Careful—But Not Careful! #5

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6,7 KJV).

Friend, as we live in these strange times, let us “be careful for nothing!”

Indeed, we should be cautious concerning contracting the coronavirus. Health risks are definitely nothing to take lightly—especially if we already have a compromised or weakened immune system! We should practice good hygiene such as frequently washing our hands with soap and water, keeping 6 feet (1.8 meters) from each other, and coughing and sneezing into tissues or our arms instead of our hands. Hugs and handshakes should be avoided, but (at the very least) we can still bump elbows or wave to greet each other. Trying not to touch our eyes, ears, or mouth is still taking some getting used to as well, right?

Yet, the Bible would not want us “careful” as in anxious or worrisome (cf. today’s Scripture). That Greek word is rendered “take no thought” to comfort the destitute believing Jews whom God will feed out in the wilderness in the future (Matthew 6:25,27,28,31,34; Luke 12:22,25,26) and to remind them His Holy Spirit will furnish them with the words to answer their persecutors (Matthew 10:19; Luke 12:11).

We should not be overwhelmed, panicking like poor Martha in Luke chapter 10: “[38] Now it came to pass, as they went, that he [Christ] entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. [39] And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. [40] But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. [41] And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful [worrisome, distressed!] and troubled about many things: [42] But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

Martha needed to relax, and listen to the Lord speak….

Bible Q&As #709 and #710: “Is ‘corn’ a mistake in the King James Bible?” and “Why does the Bible say, ‘Have no other gods before Me?’

Careful—But Not Careful! #4

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6,7 KJV).

Friend, as we live in these strange times, let us “be careful for nothing!”

The coronavirus pandemic has brought many drastic changes to our daily life. We are social beings, so confinement to our houses is difficult. It is particularly vexing for children, for many cannot play outside and/or go to an actual school building. While all the transformations are inconvenient, some are actually beneficial. For example, today’s society is spoiled—especially we in America. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with having possessions, taking trips or vacations, eating out at restaurants, or seeking various forms of entertainment, it can be (and usually is) overdone. If our lives are so bound up in these, how traumatic is their absence! Coronavirus precautions and restrictions have eliminated or reduced these experiences.

With such distractions removed, and added stress due to medical and economic concerns, the world’s people are actually more receptive to spiritual truth than ever. They have come to realize what the Scriptures laid out 2,000 years ago: “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17). Material possessions are “uncertain.” While we will certainly lose them (due to theft, economic downturn, death, et cetera), the timing of their forfeiture is unknown.

Another reality they are learning firsthand is James 4:14: “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” Living for the “here-and-now”—as if this life is the only one, as if there is no afterlife—has its limits. Life on Earth is ever so fragile, as any small threat (illness or accident) can immediately end it. Is it prudent to enjoy this life at the expense of the next one? No! At this time, people are contemplating their own mortality, and they had better keep heading toward the Scriptures….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Feeding the 4,000 and feeding the 5,000—same or different?

Careful—But Not Careful! #3

Monday, March 30, 2020

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6,7 KJV).

Friend, as we live in these strange times, let us “be careful for nothing!”

As our world undergoes the coronavirus pandemic, and people adjust to this new way of living to limit its spread, they have become quite basic. They can begin to glimpse what life without materialism is really like. Considering the economic decline—unemployment, less work hours, and so on—people cannot live extravagantly like they did before. With restaurants, concerts, theaters, casinos, and sporting events closed for business, they cannot be frequented anymore for “entertainment.” Money cannot be loved if it cannot be acquired!

First Timothy chapter 6, while referring to finances and ministry, is also the proper way to view personal money matters: “[3] If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; [4] He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, [5] Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. [6] But godliness with contentment is great gain. [7] For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. [8] And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. [9] But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. [10] For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”

Please understand, there is nothing sinful about money per se. The love of money” is the problem (be careful not to misquote it like it often is). “Godliness with contentment is great gain…. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.” In this “new world,” “food and raiment [clothing]” can be cherished now more than ever….

Careful—But Not Careful! #2

Sunday, March 29, 2020

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6,7 KJV).

Friend, as we live in these strange times, let us “be careful for nothing!”

There are over a dozen references to “joy” and “rejoicing” in the Apostle Paul’s epistle to the Philippians (1:4,18,25; 2:2,16-18; 2:28; 3:1,3; 4:1,4,10). The most famous is: “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice” (4:4). When the Holy Spirit moved the Apostle Paul to write to Philippi, Paul was not reclining in an air-conditioned palace, flying on a private jet, or dining at his favorite restaurant. Where was he?

