333 Turns 8!

Saturday, June 1, 2019

“Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself” (John 7:16,17 KJV).

Only by God’s grace, dear readers, “333 Words of Grace” marks its eighth birthday today!

It was eight years ago this very day that we “took the leap of faith” to launch this devotionals blog. At the time, I had no idea it would continue this long and be this impactful. For those of you who have been with us from “day 1,” thank you for staying thus far. If you have recently found us, we hope that you will stay (at least for the next eight years, okay?). Brethren, it has been an absolute thrill “meeting” with you here around God’s Word. Such great fellowship indeed!

When we started (ever so long ago), we endeavored to “fill the void” where daily grace Bible studies were lacking. Looking back on the nearly 3,000 devotionals we have now covered, we can rejoice that Father God accomplished that to some degree. However, there is still so much left for us to learn from His Word. We have imperfect understanding concerning various Scripture themes, so we aim to continue “pressing toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).

In today’s Scripture, Christ Jesus made it clear that if someone truly desired to know His Father’s doctrine, that person would acquire it. It was not impossible to grasp or impossible to find. There it was, plain and simple to the soul who actually cared to seek His knowledge. Likewise, here, we have presented daily the King James Bible for all these years. None of us can plead ignorance or claim “unlearnedness.” We know a clear Gospel message—Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). We know the Christian life—Christ lives in us by our faith in His words of grace, not by our works and commandment-keeping (Galatians 2:20,21).

Dear brethren, as we have aged physically these last eight years—perhaps, just perhaps—we have grown spiritually even more! Now, by God’s grace, onward into Year 9 of “333!” 🙂

Note: Links to all eight years of devotionals are here: https://333wordsofgrace.org/master-list-of-devotionals-chronological.

Bible Q&A #615: “What does the Bible mean, ‘Shake the dust from your feet?’

Christian Prayer “Does Not Help” #3

Friday, May 31, 2019

“Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:7-9 KJV).

Indeed, the Lord’s words are true even now!

What was the nation Israel’s principal problem during Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry? He pinpointed it in today’s Scripture: “[they were] teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” Instead of holding to God’s Word—especially the Law of Moses, their chief Divine operating instructions—they had substituted it with manmade teachings. Having divorced themselves from God’s thoughts—and ultimately, His power—they were spiritually debilitated.

The physically blind, physically deaf, physically mute, and physically paralyzed who Jesus healed were perfect illustrations of Israel spiritually blind, spiritually deaf, spiritually mute, and spiritually paralyzed. They were unable to see God’s truth, unable to hear His words, unable to speak His words, and unable to walk in His ways. Their manmade teachings were the very reason why they ultimately crucified Him on Calvary. Had they maintained and believed God’s pure Word—the Old Testament Scriptures—they would have seen and trusted Jesus as Messiah. Since they abhorred the Scriptures, they despised the God-Man to whom those very verses pointed.

Even now, repeating the gross chief sin of Israel, Christendom has largely pushed aside the Bible. They quote occasionally (provided it supports their denominations), but their doctrines are overwhelmingly devoid of God’s Word. Hence, their tenets are shallow, their prayers are powerless, and their rituals and ceremonies are repulsive. They have no idea what God is doing today, for they have not handled His Word His way. Instead of “studying… rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15), they have muddled the various directions God has issued through time individually.

What is the remedy? The Lord’s spokesman to us Gentiles today is the Apostle Paul (Romans 11:13). Friend, do you want effectual prayers, those that actually carry eternal value? Try Ephesians 1:15-23, Ephesians 3:11-21, Philippians 1:9-11, and Colossians 1:9-13. These model Pauline prayers highlight what God is doing in this the Dispensation of Grace. If you pray according to them, never shall you be able to say, “Christian prayer does not help!”

Brethren, to the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ, we now close 8 full years of “333 Words of Grace!” Thank you for praying for us thus far, and by God’s grace, we now aim for another 8 years!

