worship of God

The Awareness of a Temporary Earth

 Saturday, April 22, 2017

“And, Thou, O Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: they shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; and as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail” (Hebrews 1:10-12 KJV).

On this Earth Day, let us not confuse the creation with the Creator!

Today, people worldwide celebrate “environmental awareness.” According to the secular, naturalistic worldview, our planet and its sun could last many more billions of years. They claim that we have done so much damage to our planet—climate change, overpopulation, deforestation, pollution, et cetera—that we must change our attitude toward “mother earth” and change our lifestyles before we destroy her and civilization as we know it! You can sense the zeal in their message, can you not? While these people are sincere, they are wasting all of their time, energy, and resources on a temporary planet.

Let us be very clear that the Lord Jesus Christ placed man on the earth, especially the Garden of Eden, to “dress it and keep it” (Genesis 2:15). Adam was to take care of the Earth: he was God’s representative, God’s king, who had a divine commission to rule this planet for God’s glory (Genesis 1:26-28).

It was not long, however, before Satan distracted mankind from understanding God’s purpose for him. Adam began to focus on himself: like Satan, he began to “worship and serve the creature more than the Creator” (Romans 1:25). Thus began man’s continual downward spiral into spiritual ignorance. He would continually worship himself, as we well know today.

Today’s Scripture reminds us that, because of sin, this creation will pass away. The Lord Jesus Christ, however, will live forever. Why worship that which is temporary? It makes no sense! The Lord Jesus Christ gave you life, not the pagan goddess “mother earth.” Environmental awareness? Indeed, be aware that our world is temporary, as God will one day create “a new heaven and a new earth” (Revelation 21:1).

A Life That Will Please

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20 KJV).

Today’s Scripture tells us who alone can live a life pleasing in God’s sight!

Everyone does “good” deeds. Yet, doing “good” is not necessarily good. For instance, people often do “good” just to receive praise/reward, make up for their wrongs, feel good, et cetera. Furthermore, despite our “good” deeds, we have plenty more bad ones! Pride, lying, evil thoughts, being a false witness, and being contentious are some of the things the LORD hates (Proverbs 6:16-19).

Mankind cannot even keep 10 simple rules from God. However, religion continues to urge us to keep seven sacraments, utter various prayers, give assorted offerings and “tithes,” attend numerous feasts and festivals, and perform sundry other tasks to “hopefully” please God and avoid hellfire. Whether we attempt to keep a church’s laws, our laws, or God’s laws, our flesh is far too weak to ever measure up. Just look at what God’s religion did to Israel—how much worse some man-made religion does to us!

As Saul of Tarsus, the Apostle Paul was a Pharisee, a religious leader of Israel. He was a nitpicker concerning Law-keeping, and yet, after his soul salvation, he admitted that all of his religion was “but dung” compared to Jesus Christ’s righteousness (Philippians 3:3-11). Even for the Christian, to live a perfect life is impossible (read of Paul’s miserable existence in Romans chapter 7). Paul had to forsake his vain religion and learn today’s Scripture: the Christian life is NOT the performance of the Christian, but the Lord Jesus Christ living and working in the Christian, as the Christian walks in an intelligent understanding of God’s Word to him or her!

If we trust a Saviour who will save—the Lord Jesus Christ—and trust a Book that will teach—the King James Bible—we can redeem the year for the great God and our Saviour, “who loved [us], and gave himself for [us]!” 🙂

The Greatest Veteran

Friday, November 11, 2016

“Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; and having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (Colossians 2:14,15 KJV).

Today is Veterans’ Day in the United States, so let us especially thank the “Greatest Veteran of All Time.”

We thank veterans, living and departed, the often-forgotten men and women who risked their lives to secure our freedom. Just as we remember flesh-and-blood veterans who fought for our physical liberty, we reserve our worship and utmost respect for the least esteemed Veteran, He who secured our spiritual liberty.

“But thanks be to God, which giveth us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57). Through Christ’s finished crosswork on Calvary, we have eternal victory over sin, death, hell, and Satan. Everything that God has planned for us is dependent upon Christ’s victory at Calvary.

