Inside Not Outside

Monday, October 9, 2017

“But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7 KJV).

Whether 3,000 years ago or right now, today’s Scripture is one still worth memorizing!

A dear Christian lady once entered a church building. Having very little money, she wore the best outfit she owned. After the services, the pastor and his wife approached her. They informed her that she was not welcome to return because her clothes were not good enough! Deeply offended, she wanted nothing to do with Christianity or the Bible for a long time. (I recently ministered to her.)

I explained to the lady that that denominational church was too focused on externalism, formalism, outward appearances. While we should definitely dress modestly and sensibly, our financial situation may not permit us to buy expensive clothing. Furthermore, it is most unbecoming of a pastor to ban people from church services simply because they cannot afford nicer clothes. What if this physically poor person was really a spiritually poor person interested in coming to know Jesus Christ as his or her personal Saviour? Is God going to bar from Heaven one who cannot afford formal attire? No, the people kept out of Heaven are those depending on their self-righteousness, those who wear spiritual “fig-leaf” garments! Never forget, dear friends, that outward beauty does not make null and void ugly hearts of unbelief!

Thankfully, the God of the Bible looks beyond social standings, nationalities, physical sizes and shapes, ethnicities, wardrobes, financial statuses, romantic lives, faces, and external behaviors. Today’s Scripture says He looks on the inside—specifically the heart. The heart is part of our soul, the innermost region of our spiritual makeup where we make decisions (exercise faith or unbelief). Romans 10:10a says: “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness….” Hebrews 11:6 reminds us: “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Can you explain Genesis 4:7?

The Thing Which is Good

Monday, September 4, 2017

“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!” 🙂

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?

Eagerly Seizing the Temporary!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed (John 6:26,27 KJV).

Human nature has not changed one bit in 2,000 years.

Frequenting thrift stores over the years, I have found name-brand items well below retail cost. Some items—including pricy clothing—are still new. Beware: Stand aside, as consumers may behave unseemly to get what they want!

After employees process and price items in store’s rear, they transport them by cart to the front for consumers to browse. Thus the showroom becomes dangerous. Upon hearing that cart’s wheels rattling and squeaking, alert customers make a “mad dash,” pushing and shoving, to access the cart’s items first! (My friend was nearly knocked down by one such “stampede!”) When I recounted that event to another friend, she summed it up perfectly—“uncivilized!” Sadly, adults will go to such extremes to have their way: like starving vultures diving to pick off a bite to eat, these consumers run and pounce on that cart!

While such scenarios are amusing (yes, I recently witnessed a stampede), it is unfortunate. If only people were as willing to come to Christ as they do that dumb merchandise cart! They bully to grab temporary items, but, upon death, someone will be just as eager to confiscate it. It is said that grave-clothes have no pockets—even if they did, the contents would do absolutely nothing for the individual. His or her soul would be in heaven (Christian) or hell (everyone else), not in that decaying body!

Friends, in the context of today’s Scripture, Jesus miraculously fed the 5,000 (verses 1-15). Now, they are selfishly chasing Jesus to get more food from Him. Verse 29 is the correction: “Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” They were striving for temporary food, when they should have trusted the eternal Son of God! (A most appropriate lesson… even in today’s world, huh?)

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Should we pray if it is God’s will?

The Price of Christ #1

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

“And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver” (Matthew 26:15 KJV).

How much is Jesus Christ worth in the eyes of lost man?

Let us read today’s Scripture within its context: “Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, and said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him” (Matthew 26:14-16).

“Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that. And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself. And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood. And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in. Wherefore that field was called, The field of blood, unto this day. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value; and gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord appointed me” (Matthew 27:3-10).

The 30 pieces of silver was enough to buy a field; it was an enormous sum of money. The King James Bible does not specify what types of coins the priests paid Judas, but the “30 pieces of silver” is estimated to be the equivalent of three or four months’ wages. According to the Mosaic Law, the price of a slave was “thirty shekels of silver” (Exodus 21:32). In the eyes of lost mankind, the Lord of glory, Jesus Christ, was worth nothing more than a slave!

Wearing Rags But Rich in Faith

Monday, April 3, 2017

“My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. For if there come unto you assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay [gorgeous, attractive] clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?” (James 2:1-4 KJV).

Although written to and about Israel, today’s Scripture has a disturbing parallel to today!

Many years ago, a certain Christian woman and her children visited a local church where they were criticized for wearing “raggedy” clothing. Not one person—including the preacher—asked her why their clothes were so tattered. Furthermore, no one offered to give them any better clothing. Rather, these religionists condemned them. The lady was actually poor; she could not afford any nice outfits. Greatly offended, she left that assembly and never returned. In fact, she decided to stay at home. Understandably, she wanted no part of God or the Bible. (We have recently come into contact with her and have located a grace assembly for her to attend!!)

It is human nature to judge according to outward appearances. The classic example in Scripture is when the Prophet Samuel was observing Jesse’s sons to select Israel’s next king. First Samuel 16:7 says: “But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.” In that light, James 2:5 adds, “Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?”

All we may be able to afford is “cheap” clothing. Thankfully, God is looking beyond the external. He looks upon the heart for faith, or trust, in His Word. If we must wear “rags,” let us still be “rich in faith!”

Saints, (only if you can afford it!), please remember us in your monthly giving. You can donate securely here: https://www.paypal.me/ShawnBrasseaux, or email me at arcministries@gmail.com for info on how to give by regular mail. Do not forget about Bible Q&A booklets for sale at https://arcgraceministries.org/in-print/booklets-bible-q-a/. Thanks to all who give to and pray for us! 🙂

Same

Friday, March 17, 2017

“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever” (Hebrews 13:8 KJV).

Today’s Scripture is right!

For several months, I had been going to the same store and purchasing one of my favorite (yet rare) candies. Some weeks ago, however, the item quit appearing on the store shelf. After weeks of returning and searching, I finally asked a store clerk if they had completely stopped carrying that item. He said no. In fact, he told me he had been re-organizing the store, shelf by shelf, and was just getting to the candy aisle. I was relieved he would be placing my food back on the shelf very soon!

More recently, I spoke with a friend who had had great difficulty finding and purchasing one of her beloved foods. When she did locate that special bread again, she bought 10 bags of it! (I told her that her words reminded me of yet another favorite food of mine, one I have not seen in a store, or eaten, in nearly a decade. Unfortunately, I just learned that that absolutely delicious dessert was discontinued long ago!!)

As the above scenarios show us, friends, life is full of unexpected changes. People, possessions, and positions come and go. We become so used to their existence in our lives, it becomes very difficult when we lose them. Friends and neighbors move away or perish. Our vehicle is totaled in an accident. Spouses leave. A lucrative job one day, and unemployment the next! Fire destroys our home. Our favorite products are out of stock or permanently discontinued. Lastly, good health today—death tomorrow!

Someone once said, “We are creatures of habit.” We are conditioned to live a certain way—surrounded by the same people, goods, and atmosphere. When one little variable changes or drops out, it can be quite devastating! Today’s Scripture is quite a comfort—while our surroundings change, whether good or bad—Jesus Christ never changes. He was faithful in the past, He is equally faithful today, and He will be just as faithful forever. What stability, what reliability! Saints, we may lose many people and things in our lives, but thank goodness we will never lose Jesus Christ and He will never lose us! 🙂

Bible Q&A #360: “Should we fast?

You may also see our archived Bible Q&A: “Should Christians celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?