Leaky gods Vs. Living Water

Leaky gods or Living Water

The men who were supposed to be the spiritual leaders of Judah had forsaken the LORD. They did not even realize their spiritual condition. That is a horrible thing for the “man of God” not to even notice that God is not present. The false prophets were prophesying by Baal, a false god, of pleasure. He was the god that took the place of the LORD in the hearts of Jerusalem.

Are things any different in the day in which we live (2008)? With Oprah’s “Secret”, and television commercials which make gods and godesses out of men and women with their products, we are becoming more and more of a pagan people.  We are a vain people.  In my mind there does not seem to be any difference; with the exception of clothing, and location.

In the text we look at today we see the LORD is bringing charges against the children of Jacob (v. 4).

HEAR THE WORD OF THE LORD –

“Therefore I will yet bring charges against you,’ says the LORD, ‘And against your children’s children I will bring charges. For pass beyond the coasts of Cyprus and see, send to Kedar and consider diligently, and see if there has been such a thing. Has a nation changed its gods, which are not gods? But My people have changed their Glory for what does not profit. Be astonished, O heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid; Be very desolate,’ says the LORD. ‘For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters and hewn themselves cisterns — broken cisterns that can hold no water.” Jeremiah 2:9-13 (NKJV).

The charge brought against them is forsaking Him. What does it take to forsake the Living God? The answer to that is: Just by diliberately turning to another source of encouragement, and strength one forsakes the Living God.

Notice this charge. What other nation has forsaken their gods? None. Earlier in the Nation’s life they wanted to be like other nations by wanting a king. Read First Samuel, and you will see their request for a king. How is it that now they could not be like these other nations, and trust only in their God. The God of gods, the King of kings, and Lord of lords.

When a follower of Christ Jesus follows someone or anything else they lose the Glory that was theirs in Christ. The Psalmist wrote –

“Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but to Your name give glory, because of Your mercy, because of Your truth. Why should the Gentiles say, ‘So where is their God?’ But our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases. Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. They have mouths, but they do not speak; Eyes they have, but they do not see; They have ears, but they do not hear; Noses they have, but they do not smell; They have hands, but they do not handle; Feet they have, but they do not walk; Nor do they mutter through their throat. Those who make them are like unto them.” Psalm 115:1-8 (NKJV).

Why would someone want to drink water from a cistern, when you can have flowing fresh clean water? That is what had happened to the people of God. They had left the glory of the LORD to pattern their lives after that of death and darkness. Any time God’s people follow the world, the flesh and the devil we get out of His glory, ie., the Glory of God.

These cisterns God tells us of, are even leaky cisterns. They cannot even hold water. These cisterns would catch the water from what little rainfall they might receive, and dew falling from the roof of the mornings, then go out of the morning and find only a wet well, but no water to drink.

You become like what you worship. So beware.  The “Secret” which Oprah promotes is no secret at all.  It began with the lies of the devil in the garden of Eden, “You shall be like God…”.   And they died.  Follow the Word of the Lord, and you shall live.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

The Musical

THE PROPHET’S MUSICAL

Habakkuk 3:1-2

Do you ever just feel like singing. I used to wonder why in the world would the movie people make a “Musical”. Then, one day as I was going along singing a song, with no one else to hear it but me; it hit me. My life was a “Musical”, since I spend a lot of time singing; mostly to myself and the Lord. I have noticed since then, as well that most people go around singing. Sometimes it is with the radio, ipod, CD player, or by whatever method they recieve their music; but many people are spending a lot of time singing.

It was not so odd after all that Hollywood would make “Musicals”. They are associated with our lives.

This final chapter of Habakkuk seems to be a song which sums the whole thing up. You do not find the prophet Habakkuk questioning God. You find him praising Him. Pleading for mercy from Him in behalf of Judah.

“A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet, on Shigionoth” Habakkuk 3:1 (NKJV).

I think it would be good for us to realize once again that this Prophetic message of Habakkuk is all in the form of a Psalm or “Song”. The first two chapters seem to just be the prophet’s questions to God of why the guilty seem to go unpunished – even among His people – but especially among those who capture, abuse, and kill His people, like Babylon.

There seems to be no certain meaning for this word, “Shigionoth”. You will find it used in the heading of Psalm 7:1, and the New King James Version translates it as “Meditation” – “A meditation of David”. The following is the notes of C.H. Spurgeon from THE TREASURY OF DAVID on the word “Shigionoth”; at least a form of the same word – “Shiggaion of David, which he sang unto the Lord, concerning the words of Cush the Benjamite.”— “Shiggaion of David.” As far as we can gather from the observations of learned men, and from comparison of this Psalm with the only other Shiggaion in the Word of God (Hab.iii), this title seems to mean ‘variable songs,’ with which also the idea of solace and pleasure is associated. Truly our life-psalm is composed of variable verses; one stanza rolls along with the sublime metre of triumph, but another limps with the broken rhythm of complaint. There is much bass in the saint’s music here below. Our experience is as variable as the weather in England.”

Strong’s definition for this word is “From H7686; properly aberration, that is, (technically) a dithyramb or rambling poem: – Shiggaion, Shigio-noth. ” It seems that this definition would fit with Spurgeon’s, “…Our life-psalm is composed of variable verses…”. At any rate we do see that the prophet has spent time in the presence of the Lord, heard His Word and come to a better understanding.

“O LORD, I have heard Your speech and was afraid; O LORD, revive Your work in the midst of the years! In the midst of the years make it known; In wrath remember mercy.” Habakkuk 3:2

In verse two Habakkuk is referring back to when God answered him concerning his question of “Why do I cry out to You concerning wickedness, and You do not hear?” (My paraphrase from chapter one and verses two through four). God’s answer in verses five through eleven is “Your speech” to which the prophet speaks. He admits his fear from those fearful words. Judgment is going to come on Judah for their sins by the hands of sinful pagans, but that seems to be a little more than Habakkuk could bear at the time.

This holy fear causes Habakkuk to pray for God’s mercy for Judah. “Revive Your work in the midst of the years” is the years they are in judgment in Babylon. Since God was going to judge them in a foreign land, the prophet is pleading that God show forth His saving hand in giving new life to the children of Judah. When in Your wrath “Remember mercy”.

Reading the prophet’s plea for God to remember mercy, causes me to think of God delivering the whole nation from Egypt to make of them a mighty nation; and it seems as though the prophet is asking God, “Do it again LORD; do it again”.

In the midst of those held captive in the United States of America, which is the whole nation; I would pray, do it again LORD, do it again. The USA needs a touch from God. Especially those who call themselves “Christian”. The church in America is held captive by political parties, by finances, by fear, by culture, by comfort, by entertainment, by apathy, by complacency, by a lethargic mind and heart; and we need to be awakened by the power of God’s Spirit; or this nation will perish. “O LORD, revive Thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.”

Lord, in Your wrath remember mercy. Remember the death of Jesus Your holy Son for the sins of all who will believe.  The greatest Song and Singer who ever lived was Jesus Christ the Son of God.  To hear Him sing you must know Him.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

A Precious Ownership

PRECIOUS OWNERSHIP

Exodus 20:15 – “Thou shalt not steal”.

Remember Jesus’s commandment? “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself”. (Mark 12:31).

In giving this commandment God shows that He favors personal ownership. Ownership only in the sense that we realize that it is given to us by God, and we are really only stewards of His property. God shows us the Ownership is Precious. In Exodus 22:1-4 God gives the law for a thief caught stealing an ox or a sheep. For stealing an ox he is to return 5 oxen; for sheep he is to return 4 sheep. That is a pretty steep penalty for theft, and it is not prison. It is restitution.

Restitution. according as God directs, is the requirement of God’s law. In thievery restitution is the penalty which fits the crime.

Adultery is compared to theft in Proverbs 6:27-35. For adultery though the penalty was death

The greatest theft of all is when one steals from God (Malachi 3:8-10). If a man would steal from God, by not tithing, or giving back to God His portion, then, this individual could not be trusted with anything you or I own. If a person can steal from God they will steal from you.

  • The New Man in Christ will steal no more (Eph. 4:28).
  • Steal = To take something that belongs to someone else; by deceit or by force.

To name some ways of stealing. Gambling is a method of stealing; it offers people who cannot afford it the chance for great gains with little hope and much promise. It takes from the family of the man who uses the money for food to throw the money at the lottery, casinos, dog racing, horse racing, football, hockey, what ever event, and then, come home with no money and no food. Businesses who overcharge for a product because it is in demand due to destructive storms, earthquakes, or some other tragedy is stealing from the people who trust them. When you can go into a store previous to the tragedy and buy a chainsaw for one hundred and fifty dollars, and then that chainsaw when the tragedy occurs is three hundred dollars that is theft. When an individual decides to no longer tithe to their local church; as is God’s plan; and gives it elsewhere, this is stealing from God. And if the person just decides I can no longer afford to tithe or give – that is stealing from God. When a man owes a debt to another and does not pay it, whether out of anger, or just lust for the money itself, it is theft. Our debts are to be paid to our fellow man.

Of the first seven commandments; death is the penalty for the violation. This is a second division, though less visible.

This eighth commandment does not call for the death penalty – it calls, rather for restitution (Ex. 22:1; Luke 19:5-10).

There is one exception, that is if they “Kidnap” – steal a human being (Ex. 21:16). This called for the death penalty.

Let’s take a look at how Gambling Is Stealing. It gives the false hope of something for practically nothing. It robs people of being productive members of society. What does winning the lottery contribute? You could say, “Well, I could give to charity”, so could the person who lost their money have given to a charity with what you took from them. It is destructive to families, and to society. It takes the money of many poor families through the false hope of getting more. The lottery has been nicknamed, THE TAX ON THE POOR. Lotteries, casinos, bingo, work paycheck pools, raffles, and even TV game shows are guilty of false hope. Gambling robs people of self-worth. “He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor.” (Prov. 22:9). “Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.” (Prov. 22:29).

