Suffering!

Saturday, February 24, 2018

For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body (Romans 8:22,23 KJV).

Without further delay, we need to be prepared to suffer.

Dear friend, suffering is rampant—violence, sickness, injustice, cruelty, et cetera. Eventually, people get overloaded with burdens and sorrow, thus resorting to drugs, alcohol, and (sadly) even suicide, to cope.

Suffering has three sources. Firstly, we have the curse of sin: no matter what we do, we live in a fallen creation. Thus, disease, physical limitations, and death plague us. Short of the Lord’s coming for His children, they too will hurt, grow old, and die. Contrary to popular belief, Christians do suffer physical difficulties and corporeal pain—we are not guaranteed physical healing until the Rapture (today’s Scripture)! Secondly, our mistakes result in suffering. Whether deliberately or inadvertently, those poor decisions lead to terrible consequences. Someone will make a poor choice today and it will negatively affect you. You will make a mistake today and hurt someone.

Thirdly, there is the special (rare) suffering found in 2 Timothy 3:12: “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” (Acts 14:22 reads in part, “…we must [!] through much [!] tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.”) This applies exclusively to Christians. Since we are in “enemy territory”—living as Satan’s evil world system operates—we will encounter resistance. Various degrees of persecution will follow us. The more we yield our lives to the Holy Spirit working in us, the more contrary we become to Satan’s policy of evil. If Satan cannot entice us to change the sound Bible doctrine we preach and teach, then he will intimidate us into silence (loved ones mistreating/shunning us, enemies trying to harm/kill us, governments trying to oppress/imprison us).

However, in the context of today’s Scripture, we learn: “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (verse 18). No matter how much we suffer here, dear saints, the eternal glory awaiting us is infinitesimally greater!

A Better Body

Sunday, January 21, 2018

For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us (Romans 8:18 KJV).

Amen!

An elderly friend and coworker in the ministry recently slipped and fell on icy pavement. His resultant severe hand injury required medical attention. Days later, his hip and leg began to hurt and now he limps—probably another injury he sustained in the fall. He will probably have to seek medical help for that as well. Now, likely due to his earlier hospital visit (regarding another sickness), he has the flu! His wife suffers chronic maladies herself. Since her immune system is so weak, she is temporarily living elsewhere so as to avoid contracting her husband’s illness.

Saints, we all have our various bodily afflictions, physical disabilities, limitations, and the like. It is certainly no fun to be sick—especially in life-threatening or terminal situations. Remember, just because we are Christians does not mean we will not suffer. We grow sick, we grow old, and we die. That is the curse of sin, one aspect of living in an unredeemed body. Therefore, we anticipate the Rapture, our gathering together unto Christ and the receipt of our new, glorified bodies that will never grow ill, age, or perish!

“[19] For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. [20] For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, [21] Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. [22] For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. [23] And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? [25] But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.”

In a Moment, In a Twinkling

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

“Behold, I shew you a mystery [secret]; We shall not all sleep [die], but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” (1 Corinthians 15:51-53 KJV).

Behold, dear Christian friend, the quickest event you will ever experience!

It covers the smallest amount of time. The Greek word rendered “moment” in today’s Scripture is atomos, “without cutting; indivisible.” Scientists claim this value is 0.000000000000000000000000000000000000000000033 second! (Try to wrap your mind around that!) The other descriptive term is “twinkling,” as in an eye’s jerking movement (a blink). In Greek, it is related to the idea of “scattered abroad” (Matthew 9:36), “cast down” (Matthew 15:30; Matthew 27:5), “thrown” (Luke 4:35), “cast” (Luke 17:2), and “cast out” (Acts 27:19,29). These are sudden motions. Consequently, our English word “twinkling” is defined as, “in an instant; very quickly.”

The Rapture—“our gathering together unto [Christ]” (2 Thessalonians 2:1)—will happen so swiftly, we will not even have time to realize it. We will simply find ourselves in Heaven. An eye blink is an everyday, familiar event. Hence, the Bible uses it to depict the Rapture’s duration. In that extremely, extremely, extremely small fraction of a second, Almighty God will reconstruct the corpses of the millions of Christians buried worldwide, and re-implant their souls and spirits into those glorified bodies. Also in that extremely, extremely, extremely small fraction of a second, He will give us millions of living Christians new glorified bodies too. There will be an instant assembly of all members of the Church the Body of Christ, in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air. As Scripture declares, that will all happen in an “atom” of time!

Then, we will be escorted into outer space, to appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ, and then Father God’s throne in the Third Heaven. Finally, we will be scattered throughout the universe to serve and glorify the Lord Jesus Christ in the endless ages to come. Lord, hasten the day… hurry the day for that rapid event! 🙂

An Eternal House in the Heavens #10

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

“For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Corinthians 5:1 KJV).

God already sees it! By faith, do you?

In the prophetic program (past or future), God forms a bloodline of a literal, physical, visible, earthly people—the nation Israel. Accordingly, He demands they perform literal, physical, visible, earthly works—physical circumcision, water baptism, tithing, Sabbath-Day observance, confession of sins, and so on. Moreover, He promises them literal, physical, visible, earthly demonstrations of His power—healed bodies, bountiful harvests, military victories, et cetera (signs, miracles, and wonders).

