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Showing posts from September, 2019

"Now godliness with contentment is great gain."

BIBLE READING: 1 Timothy 6
When we are thankful, it means that we have been impressed with a sense of kindness that has been expressed toward us, and we desire to acknowledge it. Essentially, we are grateful. Thankfulness is the actual expression of gratitude. Thankfulness is also a state of mind, an attitude. It does not focus on what we do not have, but rather values what we do have, no matter how basic. Paul continues this thought in the following verses, explaining that greediness creates many problems, ultimately bringing upon us discontent and unhappiness, just the opposite of the thankfulness that real contentment generates. A popular bumper sticker from several years ago bore the slogan, "He who dies with the most toys . . . wins." Of course, it did not take long for those whose thinking ran counter to this to reply with their own sticker that read, "He who dies with the most things . . . is dead." It is true that the pursuit of material gain to the exclusion …

"Pray for Our Leaders"

BIBLE READING: 1 Timothy 1-5
It seems that almost daily we are bombarded by the media concerning things related to Democrats and Republicans.Some believe that the Democrats are to blame for all the issues that are affecting our country.While others feel that the Republicans are at fault for all the problems that plague our nation.Whose fault is it?Is it the Democrats, the Republicans or maybe a little of both?Who are we as citizens of this great country supposed to trust?Maybe instead of complaining so much about all of the problems that exist, we simply take Paul’s advice to Timothy, “…I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:1-4).When we lift up our leaders …

"Provide for his own"

BIBLE READING: 1 Timothy 5
We owe a duty to God and to the affairs of this life. We are to be diligent in our business, providing for ourselves and our families. God, at the very beginning ofGenesis 1-3, when He put Adam and Eve in the Garden, says that they were to dress and keep it, meaning to embellish it, to add to it, and to guard it from deterioration. Our responsibility includes being diligent in doing our job for our employer. We are not to squander and waste what we have. We are to look ahead and plan for future demands, taking into consideration that there will be emergencies like accidents, illness, death, natural disasters. We are to prepare for such things. If we fail to do so, we do not show faith that "God will provide," but rather presumption in throwing all the responsibility on God while we ignore ours, failing to fulfill what God instructs. There is much to be learned about God's Kingdom and getting prepared for it by carefully using our resources. The da…

"Conscience seared with a hot iron"

BIBLE READING: 1 Timothy 4
In I Timothy 4:2, Paul speaks of people searing or cauterizing their consciences with a hot iron. Willard Gaylin writes that "the failure to feel guilt is the basic flaw in the psychopath, or antisocial person, who is capable of committing crimes of the vilest sort without remorse or contrition." We could describe the unpardonable sin as the incapacity to feel remorse or a person being determined to override every warning signal of guilt. If people repeatedly violate their consciences, masking their guilt by using escapist "analgesics," the consequences become devastating. Without the stimulus of spiritual pain, they become incapable of changing their behavior. The seared conscience is the ultimate result of the process Paul describes in Romans 1:28: "And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over [abandoned them, Twentieth Century New Testament] to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fi…

"Without controversy great is the mystery of godliness"

BIBLE READING: 1 Timothy 3
It is more than likely that this is a fragment of one of the earliest hymns of the Church.In her hymns, and ordinances, she becomes the pillar of the truth.The words "mystery of godliness" are probably a general heading which is further unfolded in the six following sentences: "God was manifest in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit. Seen of angels, Preached unto the Gentiles. Believed on in the world, Received up into glory." The Eternal Word was manifested in the flesh.It was not simply a physical manifestation.We cannot forget the descent of the Holy Spirit at Jesus’ baptism or the authentication of His words that the Spirit gave in signs and wonders to convince hearts and covert lives. Angels worship Him.Gentiles, sunk in heathen darkness, heard the story of his wondrous love.Jesus is the center of all worlds.From heaven's brightest spaces they come to Him, and from earth's darkest sins they come.In Him meet angels and men. He was receiv…

"Pray for all Men"

BIBLE READING: 1 Timothy 2
In the first chapter of I Timothy, Paul is concerned about sound doctrine. He describes for Timothy (and us) the damaging results when faith is replaced by speculation and when dissension is substituted for love. What could Timothy do in such a situation? He could not remain silent in the face of heresy and could not compromise with it.He was to stay at his post and fight for the faith.