When a business Overcharges That Is Stealing, “Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.” (2 Cor. 8:21). Let me show you what God says about “False balances”, “A false balance is abomination to the LORD: but a just weight is his delight.” (Prov.11:1). “Divers weights are an abomination unto the LORD; and a false balance is not good.” (Prov. 20:23). “Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment, in meteyard, in weight, or in measure. Just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin, shall ye have: I am the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt. Therefore shall ye observe all my statutes, and all my judgments, and do them: I am the LORD.” (Lev. 19:35-37). In our day many businesses raise prices in an exorbitant manner then, complain of paying their employees too much. Underpaying of employees is stealing as well.

The matter of Robbing God “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.” (Malachi3:8). It is a matter of withholding from God what is His. Your tithes and offerings. A tithe being 10% of your income. It is how the gospel is proclaimed by the local churches, and their agencies. It is a matter of knowing to do good and not doing it; “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin” (James 4:17). It would be a lack of worship or an unholy worship.

When A Debt Is Owed To Another and it is not paid. It has to do with financial debts and obligations. The debt every Christian owes their neighbor. The debt we owe of living the Christian life before them. The debt we owe of sharing the sacrifice and love of Jesus with them. It almost seems that that may have been what Paul meant when he said, “Owe no man anything, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law” (Rom. 13:8). Avoiding this debt could be stealing our neighbor’s eternal soul.

In conclusion, if we love one another we will not desire what another has, and take and steal. We will practice what Paul taught the Ephesians, rather, “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth” (Eph. 4:28). There will be no need for gambling, stealing from those who are more needy – doing it legally. When one loves their neighbor there is also a love for God and for being a faithful steward of God’s resources He has put in our trust. Also there will be the need to see that all debts are paid in full, especially the debt to our neighbors that could be the redemption of their souls.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

Is God Missing???

Is God Missing?

The Word of the LORD is important to the prophet of God. Without the Word he has no message. No message of any importance anyway. The most important message the people need is that of what God says.

It is sad when we hear news reports of missing people. Here, of late, we have heard especially of young women, wives, and mothers missing. Some of them end up being found dead. No one enjoys hearing of a missing individual, but how would we feel if God were missing? Would we even notice?

For the second time in the second chapter of Jeremiah we have a “Thus says the LORD…” (vv. 2, 5). Jeremiah realized that since God had called him to be a prophet, and not just a prophet of men, but a prophet to proclaim only the Word of the LORD, with promise of protection, keeping, and power in the words He would proclaim (1:17-19).

In verses two and three God reminds them of their early faith, and holiness. Now the prophet addresses, at God’s direction, their forsaking God. They had gotten to a state of comfort, which led to a lethargic, complacent mindset, and then, completely turned their backs on God.

Hear the Word of the LORD:

“Hear the word of the LORD, O house of Jacob and all the families of the house of Israel.” Jeremiah 2:4 (NKJV).

There seems to be a message of warning in this phrase alone. The name “Jacob” was a name of self-dependence; of one’s using their own methods to accomplish their own ends. Jacob had trusted the LORD God, and God changed his name to Israel. “Jacob” actually meaning ‘Heel catcher’ because he had a handhold on Esau’s foot when they were born. “Israel” meaning ‘Prince of God’, or ‘He struggles with God’. (NOTE: You can find this history in Genesis 32:22-32). So in addressing them as “House of Jacob” could it be that the LORD, through the prophet, is reminding them from whence they came; that they have forgotten their faith?

“Thus says the LORD: ‘What injustice have your fathers found in Me, that they have gone far from Me, have followed idols, and have become idolaters? Neither did they say, ‘Where is the LORD, who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, who led us through the wilderness, through a land of deserts and pits, through a land of drought and the shadow of death, through a land that no one crossed and where no one dwelt?’ I brought you into a bountiful country, to eat its fruit and its goodness. But when you entered, you defiled My land and made my heritage an abomination. The priests did not say, ‘Where is the LORD?’ And those who handle the law did not know Me; the rulers also transgressed against Me; the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after things that do not profit.” Jeremiah 2:5-8 (NKJV).

Easy living, comfort, the fatness of the land, or a good economy, are some of the things that lure people away from faith, and trust in the LORD God. It can happen so easily. For a Christian today it starts by neglecting your daily quiet time with the Lord. It continues as you neglect your prayer life. The next thing you know you missed a Sunday morning worship gathering due to being up too late Saturday night – you were out with friends, went to a movie, or just did not take an initiative to be in bed to get to church as usual. It really does not take much effort for a child of God to get away from godly practice.

The worship of Baal can be as simple as seeing other things as more important than that personal quiet time with God. Be careful. Be careful to maintain that quiet time, that special time you have with the Lord Jesus each and every morning. In this quiet time you receive strength, and encouragement for the day. You may not think so at the time, but that strength will be there as you need it.

When we start neglecting that personal time with God, the next thing to go will be our worship of God, and fellowship with other believers. The house you live in, the boat, and going to the lake for water skiing or fishing begins taking the place of God, fellowship with Him and your brothers and sisters in Christ. When this happens; you have become a modern day Idol worshipper. Just a thought – is an idle worshipper and Idol worshipper? My answer to that is YES!!!

The prophet Jeremiah reminds the recipients of this message of the work the LORD has done for the Nation (vv. 6-7). God had indeed brought them out of Egypt, through the wilderness, where no one lived. Though it is not mentioned, per se, He also provided them with water from the Rock. He is our Water in a dry and thirsty land where no water is (Psalm 63:1).

Twice it is mentioned in this text; the question, “Where is the LORD?” First it was the “fathers” (v. 6), then it is the priests (v. 7). They were not even missing the presence of the LORD. Why would you ask, if you do not even notice that God is missing from your “worship”.

The one’s who saw to the keeping of the scrolls of the law were doing it, and not even knowing the Person of the Law. The Living Word of God appeared to these in His day, they saw His works, they heard His teachings and testimony, and they still rejected Him. They did not know what they had been copying. It was just a job, a task to perform and keep them busy. Something upon which to boasts.

The rulers turned their back on the LORD. They had grown to despise the true prophets of God and chosen the false prophets of men, ie., Baal. That way they heard only what they wanted to hear. There is no profit in the false words of the profit [prophet] makers.

Is God missing in your worship, or have you even noticed?

-by Tim A. Blankenship

The Preacher in Power With God

The Man in the Wilderness

“And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind? But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows, And saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented. For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil. The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.” Matthew 11:7-19 (KJV)

Jesus makes a declaration about the prophet who showed the way to Himself. Jesus’s word is that John was a prophet who stood, and was not swayed by the tide of public, or popular opinion. The “Reed” spoken of by Jesus was native to the country, and was easily bent in every slight breeze. He would not bend to the winds of conformity of the flesh. He would not win any elections. He would not even allow his name to be submitted to any office.

John was not a man who would attend the social events of the season (v. 8). He was not out to win any popularity contest. The people would not have gone to the wilderness to seek the finely dressed. He dressed in “camel’s hair” very similar to Elijah’s apparel. Not the garment of a popular individual, or one seeking popularity.

A prophet of great esteem, that esteem was from the Lord, not men. To be esteemed “the greatest” by the King Himself is certainly the highest of honors. The esteem of man is useless in eternal matters. Because John was the herald of a new covenant, a better way, those in the new are counted greater. John is counted only as a friend of the Bridegroom. Those in the new covenant are the Bride of the Bridegroom.

The people to whom John preached, and to whom Jesus preached were mostly a people who committed a Dereliction of duty. They heard the voice, but the words were of none effect. The nation neglected to heed the message of the prophet (v. 12). Their opinions were on equal ground with the Word of God. Their attitude was, “We will have the kingdom in our own way”. They hated the prophet and this eventually showed up in their hatred for the King. It seems that the message of all the prophets were despised by the nation (v. 13). John’s message is on equal footing with that of Elijah, Isaiah, and Jeremiah to Malachi. His persecution was on equal footing as well. Here are some similarities. 1) John was fearless before Herod – Elijah was fearless before Jezebel’s prophets; 2) John was locked in prison – Jeremiah was put in a pit; 3) John lost his head – Isaiah was probably sawn in two. John preached against the adultery of Herod; as pointed out earlier (14:1-12).

John would have been the one “In the spirit and power of Elijah” if he would have been received (vv. 14-15; Luke 1:16-17). His ministry would have been to turn the hearts of the people back to God. This was accomplished in a small way. There is yet to come another “In the spirit and power of Elijah” who will accomplish his task (Revelation 11:1-14). The message of the prophet is one people must hear and take heed.

This generation of people was likened to spoiled, uncooperative children (vv. 16-17). Likened to children playing wedding game, then others come into the picture, and declare they want to play the funeral game instead. They want to mourn at a time for rejoicing. They want to rejoice at the wrong time and weep at the time of rejoicing. John’s message was one that the Messiah has come, and the people refused to hear it, tearing their garments in grief. When it was declared to them the time for mourning, then they were rejoicing. There is a whole lot of that in the world of 2008.

It seems the religious leaders had no desire for hearing the truth of God’s message from His prophet John. When they did not want to hear they set out to find fault. The prophet because of his “self-control”, lack of fleshly desires, sometimes loud, and “rude” preaching is accused of being demon possessed. Jesus, because He sits and dines with “tax collectors and sinners” is accused of gluttony and drunkenness. By these accusations they are only endeavoring to cover their own sins that have been exposed for what they really are.

Truth always bears fruit. Lies also bear fruit, but none worth having. Truth reveals the good, and exposes the bad. The children of complainers and accusers continue complaining, accusing lives – to eternal condemnation. The children of wisdom are drawn to the Savior. If Jesus and John were the way of these accusations, then, why are lives changed by faith in Jesus. The resurrected, changed life is evidence that the claims of Jesus and John are true and not the claims of the complainants.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

The Prophecy of Enoch

Enoch, and the Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ

I guess I am not into fancy titles or something. Just make it simple, and that is what I intend for this study.

