materialism

Eagerly Seizing the Temporary!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed (John 6:26,27 KJV).

Human nature has not changed one bit in 2,000 years.

Frequenting thrift stores over the years, I have found name-brand items well below retail cost. Some items—including pricy clothing—are still new. Beware: Stand aside, as consumers may behave unseemly to get what they want!

After employees process and price items in store’s rear, they transport them by cart to the front for consumers to browse. Thus the showroom becomes dangerous. Upon hearing that cart’s wheels rattling and squeaking, alert customers make a “mad dash,” pushing and shoving, to access the cart’s items first! (My friend was nearly knocked down by one such “stampede!”) When I recounted that event to another friend, she summed it up perfectly—“uncivilized!” Sadly, adults will go to such extremes to have their way: like starving vultures diving to pick off a bite to eat, these consumers run and pounce on that cart!

While such scenarios are amusing (yes, I recently witnessed a stampede), it is unfortunate. If only people were as willing to come to Christ as they do that dumb merchandise cart! They bully to grab temporary items, but, upon death, someone will be just as eager to confiscate it. It is said that grave-clothes have no pockets—even if they did, the contents would do absolutely nothing for the individual. His or her soul would be in heaven (Christian) or hell (everyone else), not in that decaying body!

Friends, in the context of today’s Scripture, Jesus miraculously fed the 5,000 (verses 1-15). Now, they are selfishly chasing Jesus to get more food from Him. Verse 29 is the correction: “Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” They were striving for temporary food, when they should have trusted the eternal Son of God! (A most appropriate lesson… even in today’s world, huh?)

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Should we pray if it is God’s will?

The Price of Christ #1

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

“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!

Wearing Rags But Rich in Faith

Monday, April 3, 2017

“My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. For if there come unto you assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay [gorgeous, attractive] clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?” (James 2:1-4 KJV).

Although written to and about Israel, today’s Scripture has a disturbing parallel to today!

Many years ago, a certain Christian woman and her children visited a local church where they were criticized for wearing “raggedy” clothing. Not one person—including the preacher—asked her why their clothes were so tattered. Furthermore, no one offered to give them any better clothing. Rather, these religionists condemned them. The lady was actually poor; she could not afford any nice outfits. Greatly offended, she left that assembly and never returned. In fact, she decided to stay at home. Understandably, she wanted no part of God or the Bible. (We have recently come into contact with her and have located a grace assembly for her to attend!!)

It is human nature to judge according to outward appearances. The classic example in Scripture is when the Prophet Samuel was observing Jesse’s sons to select Israel’s next king. First Samuel 16:7 says: “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.” In that light, James 2:5 adds, “Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?”

All we may be able to afford is “cheap” clothing. Thankfully, God is looking beyond the external. He looks upon the heart for faith, or trust, in His Word. If we must wear “rags,” let us still be “rich in faith!”

Saints, (only if you can afford it!), please remember us in your monthly giving. You can donate securely here: https://www.paypal.me/ShawnBrasseaux, or email me at arcministries@gmail.com for info on how to give by regular mail. 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! 🙂

Same

Friday, March 17, 2017

“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever” (Hebrews 13:8 KJV).

Today’s Scripture is right!

For several months, I had been going to the same store and purchasing one of my favorite (yet rare) candies. Some weeks ago, however, the item quit appearing on the store shelf. After weeks of returning and searching, I finally asked a store clerk if they had completely stopped carrying that item. He said no. In fact, he told me he had been re-organizing the store, shelf by shelf, and was just getting to the candy aisle. I was relieved he would be placing my food back on the shelf very soon!

More recently, I spoke with a friend who had had great difficulty finding and purchasing one of her beloved foods. When she did locate that special bread again, she bought 10 bags of it! (I told her that her words reminded me of yet another favorite food of mine, one I have not seen in a store, or eaten, in nearly a decade. Unfortunately, I just learned that that absolutely delicious dessert was discontinued long ago!!)

As the above scenarios show us, friends, life is full of unexpected changes. People, possessions, and positions come and go. We become so used to their existence in our lives, it becomes very difficult when we lose them. Friends and neighbors move away or perish. Our vehicle is totaled in an accident. Spouses leave. A lucrative job one day, and unemployment the next! Fire destroys our home. Our favorite products are out of stock or permanently discontinued. Lastly, good health today—death tomorrow!

Someone once said, “We are creatures of habit.” We are conditioned to live a certain way—surrounded by the same people, goods, and atmosphere. When one little variable changes or drops out, it can be quite devastating! Today’s Scripture is quite a comfort—while our surroundings change, whether good or bad—Jesus Christ never changes. He was faithful in the past, He is equally faithful today, and He will be just as faithful forever. What stability, what reliability! Saints, we may lose many people and things in our lives, but thank goodness we will never lose Jesus Christ and He will never lose us! 🙂

Bible Q&A #360: “Should we fast?

