BKI Encouragement 233 - December 31, 2014
"Rejoice in the Lord..." - Philippians 4:4
As we enter the New Year, if we focus upon the present condition of our nation and the world, if we focus upon our own struggle with sin or the opposition we face in living for Christ we can easily lose our joy. Sin is a "passing pleasure" and the New Year will offer many enticements to find our joy in what God forbids. However, the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever so our joy rests not in our circumstances but in knowing Him. Neither does it rest in just enjoying the benefits of salvation which are great and many, but in the greater benefit of knowing Him. In the words of David, "In Thy presence is fulness of joy; In Thy right hand there are pleasures forever." This is the real and final destination of all who have been redeemed by Him. Be encouraged!
References: Philippians 4:4; Hebrews 11:25; Psalm 16:11
BKI Encouragement 232 - December 24, 2014
"...for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people." -
The good news proclaimed by an angel was that God was providing for all mankind "a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." Through His death, burial and resurrection this good news became the gospel of Jesus Christ. J.C. Ryle gives us many reasons why this is good news and why it should bring great joy to our hearts:
"There is in the Gospel a complete provision or all the wants of man's soul; there is a supply of everything that can be required to relieve spiritual hunger and spiritual thirst. Pardon, peace with God, lively hope in this world, glory in the world to come, - are set before us in rich abundance. He offers to take us into union with Himself, to restore us to the family of God as dear children, to clothe us with His own righteousness, to give us a place in His kingdom, and to present us faultless before His Fathers' throne at the last day. The Gospel, in short, is an offer of food to the hungry, of joy to the mourner, of a home to the outcast, of a loving friend to the lost. It is glad tidings."
Celebrate the birth of Christ with a heart full of joy! Be encouraged!
References: Luke 2:10; Luke 2:11; J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels, Matthew, 1856
BKI Encouragement 231 - December 17, 2014
"Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.'" - John 3:7
Recently, I came up behind a car that displayed numerous bumper stickers reflecting a rejection of Christianity. One said, "God protect me from your followers." Another read, "Born right the first time", mocking the word's of our Lord Jesus Christ who said we must be born again. For those of us who have been born again, we know of its unlimited blessings. To mention a few, we have been given the "right to become children of God". "We have peace with God", and "the Spirit of God dwells" within us. We now belong to "the Father of mercies and God of all comfort." We have been called out of "darkness into His marvelous light" and have "every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ". We have been given the "free gift of eternal life" and "our citizenship is in heaven". And all of this "in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus." With humility and thanksgiving we give praise to God that we have been born again. Be encouraged!
References: John 3:7; John 1:12; Romans 5:1; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 2 Corinthians 1:3; 1 Peter 2:9; Ephesians 1:3, 2:7; Romans 6:23; Philippians 3:20
BKI Encouragement 230 - December 10, 2014
"...the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation..." - 2 Peter 2:9
No one is alone in temptation for it is common to all mankind. But the responsibility to not yield to temptation falls on the individual because "each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust". It is "the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life" that does us in. In our present society we are encouraged to blame someone or something else for the temptations we face. But it has been said, "we have met the enemy and he is us." Or, it might be said, "we all have problems, but we are the problem." The answer to our problems is beyond ourselves. Therefore, we read in Scripture, "No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it." Praise God that in His faithfulness He provides the power to rescue you from temptation and sin. Be encouraged!
References: 2 Peter 2:9; James 1:14; 1 John 2:16; 1 Corinthians 10:13
BKI Encouragement 229 - December 3, 2014
"Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away." - Luke 21:33
Changing times, cultural identity and political correctness have all had an influence on the church. Many today look differently at morality, creation and even the way we communicate the gospel and build the church. Has God changed? Has the Scripture changed? Does it require a different interpretation? Too many want the Bible to support cultural changes and therefore, believe we must look at Scripture differently. They apparently do not realize that the Bible has always been counter-cultural and will always be so in a sinful world. Being faithful to the Bible will find one in conflict with the culture, but that is exactly where the believer needs to be. How else can we fulfill our calling to be salt and light to the world? If you would ask what the Bible has to say today to our present culture, it would say the same thing it has always said. The Psalmist wrote, "Forever, O Lord, Thy Word is settled in heaven." Come to the Word, read it, believe it and obey it. Let the Word change you rather than you being changed by the culture. Be encouraged!
References: Luke 21:33; Psalm 119:89
BKI Encouragement 228 - November 19, 2014
"For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding." - Proverbs 2:6
As I watched the many political advertisements preceding the recent election, I concluded that most of them treat those looking on as if they have no wisdom. Perhaps in some ways they are right. Recent surveys, especially among young voters, revealed that many have never heard of ISIS, are unaware of the national debt, and cannot name the number of senators or even name the Vice President of the United States. But what about Christians? A survey conducted by Biola University among Christians revealed that some believe the following: Sodom and Gomorrah were a married couple; Joan of Arc was the wife of Noah; Joshua, son of Nun, was the son of a nun and that Billy Graham gave the Sermon on the Mount. It is hard to be wise without the facts. Like those of Berea we must receive "the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things" are so. We must also turn to the Lord for wisdom, for "if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him." Come to the Word daily. Seek "wisdom from above". And be encouraged!
References: Proverbs 2:6; Acts 17:11; James1:5, 3:17
BKI Encouragement 227 - November 12, 2014
"...My grace is sufficient for you..." - 2 Corinthians 12:9
Ryle writes, "...we must never despair of any one's salvation merely because he lives in a position unfavorable to his soul. Grace is stronger than circumstances." You know that "by grace you have been saved through faith..." If the Lord poured out His grace upon you while you were still in your sin, how much more will His grace be sufficient for you now that you belong to Him? Presently, your circumstances may be unfavorable. There may be anxiety, disappointment, failure and temptation all around. Outwardly, you want to pretend all is well but you know it is not. You feel alone with no one to help and no one who cares. But there is One. One who offers a fresh supply of grace every day. One who at this very moment, by grace, offers strength in temptation, clearness in conscience and peace in heart and mind. It is the One who came to the cross for you, "full of grace and truth". Be encouraged!