When I read Scriptures from Genesis through the Revelation of Jesus Christ I read it like it is written for us to understand. When the Bible speaks figuratively it usually lets us know that it is speaking figuratively. When it is speaking plainly we take it plainly. When it speaks figuratively or metaphorically, then, that is how I will interpret it, and translate it. For the most part, and as best I can, I let Scripture interpret Scripture, and follow what Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” Let me warn you, that I am not a Bible scholar, nor am I the son of a Bible scholar. I also am not a prophecy scholar, nor the son of one; however, I do love the Bible, believe it to be the infallible, inerrant, eternal Word of God. I do pray that God can take my weakness and glorify His holy name.  The writings of the prophets enthuse me, encourage me, fill me, give me hope, and I just cannot get enough, or get away from what they have written down in the Word of God.

From what I have seen in many studies of the millennial reign of Jesus Christ is they begin with the Revelation chapter twenty. Maybe because that is where a “thousand year reign” (Revelation 20:2-4) with Christ is named. It may not be named, per se’, in the many other references, but it is certainly implied, inferred, and strongly suggested. The words, “a thousand years” or “the thousand years” are named six times in Revelation 20:2-7. I for one believe that to be no accident of John, nor of God, but is one evidence that the earthly kingdom of Christ’s reign will be literal, it has not yet happened, nor is it presently happening.

The first verses I want us to look at is in the book of Genesis.

“And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah: And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.” Genesis 5:21-24 (KJV).

Now upon the first read of this you may wonder, “What does this genealogy of Enoch have to do with the millennial reign of Jesus Christ?”, and if I didn’t know where this was going I probably wouldn’t know either. These verses will have to be taken with a New Testament passage from the epistle [letter] of Jude, our Lord’s half brother. That passage reads:

“And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” Jude 1:14-15 (KJV).

We see from the New Testament letter that Jude was a prophet of God, and he warned the people of His day of the coming judgment of the Lord. This judgment he warned of was quite clearly the second coming of Jesus with His saints. It has never happened in the entire history of man. It is yet to come. This second coming will be to put away human government, to put away sin, and to set up His kingdom on earth.

Those “saints” mentioned will be those who were raptured off the earth according to 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, and their spirits “with Him” will be joined to their bodies coming up out of their graves (at the rapture), and those who were living and knew Jesus Christ, will rise with them to meet the Lord in the air. The second coming will be seven years later. We will be returning with Christ at His Revelation, and that is when He takes the rule of the earth away from all human governments.

There will be no more Democracy, Tyranny, Dictatorships, Republics, or anarchy. Nor, will there be any human theocracies save that of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will reign from His throne in the capital city of Israel, which is, and forever shall be Jerusalem.

The message of Enoch was one calling for repentance. Understand the judgment which Enoch warned of was not the final judgment, but the judgment of ungodly kings, kingdoms, and the “Inhabiters of earth”, ie. those whose hearts love the things, the temporal things, with its greed, lusts, power, etc.; and hate all that is holy and godly, and all that is God. The Lord Himself will destroy them with the sword of His mouth, ie., the Word of God spoken in His glory. Then, when all human government is put away, Jesus will rule with power and glory from the truly Holy City of Jerusalem.

How can I get the Millennial reign of Jesus Christ from these verses. Jesus coming with ten thousands of His saints; the executing of judgment upon all, convincing all the ungodly of their ungodly deeds, that they have ungodly committed, and the hard speeches of the ungodly spoken against Him. This is taking place on the earth. Enoch’s message is of the Lord Coming again; He is coming back to earth. Jesus Himself tells us, “I will come again”. He was standing before His disciples, and others as He spoke this, in person; surely He meant that His “coming again” would be in our presence and in person, and not figurative or metaphorical. The last judgment is the “Great white throne” judgment (Revelation 20:11-14); takes place before the throne of God; and only the unrighteous will be judged here at this judgment throne. (I may get to do another study on that topic).

If He is coming back to earth, and removing all that hates the godly, He is surely coming to set up His kingdom on earth. If not what would be the purpose of His return? He is returning, with His saints (See 1 Thessalonians 4:14-15 again) to set up an earthly kingdom; will reign the world from Jerusalem, and Israel shall fulfill the promises of God to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and David.

Come, Lord Jesus, Come soon.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

The Case Against God’s People

God Builds His Case

Jeremiah, the weeping prophet. Known for that because of his mourning for the sins of the people of Judah, and Jerusalem. He sees the failings of the priesthood, of which he was part. The weaknesses, the hypocrisies, and often blatant lies and deceptions; not only among the priests but among those who called themselves prophets of God.

God could speak with Jeremiah. Jeremiah heard, and many times responded to what God said. Hear what God says to Jeremiah near the beginning of his ministry;

“Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘Go and cry in the hearing of Jerusalem, saying’, ‘Thus says the LORD: ‘I remember you, the kindness of your youth, the love of your betrothal, when you went after Me in the wilderness, in a land not sown. Israel was holiness to the LORD, the firstfruits of His increase. All that devour him will offend; disaster will come upon them,’ says the LORD.” Jeremiah 2:1-3 (NKJV).

God begins in the first message by confirming them in their first belief. They had followed, at least through Abraham, had been obedient in the wilderness, and had grown in love with the LORD. There was kindness, fondness, love in their hearts for the LORD, realizing that He alone was responsible for their having a land, a promise. They had been chosen from the place of God’s amazing grace and mercy. They were undeserving. They were unworthy. They were sinners among the other sinners of the earth. There was nothing special about them, thus in there early days they loved the LORD.

Despite the fact of their departure the LORD reminds them of His promise, “All that devour him will offend; disaster will come upon them,’ says the LORD”. No one can expect God’s blessing who lifts their hand against the people, the nation, whom God ordained to give us the Scriptures, ordinances, and laws. Yet there is room for His judgment. Pray for Jerusalem – Israel.

As Christians we must remember our “First love”. That love we had for Jesus when we first believed. The things of the world around us have a power which can lure us away from loving Him. God commended five of the early churches of the Revelation, but would only condemn two of them because they had departed from Him.

If you truly know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, then, there was a time when you walked with Him, you loved Him, cherished Him, and it did not bother you that there were times He seemed distant, but you trusted His Word when He said, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you.”

Something has happened in the past few days, weeks, months, or years that have caused you to get away from Him, His Word, from praying, and cherishing His abiding presence. You have become more consumed with sports, entertainment, comforts, leisure, conveniences, and even family activities, than with your walk with Him. It is time to return to Him, before the judgment of your sin comes on you.

He puts His protecting hand on all who have trusted Him. You can believe He will keep you, protect you, and anyone who raises an evil hand against you will suffer by His hand. Be assured God loves you with an everlasting love. Enjoy it, revel in it, rejoice in it, and He will be glorified.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

Drawing the Lines

More and more of those who profess to be followers of Jesus, and are Baptists, are leaving the Baptists distinctives in order to draw more people.  When we get away from those Baptists teachings which make us Baptists we are no longer Baptists.

If you do not want to be Baptists then go join, or become a part of a church that you can believe with them, but don’t join a Baptist Church and try to get it away from our distinctiveness.  If you don’t love us please leave us.  We will love you anyway.

The following is a quote from a former editor of the former State Baptist Paper, Word and Way,  R.K Maiden, and was posted on a group list I am part of:

“Open communion churches in the south are as scarce as hen’s teeth, and alien immersion churches are almost as scarce. Southern Baptist churches have, so far, consistently and firmly declined to enter into any kind of compromising, entangling, interdenominational alliance. But what of the future? Will the New Testament hold its grip on Southern Baptists through the next fifty or one hundred years? The rising tide of ecclesiastical liberalism will eventually reach the borders of the South and slowly overflow it. . . Fifty or a hundred years hence may show marked changes among Southern Baptists. Unless there is a strong backfire against it, ecclesiastical liberalism will eat into the South. R.K. Maiden, 1926 (R.K. Maiden was editor of “The Word and Way” Missouri Baptist newspaper from 1896 to 1929 and was a leader among Missouri Southern Baptists. In the above quote Maiden hit the nail right on the head. There have been marked doctrinal changes among Southern Baptists in the eighty-two years since he wrote these words. If we are going to see doctrinal renewal come to Southern Baptists we must stand against ecclesiastical liberalism and preach and teach Baptist distinctives to our congregations. The quote is from pages 50-51 of Maiden’s 1926 book “The Rising Tide of Ecclesiastical Apostasy”.)

Posted on the Landmark Southern Baptist Group List, by Ben Stratton

We do not need to be eccleiastically identical with other denominations to get along with them.  The best thing Baptists can do for the world and others is maintain our identity with the Bible as the Word of God, stand on our doctrines and teachings.  If we fail to do that then, we are not worth having around.  Think on these matters for a while before you begin throwing them out the door.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

A Worthless Worship vs. A Worthy Worship

A CARVED WORSHIP

“What profiteth the graven image that the maker thereof hath graven it; the molten image, and a teacher of lies, that the maker of his work trusteth therein, to make dumb idols?  Woe unto him that saith to the wood, Awake; to the dumb stone, Arise, it shall teach! Behold, it is laid over with gold and silver, and there is no breath at all in the midst of it.  But the LORD is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him.” Habakkuk 2:18-20 (KJV).

We will be dealing with the fifth and final woe in this portion of our study. “Woe” seems such a dreadful word. If we take it for what it was meant to be, it is. “A condition of deep suffering from misfortune, affliction or grief; 2 : CALAMITY, MISFORTUNE” MIRRIAM/WEBSTER DICTIONARY. The definition from the Biblical perspective would be “A pronouncement of judgment” and in the case of Habakkuk the prophet, a pronouncement of judgment against the Babylonians for their treatment of the Hebrew captives, and their treatment of the temple and its valuables.

The “Woe” is given to us in verse 19, “Woe to him who says to the wood, ‘Awake!’ To the silent stone, ‘Arise! It shall teach!’ Behold, it is overlaid with gold and silver, yet there is no breath at all.” (NKJV). To see someone speaking to a piece of wood would seem quite comical, if it were not a warning against idolatry. The Babylonians did practice the worship of idols.

The names of the Hebrews in the book of Daniel were changed to reflect the names of the idols of Babylon rather than the God of the Hebrews:

Daniel means “God is my judge” ……….Belteshazzar means ‘the keeper of the treasure of Baal’;

Hananiah means “Jehovah is gracious” ……Shadrach means ‘command of the moon god’; Mishael means “Who is like God” ……………… Meshach means ‘the goddess Shach’;

Azariah means “Jehovah is my helper”…………………. Abednego means ‘the fire god’. This was a means of ‘Brainwashing’ them getting them in tune with the culture of Babylon. They realized the importance of names. That is why I refer to them all by their Hebrew names. They are not Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; they are Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.

