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Friday, July 31, 2020

Colossians 1:16

For by him 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.

For further study - Colossians 1:9-19

As I read the extended portion of our devotional today I can hardly contain myself. His glorious power, Colossians 1:11, has given us all long suffering and patience, with joyfulness. Verse 12 says we are "partakers of the inheritance of the saints".

We've been delivered from the power of darkness. We have been redeemed through His shed blood, which means we have the forgiveness of our sins. Then He reveals to us how He can grant all these things to us, He is the Creator of all things, verse 16.

Our key verse for today tells us that by Him, by Jesus Christ, "all things" were created. That's "all things" in the heavens and on the earth. All things in creation that are visible to us, and those things we cannot see, the invisible things of this world, He created.

Look at the last words of verse 16, "all things were created by Him, and for Him". I have a note beside this verse in my Bible, "a created one cannot be the Creator". I don't remember where I got that thought from, but it is true.

It seems like the world today is made up of a bunch of "creators", not the "created ones". For sure the "created" are not living in light of the fact that the verse says, "all things were created for Him".

The basis for all prophetic truth in the Bible is the reality that the Creator, Jesus Christ, knows the beginning from the end. He is the only One who can tell us what will happen in the future.

Notice verse 17, "and by Him all things consist". He not only brought everything into existence, but He keeps everything together today. He is in charge and has a plan for the world and for each of us in this world.

The last verse in our reading, verse 18 tells it all. The final events in history happen so that He might have the pre-eminence over, and with His creation.

We started these thoughts with what we have in Him and conclude with each of us as the creation giving Him the pre-eminence. We can do that because of what we have in Him.

It is great that the Creator loves us enough to tell us in the prophetic passages of scripture what will happen as we prepare for His return to be the pre-eminent One.

Remember, the creation brought forth by the Creator is the basis for all of prophetic truth. He has a plan for His creation and He let's us know what it is in His Word. What a wonderful Creator.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me to remember, that You, Jesus, created man, ultimately me, for Your own purpose and Your glory.
Thursday, July 30, 2020

Philippians 4:5

Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.

For further study - Philippians 4:1-23

What a practical book Paul's letter to the Church at Philippi is for the Christian today. What a powerful passage Philippians 4 is for each of us in these days before the coming of the Lord. And what an encouraging word is contained in our key verse for today's devotional reading.

In fact, in five words Paul reminds us of what we must constantly keep before us on a daily basis, "the Lord is at hand", verse 5. Contained within these five words is what drives us to appropriate all of the great Biblical principles that are in Philippians 4 and in fact, all of the practical passages of Philippians.

"The Lord is at hand" is telling us that His shout for us to join Him in the air, the Rapture, is an "any moment" event that is "imminent", an event that could happen before you finish reading this devotional thought for today.

That makes me want to offer up the Apostle John's prayer of 2,000 years ago, Revelation 22:20, "Even so come Lord Jesus." But should He tarry, because "He is not willing that any should parish but all should come to repentance", II Peter 3:9, we can look to all of God's provisions for us in Philippians and in particular chapter four.

Philippians 4 is a very practical pattern for our own personal relationship with Jesus and a productive relationship with our fellow Christians. As I often say, I can't get to every "precious nugget" in this passage, but only some of the highlights.

Verse 4 reflects the theme of the entire book of Philippians, "a joyful mind". I didn't say a "happy mind" but a "joyful mind". There is a difference. Happiness is based on happenings. Joy is based on our relationship with Jesus Christ.

"Rejoicing in the Lord always"verse 4, means to have that "Godly joy" that Jesus gives, all the time. In verses 6-9 we see how that can happen. We don't need to worry but "pray," verse 6. Sometimes we get that backwards, we don't need to "pray", but worry. Verse 8 tells us to "think", we need to "think" right, we must think on things and about things that contain "virtue" within them.

Verse 9 is the action verse, Paul says, "You've read about my ministry and my example, now go out and "do" what you have seen, heard and learned from me. To be able to rejoice, we must “pray, think and do”. By the way, remember, we can "do" all things through Christ who strengthens us, verse 13.

There is one more nugget before I close, verse 19, "My God shall supply all our needs according to His riches in glory, by Christ Jesus." That promise includes not only financial, but physical and spiritual needs as well.