References: 2 Corinthians 12:9; J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels -- Matthew; Ephesians 2:8; John 1:14
BKI Encouragement 226 - November 5, 2014
"God is not the God of the dead but of the living." - Matthew 22:32
A current television series that has gained critical acclaim and captured the attention and loyalty of many is "The Walking Dead". I am not sure why anyone is fascinated with this except the obvious, Americans crave entertainment even if it is a morbid, horror drama. The truth of the matter is that the world really is filled with those who are "the walking dead". All who do not know Christ as their Savior are literally the walking dead. The Bible declares that apart from Christ you are "dead in your trespasses and sins." This means you are spiritually dead, separated from God and with no hope of eternal life. The Scripture goes on to state, "But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)." Only God can take the walking dead and give life. The one who comes to Christ in saving faith "has eternal life, and does not come into judgment but has passed out of death into life." Without Christ, you are the walking dead! Why remain dead when by the grace of God you can have life? Real life! Eternal life! Be encouraged!
References: Matthew 22:32; Ephesians 2:1, 4, 5; John 5:24
BKI Encouragement 225 - October 29, 2014
"The rich and the poor have a common bond, the Lord is the maker of them all." - Proverbs 22:2
It has been told that when Diogenes was looking at a pile of human bones he said to Alexander the Great, "I am searching for the bones of your father but cannot distinguish them from those of a slave." One of the sinister sides of American politics is to pit the poor against the rich or the middle class against the wealthy. You might have noticed news reports of people carrying signs, "We are the 99 %", in opposition and disdain for the 1%. But the wrong in this works both ways. The rich can look down on the poor and the poor can look down on the rich. In either case, the Scripture is clear, "if you show partiality, you are committing sin..." Our God, being holy and completely separated from the sin of men is "not one to show partiality". Nor should we as those who are the chosen of God. By the power and grace of God we need not hold our "faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism." Rather, be like our Lord. Be encouraged!
References: Proverbs 22:2; James 2:1, 9; Acts 10:34
BKI Encouragement 224 - October 22, 2014
"And God created man in His own image..." - Genesis 1:27
It is natural for people to become attached to their pets, but have we gone too far? Recently, with the start of school, one television station aired tips on how to comfort your pets, claiming they suffer emotionally when kids go back to school. In Scottsdale, Arizona, thirty-three pet owners paid $200,000 each, to have their pets kept in cryopreservation with the hope that someday they can be brought back to life. Yet, in America every day, approximately 3,000 unborn children who are created in the image of God are denied the opportunity of life. Something is terribly wrong with this picture. The evolutionary mindset of placing animals above human life prevails across much of the American landscape. However, it is clear in Scripture that ONLY MANKIND is created in the image of God, was commissioned to rule over every living creature and has the capacity for a spiritual relationship with Him. But, because all have sinned, this relationship has been completely broken. Our Lord came and died on the cross in order that this relationship may be fully restored through faith in Jesus Christ. Isn't it amazing that the living God who created all things and upholds all things by the word of His power desires to have a personal relationship with you? Be encouraged!
References: Genesis 1:27; Genesis 1:28; Hebrews 1:2, 3
BKI Encouragement 223 - October 15, 2014
"And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." - John 8:32
The Psalmist wrote, "The sum of Thy word is truth..." and Jesus confirmed, "...Thy word is truth." However, the truth which makes men free is, for the most part, the truth which men prefer not to hear. So great is the depravity of man, that although there is nothing that he needs more than the gospel, there is nothing that he desires less. But our God, full of grace and truth, "desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." As believers, through the Scriptures, we hold the truth in our hands and by the Spirit, it brings meaning to every aspect of our lives. Even in a world that overwhelmingly rejects the truth, we are to make Christ known as "the way, and the truth and the life." We are free! Free to live the truth! Free to proclaim the truth! Be encouraged!
References: John 8:32; Psalm 119:160; John 17:17; 1 Timothy 2:4; John 14:6
BKI Encouragement 222 - October 8, 2014
"But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God..." - John 1:12
We are the children of God; therefore, we will fight the good fight, finish the course and keep the faith. We are the children of God; therefore, we are controlled by the love of Christ for all men. We are the children of God; therefore, no one can snatch us out of our Father's hand, separate us from the love of Christ or stop the good work He has begun and will perfect in us until the day of Christ Jesus. We are the children of God therefore our desire is to love, honor and glorify our Lord. In the words of Tozer, "With the goodness of God to desire our highest welfare, the wisdom of God to plan it, and the power of God to achieve it, what do we lack? Surely we are the most favored of all creatures." Be encouraged!
References: John 1:12; 2 Timothy 4:7, 2 Corinthians 5:14; John 10:29; Romans 8:39; Philippians 1:6; A.W. Tozer
BKI Encouragement 221 - October 1, 2014
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding." - Proverbs 3:5
Although we are warned in Scripture about trusting in man, riches or ourselves, it is the natural tendency of even those who are believers. It is hard to admit that often we do not have clear answers concerning the Lord's leading or the will of God for our lives. Paul Tripp writes, "We need to accept that the reasons that God does what he does in our lives, or how our lives fit into the whole of his grand redemptive plan, will never be completely clear in this life. This is why real rest and peace is not found in knowing and understanding. It is found only in trust." In Isaiah we read, "The steadfast of mind Thou wilt keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in Thee. Trust in the Lord forever, for in God the Lord, we have an everlasting Rock." Trust in the Lord in everything. And be encouraged!
