Medicine of Laughter

The Medicine of Laughter

“Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear? And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee! And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation. But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year.” Genesis 17:17-21 (KJV).

Laughter is a good medicine for faith. There is a place for laughter – this is not one of them – although Abraham does it on his face before God. One thing we see here is the humanity of Abraham. God had promised him a son about 24 years before at the age of 75 years, now he is 99 and Sarah is 89 – wouldn’t you laugh at such a promise? This was actually the first time the promise had included Sarah as the one through whom the Messiah would come. Don’t we laugh at the promises of God sometimes? What about with our health? When God says trust Me through this and we rely more on our feelings and medicine, and the doctor, than we do on God. What about our money when God has given us a good place to start giving (tithing) and as God increases our income we say, “Well it is more now. I shouldn’t have to tithe”. God bless you. He could require you to go back to your previous financial lifestyle.

Laughter is a good medicine. Proverbs 17:22 – “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” When should we laugh in the presence of God? When we see His promises being fulfilled. When our hearts are overwhelmed with joy because of the Lord’s blessings in our lives. The time for Abraham’s and Sarah’s laughter would have been when Isaac was born and it seems that they did because they named him “Laughter” [Isaac]. Isaac, afterall, was the fulfillment of the promise.

“Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed. For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sara shall have a son.” Romans 9:7-9 (KJV)

-by Tim A. Blankenship

Returning Repentance

With the revelation of the pretensious treachery of Judah God again extends mercy to the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Though they had departed from God and since the departure from the Southern Kingdom, had never really had much worship and care for God they were not pretentious in their behavior. You will not find one righteous king among the people of Israel. Jereboam, the first king of Israel, it is said of Him, “Jereboam did not turn from his evil way…” (1 Kings 13:33). And, that is of all the kings of Israel.

One clear thing that we can see from this invitation from God through the prophet Jeremiah is that God hates pretention, hypocrisy, and He extends mercy to all.

“Then the LORD said to me, ‘Backsliding Israel has shown herself more righteous than treacherous Judah. Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say: ‘Return, backsliding Israel,’ says the LORD; ‘I will not cause My anger to fall on you. For I am merciful,’ says the LORD; ‘I will not remain angry forever. Only acknowledge your iniquity, that you have transgressed against the LORD your God, and have scattered your charms to alien deities under every green tree, and have not obeyed My voice,’ says the LORD.” Jeremiah 3:11-13 (NKJV).

It is amazing to me the number of people who have told me, and some I have heard of from others who do not believe that the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament are the same. Right here is clear evidence of it. God is merciful, gracious, and loving in the New Testament. He has always longed for His backsliding people to return to Him.

The Northern Kingdom got off in a backsliding agenda. their first king, Jereboam set up two idols for them to worship, and keep the people from returning to Jerusalem. He set up a golden calf in Dan, and at Bethel. None of the following kings had a heart for God and hated His prophets. They sacrificed their children in the fire. Worshipped many false gods, and were perverse in their behavior. Now God pleads with them to repent.

My, how God’s heart grieves for His people. He calls for repentance. Though it is not immediately seen God will accomplish His Word, and His people will return to Him. Hosea, the prophet had a wife who turned from him to pagan, idolatrous, prostitution, and worship of pleasure rather than the God of glory. Hosea pursues his wife, and this is the picture of God pursuing His nation of people to bring them back to Himself.

This was accomplished. The people who came back from the captivity of Babylon were a mixed people. People of the Northern and Southern Kingdoms returned together, and they have been one nation since that time. They were one nation in the time of Jesus. They will be one nation through all time.

When God calls for His people to repent He is calling for us to turn from going the wrong direction, ie., away from Him, and turn around and go with Him. No matter what we have done; no matter how evil and vile; no matter our guilt, or our associations; God’s call to return is still powerful and valid. If you have gotten out of His will; if you are still in your sins; if your life is in a real mess; and if your worship has grown cold; then His call to return to Him is for you. He asks only that you acknowledge your iniquity – that you had turned from Him to sin. He is merciful, will hear your cry, and will receive you back to a walk with Him.

We have all sinned. We all fall short of His glory, and yet He calls us to Himself. Repentance is Returning to God. Returning to God is Repentance.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

People Deportment

There are people who are “Bird watchers”.  These people will go and watch the dilapidated, redheaded woodpecker show up however and wherever it shows up.  You can tell I am not a “Birdwatcher”, though I love to hear the sounds they make, and I know that description I gave of the woodpecker is not accurate.  I hope if you are, you get humor from my gross inaccuracies.

There are people who like shopping, driving cars, and just for the sake of driving – even though that is getting to be a rather expensive venture nowadays.  When it comes to shopping; that mostly involves women and girls, though there are some men who enjoy it as well – I am not one of them.  There are times when it comes to shopping that people will pile into stores, the day after Christmas, and practically, or all together stomp on one another to find and get whatever it is they want.  You know there have been a few injuries in this gang shopping.

