Lingering Lot

Saturday, June 24, 2017

“And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city. And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the LORD being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city” (Genesis 19:15,16 KJV).

In “lingering Lot,” we see many a Christian today!

Nephew to Abraham, Lot was a very compromising believer. While the world’s sins bothered him (2 Peter 2:6-9), he did not mind dabbling in them himself. For example, Lot “sat in the gate of Sodom” (Genesis 19:1): he was an important statesman in that most wicked city, enjoying high social standing and great wealth. Once God had enough of the homosexuality in Sodom and Gomorrah, He sent two angels to destroy them (see Genesis 18:16-22; Genesis 19:1ff.).

God also sent those angels to deliver Lot and his family before His righteous wrath falls upon Sodom and Gomorrah. In today’s Scripture, the angels urge Lot to hurry and take his wife and two daughters and escape. Three words stand out: “and while he lingered….” Lot wanted to stay just a bit longer, to take one last look at all his possessions he had acquired while officiating over Sodom. His beautiful home and its furnishings would be destroyed. His sinful acquaintances would be killed. (Notice how his wife “looked back behind him” once they did leave in verse 26, and she “became a pillar of salt!” She too had been attached to the material goods she and Lot had.)

Lot should have led his family out of such wickedness, yet he “lingered.” The angels had to thus forcefully grab all four of them (he, his wife, and their two daughters) and bring them outside the city! JEHOVAH God could have consumed Lot for being so wicked, so idolatrous, and yet He was “merciful unto him.” No doubt, many such saints will want to “linger” at the Rapture, when Christ returns to take all Christians to Heaven, desiring to stay behind and enjoy this evil world one last time. May we not be those “lingering” believers!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What does the Bible say about blood transfusions?

Darkened Counsel

Friday, June 23, 2017

“Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?” (Job 38:1,2 KJV).

Can we hear God’s question echoing today?

Many years ago, a friend in the ministry was preaching at his church when a man showed up carrying several books under his arm. The man lied down on the floor and spread several books before him. After the service, my friend approached the man to learn that he had actually brought 10 different Bible translations to read. He would flip through each one! As my pastor friend began to talk to this man, he learned that the man did not actually believe any of those books… and why should he, seeing as to they all read differently?!

Modern Bible publishers have devised various clever sales pitches to advertise their products. They talk about the “up-to-date scholarship,” the thorough system of references, the nice leather cover, the online resources, the wide margins and/or large print, the “easy-to-read” wording, and so on. Yet, they will not tell you that they are actually introducing more confusion in the minds of people concerning the Bible. Why have dozens upon dozens of Bible versions? Is it really to make the Bible clearer? Certainly not, for the diversity of versions and readings make the Bible less clear. The point is, people want to produce their own sectarian or denominational handbook, and if they can change the derivative work enough, they can secure a copyright and start “cashing in” on God’s Word!

While there are many sincere, unsuspecting people in the Bible versions debate, we must also be mindful that many in the leadership know exactly what they are doing. They are not excused from their spiritual wickedness; their polluting lost and saved souls alike is not to be, and will not be, overlooked. Just as JEHOVAH God rebuked Job for rattling on and on about spiritual things he knew nothing about, so God condemns the religious leaders who make His Word harder to understand. They need to hush and study the Bible, gaining knowledge, before they start attempting to teach it to others!

Bereans

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

“And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:10,11 KJV).

“Bereans.” Have you ever heard of this title, friend? If you have been around Bible-believing circles, of course you have. It comes right out of today’s Scripture. What Christian meaning does it carry?

After unbelieving Jews traveled to Thessalonica (northern Greece) to harass Paul and his ministry coworkers, the Christian brethren were forced to secretly send Paul and Silas by night. Paul and Silas arrived in nearby Berea, again entering the synagogue to preach to lost Jews. The wicked, unbelieving Jews heard of Paul’s entrance into Berea, so they traveled there to bother him again; the saints in Berea had to sneak Paul and his companions away once again, lest they be injured or killed.

Verses 12-14 follow today’s Scripture: “Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few. But when the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was preached of Paul at Berea, they came thither also, and stirred up the people. And then immediately the brethren sent away Paul to go as it were to the sea: but Silas and Timotheus abode there still.”

Friends, the title “Berean” will be forever preserved in the Word of God as indicative of someone who “received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (today’s Scripture). These Jews had copies of the writings of Moses and the Prophets (cf. Acts 13:15; Acts 15:21), and they appealed to that inspired record to verify if Paul and his companions were really preaching the truth. (There were no “New Testament” Scriptures as of yet, remember.) They did not simply sit in the pew and mindlessly shout “Amen!” to whatever they heard the preacher say! As they eagerly heard the Apostles preach, they took the Word of God and studied it, using it to determine the quality of the message spoken. May we follow suit, beloved!

Father: A Godly Man

Sunday, June 18, 2017

“And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4 KJV).

Since today is Father’s Day, we dedicate today’s devotional to the godly (Christian) fathers.

What is a godly father? Oftentimes, fathers are either too authoritative (very strict) or too carefree (little to no concern for their children). According to the Bible (today’s Scripture in particular), fathers must have a balance between setting boundaries and enforcing them, and refraining from being a heartless tyrant.

  • On one hand, the Christian father is to “bring [his children] up in the nurture of the Lord.” “Nurture” is simply defined as “caring for and encouraging their growth or development.” All too often, fathers (sadly) ignore this, usually being too rough, or even, apathetic (unconcerned).
  • On the other hand, the Christian father is to “bring [his children] up in the admonition of the Lord.” “Admonition” is simply defined as “authoritative counsel or warning.” He is to lovingly guide them in life, instructing them from God’s Word rightly divided.