References: Proverbs 3:5; Isaiah 26:3, 4
BKI Encouragement 220 - September 24, 2014
"...Christ in you, the hope of glory." - Colossians 1:27
Shortly before his death, Mark Twain wrote, "a myriad of men are born; they labor and sweat and struggle for bread; they squabble and scold and fight; they scramble for little mean advantages over each other. Age creeps upon them; infirmities follow; shames and humiliations bring down their prides and their vanities... The burdens of pain, care, misery grows heavier year by year... and they vanish from a world... which will lament them a day and forget them forever." How sad it is that the majority of people in the world, from the rich and famous to the poor and unknown, have no true hope beyond the grave. But a believer is "born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." Our faith is in Jesus who said, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die." Be encouraged!
References: Colossians 1:27; 1 Peter 1:3; John 11:25, 26
BKI Encouragement 219 - September 17, 2014
"Blessed are the gentle..." - Matthew 5:5
We should all desire to have "...the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit which is precious in the sight of God". Gentleness is a necessary characteristic for those who are blessed with the fruit of evangelism. The great missionary to China, Hudson Taylor, once said, "Hard missionaries are not of much use: they are not like the Master. He is never hard. It is better to be trusting and gentle and sympathetic, even if often taken in, rather than sharp and hard." Jesus spoke to the lost, laboring in sin and said, "Take my yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls." Paul attributed his evangelism success in Thessalonica to the fact "...we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children". As believers, we need to "be uncontentious, gentle, showing every consideration for all men." Be gentle. Be evangelistic. Be encouraged!
References: Matthew 5:5; 1 Peter 3:4; Matthew 11:29; 1 Thessalonians 2:7; Titus 3:2
BKI Encouragement 218 - September 10, 2014
"...for when I am weak, then I am strong." - 2 Corinthians 12:10
Paul said to the Corinthians, "I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling." I have yet to share the gospel without feeling very inadequate and weak. I have even been told by those to whom I was witnessing that Christianity is for the weak. Former professional wrestler Jesse Ventura, while governor of Minnesota, stated publically that religion was a crutch for the weak. Those who reject God will always elevate their own thinking. The Christian who finds hope, peace, strength and power by trusting in his Lord and Savior will be seen by the world as a weak. In reality, the proclamation of the gospel by believers and the reception of it by unbelievers bring together the weakness of man and the power of God. Those who remain self-sufficient will reject the gospel because "the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness." As for us who desire to make Him known, we are content to be "fools for Christ's sake." Be encouraged!
References: 2 Corinthians 12:10; 1 Corinthians 2:3, 1:18, 4:10
BKI Encouragement 217 - September 3, 2014
And they said, “Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven…” - Genesis 11:4
Today many see the potential of man as limitless, but the idea did not begin in the modern age. It goes as far back as the first book of the Bible when the descendants of Noah built the tower of Babel. It is amazing to see what man has accomplished since. Advances in aviation, medicine, technology and communication over just the last century are incredible. Yet, the most important things in life man cannot do. In and of himself he cannot know God, stop sinning or gain eternal life. Only God can draw a person to Himself, give victory over sin and the free gift of eternal life to those who place their faith in Jesus Christ. Only then can man do that of utmost importance, live his life to the glory of God. Yes, it is amazing what man can do, but it is far more amazing what God can do! Man has his limitations, but “the things impossible with men are possible with God.” Be encouraged!
References: Genesis 11:4; Luke: 18:27
BKI Encouragement 216 - August 27, 2014
"But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you." - Luke 6:27, 28
Today, when harm or loss of life occurs because of alleged wrongdoing there is an immediate outcry and demand for justice. I am reminded of what took place in the last century when American missionaries were slain at the hands of the Auca Indians in Ecuador. The father of one of the missionaries, T.E. McCully, prayed, “Lord, let me live long enough to see those fellows saved who killed our boys that I may throw my arms around them and tell them I love them because they love my Christ.” McCully’s prayer was answered. Perhaps he was inspired by the words of Jesus as He was being put to death on the cross, “Father forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” This attitude should not be hard for us to grasp for after all, “while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son…” Our God, full of mercy and grace, desires to save His enemies, your enemies and my enemies. Be encouraged!
References: Luke 6:27, 28; Luke 23:34; Romans 5:10
BKI Encouragement 215 - August 20, 2014
"…where sin increased, grace abounded all the more." - Romans 5:20
One time I was told by someone to whom I was witnessing that they had never sinned. A person will never see their great need for grace until they see how great their sin is. Such was the Apostle Paul when he wrote, “…Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among who I am foremost.” The great Scottish preacher, Alexander Whyte told his congregation he had discovered the most wicked man in Edinburgh and then named himself. John Newton once said, “When I get to heaven I shall see three wonders there. The first wonder will be to see many people there whom I did not expect to see; the second wonder will be, to miss many people whom I did expect to see; and the third and greatest wonder of all will be to find myself there.” And so we sing “Amazing Grace! How sweet the sound – that saved a wretch like me.” Be encouraged!
References: Romans 5:20; 1 Timothy 1:15; Frontline, Jan-Feb, 2005; Amazing Grace, John Newton
BKI Encouragement 214 - August 13, 2014
That, just as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord”. - 1 Corinthians: 1:31
Undoubtedly, we live in a narcissistic age with a “me first” mentality. We can easily be filled with pride concerning who we are and what we do. Power, popularity and recognition reign high in the human heart. Perhaps we need to be reminded that “…we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either.” All that we have comes from the Creator’s hand. All that is worthy before Him has been made worthy by His grace. The Lord spoke to Jeremiah and said, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice, and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things...”
I’d rather have Jesus than men’s applause;
I’d rather be faithful to His dear cause;
I’d rather have Jesus than world-wide fame,
I’d rather be true to His holy name.
“In God we have boasted all day long, And we will give thanks to Thy name forever.” Be encouraged!