The question of verse 18 concerning ‘What profit?, ‘the molded image, a teacher of lies, that the maker of its mold should trust in it, to make mute idols? Wooden images, metal images, stone images, are less restrictive, easily approachable, and have no requirements. When one worships an idol you have your own form and “Formed” worship. You could say “Carved Worship”. You may worship your god whenever, and however you choose. To worship the Lord of Heaven, however, requires, righteousness, holiness, justness, and devotion. Those who try and approach God without these will be turned away, and cast into fires of judgment.

We do not have a “Carved Worship”. We have a heavenly ordained worship in “Spirit and truth”. The God of heaven is unapproachable without righteousness, holiness, justness, and devotion. We can only attain approachableness to God by the righteousness, holiness, justness, and devotion of His Son Jesus Christ, and because of His death on the cross, His burial, and His resurrection. It is not by any work [Carved or otherwise] that man approaches the Holy One.

The Psalmist had a word or two to say about idols:

“Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands.  They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not: They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not:  They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat.  They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them.” Psalm 115:4-8 (KJV).

What can an idol do for you? Of course, if you are the artist who is doing the carving, then you can be well paid. If you are the metal worker, again, you can receive good pay. As far as any eternal value they offer death. Look at what happened to the gods of Egypt in the early chapters of Exodus. Everyone of them were exposed as being false. They had no control over the elements; only the God of Moses and the Hebrews had power to bring the plagues, and to remove the plagues.

Those who rely upon images are trusting in a lie. There is not one shread of evidence for any false god having power or helping the people who trust in them. The idols they make cannot speak, they cannot see, they cannot touch you, they cannot walk or run, and they cannot hear. Why waste the time of trying.

In some parts of the world, and our Country too, there are people who are good at seeing images in pieces of toasts, trees, and just in thin air. Then they build images to “Give honor” to them. They spend time praying to “Fatima” and praising her. Praying is usually only reserved for deity since deity is the only one who can answer the prayer. Thus, what is offered to “Fatima” as prayer is an act of worship.

According to the apostle Paul in the First letter to the Corinthian church, “…The things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons, and not to God: and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons.” 1 Corinthians 10:20 (NKJV). To offer anything to an idol, be it carved, seen in a vision, apparition, or whatever is to offer worship to demons. That is the teaching of the New Testament. That is the teaching of the apostle Paul. The apostle to the Gentiles.

These may have an air of beauty about them with the gold, silver, and sometimes even the craftsmanship which formed it, but they are not living. They have no “Breath” at all. There is One and only One who is in His temple. That One is the One who made us all, and all things seen and unseen.

“Let all the earth keep silence before Him” (v.20b).

John MacArthur writes of this in the MACARTHUR STUDY BIBLE:

keep silence. In contrast to the silence of the idols (v. 19), the living, Sovereign Ruler of the universe calls all the earth to be silent before Him. None can assert his independence from Him; all the earth must worship in humble submission (cf. Ps. 46:10; Is. 52:15).”

This call is for an act of extreme reverence, even an awe, because He is the only one worthy of it all. The Psalmist also said, “Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” Psalm 46:10 (NKJV).

All will one day bow before Him and confess Jesus as Lord of all the earth. You do it now, or you will be doing it then.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

A Most Precious Institution

A PRECIOUS UNION

“Thou shalt not commit adultery.” Exodus 20:14

Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” “It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.” Matthew 5:27-28 and 31-32.

“The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.” Matthew 19:3-9.

We have been looking at THE LAW OF GOD AND THE MODERN MAN. We have come through six of the commandments of God four of which deal with our relationship with God, and the latter six dealing with our relationship to our fellow man. We have come to the seventh commandment which has to do with the husband and wife relationship. It is to be one of fideltiy, ie., being faithful to one’s spouse.

Sadly, this commandment has been broken too many times, even in the point Jesus makes in Matthew chapter five. The look of lust is an act of adultery. What male/man, in all honesty, can say, “I have not looked with lust at any woman”? Only Jesus could say that.

The Seventh Commandment deals with all sexual sins. Premarital sex is adultery against the future spouse and marriage. Extra-marital sex is adultery to the present marriage and the spouse. It is a betrayal of trust and confidence. One of the quickest ways to ruin a marriage is to commit adultery. Somewhere in most wedding vows is the words, “…Prefering no other…” or something similar. It not only breaks the promise you made to your spouse, it also breaks the promise you made to God. It does not matter if you had a church wedding or if you were wed in the courthouse, the promise was made before God. You have a relationship with another and you are guilty. Homosexuality is an abomination. Beastiality is an abomination and gross perversion. These latter two are still in the class of adulterous relationships, breaking God’s laws. There are no degrees of adultery.

The First Institution God Ordained. This first institution is MARRIAGE. This blessed institution is falling by the wayside in our modern society. Our government penalizes married couples by the paying of more taxes in some cases. Elderly couples can receive more Social Security benefits by living together without marrying. This, in essence, is government, our government of the United States; rewarding immoral behavior.

Young couples are living together more and more without marriage. They want to “Test drive” the relationship, similar to test driving a car they want to purchase. This is a relationship not a piece of property. If you test drive a car and buy it there will come a day in a few years, at the most, where you will get rid of that car. If you “Test drive” that relationship, that is what most likely will happen to the relationship too. Why? Because there is need for commitment, and where there is no commitment, there is no power or permanance to the relationship. Either party in the relationship can leave at any time. It is with sadness that I must admit, there are many who enter marriage with this attitude as well. If you are not prepared to spend a lifetime with someone do not marry, but do not make a sham of marriage by living in rebellion to God’s law by cohabitating. There is little to no respect for the institution for marriage, and it seems due to the fact of no respect for God and that which is holy, righteous and good.

Marriage is more than, “Just a sheet of paper…”. It is in fact the bringing together of two – one man and one woman – before God and they two become “One flesh” (Gen. 2:24; Eph. 5:31). It is in fact a life-time commitment with binding vows that promise one another, and God, that whether “…rich or poor, in sickness or in health, loving no other, until death do we part.” That is more than a sheet of paper; it is a “binding contract” with God, and has serious repercussions if the bond is broken any way other than by death.

Adulterous Relationships Are Harmful. Adultery is against society. It breaks down the morality of a good society. Biblical morality has been completely rejected. Things once considered wrong are right, and what was right is now wrong (Isaiah 5:20). Teenage premarital sex is increasing. Homosexual activity is also a form of adultery, and is aggressively pursuing the right of marriage in our country. Thank God that the State Supreme Court of the State of Washington upheld the law declaring marriage is between a man and a woman (July 26, 2006).

When it comes to nations and people – a society which continues in this adulterous path are “Given up” by God (Rom. 1:24-27). It is against the nation. By a nation’s acceptance and tolerance of adultery – homosexuality and teenage sex it degrades the nation – “Sin is a reproach to any people” (Prov. 14:34). If this degradation continues, there will come a judgment on our nation unlike anything that has ever been seen. “Adultery is treason; the adulterer should be tried as a traitor to his nation”. UNKNOWN.

Adultery is against the race. It is against the human race. It is against every race of man.

Worst of all, adultery is against God. David, the man “After God’s own heart” committed the sin of adultery. He was confronted by the prophet Nathan (2 Samuel 12:1-14). David confessed he had sinned against God (Ps. 51:1-5). David had lost his joy (Ps. 51:12-13). ADULTERY IS A SIN AGAINST ALMIGHTY GOD.

In order to understand this issue of adultery we need to maybe, ask, What Is Adultery? The Old Testament seems to relegate it to a physical act alone. In the New Testament Jesus (See above verses) equates it to a look, and a thought – the lingering, longing look and thought that is fed (Matthew 5:27-28″. “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” (James 1:13-15). The New Testament is much more powerful and condemning than the Old Testament law. Adultery becomes more than an act, but a look and a thought. The look and the thought is what leads to the actual act. Left to itself this law offers us no hope. We are guilty. We are condemned.

THERE IS FORGIVENESS (John 8:1-11). In the Bible the penalty for adultery is death. The Scripture given previously to the last sentence shows this was what was in the heart and mind of this woman’s accusers. Quick to pick up the stones of accusation, slow to mercy, slow to forgiveness. With this woman caught in the act of adultery, Jesus gives her forgiveness.

Notice Jesus’s words, “…Go, and sin no more”. It was not just a blanket forgiveness without responsibility. She had been forgiven, and now her life would reflect the cleansing and forgiveness she had received. Muse on these questions for awhile. Where was the man who was caught in the act with her? What did Jesus write in the dirt on the ground? Why didn’t they throw the stones?

The only one who could have stoned her forgave her instead. THERE IS FORGIVENESS FOR THE SIN OF ADULTERY. There is forgiveness for all sin, when you put your faith in Jesus Christ.

In conclusion, The Seventh Commandment Is Valid Today. Matrimony is still a sacred institution and it is reserved for one man and one woman for a lifetime together, and can only be broken legitimately by death of one or the other. Adultery still affects lives and societies, governments, churches, and families in a detrimental way. God still judges adultery. There is forgiveness for adultery. When we love God, we will truly love our spouse, and loving God and spouse is stronger and more valuable than the law. That is this law written in the heart.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

Doing The Word of God

Knowing the Mission and Purpose of the King

“And it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of commanding His twelve disciples, He departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities. Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, And said unto Him, Art thou He that should come, or do we look for another? Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.” Matthew 11:1-6 (KJV)

In chapter ten Jesus has sent His disciples out to minister the Word of God and declare the message of the King. In the first verse of this chapter we find Jesus preaching and ministering alone. He has given commandment and sends the twelve out. In the first verse we are told, “He departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities. “Their cities” would be speaking of the cities of those He had just sent, of course.

