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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

I Corinthians 11:26

For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.

For further study - I Corinthians 11:23-30

One of the blessings we have as the member of a local church is to join with others to partake of the Lord's Supper, or the Communion. Paul tells the church at Corinth that they must observe the Lord's Table properly and with no un-confessed sin.

Those who come to the "Lord's Table" without having confessed all of their sins to the Lord are in danger of a serious illness or even death. The Lord wants those who come to His table to be clean before Him.

Paul exhorts the people of the church at Corinth to examine themselves before coming to take of the Lord's Supper. Each of us must look "inward". We must look in at our own lives, starting from the point of our salvation till today, to see if their is any need to be reconciled to God. Then we must be ready to restore our fellowship with God.

Paul also tells us that at the Lord's Supper we must look "backward" to what Christ did on the cross for each of us. We must look back to His death, burial, and resurrection as the means for eternal life.
Then Paul tells us to "look upward". This is the part I really like. We are to look up everyday, awaiting the return of Christ.

We "look in" to see our relationship with Christ.

We "look back" to see what Christ has done for us.

We "look up" in anticipation of the Rapture of the Church.

The Rapture is when we get to be with Christ forever, which could happen at any moment. We are to anticipate His return each and every time we sit at the Lord's Table. Remember, prophecy is very practical.

As you look up continually, eagerly awaiting the Lord's Return, it will help you to be pure, productive, and prepared for the gathering of God's people to be with Him forevermore.

PRAYER THOUGHTThank you, Jesus, for Your death, burial, and resurrection. Please allow our knowledge of this great event to motivate us to live for You, as we anticipate Your return.

Saturday, February 24, 2024

I Corinthians 10:31

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

For further study - I Corinthians 10:23-33

Paul, in his letter to the Corinthian Church, lays out the guidelines for the use of the liberty that the Lord has given to us for our Christian life. The apostle writes to a very "carnal church," the church in Corinth, that everything is lawful for him, verse 23, but He gives them then four guidelines for living by the "law of love" in the liberty that God gives.

Paul says that though everything is lawful, everything is not expedient. In other words, everything is permissible but it is not always beneficial. Then Paul sets another standard for what he does. It must edify - it must build up those around him, verse 23.

Paul's lifestyle is not to promote himself or to do those things that bring attention, glory, or advancement for him, verse 24. Paul's goal is to promote the good of others. This type of lifestyle, serving others, is chosen by Paul so that he might bring many people to Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, verse 33. Paul's standard sets the bar high for each of us to set as our goal for the life we lead daily in front of others.

These principles in our passage from Paul's writings are worth our reading for today. But before we leave, let me share another principle, a "prophetic principle" as well as a "personal principle". Paul says in verse 32, in light of his chosen lifestyle, that he will not be an offense to the Jews, the Gentiles, or the Christians. This verse goes along with the theme of our reading for today but it also is a key component as you start to study prophecy.

Paul divided humankind into three members of the "human family", Gentiles, Jews, and Christians. Every person on earth is one of these family members. For the first 2,000 years of human history, from Genesis 1-12, there were only Gentiles on the earth.

When God brought Abraham to the Promised Land, He made this Gentile, Abraham, the first Hebrew, Genesis 14:13, and started another people, the Jewish people.

Then, for the next 2,000 years from Genesis 12 to Acts 1, there were Gentiles and Jews on earth, but no Christians. A Jew or a Gentile that believed God for righteousness was a believing Jew or Gentile.

On the Day of Pentecost, Acts 2, the Lord started the Church and there then was a third member of the human family, Christians. All these members of the human family are in play from Acts 2 to Revelation 22.

This information is key to understanding Bible prophecy. As we read the Word, the prophetic Word, we must keep this "prophetic principle" in mind. It will help us to know who the Lord is addressing in His prophetic plan and for what time in history.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Dear Lord, help me to approach my study of Your word with the principles that will give me understanding of Your prophetic plan.
Sunday, February 18, 2024

I Corinthians 3:8

Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.
For further study - I Corinthians 3:1-15

The apostle Paul, who wrote our reading today, also wrote to the Thessalonians about the Rapture of the church, I Thessalonians 4:13-18, and he told us of the sound of the trumpet, the shout of the archangel and at our Lord's shout, we will enter His presence. It is at that time in the future that the "Judgment Seat of Christ" takes place.