References: 1 Corinthians: 1:31; 1 Timothy 6:7; Jeremiah 9:23, 24; I’d Rather Have Jesus, Rhea F. Miller; Psalm 44:8
BKI Encouragement 213 - August 6, 2014
"For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another." - Titus 3:3
Without Christ, sinfulness comes forth in many ways. But thanks be to the Lord that in salvation, He sometimes works dramatically or over a period of time in our spiritual growth to change our lives. Foolishness gives way to godly wisdom. Disobedience is laid aside for servant-hood. Deception is replaced with discernment. Lust is stymied with conviction. The pleasures of the world can no longer compare to the joy of salvation. The reign of malice, envy and hatred is dethroned by kindness, contentment and love. One cannot come Christ and remain the same; and who would want to? In the words of John Newton, “I am not what I ought to be, I am not what I want to be, I am not what I hope to be in another world; but still I am not what I once used to be, and by the grace of God I am what I am.” And we know when He comes, He “will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory.” Oh, what a glorious change! Be encouraged!
References: Titus 3:3
BKI Encouragement 212 - July 30, 2014
But Jesus said to him, “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the Kingdom of God" - Luke 9:62
What a privilege to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, to follow Him without compromise. A disciple will not look back, let up or be still. He is not ashamed of the gospel. He is done with the lack of purpose and mediocrity. He knows that most of what the world has to offer is of no necessity. Therefore, the temporal may bore him, but the coming Kingdom excites him. He no longer needs prosperity, position or popularity. He is content to be a servant of the King. His road is narrow, his companions are few, but his mission is clear. He is “steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.” His work is not done as long as there is still one on this earth who needs to be saved. He cannot be bought, compromised, lured away or turned back. He is a disciple. Be a disciple. Be encouraged!
References: Luke 9:62; Romans 1:16; The Discerner, April-June, 2014; 1 Corinthians 15:58
BKI Encouragement 211 - July 23, 2014
“Behold, I will do something new...” - Isaiah 43:19
When I was hired by a major airline in my twenties, I was apprehensive about surviving flight school. All my flight experience had been on light aircraft and I had not even set foot on a jet airplane, let alone piloted one. However, my TWA instructor assured me that with all new hires it was a new beginning and the training was not based upon previous knowledge or experience. Fortunately for me, he was right. The same principle is true in Christianity. When one comes to Christ for salvation he is given a new life in Christ and his success in living the Christ-like life does not depend upon previous knowledge or experience. “In Scripture we read, “…the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” Unfortunately, someone’s education and success in the world often becomes his ticket to prominence in the church, but no such principle comes forth in Scripture. Regardless of the past, this very day you can succeed in your walk with Christ because in and with you He “will do something new.” The Lord’s compassion for you is “new every morning”. Be encouraged!
References: Isaiah 43:19; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Colossians 3:11; Lamentations 3:22-23
BKI Encouragement 210 - July 16, 2014
“He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy.” - Titus 3:5
No one can be saved by self-righteousness. No one could ever be good enough to save himself. This is the great fallacy of so many people and practically all religions except biblical Christianity. In God’s mercy, He sees the helpless sinner, has compassion on him and provides a way of salvation. In mercy, God is willing to withhold the penalty of sin which is eternal destruction and by His grace provide eternal life. This is why the Scripture teaches us that while we were dead in our trespasses and sins, and children of wrath, even as the rest, God being rich in mercy, loved us and saved us. Give thanks to the Lord today that you do not have to carry the burden of self-righteousness and good works to be saved. Salvation belongs to the Lord! Be encouraged!
References: Titus 3:5; Ephesians 2:1-5; Psalm 3:8
BKI Encouragement 209 - July 9, 2014
“Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might.” - Ephesians 6:10
With the growing acceptance of perversion today, often we hear even the Christian say, “Well, that’s their business as long as it doesn’t affect me.” Did not Adam and Eve’s sin affect everyone since? Is the proper response in a nation that aborts 60 million unborn, “Well, that’s their choice”? Can a nation taunt God with immorality and perversion without having an impact on both the righteous and the unrighteous? Daniel was upright and obedient but spent 70 years in captivity due to the sin of the nation. There were believers and churches in Jerusalem when it was destroyed in 70 AD because of the national sin of rejecting Christ. Until the Lord gathers us together with Him we are not immune from His dealings among the nations. But apathy and indifference are not the antidote for a nation’s sin. We must stand strong in the Lord. In the strength of His might we must have the boldness to call sin, sin. We must not be ashamed of the gospel. Only then will we be “a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing”. Be strong in the Lord and be encouraged!
References: Ephesians 6:10; 2 Corinthians 2:15
BKI Encouragement 208 - July 2, 2014
“And from that city many of the Samaritans believed in Him… for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world.” - John 4:39-42
There is only one who can save. His name is Jesus! Isaiah declared of Him, “I, even I, am the Lord; and there is no other savior besides Me.” Our Lord was given the name Jesus which means “Savior” for only He could “save His people from their sins.” He saves us from the guilt, power and penalty of sin. Someday He will remove us from the presence and consequences of sin. No matter how great the sin the one who comes to Him in faith will find salvation – forgiveness and the free gift of eternal life. He is just as able and willing to save today as He was when He came to the Samaritans almost 2,000 years ago. Presently He does not save us from all sorrow, harm or suffering. But in His timing, even that will come to an end. With the Psalmist we must say, “How blessed are the people whose God is the Lord!” Therefore, “we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ”. Be encouraged!
References: John 4:39-42; Isaiah 43:11; Matthew 1:21; Philippians 3:20
BKI Encouragement 207 - June 25, 2014
“Let the Word of Christ richly dwell within you...” - Colossians 3:16
Why is there such a perception today that we need more than the Bible? For years now, we have had the integration of psychology into Scripture. The Charismatics often claim they have special words from the Lord. Most recently, churches such as the Presbyterian USA decided that the Scripture needs an added touch of tolerance and political correctness. In a best-selling devotional book the author writes, “I knew that God communicated with me through the Bible, but I yearned for more.” Her devotional is built on the premise that Jesus speaks directly to her outside of Scripture. I am reminded of the words of Spurgeon, “Believer! There is enough in the Bible for thee to live upon forever. If thou shouldest outnumber the years of Methuselah, there would be no need for fresh revelation; if thou shouldest live till Christ should come, there would be no necessity for the addition of a single word…” The Scripture would agree, “Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. Do not add to His words…” You have a Bible. You have what you need. Be encouraged!