What practical provision Paul gives us in Philippians for our personal journey through life as we await His "any moment" shout for us to join Him in the heavenlies.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me to keep the reality of Your "any moment" return in mind as I appropriate Your provision for these days, awaiting Your shout to call me to be with You forever.
Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Philippians 3:20

For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:

For further study - Philippians 3:10-21

Our key verse and the extended reading for today are the same verses we used last time we were in Philippians. However, this time I have a different focus.

The first verse of our extended reading, verse 10, is a great verse to use as the model for being able to press toward the mark of the high calling of God.

Knowing Jesus, the power of His resurrection, the fellowship of His suffering, and being willing to give our lives for Him is the "mode of operation" for the Christ-like life.

Verse 13
 reveals how Paul was not hung up on himself and his knowledge and position in life. Paul realized he had not "arrived", he was forgetting the things of the past and reaching into the future.

Paul's energy was focused on "pressing toward" the mark and it was the mark set by the Lord's calling of this servant to be used in His service.

Our key verse contains the secret of how Paul was able to better know the Lord, forgetting the things of the past and pressing toward the mark. Paul's "citizenship" was not here on earth, it is in heaven.

Verse 20 says, "our conversation is in heaven". An alternative interpretation of the Greek word for "conversation" is "citizenship". Notice a second step here, Paul was constantly looking for the Lord Jesus Christ to come from heaven to get us and take us to be with Him forevermore, into eternity future.

Verse 21
 shows us that when Jesus Christ comes He will change this old "worn-out body" of ours, and fashion it like His "glorious body". What a relief that will be, our old bodies for eternity fashioned in the likeness of the Lord's glorious body.

By the way, this process will be almost instantaneous, as described in I Corinthians 15:52. It will be done, "in a moment in the twinkling of an eye". The "twinkling of an eye" is much faster than a "blink of the eye", and that's fast.

These are blessed verses and I wanted to use them again to glean another, different blessing from them. I pray you got that same blessing.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you Lord, for the promise of our new citizenship and the fact that You will make our old bodies like Your glorious body, even so come Lord Jesus, quickly.
Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Philippians 3:20

For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:

For further study - Philippians 3:10-21

The book of Philippians is one of the richest New Testament books you can read. I have a Bible study series that I teach which I have entitled, "Personal Power for Practical People from Philippians". As you may notice, I love alliteration. However, my series title does describe this great little book. I recommend it to you for your own personal Bible study.

To prove my point, just read our extended reading for today and you will see that Paul is looking for the Rapture to happen. This is found in verses 11, 20 and 21Verse 11 is the statement of his desire to be called out of the grave if he should die before the Rapture, to then be caught up into the heavens.

The preceding verse reveals how Paul wants to live until the Rapture does happen. Paul's focus is to "know Him" which means to really come to a deep knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Paul also repeats a principle that is available to each of us which he wrote about in his letter to the Ephesians, Ephesians 1:19-20. He wrote the Ephesians that we can know the "power of the Resurrection", this is the power to live today, which we can receive from the Lord, by faith.

Paul knows that there has been much suffering in his life and ministry by the time he writes Philippians and he acknowledges that he wants to be able to understand the "fellowship with Christ" in that suffering.

The bottom line in verse 10 is that he, and we, must be ready to conform to the will of the Lord even as Jesus conformed to His Father's will and died for us on the cross.

Now that is only the first verse of our extended reading. I told you this book was rich. Look at verses 13-14. Paul states that he is focused on the future and what it might hold for us. He says, "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." In this verse he refers to the "prize" that he hopes to get at the Judgment Seat of Christ.

Therefore, verse 13, he has "one thing" he does. He forgets the past failures and looks to the future and how he can live so that he does get that "prize" at the judgment seat.

Again, I must remind you this is all in the context of Paul's awareness of what he considers, at the time of the writing of Philippians, to be the nearness of the Rapture. Paul reminds us all that our "conversation", our citizenship is not here on earth but is in heaven from where we look for Jesus to call us to be with Him.

It is when the Rapture happens and we go to be with Jesus that these old bodies of ours are changed to be like "His glorious body". What a day that will be, and it could be today that the Rapture happens. Keep looking up!

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you, Lord, for such a rich passage of Scripture that You have given us through your dear servant Paul. Help me to appropriate all the truths of this passage for my own daily living.
Monday, July 27, 2020

Philippians 2:16

Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.

For further study - Philippians 2:1-16

For a number of years I was in a ministry that used our key verse as its theme verse, "holding forth the word of life", Philippians 2:16. I will get back to that great Biblical directive in a moment.