However, in the mystery program, our present-day, God is forming a spiritual, invisible, heavenly people—although just as real as Israel. The Bible calls it “the Church the Body of Christ,” people “blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). In our Dispensation of Grace, Father God is not forming a literal, physical, visible group of believers. Therefore, we are not looking for literal, physical, visible, earthly works of God. We are to be looking, with the eyes of faith, at the invisible, spiritual works of God (2 Corinthians 4:18; today’s Scripture). One of these invisible, spiritual blessings is a glorified body, “eternal in the heavens.”

Ironically, “faith healers” are actually emboldening doubt rather than faith. They would have us walk by sight when Scripture instructs us to walk by faith. We do not have to see God visibly working to know He is with us. Rather, we know He is with us because His Word says His Holy Spirit is working in us to produce Christ’s life: “That [Father God] would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith…” (Ephesians 3:16,17).

Saints, divine physical healing for our dispensation will occur at the Rapture. God is not interested in temporarily restoring these aging, weakening bodies. When the Lord Jesus Christ returns in the air to take us away to Heaven, we the Body of Christ will receive glorified bodies like unto Jesus Christ’s resurrected, glorious body (Philippians 3:20,21). Until then, we say “Amen!” 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Who are the people in 2 Corinthians 11:22—the 12 Apostles, or others?

An Eternal House in the Heavens #9

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

“For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Corinthians 5:1 KJV).

You may not see it, but God already does!

Christians worldwide live in physical bodies that are falling apart—cataracts, malnutrition/starvation, arthritis, hearing impairments, amputations, brain damage, heart disease, forgetfulness, cancer, thinning bones, high blood pressure, speech difficulties, limited mobility, and so on. While we should take care of our bodies as best as we can by taking advantage of medical science, exercise, and nourishing diets, the fact is that these bodies are not going to last forever anyway. All “healing” claims aside, lost and saved alike are buried in the same crust of Earth! To concentrate so much on maintaining these temporal bodies is a most serious error in the modern world. (People without hope in the next life are definitely trying to make the absolute most of this one!)

Short of the Lord’s coming, Christian brethren, these “outward men” of ours will succumb to the ultimate weakness—mortality—and thus they will “sleep” in the dust of the Earth. Paul, led by the Holy Spirit to write today’s Scripture, knew that as he penned it. As the outward man was growing weaker (and closer to death), the inward man was growing stronger in God’s grace: “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16). Steady, daily intake of God’s Word rightly divided would continually “renew” that inner man!

Our Apostle was more focused on what would be the condition of our inward men at the Judgment Seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:9,10). The physical body would return to the ground, to be resurrected a spiritual body—a literal body just as real, just more advanced (no longer subject to death, and not limited by time or space). What would last forever is: (1) our soul currently living within our physical body, and (2) the resurrected body, “eternal in the heavens,” in which our souls will reside forever. Remain focused on these two eternal things!

Now, we conclude this devotionals arc….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How long was Christ’s earthly ministry?

An Eternal House in the Heavens #8

Monday, March 27, 2017

“For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Corinthians 5:1 KJV).

You may not see it, but God already does!

While we are here in these physical bodies, we know absolutely that we are not in the Lord’s presence in Heaven: “Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord” (verse 6). Once we leave these physical bodies, however, we know with certainty that we will be in the Lord’s presence in Heaven: “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord” (verse 8). Sandwiched between these two verses is the parenthetical phrase, “(For we walk by faith, not by sight: )” (verse 7). Remember, we, by faith, look at the invisible, eternal things rather than the visible, temporary ones (2 Corinthians 4:18)!

Once we meet the Lord Jesus Christ, and receive our glorified, resurrection bodies at the event we call the “Rapture” (1 Corinthians 15:49-57; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18), then we will go before the Judgment Seat of Christ. Second Corinthians chapter 5 continues: “[9] Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. [10] For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”

Not to be confused with the Great White Throne Judgment of Revelation 20:11-15, which is for the lost people of the ages, the Judgment Seat of Christ is reserved only for Christians, members of the Body of Christ. Our Christian service will be evaluated: Jesus Christ will determine the spirituality, or maturity, of our inner man. The quality of the sound Bible doctrine—that is, dispensational Bible study—we store in our inner man will result in a reward. Notice, “the things done in his body…” (2 Corinthians 5:10). The reward is the capacity in which we will serve our Lord and Saviour as we function in those new outward bodies….

An Eternal House in the Heavens #7

Sunday, March 26, 2017

“For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Corinthians 5:1 KJV).

You may not see it, but God already does!

God still has work to do concerning our outward man, and we still have work to do concerning our inward man. While He has yet to redeem our physical bodies, which are falling apart, we should focus on our inward man, which should be growing. Second Corinthians chapter 4 once again: “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.” How is the “inward man” “renewed day by day?”

Romans 12:1-2 tells us: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

Ephesians 4:20-23 says: “[20] But ye have not so learned Christ; [21] If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: [22] That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; [23] And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; [24] And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”

The key to Christian living is letting Jesus Christ teach you how He wants to live His life in and through you. It is not something you struggle to do, but something you daily learn from His Word rightly divided. Faith causes the Holy Spirit to take that Word and change your thinking processes, and that will change your conduct to fit God’s grace. Colossians 3:10 adds: “And [ye] have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him….” We are building up the inner man, preparing for the day when God relocates it to the new outward man….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Who are the prophets of Romans 16:26?