If chapter one is concerned primarily with sound doctrine, chapter two is concerned with instructions of worship, both public and private. In your study of these verses, notice the emphasis on "all men," in 1 Timothy 2:1-7.Pray "for all men," (1,2). God desires "all men" to be saved (3,4). Jesus gave Himself a ransom "for all," (5,6). Paul was called and appointed an apostle to preach the gospel to “all men” (7).

Prayer for all men: "Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be…

"Sinners, of whom I am chief"

BIBLE READING: 1 Timothy 1

Paul was a great sinner. He knew it. He never got over the fact that he persecuted those who believed that Jesus was the promised Messiah (1 Corinthians 15.9). How many times he must have asked himself, “How could I, a Pharisee, schooled in the Law and prophets, have been so blind as to not recognize the Messiah?” “How could I, a beneficiary of the best education, taught by the most brilliant rabbi, have missed the One to whom all the prophets pointed?” All that was true.
If the religion of Christ has any truth or merit, Saul of Tarsus would have certainly been able to accept it.He had approved the execution of Stephen (Acts 7:58), worked to lay waste the church (Acts 8:3), and was heading to Damascus to do more damage (Acts 9:1-2).He then saw a great light, and we can only imagine how he must have felt when he heard that the "Lord" is the Jesus whom he has been persecuting (Acts 9:4-6).What guilt and shame. How terribly wrong and misguided his work…

"Love Ruled…"

BIBLE READING: 1 Thessalonians 4- 2 Thessalonians 3
In 1931 Gospel Advocate did a publication that was entirely dedicated to the ministry of T. B. Larimore, it was entitled “Life, Letters and Sermons of T.B. Larimore”.  Within that publication was a chapter that was dedicated to our own Mars Hill Bible School.  Simply called Mars Hill back in the 1800’s, Brother Larimore began with a dream to create a school where the Bible could be taught everyday along with the other necessary subjects like math and reading.  It was his goal to create an environment where the love of Jesus would be manifested in every teacher and student.  Within that article was a quote that was used by Larimore that was concerned with the treatment of its teachers and students; “We loved one another and loved ruled the school.”  That phrase has since become not only the school’s theme, but a daily reminder of what is important; the love of Jesus.  There is no doubt in my mind that Brother Larimore’s statement was d…

"But the Lord is faithful"

BIBLE READING: 2 Thessalonians 3
At the end of verse 2, Paul wrote, "For not all have faith."Using a word play, he followed this statement by saying, "But the Lord is faithful."God's faithfulness stands in contrast to an evil man's inability to remain loyal.What is the meaning of “the Lord is faithful"?We can count on God.People often break their promises, but God never does. (Romans 3:4; 1 Corinthians 1:9) Christians can and should pray to Him and know that He will respond to their needs. He will "strengthen" us.God is all powerful.Jesus said, "With God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26).The Greek word for "strengthen" means to establish, to make firm, support.Just as a dam can be supported by thousands of sandbags during a time of flooding, God supports us.Christ promises to be with us until the end of time (Matthew 28:20).Paul realized this divine backing when he wrote, "I can do all things through Him who strengthen…

"God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation"

BIBLE READING: 2 Thessalonians 2
Paul was compelled to give thanks for the Thessalonians.The principle reason for his gratitude is that they had been chosen of God.It was a dual choosing.God chose them through the invitation of the gospel, and they were among the chosen by accepting God's invitation.
Every Christian is called by the gospel into salvation when he obeys it. (v.14) The Thessalonians had obeyed the gospel and had come into this salvation, causing Paul to rejoice with thanksgiving. They received sanctification when they became Christians and had continued to grow in it.Nothing delights a preacher more than realizing that those he has converted are becoming more and more devoted to God. Paul praised God that the Thessalonians were set apart to live by the truth.God seeks a band of people who will honor His Word in the world. The new converts were on their way to heaven, destined to glory.They would one day obtain and share in the glory of Jesus Christ.