Our extended reading for today is packed with "practical principles" for Christians in a world like ours for today. Remember, Paul is in jail in the household of the Roman Emperor Caesar, Philippians 4:22, and the apostle writes to those he led to the Lord in Philippi how to live this new life.

Let's look at the list of directives Paul passed along to the Philippian Christians and to us for today. Philippians 2:3 reveals to us how to do the work not for our own glory, vainglory, but in lowliness of mind as we look to lift up others.

In fact, Philippians 2:4 tells us not to look out for ourselves but to look to help others. The truth of the matter is that this type of lifestyle can be accomplished only by having a Christ-like mind for thinking right, Philippians 2:5.

Often we have opportunity to learn how to be a leader and fail to look at the one true leader, Jesus Christ, who thought himself of no reputation, and became a servant. Serving others is the true path to leadership. This insight is in Philippians 2:7 which also talks about the "God-man" who came to leadership that way. Obedience, even in the hard task, is the best way to accomplish the ultimate plan.

Philippians 2:8, a passage that shows us that Jesus followed that pattern, is an exhortation for each of us. Philippians 2:14 is one of the hardest verses to appropriate for our daily lives, or at least it is for me.

Paul tells us to do all things, which means "all" things without murmuring and disputing. To follow this profound principle will make us blameless, harmless, and a shining light in our very dark world, Philippians 2:15.

Now we come back to our key verse, Philippians 2:16, which tells us how we must be at the return of our Lord, the day of Christ. We can rejoice in that day and know that we did not run the race of life in vain.

We are prepared for His return as we "hold forth the word of life". It is His word on how to get saved, live our daily lives, and anticipate His return.

Philippians is a great book with personal power for practical people.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me to learn practical principles from Your word, dear Lord, and then let Your word produce Your life within me.
Sunday, July 26, 2020

Philippians 1:23

For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better.

For further study - Philippians 1:8-23

I have a study that I teach on the book of Philippians, "Personal Power for Practical People from Philippians," a study that helped me to develop Biblical principles in my own personal life. As you read through this book it becomes very apparent that the author of the book, Paul, had a great love for this people living in Philippi.

Notice verse 8 of our extended reading how Paul longed for these people. Paul wanted them to be sincere and without offense until the day that Jesus Christ comes back to earth, verse 9.

When Paul wrote this book, he was a prisoner in jail in Rome, actually in Caesar's house, Philippians 4:22Verses 15-17 reveals to us that Christ was being preached in "contention and conflict". Christ was also being preached out of "envy and strife". Paul's attitude was, praise the Lord, Christ is, in fact, being preached, verse 18.

Am I not correct, this message written by Paul is for "practical people", with the promise of power to face all of our problems. However, at the same time, Paul was facing a conflict. The conflict that Paul faced was His desire to go and be with the Lord, which would be to his gain, verse 21. At the same time, Paul knew that if he stayed on earth he would continue to minister to the people.

Paul's words are evidence of his love for the people. He was willing to give up going to be with Christ in order to minister to the people in Philippi.

Remember, in this passage, Paul's housing was provided for by the Roman government. Paul was a prisoner in Caesar's household, most likely chained to a Roman guard on a daily basis. But just think, that would have given Paul a "captive" audience to hear the gospel every day, therefore, for Paul to live was Christ, verse 20.

Paul wrote the people of Philippi about ten years after he wrote the Thessalonians about the "Rapture of the Church", I Thessalonians 4:13-18. Paul was not only conscious that in preaching he could face death soon, but he was expecting the Rapture to happen at anytime.

You can notice the "we" statements when referring to the time of the Rapture, I Thessalonians 4:14, 15 and 17Paul thought the Rapture would happen in His day. These truths had to be in his mind, as well, when he wrote the people at Philippi.

Stop and think for a moment. If Paul believed the Rapture would happen in his day, how much more should we look for the Rapture in our day, 2000 years after Paul.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me to be as Paul and live as if the Rapture will happen in my day.
Saturday, July 25, 2020

Ephesians 6:11

Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

For further study - Ephesians 6:10-18

Our devotional reading for today is an exhortation for us on how to dress in these the last days.

Our key verse sets the pattern for what a "well-dressed" believer in Christ wears as he or she prepares to face the "wiles of the devil" in these last days before Jesus returns to the heavenlies above us and shouts for us to join Him in the air, to ever be in His presence.