Jesus Christ nailed the Mosaic Law to His cross (today’s Scripture). His sinless blood covered our failure to obey God’s laws; Jesus’ righteousness annulled our unrighteousness (sin). Christ not only liberated us from sin and its penalty (the everlasting lake of fire), but today’s Scripture affirms He also triumphed over Satan himself!

Christ has “spoiled [destroyed] principalities and powers [Satan’s power], he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it [His cross].” Jesus Christ destroyed Satan’s plans. Through Christ’s cross, God has “delivered us from the power of darkness” (Colossians 1:13), Satan’s evil system of Ephesians 2:1-3.

During a recent cemetery visit, I noticed American flags flying above deceased veterans’ headstones. These individuals can no longer hear or regard our thanks, but Jesus Christ’s body is not decaying in some tomb. If there ever was a Veteran most worthy of our gratitude, it is our Lord Jesus Christ. Though He died in battle, allowing Himself to be executed on a Roman cross of shame and scorn, He resurrected. He is alive and well today, alive forevermore!

Saints, eternity will ring with our thanks to the Veteran worth thanking, the Lord Jesus Christ.

*Adapted from our 2010 Bible study, “The Greatest Hero.” The Bible study video can be viewed here.

A Higher Education: It Is Up to You!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

“Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12 KJV).

Ten years ago today, I graduated high school. Consequently, we dedicate this devotional to high school students who are nearing graduation.

Are you about to graduate high school? What would God have you do afterward? Go to college? Trade school? Something else? What career should you pursue? If you do plan on education after high school, where should you attend school? These are tough questions, and while God’s Word does not answer them, you can make decisions that conform to sound Bible doctrine—that is God’s will.

In today’s Scripture, Paul encourages downcast Timothy. Timothy was considerably younger than the Apostle Paul. Older people who are teaching false doctrine are intimidating young Timothy: “Tim, you are too young to teach God’s Word. Let us handle it.” Young Timothy conceded, became silent, and allowed the (“older and wiser”) false teachers to continue teaching their damnable heresies (cf. 1 Timothy 1:3-7; 2 Timothy 1:5-8). Paul replied, “Timothy, Speak up! Let no man despise thy youth!”

Christian youth can be just as effectual in their station in life as Christian adults. The lost world is watching us Christians, and we need to be sure that our actions are in accordance with the sound Bible doctrine we claim to believe (lest we be guilty of confusing the already-puzzled unbelievers). Whether “young or old,” our speech, our lifestyle, our acts of love, our determination, our belief in sound Bible doctrine, and our separation from that which God hates, is the way we communicate to the lost world God’s Word and its preeminence in our lives and hearts (today’s Scripture).

Above all, dear graduates, whatever you do post-graduation, “do all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God and the Father by him” (Colossians 3:17). After all, it really is not your life—it is Christ’s life in you (Galatians 2:20; Colossians 3:4), so He alone deserves the glory! 🙂

*Based on a Bible study by the same name, which can be read here. Also, see the study “The Spirit-Filled Student.”

By the way, you may also be interested in reading this archived special-edition study about my own college experience.

He Must Increase, But I Must Decrease #5

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

“He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30 KJV).

Beloved, may today’s Scripture be the cry of each and every Christian!

Sadly, so many Christians are miserable, defeated, and confused today. What happened to them? Despite having a Bible for so long, they still have not realized the truth in today’s Scripture. Christianity is NOT, NOT, NOT, NOT, NOT us striving to keep commandments and church ordinances so God can be happy with us. Jesus Christ has been pushed aside. Religious tradition has done an unparalleled job in making pure Christianity into a worthless system of dry theological verbiage and worthless dead works!

