In Every Thing Give Thanks

Thursday, November 26, 2015

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?

Your Right to Eat Meat

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

“For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer” (1 Timothy 4:4,5 KJV).

Before we advocate animal rights, let us understand that we have a God-given right to eat them!

An animal rights activist once appeared on television to complain about the consumption of turkeys on Thanksgiving. He argued that turkeys “feel pain” when they are slaughtered, and thus we should not eat them. His line of reasoning was, “If we would not eat our pet dog, then we should not eat turkey.” Such people, despite their sincerity, are ignorant of today’s Scripture.

Originally, all people and animals were herbivores; they only ate vegetation. “And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so” (Genesis 1:29,30).

Then, sin entered, and God incorporated meat into the human diet: “Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things. But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat” (Genesis 9:3,4).

When we ignore the fact that God gave us animals to eat, and we demand that others must also abstain from meat for religious (nature-worshipping) purposes, that is a “doctrine of devils” in this dispensation (1 Timothy 4:1-5). The creature should not be worshipped; only the Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ, should be worshipped (Romans 1:25). As long as we thank the Lord for whatever creatures we eat, consuming animal flesh is acceptable and godly. It does not sit well with the pantheists—who exalt nature as God—but it is approved of the living God, and that alone ultimately matters.

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Should we ‘name and claim’ Jeremiah 29:11?

Return, LORD! #6

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

And it came to pass, when the ark set forward, that Moses said, Rise up, LORD, and let thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate thee flee before thee. And when it rested, he said, Return, O LORD, unto the many thousands of Israel (Numbers 10:35,36 KJV).

Dear friends, we have reached the end of our 12-day devotionals arc!

Some 3,500 years after Moses spoke, with the completed Bible in our hands, we see today’s Scripture in the grand scheme of things. It was not just idle words. Rather, it uses the past to provide a glimpse of the future. Today’s Scripture is a small-scale preview of the large-scale events yet to be. Jesus Christ will “rise” from His Father’s right hand in heaven, to come to Earth and purge His Holy Land of all Jewish and Gentile participants in Satan’s policy of evil. Furthermore, Jesus Christ will “return” to Israel, His Messianic Jews, to bring them into the earthly kingdom their ancestors refused millennia ago.

After Jesus Christ stood in Acts chapter 7, He sat back down. No wrath came because He temporarily postponed that program to initiate ours. Throughout our Dispensation of Grace, the last 2,000 years, He has been sitting at His Father’s right hand (Colossians 3:1). One day, when our dispensation ends, He will stand again, to judge His enemies at His Second Coming. After He rids the land of Palestine of all unbelievers—Jews and Gentiles—and consigns them to eternal hellfire (Matthew 13:37-43), all that remains are Israel’s believing remnant and those Gentiles who blessed them (Matthew 25:31-46). They enter God’s kingdom “prepared for them [from] the foundation of the world” (verse 34).

David wrote interesting words in Psalm 3: “[7] Arise, O LORD; save me, O my God: for thou hast smitten all mine enemies upon the cheek bone; thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly. [8] Salvation belongeth unto the LORD: thy blessing is upon thy people. Selah.” God will not only save believing Israel from the attacks of her unbelieving brethren, but also from her Gentile persecutors. He will bring them into His kingdom, His “rest” (“Selah” is Hebrew for “pause”). But, that all relates to Israel’s program, not what God is doing today in our mystery program.

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why are all the tribes of Israel not listed in Revelation 7?

Return, LORD! #5

Monday, November 23, 2015

And it came to pass, when the ark set forward, that Moses said, Rise up, LORD, and let thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate thee flee before thee. And when it rested, he said, Return, O LORD, unto the many thousands of Israel (Numbers 10:35,36 KJV).

What does today’s Scripture mean?

The Berean Bible student notices “return.” Jesus Christ ascended into heaven 2,000 years ago as a royal exile. Israel, favoring and worshiping idols, rejected and crucified Him instead. After our dispensation closes, Israel’s believing remnant will be enlightened. They will return unto God. They will pray for their Messiah-King to come back to and for them. “Our Father which art in heaven,… Thy kingdom come,” Jesus taught Israel to pray (Matthew 6:9,10).

Since Israel left JEHOVAH first, she has to return to Him first, that He return to her. She was unfaithful to Him by worshiping and serving idols. He did not leave her—she left Him! “If thou wilt return, O Israel, saith the LORD, return unto me: and if thou wilt put away thine abominations [idols] out of my sight…” (Jeremiah 4:1). “The remnant shall return, even the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God” (Isaiah 10:20,21) “And I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the LORD: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart” (Jeremiah 24:7).

Once Israel returns to God, Jesus Christ, who went to heaven to receive the kingdom from His Heavenly Father, He will “return” and establish that kingdom on Earth for Israel’s sake (Luke 19:12). James talked about this “return” of Christ to Israel, which will occur once God quits forming us, the Church the Body of Christ (Acts 15:16). Psalm 80: “[14] Return, we beseech thee, O God of hosts: look down from heaven, and behold, and visit this vine;…[19] Turn us again, O LORD God of hosts, cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.”

With Israel’s believing remnant forsaking their pagan idols during the seven-year Tribulation, recognizing Jesus as legitimate instead of an impostor, they will be redeemed and cleansed to enter their kingdom once Christ “returns!”