Paul reveals to us, actually warns us, of the real battle we will have to fight as the end times draw closer and closer. The battle will not be against "flesh and blood", verse 12, but against "satanically" directed creatures.

Verse 12 gives us the list of enemies in the last days, "principalities, against powers, against rulers of darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in the heavenlies".

Every creature mentioned on the list is energized by Satan and involved in an unseen battle going on in our world to take control of world leaders, religious leaders, and even those of us who know the Lord Jesus Christ as our Saviour.

Satan realizes the time he has left, Revelation 12:12, and from this point on will intensify his efforts to stop the plan of God from being played out in these last days. Daniel 10:13 and 20 reveals that Satan takes control of "world leaders" for his own purposes.

II Corinthians 11:13-15 tells us that the devil is an "angel of light", verse 14, and he even dispatches his "evil angels" to take control, possess men and women who use the pulpits of our world to divert God's people from doing God's plan for today and the future.

This is why Paul tells us to "put on the whole armour of God" so that we will be able to withstand the "wiles of the devil".

Verses 14-17 speaks of the pieces of the "armour" we are to "put on". We will not take the time today to go through each item we're to put on for the battle; however, let me draw your attention to two verses, verses 13 and 18.

When we have adorned ourself with the whole "armour of God" we will be able to "stand" in the evil days ahead, before the Rapture. Then in verse 18 Paul tells us after we have dressed for the battle we are to "pray" and "watch".

Prayer "changes us" so that we can conform to his image. "Watching" is that act of being aware of the enemy, the Devil and also "watching" for the Lord's return.

We dress properly for the end times, recognizing who the real enemy is, Satan, and we pray as we watch for our Lord to call us up to be with Him.

PRAYER THOUGHTThank you Lord, for my battle armour, help me to stand as I pray and watch for Your soon return.
Friday, July 24, 2020

Ephesians 2:14

For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us.

For further study - Ephesians 2:11-18

This is a very important passage of scripture that we have selected for our devotional reading for today. It will reveal how "two peoples", Jews and Gentiles, became "one". Verses 11-12 explain that in times past these two peoples were apart, "at enmity with each other". But today when both are in Christ, both are believers in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, they are now close, in fact they are "one".

This happens because of the "blood of Jesus". In fact, Jesus is the One who brought peace between Jews and Gentiles, verse 14, by taking out the "wall of partition" that was between the Jew and the Gentile.

The phrase, "wall of partition" is speaking of a "wall" around the Jewish Temple when it stood in Jerusalem to keep the Gentile from entering the sacred area of the Jewish Temple.

The Lord, with His death, burial and resurrection took out the "wall of partition" between Jew and Gentile and when the Temple was destroyed, as Jesus said it would be, the wall of partition was also destroyed at the Temple.

In the Messiah's Temple, the one described in Ezekiel 40-46, there is no "wall of partition", indicating that both Jew and Gentile have access to the Lord Jesus Christ when He sits upon His throne in the Holy of Holies in the Temple. This Temple will be erected at the end of the Tribulation and the beginning of the one thousand year Millennial Kingdom yet to come.

With the wall of partition gone between Jew and Gentile, now we both have access to Jesus. We have become "one in Christ", verse 15. There is not a "Jewish church" and a "Gentile church". There is one Church made up of Gentile and Jewish believers.

There are those who today endeavor to try to put the wall back up between Jews and Gentiles. We must not allow that to happen. There can be no division between the members of the body of Christ, the Church.

The "Church Age", after the Day of Pentecost and until the day of the Rapture, is a time when Jews and Gentiles who trust Christ become one. They are called Christians. Jews and Gentiles, when they are saved, are not Jewish Christians or Gentile Christians, we are Christians.

Before Pentecost and after the Rapture, Jews and Gentiles who believed in Jesus were, or will be "believing Jews" or "believing Gentiles". This is a key principle in understanding Bible prophecy.

It is also important that we understand this principle so that we do not divide the Body of Christ. Jesus took the wall out, we must not try to put it back and divide the Church.

The Lord has a special program for Old Testament Jewish and Gentile saints and those who are Tribulation saints made up of Jews and Gentiles. He also has a special program for Christians and this program and where it is carried out are totally different.