The Judgment Seat of Christ is when every Christian will be judged by Jesus Christ, John 5:22, for his or her labor for the Lord. It is at that time that we will receive either rewards or suffer loss of rewards.

The procedure for this awesome time before the Lord at the "Judgment Seat" is found in our reading for today. The reality that we will one day stand at the "Judgment Seat" is awesome as we consider the events that will unfold on that day.

Verse 12 tells us of the two categories of works that we will be judged for at the Judgment Seat.

There are the "wood, hay and stubble" works and the "gold, silver, and precious stones" works. Those wood, hay and stubble works are works we did after becoming a Christian. These are works that we have done in our own strength and for our own glory. The gold, silver and precious stones works are those works we did in His power, for His glory.

Let me remind you that works are not for salvation, but a result of salvation. Salvation is by grace through faith, Ephesians 2:8-9. Works are what follows because we are "created unto good works" after salvation, Ephesians 2:10.

All of our works from either category will be judged, actually by fire, and what remains will be that which indicates whether we gain rewards or suffer loss. Naturally, those wood, hay and stubble works will be burned up.

The gold, silver and precious stones works will be purified in the fire and bring us rewards for the works we have done for Him and for His glory and in His power.

These works are the "righteous acts" we do during our lifetime as a Christian. The righteous acts then become our "wedding garments" that we, as the bride of Christ, will wear when we are married to Jesus Christ.

This "marriage ceremony" will precede the "marriage supper of the Lamb," Revelation 19:7-9. It is exciting to consider the wedding garment we will wear at that ceremony for our groom, Jesus Christ.

However, it is a bit concerning to realize that one day, possibly very soon, at the Rapture we will stand face to face with Christ and have to respond at the Judgment Seat of Christ. This should motivate each us to get things in order so we will be ready to face Jesus. It could be today!

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me to do all works in His power and only for His honor and glory.

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

I Corinthians 2:9

But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

For further study - I Corinthians 2:1-16

I love our key verse, verse 9, it is a promise of things that God will give me and you, if you know Him as Lord and Saviour, things that I can not even imagine. My eyes have not seen them, my ears have not heard them and my heart is void of what these things might be that will come to me in the future.

What we do know is that God has prepared these things. Because I love Him they will come to me. I feel like a little child who has the prospect of receiving "something special" from someone special. In order to receive from God this "something special" we must not only love the Lord, but we must be "born again," become a "new creation".

Verse 14 states that the "natural man," a lost person without Jesus Christ, will not be able to know about God's gift. Whatever God would count as special, the lost person would consider it all foolishness. The gifts coming from the Lord will be better in focus as we study through the Word of the Lord, the Bible.

Paul explains in this passage the ministry of the Holy Spirit in communicating to the believer what God wants him to know. The first method that God uses to communicate to man is "inspiration", verse 13.

Paul says it wasn't his words and his wisdom but the Holy Spirit breathing into him, as He did into some 40 men over 1,500 years, 66 books, the Bible; with God's message for humankind, II Timothy 3:16.

These "truths" or "revelation" were also God-breathed and given to men, men the Lord Himself chose. None of the prophets received these truths by his own will but were Holy men of God and were able to speak prophetic truth as they were moved by the Holy Spirit, II Peter 1:21.

Maybe the most exciting thought in this passage is that we as Christians have the Holy Spirit living in us to not only empower us but also to teach us through "illumination", a third ministry of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus told His disciples that He must go, but He promised that when He had gone, He would send the Holy Spirit to teach us. And notice, the Holy Spirit would not only teach us but teach us things to come, John 16:7-14.

I must admit that after over 50 years of studying God's Word there is much more than I can imagine that the Lord has in store for me, in the future.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you, Lord, for breathing into Godly men, Your Word, and then sending the Holy Spirit, the one who gave men Your Word, to dwell within me and teach me Your Word.

Sunday, February 11, 2024

I Corinthians 1:18

For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
For further study -I Corinthians 1:18-31

In the passage for our devotional reading today we see how those today who exalt "human wisdom" will one day come to an understanding that man's wisdom is "foolishness in the things of God".

That's how Paul begins our devotional passage, which is an excerpt of his letter to the very "carnal church" in Corinth. What a powerful truth, that which seems to be "foolishness" to those of the world today who are not saved, not believers in Jesus Christ for eternal life, how they consider the "preaching of the cross" foolishness.