“More Commendable Traits”

BIBLE READING: 2 Thessalonians 1
Even though Paul doesn't spend time talking about himself as he begins the letter, he does take time to compliment the Thessalonians before he races into the subject he wants to discuss.He has the Thessalonians on his heart.He says, "We…give thanks to God for you" (v.3). "We…speak proudly of you" (v.4). "We pray for you" (v.11). Paul used the words, "We ought always to give thanks to God for you" (v.3), to show that their spiritual condition inspired him to give thanks for them.He further said that he was giving thanks for them "as is only fitting."This phrase indicates that the thanksgiving Paul was voicing was no more than that which was appropriate. Why was he thankful for the Thessalonians?He saw traits in them that we need to see in ourselves: ·Faith that has grown strong. ·A love that has increased. ·A steadfastness that refuses intimidation (perseverance). We should encourage faithful Christians we …

"That Day"

BIBLE READING: 1 Thessalonians 5
The expression, "the day of the Lord," is found frequently in the Old Testament.Before the New Testament, it referred to any day when God brought His judgment or special blessings on nations, cities, or people.It is also applied to God's destruction of a city or to the discipline of His people.The expression that Paul used finds its background in the Old Testament. In verse 2, however, Paul was writing about the day of days, the final day of time and the ending of the world.This important day is referred to in several ways in the New Testament.Noting these ways might help us to put this day in its proper perspective. ·Because of its relation to the Lord, it will be "the day of the Lord."God will be the center of it.Christians do not look for an event, we look for someone to come, the great Redeemer. ·Because of its relation to the unrighteous, it will be "a day of wrath."Paul called it "the day of wrath and revelation…

"Sorrow not, even as the rest, which have no hope."

BIBLE READING: 1 Thessalonians 4
Nature will have her due.  Tears will fall, and hearts will seem near breaking.  Nowhere does God rebuke the tears of natural affection.  It is written in Scripture that "Jesus wept."  God sets Himself to extract their bitterness.  Sorrow you may, and must, but not without hope. Those who die in Christ are with Him.They are said to sleep, not because they are unconscious, but because their death was not filled with terror.Believers have died once in Christ, and it was necessary to find a word that describes the moment of our leaving this world and our birth into the next.The catacombs are covered with the brief significant sentence, "He slept in Christ."Just as in sleep, the spirit is conscious, of which our dreams bear witness.It is so in the last sleep.Absent from the body, we shall be present with the Lord. Those who die in Christ will come with Him.They are now waiting for God to give the final order for the whole heavenly processi…

Saturday

BIBLE READING: Colossians 3-1 Thessalonians 1
Flip Wilson was a comedian in the sixties that use to do a routine that included him doing something silly and then stating, “The Devil made me do it!”Well, his routine was funny, but it wasn’t Biblically accurate.In fact, the Devil can’t make us do anything.In the New Testament there are references that are made to the power of Satan that lead us to believe at one point in time he did have more of an active role in human affairs.For instance, we often read of various people in the New Testament being possessed by demons and needing to be cast out by Jesus. Demons are agents of Satan and at one time had the ability to possess humans, however just as when miracles ceased, it is suggested that demon possession ceased as well.Another example of Satan having some control over human affairs is found in I Thessalonians 2.18.In this passage Paul writes that his desire is to come and visit with them in person, “but Satan hindered us”.The Greek word…

"That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed there unto"

BIBLE READING: 1 Thessalonians 3
We all love the sunshine, but the Arabs have a proverb that "all sunshine makes the desert."It is a matter for common observation that the graces of Christian living are more often apparent in the cases of those who have passed through great tribulation.God desires to get the richest crops possible from the soil of our natures.There are certain plants of the Christian life, such as meekness, gentleness, kindness, humility, which cannot come to perfection if the sun of prosperity always shines. We often shrank from lessons we were taught in school.We looked out the windows longing for the hour of release.But now, how thankful we are for the tutors and teachers who kept us steadily at our tasks.We feel almost kindly to the principal that we once dreaded.Similarly, we usually most appreciate the teachers that were strict."We have had fathers of our flesh to chasten us, and we gave them reverence:shall we not much more rather be in subjection …

"For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing?"