If there is anything that I enjoy watching, even more than a good movie, is people.  I have been know to sit down in a Mall, on one of their benches, and just watch the people as they go by, as they window shop, as they eat and drink.  Sometimes, I see a fuss and  quarrel.  I don’t enjoy seeing people fighting with one another.  I don’t enjoy fights at all, and I especially don’t like being in the middle of one.  To be the cause of one is an anathema event for me, and I will do almost anything short of lying to avoid it.

I never cease to be amazed at the gullability of people.  Just last week I heard the story of a man named Robert Salisbury, from Jacksonville, OR. who came home to find all his household goods, work tools, and even his horse being carted away.  It seems that someone had in jest put a notice on a website called “Craig’s List” that was supposedly placed by Robert, telling the people who read the site that he was being forced from his home, would not return, so everything in the house and outside it were free for the taking.  When he arrived home to find people carting things away; he was met by rudeness, an “I don’t care” attitude, “It’s too late now”, and Robert lost about everything.  Gullable people who because of a prank, end up becoming thieves.  I don’t know how this turned out for the people who stole Roberts possessions, or for Robert; but I do know this certainly proves the gullability of people.

Then, there are those who are just out in out thieves.  On March 12 or so, within seven miles of where my wife and I live some Bank Robbers broke into a bank, took a safe, and opened safety deposit boxes.  They did this in the late night, early morning hours, under the cover of darkness.  Isn’t it amazing how evil is done mostly under the cover of darkness.  Dark hearts work best in the dark, I guess.   These thieves broke in the back door of the bank, disarmed the alarm system, spray painted the security cameras, they had turned the outside security cameras backwards.  The more I think about this the more it sounds as though they had help from inside the employment of the bank.  My thoughts only, and a few others probably.  The employees of the bank arrived around 8:00 a.m. to find the back door broken and a mess on the inside.  These thieves had planned this to the max.  They had evidently worn gloves so as not to leave fingerprints.  They had stolen a truck for a while and then left it behind in another location.

Some things like the above really disturb me about people.  It would even worse if I didn’t know that people are all basically evil.  Even myself.  A man whom I know was recently convicted of bad check charges of $500 dollars or more, and sentenced to three years in prison.  I had sat and ate breakfast with him a number of times.  It hurts when you see people do these things.  We are truly an interesting lot.  How God must laugh, and my  how He must cry at times. 

There are so many things happening in this world right now.  All involving people.  Most all are drawn to the gathering of more things.  All on a search for love, and some finding it, and some not. 

Now is the greatest time in the history of man to be the Christian God has called us to be.  Mankind has never had the opportunities which we have now for telling others.  The means I am using right now, this computer, and the internet, are great tools for telling the world about the true source of love.  Love is of God, for “God is love”.  “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16).  Jesus said also, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by Me” (John 14:6).

People Deportment will not change until people give themselves to Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.  Will you turn to Him today?  He died for your sins, was burried, carrying sins away, then He rose from the grave and is forever alive and seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

Of More Value???

Of More Value???

The prophet Jeremiah’s heart is grieving for his people as he views their lives through the eyes of the LORD. They don’t and won’t. At least for some time to come. The generation the prophet is addressing is one who has refused to see and hear the Word of the LORD.

The LORD asked a question, “Have I been a wilderness to Israel, Or a land of darkness?” There is a contrast the LORD desires them to see. Have I been barren and left you with nothing or has My witness to you been that of darkness and not light?

Hear the Word through the prophet:

“O generation, see the word of the LORD! Have I been a wilderness to Israel, Or a land of darkness? Why do My people say, ‘We are lords; we will come no more to you? Can a virgin forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? Yet My people have forgotten Me days without number.” Jeremiah 2:31-32 (NKJV).

The people had become self dependent rather than depending upon the LORD God. Some people have said and believe that faith is a crutch, or that God Himself is a crutch. Some have said things like, “Only the weak need God.” I need God, and I can only have God in my life as God gives Himself to me through His Son Jesus Christ. Am I weak? You better believe it. When it comes to the things of God; when it comes to pleasing God; when it comes to getting into the very presence of God; when it comes to having a relationship with God, and fellowship with Him; yes! I am weak. None of those things can be mine on my own. They are given to me as a gift of God.

You may be your own lord, but you do not know God; nor can you as long as you have that attitude and heart. If God wants you He will have you. You will submit to Him and He will have His own way in your heart and life.

The virgins of Jeremiah’s day wore special ornaments, which was a reminder of their virginity, and their purity. Brides, as always, seem to greatly admire their wedding gown, and may even become quite prideful in that attire. There is something quite beautiful about a bride in her gown, coming down the aisle, and it causes the groom to take a deep breath, and gasp at her beauty. “Can a virgin forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire?”, seems to indicate that these had more care for their ornaments and their gowns, than they had for the Word of the LORD. They had not forgotten their ornaments, nor their beautiful clothing, and gowns, but they had “Forgotten” the LORD; “Days without number”.