John the Baptist, a prophet truly in the Old Testament sense, would know the message of the prophets. He knows, especially the ones of the coming Messiah. He, being a man, and a sinner like the rest of us would have had some preconceived notions concerning the Messiah; somewhat like his Jewish teachers. For instance he must have believed that the Messiah was going to come and free the nation of Israel from Roman rule. These preconceived notions would cause him to doubt. Preconceived notions of Scripture will cause doubt.

The Baptist has been imprisoned for his faithfulness to God’s call. He preached telling Herod he should not have his brothers wife (Matthew 4:12; 14:3-12). John’s notion was most likely that Jesus as the King of the Jews would set up His kingdom. His assumption was correct, however, his timing was millenniums away; ie., His earthly kingdom.

Since John was imprisoned he was unable to question Jesus personally and sends his disciples. He is showing faith by sending his disciples, and by seeking confirmation. An understanding of Jesus’s mission and ministry would end the doubt and the confusion for John.

To know our own mission and ministry for Christ will give us peace of mind. Every individual believer, every church needs a mission and purpose for being, and we find that in Jesus Christ, and His Word.

John’s question is one we could probably ask at times. “Art thou He that should come, or do we look for another?” Can we truly understand John’s dilemma? I think so. When he has been believing that he was preaching the way of the Messiah, then, he winds up in lock up, because he preached against Herod’s adultery, he is surely wondering, “Have I been preaching the right stuff? Is this man whom I have proclaimed really the One?” By his faith, he sends his disciples to ask Him. He did not send them to ask the religious leaders. He knew the answer he would get there. He believed Jesus would be the only one who would have the correct answer. He must have trusted, by what he had seen and heard, that Jesus was truthful, and that His word could be trusted. Jesus would not lie about His own identity. Sometimes doubt is a sign of growth, if you are really seeking the truth. Was this man, Jesus, the Messiah; the long awaited One by the Jews?

The question asked by John, which was born of doubt is answered by Jesus. To answer, Jesus had only to use the Old Testament Scripture. When Jesus gave them the words of Isaiah 29:18-19; 35:4-6; 61:1-2a John would be satisfied with the answer, and the doubt was resolved. Being a prophet he would have been very acquainted with these verses, which are prophecies of the Messiah. He would trust the Scriptures in the identity of Jesus, and the evidence that He gave as well. The evidence was what Scriptures said the Messiah would do, and Jesus was doing it.

The mission of Jesus was to help the afflicted. Those who were afflicted physically, economically and spiritually were aided and blessed by the touch of Jesus. The works He performed were evidence of who He is/was. We must keep in mind that the works we perform are a testimony of who we are. The power Christians have over man made religion is a living Savior who overcame the power of sin. Man made religion binds men to man made laws. Christians are not bound to law, but to the One who fulfilled the law, thus, able to live His life.

John knowing the Prophets and their prophecies recognized the mission of Jesus when it was told to him. Jesus’s ministry was to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). His ministry was one of offense. He touched the unclean and the defiled. He ministered to “Tax collectors and sinners”, and that offended the religious leaders. He rebuked the religious establishment and their self-righteousness.

The King’s mission was to die, that all who repent and believe could be saved. The ultimate goal of King Jesus was/is to fulfill all the Word of God.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

Walking Before, After,With, and In God

Walk Before God

“And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.” Genesis 17:1 (KJV).

By this verse alone we can see that Abraham is walking with the LORD. Walking with the LORD is the daily endeavor of all who know the LORD. Enoch and Noah are said to be two who have walked with the LORD (chapter 5:22 and 6:9). It is important that we walk with God. God desires that we walk with Him. God desired that Abraham walk with Him. Though the text does not say that Abraham walked with God, it seems to be safe to say that it is a true saying.

“We walk ‘before God’ as children; we ‘walk after’ Him as servants; we ‘walk with’ Him as His friends; we ‘walk in’ Him as members of His Body.” A.W. Pink From GLEANINGS IN GENESIS, p. 187. “To walk before is sugestive of a child running ahead and playing in the presence of his father, conscious of his perfect security because he is just behind. To ‘walk after’ becomes a servant following his master. To ‘walk with’ indicates fellowship and friendship. To ‘walk in’ denotes union” GLEANINGS IN GENESIS.

For those who will walk before God, after God, with God, and/or in God we must walk ‘perfectly’ – sincere and upright. The Word of God cannot be changed to fit our lives – our lives must change to fit the Word. Is it possible to ‘be thou perfect’ before the LORD? God’s grace is sufficient. If He requires it He provides it, as we are in Him.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

At The Entrance of the Gates

Judgment From The North

For the nation of Israel it seems that the North was the direction from which judgment would come. I think it interesting to note a Psalm that directs our attention to the North without naming the North. It is Psalm 75, and it says, “Do not lift up your horn on high; do not speak with a stiff neck.’ For exaltaation comes neither from the east nor from the west nor from the south. But God is the Judge: He puts down one, and exalts another.” (vv.5-7). You notice the silence concerning North? Does Judgment come from the North? In the case of Israel and Judah it does.

Hear what the LORD spoke to Jeremiah:

“Then the LORD said to me: ‘Out of the north calamity shall break forth on all the inhabitants of the land. For behold, I am calling all the families of the kingdoms of the north,’ says the LORD; ‘They shall come and each one set his throne at the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem, against all its walls all around, and against all the cities of Judah. I will utter My judgments against them concerning all their wickedness, because they have forsaken Me, burned incense to other gods, and worshiped the works of their own hands.” Jeremiah 1:13-16

The judgment of which Jeremiah warned was coming on all the inhabitants of the land. It seems that the noble people, those of notable birth, or those who have great wealth sometimes think, “Oh, that won’t happen to us” or “We can become a part of the upper society people, and we can just fit in”, but the prophet’s message from the LORD is judgment on “all the inhabitants of the land”. Judgment is not a pleasant thing to talk about, but when the LORD calls you and gives you a message to proclaim, and tells you not to withhold a word, then you better obey.

Every preacher, and especially pastors would love to spend all their preaching, preaching of the goodness, love, grace, mercy of God. We would be thrilled just to always be preaching about the good we see in our fellow human beings, because there are good things done, there are good lives lived, and people saving physical lives; and encouraging others. The preacher, the pastor is not the man of God he should be, if he preaches not that we are sinners; condemned, dying and that our only hope of salvation is through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. To preach the cross of Jesus you must tell why He died on the cross, that means talking about our darkness of sin. We must tell why the Father had to judge His own perfect, sinless Son, turn His back on Him; and why Jesus went through that horrible three hours of total darkness while He was stretched between heaven and hell. We must preach that God made Him to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.

The judgment coming on Judah was coming from the north. It was in fact, coming from God. It was the plan of Jeremiah’s father, his family, and Jeremiah that he would be a priest in Jerusalem. That was a ministry that was much respected in Jeremiah’s day, and that of his family. Jeremiah even had plans of marriage, but that was not to come about. We will see that in a later word from God to the prophet. Prophets of God do not choose to be prophets; they are called by God to be prophets. That is the prophet Jeremiah. Prophets who call themselves serve themselves, lead others astray, and despise God’s prophets.

The judgment coming to Jerusalem was like all the kingdoms of the north were coming to set up quarters, homes, or shop right in the gates of the city. They would be encamping all around. The people of Judah would no longer be free. Not only is this against the city of Jerusalem but all the cities of Judah. This would include Bethlehem and Bethel.

The coming of these people of the kingdoms of the north was God’s utterance against their forsaking the LORD. There were those who were worshipping the LORD, but few and far between. Those who were worshipping were probably remaining silent. The priests who were praising God in their hearts and worshipping him, must have been silent concerning the condition of the hearts and lives of the people; thus were allowing them to continue to live in their sin and rebellion. Therefore, they were not the priests of God that they should have been. Take the offering the people bring no matter the true condition of their heart, or that they had been to the temple of Baal, and participated in those rituals. They will be okay as long as they are faithful to the temple of God. LIES, LIES, LIES. God is not glorified except with total devotion, commitment, and worship to Him and to Him alone.

Even though a man and/or woman may attend worship on Sunday morning, evening, Wednesday evening, and anytime the church house door is open, but they live for themselves the other days of the week, the rest of the time, and glorify not God with their life and living; they worship not, and love not the LORD with all their heart, soul, mind and strength. They have, in fact, forsaken the Lord, and “worship the works of their own hands”.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

The Making of The Preacher

God Makes a Preacher

The call of the prophet was one of separation. It was one for Jeremiah that would separate him from his family, due to the message he would be proclaiming, it would even keep him from marriage. There were times he would even feel that God had forsaken Him. We will see these things as we progress through this wonderful prophecy which our LORD God has given us.

The passage of the prophet for today is chapter one, verses 17-19;

“Thou therefore gird up thy loins, and arise, and speak unto them all that I command thee: be not dismayed at their faces, lest I confound thee before them. For, behold, I have made thee this day a defenced city, and an iron pillar, and brasen walls against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, against the princes thereof, against the priests thereof, and against the people of the land. And they shall fight against thee; but they shall not prevail against thee; for I am with thee, saith the LORD, to deliver thee.” Jeremiah 1:17-19 (KJV).

The idea of “girding up the loins” is the idea of getting one’s self ready for the task at hand. You might say of a preacher called by God, “Get yourself ready to do My bidding”. As Paul spoke to Timothy, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” 2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV). Jeremiah was called to preach the Word of the Lord and he must be prepared. He must know that calling is sure, because there were going to come times in his ministry where that would be all that he had.

“Arise”, get up and get going, the time is short. “Speak to them all that I command thee”. There can be no changing of the message to soften the impact. It must be spoken as God has given it. It is sad to say and to think, but there are many preachers, who are pastors of churches and preach (if you can call it that) messages that are watered down versions of the truth, thus not the truth, but lies. They would rather be popular with their people. Popular with the people unpopular with God. Which would we be? God says to the prophet, “Be not dismayed at their faces, lest I confound thee before them”.

