Live Right Now But Plan for Later

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

“And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ” (2 Thessalonians 3:5 KJV).

Long ago, a dear brother gave me some Christian advice that has been on my mind ever since: “Live like the Lord is coming in the next 10 minutes, but plan like He is not coming for the next 10 years.” We would all do well to remember it even now… and to keep bringing it to memory as often as we can.

Believers in Christ commonly ask, “When is the Lord coming back? Are we getting close? How much longer can He tarry? Look at how conditions are worsening. Surely, the world cannot continue going down this awful path much longer.” We must be careful here, though, as we can grow apathetic. “If the Lord is coming back soon, we can just sit around idly until then. We do not need to be concerned with the distant future because we will not be here anymore anyway.” In contrast, many believers seem to lose sight of the prospect of Christ’s return. “Christians have been waiting for 20 centuries and He still has not appeared. He must not be coming back, so living right will make no difference. Let us just enjoy our lives and live however we want.”

The fact of the matter is that we should avoid both extremes. Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, never give one hint as to the exact timing of Christ’s coming for the Church that is His Body, but they do say He is coming. The Thessalonians had great confusion concerning the Rapture (Christ’s coming from His Body) and the Second Coming (Christ’s later coming for Israel). Unfortunately, that perplexity abounds today.

Today’s Scripture underscores that we remember the love of God (Calvary’s finished crosswork—Romans 5:8) and patiently wait for Christ (because He is coming back!). We should lay out life and ministry goals that take us several years into the future, as we do not know precisely when He will return. Yet, we should not live carelessly either, as we do not want to be acting foolishly if He happened to return very soon. Here is mature Christian thinking!

The Thing Which is Good

Monday, September 2, 2019

“Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth” (Ephesians 4:28 KJV).

On this Labor Day, we talk about work, “the thing which is good.”

In this day and age of increasing “government assistance,” people are becoming less and less aware of our hard work being the Lord Jesus’ preferred method of the source of our incomes. While the physically and mentally disabled are obvious exceptions, the God of the Bible expects all of us to contribute labor in order to provide for ourselves. For children and young adults, even being a student in school is work enough!

Observe the doctrine being communicated in today’s Scripture. The grace life does not merely teach us to quit doing bad things, but it also instructs us to start doing good things (Titus 2:11,12). Once a thief trusts the Lord Jesus Christ and His finished crosswork as sufficient payment for his sins, then God expects that thief to quit stealing and find a job so he can provide for his needs!

The God of creation calls work “the thing which is good” (today’s Scripture). Work is not something to be avoided; it is something to be embraced for the Lord’s glory!

When the Lord Jesus Christ put the first man, Adam, on earth, that man had a divine commission. Adam was not to simply loaf around and do nothing: “And the LORD God took the man, and put him in the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it” (Genesis 2:15). Adam was to protect that garden, to till its ground, to prepare it for Jesus Christ to come down and dwell in with he and Eve (because of sin, that earthly kingdom over which Jesus Christ will rule is still awaiting fulfillment!).

Saints, may we work to provide for our families (1 Timothy 5:8), and may we work to help those who truly are needy (today’s Scripture). In the words of God the Holy Spirit, that is “good!” 🙂

Children of Light #8

Sunday, September 1, 2019

“While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them” (John 12:36 KJV).

Today’s Scripture is one of three instances of the expression “children of light” in the Bible. What is the significance of this title?

First Thessalonians chapter 5 contains the final occurrence: “[1] But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. [2] For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. [3] For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. [4] But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. [5] Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.”

We are not in darkness or ignorance concerning the end times, after our Dispensation of Grace. As members of the Church the Body of Christ, we will not be susceptible to the spiritual darkness that will come after our mystery program. The Antichrist—key figure in Satan’s future plans—will not deceive us or catch us by surprise. We will be in Heaven by that time (see chapter 4). If we are not a part of the lie program (and we are not), then it does not make sense for us to behave as though we were or are.

Here is what the future holds for Israel. Isaiah 2:5: “O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the LORD.” Chapter 9, verse 8: “The LORD sent a word into Jacob, and it hath lighted upon Israel.” Chapter 42, verse 6: “I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles;….” Chapter 60, verses 1 and 3: “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee…. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.”

Bible Q&A #445: “What Bible Book should I read first?

Children of Light #7

Saturday, August 31, 2019

“While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them” (John 12:36 KJV).

