Prelude

Thursday, July 19, 2012

“My days are like a shadow that declineth; and I am withered like grass” (Psalm 102:11 KJV).

This earthly life is brief, but it is a prelude of the life to come, so be sure to use your time wisely for God’s glory.

Even from conception, death works in us to end our physical life. As the psalmist wrote in today’s Scripture, “My days are like a shadow that declineth; and I am withered like grass.” Because of the motion of the light source and/or the illuminated object, a shadow eventually grows smaller and smaller: it “declineth.” Our earthly life ends like grass “withereth” (fades away). James wrote, “For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away” (4:14bc). A “vapour” is a gas that can either become a solid or liquid: it ultimately “vanisheth away” (disappears).

Indeed, this earthly life will fade, but our souls will continue to exist. Prepare! What we do in this earthly life with God’s Word will impact our eternity. Lost people can place their faith in Paul’s Gospel—Christ’s finished crosswork on Calvary—as sufficient payment for their sins (1 Corinthians 15:1-4), and go to heaven, or they can reject it and go to hell. We Christians can study and believe sound (dispensational) Bible doctrine, so we can be equipped to function in the heavenly places for God’s glory, or we can ignore it and be unfit for God’s use.

Paul wrote, “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man [physical body] perish [die], yet the inward man [spiritual body] 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).

This earthly life is but a prelude of “the ages to come:” by faith, look at the unseen future, and prepare for eternity!

Our Kinsmen According to the Flesh

Sunday, June 3, 2012

“I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, that I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:” (Romans 9:1-3 KJV).

Sharing Jesus Christ with lost (unsaved) strangers is difficult. We need to tell them of their impending eternal doom and of the salvation in Christ, but we sometimes keep quiet, fearing ridicule and rejection. However, telling our own family about Christ is tougher….

In today’s Scripture, our Apostle Paul begins three chapters—Romans chapters 9-11—that discuss Israel’s past, present, and future statuses. Israel once had a special position before God (Romans 9:4,5). When Paul wrote today’s Scripture, God had already begun to set Israel and her program aside: Israel’s “diminishing” occurred between Acts chapters 7 and 28. Today, in this the Dispensation of Grace, Israel is temporarily spiritually “blinded” and “fallen” (Romans 11:11,12,25).

Compare today’s Scripture with Romans 10:1-3: “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.”

Oh, how Jewish Paul grieved for lost (hell-bound) Israel, who ignored Christ’s finished crosswork (“the righteousness of God;” Romans 10:3 cf. 2 Corinthians 5:21)! They disregarded Paul’s Gospel of Grace (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). They rejected Christ’s bloodshed, death, burial, and resurrection, and emphasized “their own righteousness” (doing religious works, hoping to obtain salvation, but actually heading for eternal damnation). How we grieve for our family members who are equally religious (and equally lost)!!!

Paul preached Jesus Christ “that he might save some of them [Jews, his kinsmen according to the flesh]” (Romans 11:14). Be not discouraged! We will not save all of our family members. Nevertheless, we BOLDLY preach, for “some” “of [our] kinsmen according to the flesh” will trust Christ alone and be saved.

How to Lead Someone to the Lord Jesus Christ

Sunday, May 6, 2012

“And brought [Paul and Silas] out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” (Acts 16:30,31 KJV).

We dedicate this devotional to sharing the verses that are critical to leading someone to salvation in Christ Jesus.

Christians often have great difficulty in witnessing to the lost. Why? They have not grasped Bible basics; they are unsure of what to say. Many are confused because they have been taught anything and everything but the King James Bible rightly divided. For example, I once asked a Christian if she could show me our Gospel in the Bible. Her answer was swift in coming, “The Gospel of John” (NO!). The poor lady repeated what her church said.

Notice God’s plan of salvation for our Dispensation of Grace:

  1. Someone must first understand his/her need for salvation. “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23a). Without salvation, our sin will cause physical and spiritual death: ultimately, eternal separation from God in hellfire.
  2. Second, the person must understand that he/she can do nothing to save himself/herself. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8,9). You may also show them Romans 3:28, Romans 4:1-8, Galatians 2:16-21, and Titus 3:5-7.
  3. Finally, the person must understand that the Lord Jesus Christ “died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day for our justification.” This is the Gospel of Grace of 1 Corinthians 15:1-4: this is the only way we are saved from hell today. “… the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23b). The person must trust exclusively in Christ’s finished crosswork on Calvary as sufficient payment for their sins in order to receive God’s forgiveness and eternal salvation.

Have the person read these Scriptures from your King James Bible. You may also refer them to Ephesians 1:13,14, Romans 3:19-30, Romans 4:25-5:11, and Colossians 1:12-15.

Final Flight

Saturday, January 28, 2012

“Go to now, ye that say, To-day or to-morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: 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” (James 4:13,14 KJV).

Gregory Jarvis, a Hughes Aircraft specialist and engineer, was scheduled to fly the Space Shuttle Columbia on January 12, 1986. His task was to accompany a communications satellite into space and ensure its launch. However, before launch, a politician replaced him, and Jarvis was bumped down to the next space shuttle launch, Challenger’s January 22 launch. When Challenger finally took flight six days later—some 26 years ago today—it exploded over 18 miles above earth, killing all seven crewmembers, including Jarvis. What tragic irony!

Life is uncertain in almost every which way. Friendships and marriages come not with a lifelong guarantee. Accidents and sudden illnesses can render you immobile, temporarily, or for life. House fires can consume all that you own. Thus, 1 Timothy 6:17 reminds us not to “trust in uncertain riches.” What you have today may very well be gone tomorrow. This is particularly true of your earthly life (today’s Scripture)… and especially your soul!

