patience

Captive!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

“And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will” (2 Timothy 2:24-26 KJV).

Satan is desperately trying to keep his captives from hearing God’s truth!

A lady visited my home yesterday to invite my family and me to an upcoming program at her (nearby) church. Knowing her cult, I determined the best way to approach her was to mention the verse on her booklet’s cover. As I suspected, her religious tradition denied the everlasting nature of hell (“annihilationism”). The “wicked” would simply be burned up and become nonexistent, never suffering forever in fire and brimstone as the Bible teaches.

Yes, she was highly trained in her religion, arguing that the Bible verses commonly interpreted as “everlasting torment” were really “representations.” Still, she could not clearly explain what she meant—only that those passages were not literal. She grabbed Bible verses here and there to validate her denomination. I cautioned her that religious groups ignore verse contexts, politely “hinting” that I was aware of her dishonesty (without me ever actually saying “liar, liar”).

She did not know the Gospel by which we are saved today. (Once I gave it to her, she did not accept it). We talked about many Bible topics for about an hour before she, convicted by the Word, had to “hurry home.” She was very knowledgeable of verses to support her theology. But, she was surprised that someone (me) would mention verses she did not understand. Exiting my front door, with me following, she again said, “A loving God could not send people to suffer hell forever.” One final time, I gave the Gospel of Grace. I told her that God loved sinners so much that He did everything He could to prevent them from experiencing eternal judgment. He sent His Son to die for their sins. Rejecting Christ again, she hurried down my driveway to her vehicle.

Saints, let us preach God’s Word, patiently, gently, lovingly. What people do with it is their responsibility. We did ours! 🙂

Satan and Dispensationalism #12

Friday, October 16, 2015

“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13 KJV).

Today’s Scripture is one of the six key areas that Satan has found to be advantageous regarding confusing God’s people in this Dispensation of Grace, the Church the Body of Christ!

Satan wants ignorant Christians. After all, he can only rule over people who are unaware of what really matters. As one dear brother often says, “Ignorant brethren are the world’s largest denomination!” To add insult to injury, the exact six instances where Paul says not to be ignorant of some doctrine, they are the very doctrines of which Christendom is totally ignorant today! Awful! Shameful! Awful!

The final exhortation not to be ignorant is in today’s Scripture. Christians in Thessalonica were suffering intense persecution (1 Thessalonians 1:6; 1 Thessalonians 2:14; 2 Thessalonians 1:3-7). Today’s Scripture indicates some believers were murdered! Paul told the living saints in Thessalonica not to worry or sorrow uncontrollably. They would see their brethren in heaven. While grieving, they were to “comfort one another with these words” (verse 18). Before prophecy resumes, our Dispensation of Grace must close. All Christians who have died during the last 2,000 years—beginning with the Apostle Paul—will be resurrected. “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (verse 17). We will all be given glorified bodies like Jesus Christ’s, thereby enabling us to function in the heavenly places forever for Jesus Christ’s glory (2 Corinthians 5:1-5; Philippians 3:20,21).

There is still a satanic agenda today to rob Christians of the blessed hope, our gathering together unto Christ in the air—not on Earth! Friends, let us ever be mindful of it. Many people today in so-called Christian circles scoff at the idea of the Rapture. They deny it, claiming we should be waiting for the seven-year Tribulation and Christ’s Second Coming. They are unaware of the very thing Paul said to pay attention to! Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, are largely ignored… thus, Christendom is largely ignorant!

NOTE: Saints, with 12 studies, we are just “warming up” with “Satan and Dispensationalism!” We will temporarily suspend these studies tomorrow, to make way for a special one-day study. Please stay tuned! 🙂

Bring Forth and Bud!

Monday, June 15, 2015

“For as the rain cometh down and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it” (Isaiah 55:10,11 KJV).

How can today’s Scripture be an encouragement when we witness to others?

Dear Christian friend, you have probably wanted to rush someone into salvation or spiritual maturity. You desired them to trust Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour, right there on the spot. You wanted to see them immediately understand the Bible dispensationally. But, you fail to remember that there are many barriers to overcome. They have been so deceived, so confused, or so turned off to religion that much (or all) of the verses you shared with them seem to “go right over their heads.” You have tried to be as simple as possible and they just do not get it. The key is to remember the analogy in today’s Scripture.

In the physical world, we plant seeds underground, water them, and let the sunlight shine on them, but we cannot force them to grow. It takes time, something beyond our control. Likewise, we must remember that God’s Word does not show immediate results. It can take days, weeks, months, years, or even decades. Nevertheless, we are to faithfully preach and teach the Holy Bible rightly divided, that it be there to work in their lives. Once present, that “quick [living and life-giving] and powerful” Word will take care of itself (Hebrews 4:12).

Just as the little seeds cannot be seen sprouting underground, we cannot see God’s Word working in those precious people. Until they believe those verses, and bring them into their hearts (Romans 10:10), they will remain in their minds. Regardless of whether they believe or reject, God’s Word will still convict, show them where they are wrong, and it will glorify Him. One Christian “plants,” another believer “waters,” but God giveth the increase” (1 Corinthians 3:6,7; cf. today’s Scripture)! 🙂

Faith During Life’s Storms #7

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

“And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm” (Matthew 8:25,26 KJV).

Like Israel learned in today’s Scripture, we too must realize to trust the Lord Jesus Christ when “the storms of life” batter us.

As these final two studies for this devotionals arc were a-preparing, I experienced a major “storm of life” (ongoing). In this sin-cursed world of error, division, strife, and violence, we find solace in Jesus Christ. We can let life’s problems force us to retreat (surrender), or we can use them as opportunities to rely on Him.