Christian, may we never forget the price that Jesus paid for our salvation. May we always be reminded of the body and the blood of Jesus; broken and shed that we might know God. The only true and righteous One who loves us, and gave Himself for us.

He is coming again. How will He find us?

-by Tim A. Blankenship

The LORD is Our Strength

The LORD is My Strength

Though this is the final study in the chapters of Habakkuk, there will be five more on the Promises of Habakkuk. There is much that I have learned concerning the prophet, his heart for God, God’s holiness – the heart of God – the prophet’s love for his people (who are the people of God); that thought the LORD may use what we might consider an unlikely means for judgment may not be so unlikely after all.

Habakkuk was concerned for the holiness of God as he was pleading with God concerning the wickedness of Judah. Why wasn’t God judging the sin of His people? That question is asked and God answers with one which the prophet does not necessarily approve of, but God didn’t ask the prophet. God also will judge the one’s who were the medium for the judgment of Judah, because of their cruelty to them, and to show them who He is.

Let’s look now at the final three verses of the prophet’s song:

“Although the fig tree shall not blossom,
neither shall fruit be in the vines;
the labor of the olive shall fail,
and the fields shall yield no meat;
the flock shall be cut off from the fold,
and there shall be no herd in the stalls:
Yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.
The LORD God is my strength,
and He will make my feet like hinds’ feet,
and He will make me walk upon mine high places.” Habakkuk 3:17-19

The questions have been asked, and God has answered them. Though the prophet may not have liked the answer God had given he submitted himself to the LORD’s will, and now no matter what may come; the prophet has determined that He will keep his heart and mind in the LORD.

In verse 17 which relates to things necessary living he affirms his faith in God no matter what may come. If there be no fruit on the fig trees, no fruit on the vines in the vineyard, no olives, no crops in the fields, no meat from the flocks and herds the prophet confirms his faith. Remember the phrase, “…The just shall live by his faith” (2:4). Now, Habakkuk the prophet is putting his faith where his mouth is.

The prophet continues is verse 18 yet affirming even stronger his faith. It can be likened to the faith of Job when he said, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him” (Job 13:15a). To get this matter of faith to our level. If today, you lost everything, your family, your source of income, your home, your health, and to beat it all lost the respect of friends and family; would still trust Him, the God who has made all things? Could you still trust Him?

The heart of faith grows during times of testing; times of great trial and distress. Faith rejoices even when it cannot see light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. Faith is often a choice we must make, when it seems that everything else is against making that right choice.

Let’s determine to say with Habakkuk, “The LORD God is my strength, and He will make my feet like hinds’ feet [deer’s feet], and He will make me to walk upon mine high places”. My what a wonderful and glorious God we know and serve through the Lord Jesus Christ.

Those who think they can have all the things of the world by trusting the LORD, are sooner or later going to come down hard off their elevated, arrogant, thinking, and owe God, and the people they teach their trash, a huge apology. There is abundant blessing in this life, and especially in that life that is yet to come, but we cannot expect the blessings of eternity in the flesh. This old body of flesh could not endure it. It will one day be made new; and that will be when we stand before our Lord in a brand new body; like His.

Habakkuk must have been one of those singing prophets. He must have played a guitar too. At least it was a stringed instrument. In all honesty it was most likely a harp or dulcimer. I can almost hear him singing his song. The end has new heart to it. There is joy in it. There is expectation in it as well. There is eternity in the presence and glory of the LORD God.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

The Law Fulfilled (2)

THE LAW FULFILLED (II)

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 (KJV).

In this article we will look at the “second” which Jesus speaks of, and has to do with the final six of the Ten Commandments.

The fifth commandment, which is the first commandment in our relationships with our fellowman is, “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.” Ex 20:12 (KJV). If you will notice this is the first commandment that has a promise attached to it (Eph. 6:2). The strength of a good society begins in the families of that society. If mothers and fathers are not respected, revered, honored, and obeyed, then that home will not be strong. If a complete society is full of dishonored parents, then that society will fall. Honoring our parents will bring respect for other people and strengthen other homes and societies. Remember, there is the promise of long life to those who “Honor your father and mother”.

The sixth commandment is, “Thou shalt not kill.” Ex 20:13 (KJV). That is the shortest one yet, but is greatly needed. One who “Love(s) thy neighbor as thyself” will not commit the act of murder. This is not a commandment against protecting one’s own life or possessions. It means, to commit no murder. The act of premeditated murder, where it is plotted and planned and even setting a “trap” to kill someone. That is the act that is forbidden here. Of course, the child of God would not desire to even take the life of anyone whether in an act against our own person, a family member or a neighbor.

