My Name’s Sake

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake (Acts 9:16 KJV).

For whose sake?

People dedicate their whole lives to various and sundry causes—environmental protection, rehabilitating drug abusers and alcoholics, sheltering the homeless, feeding the hungry, gun rights, minorities’ rights, women’s rights, veterans’ rights, patients’ rights, workers’ rights, students’ rights, and so on. While noble endeavors, ultimately, in the grand scheme of things, only one cause is of eternal worth. We find it in today’s Scripture.

There is tremendous suffering due to assorted factors—oppressive governments, poverty, famine, disease, stupid decisions, and so on. However, in light of eternity, only one type of suffering will count forever. We find it in today’s Scripture. Down through the centuries, God’s people have suffered for that very reason: they are strangers in a foreign land, subject to hostile forces (Satan and his policy of evil).

In Isaiah’s day, 700 B.C., “Hear the word of the LORD, ye that tremble at his word; Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my name’s sake, said, Let the LORD be glorified: but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed” (66:5). Christ in His earthly ministry warned His Little Flock of Jewish believers of the time even future from us, “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake(Matthew 24:9; cf. Mark 13:13; Luke 21:17). “But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name’s sake(Luke 21:12). “But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me” (John 15:21).

Revelation 2:3 speaks of faithful Israel, “for my name’s sake [thou] hast laboured, and hast not fainted.” “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). In today’s Scripture, the Apostle Paul was no exception. He would work for and with Jesus Christ, and the world would hate him for it. Nevertheless, it was the cause worth dying for… and, eventually, he literally gave his life for it. Brethren, may we be equally faithful to Christ’s name’s sake!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What is ‘nitre?’

Messiah’s Joy Amidst Calvary’s Grief #2

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2 KJV).

Do you ever wonder what our Lord Jesus Christ was thinking about while He hung there on Calvary’s cross?

Jesus knew Bible prophecy had to be fulfilled: He had to suffer in accordance with the Old Testament prophets. Even when He spoke seven times from the cross, He quoted various Old Testament verses. The Old Testament prophets also gave Him comfort: for the joy that was set before him endured the cross” (today’s Scripture).

For instance, He remembered that Jonah’s prophecy had to be fulfilled: “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:40). On the third day, He would live again, and be reunited with His heavenly Father!

He knew that His Father would resurrect Him. His spiritual torment and physical death were only temporarily, as David quoted Jesus 1000 B.C., “For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption” (Psalm 16:10; cf. Acts 2:24-31).

Our Lord thought of reigning over that glorious kingdom that His Heavenly Father would give Him after His resurrection. As the psalmist wrote centuries before Calvary’s crosswork, “Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession” (Psalm 2:6-8). “Begotten” refers to Jesus’ resurrection, not His nativity in Bethlehem (Acts 13:33,34).

Jesus Christ, during His torturous crucifixion, thought about and rejoiced in the promises in the Scriptures that applied to Him. Likewise, we, during difficult circumstances, can remember and joy in God’s promises to us—Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon.

We too can share Messiah’s joy amidst grief! 🙂

The Faithful God

Friday, February 22, 2019

“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13 KJV).

Indeed, “But God is faithful…!”

For some time now, I have been counseling with grace Christian friends enduring uninterrupted, quite awful, misfortunes. Whether legal problems, financial issues, or serious health threats, they are all facing one overriding decision. They have reached that dreaded crossroads (which we have all faced, or will eventually). Do they remain with the sound Bible doctrine they have believed and preached? Or, cast it aside under the immense weight of burdens? After all, where could God possibly be? Why does He not intervene and prevent the afflictions? How can evil just continue to triumph?

Never should the Christian—especially the grace believer—look at dire circumstances and wonder whatever happened to God. Dear friend, God went nowhere! Is His Spirit not eternally indwelling us who have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour?! “Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed unto thee keep [guard] by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us (2 Timothy 1:13,14). The Holy Spirit in us gave Timothy (and us) “the form of sound words”—a pattern or outline of Pauline words to believe. Satan, God’s enemy, aims to divorce us from it; hence, we are admonished to “hold fast” or grip it tightly and firmly and not let it go! If we abandon God’s words to us, His power is absent, and we are utterly helplessness when Satan attacks.

Brethren, we can sit and wallow in self-pity, or (!) we can renew our minds with Romans through Philemon. God faithfully delivered us that form of sound (nourishing) words. Through Christ, He has enabled us to endure ALL (!) of life’s situations—good and bad (Philippians 4:11-13). Now, frankly, we firmly hold and put into practice by faith what we claimed to originally believe. Regardless of our circumstances, the doctrine remains true!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why do Daniel 1:1 and Jeremiah 25:1 conflict?

333’s 2800th – What is God Doing? #25

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

“Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou know? The measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea” (Job 11:7-9 KJV).

What exactly is God doing? Can we say? Or, must we remain clueless?