NOTE: Dear Saints, it is with great pleasure that I announce all 90 videos (over 104 hours of teaching) of our Old Testament Survey Project are now online and ready to watch! Click here. Praise our Lord Jesus Christ!

Christian Prayer “Does Not Help” #2

Thursday, May 30, 2019

“Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:7-9 KJV).

Indeed, the Lord’s words are true even now!

Christ was citing Isaiah 29:13, penned over 700 years prior: “Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:….” Whether in Isaiah’s ministry, or His own ministry, the Lord Jesus knew the reprehensible predicament of His nation Israel.

They paid Him “lip service:” they read Moses’ writings aloud, sang the psalms, and uttered elaborate prayers. Despite that “fair shew [beautiful exhibition] in the flesh” (Galatians 6:12,13), their innermost being lacked faith. They were not obeying the Scriptures by faith; instead of using that God-given religion to worship Him, they were worshipping the religion itself. While claiming to “love God,” they were unbelieving concerning His words. Their outward appearance was hypocritical, masking their true intentions. God was not fooled then, and He is not fooled today.

Frankly, religious tradition has so preoccupied so-called “Christian” people that their prayers are oftentimes doctrinally worthless. Of course, such prayers are also “useless.” They are recited with the assumption that they can manipulate or force God to agree with their every whim and grant their every wish.

Instead of opening His Bible, and approaching it “rightly divided” (2 Timothy 2:15)—rather than carefully noticing what verses are to and about them and what verses are not to and about them—they see anything and everything in Scripture as applicable to them. They claim prayer promises God never gave them, and then grow upset and disappointed when He does not react as they supposed He would! Such “unanswered prayers” constantly bother Christians and non-Christians alike. If this is how we handle Scripture, no wonder people loathe “Christian prayer” and rather seek help from “eastern religions!” Almighty God, the Holy Bible, and Christianity are not the problem. We in our carelessness are the problem….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How was Moses ‘very meek?’

The Goodness of God

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness (Acts 14:17 KJV).

Friend, would you give a cup of water to your enemy? One slice of bread? A piece of fruit? The God of the Bible gives much more to His enemies!

Some people have so offended us, we think twice about letting them drink from our garden water hose (let alone our kitchen faucet!). We hesitate to give them crumbs (much less a full course meal!). Today’s Scripture closes the sermon the Apostles Barnabas and Paul preached to the pagan idolaters in Lystra (southern Turkey). The one true God had given these heathen over to the satanic religion they had desired (verses 11-13,15,16); yet, He sustained their crop production with the natural laws He had ordained in creation. Recall Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:45, “…he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.”

The God of creation let them have His water (rain). He allowed them to eat His food that grew in His soil with His sunshine. His matter, His atoms, His molecules keep them from starving and dying. Back in Genesis chapter 1, He had created it all from nothing, spoken it all into existence; then, these spiritually blind Gentiles took His provisions and gave them over to worthless false deities! He knew the heathen of the world would ignore Him and worship and serve idols of wood and stone, gold and silver. They would prepare food and drink offerings for pagan gods, not Him (the God of creation, the God of Israel). Yet, He let them have their way. His creation—notice again that it is His creation—would be used to praise everyone and everything but Him. Sad!

“For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6-8). Calvary is the greatest expression of God’s goodness toward His enemies—us!

A Mind to Work! #6

Saturday, May 25, 2019

So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work (Nehemiah 4:6 KJV).

It is a verse from Israel’s ancient records, but the underlying principle is most beneficial to us if we are willing to hear and believe it.

Read the rest of Nehemiah chapter 4 through to chapter 6. There were more struggles and challenges—including Israel’s enemies attempting to distract Nehemiah and waste his time (opening verses of chapter 6)—but “the wall was finished in the twenty and fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty and two days” (6:15). God’s people “had a mind to work,” and, despite the escalating resistance, they completed their task!

