In Every Thing Give Thanks

Thursday, November 28, 2019

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you (1 Thessalonians 5:18 KJV).

Dear saints, take a moment this Thanksgiving to learn a valuable lesson from the Holy Scriptures!

God wants “all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3,4). To be “saved” here means you have been rescued from the penalty of sin (hell and the lake of fire), and that you have a home in heaven, because you have trusted the death, shed blood, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ as sufficient payment for your sins. To “come unto the knowledge of the truth” is when a person who has trusted Christ, begins to understand why God saved him or her, and how God will use him or her for His glory. Although soul salvation is instantaneous, spiritual maturity is a life-long process (that is especially true regarding handling difficulties, the grace way!).

It is human nature to avoid difficulties and stress, to flee them, rather than confront them. This self-preservation is advantageous, particularly in “life or death” situations. However, running from troubling circumstances is not the way God has designed our life in Christ to function. Today’s Scripture says, In every thing give thanks,” notFor every thing give thanks.” We do not thank God for our troubles; we thank God while we are enduring those troubles. This is tough, I know, but it takes time for us to learn it. Even the Apostle Paul had to learn this.

“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:11-13).

Be thankful in every thing. God’s grace is sufficient for you, dear saint, in all of life’s circumstances. When you learn this, you are “[coming] unto the knowledge of the truth.”

*Excerpted from our Thanksgiving 2012 Bible study with the same name. That study can be read here or watched here.

You may also see, “What are our spiritual blessings in Christ?

Blinded!

Friday, November 22, 2019

“Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (2 Corinthians 4:1-4 KJV).

Today’s Scripture is just as true today as it was 20 centuries ago!

A Christian sister and I were once speaking with a dear, sweet lady about the Bible. We asked her if she knew where she was going when she died. She replied rather confidently, “I am going to Heaven.” This sounded good, obviously, and we were waiting for her to tell us the Gospel. However, when we proceeded to ask her how she knew she was going to Heaven, she responded: “People have told me so!”

Long ago, a man had been taking care of his ailing wife for several years at their home. Someone heard of that arrangement and commented, “Surely, he is going to Heaven. He is so good to her.” It was later determined—to that “someone’s” shock—that that man was physically and sexually abusing his wife!

Friends, it is most unfortunate that, of all topics, people are so ill-informed concerning the Gospel of Grace. Their eternal souls are in danger of going to a place of everlasting torment. Yet, they believe otherwise because they are depending on weak speculations and faulty assumptions. Satan’s evil world system has so blinded them with works-religion (cf. today’s Scripture). In fact, they are so lost they really cannot appreciate the fact they are lost!

The Apostle Paul, as unsaved Saul of Tarsus, was once deceived in works-religion. He had likewise deceived others. Once he trusted Christ, however, he gave up believing and telling religious lies. Brethren, let us speak the truth of the Gospel of Grace—1 Corinthians 15:3,4—with such clarity that we avoid any misunderstandings in the minds of people already thoroughly confused about God’s Good News!

What Pleases God #2

Sunday, November 3, 2019

For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased (2 Peter 1:17 KJV).

Using the Scriptures, we will define exactly what God thinks well of….

The Prophet Samuel reminded his ancient Israelite brethren of a historical reality they often disregarded: “For the LORD will not forsake his people for his great name’s sake: because it hath pleased the LORD to make you his people” (1 Samuel 12:22). JEHOVAH God was delighted to take the nation Israel and set them apart from all the world’s peoples (Genesis 12:1-3; Deuteronomy 4:1-10). With that special privilege (participation in doing God’s will) came great expectations (chastisement for not doing it). “You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities” (Amos 3:2).

Due to religious tradition, most see Him as a grouchy, bloodthirsty monster. However, the God of the Bible is much more than a God of wrath and punishment. When we prefer that He deal with us on the basis of our works (religion!), then, yes, He will be severe. His righteousness means absolute perfection, and His justice demands His righteous standard be met. Sin must be dealt with—a penalty must be meted out!

The God of the Bible takes pleasure in, approves of, His Son the Lord Jesus Christ. Isaiah 53:10 speaks of Christ suffering and dying on Calvary’s cross: “Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand” (Isaiah 53:10). God the Father found value in His Son dying in our place, “the just [righteous] for the unjust [unrighteous]” (1 Peter 3:18). It pleased the Father that His Son be sacrificed for our sins; otherwise, we must pay for those sins by suffering in Hell’s endless flames!! God’s pleasure is that He wants to reveal to us His goodness, not our own. Once we see that, His pleasure can become our pleasure….

Once Fallen Short, Now Rejoicing #8

Monday, October 21, 2019

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23 KJV).

Here is the bad news… Now, the good news….

Today’s Scripture should frighten sinners: how fearful it is to be “in Adam,” just one breath away from eternal hellfire, perpetually under the wrath of a righteous God! The Creator demands absolute (perfect) righteousness, what we naturally do not have. Struggling and striving to perform our religious “good” works, we offer these measly deeds that cannot and do not compare to Jesus Christ’s perfect sacrifice of Himself on Calvary’s cross. Our religious performance does not impress God, for it comes from a sinful heart “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9). This truth is most offensive to our flesh!