A father is not simply one who procreates. God’s Word makes it very clear that they should serve a lifelong, active role in their children’s lives. A Christian man, especially a father, should be a godly man in beliefs as well as in deed. He needs to set an example for his children (especially his sons): it is his duty as an older Christian man to set an example for younger men.

He should be a hard worker, he should meditate on the things of God (the Bible), his speech should conform to sound Bible doctrine, he should be hospitable and caring, kind and loving, he should respect and love his wife, he should love his children, and he should be reserved and cautious in his actions.

Are you a Christian man or Christian father who desires to be the man God intends you to be in Christ Jesus? Place your faith in this sound Bible doctrine, and God will take care of the rest! Then, you will become the godly man described on the pages of Scripture.

*Adapted from a larger Bible study with the same name. The Bible study can be read here or watched here.

No Sunday Morning Second-hand Sermons!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15 KJV).

Rather than “second-hand” sermons, we need “study” sermons!

Long ago, a minister wrote the following: “Many sermons on Sunday morning are second-hand sermons, copied from some outline book published by the denominational headquarters… and that ought not be! Studying is hard work—but it is profitable in the ministry!” In this day and age, I wonder how sermons delivered from the pulpit are first downloaded from the internet?

Please do not misunderstand, friends. There is nothing wrong with consulting sources for Bible insight. We can all learn from teachers and preachers. However, there is a difference between using these sources and abusing them. Copying sermons verbatim is not ideal for two reasons. Firstly, the person copying is robbing himself of personal Bible study—not to mention running the risk of being greatly deceived! Secondly, those who will listen to the copied sermon will also be robbed of personal Bible study—to be deceived as well! The audience will figure that they can let the writer do all the hard work (studying) and they will simply (and easily) listen to the fruit.

The reason why denominational headquarters are followed so meticulously is that people fear displeasing men. They dread upsetting the denominational leaders, for they just may be “out-of-work” and “out-of-church” if they drift too far from “approved” verses and teachings! Today’s Scripture says that we are to be “approved unto God;” beloved, we are not to be “menpleasers.” Remember, “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men (Colossians 3:23).

We are looking for God’s approval, not man’s approval. The quicker we learn that, the more joyous we will be in the ministry. We will not be disappointed when people disapprove of us, for we were never looking for their approval anyway! “Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God(1 Corinthians 4:5).

Not Entangled

Friday, June 16, 2017

No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier (2 Timothy 2:4 KJV).

Before you get too worked up about this world’s conditions, remember not to get distracted from what really matters!

Recently, I was talking with a brother in Christ who was very disturbed by what is going on in the world. In his own words, his “blood was boiling.” He was angry, raging, quite frustrated over corrupt politicians, violence, and evildoers going unpunished. Moreover, he ranted and raved against his national government. While I understand his frustrations, I did politely remind him to be civil when he would discuss it with others (he said he was going to tell others what he had told me). The man has been saved for years, many decades, but God’s grace has yet to transform the way he thinks about this world.

As “outposts from the third heaven,” beloved, we simply cannot get too attached to the people and things of this temporary world. We can get all worked up about scandals and conundrums in politics, religion, economics, sports, educational institutions, social issues, and so on. It is only human to get so enmeshed, trapped, involved, entwined with human affairs. However, as members of the Church the Body of Christ, we are God’s people. We are to be concentrating on God’s thoughts instead of common human thoughts. Father God is not worrying or fretting in Heaven today, and if anyone should concerned, it should be the Person who can control it.

Dear friends, we must never let Satan’s evil world system distract us from what really matters. Those “doctrines of devils” can come in the subtlest forms, and we must be vigilant that they do not get a stronghold in our thoughts. As soldiers of Jesus Christ, we must concentrate on our “marching orders,” and those instructions are: “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection [focus] on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:1-3).

Bible Q&A #390: “Does Acts 26:22 disprove the Apostle Paul’s special doctrine?

Merciful to a Sorry World

Thursday, June 15, 2017

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. 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 (1 Timothy 1:15,16 KJV).

You can trust that!

The United States—yea, the world—has been rocked by so many tragedies in recent days. Current trends on social media read, “Sending our thoughts and prayers.” Scoffers ask, “How is that working out?” To wit, despite all the “thoughts and prayers,” well wishes, and hopes of religious people, violence and bloodshed remain “front page” news. Where is God? When will He get enough? Will He ever show Himself? Does He even care? When will enough be enough? Is “He” even there?

Christians, who have the Holy Bible, the true Word of the true God, should be leading the world in understanding prayer. They should know what prayer is, and what it is not. Alas, how ignorant they are—how unbelievably and pathetically uniformed! They have the Scriptures but have no idea what they say about prayer. Now we see why skeptics say what they do—they mock people who really do not know the truth either! Beloved, religious people talk about “God” so flippantly we need not criticize the scoffers for doing likewise!

Friends, here is the simple truth. God is not working according to the way most people are praying. Hence, people pray for a certain outcome that actually does not come. They pray for violence to end, for peace, for God to come and judge the evildoers. Actually, here is a shocker…. God is not working today as He did in time past. What He is interested in today is having people come to His Son, Jesus Christ, by faith, that they receive forgiveness of sins and a home in Heaven. Rather than God pouring out wrath today, ushering in world peace today, He is pouring out peace and grace on undeserving sinners!

He will come back in due time and judge this wicked world. Today, He silently offers grace, extending an opportunity for all to be made right with Him! 🙂