We the Church the Body of Christ—2,500 years later—would do well to see that God’s people can indeed do whatever He calls them to do. No matter how relentless Satan is in opposing us, regardless of how many sinful people he can recruit to intimidate or silence us, God’s work will go on. Our Heavenly Father has called us Christians to build into our inner man, and the inner man of those we reach, an edifice of sound Bible doctrine. This information is likened unto “gold, silver, precious stones” (1 Corinthians 3:6-15); every other form of teaching is “wood, hay, stubble.” Rather than letting our attention be diverted with all sorts of nonsense, we must ignore the evil world system and believe God’s Word rightly divided so it can work in our lives!

Earlier, we referred to the Thessalonians. Let us revisit them one last time, 1 Thessalonians 1:8-10: “For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing. For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.” Did you see their Christian conduct? They believed sound doctrine, and had a mind to work (1 Thessalonians 2:13)!! 🙂

A Mind to Work! #5

Friday, May 24, 2019

So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work (Nehemiah 4:6 KJV).

It is a verse from Israel’s ancient records, but the underlying principle is most beneficial to us if we are willing to hear and believe it.

Nehemiah chapter 4 continues, “[7] But it came to pass, that when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and the Arabians, and the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites, heard that the walls of Jerusalem were made up, and that the breaches began to be stopped, then they were very wroth, [8] And conspired all of them together to come and to fight against Jerusalem, and to hinder it.

“[9] Nevertheless we made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch against them day and night, because of them. [10] And Judah said, The strength of the bearers of burdens is decayed, and there is much rubbish; so that we are not able to build the wall. [11] And our adversaries said, They shall not know, neither see, till we come in the midst among them, and slay them, and cause the work to cease. [12] And it came to pass, that when the Jews which dwelt by them came, they said unto us ten times, From all places whence ye shall return unto us they will be upon you. [13] Therefore set I in the lower places behind the wall, and on the higher places, I even set the people after their families with their swords, their spears, and their bows.

“[14] And I looked, and rose up, and said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, Be not ye afraid of them: remember the LORD, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses. [15] And it came to pass, when our enemies heard that it was known unto us, and God had brought their counsel to nought, that we returned all of us to the wall, every one unto his work.”

In the face of intensifying opposition, God’s people were determined to rebuild Jerusalem’s walls. Satan would not be successful in deterring them….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Are Matthew 3:11 and 1 Corinthians 12:13 speaking of the same Spirit baptism?

A Mind to Work! #4

Thursday, May 23, 2019

So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work (Nehemiah 4:6 KJV).

It is a verse from Israel’s ancient records, but the underlying principle is most beneficial to us if we are willing to hear and believe it.

The Jews under Nehemiah’s direction build the sections of the wall of Jerusalem (chapter 3). Also, they reconstruct the various gates or entryways. In spite of the opposition and snide remarks from their enemies (2:19), God’s people are not deterred. They have determined not to let Satan get the advantage.

Watch how chapter 4 opens: “[1] But it came to pass, that when Sanballat heard that we builded the wall, he was wroth, and took great indignation, and mocked the Jews. [2] And he spake before his brethren and the army of Samaria, and said, What do these feeble Jews? will they fortify themselves? will they sacrifice? will they make an end in a day? will they revive the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish which are burned? [3] Now Tobiah the Ammonite was by him, and he said, Even that which they build, if a fox go up, he shall even break down their stone wall.

“[4] Hear, O our God; for we are despised: and turn their reproach upon their own head, and give them for a prey in the land of captivity: [5] And cover not their iniquity, and let not their sin be blotted out from before thee: for they have provoked thee to anger before the builders. [6] So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work.” (Here is today’s Scripture, please notice.)

Sinful Gentiles, men cooperating with Satan, continue to make fun of God’s work. The LORD has ordered Jerusalem and its walls to be rebuilt, so the Devil has naturally taken the opposing view. Verse 7, “But it came to pass, that when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and the Arabians, and the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites, heard that the walls of Jerusalem were made up, and that the breaches began to be stopped, then they were very wroth,….” Satan is relentless….