BIBLE READING: 1 Thessalonians 2
The tender heart of Paul suffered keenly in his forced absence from those beloved converts.He had cherished them as a nurse cares for her children.He would have gladly imparted to them his own soul.He sought to see them again but was hindered by hurtful spiritual forces that were very real to him.He found comfort, however, in the thought that at the Lord's coming he would be reunited with them, and they would be his joy as now they were his hope. There is a further thought.The souls he had won for Jesus were to constitute his crown.It was as though they would be woven into a wreath like that given to the ancient athletes and placed on his head as he emerged from the terrific conflict of his life.He looked forward to the time he could cast the wreath before the feet of Jesus.What an incentive this was.Each soul plucked from the enemy would be another jewel for the Master's crown and within it a fresh source of heavenly blessedness to him. On this v…

"To wait for His Son from heaven."

BIBLE READING: 1 Thessalonians 1
What a great hope!Is it not wonderful that each of the chapters of this epistle brims over with glad anticipation of the Master’s quick return! We should never lose this spirit of eager longing and waiting.It has the promise of life now, the life which is to come.It has the power to lift us above the darkness of this age.It has the great hope of the future with its comforts.It quickens us to watchfulness and consecration by the thought of the shortening of our opportunities.It prompts us to purify ourselves as Christ is pure, to “gird our loins” and “trim our lamps.” Notice how closely the apostle combines the service of God, herein distinguishing Him from the dumb, dead stones of heathen idolatries, with this waiting for his Son from heaven.It has been alleged that the hope of the Second Advent is a dreamy, mystical sentiment, which disqualifies one for the active fulfillment of the duties of life.Nothing could be farther from the truth.Those who cherish…

"Always laboring fervently for you in his prayers…he hath a great zeal for you."

BIBLE READING: Colossians 4
What a beautiful epitaph of a good man's life.  Epaphras had come from Colosse with tidings for the apostle, but amid all the crowding interests of his visit to Rome his heart was with his friends, and he sought to help them as we may all help dear ones far away. He strove for them in prayer.It was no runaway knock that he gave, no light breathing of desire, no formal mention of their names.Rather, it seems as though he were a wrestler whose muscles stood out as he agonized and labored for the prize.It is impossible for us to know how much has been wrought in the world by prayer.Here, at least, there is mention of a man's labors.Many times, our successes may be due to the fervent prayers of our fellow-laborers. There is a legend that tells of the dream of a great preacher.He was marvelously used by God and inclined to magnify himself and his gifts, but he was instructed by an angel of God that his success was entirely attributable to a poor widow who s…

"Let the peace of God rule in your hearts"

BIBLE READING: Colossians 3
The peace of God is the peace of the divine nature, the very tranquility that prevails in the heart of God.  Jesus spoke of this when He said, "My peace I give unto you."  His own being was filled and blessed with peace during His earthly career.  In each of us may be a sea of glass, reflecting on its transparent tranquility the untroubled calm and rest, unspeakable because they are eternal and divine.  "The Lord of peace Himself give you peace always;" (2 Thessalonians 3:16).  There are three things against which we must ever be on guard lest they rob us of our peace; unconfessed sin, worry, and the permission of an unrebuked selfish principle.On the Sabbath Nehemiah carefully excluded the men of Tyre from selling fish in Jerusalem (Nehemiah 13:16) so they would not mar the spirit of rest on the Sabbath by their cries and traffic. The apostle says, “Let the peace of God rule.”The Greek word means arbitrate.Preside in your hearts, sit as …

Philippians 2- Colossians 2

BIBLE READING: Philippians 2- Colossians 2 Colossians 1. 15-18 is one of my favorite passages of Scripture.I know that words cannot truly express the true nature of Jesus Christ, but the Holy Spirit does a great job through the hands Paul in his description.As you read this again take an extra moment to let each description sink in, He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell…” (Colossians 1:15-19).Jesus is the “image of the invisible God”, knowing from other passages of Scripture that no man can see God and live, Jesus of…

"For in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily."