This commandment does not take away the God-given right to government for sentencing and carrying out the sentence of death for a murderous or criminal offense which calls for the death penalty. Basically, this law holds the utmost respect for all human life. It should be applied to the SCNT, and abortion controversy. If we are to err let us err on the side of LIFE. SEE ALSO Matthew 5:21-22.

“Thou shalt not commit adultery.” Ex 20:14 (KJV), is the seventh commandment, and it to has to do with our relationship with our fellowman. Adultery, of course, is speaking of what is called today as, “Having an affair”. One married individual with another married individual who are not married to one another, and it could be adultery also, if one is not married and the other is. Would you want your wife sleeping with another man, or with a woman? Would you want your husband sleeping with another woman, or a man? The act of adultery is actually the act of a thief as well (Proverbs 6:20-35). God desires that we hold sexuality in very high regard. It is cheapened when marriage is given to homosexuality, polygamy, and what ever else could follow. See what Jesus said in Matthew 5:27-28.

“Thou shalt not steal.” Ex 20:15 (KJV). All of these commandments show that there is to be respect for individual rights given by Holy God. The right of parents to be honored and respected. The right to a life without fear of someone else taking it away. The right to have a good, solid, godly home where husband and wife trust one another, and there are no others, and this one the right to one’s own property. It also teaches to respect personal property. If you take something belonging to someone else, you have no respect for the rights of others. Others have worked hard to get what they have. They have earned the income which gave them the power to purchase that thing that you steal. You have no right to it. “Love your neighbor as you love yourself”. Would you want something that you have worked so hard for to be stolen from you? Of course not. Neither does your neighbor. Who is your neighbor? Anyone you meet or know, and those you do not know.

The next commandment has to do with how you speak of others – your neighbor. “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.” Ex 20:16 (KJV). How many times have the reputations of others been damaged, by knowingly false information, given by someone out to destroy them? You may think, “Well, I would never do that”. Really!!! Have you ever told a story you had heard on anyone, and it was nothing but gossip. Even if it is true, it is sometimes best to not pass on a story you have heard of someone. Not only can it destroy the person whom the story is about, but it could also come back on you. The question I have asked of the others carries over here as well. Would you like someone to tell a story on you? A person can be a “False witness” even in telling a true story, by the wrong intention of the heart. When Christ is in the heart, and reigns supremely these laws are written there with great desire to obey them for His honor and glory.

The final commandment is, “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.” Ex 20:17 (KJV). In the New Testament “Covetousness” is called idolatry (Col. 3:5). Basically, this could be called the capstone of all the commandments. It is certain that if your heart is on other things, it is certainly not on God alone, thus, breaking the first four commandments, and it is not right with your fellowman, because you want what she/he has. Jealousy, envy, whatever you want to call it is there, and you care nothing for your neighbor. This command has to do with being satisfied with your own. Look at these admonitions from God’s Word – “And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.” Luke 3:14 (KJV). “For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.” Eph 5:5 (KJV). “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” Phil 4:11 (KJV). “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.” 1 Tim 6:7-8 (KJV).

The Law of God written in our hearts just as God declared to the prophets. See Ezekiel 11:19 and 36:26. Without Jesus death on the cross the Law condemns us, because we are powerless to obey these laws, but with Jesus as our Savior He abides in us thus fulfilling the law in our lives. Glory be to Jesus our Lord and Savior.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

The Law Fulfilled (1)

The Law Fulfilled (I)

And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all? And Jesus answered him, 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 12:28-31 (KJV).

Read Exodus 20:1-17

The law of God is shunned if not just completely forgotten. Is it necessary to know God’s law, in particular the Ten Commandments? In our society it seems so. With a television series on called the DESPARATE HOUSEWIVES, promoting adultery, even though that seems to be prevalent throughout our society anyway; the law of God definitely needs to be promoted.

As I stated in an earlier post, Jesus shortened the Ten Commandments into two, as printed above. I want, in this post, to show how these two relate to the ten. I will begin with the first four of the Ten Commandments.

First of all Jesus said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart…”. The first of the Ten Commandments states, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” Ex 20:3 (KJV). The heart is the seat of our emotions, and the place of our commitments. When you love the Lord with all your “Heart” there will be no other to take His place. Whole hearted devotion and commitment is what God desires of His worshippers.

Secondly, Jesus said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God… with all thy soul…”. The second commandment states, “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.” Ex 20:4-6 (KJV). In short that says, “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image.” Why does God make this command? There is only one image that can represent Him and that is the crown of His creation – living, breatheing, man; in particular the second Adam, God’s Son Jesus Christ. He is the exact representation of God (Heb. 1:1-3). To love God with all the “Soul” is to have only one image of Him in the person of Christ. Jesus is the only one who can fill that spot of the soul.