References: Colossians 3:16; Sarah Young, Jesus Calling; Charles Spurgeon, The New Park Street Pulpit; Proverbs 30:5, 6
BKI Encouragement 206 - June 18, 2014
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” - Psalm 51:10
As believers, sometimes we need a new start in our Christian walk. It is so easy to continue to yield to sin, love the world or be indifferent to the Lord’s desires for you. There are times when our prayer life and time in the Word is not much more than a routine. We can carry guilt from the past or be disheartened for how we perceive our future. All of these can make us feel quite distant from the love and goodness of the Lord. Frances Schaeffer offers these words of encouragement. “Whatever may be the mark of sin in me at any point, whenever I find these marks upon me in any situation, I am not at a dead-end. The blood of Jesus Christ can cleanse me from all true guilt, not just once, but as many times as I need. There is always the possibility of a truly new start…” Regardless of all the sin and failures that may mark your life, the Lord who is good and compassionate stands ready to forgive and restore your relationship with Him. Be encouraged!
References: Psalm 51:10; Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality; Psalm 86:5
BKI Encouragement 205 - June 11, 2014
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold new things have come.” - 2 Corinthians 5:17
Several years ago I told a group of Native American pastors that the problem on the Reservation was not the absence of the gospel but the absence of changed lives. Could we not say the same all across America? Jonathan Edwards, describing America’s Great Awakening, wrote that the people began to show signs of radically changed lives with a renewed hunger for the Word, they put aside their sinful entertainments and hardly had a conversation without speaking of Christ. With changed lives, a fervor for God and His Word began to spread across America. What a privilege we have today to be lights shining in darkness. With a changed life and a renewed hunger in our hearts for His Word perhaps God will use you to awaken America once again. Therefore “put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” Let us spread our excitement about Christ and His word with others and be encouraged!
References: 2 Corinthians 5:17; Voice, May/June 2014; Ephesians 4:24
BKI Encouragement 204 - June 4, 2014
“...God our Father who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace.” - 2 Thessalonians 2:16
“By grace” means we are receiving something we do not deserve. This is why salvation is a free gift of God which no one deserves or can earn because it is all by grace. When people face disappointment or discouragement, they often seek comfort and relief through human innovation such as medications, drugs or some form of psychotherapy hoping to cope with the issues of life. But God has never been interested in coping or some temporal fix for the burdens we carry in life. The gift of God to all who seek refuge in Him is “eternal comfort and good hope.” This comfort and hope cannot be diminished by anything in one’s present life or throughout eternity. Since our Lord is the “God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our afflictions,” He gives us hope far beyond all that we face today. Yes, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble,” not just for today but forever. Be encouraged!
References: 2 Thessalonians 2:16; 2 Corinthians 1:3, 4; Psalm 46:1
BKI Encouragement 203 - May 28, 2014
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” - Genesis 1:1
Recently Microsoft founder Bill Gates stated, “The mystery and beauty of the world is overwhelmingly amazing, and there is no scientific explanation of how it came about.” He went on to say, “I think it makes sense to believe in God.” I am sure that all the atheists and evolutionists along with much of the scientific community cringed to have such a high profile and influential billionaire make such statements. The observation of Gates may be made by all, as “The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands”. This is why we read in Romans One that “since the creation of the world” mankind is “without excuse” for not knowing there is a God. It is not a matter of scientific explanation but a matter of faith when we read, “The heavens are Thine, the earth also is Thine; the world and all it contains, Thou hast founded them”. May we say with the Psalmist, “Lord, Thou has been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were born, or Thou didst give birth to the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God.” Yes, Thou art our God through faith in Jesus Christ. Be encouraged!
References: Genesis 1:1; Psalm 19:1; Romans 1:20; Psalm 89:11, 90:2
BKI Encouragement 202 - May 21, 2014
“Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves.” - Romans 15:1
Some believers are strong in their faith and in the Lord while others are weak. Many are easily discouraged and can even live in fear of facing difficult situations. Some have no courage to speak up for Christ and the Gospel in this world. Others easily yield to temptation and often live defeated lives. To be “rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation” can be foreign to them. As the Lord never gives up on those who belong to Him neither should we. When the disciples were weak and afraid, He said to them. “Take courage, it is I; be not afraid.” Rather than criticizing and condemning the weak it should be the opportunity to show forth Christlikeness in our own lives. We need to “encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with all men.” Today, look for the joy and privilege of pointing a fellow believer to the hope, peace and sufficiency found only in Christ. Be strong. Be encouraged!
References: Romans 15:1; Romans 12:12; Matthew 14:27; 1 Thessalonians 5:14
BKI Encouragement 201 - May 14, 2014
“I know that Thou canst do all things and that no purpose of Thine can be thwarted.” - Job 42:2
It can only be said of the Lord Jesus Christ that as God, He “gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist.” He created the world out of nothing and gives life to those who are dead in their trespasses and sins. When He entered humanity, He continued to make the impossible, possible. For “with God all things are possible.” Only He could apply clay to one’s eyes (which would naturally increase blindness) and yet cause the blind to see. Without medicine He cures the incurable. Without surgery He causes the lame to walk. He looks upon the heart and sees what all the advances of modern technology could never see. Through Christ, one who is steeped in sin and biblical ignorance, can have victory over sin and his spiritual eyes opened, in a moment of time. Where there was blindness, now there is light. Where there was ignorance, now there is an understanding of spiritual truth. We look upon Jesus and by faith embrace the words of Job, “I know that Thou canst do all things”. Is there anything Jesus cannot do for you? Be encouraged!
