Redeem the Year!

Friday, January 1, 2021

“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” (Ephesians 5:15-17 KJV).

What great advice for 2021!

Despite 2,000 years of Bible schools and seminaries, 2,000 years of a completed Bible canon, 2,000 years of Bible reading in churches, several decades of “Christian” television and radio, and just over a decade of widespread use of “Christian” websites, how sad that Bible ignorance is still quite extensive (it is as if God never gave His Word to start with!).

Frankly, the Church the Body of Christ needs to wake up! The verse previous to today’s Scripture says, “Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light” (verse 14). Paul, loosely quoting Isaiah 60:1, reminded us that the spiritual ignorance that gripped Israel in Isaiah’s day seized Christians in his day—and it still grips Christians 20 centuries later. Feel-good sermons, enjoyable “worship” services, and rites, rituals, and ceremonies will NOT solve this problem—they exacerbate it!

“[God] will have all men to be saved…” (1 Timothy 2:4a). Do you want this New Year to count for God’s glory? First, you need to get saved from sins and hell! You need to become a Christian by trusting in and relying on Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as sufficient payment for your sins (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). That is only part of God’s will for you, for 1 Timothy 2:4b continues, “[God] will have all men… to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” Now, God’s will for your Christian life is daily, personal Bible study to renew your mind, so your faith in those verses can cause God to work in your life—it will be His life, thus making you “perfect [spiritually mature], throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16,17).

Today’s Scripture urges us to buy back the time Satan has robbed from God (time created for God’s glory). By faith, we need to make that time glorify the Lord Jesus Christ by applying His Word, particularly Paul’s epistles of Romans through Philemon, to our lives. Have a good year in Christ! 🙂

You can download our free “One-Year Bible Reading Schedule.”

See our archived Bible Q&A: “What Scriptural advice can you give me for the New Year?

‘Twas the Sunday Night Before Christmas

Sunday, December 20, 2020

“But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15 KJV).

Let us not be so sidetracked by religion and commercialization that we miss the reason for the Christmas Season….

During the Christmas Season, we wonder how many people are visiting church for the second time this year (the other being Easter Sunday). How many will be going to church today—the Sunday before Christmas—just to feel “religious” or “holy?” How many really know Jesus Christ? For many, visiting a church building is just an obligation; they do not have faith in God’s Word and have no interest in God’s Word.

We do not go to church to “feel closer to God,” for if we have trusted in Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour, we cannot be any closer to God than we already are in Christ! “[Before salvation, we were] without God in the world: but now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh [close to God] by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:12,13).

Furthermore, we do not go to church in order to get God’s blessings, for God has already given us “all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). We go to church, not because we are keeping Israel’s Sabbath day, since we are not obligated to observe Israel’s religious days (Colossians 2:16). We go to church to fellowship with like-minded believers and hear sound doctrine… more than twice a year, by the way.

In today’s Scripture, the Apostle Paul encouraged Timothy that whenever he would assemble with fellow Christians, certain behavior was acceptable and other types of behavior were not (described throughout the epistle of 1 Timothy). Recall that when the Bible refers to “the church,” it refers to the body of believers, not the physical building in which they meet.

As we get opportunities, let us make an effort to reach these dear souls misled by all the vain religious tradition and Christmas commercialization, and may we tell them of the wonderful Christ Jesus whose name is found in Christmas!

*Based on the poem “‘Twas the Sunday Night Before Christmas.”

In Every Thing Give Thanks

Thursday, November 26, 2020

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?

Not Made Perfect by the Flesh #5

Friday, October 30, 2020

“O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:1-3 KJV).

Can “the flesh” add anything to the Holy Spirit’s work? Nay, it cannot!

“I will be like the most High,” Lucifer boasted (Isaiah 14:14). As he told Christ, he desires worship: “All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me(Matthew 4:9). Employing whatever sneaky means necessary, Satan accomplishes his goal. If he can counterfeit God’s actions, then people will be deceived and credit God. By attributing Satan’s work to God, man unwittingly worships Satan. It is an ingenious strategy, one seldom perceived!

Emotions mislead because the human heart is “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9). While something may “feel” right, it may not actually be right. Feelings are fickle, changing with our circumstances. Therefore, we cannot use them to gauge truth and error. Adrenaline rushes come and go, so never should we confuse them with the permanent Holy Spirit. If we are externalists or formalists, we run the risk of faking at some point. For instance, if we observe people raising hands or dancing, peer pressure urges us to mimic them. The Holy Spirit is thus quenched and our flesh—namely, the fear of being “left out”—motivates the behavior. Satan smiles. Except for the rare Berean Bible student, no one is able to notice the error.