The prophet is called to stand, to be strong. God tells Jeremiah, “I have made you this day a defenced city, an iron pillar, and brazen walls against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, against the princes thereof, against the priests , and against the people of the land.” This is God’s promise to Jeremiah of God’s protection from harm. Even when the judgment comes on the land, even though the people, the kings, the princes, and the priests turn against him Jeremiah is promised protection. His life will be kept and preserved. Someone has said, “The man of God in the will of God is immortal, until God is through with him”. That is a profound statement. Of course the one who made that statement must have been speaking of this temporal life we live here on earth, because with Jesus as our Lord and Savior we are immortal anyway.

The promise of God for protection would be a mighty force in the faithfulness of Jeremiah. The promise is a mighty power in our lives as well. To think that his own family, friends, king, princes, and others would try to harm him, even try to kill him, and he having the promise of God’s protection and keeping. “They shall fight against you; but they shall not prevail against you; for I am with you, says the LORD, to deliver you.” Would you rather have the friendship of the world, or the protection and power of God on your life? Think about it. You cannot have both, if you are going to be a preacher of God’s Word.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

The Curse of Beverage Alcohol

A SHAMED GLORY

“Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness!  Thou art filled with shame for glory: drink thou also, and let thy foreskin be uncovered: the cup of the LORD’S right hand shall be turned unto thee, and shameful spewing shall be on thy glory.  For the violence of Lebanon shall cover thee, and the spoil of beasts, which made them afraid, because of men’s blood, and for the violence of the land, of the city, and of all that dwell therein.” Habakkuk 2:15-17 (KJV).

This whole prophetic message seems to be presented in song. The prophet has been angry because in his way of thinking God is letting evil go, and not doing anything with it. He is firstly upset because he sees the evil of “God’s people”, then when God tells him that punitive judgment is coming for God’s people in the form of the ruthless, evil Babylonian kingdom, he begins questioning God’s wisdom in the matter. I do not know about you, but I see where the prophet is coming from.

There are some who tend to believe that since this is only a song, then the words are not literal, but are allegorical, or poetic imagery. I could see it as an analogy; at least in some of the words that are presented. The definition of “analogy” is, “Inference that if two or more things agree in some respects they will probably agree in others” MIRRIAM/WEBSTER DICTIONARY.

The picture given here is of the Babylonian horde persuading their neighbors to come along and aid them. They woo them with big promises of treasures, wealth, and great popularity with their people, etc. They become “intoxicated” by the thoughts and dreams of the bounty; then when the battles were fought and they head home their help leaves with less than they entered the battles with. Babylon leaders made great promise, then, take all for themselves.

There is still a lesson of the evils of alcoholic beverage here. A woe is pronounced upon the people who purposely sell beverage alcohol, knowing they will buy it, drink it, get drunk, then, not even know what their day or evening was like.

We live in a day when there must be a policy of abstinence from beverage alcohol. For some reason people are enticed by beverage alcohol, even from a young age. It is advertised as the way of getting the pretty girls, the handsome guys, and having a great time. When the party is eventually over they will be left without anything to show for it, except decay and death. It is an evil in our society which has and is poisoning our lives, killing our children, and mothers and fathers. Beverage alcohol has been and is a source of physical abuse between spouses; husbands abusing their wives; wives abusing their husbands, and all due to this poison that kills and does so legally. Both parents when inebriated have been known to abuse their children. We certainly know the numbers of deaths from accidents on the highways due to beverage alcohol. There is cost associated with lost time at work. Costs in health care due to beverage alcohol. Why is it worth having around? Unless of course it is because some profit at the expense of the dead man on the road.

The judgment of God fell on Babylon because of their arrogance, in particular of the king. They had stripped the forest, frightened the wild animals, and all for the sake of taking the lives of men, and for the sake of gain. That dish would be returned upon them and with their own entrails.

ANALOGY? You could say that, but it makes a good point. There are those who argue, and I believe without merit, that the Bible says nothing against the drinking of beverage alcohol. Here are some references. Proverbs 20:1; 23:29:-35; 31:1-9. Then, here is a good illustration of the blessing of God on those who choose to be temperate Jeremiah 35:1-19.

In a culture, such as ours here in the United States of America it seems quite foolish to be defending the use and abuse of beverage alcohol. What is there to guarantee that you will never become drunk? There is only one answer. Do not take a drink of beverage alcohol. Drunkenness can also come about by doing drugs. That too, should not be tolerated by Christian America.

“Well, I only drink a glass of wine with my evening meal”, that would mean you keep it in a closet or some place in your home. You have children seeing you drink. What will guarantee they will not become an alcoholic or drunk? If you do not have the poison in your home, and if they never see you take a drink, they will be less likely to begin the process toward alcoholism and drunkenness.

The message of Habakkuk is a “Woe” to those who put it to their neighbor’s lips, that they might look upon their nakedness. The analogy being; taking advantage of their neighbor for personal gain. The literal rendering is “Don’t sell alcoholic beverage or disperse it in any manner“. God help those who do not follow God’s Word.

I know there are arguments and debate all around these references, but I just trust what the verses say. Unless we want the judgment of the Babylonians on us we who profess Christ as our Savior better begin living a life of temperance. Others are watching you. The best way to avoid becoming an alcoholic is to never take a drink of beverage alcohol. Let us, especially not take part in causing others to become drunken and alcoholic. Let us rather show them the New Wine of Jesus.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

A Heart of Pretense

“Pretense” – a claim, not supported by fact; mere display or show. A false show. So is the meaning of the word. It would not be a pleasant or comfortable thing to be charged with. However, as we look into the book of Jeremiah we see that the nation of Judah, the Southern part of the divided kingdom since Rehoboam, is charged with this exact thing. “Judah has not turned to Me with her whole heart, but in pretense,” says the LORD.” (Jeremiah 3:10).

The Northern kingdom has been charged with adultery against God. God has called for their repentance (3:7), to return to the LORD. They had prostituted themselves against their faithful Husband and God, and become a immoral nation.

“…Then I saw that for all the causes for which backsliding Israel had committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a certificate of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but went and played the harlot also. So it came to pass, through her casual harlotry, that she defiled the land and committed adultery with stones and trees. And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah has not turned to Me with her whole heart, but in pretense,’ says the LORD.” Jeremiah 3:8-10 (NKJV).

This was a prophecy given during the reign of Josiah (3:6), who was considered a godly king. Josiah became king at the age of eight years (Read 1 Chronicles 34 – 35). You will read of Josiah that he purged the land of Judah of the “high places”, of “carved images”, and of “molded images”, and that “He did what was right in the sight of the LORD…” However, it appears that much of what was done during Josiah’s reign was done with pretense. It does not seem to have been pretense on the kings part, but on the peoples hearts. Legislation, whether done by a monarch or a president cannot change the hearts of people. The hearts of the people of Judah were moved by Josiah, but not by God. Therefore, there was much pretense in the land of Judah.

Pretense or hypocrisy cannot be hid from the omniscient eye of the LORD. It is said quite often in Scriptures that “God looks on the heart”, and that seems to be something that all people tend to forget. Pretense and hypocrisy never fools, or deceives the Lord Almighty. It didn’t work in Judah or Israel, and it will not work in today’s world either.

If you will notice God even calls this act by Judah “treacherous”. Three times in verses seven through ten God calls Judah the “treacherous sister” of Israel. The word “Treacherous” is defined as ‘Characterized by treachery; untrustworthy, unreliable’ and “Treachery” is defined as ‘a violation of allegiance or trust’. According to Strong’s Concordance it is to deal deceitfully; and certainly the heart’s of the people of Judah were endeavoring to deal deceitfully with God.

At a time when our own nation is at war, and the hearts of people are growing more and more spiritual, but not according to the knowledge of God; there is much pretense and hypocrisy. There are religions on every corner that use the name of God, but know Him not. When religion denies Jesus Christ, they deny God. Jesus Himself said, “If you have seen Me you have seen the Father” (John 14:9). There is truly only one true worship of God, and that is through the Lord Jesus Christ, by His death, burial and resurrection. Any other presumed worship is a treacherous and pretentious worship.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

Human Life is Precious

HUMAN LIFE IS PRECIOUS

Exodus 20:13 – “Thou shalt not kill.”

Mark 12:29-31 – “The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

Why has God given us Commandment that we are not to kill one another? Because we are each one made in the image of God, and though that image is marred by sin God still finds specialness/sacredness in humanity.

There are people today who want to use this commandment; when it comes to what we call “Capital Punishment” – the putting to death of an individual because they have, in cold-blood taken another human life – to argue against the putting to death of such an evil person as one who would cold heartedly without any inhibition take the life of another. May God forgive them their error. The putting to death of a cold hearted murderer shows the sacredness of the life that was taken. To allow the murderer to live is to say the murderer’s life is more valuable than the murdered individual.  “Thou shalt not kill” does not prevent the soldier who fights to defend his/her country, or one protecting their own life, family’s lives, the life of another, or property.

God shows us by this commandment that He sees human life as being set apart from other life, and that it is valuable, special and sacred.

This commandment really has nothing to do with whether governments have the right or duty to put a killer to death. It has to do with the life of any human being.

Any murderer who takes the life of another in anger, or by malice, or for greed, envy, lust, etc. is worthy of death themselves. We must, however, realize that murder is not the unforgivable sin. With all sin there is forgiveness with God. Jesus Himself paid the sin debt, even for murder. There is forgiveness at the cross of Jesus who you could say by virtue of man, Jesus was murdered. Falsely accused by the religious establishment, wrongly convicted by the judge, but O, what a Savior. Our sin debt is paid.

When we hold God’s law/commandments as dear to us we will have respect for human life and hold it as sacred, and will view all life as special.

A law for the State of Missouri passed in November of 2006 that made “Stem Cell Research” legal. It was fought vigilantly by those who were for life. We saw through the smoke screen of wording on the ballot which made it seem that they were protecting life when in fact they were for embryonic murder for research. They called it legalizing “Stem Cell Research”. It is actually a plan to take embryoes and butcher them for the stemcells to do “Research?”, supposedly to improve the health of Missourians, and people of the world, I suppose. What is involved is what is called Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer (SCNT) which is actually a form of cloning. This form (SCNT) is done by the emptying of the egg and implanting a human cell into it and, then nurturing it (understand, now this is the way I understand it; I am not a doctor, nurse, nor am I the son of one), just like invitro-fertilization is done (In glass). Then, they take this developing embryo and begin doing their “Research?”. There are a lot of questions I have of this, and one of them is, WHEN ARE WE GOING TO STOP PLAYING GOD? This is life. Let God be God, and the health of us all would be much better. The battle in the State of Missouri continues on this. There are attempts to present another ballot in an upcoming election that would definitely outlaw “Embryonic Stem Cell Research”. Let us pray that this will be made illegal and respect for all human life will continue in Missouri and around the world.