Thirdly, Jesus said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God… with all thy mind…”. The third commandment says, “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.” Ex 20:7 (KJV). Is it not from the mind that we reason, and even speak. The words we speak will either build up or tear down. If the mind is not sound in God we will thus speak words that take His name in “Vain”. “Vain” according to Random House Dictionary means, “Without real value or worth”. God’s name is valuable and really worthwhile. Give your mind to Him, and speak of Him as He is worthy.

For the final one concerning our relationship with God, Jesus said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God… with all thy strength…”. The fourth commandment is, “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.” Ex 20:8-11 (KJV). God gave the Sabbath day as a day of rest. A day for worshipping God and renewing one’s physical strength. It is so sad to see that there is no day that is holy, and set aside for God and His glory. There are some who say this day has been done away with. None of these laws have been done away. They were fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Being fulfilled in Jesus only means that when we have faith in Him we now have these laws written on our hearts. We now have a longing hunger to do these things for pleasing and glorifying the name of God. Of course, our true Sabbath rest is in Christ. Being in these physical bodies, though we do need rest and that should be one day a week.

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” JESUS

When we are right with God our relationship with our fellowman will also be right. The next six commandments concerning Jesus’s second will follow, and have to do with our relationship to our fellowman.

This law of Jesus, and these first four commandments are only fulfilled in the hearts of those whose hearts are perfect toward the Lord, and that is those who have trusted the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. We are powerless to keep the Law. Apart from Jesus Christ the law condemns us.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

One Greater Than the Sabbath

Greater Than the Sabbath

“At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day. But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him; How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests? Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless? But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple. But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.” Matthew 12:1-8 (KJV).

It seems that there are several times in the gospels where Jesus is doing something on the Sabbath day. In doing so He gains the attention of the religious leaders, where He evidently doesn’t in His teaching and preaching, or in the miracles that he does. These religious leaders believe in the Sabbath day celebrations, and worship. It is odd, but it was for their violations of the Sabbaths that Israel went into Babylonian captivity. At least that was one partial reason. They were in Babyonian captivity one year for each Sabbath which had been violated. This includes the sabbaths of the land, jubilees, and other (Read Leviticus 26). There is much said about Israel profaning the holy things in Ezekiel 20 – 23. One of those holy things is the Sabbaths of the LORD. When the LORD is speaking to them, warning them of the the dangers of disobedience He told them, “I will bring the land into desolation: and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it. And I will scater you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste. Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths, as long as it lieth desolate, and ye be in your enemies’ land; even then shall the land rest, and enjoy her sabbaths.” Leviticus 26:32-34 (KJV). This warning was carried out according to Jeremiah the prophet, “…To fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfil three score and ten years.” 2 Chronicles 36:21.

It could be because of the past that these Jewish leaders had taken such a strong stance on the sabbath. Not a good excuse or reason. It is nothing short of blindness. They are really not so concerned with the keeping of the sabbath day or special sabbaths as they are their power and authority. They were more concerned with popularity, than truth. The reason I make that judgment is because Jesus Himself told them they were blind, and in the above passage they seem to be unfamiliar with the Scriptures they are so fond of. They had the written truth, were familiar with the truth, but when the Truth was standing before them, they knew Him not.

“For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.” How can religious leaders be telling the Creator that it is unlawful to walk through a field on the sabbath day, “harvesting and eating” grain? It is a very foolish effort on their part. Being the Creator He is greater than the sabbath day. He is the greatest rest. When we know Him we rest from our foolish attempts at righteousness, and rest in His righteousness alone.

Jesus is accused of profaning the sabbath and it happened many times. He dealt with His accusers justly, and with righteous judgment, and for the good of the people. The accusations of profaning the sabbath day was more rejection; and had no merit. The “righteous-guilty” are really the one’s who are first to condemn those who are really most righteous. Despite overwhelming evidence these self-righteous men continue to be bound by the one Jesus called their father.

Many of the people who came to Jesus, the multitudes who were fed of the five thousand and the four thousand, would later turn from Him. Many seek to follow wonders and signs, then, reject the Lord. To ask the Lord for signs in order to believe is not faith.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

Let Them Lead

Within the Missouri Baptist Convention there is dissent concerning the matters of supporting the so called “Acts 29” movement.  Part of the dissent is over their allowance of beverage alcohol which Baptists have long been know for being temperant in their teaching and standards of our churches.

We have on the MBC Executive Board men and women who have been appointed to serve, hear the reports of agencies, committees, and officers; then decide on how to procede with certain matters.  Do we trust them or not.  They all have been sent there from the churches of the MBC with the recommendations of their pastors, Director of Missions (Associations), and other pastors; then they have been approved by the Convention when we meet each year.

Now, many who have disagreed with a decision for us to refrain from supporting Acts 29, have gone into a contentious mode of attacking the leadership of our convention, and raising a dissention which has not been seen before.

I know that the local churches are the head over the Conventions.  The Conventions serve the local churches.  The local church is what Jesus Christ established, and not Associations or Conventions; however, these organizations are tools which we have established to serve us, aid us, give us guidance and direction, and even to strengthen our missions capability.  When we rebell, which is what is happening, we go against the trust that has been put in our Executive Board.