But Paul tells those of us who do believe that we came to that belief by the "preaching of the cross" which is to those of us who believe, the "power of God," verse 18.

If we take a closer look at the philosophy of this world today, and its people, they are bound up by "human wisdom," the knowledge and intellect of man. Even the "church," the institution ordained by God on Earth, has appropriated that "humanistic" philosophy, that "human wisdom," which they have made key to their "pattern of life".

Paul uses this letter to the Church in Corinth, who had bought into this philosophy and he revealed to them that man's wisdom was "foolishness". God's wisdom is what we should long for. It is very evident in what is termed "post-modern Christianity" in the Church today that they have allowed for "man's wisdom" to take control of leadership and ministry.

In fact, Paul even said that the foolishness of God, verse 25, is wiser than men. Verse 27 reveals God's plan for this matter. God has chosen the "foolishness of this world to confound the wise".

Paul realizes that many in this world must have "signs" to believe what is of the Lord, verse 22, especially the Jew. If one has to have a "sign" to believe, "faith" will not then spring forth.

Hebrews 11:1 says that "faith" is the substance of things "hoped for," the evidence of things "not seen". If we must have a "sign" before we believe then we don't have "real faith".

"Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God," Romans 10:17. The Jew and some others require a "sign" and the Gentile craves for wisdom, the wisdom of man, verse 22. Both are the opposite of God's design for the Church and it's ministry and worship.

Paul sets the standard, verse 23, "we preach Christ crucified". Not only crucified, but resurrected, ascended into heaven and one day coming again. Now that is "real wisdom," God's wisdom.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me to stay in the Bible for the Godly wisdom that will carry me through life and into eternity future.

Thursday, February 8, 2024

Romans 14:10

But why dost thou judge thy brother? Or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
For further study - Romans 14:1-13

Paul is writing to the church in Rome, in chapter 14, at least the first part of the chapter, about a problem among the people of the church.

There are those who are saying, "We can eat this or that but we must not eat the other." Then there are those who say, "We esteem this day more important than any other and you don't do that." Paul addresses these issues in several ways.

Paul says whatever we eat, if we are Christians, it's unto the Lord, verse 6. Also, what day we esteem, that will be done unto the Lord as well. In fact, Paul says, if we are alive we are living unto the Lord, or we should be doing so, verse 8.

Then Paul exhorts the Romans, as well as each of us today, to stop judging one another any more. Paul says what must be judged is that we must not put a stumbling block or occasion to fall in our brothers way, verse 13.

Paul then asks the question, "Why doest thou judge your brother, verse 10, especially in light of the fact that we are all going to stand before the "Judgment Seat of Christ" one day.

This is not a judgment to determine whether we are saved or lost. That will be determined before we ever get to the "Judgment Seat of Christ". There will be only "saved" people at the "Judgment Seat of Christ".

Verse 12 states that "Every one of us shall give an account of himself to God". The "Judgment Seat of Christ" takes place right after the Rapture of the Church. When we leave this earth at the time that Jesus shouts to call us up to join Him in the "air", I Thessalonians 4:13-18, we stand before the Lord right at that moment, in the "twinkling of an eye", I Corinthians 15:52.

After departing earth we are "face to face with Jesus", in order that we can give an account of ourselves. It's at the "Judgment Seat" where we are judged to determine that our works are those which qualify as our "righteous acts", Revelation 19:8. These "righteous acts" make up our "wedding garment" for the "marriage ceremony" and the "Marriage Supper of the Lamb".

Also at the "Judgment Seat" we will be given "crowns" as rewards, crowns for bringing our bodies under subjection, I Corinthians 9:27; for being soul-winners, I Thessalonians 2:19; for not yielding to temptation, James 1:12; for helping young believers grow in the Lord, I Peter 5:1-14; and for eagerly looking for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, II Timothy 4:8.

We will then take these crowns to the throne, where Jesus is seated, and we cast them at the feet of Jesus in thanksgiving for what He has, is, and will do for us, Revelation 4:10.

Paul has a great question for each of us as we close our time in the Word for this devotional, why do we judge our brothers and sisters?

