The LORD is On My Side #1

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me” (Hebrews 13:5,6 KJV).

Although today’s Scripture is God’s Word to the nation Israel, we appreciate this doctrine and take comfort in it as its writer urged Israel to do.

Our human bodies are limited and frail; Satan’s evil world system is mighty. For centuries wicked men have imprisoned and killed Christians! As one would squeeze fruit to produce juice, so the daily struggles of life in this evil world continually batter us Christians, seemingly squeezing us until our strength is diminished and we are vanquished.

While Satan’s evil world system prevails today, it will manifest itself more fully once our Dispensation of Grace closes. It will become increasingly difficult for the nation Israel to exist once we (the Church the Body of Christ) are raptured from this earth. This horrible period following the rapture, the seven-year Tribulation, is the context of today’s Scripture.

Especially during the latter half of the Tribulation, God’s people (Israel’s believing remnant) will endure great oppression. The antichrist will persecute Israel (Matthew 10:16-33; cf. Revelation 13:10-17), even killing the Jews who disobey him by following Jesus Christ (Revelation 6:9-11; Revelation 13:4-15).

In that time, the worst period of human history, God will comfort His people, Israel, using today’s Scripture: “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.” This is actually quoting Deuteronomy 31:6-8, when Moses encouraged Israel not to fear her enemies as they prepared to enter Canaan under Joshua’s leadership (cf. Joshua 1:5). Psalm 118:6 is also quoted: The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?”

Brethren, despite our persecution in this life, Israel’s faithful God is our faithful God and He will never leave us either (Romans 8:31-39)!

A Memory and a Reality

Saturday, December 31, 2011

“But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel;” (Philippians 1:12 KJV).

What a prosperous ministry year it has been, beloved! How we thank our heavenly Father for the opportunities we had to teach, verbally and through writing, the precious truths of His Word to family, friends, acquaintances, professors, classmates, and complete strangers. We can only wonder how many souls were edified and saved worldwide.

Interestingly, during the past year, our newspaper ministry, this devotional blog’s “predecessor,” saw its final months. We are grateful to have had opportunity to publish Bible studies in a weekly newspaper column. (A few weeks after that avenue was discontinued in May, this devotional blog was launched. So, had the newspaper column not been cancelled, you would have never even read this blog!)

Despite the great stress, extreme heartache, persecution, and months of severe depression, we rejoice that the Gospel of the Grace of God still went forth for His glory. We agree with our Apostle Paul, who wrote in today’s Scripture that God’s Word will be published, especially during difficult times. In Paul’s case, God allowed Paul to be imprisoned so he could preach the Gospel there (Philippians 1:7,13,14)! Indeed, our suffering was well worth it. 🙂

Saints, how we thank God for “your fellowship in the gospel” (Philippians 1:3-5). We are bound to thank you, whose fervent prayers encouraged us during those painful months. By God’s grace, which has borne us thus far, we will continue to endure and we cannot wait to see what the Lord will do next year! We ask for your continued prayer, for we will face even more satanic opposition in the upcoming year.

As 2011 fades into the recesses of memory, and 2012 becomes a reality, we should keep this sound doctrine in mind: Like the difficulties of this past year, the things which [will happen unto us will fall out] rather unto the furtherance of the gospel!” Lord willing, in 2012, we hope to “continue fighting the good fight of faith…” no matter what else it may cost us (1 Timothy 6:12).

HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM arC MINISTRIES!

We Suffer Persecution

Friday, November 18, 2011

“…Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it: being defamed, we entreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day” (1 Corinthians 4:12bc,13 KJV).

Contrary to the damnable teachings of prosperity theology, the Christian life is not always pleasant and carefree. In today’s Scripture, the Apostle Paul explains we “suffer” persecution. While “suffer” means “endure pain,” its older English definition was “allow, permit.” Both definitions are applicable here.