Romans 5:1-5 encourages: “[1] Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: [2] By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. [3] And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; [4] And patience, experience; and experience, hope: [5] And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”

Tribulations (troubles), once viewed from the grace perspective, produce patience in us. Rather than wanting God to remove our troubles, we remember that He has fully equipped us in Jesus Christ to handle every circumstance: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13). That patience brings us experience, skills to better handle similar problems next time (learning more sound Bible doctrine to apply). That experience brings us hope, that we not despair or get depressed. We remember God’s Word is fortifying us inside so we react to difficulties in the same way God Himself would (the Christian life is His life!). That hope guards us against shame; we grow confident in God’s Word. The indwelling Holy Spirit fills our believing souls with the verses that speak of God’s great love for us, that He cares for us, that He is there for us, to see us through to the “other side”….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Do we study only Paul’s epistles?

Planting and Watering in God’s Garden

Thursday, July 24, 2014

“I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase” (1 Corinthians 3:6 KJV).

God is growing the plants; we are here to simply plant and water them!

The other day I talked with a Christian brother in the ministry who expressed his desire to see an immediate conversion in the life of one particular lost person steeped in a cult. He wanted to see that person saved the very next day!

Let us read today’s Scripture within its context: “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his labour. For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building” (verses 6-9).

The Apostle Paul first visited Corinth in Acts chapter 18; here, some pagans had heard Paul preach the Gospel of God’s Grace, and they trusted Jesus Christ unto justification and eternal life. In late Acts chapter 18 and early chapter 19, Apollos, a new Christian and Bible teacher, came to Corinth and taught these newly-saved Corinthians. In today’s Scripture, Paul refers to these events. He had “planted” (soul salvation unto eternal life, God giving the believing sinner, Christ’s life) and Apollos had “watered” (soul salvation unto sound doctrine, the saint allowing Christ’s life to manifest in his or her own life). Whether it was passing from death to life, or learning about the life we have in Christ, it was ultimately God Almighty’s task to generate the results—it is NOT our responsibility to force people to be saved or spiritually mature.

Many people never trust Jesus Christ; many Christians never study their Bibles and mature spiritually. Yet, it takes some people many years before they trust Jesus Christ; it takes some Christians many years before they study the Bible for themselves. Beloved, people prayed for us without ever seeing results in their lifetime. Let us not be so self-willed as to think that God must satisfy us by rushing His work in people to whom we minister. 🙂

The Natural View and the Spiritual View #6

Thursday, February 13, 2014

“Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:7 KJV).

We continue addressing the associated objections and misconceptions concerning the recent Ken Ham/Bill Nye Creation/Evolution online debate….

Today’s Scripture describes “lovers of their own selves,… boasters, proud, blasphemers,… unthankful, despisers of those that are good,… highminded [inflated with pride], lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God” (verses 1-4). These are lost people, those who “have a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof: from such turn away” (verse 5). Although they appear good (especially in “religious” contexts), they deny Paul’s epistles, “the doctrine which is according to godliness” (1 Timothy 6:3). The Bible says they “creep into houses” and captivate and mislead “silly women laden with sins” (2 Timothy 3:6).

Evolutionary theory has roots in philosophy (pagan religion!), and when people attempt to harmonize Scripture with it, it looks like a sound belief system. However, it just feeds man’s ego because he thinks he is a “random accident of nature,” who will never face accountability for his sins. Whether denominationalist or evolutionist, he has spent many years in educational institutions learning the world’s curriculum, but he is never able to comprehend simple verses in an English Bible and come to understand God’s truth (today’s Scripture).

When dealing with any person who has an anti-Bible attitude, whether denominationalist or evolutionist, the wise Christian soldier should always consider Proverbs 26:4,5: “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.” God is a God of freedom: never are we to take away anyone’s free will. Sometimes, we are to answer our critics; other times, we should not waste our breath. While most do not want to know God’s truth, let us be mindful of those few who are seeking it. May we be as polite and patient as possible when the conversation is conducive to learning (worthwhile questions), and may we respectfully withdraw when intelligent discussions are impossible (name-calling, sarcasm, tantrums, et cetera).

NOTE: For our readers’ sakes, we will briefly suspend this devotionals arc. More advanced Creation/Evolution studies will follow soon. Stay tuned!

As We Tarry Here and Long for There #2

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

“For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you” (Philippians 1:23,24 KJV).

Before we go on to the next world, we must tarry in this one….

After the deaths of Christian loved ones, it is not uncommon for other Christians to wonder why Jesus Christ does not quickly take them home to heaven so they can be reunited there. Christians often desire the Lord to “rapture” us all out of here so that we do not have to experience the dying process. In doing so, they miss the reason why we are still here on earth.

In today’s Scripture, the Apostle Paul admitted that he was in quite a similar dilemma. On one hand, he was in horrible living conditions—a prison cell in Rome—for preaching an “illegal religion.” On the other hand, he was literally headed for heavenly bliss for trusting Jesus Christ, the central Person of that “illegal religion.”

Verses 21 and 22 elaborate: “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not.” Paul knew that if he lived physically, it was actually Jesus Christ living in and through him. He knew that to die physically was “gain,” for he would be free from sin and thereby able to serve Jesus Christ in heaven. Yet, Paul also knew that if it was Jesus Christ living in and through him, the “fruit” of following this “illegal religion” was the very prison cell in which he sat while writing that epistle to the saints at Philippi!

Why did Paul not know which option—life or death—he would choose? Having been in heaven years earlier (2 Corinthians 12:1-7), Paul knew the glories that were there. Paul undoubtedly knew “to be with Christ [was] far better,” but, there was something far more important at the moment, and he was aware of it….