So-called “Christian revivals” are being held where protests, riots, lootings, and shootings have occurred. It is claimed, “The Devil is active, but God is moving!” Online videos show musicians hosting “Christian rock” concerts. Crowds—mainly young adults—raise their hands, jump, run, sing, sob, and pray. Supposedly, they are “coming to Jesus;” yet, a clear Gospel message is absent. When we compare their activities with the Scriptures, what is allegedly “God’s work” turns out to be a mockery of Jesus Christ. Remember, we are not made perfect by the flesh!

Bible Q&As #779 and #780: “Should Christians observe All Saints’ Day?” and “Should Christians observe All Souls’ Day?

Not Made Perfect by the Flesh #4

Thursday, October 29, 2020

“O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:1-3 KJV).

Can “the flesh” add anything to the Holy Spirit’s work? Nay, it cannot!

The Galatians were preoccupied with the Law of Moses (cf. Galatians 4:21). Religious rules and regulations captivated them. They were deceived into believing their performance—their “flesh”—could somehow enhance their Christian life (cf. today’s Scripture). Did the Holy Spirit come to indwell these saints because of their religious works? No! Would He need their pious deeds to continue living in and through them? No! Sadly, today’s professing church is equally “foolish.” Nearly 20 centuries later, it still refuses to recognize rites, rituals, and ceremonies are incompatible with God’s grace! Like the Galatians not thinking clearly, we lack even basic spiritual common sense. We too have not let the Message of Grace renew our mind.

Philosophy and other vain speculations of lost (pagan!) people distracted the Corinthian believers. The first three chapters of 1 Corinthians are the Holy Spirit’s instructions to straighten out their confusion. Selfishness abounded in Corinth because spiritual ignorance flourished there. Whereas the Galatians were quite “strict” with their legalism, the Corinthians were quite “loose” with their sensuality. The Corinthians acted like spiritual babies because they also thought like spiritual babies. This too describes today’s professing church. Actually, the conundrums in 1 Corinthians parallel the chaos and confusion of modern “praise and worship.” Recall 1 Corinthians 14:40!

Instead of being thankful for the Message of God’s Grace—what the Holy Spirit has revealed in Pauline doctrine, Romans through Philemon—we unwisely believe we can improve the Christian life. Whether from Galatia or Corinth, we must learn the lesson: neither formalism (strict rules and regulations) nor fanaticism (no rules or regulations whatsoever) will ever replace the Holy Spirit’s work in grace believer’s heart. Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why did Jesus offer Himself to Israel if He knew they would reject Him?

Not Made Perfect by the Flesh #3

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

“O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:1-3 KJV).

Can “the flesh” add anything to the Holy Spirit’s work? Nay, it cannot!

When we hear of people “filled with the Holy Ghost” and “praising Jesus,” we should not automatically assume the Lord Jesus Christ is being honored. Lies are everywhere. We discern truth and error by considering Bible verses—especially Scripture “rightly divided” (2 Timothy 2:15). If anyone claims individuals “going wild” is a sign of praising the Lord, or masses acting ridiculous is evidence of the Holy Spirit being “poured out,” these are simply false claims. The Bible establishes the standard for Christian behavior. Yea, the Pauline Epistles, Romans through Philemon, show us what God the Holy Spirit is doing today.

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16,17). “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1:20,21). In the Scriptures, we read of what the Holy Spirit is doing and not doing. He Himself is speaking through the Holy Bible.

If the Holy Spirit is working in a particular area, or He is operating in a specific person, this rule is always true: “Let all things be done decently and in order” (1 Corinthians 14:40). A lack of modesty and discipline means it is not the Holy Spirit! Again, Galatians chapter 5: “[22] But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, [23] Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” The Holy Spirit produces “temperance,” self-control. If there is no restraint, it is man’s flesh and not God’s Spirit….

Not Made Perfect by the Flesh #2

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

“O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:1-3 KJV).

Can “the flesh” add anything to the Holy Spirit’s work? Nay, it cannot!

To be sure, the general public is gullible. Times get so tough, people become desperate to the degree they will do practically anything for relief. Add to that the fact human nature seeks amusement. It is a recipe for spiritual disaster! Take the current tense societal conditions in the United States. People, particularly religious individuals, have grown bored at home locked away and isolated from just about all their pleasures. Consequently, “worship leaders” can lure them with all the promises of “delight.”