BIBLE READING: Colossians 2
(Colossians 2:9) Colossians 1:15 and 2:9 are two of the strongest statements in the entire Bible about the divine nature of Jesus Christ. He is not only "equal to" God, He is God! Jesus not only reflects God, He reveals God. He was not a mere statue, a close likeness of God. He was not like the moon, reflecting the glory of something greater, the sun. He was a channel for God's glory, completely and totally. Being completely holy, He has the authority to judge the world. In Him is no clearer view of what God is like! What did He do when He became a man? As the full revelation of God, the complete expression of God in a human body, He is unique. He imposed on Himself all the time and space limitations that are imposed on all other human beings. He had every opportunity to waste time, to be a glutton, to get angry, embittered, depressed, upset, frustrated, to have headaches, or to strike out at others. He had to work just like other men did. He ran …

“Since we heard of your faith”

BIBLE READING: Colossians 1
This verse appears in the middle of a long introductory sentence when Paul lays the groundwork for his appeal to the members of the church at Colossae, an appeal that he does not voice until chapter 2. The problem facing this young church in Phrygia was that they were in danger of being "cheat[ed] . . . through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ" (Colossians 2:8). They were showing signs of believing ungodly ideas promoted by outsiders. As a careful study of the phrase "the basic principles of the world" reveals, these ideas or philosophies had their origins in demons. As he begins his letter, the apostle assures the Colossians that word had reached his ears that, despite their vulnerabilities to deception, they were faithful to their calling in Christ and that it was demonstrated in acts of love that benefited their fellow church membe…

“In nothing be anxious”

BIBLE READING: Philippians 4
(Phil 4:6) Our prayers should reflect our gratitude toward God for what He has done in our lives and what He gives to us. Our everyday words and thoughts should reflect a positive mindset of hope and joy in thankfulness toward God for His great plan of salvation and our parts in it. Thankfulness is a form of contentment.We could view it as peace of mind or tranquility. A truly thankful person is usually not an individual who worries a lot. Being thankful puts our thoughts on God rather than on our problems. In Colossians 3:15, Paul writes encouragingly, "Let the peace of God rule in your hearts to which also you were called in one body and be thankful." The more we allow God's peace to be in control, the more settled and more thankful we will become. On the flip side, the more thankful we are, the more God's peace will rule our hearts and minds. In our society, many problems like discouragement, depression, anger, and other mental and emotion…

“Working Whereby He is Able to Subject All Things Unto Himself”

BIBLE READING: Philippians 3
Is there anything that God cannot do?For the dust of mother Earth He was able to form a man in the image of God.We realize that this man will return to the dust of the ground to await the resurrection of the body.If God can do this, what can He not do? We have sins within our hearts that have long resisted control.Try as you might, this is your weakness.But if we will hand over the conflict to Jesus, He will subdue them.He will bring them under His strong hand.Be of good cheer. What we cannot do, He can.Whenever an old temptation arises, lift your heart immediately to Jesus and depend on Him to cope with it on your behalf.The Lord will fight for you. It is the same with other difficulties in your life; the raising of a noble nature and character within you and the calling from the death of sin to a life of righteousness.Jesus brings us to be a well-ordered work from one which seems mere chaos and ruin.All such things are within the scope of this wonderful tex…

“God and His Children”

BIBLE READING: Philippians 2
(Philippians 2. 12-15) These four verses admonish us about what God expects of us as the child in our relationship with Him. It is important for us to understand that "work out your salvation" does not mean work for salvation. It means we must take what God has given us to its logical conclusion. God liberated Israel from Egyptian slavery, but His purpose was not complete until they trekked across the wilderness and possessed the Promised Land. Their liberty came as an act of God's grace, but that same grace required them to meet responsibilities and carry them to their conclusion. Verse 13 explains that God's grace did not end at the borders of Egypt for the Israelites, nor does it end for us once we are justified. He gives us the motivation and power to accomplish what His pleasure is for us, to accomplish His will, not our pleasures. This is an excellent principle for parents to apply in motivating their children. Children are largely the…