When we study how Jesus Christ lived His life on planet Earth, we can see exactly what God’s life looks like in human flesh. True Christian living is NEVER, NEVER, NEVER us serving, pleasing, or exalting self. What did Jesus say? “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him [the Father] that sent me” (John 6:38). Sinful living is just the opposite—me, me, me, me! Remember, sin is defined in Scripture as: “We have turned every one to his own way” (Isaiah 53:6). Doing whatever you want and gratifying yourself, focusing on yourself and your works (whether in religion or “in the world”). This “self-focus” caused Satan’s downfall. It caused man’s downfall in Genesis chapter 3.

Once, sin reigned as a king in our lives. Friends, that time is no more. Now that we have come to Jesus Christ—having trusted solely in His death, burial, and resurrection as sufficient payment for our sins—sin has no more dominion over us. Our striving and struggling must end, that grace may reign, and Father God is glorified. Jesus Christ’s work is enough! “That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 5:21). Do we really believe that?

Dear friends, if we are led by God’s Holy Spirit, we will not be self-willed, adamant that our desires be fulfilled so we can praise ourselves. Rather, we will join John the Baptist and shout from our hearts: “He must increase, but I must decrease!” 🙂

He Must Increase, But I Must Decrease #2

Sunday, May 15, 2016

“He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30 KJV).

Beloved, may today’s Scripture be the cry of each and every Christian!

We begin reading in context in verse 22: “[22] After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judaea; and there he tarried with them, and baptized. [23] And John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized. [24] For John was not yet cast into prison.”

Some weeks into Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry, He and His disciples went to the land of Judaea and there they baptized believers. John the Baptist is baptizing believers as well, in Aenon near Salim (exact location unknown, but presumably near the Jordan River Valley). During this time, “[25] Then there arose a question between some of John’s disciples and the Jews about purifying. [26] And they came unto John, and said unto him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all men come to him.”

To Satan’s utmost delight, some of these Jewish religionists are beginning to harass John the Baptist. In effect, they are saying in verse 26, “John, that ‘Jesus’ you preached about and praised earlier, He and His disciples are now baptizing more people than you! Your ministry is losing popularity and followers!”

Beloved, as you can see most clearly, Satan is a very shrewd creature. Having sharp powers of judgment, he knows that he must “divide and conquer” if he is to prevent Jesus’ earthly ministry from gaining momentum. If he can get John the Baptist to grow so upset (envious) that he begins to recant his message that Jesus is Christ, John’s ministry is discredited… and so is Jesus Christ’s! Do you see how the whole purpose and plan of God for Israel hangs in the balance here? It is ever so critical that John the Baptist respond most wisely to these troublemakers.

Thankfully, John the Baptist is “filled with the Holy Ghost” (Luke 1:15). He will answer most appropriately!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What made the crucified thief repent?

He Must Increase, But I Must Decrease #1

Saturday, May 14, 2016

“He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30 KJV).

Beloved, may today’s Scripture be the cry of each and every Christian!

The triune Godhead’s original intention in creation was to glorify the Son, whom we understand as Jesus Christ. We read in the Scriptures: “For by him [God’s dear Son of verse 13] were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him (Colossians 1:16).

Of course, as the prophets tell us, Lucifer, God’s chief angelic-like creature, wanted the preeminence in heaven and earth. Lucifer, “full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty… was lifted up because of [his] beauty” (Ezekiel 28:12,17). That is, Lucifer became prideful. Isaiah says that he had a five-fold plan to rob Jesus Christ of the praise that He alone deserved: I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High” (14:13,14). In short, Lucifer became Satan, starting his lie program (sin) with the following words: “He must decrease, but I must increase!”

Sin, at its heart, is the decrease of the Lord Jesus Christ. Sin is disregarding the Creator’s will for our lives. It is we putting ourselves on His throne, us wanting to be our own authority and doing whatever we want. “Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen” (Romans 1:25). Whether in Satan’s life, the lives of other spirit creatures like him, or the lives of us humans, sin is the deification of the creature and the lessening of the Creator.

Today’s Scripture contains invaluable insight to avoiding the error of Romans 1:25. Dear friends, in our several upcoming devotionals, we will look at John 3:30 in context, lest we be ignorant of Satan’s devices.