In Every Thing Give Thanks

Thursday, November 23, 2017

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you (1 Thessalonians 5:18 KJV).

Dear saints, take a moment this Thanksgiving to learn a valuable lesson from the Holy Scriptures!

God wants “all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3,4). To be “saved” here means you have been rescued from the penalty of sin (hell and the lake of fire), and that you have a home in heaven, because you have trusted the death, shed blood, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ as sufficient payment for your sins. To “come unto the knowledge of the truth” is when a person who has trusted Christ, begins to understand why God saved him or her, and how God will use him or her for His glory. Although soul salvation is instantaneous, spiritual maturity is a life-long process (that is especially true regarding handling difficulties, the grace way!).

It is human nature to avoid difficulties and stress, to flee them, rather than confront them. This self-preservation is advantageous, particularly in “life or death” situations. However, running from troubling circumstances is not the way God has designed our life in Christ to function. Today’s Scripture says, In every thing give thanks,” notFor every thing give thanks.” We do not thank God for our troubles; we thank God while we are enduring those troubles. This is tough, I know, but it takes time for us to learn it. Even the Apostle Paul had to learn this.

“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:11-13).

Be thankful in every thing. God’s grace is sufficient for you, dear saint, in all of life’s circumstances. When you learn this, you are “[coming] unto the knowledge of the truth.”

*Excerpted from our Thanksgiving 2012 Bible study with the same name. That study can be read here or watched here.

You may also see, “What are our spiritual blessings in Christ?

Evil Communications #7

Saturday, November 18, 2017

“Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame” (1 Corinthians 15:33,34 KJV).

What are “evil communications?” Are we immune to their effects?

First Corinthians chapter 5 was written to warn those Christians who say they can associate with sinful individuals and not be corrupted. Galatians chapter 5 was written to admonish those Christians who say they can keep attending denominational churches and not be deceived. They are just as human—prone to failure—as the Corinthians and Galatians. If the Corinthians and Ephesians were prone to spiritual slumber as the Adversary worked, we should not be surprised that believers in Christ today exhibit poor to dead Christian living!

Today’s Scripture thunders, “Awake to righteousness, and sin not!” Dear brethren, if we are those with functionally-dead Christian lives, it is not too late for us to reform. We may have reverted to the lifestyle we had before we trusted Christ, but the Holy Scriptures rightly divided can lead us to repentance. That change in mind will then transform our behavior.

Second Timothy chapter 2: “[24] And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, [25] In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; [26] And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” Let us not fall into Satan’s trap!

Whether the Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, or reverted Christians today, they should be walking in light of Titus chapter 2: “[11] For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, [12] Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; [13] Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; [14] Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”

“He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed” (Proverbs 13:20).

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Is there time in Heaven?

Evil Communications #6

Friday, November 17, 2017

“Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame” (1 Corinthians 15:33,34 KJV).

What are “evil communications?” Are we immune to their effects?

For almost 2,000 years now, the Church the Body of Christ has had a completed Bible. Howbeit, instead of letting it transform them, and then allowing it to enlighten others through them, the church permitted the world to alter the Bible and them! Whether 20 centuries ago, or today, “evil communications corrupt good manners.” This is true of both wicked behavior and false teaching.

Sinful conduct, except it is addressed according to God’s grace, will certainly pollute the local church. First Corinthians chapter 5 says of humanism (worldliness—namely, philosophy): “[6] Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? [7] Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: [8] Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” As a small amount of yeast taints the whole lump of dough, so a little misbehavior corrupts many! If you read the chapter, you see it is about a fornicating Christian man whom the Corinthians overlooked. God commanded they excommunicate him until he reformed…lest he contaminate them all!

Evil doctrine, unless corrected using rightly divided Scripture, is sure to corrupt the local church. Galatians chapter 5 speaks of legalism (works-religion—namely, Law-keeping): “[7] Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? [8] This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you. [9] A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” As a small amount of yeast taints the whole lump of dough, so a little false teaching corrupts many! If you read the chapter, you learn that false teachers (denominationalists) had tricked the Galatians to abandon grace and return to works-religion (specifically, the Mosaic Law). God commanded they separate from those false teachers…lest they continue deceiving them all!

We now summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

Evil Communications #5

Thursday, November 16, 2017

“Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame” (1 Corinthians 15:33,34 KJV).

What are “evil communications?” Are we immune to their effects?

Romans chapter 13 reminds us: “[11] And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. [12] The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. [13] Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness [sexual sins], not in strife and envying. [14] But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.”

Since the Lord Jesus Christ could come at any time for us at the Rapture, we should be walking as the people we are instead of who we are not. It is absurd for us Christians to behave like we were still under “the power of darkness” (Colossians 1:13): we have been “translated… into the kingdom of [God’s] dear Son.” We should conduct ourselves in that light.

