God’s peace

Be of Good Cheer!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

“And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee” (Matthew 9:2 KJV).

The (dreaded) United States’ Election Day is here, but Be of good cheer!

Our King James Bible uses the exhortation, “Be of good cheer,” on seven occasions—during depressing circumstances. Today’s Scripture, the first instance, is Jesus encouraging the paralyzed man He is about to heal (physically, but more importantly, spiritually)!

As a storm violently rocks the disciples’ boat, Jesus walks on the water, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid” (Matthew 14:27). Mark 6:50 reads: “For they all saw him, and were troubled. And immediately he talked with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.” On the night of His arrest, just hours before His crucifixion, Jesus tells His disciples in the upper room: “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

After Paul was violently attacked in Jerusalem, he is arrested and stands before the Sanhedrin (Israel’s governing religious body). “And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome” (Acts 23:11). While Paul sails to Rome, inclement weather threatens the ship. Acts 27:22 and 25 quote his words to his companions: “And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man’s life among you, but of the ship… Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.” (According to verses 23 and 24, an angel had appeared to Paul to comfort him and his fellow travelers.)

Saints, no matter the election outcome, let us “be of good cheer.” We are “ambassadors for Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:20), and this is not our home anyway! Furthermore, as our Lord said, Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world(John 16:33)! 🙂

In light of the U.S. Presidential Election, you may read our archived study: “Is ‘divine right of kings’ a Scriptural teaching?

His Son #9

Thursday, October 27, 2016

“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:1-3 KJV).

What can today’s Scripture teach us?

Scripture says of God’s Son, Who being the brightness of his [Father’s] glory….” This “brightness” is radiance, a brilliant light shining forth. Psalm 104:1-2 says, “Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty. Who coverest thyself with light as a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain….” This light—which actually is a rainbow (Ezekiel 1:28; Revelation 4:3)—is God’s righteousness on display. First Timothy 6:16 describes Jesus Christ (verse 15) as: “Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto….” The Lord Jesus is literally the perfect reflection of Father God concerning His radiant righteousness and glory.

In today’s Scripture, we also read of God’s Son as being, “…the express image of his [Father’s] person….” The Greek term rendered “express image” is actually “charakter” (from which we get our English word “character”). Jesus Christ resembles God the Father in every way—His faithfulness, truth, wisdom, love, mercy, grace, peace, power, kindness, and so on. There is nothing dark or mysterious about Father God if we look at His Son, for His son is a clear representation, or explicit portrait, of His Father.

Jesus Christ, “the only begotten Son,” declares the invisible Father unto the nation Israel (John 1:18). Our Lord Jesus said, “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father” (John 14:9). If Israel knows Jesus Christ, they know the Father, and have fellowship with both (1 John 2:22,23). Any Jew who rejects Jesus will never know anything about the Father God whom He epitomizes. He will remain in the spiritual darkness he prefers (John 3:18-20).

Now we conclude this devotionals arc….

Grace Abounding

Monday, October 17, 2016

And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18,19 KJV).

Grace to hundreds of nations and billions of sinners—God’s abounding grace!

Recently, a Christian sister, experiencing marital difficulties, asked me why God had not yet punished her husband for the despicable evils he was still committing against her. I replied, “We are living in the Dispensation of Grace!” Now, please understand. God still hates sin as much as He ever has. Sin nailed His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, to the cross, so He will never change His attitude about sin. Still, that finished crosswork satisfied His wrath against man’s sin. When Jesus’ soul was literally offered for sin (Isaiah 53:10), He experienced on the cross what lost people experience forever in hellfire. God’s wrath came down upon Christ in the utmost severity. Thus, He cried out from His cross, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). The holy God of the Bible forsook Christ, that we, by faith, would have redemption in Him, so He not forsake us in hellfire.

Instead of His wrath and judgment, today’s Scripture says the God of the Bible is offering to all nations (and individuals) of the world to come fellowship with Him through His Son. He changed their status, from being worthy of punishment, to being recipients of His grace. People still die and go to hell today, but they do so having rejected the Gospel of the Grace of God that would have saved them from that penalty of sin. They had a chance to be permanently reconciled to God by His Son’s death, and they refused it. God is not “getting even” with anyone—Christians or lost people—living today. The only divine punishment in the Dispensation of Grace is after physical death. In our Dispensation of Grace, God’s attitude toward the world is highlighted in the opening line of every Pauline epistle“grace and peace.”

“Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Romans 5:20).

Great Peace in a World in Pieces

Friday, September 16, 2016

“Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them” (Psalm 119:165 KJV).

They have “great peace” indeed!

Friends, it is no secret that our world is seriously troubled. Lost people, while lacking the answers like most professing “Christians,” at least know something is wrong. They are frantically searching for solutions wherever and however they can—politics, education, science, religion, finances, entertainment, and so on. Since fallible human opinions heavily dominate these realms, they provide no lasting and soothing explanations. In fact, their associated uncertainties only trouble the already-befuddled human mind. As Ecclesiastes 12:12 says, “…of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness to the flesh.” Friend, as King Solomon concluded, you investigate and think about the world like an unsaved person, and you will be burned out very quickly! All the troublesome realities you discover will throughly exhaust you!

Thankfully, God gave us His written Word. We do not have to be “children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” (Ephesians 4:14). Instead of being constantly buffeted about by every silly teaching and every lie out there, we can be established (founded) and stablished (stabilized) in the truths of God’s Word rightly divided. We can have “great peace” while those around us (lacking the Word of God) stumble about, tossed about and “offended.” They have not grounded and guarded themselves in the Holy Bible. It is their fault, not God’s fault! He gave them answers in His Word, but they would rather drift and sway! Pride, friends, pride keeps them from opening the Book! They have their own “answers” and will not dare seek any from their Creator!