Understand, when a Board, Director, or agency goes contrary to the way of Scripture, steals agencies, and speaks contrary to the local church without its best at heart, then there needs to be a legal, Biblical, prayerful removal of those  who have previously been sent to represent us; but that is not the case with the current members of our Executive Board.  The rebellion is from the outside.

I do not agree with every decision our EB has made, but I do concerning Acts 29 and beverage alcohol.  All I am saying is let the Board do its work the best way they can, and know how, trust them to make good, and godly decisions.  Concerning this matter of Acts 29 and beverage alcohol they have the good of our churches, holding on to strong doctrines which we believe as Baptists, and a pure and clean heart, body and soul for the people of our Convention.

The writer of Hebrews wrote, “Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct.” 13:7 (NKJV).  Then in verse 17 he writes, “Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account.  Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.”

No, the board is not our pastor, nor our leaders for our local church, but we have sent them to represent us.  Let’s let them represent us without burdening them with the dissension which is going on.  Let’s pray for them, support them, and be supportive of their decisions when they are done for our best interest, the good of our people and the glory of the Lord.  It has never pleased the Lord to be contentious against His leadership; let us give the same respect to those who are representing us.  Let us Let them lead without dissension

-by Tim A. Blankenship

Don’t Be Found Out

Don’t Be Found Out

Has anyone ever stopped to think about the foolishness of idolatry. That is the desire for things, the greed for wealth, the lust for power, and/or the opposite sex; and in some cases of this day the perversion of the same sex. That is, afterall, what idolatry is all about.

We live in an era not dissimilar from Jeremiah’s. The people were living in basic comfort, secure in their wealth, and easy lives. Though, ours is plagued somewhat with fear of terrorism we still go about doing whatever we please; paying the exhorbitant prices for gasoline, and everything going up due to that; yet we purchase, or at least those who can do. Power for more of the things desired.

Hear the word of the LORD through the prophet Jeremiah:

“As the thief is ashamed when he is found out, so is the house of Israel ashamed; They and their kings and their princes, and their priests and their prophets, Saying to a tree, ‘You are my father,’ And to a stone, ‘You gave birth to me.’ For they have turned their back to Me, and not their face. But in the time of their trouble They will say, ‘Arise and save us.’ But where are your gods that you have made for yourselves? Let them arise, If they can save you in the time of your trouble; For according to the number of your cities Are your gods, O Judah.” Jeremiah 2:26-28 (NKJV).

It seems quite clear that the people of Judah have been caught in the practice of idolatry, worshipping other gods, which are not gods at all, but more burdens for the people to carry. Have you ever noticed the junk that we in our society build up and keep in closets, garages, security vaults, magazine racks, and how valuless they really are?

In the prophet Jeremiah’s day they were here being accused of having wood idols, and giving it praise for being their father. Also of telling one made of stone that was their mother. In the worship of other gods, they turned their back on God, denying Him as their birthparent as a nation. By turning their back and not their faces we find a great hypocrisy.

The hypocrisy is that while everything is going good, life is easy and comfortable, they really have no care to remember God, His holy days, nor His Law or His Word. However, when they start hearing about an enemy, or having some other troubles they begin to cry out to the true God for help. God, the LORD, says to that, “Let them arise, If they can save you in the time of your trouble;” It is like He is saying to them you have plenty of gods you love and adore more than Me, “Let them help you”. The prophet continues by saying, “For according to the number of your cities Are your gods, O Judah.” You would think that the more gods the better. Right? Wrong.

The one true God is sufficient to meet our every need. In fact there is no other god but the LORD God. The one who loves us enough to send His Son to die in our place.

We continue now to the next two verses:

“Why will you plead with Me? You all have transgressed against Me,’ says the LORD. ‘In vain I have chastened your children; They received no correction. Your sword has devoured your prophets Like a destroying lion.'” Jeremiah 2:29-30 (NKJV).

At times when people face catastrophe they tend to recognize that God does exist. When things ease off, and start getting back to normal it is back to the worship of things,getting those desires met, achieving those personal goals at the cost of life, limb, or friendships, or spouses and family. When this happens, some of it is genuine, and some is not. The one’s who are genuine will continue being faithful when the things start being good again. They will hear the voice of the LORD and will obey Him. They do not turn away.

These are the ones whom the LORD will bless. These are the ones whom the LORD has genuinely saved.

These “two faced” people are about as dependable as a flat tire, and no rim with it. The correction of the LORD does no good, accomplishes nothing, and they hate the prophets who tell them the truth for the saving of their souls.