You may also see our archived Bible Q&A: “Should Christians celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?

Something Not Worth Losing

Sunday, February 5, 2017

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

Super Bowl Sunday comes annually in the United States. Teams fuel the intense passions in the athletic world by vying for a corruptible trophy. Howbeit, the competition in today’s Scripture is spiritual, is worldwide, never has a halftime, and involves the eternal souls of men!

The human soul is most zealous about religion, politics, and sports. These areas are most personal, so they generate many heated debates and conflicts. However, believe it or not, there are worse outcomes than losing a church member, losing an election, and losing a game. Losing your eternal soul is the greatest of all losses!

In the context of today’s Scripture, Jesus Christ told His Jewish disciples to “take up [their] cross, and follow [him]” (verse 24). “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it” (verse 25). They should not fear losing their earthly lives for His sake. What is most important is that they not lose their souls!

Jesus Christ declared there is more to life than this physical world and its temporal possessions. There is a spiritual world—an afterlife—to consider. In today’s Scripture, He asks them, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” Does it make sense to emphasize this temporary world and its corruptible goods, to the point of ignoring your eternal soul, and wind up losing it in hellfire forever and ever?

Dear reader, there is more to you than just your physical body. Your inner man—your soul, your spiritual body—is everlasting. To ignore Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork as sufficient payment for your sins, is to remain dead in those sins, resulting in you spending eternity suffering God’s wrath in the lake of fire literally as a nameless, hopeless, disfigured creature.

Your soul is not worth losing! Trust Christ as your personal Saviour today!

Eat, Drink, and Be Merry?

Saturday, October 15, 2016

“And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry” (Luke 12:19 KJV).

Would we do well to “…eat, drink, and be merry?” (Nay, we would not do well!)

The King James Bible, first published over 405 years ago, has greatly influenced the English language. Listen closely to English speakers and carefully read English writers. You will pick up on “various and sundry” quirky sayings. From whence are these? While it greatly disturbs people to acknowledge it, many decades ago, Bible verses (horrors!!!!) were required in public school curriculums here in the United States of America. Those students grew up and went on to dominate the 20th century in various capacities. They incorporated those Bible phrases into their everyday speech and writing. Newer generations picked up those phrases. Even today, Bible haters unknowingly often quote the Book they detest! (“Holier than thou;” “apple of mine eye;” “warp and woof;” “judge not, that ye be not judged;” “flies in the ointment;” “ask and ye shall receive;” “render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s;” “words smoother than butter;” et cetera.)

Consider this detailed case in point. While shopping a department store not long ago, I saw various Christmas decorations for sale. One particular little knick-knack had the following phrase painted on it: “Eat, drink, be merry.” This is a common maxim, heard and read in a wide range of contexts. Having read today’s Scripture, my friend, you know exactly from whence that expression came! Moreover, if you examine that verse in context, “eat, drink, and be merry” is actually evil. A covetous man, having accumulated so much material wealth, spoke those words in false assurance. He had worked hard, but had ignored God. The Lord Jesus issued this parable to correct the mentality of a certain individual wrapped up in worldly goods (verses 13-21). Those worldly possessions were “uncertain,” to be certainly lost at death (1 Timothy 6:17).

Friends, while it is not a sin for Christians to “enjoy” life (1 Timothy 6:17), the phrase “Eat, drink, and, be merry” actually typifies carefree living without the living God. If we must “take [our] ease,” let us rest only in Jesus Christ!

ATTENTION: The 2016 Slidell Grace Bible Conference is scheduled for Friday-Sunday, December 2-4, just north of New Orleans, Louisiana. Speakers are Richard Jordan, John Smith, and myself (Shawn Brasseaux). We would love to have you! (Videos to be archived to YouTube later in the year.) For more information, see: https://arcministries.files.wordpress.com/2016/10/2016-slidell-gbc.pdf.

What Will Ye Give Me?

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

“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 KJV).

What prompted Judas to consult with the chief priests at this specific time?

Israel’s chief priests, scribes, and elders had already begun to conspire to capture Jesus sneakily and kill Him (verses 3-4)—although the time was not yet convenient (verse 5).

Verses 6-13 continue: “[6] Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, [7] There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat. [8] But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste? [9] For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor. [10] When Jesus understood it, he said unto them, Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me. [11] For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always. [12] For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial. [13] Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her.” After this incident, today’s Scripture says Judas visited the chief priests. What specifically motivated Judas?

John 12:4-6, a similar event occurring just days before, provides a clue: “[4] Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, which should betray him, [5] Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? [6] This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.”

So infuriated and avaricious that the expensive ointment was “wasted” on Jesus in Matthew chapter 26, Judas scurried off to ask the chief priests just what they would give him to betray Jesus!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Should Bible questions be discouraged?