References: Job 42:2; Romans 4:17; Matthew 19:26
BKI Encouragement 200 - May 7, 2014
Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I AM.” - John 8:58
Jesus could not have made a more powerful or clear statement, that He is the eternal, self-existent God. “I AM” is the self-declared name of God given to Moses to give to the Israelites in the Old Testament. Jesus did not say, “I WAS” but “I AM” because as God He is eternal and not bound by time. But being eternal He is also described as “the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty”. The promise of the Lord to all who believe is that, “I give eternal life to them and they shall never perish”. He can make this promise because He is the sole possessor of eternal life. Amazingly, this eternal life is a “free gift of God” offered to all mankind through faith in Jesus Christ. “Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen” Be encouraged!
References: John 8:58; Exodus 3:14: Revelation 1:8; John 10:28; Romans 6:23; 1 Timothy 1:17
BKI Encouragement 199 - April 30, 2014
“But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come, for men will be lovers of self...” - 2 Timothy 3:1, 2
The time has come. The fad of all fads today is the “selfie”. It has been the center of attention from Hollywood to the White House, throughout the media and even from space. Much of Facebook is a proliferation of “selfies”, and it is clearly an indication of the times in which we live. In a narcissistic age people will do almost anything to get their “fifteen minutes” of fame and draw attention to themselves. But is the problem “selfies” or self? We are told in Scripture to “flee from idolatry”, and there is no greater idol than self. We are exhorted to “do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit”. The Lord clearly said, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself… “So thanks be to God that “our old self was crucified with Him” that “we too might walk in newness of life”. In Christ we have victory over sin and SELF. Be encouraged!
References: 2 Timothy 3:1, 2; 1 Corinthians 10:14; Philippians 2:3; Mark 8:34; Romans 6:5-7
BKI Encouragement 198 - April 23, 2014
“That the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” - 2 Timothy 3:17
What is it that equips us for every good work? Certainly it is not the wisdom of man, psychology or any other human endeavor. We are warned to “see to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. “It is the Scripture that is “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness” that our “faith should not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.” It is the Scripture that fully equips us. God has not revealed all but He has revealed in His Word all we need to know to be saved and live righteously for Him. Therefore, “I will rejoice greatly in the Lord, my soul will exult in my God; for He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteous”…Be encouraged!
References: 2 Timothy 3:17; Colossians 2:8; 2 Timothy 3:16; 1 Corinthians 2:5; Isaiah 61:10
BKI Encouragement 197 - April 16, 2014
“This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses.” - Acts 2:32
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is a great and cardinal truth of Christianity. Why is it of utmost importance? First, it dispels the myth that Jesus was just a man. No one in humanity alone could conquer sin and death and rise again. It is the guarantee of victory over sin and life beyond the grave for the Scripture states, “if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.” Secondly, it is the heart of the gospel-the good news to all sinners that there is an answer to sin and death. The hope of forgiveness and eternal life is found only in the gospel. “To be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” is the promise to all who believe the gospel. Hundreds witnessed the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Still today, we “are all witnesses” as Christ lives out His life in ours. Our Savior is a Risen Savior. Our Savior is a Living Savior! Jesus has risen. Risen indeed! Be encouraged!
References: Acts 2:32; 1 Corinthians 15:17; 1 Peter 1:3; 1 Corinthians 15:4-8
BKI Encouragement 196 - April 9, 2014
“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me...” - Philippians 4:13
The above verse is the favorite of many who name the Name of Christ. But is it actually true in our lives? For example, we are to forgive our enemies, not be ashamed of Christ among sinners, suffer for His sake and trust the sovereignty of God in all things. Can we do that? The answer is yes, but only by the power of God as Christ lives out His life in ours by faith. Paul wrote, “…it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me…” Only then can we be “strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might…” to live out Philippians 4:13 serving God by forgiving, witnessing, suffering and trusting Him in all things. We do that “by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” “Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might.” And be encouraged!
References: Philippians 4:13; Galatians 2:20; Colossians 1:11; 1 Peter 4:11; Ephesians 6:10
BKI Encouragement 195 - April 2, 2014
“These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you.” - 1 John 2:26
The majority of Americans now believe in evolution, global warming and that some forms of perversion should be the norm. No wonder the Scripture presents deception as the greatest danger of the end times. When the disciples asked the Lord, “What will be the sign of your coming,” He replied, “See to it no one deceives you.” Concerning perversion Paul wrote, “Do not be deceived…” Even if man made climate change is true, when the world experiences its greatest climate change which includes: one-third of the earth and trees burned up, a third of the sea turned to blood, a third of all fresh water turned to wormwood and a third of the sun, moon and stars smitten, it will be in the midst of great deception. At that time, “the man of sin” will come “with all the deception of wickedness” and Satan “deceives the whole world.” Along with that “in the last days …evil men and imposters will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived” To read, know, believe and obey the Scriptures is our needed defense against deception. As believers, “we are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time”. We are protected by the One who spoke the world into existence, is sovereign over the earth and whose holy standard has not changed. Be encouraged!
References: 1 John 2:26; Matthew 24:3-4 (KJV); 1 Corinthians 6:9; Revelation 8:7-12; 2 Thessalonians 2:3,10; Revelation 12:9; 2 Timothy 3:1,13; 1 Peter 1:5
BKI Encouragement 194 - March 26, 2014
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men...” - Luke 2:14
The hope expressed in song by the heavenly host at the birth of Christ has long escaped the world. Every day we wake up to a war-torn world: civil unrest in Africa and South America; Mexico in a drug war of its own; Syria, Egypt and Libya each continues in internal conflict; North Korea and Iran moving closer to nuclear capability; American troops in Afghanistan; Russia moving militarily upon its neighbor to the West and terrorism which knows no boundaries. On Christmas day in 1863, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow fearing for his county in the midst of Civil War penned these words:
And in despair I bowed my head;
There is no peace on earth, I said
For hate is strong, and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, goodwill to men.