Today’s Scripture is one of three instances of the expression “children of light” in the Bible. What is the significance of this title?

Saints, before we came to faith in Christ, we were in Satan’s darkness. Now, as “children of light,” we should act accordingly. Ephesians 6:12 speaks of Satan’s minions, “the rulers of the darkness of this world.” Second Corinthians 6:14 says we as “light” have no communion with “darkness.” Romans 13:12 tells us: “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.” Ephesians 4:17,18: “This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:….”

Ephesians chapter 5: “[8] For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: [9] (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth; ) [10] Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. [11] And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. [12] For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. [13] But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. [14] Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.”

Philippians 2:15 exhorts us, “That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;….” Brethren, we should be careful to maintain good works. If we properly represent Father God in this present evil world, we will not repeat Israel’s mistakes of preferring darkness.

Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How could John the Baptist question if Jesus really is Christ?

Pay Attention to Aid Retention

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine (1 Timothy 4:13 KJV).

Friend, have you ever wondered what you would do if someone needed help finding something in the Bible? Were you afraid you would not be able to find the verse you were looking for? Well, unless you suffer from an “aging mind,” this forgetfulness can be mitigated.

The fact is, if you have not spent enough personal (quiet!) time in the Word, then you will be unskillful in the Word. Owning a Bible is one thing, but becoming familiar with and understanding it is a whole different matter. The Holy Spirit will work in us, but only if we first have His Word in us. God does not “magically” place His doctrine in us—whispering in our ear, spontaneously planting thoughts in our mind, causing inner impressions, and so on. Christian knowledge comes only by opening the Bible, reading and comparing verses, and then grasping conclusions that ultimately become an adequate basis for faith.

As we keep reading God’s Word daily, we will become increasingly accustomed to what it says and where it says it. Locating verses with specific words or phrases is actually not that difficult when we have read them enough beforehand. The Holy Spirit takes what we have already read and He brings it to our memory so it fits with specific situations. Of course, if we have never read the Bible for ourselves, or use it sparingly, then there is little to no Scriptural information in us for Him to use. It is not (!) God’s fault!

If all we go to “church” for is to sing, dance, and engage in idle chitchat and hearing of stories, then it will be no surprise when we find ourselves biblically-illiterate at the time we need Divine knowledge the most. Today’s Scripture underscores three components to a God-honoring ministry—(1) reading the Bible, (2) urging or encouraging the saints therein, and (3) communicating Divine information worthy of their trust. Without all three, Christians will simply be spiritually clueless and crippled. If, however, we expose ourselves to God’s Word, if we pay attention to it, then the chances increase that we will recollect more of it! 🙂

For Students This is Safe

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

“Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way” (Psalm 119:128 KJV).

As a new school year dawns, let us awake unto spiritual truth!

Although the autumnal equinox is still over a month away here in the Northern Hemisphere, summer is finally beginning to wind down for most of us. Students—with long faces and deep sighs—have returned or are beginning to return to school. As students return to the classroom, they need to be particularly mindful of the following.

Firstly, learning in and of itself is not a sin. Moses was “learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians” (Acts 7:22). Luke was a medical doctor (Colossians 4:14). Daniel and his companions were skilled in science (Daniel 1:4). Adam was the first taxonomist (Genesis 2:19,20). The God of the Bible is never against learning new things—remember, He gave us His Holy Bible so we can have plenty to learn for all of eternity!

Secondly, what the God of the Bible opposes is when we believe/trust ideas that do not seek our best interests, that contradict the way He designed our lives to function. Certainly, we Christians should never go around believing anything and everything heard and seen. Just because the professor, preacher, pope, or president says it is true, that does not make it so. Scientific consensus has been wrong before, religion has been wrong before, politicians have been wrong before. Much of the ideas that permeate our world today are wrong.

Lastly, there are many wonderful, exciting ideas and concepts out there—medical advancements, technological breakthroughs, and so on—but there are equally detrimental ideas that will mess up your life—religious traditions, secular humanism, and other philosophies. Daily intake of the King James Bible rightly divided will cleanse our souls of the filth and foolishness that we hear and see day in and day out in this evil world system. We highly exalt God’s Word, we know it is right “concerning all things,” and we hate and ignore the error.

Have a wonderful school year in our Lord Jesus Christ! 🙂

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.