The Lord has given the Jews and Gentiles who come to Christ a peaceful relationship, verse 15, having slain the enmity between the two, verse 16.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank You Lord for Your plan that brings Jews and Gentiles together as one.
Thursday, July 23, 2020

Ephesians 2:8

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

For further study - Ephesians 2:1-10

What a truth - the message of our key verse in our reading today, verse 8. It is the "grace" of our wonderful Lord and Savior Jesus Christ - it is the "grace" by which we are saved. There was no work that I could do to be made pure, only the "blood" of Jesus Christ could cleanse me, and you, and make us whole.

It was God who has made us alive in Jesus Christ and given us the "grace" needed to walk, not after the course of this world according to the "prince of the power of the air", but in His power. God's "grace" is that which delivers us from the Satanic power in this world.

By the way, before we leave that thought, notice that the "evil one" is the "prince of the power of the air". Since the fall of man and the end of the original "theocracy", Satan, the devil, has been the "prince of the air", the ruling entity of this world.

Notice also that even though we are saved by "grace" through "faith" and "not of works" lest any of us could boast, there is another side to the story. After our salvation by "grace" and through "faith", we must "work". Verse 10 tells us that we have been created in Christ to do "good works" – not "works" to get saved, but "works" because we are saved.

I have said all of this to bring you to the verse that is such a blessing for each of us - verse 6Because of His grace made manifest in my salvation and yours, the Lord has in His mind raised us up to Heaven and there to sit with Him in the heavenlies. Now, we recognize that we are on the earth, not in the heavenly places yet. However, God sees us with His Son Jesus in the heavens.

This is such a precious promise to those of us who have been saved by His "grace". For a period of time yet, we are still in this evil world under the "prince of the power of the air," Satan. But our "blessed hope" is that because of what we have in Christ there is the "blessed hope" of the future abiding place for each of us who know Him as Lord and Savior.

You remember, do you not, that at the wedding, spoken of by John in Revelation, we as the "bride of Christ" are married to Jesus Christ. Our wedding gowns will be made up of our "righteousness", Revelation 19:8, which is basically the "righteous acts" or deeds that we do.

Jesus is the one who created us to do these "good works", until He comes. He is also the one who empowers each of us to do His work. All of this as a result of His grace bestowed upon each of us.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Lord because of Your grace, I am saved, but help me to fulfill that which You created me to do as a new creature, to work for you.
Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Ephesians 1:22

And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church.
For further study - Ephesians 1:15-23

As we come to this New Testament book of Ephesians, we come to the realization of who and what we are in Jesus Christ, and what He has given to each of us who know Him as Lord and Saviour.

The entire book will be a blessing to you as you read through it's pages. Let me suggest that you do that reading at another time, other than your devotional time. Ephesians will be a blessing to you.

Our key verse today, verse 22, sets the stage for our Lord to come to power in His kingdom to come, especially as you combine verse 21 and 22. Please notice however, that presently our Lord is seated at the right hand of the Father in heavenly places, verse 20. Jesus Christ is not now on His throne, where He will rule and reign from in the future.

We are not now in the Kingdom. This is a very important truth that must be enforced at this time in history. The Kingdom, when Jesus Christ will rule and reign, is during the future 1000-year kingdom, Revelation 20:4-6. This kingdom comes into place after the return of Jesus to Jerusalem, Zechariah 14:4.

The reason that this is so important today, is that there is a belief in some Christian circles that we are in the Kingdom. It is referred to as the "Kingdom now" doctrine.

The Old Testament prophets did speak of a "kingdom" for the Jewish people one day. Daniel 7:13-14 reveals the truth of that coming Kingdom, which will be a physical Kingdom headquartered in Jerusalem. Jesus Christ will build His temple on the Temple Mount, Zechariah 6:12, and rule and reign from that temple for 1000 years, Zechariah 6:13.

If we say we are in the Kingdom right now, we contradict God's prophetic program for the Jews in the future. In fact, in order to be in the Kingdom right now, we must negate all Biblical promises to the Jewish people for the future.

That is what happened in Nazi Germany in World War II. Hitler was setting up the 3rd Kingdom and he had to remove the Jews in order for that to happen. Wrong doctrine is very dangerous.

Our text today says God has set His Son in position to have dominion over all of creation in a Kingdom to come.

In closing let me say that all we see going on in our world today seems to be setting the stage for God's end time plan for an earthly Kingdom to be set up in Jerusalem. Though it is not now in operation, our Lord's Kingdom is close at hand. We must live in light of that truth.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you Lord for who and what we are in You and for Your Kingdom to come!
Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Galatians 4:29

But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.