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me to live today, Lord, knowing I will stand at the "Judgment Seat of Christ", to receive crowns to cast at Your feet in thanksgiving. Help me not to judge others, but to make sure I am not a stumbling block.
Sunday, February 4, 2024

Romans 11:23

For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.
For further study - Romans 11:7-25

Romans 9, 10 and 11
 are very prophetic in their nature and they speak of Israel Past, Present and Prophetic. Romans 9 is "Israel past", Romans 10 is "Israel present" and Romans 11 is "Israel prophetic".

The phrase in our key verse, verse 25, is an accurate description of Israel today. They are a people that are blinded to the truths of the true Messiah, Jesus Christ.

This description of the Jewish people, however, sets the playing field even for those who are not Jewish to be a part of the end time scenario that will unfold leading up to the returning Messiah. By that, I mean that both Jews and Gentiles are able to come to Jesus Christ as the Messiah and their Saviour.

The phrase "fullness of the Gentiles" is referring to those Gentiles who have been saved since that first Gentile came to Christ, Cornelius, in Acts 10. God at that time set in motion the opportunity for all Gentiles to get saved.

Jewish people will have an opportunity to be saved today, because there are some Jews that will understand the gospel and get saved since it is only "blindness in part". However, the mass majority of the Jewish people are, by choice, blinded to the truth of the gospel.

The good news for the Gentile is that now the gospel message will be focused on them "until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in". That "fullness of the Gentiles" is a term that is defined as the time when the last Gentile gets saved to make it the "fullness".

When is the "fullness" completed, I do not know, only the Lord knows that number of Gentiles who will get saved. However, when it happens, the Lord will return and Jewish people, all of them, will hear the Gospel and have an opportunity to respond to the gospel and get saved.

Can Jews get saved before the "fullness"? The answer is yes. In fact, in our reading is the way to lead a Jew to Jesus Christ, verse 11. It tells us that we can provoke a Jew to turn to Jesus because he or she is jealous for what we have in Jesus.

That is the reason that God turned to the Gentiles, so He could use the Gentiles to provoke the Jews to jealousy and then bring them to Himself. In fact, leading Gentiles to the Lord actually helps hasten the return of the Lord, as well, 2 Peter 3:12.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Make my life in Christ that which provokes others to jealousy so that they might come to Jesus Christ and thus bring the Lord back sooner.

Friday, February 2, 2024

Romans 10:12

For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: For the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
For further study - Romans 10:9-21

Romans 10 is a very important passage as it relates to someone coming to faith in Jesus Christ, and in fact, the passage also reveals how each of us develop faith. As you read through the extended reading I am sure you will recognize the verses that are used when leading someone to faith in Jesus Christ, as Lord and Saviour.

In verse 9 we see the gospel, the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The gospel is the power of God to all that believe, the Jews first, and also Gentiles, Romans 1:16, which is confirmation of verse 9.

Verse 13, states the phrase, which is used by those who want to be saved, inviting Christ into their heart. I can remember the day I quoted Romans 10:13 and asked Jesus into my heart. The verse is not only an invitation for Him to save us, but a guarantee that He will do so if we call upon Him. What a blessed promise.

By the way verse 12 says that this is the method of salvation, confessing and believing that Jesus rose from the dead, verse 9, and calling upon Him to save us, it is the method of salvation to the Greek, the Gentile and to the Jews.

Some today say that Jews do not have to come by the way of the cross and through Jesus Christ to be saved. That is heresy. All must come to salvation, only through Jesus Christ.

There is so much I could share with you from this passage, let me notice with you two more great truths.

Verse 17 says that we are able to obtain faith by the Word of God and our hearing of the Word of God. We can help others have "faith" by speaking the Word of God so that they hear it and attain "faith". We must go and speak the Word to those who need Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.

Romans 10 
is a message that is technically focusing on the Jewish people, as is Romans 9 & 11.   Notice that we who come from a Gentile background, instead of a Jewish background, God has given us salvation so that we might be able to provoke Jews to jealousy, that they might want what we have in Jesus.

Even though God has a plan for the Jews in the future, we can be used of the Lord today to bring the message of salvation to His chosen people, the Jewish people. This work of bringing the "gospel message" to Jewish people must be done even as we watch the Lord preparing the Jews for His future program for them.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Lord, please use me to speak Your Word of salvation to those who need it, both Gentiles and Jews.