Stuff

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back (Luke 17:31 KJV).

Friend, you may be surprised to learn that “stuff” is a Bible word. It is a generic term employed to refer to various bits of matter, materials, articles, or activities. These things may not be defined or determined, so such an unrestrictive noun is quite convenient. Observe this stuff!

Laban frenetically searched Jacob’s “stuff” for his idols but found them not (Genesis 31:37). Pharaoh told Joseph to bring his family from Canaan and to “regard not [their] stuff” because “the good of all the land of Egypt is [theirs]” (Genesis 45:20). The Mosaic Law issued instructions about what would happen if a man gave his neighbor “money or stuff” to watch and guard and it was stolen (Exodus 22:7). As the planning of the Tabernacle was underway, the Jewish people were forced to stop giving building supplies because the “stuff” they had already given was more than enough (Exodus 36:7). God spoke of a conspiracy to take forbidden items and hide them in the “stuff” of the camp of Israel (Joshua 7:11).

Saul, just after his anointing as Israel’s first king, was so timid that he hid among the “stuff” (1 Samuel 10:22). As David and his companions are fleeing King Saul’s angry face, 200 of them stay by the “stuff” to protect it (1 Samuel 25:13). First Samuel 30:24 has David saying, “For who will hearken unto you in this matter? but as his part is that goeth down to the battle, so shall his part be that tarrieth by the stuff: they shall part alike.” In cleansing a polluted room, Nehemiah threw out all the household “stuff” (Nehemiah 13:8). As a way of teaching Judah of their impending deportation to Babylon, God told the Prophet Ezekiel to prepare him “stuff” for moving his “stuff” (Ezekiel 12:3,4,7).

The Bible’s final reference to “stuff” is today’s Scripture. Here, “stuff” is just that—inconsequential and useless. It is to be abandoned when Israel must choose between retaining it and escaping the Antichrist defiling Jerusalem!!!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why is Jesus Christ called ‘The Word of God?’

The Price of Christ #1

Thursday, April 12, 2018

“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!

Satisfied!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

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 KJV).

Without further delay, we need to be satisfied wherever we are.

Christian friend, are you content while facing hardship? Probably not. We often grumble and wallow in self-pity. Our Apostle Paul, equally human, was no different. Howbeit, he eventually began to look at his problems differently (remember 2 Corinthians 12:9?). The Bible says in today’s Scripture that he “learned” to be content: it was a process, not something automatic. A new believer does not suddenly become skilled in God’s Word. It takes time—some more than others. Additionally, rarely do believers become trained in God’s life. It takes time before you start looking at difficulties in a new light. Sadly, very, VERY few believers ever become able to adopt God’s view of their situations.

Our circumstances change over time (and how quickly they can change, for good or bad!!). Regardless, we can be content. Firstly, today’s Scripture says Jesus Christ has given us the grace, or capacity, to endure all extremes that life will throw at us—great wealth, abject poverty, exceptional health, terminal illness, many “friends” to few if any “friends,” and so on. Secondly, whatever does happen in this life, there will be a limit. It will not transpire everlastingly. This decaying and dying world will pass away, never to be seen again. Sin will be defeated; Satan will be removed. A glorious new world system is coming, one in which dwells righteousness. Through the eyes of faith, we already see it (remember 2 Corinthians 4:16–5:8 and Romans 8:18-25?).

Having acquired this renewed mind—God’s view—we can now come alongside our Apostle Paul, and declare with him, “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10)!

Saints, please remember us in your monthly giving. You can donate securely here: https://www.paypal.me/ShawnBrasseaux, or email me at arcministries@gmail.com. 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! 🙂

Keep Your Soul

Friday, February 9, 2018

“For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26 KJV).

Whether rich or poor, the soul is not worth losing!

A biographical video featured a famous actor of a bygone era. Having appeared in dozens of films, he made his millions and received worldwide fame, married several times, lived in luxurious houses, and so on. An often-repeated phrase in the documentary was, “[This person] died.” This relative of his succumbed to death; that close associate died too. Lastly, he himself expired. Genesis chapter 5 came to mind: “and he died… and he died… and he died….” Since Adam begat all “in his own likeness, and after his image” (verse 3), he passed down his sin nature and its associated death penalty.

Friend, whether rich or poor, famous or unknown, we all live under sin’s effects. The aforementioned celebrity, despite a nice outward appearance, suffered problems like all of us. When we hear of people who never seem to have a “bad day”—everything is always going so well for them—they are withholding something. Somewhere, there is a bout of depression, a divorce or child-custody battle, an addiction, a financial struggle, a fear, an infirmity or weakness, et cetera.

Sin’s final consequence, of course, is physical death, immediately followed by the flames of Hell (and ultimately, the Lake of Fire). We can be “happy-go-lucky” millionaires or homeless peasants, and death will certainly find us. Death has been called the “great equalizer.” Indeed, it levels out all bank accounts, all acquaintances, and all possessions to “0.” Death also removes all uniqueness. Hell is a place where souls—identities—are lost forever (cf. today’s Scripture). The nameless (!), penniless (!) rich man in Luke 16:19-31 was “just another” tormented soul! “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out” (1 Timothy 6:7).

However, thankfully, the God of the Bible provided a solution to our sin problem. We need rest entirely by faith in it: “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). Friend, avoid Hellfire while you still have time!

Treasures in Heaven

Thursday, October 26, 2017

“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:19-21 KJV).

In Heaven, not upon the Earth!

One of the most tragic, devastating life events is the loss of one’s property (especially a house) to some misfortune—natural disaster, health hazard, robbery, arson, bombing, and so on. Irreplaceable family heirlooms… gone forever. Vehicles… a total loss. Photo albums… permanently ruined. Important documents… marred. Memories remain… the structure severely damaged or destroyed. How distressing!

Dear friends and brethren, we never, ever want to grow too attached to this world. Certainly, we hold jobs, marry, purchase houses, settle down, and raise families. Nevertheless, we can be misled to believe this life is all there is or will ever be. Satan’s evil world system is very tempting… but it is also very temporary (1 John 2:15-17)! We can start seeking and idolizing wealth, material possessions, physical beauty, fame, and so on. Summarized, “Quickly get as much as you can, and quickly can as much as you can quickly get!”

The Lord Jesus knew all about the enticements of Satan’s evil world system. He thus warned His disciples not to grow too fond of this world. It was headed for the Tribulation (and still is!), and once those final seven years conclude, Satan’s reign will be terminated forever. This world and its elements are temporary. “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17). Why are material riches “uncertain?” Jesus told us in today’s Scripture—moth, rust, and thief could always take them anytime!

For those of us who have trusted Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork as sufficient payment for our sins, and are continuing in the principles of grace, we are treasuring up some wonderful things in Heaven. We do not see them today, but thankfully, they can never be lost so we are guaranteed to see them one day! 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How could Paul write that he ‘heard’ of the Ephesians’ faith?

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!” 🙂