For further study - Galatians 4:19-31

Paul's message in Galatians is that salvation comes by "grace through faith". He also warns Peter in a public chastisement that a Gentile does not have to become a Jew to then become a Christian.

As Paul prays for the people of Galatia, he writes to them that he wants to be present with the people to work with them "until Christ be formed in them", verses 19-20.

Paul is eager to warn the Galatians that God's grace alone will give them salvation. The Apostle uses a method of presentation to illustrate "grace over works". Paul discusses Abraham's sons, the two that are best known would be Ishmael and Isaac.

The first-born, Ishmael, was born to a "slave woman", and Isaac, the second born, was born of the "free woman". This illustration is speaking to the issue of the one under bondage to the "law", the Mosaic Law given at Mt. Sinai and the one free through "grace".

Paul carries the theme through out this text to conclusion with the statement that "we are not children of the bond woman, but of the free woman", verse 31. This is great doctrinal truth that is applicable for our daily walk with Christ; however, there is more for us to glean from this "field of truth", there is more that we must learn.

In verse 29, Paul uses the text to explain the children of the "flesh", Ishmael, and the children of the "Spirit", Isaac. Paul wrote that these two would be in conflict spiritually and physically. Paul also says that was the case in his day, verse 29. Notice the last five words of verse 29, "even so it is now".

These five words shout out the reality of today, Ishmael against Isaac. Ishmael went to live in Arabia and fathered the people who would become the "Islamic" people of today. Mohammad himself stated that he was a direct descendant of Ishmael. We know that Isaac was the father of Jacob, who became Israel, the Jewish people of today.

There is today a conflict between these two boys, Ishmael, the Islamist and Jacob, the Jews. It is interesting to note that the descendants of Hagar, the Ishmaelites are still slaves to sin.

Though the Jews are still in bondage to sin, one day in the future these sons of the "son of promise", Isaac, will be free in their Messiah, Jesus Christ. But until then the conflict between these two "brothers" will continue, as we see unfolding in our world today.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank You Lord for the grace that You gave me for my salvation.
Monday, July 20, 2020

Galatians 4:4

But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law.

For further study - Galatians 4:1-7

That phrase, "the fullness of time be come in" is the lead-in to what God did, He sent forth His Son for us. Have you ever thought of what is meant by the phrase, "the fullness of time?"

Let me suggest several things to consider. At the first coming of Jesus Christ, the Roman Empire ruled the known world. It is because of the "Roman rule" that there was a situation in the world for the coming of the Messiah.

For example, there was stability across the known world due to the strength of the Roman government. These days, some 2000 years ago, were days of constant conflict but the mighty Roman army helped to bring a world-wide stability.

The Romans also had an elaborate road system in place that would enhance travel to all parts of the known world. This would allow for the spread of the Gospel message to all parts of the world as the Lord had directed His disciples to do after He departed.

Travel over this road system put in place by the Romans would still need a common currency across the empire so that the travelers could pay their way from place to place as they would spread the message. That common currency was the dinarius.

By the way, in order to spread any message, there needed to be a common language for man to be able to communicate with his fellow man. At this time in history, in the "fullness of time", there was the Empire-wide common language of Koine Greek.

The one other factor that would enhance the spread of the gospel would be a meeting place in each town to gather the citizens of that community together to reason with the facts of what Jesus Christ had come to earth to do, to become the Saviour of all of human kind. That meeting place would be the synagogues, which had been built during the time of the Babylonian Empire and were still in operation almost everywhere.

These Jewish worship centers would provide the comfortable venue to discuss the claims of the Gospel and study to see if indeed Jesus Christ was the Messiah He claimed to be and the Saviour promised to the world. In the "fullness of time," God brought forth His Son to be that Saviour.

This great truth is applicable for today as well - as we look at current events in light of Biblical Prophecy, we can recognize that once again, in the "fullness of time" God will bring forth His Son, for the Second Coming.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me to use my knowledge of Bible Prophecy to explain current events, which show me it is near to the "fullness of time" once again.
Sunday, July 19, 2020

Galatians 1:4

Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:

For further study - Galatians 1:1-10

Paul, in his letter to the churches of Galatia, wrote on the authority of the "resurrected Jesus Christ". Jesus was the one who made Paul the apostle, not man, and the author of this book lets the recipients of the letter know on whose authority he was speaking.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ, the "cornerstone of our faith", is in reality the only authority we have in order to serve Him. But what other authority do we need? With this authority, Paul moves ahead with the central message of this letter to the churches of Galatia. That central message is that a Gentile did not have to become a Jew before he would or could become a Christian.