While we look better than some, we also look worse than others, so comparing ourselves among ourselves is not wise. Overall, God’s righteousness is the standard—and all people fall short of it. Being a “sinner” is not being worse than other humans; a sinner is someone unable to express the Creator God’s glory (who He is, what He believes, and what He does). God’s justice demands His righteousness be enforced, and—indeed, a terrifying prospect—endless punishment will eventually come on sinners (those who lack that righteousness)!

Having believed on Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour, His righteousness has been credited to our account, and we as saints “rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:1,2). We need not try to reproduce Christ’s life; it is our eternal possession! We need not fake a relationship with Almighty God; we have it now forever! We need not pretend like we have forgiveness; it is our eternal possession. We need not wonder about the Creator God’s glory. Through Calvary, we know… our eternal life now will carry on into eternity future! 🙂

“That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory(1 Thessalonians 2:12). “Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory (2 Timothy 2:10). “And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen” (2 Timothy 4:18).

Once Fallen Short, Now Rejoicing #2

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23 KJV).

Here is the bad news… Now, the good news….

The “glory of God” is the expression or manifestation of all that the Creator God is (His nature, beliefs, and so on). It is what makes Him worthy of our praise and worship. As sinners, however, we “come short of the glory of God” (today’s Scripture). Our natural, evil state prevents us from properly reflecting the LORD God. While Adam was indeed created in God’s image and likeness (Genesis 1:26-28), Adam sinned in chapter 3. After the Fall, he thus fathered children in his own image and likeness (Genesis 5:3). Therefore, the Holy Spirit assessed the world’s condition in Romans 5:12: “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:….”

Almighty God has established a standard of rightness or suitability, and we sin by failing to reach that target. We “fall short” of the goal—just like someone unable to completely jump across a wide chasm, or leap high enough to clear a hurdle. Religion is designed to lessen the gap and lower the bar, thereby causing us to wrongly believe we can “measure up.” It really does not matter how much we try to do in religion—water baptism, prayers, confessions of sins, commandment-keeping, et cetera—because we still fail to properly represent God. We can pretend or make out like we think and behave as the Bible instructs, but our feeble fleshly efforts are no substitute for God’s perfect work. A holy, righteous God demands absolute or sinless perfection—and that we naturally lack!

In Romans 3:23, we learn that we have come short of the glory of God. Contrariwise, chapter 5 opens with: “[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.” Something about us radically changed between these two passages. Once fallen short of God’s glory, we now rejoice in hope of God’s glory….

Once Fallen Short, Now Rejoicing #1

Monday, October 14, 2019

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23 KJV).

Here is the bad news… Now, the good news….

The two opening chapters of Romans explicitly and demonstrably condemn the whole world as sinners before Almighty God. Chapter 1 shows how the Gentiles, or non-Jews, are worthy of eternal judgment (Hell and the Lake of Fire). It closes with verse 32: “Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” Chapter 2 describes the Jews being equally guilty and also deserving of God’s wrath. In fact, they are more accountable because they had the words of the one true God and lived worse than the Gentiles who lacked those Old Testament Scriptures! Verse 24 comments: “For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written.”

Chapter 3 thus synopsizes: “[9] What then? are we [Jews] better than they [Gentiles]? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; [10] As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: [11] There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. [12] They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one…. [19] Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. [20] Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”

After delivering all that terrible news, the Holy Spirit announces the flipside: “[21] But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; [22] Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: [23] For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;….” What great news this is….

The War with Amalek! #13

Friday, June 14, 2019

Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim (Exodus 17:8 KJV).

What is this war with Amalek all about? Can we make application?

Here is grace living (as opposed to legalism, Law-keeping): “[11] For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, [12] Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; [13] Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; [14] Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works (Titus 2:11-14).

When we quote Romans 6:14 (“We are not under the law, but under grace”), that does not mean we believe God encourages us Christians to sin. If ever someone objects with, “Grace is a license to sin,” they either do not know what grace really teaches, or (sadly) they have seen a “grace” person regularly behave carnally. The verse says in full, “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” All the Law can do is show us our sin; it cannot (!) make us righteous and it cannot (!) cause us to act righteously. The Law functions as a mirror: it reveals our shortcoming, our need for the Saviour Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:21-25).

Scripture says the Law “is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient…” (1 Timothy 1:7-11). If we have recognized our lost estate, deadness in trespasses and sins, and have come to Christ by faith alone, then we are righteous in Him (1 Corinthians 1:30,31). The Law has no purpose in the Christian’s life, for the Law has already accomplished God’s intention: it has directed the lost person to trust Christ and become a Christian. For the Christian to then place himself under the Law is to cause sin to dominate him (Romans 6:14). We overcome sin—the flesh—not by striving to make ourselves holy, but realizing we are holy (sanctified, set apart) in Christ and instruments of His works (Titus 2:14)! The victory over sin is in Grace, not Law!

Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….