Don’t turn your back on God. Don’t be a two faced individual who worships God on Sunday, then, through the rest of the week no one will ever know any difference from watching your life, hearing your dirty words, and dirty jokes. When you have given your life to the LORD through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ your life changes, for His glory and your good. You will love the Law, the History of His people, the Wisdom of the sages, and the prophets; both the Major and Minor prophets. You will love God’s Word.  You will desire to please the LORD.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

Like The Animals???

Like the Animals???

It is so very sad to look around at society and see things going to the dogs. With a man being sentenced to prison time for killing dogs, even though, he was unjustly and illegally fighting them is a sign of worse things to come.

We are human beings created in the image of God. We have been given, by God, the rule and dominion of this earth. The man I speak of may have deserved a fine, maybe some loss of time from playing on the team he was on, and maybe even a fine from the NFL for the bad name against them.

It is so unhuman to give greater power and authority to the animal kingdom than to the human being. It is when we begin acting like animals that we begin treating humanity more like animals.

Hear the word of the Lord spoken through the prophet Jeremiah:

“How can you say, ‘I am not unclean, I have not gone after the Baals?’ Look at your way in the valley; know what you have done–a restless young camel running here and there, a wild donkey used to the wilderness, in her heat sniffing the wind! Who can restrain her lust? None who seek her need weary themselves; in her month they will find her. Keep your feet from going undshod and your throat from thirst. But you said, ‘It is hopeless, for I have loved foreigners, and after them I will go.’ Jeremiah 2:23-25 (ESV).

Many reading this will probably think, “Well how is this relative or practical for our society today?” I personally think that is an easy answer. When we have parents wanting to do things to protect their daughters from sexually immoral living by having them take a shot to protect them from a form of cancer that can be gotten only by pre-marital sex at too young of an age, then we are telling our children, “Your urges are uncontrollable, just follow your ‘heart'”. In other words your sexual drive is stronger than your mind and will. Just go with how you feel and this vaccine will protect you. People we are more than animals. We have a will. We can make moral choices. Animals do not.

This was the problem with the people in Jeremiah’s day. They were giving themselves to Baal worship and this involved all sorts of immoral conduct. Then, they would say on the Sabbath day as they pretended to worship the Lord GOD, “We have not gone after the Baals”.

I do not mean to sound brash in what I am about to write here, but there are many of our young ladies and young men who go around acting like animals in heat. This is not pleasing to our Lord. Even sadder to say is that many of these doing this profess Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

What is the answer for our society today? We need to quit giving our young people the okay for sexual immorality. When birth control pills are given them, and a vaccine is provided to them to protect them from pregnancy and disease; we are in fact giving our okay to them. Let’s stop doing that. Let’s teach them the law of God’s Word. Let’s teach them by our own personal examples. The youth of America appreciate honesty, straight forward truth, and they will respect you for it. They will not respect “Hemming and Hawing around” about matters to get to the point.  As the people of God we who are adult Christians need to practice what we preach and teach. We should always be seeking the Lord to lead in our lives, and to give us the mind of Christ.

There is a lot of loose living in society. We as Christians should live a tight knit life in Christ, love our spouses, and be always faithful, and worship God and God alone through His Son Jesus Christ.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

Prophet At Rest

The Prophet at Rest

In the beginning of this prophecy we see the prophet Habakkuk questioning God, wondering what is happening, why God is not judging His people. God answers with the prophecy of impending judgment coming from what the prophet sees as an unlikely source; mainly the Gentile Babylonians. He is troubled by this.

After some messages from the LORD the prophet realizes that the LORD is the One who knows best. That He still holds His people in His hands, will not continue to allow His people to live in sin without consequences. There have been five “Woes” pronounced against the Babylonians for there brutal abuses against God’s people, and their arrogance. There are also five promises, basically given to the prophet to show the worthiness and glory of the LORD.

We see in chapter three that the prophet is strengthened, encouraged, and that his faith is renewed. There is an element of verse 16 we must see. The prophet is trembling at the word of the LORD:

“When I heard, my body trembled;
My lips quivered at the voice;
Rottenness entered my bones;
And I trembled in myself,
That I might rest in the day of trouble.
When He comes up to the people,
He will invade them with his troops.”

Anytime we hear the Word of the LORD it should cause us to tremble; even when we see that His Word and will is going to be carried out. Within our lives, the lives of those who may oppose us, the lives of friends and/or family should make no difference. We can rest in the LORD our God.

When we hear, as did the prophet, that God is going to have His way with the people of the Chaldeans – the Babylonians – and with His people; accomplishing His purposes, we should rest in our days of trouble.

There should be perfect peace in our hearts knowing that all these matters are in the hand of the LORD, and fully embrace the will and Word of the LORD. Even in the midst of “The day of trouble”.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

God’s Horses and Chariots of Salvation

God’s Horses, and Chariots of Salvation

In these following verses we see pictures of the LORD riding in chariots pulled by horses. He has, of course, won many and mighty victories for the people of His name. The prophet Habakkuk is reminded and reminding those who read and/or sing this song of the greatness of our LORD.

