil-possessed slave girl are two of their converts. The girl’s owners—furious that their “money-making machine” has disappeared—drag Paul and Silas into the marketplace (court). There, they persuade the authorities to arrange for the Apostles to be beaten with rods (“caning”). Paul and Silas receive “many stripes [wounds].”

Paul and Silas are then imprisoned, eventually evangelizing the jailor and his household (today’s Scripture to the chapter’s end). While captive, their feet are “fast [secure] in the stocks.” The “stocks” were an instrument of punishment consisting of an adjustable wooden structure with holes for securing a person’s hands and feet. Confined to such a device, criminals could be subject to public ridicule and abuse of all kinds. What torture Paul and Silas were willing to endure for our Lord Jesus Christ!

Later, in Acts 20:22-24, Paul confessed: “And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” These “bonds” are chains, shackles, instruments of imprisonment. The Apostle is in “bonds” in Acts 25:14; Acts 26:29; Ephesians 6:20; Philippians 1:7,13-16; Colossians 4:3,18; 2 Timothy 2:9; and Philemon 10 and 13.

“Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound(2 Timothy 2:9).

Guarded

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

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).

With today’s Scripture in our hearts and minds, those hearts and minds are guarded!

Second Timothy 3:12 tells us: “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” Acts 14:22 says of Paul and Barnabas: “Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” Whenever we purpose to live godly in Christ Jesus, we will suffer persecution. This is a fact of Christian doctrine, even though the popular idea in “churchianity” today is that God wants to remove all of our problems (or remove us from them).

If Satan cannot cause us to change or pervert the doctrine that we teach and preach, then he will do his best in using whatever he can to stop us from teaching and preaching. In other words, after unsuccessfully attacking the message, he proceeds to attack the messenger. Should we worry? Should that bother us? Should we fret? Should that discourage us from even trying to do right at all? No, dear friends, no! Today’s Scripture reminds us not to be “careful”—we should not be anxious, worrisome, taking thought of it.

In our circumstances, regardless of our circumstances, we are “by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving [to] let [our] requests be made known unto God.” Why? Prayer is not designed to change our circumstances, as commonly thought, but it is to change us within as we endure those circumstances. “The peace of God, which passeth understanding, shall keep [our] hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” The idea here with “keep” is guard. Satan is out to harm us internally (mentally and spiritually). Thankfully, God has given us the ability—through His written Word and us praying according to it rightly divided—so we can ward off his attacks. Ultimately, it will cause us to think of our circumstances the way God Himself does.

The Final Score

Friday, May 5, 2017

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 KJV).

Lo, the final score!

Friend, have you ever watched a sports game whose score was very close? What about when your favorite team had done so well in previous games, but was now losing so horribly? Surely, the other team would win the game! However, in the final moments, your team surges ahead—beating their opponents by few or many points! See, things can change very quickly in life.

Surveying the realm of Christendom, the truth seems to be losing. The masses flock to the false teachers; very few are interested in sound Bible doctrine. Christians are mercilessly tortured, robbed, silenced, imprisoned, and killed all around the world. God’s Word is ridiculed in many a school classroom and—yes, sadly—in many a “Christian” church! None of this is new, actually. You can study Genesis through Revelation to see that human history is riddled with such depressing news.

From chapter 13 until today’s Scripture, the Lord Jesus has been eating and fellowshipping with His disciples on the night of His death. For much of that time, He has talked to them, telling them various bits of sad news. He informs them that one of them will betray Him (13:21). He will be leaving them (13:33-35). Peter will deny Him thrice (13:38). The world will hate them for following Him (15:18-27). They will be killed for His sake (16:2). They, fearing for their lives, will abandon Him shortly (16:32). What “bad” news! But, will truth lose?

In closing, He says in today’s Scripture, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace.” “In the world ye shall have tribulation….” Having awareness of all their upcoming troubles, how could they have peace? The Lord gave them the final score in the battle between good and evil—“but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” He spoke with absolute certainty: no matter what happened to them, no matter how Satan afflicted them, He told them that He (and thus they in Him) had won! Yes, brethren, we win, too! 🙂