There is already evidence that Adult stem cells do more in helping people, and there is only theoretical evidence that the Embryonic stem cells will. To “harvest” and use embryonic stem cells is to kill and take human life.

All of life is in God’s hands. What if someone had taken your embryo and destroyed it? There would be no you. We also need to let God do the selecting for life. He does it far better.

The Christian’s view of life should come from our heart and Scriptures; “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.” (1 John 3:15). Jesus said in Matthew 5:21-22, “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.” Murder can be just hatred in the heart. Do not think that that can be without guilt or punishment, and the judgment of Jesus Christ Himself.

Here is some Scripture to reconcile the sixth commandment with capital punishment – “And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man’ brother will I require the life of man. Whoso sheddeth man’ blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.” (Gen. 9:5-6). “And he that smiteth his father, or his mother, shall be surely put to death.” (EX. 21:15). “And if men strive together, and one smite another with a stone, or with his fist, and he die not, but keepeth his bed: If he rise again, and walk abroad upon his staff, then shall he that smote him be quit: only he shall pay for the loss of his time, and shall cause him to be thoroughly healed.” (EX. 21:18-19). Then a New Testament passage, ” Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.” (Romans 13:1-7).

In Deuteronomy 19:1-3, 8-10 there is reference to cities of refuge for those who had accidently killed someone. They could flee here and if found “Not guilty” of murder could stay there until the death of the “High priest”, then the family of the “victim:” could no longer pursue the life of this man without committing murder.

There is a place which anyone can flee today as well. That place is to the safety of Jesus Christ.
FLEE, FLEE TO THE CROSS OF CHRIST.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

Meeting God in Person

Meeting God in Person

“And the angel of the LORD found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur. And he said, Hagar, Sarai’s maid, whence camest thou? and whither wilt thou go? And she said, I flee from the face of my mistress Sarai. And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands. And the angel of the LORD said unto her, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude. And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction. And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren. And she called the name of the LORD that spake unto her, Thou God seest me: for she said, Have I also here looked after him that seeth me? Wherefore the well was called Beerlahairoi; behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered. And Hagar bare Abram a son: and Abram called his son’s name, which Hagar bare, Ishmael. And Abram was fourscore and six years old, when Hagar bare Ishmael to Abram.” Genesis 16:7-16 (KJV)

Remembering now that Hagar had received some harsh, and unkind treatment from Sarai, she has fled from her husband and mistress. We must remember some things about Hagar too. She had become “Highminded” against Sarai; though not specifically charged, it is definitely implied by the phrase, “despised in her eyes” (v.5). Sarai was her master wife, the ruler of the household. Now notice who appears to Hagar after she has fled from the Abrahams.

The Angel of the LORD is the one who finds Hagar by a fountain of water. The Angel of the LORD is believed to be a manifestation of the pre-incarnate Christ. This angel is never mentioned in Scripture following the incarnation of Christ in Bethlehem. This shows us that the LORD is indeed concerned with the people of all races, and countries, and that He is involved in the affairs of humanity. The LORD cared for Hagar and went to her.

Notice how the LORD addresses Hagar; He calls her “Sarai’s maid”, reminding her that she has attachments, and obligations, and that she is still a servant to Sarai. The question asked by the LORD is not one seeking information, but rather one seeking repentance. What is Hagar’s need for repentance? She has been rebellious, and proud concerning Sarai; and sought a higher place than what she was allotted by God. She was a servant girl, nothing more. The first born son of promise was to be from Abram and Sarai; not Abram and Hagar.

The LORD’s word to Hagar is, “Return to your mistress, and submit yourself under her hand.” She is not to exude an attitude of arrogance or supremacy over Sarai, but be an obedient servant girl. God gives her a promise, “I will multiply your descendants exceedingly…”, and the promise did not stop there. Hagar is told that she is with child, that she would bear a son, and call his name Ishmael. The promise is one that has not only been fulfilled but makes history practically everyday. It is seriously believed that Ishmael is the father of the Arabic people. This is mostly a people who are also followers of Mohammed who is the founder of the Muslim religion. They fulfill the discription in God’s “promise” to Hagar. “He shall be a wild man; his hand shall be against every man, and every man’s hand against him. And he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren”. In the naming of her son Ishmael she would always look at her son and remember the day she heard from the LORD.

Hagar then names the place where she has met God in person “You Are the God Who Sees” (Beer Lahai Roi). This is the same place (24:62) where Isaac, the promised son, would be waiting, years later for his bride; which the servant of Abraham had gone to find.

What did Hagar do upon meeting the LORD and hearing His voice? She honored Him with a great name. She returned to her mistress, and we must believe that she returned in a submissive manner. This experience for Hagar was a blessed experience. It is a privilege, an honor, a blessing, and grace that any one can meet God. All can meet God, however, by the person of Jesus Christ. This Angel of the LORD was He before He ever became man, and walked among us.

God shows His mercy every day. Some may wonder “How?”, and that is really simple to explain. If He indeed did create all things, and He did. If He does indeed still involve Himself in the affairs of this world, and He does. Then, surely He holds the power to stop your breathing, and the beating of your heart with only a word. That is His mercy displayed. His grace was displayed as His Son Jesus hanged between earth and heaven, and all of heaven’s wrath was poured onto the Son in our behalf. The life given by Himself, that we might live with Him eternally. Have you met God personally?

-by Tim A. Blankenship

Receiving the King

Receiving the King

“He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.” Matthew 10:40-42 (KJV).

We have all heard Jesus use the phrase “In My name”. We are to pray in His name. I think it would be safe to say that He teaches us to live in His name. We are not praying in His name when we ask Him for selfish things that will magnify the flesh, and does not glorify Him. If we live for ourselves, to gain public notoriety, or material gain, then, we are not living in His name. The life in His name is lived by faith. When we live and walk by faith we will receive His rewards.

Jesus tells us that when others receive His disciples into their homes, lives, and communities, then, they are receiving Him – the Sender. They receive the disciples and receive the message they are proclaiming as well. The message is heard, and is activated, or at the least sincerely considered.

The rewards that are given have nothing to do with eternal life or salvation. It cannot be earned. It is a free gift of God. When a true prophet of God is received by the household, then he receives the faithfulness of the prophet, and is faithful to God as is the prophet, and any other blessing of the prophet. The one who receives the righteous man, will become righteous themselves. This not their own doing but the decree of God. Those who receive a disciple, and giving them refreshment, becoming a disciple of Jesus will also not lose their reward.

To reject the messenger [Ambassador] of the King is to reject the King and His kingdom.

There is no other name as powerful as the name of Jesus. This name alone caused the Universe to come to be. By this name men are set on thrones, and taken from the thrones. By this name, the name of Jesus, men and women, boys and girls, are bound or free. By the name of Jesus every soul of man can be set free from the bondage of sin, resurrected to eternal life, and live eternally with Jesus Christ in the portals of heaven. What you and I choose to do with this man named Jesus will determine our eternal destiny.

– by Tim A. Blankenship

What Do You See???

What Do You See?

The prophet has seen the “Rod of the almond tree”, and it was the message from God that He was going to bring His Word to pass very quickly. The seeing of the “Rod…” itself is the sign of discipline and judgment. It can also be a sign of protection, if you are on the right side of it.

The LORD asked Jeremiah again, “What do you see?” Jeremiah 1:13 (NKJV), and the prophet says, “I see a boiling pot, and it is facing away from the north”. A “boiling pot” is a hot matter. It has taken some time for the contents of the pot to come to the point of boiling.

At the time of Jeremiah it has basically been many, many years that the people of Israel and of Judah have grown cold to the Lord and His Word. They have turned a deaf ear to the meaning of their sabbath days, holy days, their feasts, and have in fact turned their hearts toward other gods.

Their comforts, their riches, their houses and their lands are of more importance and they care more for those things than for others, or God.

For many years in our own Nation of the United States of America many professing Christians have grown more concerned with their health, wealth, houses, cars, and lands, than they have with being holy, righteous, and the care of our poorer brothers and sisters in Christ. There is a ‘Boiling pot’ that is ready to be spilled on us. It may be in the form of a collapsed economy; is that laughable? You may have the first laugh, but God will have the final one. People are dollaring themselves right out of their new and older homes.

The ‘Boiling pot’ may not be coming from our North, but it is coming from the thing which Americans fear the most. What is that? Economic collapse. For too long people and even Christians have put their hope in the economy being good, when it has basically been built on nothing visible, but the invisible value of their home. It should really just be called ‘Their house’, because to many it is just an investment, and they have placed the value of their lives in the value of their house. May God help us, and forgive us.

God says to the prophet, “Out of the North calamity shall break forth on all the inhabitants of the land”. Jeremiah 1:14 (NKJV). When people turn their backs on God, and turn to their own means, comfort, health, wealth, and security, then is when the water in the pot begins to boil. It has been boiling now for many years. Let’s repent of our deeds and turn to the LORD.

Third Woe and a Promise

EARTH FILLED WITH GLORY

“Woe to him that buildeth a town with blood, and stablisheth a city by iniquity!  Behold, is it not of the LORD of hosts that the people shall labour in the very fire, and the people shall weary themselves for very vanity?  For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” Habakkuk 2:12-14 (KJV).

The third woe is here presented. So far the “Woes” have had to do with unjust increase, and increase at the cost of another’s fall, by the profiteer’s own doing. Remember these woes are being pronounced against Babylon. It seems that there are lessons the Christian and the world of today should hear and heed. If these things were evil for Babylon to practice, then they are evil in any society.

This again is a continuation of the charges against them. They have been pillaging, robbing, killing, and taking all the treasures of every land. They were using means which would not meet with God’s approval. There was much injustice in their dealings with the people of God and others.