Gregory Jarvis knew not the future. Mission 51L, the 25th space shuttle mission, was supposed to have been another successful mission. Unfortunately, it would be Challenger’s last mission, and Jarvis’ too. Consider the ill-fated February 1, 2003 Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, whose ninth anniversary we approach. Its seven-member crew had no idea they were taking their final flight either. Were any of these astronauts and payload specialists ready to meet their Maker? Most probably were not.

“…NOW is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2). Not tomorrow—NOW—for tomorrow you have not been guaranteed. Why not trust in the Lord Jesus Christ alone as your personal Saviour today? Why not believe on the Lord Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork as sufficient payment for your sins today? Then, when your final flight comes—especially if it comes tomorrow—you will be prepared.

No Thanks, God! #3

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

“Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” (Romans 2:4 KJV).

The Lord has been extremely generous toward mankind, especially during the last 2,000 years (the Dispensation of Grace). Through Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork, God offers complete forgiveness and everlasting salvation to anyone who trusts exclusively in the Lord Jesus Christ as his or her personal Saviour. For 2,000 years, God has offered everyone that “free gift” of salvation in Christ (Romans 3:21-28; Romans 5:15-17; Ephesians 2:8,9; et al.). Mankind was unworthy of that gift before it was offered; how much more are we undeserving now that that gift has been rejected for 20 centuries?

Today, individuals doubt the existence of a loving Creator, in spite of the Bible’s testimony that He exists. After everything that God did to commend His love toward us, sending His Son Jesus Christ to suffer and die for us, many still wonder if God loves them. Sad! What is more disturbing is that even after they discover God’s goodness and grace, many reject Him anyway (today’s Scripture).

Once the Apostle Paul spoke to Judaean governor Felix of “righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come,” “Felix trembled” (Acts 24:24,25). Lost Felix feared, especially that “judgment to come.” Nevertheless, Felix hardened his heart, and replied, “Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.” “Go away, Paul; come back later!” Lost mankind is still equally arrogant.

“God is not mocked” (Galatians 6:7): whether in this life, or in the next, God will exact retribution to Christ-rejecters. Imagine the horror lost people experience after physical death. Conscience of their arrival in the flames of hell, they recall their refusal of the Gospel of the Grace of God. Salvation was so simple, but now, God has retracted that offer of salvation. Now only “the judgment” remains (Hebrews 9:27). The words, “No thanks, God!,” haunting them for eternity….

Do not toss away the gift of God’s grace and salvation through Jesus Christ. Accept that gift by faith and escape that wrath to come!

No Thanks, God! #2

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

“Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” (Romans 2:4 KJV).

Once Adam sinned, God could have immediately annihilated the human race. All these millennia later, God is still tolerating man’s wickedness. Myriads of scoffers today shake their fists at God and curse His name, and yet the heavens are silent. Why?

Fire and brimstone do not rain down from heaven, as during Sodom and Gomorrah’s destruction (Genesis 19:24,25). No flood consumes our planet, like in Noah’s day (Genesis 6:13). Today, the earth does not open and swallow the infidels, as it did Korah and his men, and God’s fire does not consume men, as it did 250 other blasphemers (Numbers 16:30-35). God does not strike unbelievers dead, as He did King Herod (Acts 12:21-23), or blind them as He did Elymas (Acts 13:9-11). Why does God not exact vengeance today as He did in time past?

Today, we live in the Dispensation of the Grace of God. This dispensational change allows mankind to receive the riches of God’s “forbearance” and “longsuffering.” God is patient and is restraining Himself from pouring out His wrath so more people can be saved before His wrath is executed. “The Lord is not slack [lazy, undependable] 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”(2 Peter 3:9)

Ecclesiastes 8:11 says: “Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.” In due time, God will punish the lost world, just not today in our dispensation. Since the Lord does not immediately execute wrath, people take advantage of Him. God is extending His grace and peace to us undeserving sinners, but as today’s Scripture says, people hate God’s goodness and grace and reject it.

Do not toss away the gift of God’s grace and salvation through Jesus Christ. Accept that gift by faith and escape that wrath to come!

No Thanks, God! #1

Monday, December 26, 2011

“Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” (Romans 2:4 KJV).

As the Christmas Season wanes, unwanted gifts that cannot be refunded are being discarded. Imagine all the time, money, and energy spent purchasing those gifts for their ungrateful recipients. There is a worse tragedy! We, sinful humanity, deserve coal, the riches of God’s wrath (Romans 2:5,6,8,9); thankfully, we have been given the riches of God’s grace (Ephesians 1:7). Predictably, there are unappreciative individuals who have already eagerly tossed out something worth far more than material possessions—God’s grace.

A noted outspoken atheist, who recently “met his Maker,” described prayer as “meaningless.” During his last year alive, even while cancer-stricken, he had a hardened heart toward God. As far as I know, he died without Jesus Christ. That man, like billions of others before, beheld God’s grace, and haughtily declared, “No thanks! I do not need You, God!” Today’s Scripture describes the attitude of most people: “[They] despise [hate!] the riches of [God’s] goodness and forbearance and longsuffering.” Jesus Christ’s sacrifice for them and God’s love and grace are worthless to them.

In Israel’s program under the Mosaic Law, God utterly destroyed such people. But, for nearly 2,000 years, God’s wrath has been in abeyance. Today, in our Dispensation of Grace, God is “not imputing the world’s trespasses unto it” (2 Corinthians 5:18,19). That will change…

Once our dispensation (time period) expires, during Daniel’s 70th week, the seven-year Tribulation, God will righteously judge this rebellious world in His wrath (Psalm 2:1-5; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-4; et al.). God will finally retaliate and take vengeance (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9). The antichrist will deceive those who received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12).

Do not toss away the gift of God’s grace and salvation through Jesus Christ. Accept that gift by faith and escape that wrath to come!