Later in this book, Paul upbraids Peter for having one foot in Judaism and one foot in Christianity. In fact, Paul writes that any other gospel than the Gospel, the good news, of the "grace of Christ" is heresy and must not be preached.

Paul actually calls for the preacher of any other gospel to be accursed, verse 9. Paul also told the Christians in Galatia that he was not only made an "apostle" by Jesus Christ, not man, and that he was not the "servant" of man and thus would not seek to please them.

Paul made it clear that he was the "servant of Christ", verse 10, and Him alone. Paul was a preacher, an apostle, made so by the Lord Jesus Christ appointed to preach the "grace of Christ" and serve Him only. This was all possible because Paul had been converted to Christ by what Christ did, dying on a cross to become sin for him and take away man’s sin, verse 4.

Notice what else Paul says about the "grace of Christ" in verse 4. Paul tells the believers in Galatia that they would be delivered from sin according to the "will of God". Rejoice dear friend we will be delivered from sin and this evil world.

That deliverance is yet future when Jesus shouts to call us up to be with Him at the Rapture. We will then be delivered from the "presence of this evil world". What a "blessed hope" that is for each of us as believers.

Sometimes people say, "you believe in the Rapture? You believe in an 'escapism' religion". They are absolutely right. We will "escape" from this evil world and it will be the "will of God". I am looking forward to escaping this evil world and doing it in the will of the Most High God - praise His name.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you Lord for the "grace of Christ" that does indeed deliver us from this present evil world.
Saturday, July 18, 2020

II Corinthians 12:9

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

For further study - II Corinthians 12:1-10

As we come to our reading today, I am eager to share several thoughts with you about the experiences of the Apostle Paul. These experiences in the life of Paul will give us insight into biblical principles that we each can appropriate for ourselves.

Let me remind you that Paul was a brilliant man. Some scholars have said he was one of the five greatest minds that ever lived. His writings are masterpieces of literature, from a worldly perspective.

Paul tells us that in order for him to not be exalted above measure, above what he should be, he was given, by God, a "thorn in the flesh", verse 7. We don't know exactly what the "thorn" was except that it was something physical, a physical ailment of some type.

Verse 8 tells us that Paul went to the Lord in prayer to request the removal of the "thorn." It is with this backdrop of weakness that God's divine power is displayed. Just think of the awesome statement from God to Paul, "My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness."

Even as I wrote God's statement I had to pause to think about it. This philosophy is opposite to what the world, even some elements of the Church, believe is for today. We are told all you do is pray and God will heal you. That was not the case with Paul. God's plan for Paul was to make manifest in his life the power and strength of God in his weakness, his physical ailment.

Notice in verse 10 that Paul says he took pleasure in his infirmities because it was for the "sake of Christ" that this was happening to him. In weakness Paul knew he was made strong. This is such a blessing to each of us as we face everyday with our own weakness. His grace is, indeed, sufficient.

But now look again at the beginning of our reading for today, verses 2-4. Paul writes that he knew a man who about 14 years earlier was caught up into heaven, the "third heaven". Let me explain the three heavens.

The "first heaven" is where the sun and the clouds are located. The "second heaven" is where the stars and galaxies are located. The "third heaven" is where God and Jesus are today. You see the first heaven "by day", the second heaven "by night" and the third heaven "by faith".

Paul spoke of himself as "a man in Christ" and not as one of great worthiness or as one who had achieved spiritual excellence. Paul was "caught up" into the third heaven in the will and plan of God. By the way, the phrase used here "caught up" is the same phrase describing the "Rapture" in I Thessalonians 4:17.

Paul experienced the "Rapture," the event that he had explained to the people in Thessalonica. Remember Paul's last words in II Timothy 4:8, he was looking forward to a "crown of righteousness" as he eagerly looked for Jesus to Rapture the Church into heaven.

He had the experience of the Rapture and wanted to go to heaven in that way, instead of by death. I want that also, don't you?

PRAYER THOUGHT: Lord, help me to understand Your strength through my weakness and also eagerly await Your call for me to join You in heaven.