Waste Not Your Time!

Friday, July 5, 2019

See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; (Ephesians 5:15-18 KJV).

A brother in Christ recently informed me that he had cancelled his cable television subscription. He had grown tired of getting upset with the filthy programming and sensational news shows! Whether 20 centuries ago, or right now, today’s Scripture is sound advice….

With the various technological advancements in recent decades, the Holy Spirit is that much more likely to be ignored. All too often, the Bible is set aside. Radio, television, computer and internet, smartphones, and social media increasingly take away precious time from reading and studying God’s Word. While there is nothing wrong with enjoying electronic devices, Christians are spending far too much time concentrating on trivialities and nonsense. They are more familiar with the world’s affairs than with the Scriptures. Preoccupied about this and that and everything else but the Bible, they are exactly where Satan’s evil world system was designed to bring them. Divorced from God’s Word, they are without His power, and thus no bother to Satan!

Even during Bible days, the saints of God were falling for various distractions. This necessitated the Apostle Paul to issue today’s Scripture. Satan himself and all the actions he endorses have—his evil world system has—stolen the time that would have been used to glorify Jesus Christ. By understanding and following God’s will, we can “redeem” (buy back) that time. Saints, if we are not careful though, if we waste time, then we are just as negligent as the Devil himself. We are cooperating with his lie program.

When we are “filled with the Spirit,” thinking like God Himself thinks, that will empower us to walk according to the verses we read and believed (1 Thessalonians 2:13). Let us heed today’s Scripture, now more than ever, dear brethren. Be quite careful to make wise use of your time. Watching news programming for hours on end, is wasteful. Endlessly playing smart-phone games is not wise. These will profit us nothing in eternity!

333 Turns 8!

Saturday, June 1, 2019

“Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself” (John 7:16,17 KJV).

Only by God’s grace, dear readers, “333 Words of Grace” marks its eighth birthday today!

It was eight years ago this very day that we “took the leap of faith” to launch this devotionals blog. At the time, I had no idea it would continue this long and be this impactful. For those of you who have been with us from “day 1,” thank you for staying thus far. If you have recently found us, we hope that you will stay (at least for the next eight years, okay?). Brethren, it has been an absolute thrill “meeting” with you here around God’s Word. Such great fellowship indeed!

When we started (ever so long ago), we endeavored to “fill the void” where daily grace Bible studies were lacking. Looking back on the nearly 3,000 devotionals we have now covered, we can rejoice that Father God accomplished that to some degree. However, there is still so much left for us to learn from His Word. We have imperfect understanding concerning various Scripture themes, so we aim to continue “pressing toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).

In today’s Scripture, Christ Jesus made it clear that if someone truly desired to know His Father’s doctrine, that person would acquire it. It was not impossible to grasp or impossible to find. There it was, plain and simple to the soul who actually cared to seek His knowledge. Likewise, here, we have presented daily the King James Bible for all these years. None of us can plead ignorance or claim “unlearnedness.” We know a clear Gospel message—Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). We know the Christian life—Christ lives in us by our faith in His words of grace, not by our works and commandment-keeping (Galatians 2:20,21).

Dear brethren, as we have aged physically these last eight years—perhaps, just perhaps—we have grown spiritually even more! Now, by God’s grace, onward into Year 9 of “333!” 🙂

Note: Links to all eight years of devotionals are here: https://333wordsofgrace.org/master-list-of-devotionals-chronological.

Bible Q&A #615: “What does the Bible mean, ‘Shake the dust from your feet?’

A Higher Education: It Is Up to You!

Sunday, May 19, 2019

“Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12 KJV).

Thirteen years ago today, I graduated high school. Consequently, we dedicate this devotional to high school students who are nearing graduation.

Are you about to graduate high school? What would God have you do afterward? Go to college? Trade school? Something else? What career should you pursue? If you do plan on education after high school, where should you attend school? These are tough questions, and while God’s Word does not answer them, you can make decisions that conform to sound Bible doctrine—that is God’s will.

In today’s Scripture, Paul encourages downcast Timothy. Timothy was considerably younger than the Apostle Paul. Older people who are teaching false doctrine are intimidating young Timothy: “Tim, you are too young to teach God’s Word. Let us handle it.” Young Timothy conceded, became silent, and allowed the (“older and wiser”) false teachers to continue teaching their damnable heresies (cf. 1 Timothy 1:3-7; 2 Timothy 1:5-8). Paul replied, “Timothy, Speak up! Let no man despise thy youth!”

Christian youth can be just as effectual in their station in life as Christian adults. The lost world is watching us Christians, and we need to be sure that our actions are in accordance with the sound Bible doctrine we claim to believe (lest we be guilty of confusing the already-puzzled unbelievers). Whether “young or old,” our speech, our lifestyle, our acts of love, our determination, our belief in sound Bible doctrine, and our separation from that which God hates, is the way we communicate to the lost world God’s Word and its preeminence in our lives and hearts (today’s Scripture).

Above all, dear graduates, whatever you do post-graduation, “do all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God and the Father by him” (Colossians 3:17). After all, it really is not your life—it is Christ’s life in you (Galatians 2:20; Colossians 3:4), so He alone deserves the glory! 🙂

*Based on a Bible study by the same name, which can be read here. Also, see the study “The Spirit-Filled Student.”

By the way, you may also be interested in reading this archived special-edition study about my own college experience.

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.