However, he continued:
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
God is not dead, nor doth He sleep
The wrong shall fail, The right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men.
Although we live in a war torn world, as believers we look forward to the coming of the “Prince of Peace”. Only then will there truly be peace on earth, good will to men! Glory to God in the highest! Be encouraged!
References: Luke 2:14; I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow; Isaiah 9:6
BKI Encouragement 193 - March 19, 2014
“And if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” - Matthew 15:14
A 2011 survey or pastors in a mainline denomination found that 45% did not believe in the deity of Christ or salvation alone through Christ. No wonder much of the church can be characterized as the blind leading the blind. Therefore, it should not surprise us that 64% of Americans claim they are religious but admit religion does not play a central role in their lives. If Jesus is not God and the sole hope of salvation, why should He be important in one’s daily life? The Scriptures tells us that, “the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” But the power of God is greater, and we who have heard the truth of the gospel and believed it have our spiritual eyes open and are “looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.” Because we heard and believed that “there is salvation in no one else”, in the words of Jesus, “… blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear.” Be encouraged!
References: Matthew 15:14; Matthew 13:16; Acts 4:12; Titus 2:13
BKI Encouragement 192 - March 12, 2014
For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.”” - Romans 10:11
This summer will begin my fiftieth year of knowing Christ as my Savior. Needless to say, I have never been disappointed. He has never failed me or let me down. When I let Him down, He lifted me up. When I struggled, there was His strength. When I failed, He remained faithful. When I sinned, there was His grace. When the burdens of life and ministry were overwhelming, His peace passed all understanding. When I drew near to Him, He drew near to me. Perhaps the hymn writer said it best. “He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater; He sendeth more strength when the labors increase. To added affliction He addeth His mercy; to multiplied trials, His multiplied peace… When we have exhausted our store of endurance, When our strength has failed ere the day is half done, when we reach the end of our hoarded resources, Our Father’s full giving is only begun. His love has no limit; His grace has no measure; His pow’r has no boundary known unto men. For out of His infinite riches in Jesus, He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.” Amen! And Amen! Be encouraged!
References: Romans 10:11; He Giveth More Grace, Annie Flint (1866-1932)
BKI Encouragement 191 - March 5, 2014
“...Thou didst hide these things from the wise and intelligent and didst reveal them to babes.” - Matthew 11:25b
It is easy to think that one must have great knowledge and be quite clever to serve the Lord. Often it is difficult for us to uphold the truth of Scripture and find satisfaction in what He has revealed, while at the same time be content and trust the Lord for what He has wisely placed beyond our understanding. Spurgeon wrote, “In terms of spiritual understanding we are mere beginners here; we have learned the alphabet, but we are unable yet to read the words much less put full sentences together.” It takes a great deal of humility to accept such a statement. But just a reminder that the Lord, while here on earth surrounded Himself with the poor and uneducated: lowly shepherds, fishermen, taxgatherers and those He had to rescue from wayward sin and demon possession. They were the common people who became babes in Christ with a common cause to exalt Him. What more do we need to know to exalt Him? What are we waiting for?” O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.” Be encouraged!
References: Matthew 11:25b; Psalm 34:3; Charles H. Spurgeon, Morning and Evening Devotional Readings
BKI Encouragement 190 - February 26, 2014
“...They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.” - 1 Corinthians 9:25
One of the highlights of the recent Winter Olympics was the gold medal performance of American ice dancers, Meryl Davis and Charlie White. After seventeen years of working together and over 29,000 hours of practice, they took away the top prize. It was an accomplishment that many dream about but relatively few attain, an honor they will cherish for a lifetime. However, in four years there will be another Olympics, another gold medal award, and the significance of their achievement begins to fade away. But for those of us who through saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and with that, victory over sin and death, nothing in the future will cause our prize to diminish. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you…” Be encouraged!
References: 1 Corinthians 9:25; 1 Peter 1:3, 4
BKI Encouragement 189 - February 19, 2014
"Who is a God like Thee, who pardons iniquity...?" - Micah 7:18
The answer to Micah’s question is found throughout the Scripture. “I am God, and there is no other; I am God and there is no one like Me,” “I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, and I will not remember your sins.” “The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindess and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin...” “For Thou Lord art good, and ready to forgive…” “And when you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions”. “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace.” And how do we respond? “Praise Him, Praise Him! Jesus, our blessed Redeemer!” Be encouraged!
References: Micah 7:18; Isaiah 46:9, 43:25; Exodus 34:6, 7; Psalm 86:5; Colossians 2:13; Ephesians 1:7; Praise Him! Praise Him! - Fannie J. Crosby
BKI Encouragement 188 - February 12, 2014
"But Jonah rose up to flee… from the presence of the Lord." - Jonah 1:3
When Jonah chose to flee in disobedience from the Lord, he went down. First he went down to Joppa. Then he went down into a ship. Then he went down into the sea. Finally, he went down into the belly of a great fish. So it is when a believer lives in disobedience to the Lord. A downward spiral begins that can bring us down to spiritual, emotional and even physical defeat. Is there any hope? First, when you lack the faith to obey His word, know that “He remains faithful; for He cannot deny Himself.” Secondly, remember, “He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” God never gave up on Jonah and he will not give up on you. In an act of great kindness God delivered Jonah up from the depths, and Jonah responded in repentance and obedience. This is why we read, “The kindness of God leads you to repentance.” Are you running from the Lord? Have you chosen disobedience rather than drawing near to Him? Having experienced His kindness in salvation, repent and turn back to Him, knowing He will never let you down. Be encouraged!