It is a wicked people who take from the weak to establish their own homes, villages, towns and cities. It is a vile thing in the eyes of our Just God to see those who gain and gain and gain never to return anything to God for His glory. The one’s who have against those who have not. Those who have money can “legally” charge those who cannot afford it 30 percent or more for the credit. That should be illegal in this country. “O, that is capitalism – that’s the way it works”. That is capitalism run amuck. It is foul, it is a stench in the nostrils of holy God. To correct this there should be a fair exchange of money. What you charge the wealthy should be the rate you charge the poor man or woman. Really it would be a delight in the eye of God to charge less to the poor, than to the rich. Laugh if you will, but you laugh at holy God.

The wealthy put people to work, and some do not pay a wage consistent enough to live on. Then, they charge an enormous amount of money for their product, what that same person needs, and take even more. God help the business people of our land to open their eyes and be a benefit to our society rather than dividing the classes even further.

Let me assure you, that all these things for which we labor and toil; these things that we find so dear and important, will one day fade to naught. What will you have left when it is all gone?

There is a prize in these verses. “For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea”. The leaders and rulers of Babylon sought to build a great kingdom by the shedding of blood, and taking what belonged to others, and often at the expense of their lives. There is a Kingdom coming in which there will be no war, but only peace. The peace of God that passes all understanding. Notice the vastness of this “knowledge of the glory”; it is “as the waters cover the sea”. How much do the waters cover the sea? The sea is water, thus this filling with the knowledge of the glory covers the whole realm of the Kingdom. All the bloodshed, and such will have been done away. Jesus Christ will reign supremely. The knowledge of His glory will fill the earth.

God’s Promise for Long Life

THE SECRET FOR LONG LIFE

It seems that there are many people who are trying to live a long life. With transplants for just about every part of the body I think that gives us ample proof of that statement. We all want to live. God gives us the means of long life. In fact He is the only one who can give us long life. Understand, the following is God’s pattern for a long life. It is God’s first commandment with promise. Children; Hear and obey.

“The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31).

“Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.” (Exodus 20:12).

This is the first commandment following the four commandments having to do with our relationship to God. The focus now turns to our relationship with our fellow man – our fellow human being. It is not by accident or coincidence that this commandment comes first in this line. For when parents are honored, they have honored their parents, and so on and on. When the home is right, then, most of the times all these things which follow will follow accordingly. If there is respect for Mom and Dad at home their will be respect for other people’s rights and property.

I did things when I was young and foolish that dishonored my mother and father. I also did things which would have dishonored them had it ever been found out that I had did them. Both of those dishonor them. Now that I am grown and my parents are in the “elderly” range, I do respect and honor them, because of what they taught me when I was young, and because it is what God requires – it is also, what I desire to do. I know God has forgiven my times of dishonoring and disrespecting them, because I have asked Him.

The word “Honor” means to give superiority – superior in standing or outward respect. There is nowhere in Scripture that God tells parents to respect their children. Respect is due to all who are older and worthy of respect because of privilege and/or position.

NOTE: There is no age limit on honoring your mother and father; so you are to do it from birth to the grave. Children. Live the kind of life that glorifies God and in so doing it will give light, life, and glory to your parents.

FATHER AND MOTHER – your birth father and mother, but also those who have the “rule” over you. This could be adoptive parents. Respect for parents at home leads to respect for others who are in authority.

Mothers and fathers who are faithful to their Lord are worthy of all respect.

THERE IS CHASTISEMENT FOR DISOBEDIENT/REBELLIOUS CHILDREN IN THE OLD TESTAMENT. “If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them: Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.” (DEUT. 21:18-21). The basic reason fo our societal instabilities is due, at least in part, to disobedience to this commandment.

THIS IS THE ONLY ONE OF THE TEN COMMANDMENTS WITH A PROMISE. “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (EPH. 6:1-4). Paul writes of this in the precedeing verses. The first commandment with promise. Notice, since Paul mentions this, following “Grace”, we can safely assume that this is an active commandment, which is to be practiced, by all who have parents. ‘We are no longer under the law’; will not wash.

If the children of Israel kept this commandment they would live long in the promised land – if not, they would be carried away.

One reason for the Babylonian exile was Israel’s disrespect for parents; “In thee have they set light by father and mother: in the midst of thee have they dealt by oppression with the stranger: in thee have they vexed the fatherless and the widow”. (Ezekiel 22:7); “Behold, therefore I have smitten mine hand at thy dishonest gain which thou hast made, and at thy blood which hath been in the midst of thee. Can thine heart endure, or can thine hands be strong, in the days that I shall deal with thee? I the LORD have spoken it, and will do it. And I will scatter thee among the heathen, and disperse thee in the countries, and will consume thy filthiness out of thee. And thou shalt take thine inheritance in thyself in the sight of the heathen, and thou shalt know that I am the LORD.” (Ezekiel 22:13-16).

Paul brings it all down to the individual – the Christian individual

THE POWER OF THE PARENT AND PARENTHOOD. Shape and mold your children. Remember the tongue is for praise and rebuke. Practice what you “Preach”. Let them see a good and godly example. If you promote daily Bible reading be sure they know you are reading yours. When you promote honesty, be sure you practice honesty. You get the idea.

Living For the King

For the King

“And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” Matthew 10:38-39 (KJV)

Jesus chose His cross for paying the debt of sin for the people of the world. His cross, His life was the only life worth the Father receiving for sins debt to Him. Jesus chose the way of the cross over His life. He chose the way of the cross over the love of the flesh; the desire to survive. The King chose to suffer for the people rather than to allow us to suffer for eternity.

Subjects of the King choose the suffering of Jesus Christ over the short lived pleasures of sin – “Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;” Hebrews 11:25 (KJV).

Disciples/Subjects of the King rejoice that they are counted worthy to suffer for His name – “And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.” Acts 5:41 (KJV). It was for the joy that was set before Him that He gave His life (Hebrews 12:2). There is a much greater joy than the pleasures of this life.

When we are in Christ Jesus we are desiring to “Conform’ ourselves ‘unto His death”, and to “know the fellowship of His suffering”. This is choosing to no longer live for the flesh, and ourselves but for Jesus and His glory. This is all because of Him, for Him and through Him. In suffering we have a greater fellowship of identity with Him. We learn Him, know Him, and He knows us.

The MacARTHUR NEW TESTAMENT COMMENTARY says, “A cross is the willing sacrifice of everything one has, including life, for the sake of Christ. It is something that, like the Lord Himself, a believer must take upon himself when it is thrust upon him by the unbelieving world because of his relationship to God.” Vol. 2, p. 233. Longing to be like Jesus even in His death. Counting this life loss for Jesus’s sake.

The Results of Scheming

Results of Scheming

“And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes. And Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong be upon thee: I have given my maid into thy bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes: the LORD judge between me and thee. But Abram said unto Sarai, Behold, thy maid is in thy hand; do to her as it pleaseth thee. And when Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled from her face.” Genesis 16:4-6 (KJV)

With the scheming of Sarai, and Abram’s submission to his wife’s direction Abram had now become part of pagan practice concerning marriage. This is the second Bible example of a polygamous marriage. With Lamech (descendent of Cain – chapter 4:19) being the first. It was, however, practiced by the people of the nations. The first mention of polygamy in the Bible is that of the son of Cain, Lamech (Genesis 4:19). It was ordained by God for a man to have one wife, and men have violated that principle, even faithful men.

When Abram had taken Hagar to wife, and she conceived there was disdain in her heart for her mistress. She was now the one who was bearing the child of the patriarch of nations. She was now the one who was seen as the mother of the “promised child”, but it just was not true. The promised child would indeed be the child of Abram and Sarai, not one of the flesh.

There was resentment, and surely bitterness in Sarai’s heart toward Hagar; and it even seems that there was some toward Abram, even though the idea was her own.

It is for good reason that God has ordained that a man be the “husband of one wife”; and not just “One at a time” as some try and say. Even if we did not have the Scriptures giving us the good principles of marriage, common sense tells us that two women with one husband is going to cause problems. Sarai puts the blame of the ordeal on Abram, and Abram tells her to do what she will with Hagar. Whether Sarai lashed her, spoke very harshly to her, or both is not known. All we have is that “Sarai dealt hardly with her”. Hagar, then realizing that she did not have the “upper hand” in this family situation, then, leaves, and probably in a rush.

In most family situations where there is disharmony it is because of human frailty caused by sin and the flesh. Each of us desire to have our way, and not trust the Lord in the situations we face. When there is a godly family where there is disharmony; it is always due to the involvement of breaking godly guidance, advice, and counsel – just stepping outside the will of God. Going beyond the promise; getting ahead of God; trying to rush God into our thinking and timing. These will always end in fighting, because of the fleshly extensions.

What is the answer for stopping frustrating, fighting, situations in families? Follow God’s plan which is for each individual to hear God’s Word, be obedient to His Word; and should you find yourself outside His will; get back in it by confession of your sins and repentance. There may be need for giving forgiveness, and receiving forgiveness from others.

An Enlarged Aorta

You may wonder what a title like that is about, and I will tell you in a moment.  It is great to hear of someone who has a “Big heart”, and by that is usually meant that they are generous, caring, never seeking for themselves.  That can be said of many people.  The last thing, though, than any of us want to hear is that a loved one has a sickness, disease which is or could be fatal.

My wife [Madge] has just been diagnosed to have an anuerism (not sure of the spelling there) of the aorta.  From all that I understand about it it is quite serious.  I know that it is to us at this point. 

To the readers of Fire and Hammer I wanted to ask those of you who are followers of Jesus Christ to pray for her healing.  I am however, praying for His glorious will, whatever that may be. 

My wife and I have been married for 34 and one half years, and I have grown in love with her more through each year of our lives.  It can be frightening to feel that the life of one you love is hanging by a thread.  There is peace in knowing that our lives are in God’s Almighty, life giving hands, and that no one of us knows the day or timing of our death.  Life and death are in His hands.  I am thankful for the days my wife and I have together, and am looking forward to many more.

Please pray for us.  Thank you for doing so.

May God bless you all.

T.A.