Return, LORD! #4

Sunday, November 22, 2015

And it came to pass, when the ark set forward, that Moses said, Rise up, LORD, and let thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate thee flee before thee. And when it rested, he said, Return, O LORD, unto the many thousands of Israel (Numbers 10:35,36 KJV).

What does today’s Scripture mean?

As mentioned in an earlier study, God’s earthly kingdom was originally available to all descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. All people of all 12 tribes of Israel were to be God’s “kingdom of priests” (Exodus 19:3-6; Isaiah 61:6; Zechariah 8:20-23).

However, Jesus declared to Israel’s religious leaders who were caught in Satan’s snare: “[43] Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. [44] And whosoever shall fall on this stone [Jesus Christ, see verses 33-42; cf. Psalm 118:22,23] shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. [45] And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them” (Matthew 21:43-45).

That wrath would consume the unbelieving Jews, allowing only the believing Jews to enter the Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ. Zechariah chapter 13 spoke of Israel’s believing remnant: “[8] And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. [9] And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.”

Note Luke 12:31-33: “[31] But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. [32] Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” This would be those Jews who accepted Jesus as Messiah-King, the “nation” of Matthew 21:43 above (cf. 1 Peter 2:6-10). Jesus Christ will “return” to Earth to receive them unto Himself, that they function as His kingdom of priests!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Are Galatians 3:28 and 1 Timothy 2:11-12 contradictory?

Return, LORD! #3

Saturday, November 21, 2015

And it came to pass, when the ark set forward, that Moses said, Rise up, LORD, and let thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate thee flee before thee. And when it rested, he said, Return, O LORD, unto the many thousands of Israel (Numbers 10:35,36 KJV).

What does today’s Scripture mean?

Historically, as Israel approached the Promised Land under Moses, every time the Ark of the Covenant was lifted, Moses told JEHOVAH to “rise up” and cleanse His land of His enemies, that His people enter and dwell in His kingdom. Every time the Ark “rested,” placed on the ground, Moses called God to “return” to Israel.

The Berean Bible student notices “rest” in today’s Scripture. When describing God’s earthly kingdom, the writer of the book of Hebrews repeatedly called it God’s “rest” (3:7-19; 4:1-13). Chapter 3 warns Israel (future from us) not to repeat the mistakes their ancestors made under Moses (cf. Psalm 95). They are to be faithful to God’s Word to them—Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry, early Acts, and particularly Hebrews through Revelation. They are not to join the Antichrist’s false religion as ancient Israel did with heathen religions. Had Israel been faithful to JEHOVAH, they would have entered the Promised Land under Moses. They are to be faithful to enter God’s “rest” under Jesus Christ. Repeatedly, the future mirrors the past. The Bible’s Author knew the end from the beginning!

Almost 500 years after Moses, David was cognizant of JEHOVAH God dwelling with Israel. His capital city was Jerusalem, specifically a hill called “Zion.” In light of David seeking to build the Temple in Jerusalem, a permanent place for the Ark of the Covenant to “rest,” the Holy Spirit penned Psalm 132: “[4] I will not give sleep to mine eyes, or slumber to mine eyelids, [5] Until I find out a place for the LORD, an habitation for the mighty God of Jacob. [8] Arise, O LORD, into thy rest; thou, and the ark of thy strength. [13] For the LORD hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation. [14] This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it.”

Jesus Christ will “rise” and “return” to Israel so she can enter His “rest!”

Return, LORD! #2

Friday, November 20, 2015

And it came to pass, when the ark set forward, that Moses said, Rise up, LORD, and let thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate thee flee before thee. And when it rested, he said, Return, O LORD, unto the many thousands of Israel (Numbers 10:35,36 KJV).

What does today’s Scripture mean?

God was not at all surprised when Israel conspired with Rome to sentence Jesus Christ to death. The Holy Spirit had written in Psalm 2 nearly 10 centuries prior: “[1] Why do the heathen [Gentiles] rage, and the people [Israel] imagine a vain thing? [2] The kings of the earth [Gentiles] set themselves, and the rulers [Israel] take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed [“Christ” Jesus], saying, [3] Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. [4] He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the LORD shall have them [Gentile and Jew] in derision. [5] Then shall he speak unto them [Gentile and Jew] in his wrath, and vex them [Gentile and Jew] in his sore displeasure.”

The Old Testament provides various previews of Jesus Christ’s Second Coming in wrath (cf. today’s Scripture). Amos chapters 1 and 2 identify the “flight path” the Lord Jesus Christ will take once He leaves the third heaven, His return “in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 1:8). He will enter Earth’s atmosphere in Damascus, Syria, along the eastern Mediterranean shore. Flying southward, He visits (Gentile) Gaza and Edom. Turning northward on the Sinai Peninsula, He sends fire also into the land of the Ammonites, and Moab. Finally, flying westward, He crosses the Jordan River, reaching Palestine, judging the Jews—Judah (southern kingdom) and Israel (northern kingdom). Judgment not only falls on the Gentiles, but also on Israel.

Zechariah 14:4 says Jesus Christ lands and stands on the Mount of Olives, exactly where He left Earth some 2,000 years earlier (Acts 1:11,12). He and His angelic armies defeat the Antichrist and his armies (Revelation 19:11-21; Zechariah 14:1-3,11,12), and all lost Jews (Zechariah 13:8,9), allowing only the Little Flock (Israel’s believing remnant) to enter His earthly kingdom. The King has “returned” to Israel!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Have we been ‘grafted into Israel?’