When the Book of Acts closed, the Holy Spirit reports: “And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him, Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him” (Acts 28:30,31). Paul, for preaching the Gospel of Grace, was under house arrest for two years (his legal problems began back in chapter 21). Yea, Philippians was written from a prison! On four occasions within the document itself, Paul refers to “bonds” (1:7,13,14,16)—literal, physical shackles. At least one Roman soldier was always present with him, likely chained to him at the hand (see Acts 28:16,20; cf. Acts 21:33). Here was where serving Jesus Christ got him!

Read today’s Scripture within context: “[4] Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. [5] Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. [6] Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. [7] And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. [8] Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

Indeed, a prisoner wrote today’s Scripture….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Was Jesus’ last name ‘Christ?’

Careful—But Not Careful! #1

Saturday, March 28, 2020

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6,7 KJV).

Friend, as we live in these strange times, let us “be careful for nothing!”

As you have heard, society around the world has undergone a significance transformation in recent weeks. The word “coronavirus” is now a part of everyday speech. At this point, we seem to be living on a planet other than Earth. It feels like we are cast in a science-fiction movie!

“Social distancing” is another term added to our vernacular. Individuals keep their distance when out in public. There is neither handshaking nor hugging. Face masks and gloves are commonplace. People have been forced to stay in their houses, trapped inside tiny apartments for weeks. They have a sporadic work schedule—if at all. People cannot return to their home countries because of travel restrictions. Governmental officials, with no real experience in such large-scale health issues, are scrambling to relieve and assist their citizens in whatever ways they can.

Non-essential stores, golf courses, theme parks, casinos, and schools are closed. Conferences and sporting events are cancelled. Restaurants are either shut, or accepting only drive-thru or delivery orders. Airlines, hotels and motels, and cruise lines are struggling to stay open. Some businesses have even shuttered permanently. Noisy and busy streets are now empty. Hospitals are being constructed rapidly; medical supplies are slow in arriving or non-existent. Millions upon millions of students, unable to enter physical classrooms, are now taking classes online at home. To think that this is all on a global scale is inconceivable!

What makes coronavirus so dangerous is how little we know about it and how quickly it spreads. Some 150 countries have cases now. The elderly and those with serious preexisting health issues are especially at risk. Unfortunately, there is currently no cure or vaccine. Experiments are being conducted to better understand how to fight this infectious respiratory disease. Emotions are running, people are fearful, and misinformation and disinformation are rampant. We should be careful in exercising caution who we meet, where we go, and what we do. However, as touching worrying, we should “be careful for nothing….”

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How is Jesus Christ ‘Prophet, Priest, and King?’

Without Honour #8

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house (Mark 6:4 KJV).

What valuable lesson can we learn from Nazareth—a moral the Nazarenes deliberately failed to learn?

Romans 1:18-32 explains how the world declined in its morals and ethics to result in the worldwide problems we see today. All people once had opportunity to be the LORD God’s instruments in the Earth, but they willfully refused His revelation. Therefore, human civilization deteriorated in the centuries following Adam’s creation. In Genesis chapters 6–8, God finally sent the Great Deluge of Noah’s day to cleanse the world of evil (violence, murder). During chapters 9–11, the nations gather around the Tower of Babel. Such paganism summarizes man’s attitude during his first 2,000 years. The Creator God gave the nations over to their preferred spiritual darkness!

In chapter 12, the LORD God sets aside one man to begin a new nation—Abraham, the father of Israel. Through Abraham and his descendants, God will reach the entire world. Romans 3:1,2: “What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles [Word, revelation] of God.” God gave Israel His Word, so Israel can teach it to the Gentiles. “He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel. He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them. Praise ye the LORD” (Psalm 147:19,20).

Moses told Israel in Deuteronomy 4:6-8: “Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for? And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?”

Israel had that Word of God for 16 centuries, but she did not appreciate it. By the time her Messiah arrived, fulfilling that Word, she dishonoured Him too….

Without Honour #7

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house (Mark 6:4 KJV).

What valuable lesson can we learn from Nazareth—a moral the Nazarenes deliberately failed to learn?

Christianity’s bitterest enemies, the Bible’s most outspoken critics, are often people who grew up in “church.” Why? Although they were “close to the truth,” they did not walk in the light they had or have heart faith in that information. It was just mental gymnastics, merely “playing church.” They did not “honour” the sound doctrine they had opportunity to learn.

Look at it another way. Some Protestants endlessly ridicule their own Protestant Bible—the King James text and its underlying manuscript witnesses. For over 400 years, the Authorized Version has protected Bible-believing Christians from the doctrinal errors of Roman Catholicism (the manuscripts underlying the modern English versions). However, the Church the Body of Christ has overall demonstrated it has not received God’s Word with a grateful heart (just like the Nazarenes!).

Romans chapter 1: “[18] For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; [19] Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. [20] For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: [21] Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

“[22] Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, [23] And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. [24] Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: [25] Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.”

The Nazarenes are just a small sample of this worldwide problem….