Addressing the postponement of Christ’s flaming return, the Apostle Peter wrote in chapter 3 of his final epistle: “[8] But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. [9] The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” God is not sluggish, undependable, or unconcerned; He is merely giving ample time for people to join His family (become saints) before He judges them for not being in His family (sinners)!

“[15] And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; [16] As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.” Even Peter confessed that the Apostle Paul had been given Divine instruction found nowhere else in Scripture.

For the last 2,000 years, God has commissioned His people to preach “the word of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:19). We find this Gospel of Grace in Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon. The Lord’s message today to the world—yes, this worthless, godless world—is “grace and peace” not “wrath and war.” “For he [Father God] hath made him [Jesus Christ] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (verse 21). We have an opportunity, by faith in Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour, to avoid God’s wrath. As members of the Body of Christ, we are destined to reign in the heavenly places throughout the endless ages to come.

Saints, we have come quite far in our Bible understanding these last 2,800 days. However, we are still not where we should be, so onward we go by God’s grace to #2900! 🙂

What is God Doing? #24

Monday, January 28, 2019

“Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou know? The measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea” (Job 11:7-9 KJV).

What exactly is God doing? Can we say? Or, must we remain clueless?

The Holy Spirit says through the Apostle Peter, “be established in the present truth” (2 Peter 1:12). What is still holding back God’s fiery wrath from falling on sinful man? The Divine judgment preached long ago was not a “cunningly devised fable” (2 Peter 1:16)—it is real yet delayed. Jesus Christ came back in early Acts, but not in flaming fire taking vengeance on His enemies (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9). Rather, He poured out grace and mercy on His chief enemy, Saul of Tarsus!

Saul, now Paul the Apostle, writes in 1 Timothy chapter 1: “[15] This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. [16] Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.” Even today, this dispensational change works to the sinner’s advantage, that he may trust Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour and avoid the wrath to come. Grace will not be offered indefinitely.

Peter continues in chapter 3 of his farewell epistle: “[3] Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, [4] And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. [5] For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: [6] Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: [7] But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men…..”

Now, we finally conclude this devotionals arc….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Should ‘church’ be changed to ‘called-out assembly’ in Acts 7:38 in the King James Bible?

What is God Doing? #23

Sunday, January 27, 2019

“Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou know? The measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea” (Job 11:7-9 KJV).

What exactly is God doing? Can we say? Or, must we remain clueless?

Christian friend, have you ever wished the Lord Jesus Christ would hurry up and come back, and rid us of all these challenges besetting our society? Sure, we all have (and still do, oftentimes). Why has He not returned yet, even after 2,000 years of believers praying for it? Will He ever come back? When? What is taking Him so long? Has He forgotten? Is He lazy? Can He not sense the urgency? Has He turned a blind eye to the evil waxing worse and worse? Has He closed His ears to the cries of the oppressed?

God’s wrath, dear readers, would have actually been poured out on our planet 20 centuries ago. Jesus Christ should have returned long ago. Historically, it would have occurred in early Acts. The Prophet Stephen declared in Acts 7:55,56: “But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.” Psalm 110:1 had predicted 1,000 years earlier: “The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.” As soon as sitting Christ stood at His Heavenly Father’s right hand, that meant He was returning to judge His enemies in undiluted rage (cf. Acts 2:33-36; Acts 3:19-23, especially the unbelievers being “destroyed” in verse 23).

John the Baptist forewarned of “the wrath to come” (Matthew 3:7-12), so did Jesus Christ (Matthew 13:36-43), Peter (Acts chapters 2 and 3), and Stephen (Acts chapter 7). They preached that Divine punishment would transpire within the lifetime of their audiences. Yet, it never came—and, as you know, we are waiting for it still. Why? The God of the Bible is deliberately doing something different today….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Should we pray for God to ‘guide the surgeon’s hands?’

What is God Doing? #22

Saturday, January 26, 2019

“Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou know? The measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea” (Job 11:7-9 KJV).

What exactly is God doing? Can we say? Or, must we remain clueless?

Romans 5:1-5 says, “[1] Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: [2] By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. [3] And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; [4] And patience, experience; and experience, hope: [5] And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”

Long-term, we “rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” This is our heavenly abode, our eternal destiny as members of the Church the Body of Christ. Once sinners, “come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), we are now saints, appointed to glorify the God of the Bible in Heaven. Short-term, until then, we must endure “tribulations” (troubles). Rather than fear them as Divine punishment, we “glory” (or find value) in them. We are justified, having “peace with God,” never worrying about seeing His angry face or coming under His wrathful hand.

Tribulations can benefit us—they can work patience fully (peace under pressure), that patience can work experience fully (skill in circumstances), that experience can work hope fully (complete confidence in God’s promises coming to pass), and that hope will neither fail nor disappoint, “because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”

When we understand what God is doing, and what He is not doing, then we will begin to comprehend His boundless love for us. This “love of Christ” is featured in Ephesians 3:19, which love we are to experience and fathom. When all is accomplished, the goal is “that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” All control over our lives has thus been surrendered to the Lord Jesus Christ….