In Acts 24:5, lost people called Paul a “pestilent fellow.” Jesus told His Jewish disciples: “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you… I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you” (John 15:18,19). The lost world hated Jesus Christ so much that they preferred a murderer’s release as opposed to Jesus’ release (Matthew 27:15-22; Mark 15:7-15)!

The Apostle Peter, writing to Jewish believers, the little flock, who will endure the seven-year Tribulation: “But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified” (1 Peter 4:13,14).

Christians are the outcasts of society. Compared to the world, we think differently, we act differently, and we even look different. Accordingly, we are targets of their criticism. Christians down through the past 20 centuries have suffered some rather graphic treatment, far too explicit to mention here. This evil world system has never been God’s friend, so it will certainly be unfriendly to us Christians.

In fact, today’s Scripture tells us that the world will treat us Christians like “filth” and “offscouring” (trash, scum, castaways). We are called names, ostracized, and we may be imprisoned or even tortured and executed, but we are privileged to “suffer for righteousness’ sake” (1 Peter 3:14)!

Beloved, we suffer persecution… for God’s glory!

Whose Praise Do You Love?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

“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 KJV).

How much are willing to risk (and perhaps lose) for being God’s child, a member of the Body of Christ? This present evil world, despite its religious façade, is not God’s friend. It will not be a Christian’s friend either. The world hates Christ living in us just as it despised Christ living during His earthly ministry!

We Christians face great opposition. Wanting the world’s acceptance, our sin nature gravitates towards mimicking the world’s actions. Satan takes full opportunity of this, encouraging us to live in rebellion against God’s will for our lives. Lest we be condemned for being “Bible nuts,” we are intimidated to keep silent about God’s Word. At this point, we have abandoned the grace life for the disgraceful life.

In today’s Scripture many of Israel’s “chief rulers” had trusted in Jesus as their Messiah-King. Fearing the unbelieving Pharisees would belittle and ostracize them, and loving “the praise of men more than the praise of God,” these believing chief rulers kept silent about their salvation. Sadly, they were unwilling to lose their social standing for Jesus Christ!

Daily, we Christians feel peer pressure to believe the world’s foolishness, go where the world goes for “entertainment,” and converse like the world speaks. Our sin nature wars inside each of us, fighting against the indwelling Holy Spirit (Romans 7:24-25; Galatians 5:16,17).

If you let the Holy Spirit do His mighty work in you, expect the criticism. Be willing to risk it all for Jesus Christ. We may lose “friends,” our jobs, even our lives, but we have a far better inheritance in heaven. Saints, never will we receive “the praise of men” for being King James Bible grace believers, but we do have what matters most—“the praise of God.” We walk by faith, content in that regard.

Our Greatest Opportunity to Glorify God

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

“Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdest thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.” (John 21:18,19 KJV).

In today’s Scripture, the Lord Jesus Christ, after His resurrection, informs the Apostle Peter that some 35 years into the future, evidently, Peter will die by crucifixion—“[he will] stretch forth [his] hands.”

Over in 2 Peter 1:14, we read the Apostle Peter writing, some three decades after Jesus Christ spoke today’s Scripture: “Knowing that shortly I must put off this tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me.” Peter, shortly after writing that, glorified God in death (likely executed by evil Roman emperor Nero, who had also murdered the Apostle Paul around that time).

The Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 10:31: “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” Colossians 3:17 explains: “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” Every single detail of our lives—from the routine chores to laying down our lives for Christ or the Christian brethren—should bring the Lord Jesus Christ all the glory, praise, and honor He so rightly deserves.

It is noteworthy that today’s Scripture says that the Apostle Peter would “glorify God” by dying. Naturally, we shudder at such a thought, but the least we could do for Jesus Christ, who gave His life for us, is give our lives for Him! Our Christian lives should glorify God; likewise, our deaths should also glorify God. Should we ever be executed for being Christians, we give our heavenly Father many thanks, considering that our dying for Christ is perhaps our greatest opportunity to glorify God.