While we can have “great peace” when we value and esteem God’s Holy Word, oftentimes, we are distracted from it and we ourselves are “offended” (troubled, stumbled) as those who do not have it. Until Jesus Christ returns, this world will remain in pieces. Still, we have His inspired Word, so let us rest in it, relaxing in great peace” until He makes all right! 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Are angels women?

When Christ Jesus Returns

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth (Colossians 3:1,2 KJV).

“For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory” (verses 3,4).

Christian people often ask, “When is Christ Jesus coming back?” Various and sundry dates are provided. Church history abounds with many instances of such speculations. None have been accurate yet!

Years ago, I heard the following advice: “We Christians live like Jesus Christ is coming within the next 10 minutes. We plan like He is not coming for the next 10 years.” The point is our lifestyles should be glorifying Him whenever He comes for us. Furthermore, we should plan ahead as though He will not come for another decade. By what other means can we reach more lost people with the Gospel of the Grace of God? By what other methods can we teach other Christians the Word of God rightly divided? While we are waiting for Him, we have more opportunity to serve Him. As long as the Dispensation of Grace operates, Paul’s Gospel is still valid. The Church the Body of Christ is still open to membership. God’s attitude toward the world is still grace and peace.

Doubtless, we should anticipate our Saviour’s coming. The Bible calls it our “blessed hope” and we should be “looking” for it (Titus 2:13). However, we should not sit around idly waiting and guessing dates. God before ordained that we the saints should walk in good works (Ephesians 2:1). These good works should continue as long as we are on this Earth. Good works should cease only for two reasons—physical death or the Rapture. Even a bedridden saint can pray, particularly for those Christians who are mobile!

Whenever Jesus Christ returns, whether in our lifetime or not, two things should be true. Firstly, may it be true that it was His life living in us. Secondly, let it be true that we planned to continue letting Him live in us, had these physical bodies continued! 🙂

God’s Offer to the Nations

Sunday, September 11, 2016

“…[T]hat God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:19 KJV).

Today’s Scripture is God’s offer to all the nations of the world today.

September 11, 2001 was a day that changed our nation forever. It was the worst terrorist attack in our two-century national history. Afterward, many Americans began to talk about “God Bless America” and “God Save the United States.” These phrases are not as commonplace as they used to be.

In the 15 years that have passed since that awful day, it is a sad commentary that “God” is now the least of our nation’s concerns. With the redefining of marriage, controversial political arena, moral decay, skyrocketing national debt, and the uncertainty as to what constitutes a human life and what does not, obviously, the God of the Bible has been largely pushed out… until we need His help, and then we cry out to Him. Unless we need Him, we rather not think about anything He has to say.

While many argue that God is judging America today for its sins, the Bible does not support such an idea. Certainly, God dealt with Israel in that manner—“Do good and I will bless, but disobey and I will curse” (Leviticus chapter 26; Deuteronomy chapter 28)—but we have no relation to that Old Covenant of Law.

For the last 20 centuries, God has offered His grace to all the world’s nations, to have a right standing before Him by trusting Jesus Christ. People still die and go to hell, but today’s Scripture says that God is not judging nations for their sins. Through Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork, God offers reconciliation to sinners, whether here or around the world. However, that grace is exhaustible, and one day, it will be replaced with His wrath (Romans 2:1-16). Still, we believers are not appointed to God’s wrath; we are saved from all wrath through Jesus Christ (Romans 5:9; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:9).

The only hope for America—yea, for any nation—is faith in Jesus Christ alone!

*You can also see our 2011 Bible study commemorating the 10th anniversary of 9/11. It can watched here or read here.

When All You Have is Christ Jesus

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God” (2 Corinthians 1:3,4 KJV).

When all you have is Christ Jesus, then you realize He is all you need!

Here in southern Louisiana, significant rainfall and extensive flooding have caused tremendous destruction these last several days. One grace Christian I spoke with via phone said his house had over four feet (1.2+ meters) of water in it! Thankfully, he and his wife escaped with their dog. They lost all their other possessions.

I reminded that brother that God’s grace is sufficient for them. He and his wife can still rejoice in being alive. I reminded him they were going to lose those possessions at death anyway. Scripture calls our material goods “uncertain” (1 Timothy 6:17). At any moment, we can lose them to various events. If our identity is found in our things, and we lose our things to disaster, then we lose our identity. That is the danger of materialism, exalting riches as a god. The Bible calls this “mammon,” material riches worshipped as a deity (Luke 16:13).

However, as Bible believers, we know that our identity is in Jesus Christ. Fellow saint, that identity is the only thing that cannot be taken from you. You can lose your house, job, family, vehicle, and even your physical life, but you can never lose your eternal life in Jesus Christ. God freely gave it to you forever! With that identity in Christ, Father God has promised us comfort, abounding security. He provides us with spiritual stamina, fortitude, to endure all of life’s troubles (Philippians 4:11-13).

Paul, in the context of today’s Scripture, was very depressed because of violent opposition in Ephesus (verses 3-10; cf. Acts chapter 19 and 1 Corinthians 16:8,9). Yet, Father God gave him victory over that enormous burden. He was thus able to comfort others. When we suffer, let us rely on God’s grace too, that we may comfort others with, “When all you have is Christ Jesus, He is all you need!” 🙂