What is being passed off today as “Christianity,” “revival,” “hope,” “healing,” and “worship” is anything and everything but. Videos of these music concerts show people raising their hands in “praise and worship,” jumping up and down (like hopping on pogo sticks!), dancing, praying, and being water baptized. It has been said, “People are going wild for Jesus!” Claims of healings and other miracles are touted as proof “God is present and the Holy Ghost has been poured out!”

This is a prime example of how Satan’s policy of evil works. While we would hope these people are sincere, their doctrine is counterfeit. It is rooted in the Charismatic Movement, which is nothing but Pentecostalism (emotions, experiences, entertainment) spreading into other denominations. False teaching “bewitches” (today’s Scripture); a spell has been cast over people, making them behave like zombies or robots. Of course, they are having a “good time”—and that “adrenaline rush” just “has to be the warm, fuzzy feelings of the Holy Ghost” (wrong!). Sound Bible doctrine is not underlying the behavior, so even if it has a “ring” of genuineness, the conduct is silly and utterly vain….

Our two latest Bible Q&As: “What does ‘froward’ mean?” and “What does ‘untoward’ mean?

Not Made Perfect by the Flesh #1

Monday, October 26, 2020

“O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:1-3 KJV).

Can “the flesh” add anything to the Holy Spirit’s work? Nay, it cannot!

Our country, the United States of America, has plenty of problems besetting it—including inflammatory charges of “systemic racism;” violent protests featuring rioting and looting; an unprecedented, highly toxic political climate; strict pandemic restrictions and risks such as isolation, depression, and suicides; and extensive damage from destructive natural disasters (hurricanes, floods, wildfires, and so on). It has been repeatedly stated, “Just when 2020 could not get worse, this new challenge arises!”

In recent months, a repetitive narrative has been peddled as “Christian” news. A particular “worship leader” traveling far and wide, visiting the large cities that are experiencing great civil unrest, has been heralded as “hope” and “healing.” Tens of thousands are supposedly “coming to Jesus.” It is “a move of God,” allegedly, to counter the evils troubling our society. These “worshippers” are purportedly “hungry for God”—eager to escape their lockdowns and have “church” outdoors. It is proclaimed, “Let us stand up for religious freedom, for our First Amendment rights!”

Now, never do we fault souls for having good intentions. They may not outright reject God and the Bible, but that does not necessarily imply they are behaving correctly. We remember Christ’s words: “…the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him…. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth(John 4:23,24). Contrary to popular belief, it is not enough to merely “worship God.” According to the Scriptures, He wants people who worship Him “in spirit and in truth.” Truth, not error, must undergird our worship. Spirit, not flesh, should support our worship. Let us be careful never to forget the danger in failing to conduct ourselves accordingly….

An Anchor of the Soul #9

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

“Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec” (Hebrews 6:17-20 KJV).

What can we say about this “anchor of the soul?”

Satan’s evil world system will reach its pinnacle when the Antichrist rises to power. This cold-blooded politician will slaughter the Jewish followers of Jesus Christ. Such genocide will make it appear hopeless. How will Israel endure to become God’s kingdom of priests in the Earth? They are to prepare for that devastation, spiritually fortified by trusting in the certain (firm, stable, unfaltering, unwavering, constant) words of Almighty God to them. The Book of 1 Peter is designed to edify these circumcision believers during their terrible sufferings of Daniel’s 70th Week. It is a treatise of hope: they will survive until Christ’s return.

Chapter 1 reads: “[3] Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, [4] To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, [5] Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. [6] Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: [7] That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:… [13] Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;….”

Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

Bible Q&A #775: “What does ‘bruit’ mean?

An Anchor of the Soul #8

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

“Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec” (Hebrews 6:17-20 KJV).

What can we say about this “anchor of the soul?”

These “two immutable things”—God said it and then swore it—are those which cannot change. Being final, irreversible, and permanent, they make a firm foundation on which faith can rest. Israel’s believing remnant has “fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before [them].” Like their father Abraham, they anticipate God’s coming earthly kingdom. Hebrews chapter 11: “[8] By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. [9] By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: [10] For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.”

No matter what happens, God’s counsel or plan for the nation Israel is unalterable. It is impossible for Him to lie. If He promised Abraham He would make a mighty nation using his bloodline, He will do it! If He promised Abraham He would bless all the world through that nation, He will do it! With the arrival of the Antichrist, though, it will look hopeless. It will seem like this bloodthirsty monster will make a full end of the Jews, like Israel will be entirely annihilated, never becoming God’s people in the Earth. Yet, there is abundant hope, and Israel finds that hope in Jesus, their great High Priest, who will not fail in bringing them into the very presence of Almighty God at His Second Coming….