References: Jonah 1:3; 2 Timothy 2:13; Philippians 1:6; Romans 2:4
BKI Encouragement 187 - February 5, 2014
"And the witness is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son." - 1 John 5:11
God being gracious and merciful gives the free gift of eternal life to all who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. We find in Scripture “for by grace you have been saved by faith” which is “according to His mercy.” Being gracious, God gives us what we do not deserve nor could we ever earn: forgiveness, righteousness and eternal life. Being merciful, He withholds what we do deserve: condemnation, death and eternal hell. Therefore, “the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Of all the attributes of our Holy God we would be hopeless and helpless without His mercy and grace. With them we have all that we need for eternity. It should bring joy to our hearts to read that “the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful” and “the Lord is gracious”. May more and more people across this world be convicted of their sin, see their need for Christ and experience freely His mercy and grace. Be encouraged!
References: 1 John 5:11; Ephesians 2:8; Titus 3:5; Romans 6:23; James 5:11; Psalm 111:4
BKI Encouragement 186 - January 29, 2014
"For to me to live is Christ..." - Philippians 1:21
I just read a book in which the author stated, “The United States, with roughly 225 million Christians, is conventionally described as the largest Christian nation in the world”. At the same time, respected pollsters like Gallup and Barna tell us that the average so-called evangelical Christian in the United States is every bit as worldly, self-centered and immoral as anyone else. Apparently many who call themselves Christian are not, and many who say they are Christian should not. A Christian can fall in to any sin but to be characterized as no different from the lost of the world does nothing for the cause of Christ. Paul had an answer to this dilemma when he said, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me…” May we all walk in the footsteps of Peter and John when those on the outside “began to recognize them as having been with Jesus”. In the words of the hymn writer:
May His beauty rest upon me
As I seek the lost to win,
And may they forget the channel,
Seeing only Him.
May Christ live out His life in your life. Be encouraged!
References: The Global War on Christians, John L. Allen Jr; Galatians 2:20; Acts 4:13; Philippians 1:21; May the Mind of Christ, My Savior, Kate B. Wilkinson
BKI Encouragement 185 - January 22, 2014
The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God”. - Psalm 14:1
Madalyn Murray O’Hair said, “An atheist strives for involvement in life and not escape into death.” The Bible declares, “What man can live and not see death?” The New York City Atheist and Freedom from Religion Foundation filed a lawsuit to have “In God We Trust” removed as the motto of our nation’s currency. The Bible encourages you to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart…” Atheist Richard Dawkins, in support of abortion claims, “any fetus” still in the womb “is less human than an adult pig”. The Bible tells us that all human life is created “in the image of God”. In atheism, while “professing to be wise, they became fools” as “they did not believe in God and did not trust in His salvation”. “For the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God”. Thanks be to God that we have experienced His power and have been brought to faith through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Be encouraged!
References: Psalm 14:1; Psalm 89:48; Proverbs 3:5; Genesis 9:6; Romans 1:22; Psalm 78:22; 1 Corinthians 1:18
BKI Encouragement 184 - January 15, 2014
"Do all things without grumbling or disputing." - Philippians 2:14
Grumbling was one of the great sins of Israel in their dissatisfaction of God’s provision for them. Because human nature has not changed grumbling continues as a favorite pastime in America and even among those who claim to be of Christ. “If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back and a roof overhead, you’re richer than 75 percent of this world. If you have money in the bank and spare change in a dish, you’re among the top 8 percent of the world’s wealthy. If you never experienced fear in battle, loneliness of imprisonment or pangs of starvation, you’re more fortunate than 700 million others. If you worship without fear of imprisonment or death, you’re freer than 3 billion people”. Beyond all that, “God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” This would include the greater needs of forgiveness, salvation and eternal life. Now what are we grumbling about? Be encouraged!
References: Philippians 2:14; 1 Corinthians 10:10, The Arizona Republic -1/12/14; Philippians 4:19
BKI Encouragement 183 - January 8, 2014
"Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour." - Matthew 25:13
All of us have the responsibility to be prepared for the coming of Christ. Like the Thessalonians we must “wait for His Son from heaven.” We must remain alert for “of that day and hour no one knows.” However, you are not prepared by just sitting around wishing He would come. You are only prepared by doing the work of the Lord in this present age. As it has been said, some people are so heavenly minded they are no earthly good. Smith writes, “We talk of the Second Coming; half the world has never heard of the first.” When the scoffers asked, “Where is the promise of His coming?”. Peter’s response was very clear; “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance”.
Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave;
Weep o’er the erring one, Lift up the fallen,
Tell them of Jesus, the mighty to save.
Be alert! Be encouraged!
References: Matthew 25:13; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; Matthew 24:36; Oswald J. Smith; 2 Peter 3:4, 9; Rescue the Perishing, Fanny T. Crosby
BKI Encouragement 182 - January 1, 2014
"...at the beginning of the year…on that same day the hand of the Lord was upon me..." - Ezekiel 40:1
After being deported to Babylon in 597 B.C., the prophet Ezekiel often found the hand of the Lord upon him. In the midst of the isolation and oppression of captivity he became a vessel of God’s truth. The expression of the hand speaks of the power of the Spirit of God to reveal to the prophet the future and enable him to communicate that truth. What a wonderful way for Ezekiel to begin the New Year. Things had not gone well for Ezekiel in his homeland and neither have they for us. We are witnessing the growing rejection and intolerance of Christianity coupled with widespread apostasy in the church and moral decay throughout our land. However, in spite of all this, God through His Word by the Spirit has revealed to us the future. And what a glorious future to all who believe in Christ Jesus! He also empowers us by His Spirit to communicate biblical truth, especially the Gospel which is to be proclaimed to all men. Therefore, rising above our circumstances with “the hope of eternal life” and with “great boldness in our speech” to “proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light”, we begin the New Year. Be encouraged!
References: Ezekiel 40:1; Titus 3:7; 2 Corinthians 3:12; 1 Peter 2:9