333’s 2900th – The Mutual Faith of Paul and Us

Thursday, May 9, 2019

“For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established; That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me” (Romans 1:11,12 KJV).

Dear friends, only by God’s grace, we have arrived at devotional #2900!

The word “faith” in today’s Scripture is the body of doctrine the Apostle Paul himself believed. He desired—yea, Holy Spirit working in and through him longed—to “establish” the believers at Rome. Such a yearning applies to all Christians, whether there or elsewhere, whether in the A.D. first century or the A.D. twenty-first century. On several occasions, Paul had intended to visit Rome personally, but hindrances abounded. Verse 13: “Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles.” Satan’s evil world system delayed him (cf. 1 Thessalonians 2:18).

Unable to travel to Rome, Paul wrote to them, and that epistle became our Book of Romans. In other words, Romans is the written form of what Paul would have spoken audibly had he had opportunity in Rome. Romans is a treatise—an exposition—of the Gospel of the Grace of God and how it impacts the world and us in particular once we believe it. If those 16 chapters were thoughtfully considered and believed, there would be far less heresy plaguing the professing church, far less confusion, far less ignorance, far less impotency, far less spiritual immaturity, and far less lost people sitting in the pews.

Over the last 2,900 days, dear brethren, we have striven in accordance with God’s grace to provide you with clear and concise Bible studies. We have endeavored to show you how the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul looks at our world and how He would have us function in it. If we want to have Christian lives and ministries just as impactful as Paul himself did, then we must (!) pay attention to and trust especially his 13 epistles, Romans through Philemon. Therein do we find Jesus Christ preached according to the revelation of the mystery (Romans 16:25,26). May we agree with the Apostle Paul!

Saints, thank you for praying for us, and onward we go to devotional #3000! 🙂

Logomachy!

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers (2 Timothy 2:14 KJV).

Can you spot the logomachy in today’s Scripture?

Every Christian leader—preacher, Bible teacher, evangelist, deacon—would do well to become familiarized with the guidelines found in the “Pastoral Epistles.” These four Books—1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon—have been rightly called “the handbooks for the local church.” Therein, we find Divine counsel as to how the ministry should be established and maintained.

There are great threats to God’s work, and they often gain a stronghold in the subtlest ways. Chiefly, there is counterfeit (or false) teaching. Instead of grace-oriented doctrine, it is legalistic (law-oriented—performance) and/or humanistic (man-oriented—philosophical). Other ways Satan thwarts God’s ministry include: foolish questions, petty disagreements with brethren, bitterness and grudges, intimidation, spiritual immaturity, discouragement, selfishness, formalism/ritualism, pride, greed and materialism, carnality/fleshliness among church leaders and common members, and persecution (from other believers, the government, or lost people).

If we concentrate on today’s Scripture, we find the “charge” (or order) to behave a certain way so as to prevent the Adversary from gaining a particular advantage. We are to “strive not about words to no profit.” In Greek, “strive about words” is “logomachein.” As you might have guessed, “logos” carries the meaning of “thought, word, saying;” “machomai” is “war, quarrel, dispute.” That is to say, “striving about words” refers to “word-fights” or “heated debates.” (We actually have a rare English word derived from that Greek term—logomachy, “an argument about words.”)

Yet, is it not good to “defend the truth?” Hold it, friend. Read the entire verse: Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers. There is “no profit” in such word-wars. Actually, the audience will be “subverted”—spiritually overturned, demolished, apostate (the Greek is “katastrophe!”). It was nothing but a “flesh parade:” there was destruction instead of edification. God the Holy Spirit was not involved; it was sinful man operating under the guise of “godliness.”

Brethren, may we exercise great discernment in this regard, lest we fall into such a trap!

The Comforter #5

Friday, March 29, 2019

And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever (John 14:16 KJV).

Who is this “Comforter?” What are His roles?

John 14:17 says the Holy Spirit will “dwell with [believing Israel], and shall be in [them].” Contrary to popular belief, the indwelling Spirit is not unique to our Dispensation of Grace. Through the Prophet Ezekiel, the LORD God had promised centuries earlier, “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them” (36:26,27).

Beloved, our flesh is weak. (Right?) Despite our best efforts, we cannot live the Christian life. Only Jesus Christ can live His life—whether in Israel’s prophetic program or our mystery program. As the nation Israel will be the expression of Jesus Christ’s life in the earth in the ages to come, so we the Church the Body of Christ will be the manifestation of His life in the heavenly places. It is not we duplicating His life but rather He Himself living in and through us. There is no imitation; it is the actual life of Christ!

How exactly does Christ live in and through us though? Does He unexpectedly take control of our bodies and manipulate us as puppets? (No!) Is there some mysterious, hair-raising, gentle breeze? (No!) Bolts of lighting striking the back of our neck? (No!) The Holy Spirit wrote the Bible (2 Peter 1:20,21; 2 Timothy 3:16,17). When we trust Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour, the Spirit of God indwell and seals us (Ephesians 1:12-14). We become “an holy temple in the Lord, an habitation of God through the Spirit” (Ephesians 2:21,22). He strengthens or fortifies us internally as we walk by faith in His Word to us, Romans through Philemon (Ephesians 3:16). Hence, daily Bible study—yea, daily dispensational Bible study—is so critical. Without the Comforter grounding us using God’s Word, neither Israel nor we can be vessels of Christ’s life!

Our two latest Bible Q&As: “What is ‘the mark of the Beast?’” and “Why is ‘666’ the number of the Beast?