Hence, in today’s Scripture, Paul wrote to Corinth: “Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.” They were to sober up, spiritually speaking, and start thinking according to Romans chapter 13 (quoted above). Jesus Christ was their “righteousness” (1 Corinthians 1:30). They were to think about their justified and sanctified identity in Him, and walk by faith in that. This is how they would “sin not.” The Word of God’s Grace to them through Paul’s ministry—not Greek philosophers and Judaistic legalists—was the key to successful Christian living.

Today’s Scripture concludes, “…for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.” The Corinthians should be ashamed to the point of correcting their error. They should separate from “evil communications” (bad influences). Paul had preached to them, but they ignored the doctrine. They wasted the opportunity to know God’s grace, but they have another chance….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why did God judge Nadab and Abihu so strictly?

Evil Communications #4

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

“Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame” (1 Corinthians 15:33,34 KJV).

What are “evil communications?” Are we immune to their effects?

Returning to Ephesians chapter 5: “[14] Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. [15] See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, [16] Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. [17] Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. [18] And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;….”

The issue of “wine” is explained in Revelation 14:8: “And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” Also, Revelation 17:2: “With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.” The Antichrist’s political-religious system, while future from our day, nevertheless has elements that have been around since just after the Fall of man. Satan’s evil world system promotes mind-altering doctrines that corrupt believers. There is spiritual fornication, dabbling with devils, here. It enticed the Corinthians, lured the Ephesians, and even ensnared ancient Israel.

Ephesians 5:14, which we just read, loosely quoted Isaiah 60:1: “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.” This is Israel, gripped by spiritual ignorance and slumber, and God’s conversion and restoration of her at Christ’s Second Coming. Notice God’s warning to His people who will live during the Antichrist’s reign, and the final phases of religious Babylon: “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues” (Revelation 18:4). Yes, “evil communications corrupt good manners.” God’s people are not to be associated with Satan’s evil world system… past, present, or future!

If it happened to Israel, to the Corinthians, and to the Ephesians, we indeed are not immune….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What was the significance of Joseph’s ‘coat of many colours?’

Evil Communications #3

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

“Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame” (1 Corinthians 15:33,34 KJV).

What are “evil communications?” Are we immune to their effects?

Today’s Scripture resumes, “Awake to righteousness, and sin not.” Here, “awake” means (figuratively) “to rouse out of a stupor.” Imagine a drunkard becoming sober, restored to clear thinking. In other words, false teaching had lulled the Corinthians to sleep. They were slumbering—inactive—as pertaining to Christian living. Rather than walking according to the Holy Spirit’s current operations, they thought and behaved as the Adversary (Satan) desired. Some years later, a similar satanic assault was launched on the Christians at Ephesus.

Chapter 5 of Ephesians: “[7] Be not ye therefore partakers with them [the “children of disobedience,” unbelievers, of verse 6]. [8] For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: [9] (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth; ) [10] Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. [11] And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. [12] For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.”

“[13] But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. [14] Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. [15] See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, [16] Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. [17] Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. [18] And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;….”

Notice the advice in verse 18—“Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.” The “wine” here is not simply literal alcohol. It is, more specifically, the intoxicating doctrines of devils that distort and dull one’s spiritual senses to the point of spiritual drunkenness and fainting. This loops back to the “awakening” in today’s Scripture….

Evil Communications #2

Monday, November 13, 2017

“Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame” (1 Corinthians 15:33,34 KJV).

What are “evil communications?” Are we immune to their effects?

Ordinarily, we use the term “communications” in the sense of telephone and internet connections or television and radio broadcasts. In today’s Scripture though, it has a slightly different meaning. The most basic definition of “communications” is “the impartations or exchanges of information.” In the context of today’s Scripture, it means “company, social contacts, intercourses, companionships, associates.” Moreover, we can restrict its definition even more: “to succeed in conveying one’s ideas or in evoking understanding in others.” (“Communication” is derived from a Latin word that meant “to share.”) As for “manners” in today’s Scripture, it means “moral habits, social behavior, conduct amongst others.”

Rereading the first part of today’s Scripture: “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” In other words, do not be misled to believe that Satan’s evil world system cannot contaminate you by word or deed. Christian friend, always be on guard concerning those with whom you associate yourself. Those not led by the Spirit of God can and will corrupt you. Proverbs chapter 22 provides us with a very simple example of and cross-reference to “evil communications corrupt[s] good morals:” “[24] Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: [25] Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.”

While we are always responsible for making our own choices, others can influence us to participate in their sins. They can persuade us to adopt their beliefs, and/or entice us to repeat their actions. This was the Corinthians’ problem in today’s Scripture. They had been fooled into thinking their companionships, the company they kept, made no difference. Many Christians believe this even today. It is said so casually, “I can hang around with anyone, no matter how they talk or act. They will not adversely affect me. I can frequent a denominational church. No one will mislead me because I know the truth.” Today’s Scripture says they are deceived just by assuming they will not be deceived! Beware….