An Ambassador Turns 31!

🎂 Wednesday, August 7, 2019 🎂 

For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal (2 Corinthians 4:16-18 KJV).

Someone is celebrating a birthday! (Can you guess who?)

Dear brethren and friends, I am now one year into my 30s. These past 12 months have been quite a learning experience. We (hopefully) have all grown a tad wiser since we were on this date exactly one year ago. Here is a greater realization to which I have come thus far.

Recently, I read a statistic about my generation, the Millennials (born 1980–2000). A staggering 70 percent claim they suffer from depression and anxiety. We need not wonder why. As I converse with my peers, they have no idea what is really going on in the world. While there are precious exceptions, most have grown up without grounding in the Holy Bible. How they lack spiritual stability! Spoiled and egocentric, everything “offends” them. Scheming politicians and professors exploit their ignorance and emotions. Deceived and disappointed, it is obvious why miseries and worries abound in their souls!

Today’s Scripture shows us the key to having a stable, healthy life. Fretting about the here and now is profitless because what we see with our physical eyes will not last. Emphasizing the natural and ignoring the spiritual is most foolish. Living for self is silly. Through the eyes of faith, we see the purpose of God as though it has already been fully brought to pass. “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever” (Isaiah 40:8). In the Scriptures, we find information of eternal worth. Therein, not we but Jesus Christ is glorified as the center of the universe. Whatever time we are given here, dear friends, may we always remember to live with eternity and the Lord Jesus Christ in mind! 🙂

P.S.: You may read the devotional I wrote for my 30th birthday here.

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!

Christian Prayer “Does Not Help” #3

Friday, May 31, 2019

“Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:7-9 KJV).

Indeed, the Lord’s words are true even now!

What was the nation Israel’s principal problem during Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry? He pinpointed it in today’s Scripture: “[they were] teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” Instead of holding to God’s Word—especially the Law of Moses, their chief Divine operating instructions—they had substituted it with manmade teachings. Having divorced themselves from God’s thoughts—and ultimately, His power—they were spiritually debilitated.

The physically blind, physically deaf, physically mute, and physically paralyzed who Jesus healed were perfect illustrations of Israel spiritually blind, spiritually deaf, spiritually mute, and spiritually paralyzed. They were unable to see God’s truth, unable to hear His words, unable to speak His words, and unable to walk in His ways. Their manmade teachings were the very reason why they ultimately crucified Him on Calvary. Had they maintained and believed God’s pure Word—the Old Testament Scriptures—they would have seen and trusted Jesus as Messiah. Since they abhorred the Scriptures, they despised the God-Man to whom those very verses pointed.

Even now, repeating the gross chief sin of Israel, Christendom has largely pushed aside the Bible. They quote occasionally (provided it supports their denominations), but their doctrines are overwhelmingly devoid of God’s Word. Hence, their tenets are shallow, their prayers are powerless, and their rituals and ceremonies are repulsive. They have no idea what God is doing today, for they have not handled His Word His way. Instead of “studying… rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15), they have muddled the various directions God has issued through time individually.

What is the remedy? The Lord’s spokesman to us Gentiles today is the Apostle Paul (Romans 11:13). Friend, do you want effectual prayers, those that actually carry eternal value? Try Ephesians 1:15-23, Ephesians 3:11-21, Philippians 1:9-11, and Colossians 1:9-13. These model Pauline prayers highlight what God is doing in this the Dispensation of Grace. If you pray according to them, never shall you be able to say, “Christian prayer does not help!”

Brethren, to the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ, we now close 8 full years of “333 Words of Grace!” Thank you for praying for us thus far, and by God’s grace, we now aim for another 8 years!

NOTE: Dear Saints, it is with great pleasure that I announce all 90 videos (over 104 hours of teaching) of our Old Testament Survey Project are now online and ready to watch! Click here. Praise our Lord Jesus Christ!

Christian Prayer “Does Not Help” #2

Thursday, May 30, 2019

“Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:7-9 KJV).

Indeed, the Lord’s words are true even now!

Christ was citing Isaiah 29:13, penned over 700 years prior: “Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:….” Whether in Isaiah’s ministry, or His own ministry, the Lord Jesus knew the reprehensible predicament of His nation Israel.

They paid Him “lip service:” they read Moses’ writings aloud, sang the psalms, and uttered elaborate prayers. Despite that “fair shew [beautiful exhibition] in the flesh” (Galatians 6:12,13), their innermost being lacked faith. They were not obeying the Scriptures by faith; instead of using that God-given religion to worship Him, they were worshipping the religion itself. While claiming to “love God,” they were unbelieving concerning His words. Their outward appearance was hypocritical, masking their true intentions. God was not fooled then, and He is not fooled today.

Frankly, religious tradition has so preoccupied so-called “Christian” people that their prayers are oftentimes doctrinally worthless. Of course, such prayers are also “useless.” They are recited with the assumption that they can manipulate or force God to agree with their every whim and grant their every wish.

Instead of opening His Bible, and approaching it “rightly divided” (2 Timothy 2:15)—rather than carefully noticing what verses are to and about them and what verses are not to and about them—they see anything and everything in Scripture as applicable to them. They claim prayer promises God never gave them, and then grow upset and disappointed when He does not react as they supposed He would! Such “unanswered prayers” constantly bother Christians and non-Christians alike. If this is how we handle Scripture, no wonder people loathe “Christian prayer” and rather seek help from “eastern religions!” Almighty God, the Holy Bible, and Christianity are not the problem. We in our carelessness are the problem….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How was Moses ‘very meek?’

Christian Prayer “Does Not Help” #1

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

“Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:7-9 KJV).

Indeed, the Lord’s words are true even now!

Some poor soul recently wrote: “I have found that doing mindfulness meditation has brought peace to my mind more than prayer has, so the eastern religions do have something to offer. I cannot say that I agree with everything they teach, but I do know that I have solved my fears by doing meditations and Christian prayer has done nothing. If it works for you, great.”

We can only wonder what “Christian prayer” means there. Mindful of the widespread superstition often associated with prayer, it is most likely something pagan (non-Christian) being passed off as Christian. Whatever it is, the individual freely confesses it has been found to be useless. Such distaste for “Christian prayer” is not at all shocking. Listen to the average Christian pray, and it is apparent how little Scripture they really know. Most preachers are ignorant as well. Scant, if any, verses undergird those words. They pray according to what God did in the past, they pray in line with what He will do in the future, but they do not pray according to what He is doing today. When He does not do what they assumed He would do, when their prayer requests fail to materialize, then frustrations and doubt overwhelm.

Once, I met a lady with a limited education. She could not read the Bible (although she owned a family one). How she loved to read her prayer book though! She spent hours repeating that prayer book every day. When I flipped through it, I noticed it was all empty religious tradition. There was no clear Gospel message in any of it. It was pagan superstition. Her “Christian” denomination had taught her she did not need the Bible, only her church’s approved literature!

Hundreds of millions of such souls exist around the world. If someone actually uses his or her brain, and discovers the nonsense, the Bible is assumed to have the problem. Now we see why people often scoff at “Christian prayer….”

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What is the difference between apostasy and heresy?

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!