Hear the Word of the LORD through the prophet:

“Was the LORD displeased against the rivers? was thine anger against the rivers? was thy wrath against the sea, that thou didst ride upon thine horses and thy chariots of salvation? Thy bow was made quite naked, according to the oaths of the tribes, even thy word. Selah. Thou didst cleave the earth with rivers. The mountains saw thee, and they trembled: the overflowing of the water passed by: the deep uttered his voice, and lifted up his hands on high. The sun and moon stood still in their habitation: at the light of thine arrows they went, and at the shining of thy glittering spear. Thou didst march through the land in indignation, thou didst thresh the heathen in anger. Thou wentest forth for the salvation of thy people, even for salvation with thine anointed; thou woundedst the head out of the house of the wicked, by discovering the foundation unto the neck. Selah. Thou didst strike through with his staves the head of his villages: they came out as a whirlwind to scatter me: their rejoicing was as to devour the poor secretly. Thou didst walk through the sea with thine horses, through the heap of great waters.” Habakkuk 3:8-15 (KJV)

We are reminded of God’s power over the waters of the earth. “Was the LORD displeased against the rivers?” and “Was Your wrath against the sea”; remind us of the children of Israel crossing the Jordon River by God’s stopping the waters upstream so they could cross on dry ground, and previously to this; the Red Sea, by God’s dividing the sea and them walking across on dry ground.

Of course, we know that God has no need of horses and chariots, but this is the picture of God’s power and victory over the enemy, as He freed the children of Israel from the bondage of Egypt, and promise of future deliverance from the captivity to come.

Let’s look at the word “Selah” for a moment. The meaning is not quite certain. I have found it quite meaningful to see it as the means or call for reflection upon what I have read. To go back and read it again. To meditate upon it, and reflect on the greatness of the LORD whenever this word is used. The Psalmist uses it quite often, and it may mean to go back and repeat the words. That is at least how I like to think about it. The word “Selah” is used three times in Habakkuk’s third song. Twice in the above passage alone.

The arrow God shoots from His bow is always on target. He hits what He aims at. It may not always be a “Bull’s-eye”. “Bull’s-eye” being what we think is the target. In other words it is not always what we think, but God hits what He aims for. His Word is always on target, never out of date, and pertinent in every point.

The waters of the earth are all at God’s beckoning and call. When He called for a flood upon the earth – there was a flood. When He called for a drought upon the Northern kingdom of Israel under the rule of Ahab, there was a drought for 3.5 years. When He commanded the Red Sea to part; it parted. When He called for the Jordan River to stop flowing; it stopped flowing. All the waters are at His command, and none can control these things but Him.

We are reminded in verse 11 of the power of God over the sun and moon. In the book of Joshua 10:12-14 we see God causing the sun to stand still for a whole day; and one other time several years later the shadow on the sundial of Ahaz went backwards 10 degrees to give king Hezekiah a sign that his life had been extended 15 years (2 Kings 20:8-11; Isaiah 38:4-8). Truly God is God of gods, King of kings, Lord of lords, and there really can be no other. There is none like Him. Praise the name of the LORD.

The LORD is a victorious GOD. He loves His people, protects them, sets them in the right paths, and corrects them when they go astray. He will always have a remnant of people. There have been times when He has used other nations to correct His people, and those people God uses think they serve themselves, and mistreat the people of God, but those who do will face the wrath of the Almighty. “You trampled the nations in anger. You went forth for the salvation of Your people, for salvation with Your Anointed.” This is likened to a “Threshing floor” where grain is taken, trampled, beaten, and tossed so the wind can blow away the waste and stubble. He, at times have even caused the enemy to turn their own weapons against one another – “You thrust through with his own arrows the head of his villages”.

Still yet we see the prophet rejoicing in the power of our great God. There is none who can withstand Him. He is victorious, and will always be victorious. We are reminded of another victory at the Red Sea. When the Egyptian army came by way of the path through the Sea, the Sea closed in on them – “You walked through the sea with Your horses, Through the heap of great waters”.

How glorious is our LORD. How majestic is His name. He will always bring His people through.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

Key Commandment

A KEY COMMANDMENT

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s. Ex 20:17 (KJV).

This one final commandment is a KEY COMMANDMENT, because it will have an affect on all the others.

Covetousness is the heart of envy, greed, and lust. Marriages are ruined, friendships are wrecked, and even churches have been destroyed because of this “little” sin of coveting. It is not so “Little”. It will affect your actions toward the rest of the commandments.

COVETING IS THE SECRET SIN – no one can see this sin, or knows you commit it; except God and yourself.

There are some Bible examples of covetous behavior. Achan, when the Israelites conquered Jericho, saw a nice garment, some silver and gold, and took it, even after hearing the commandment of the Lord not to do so. Because of this disobedience Israel failed in its attempt to conquer Ai, and people of Israel died (See Joshua 7). There is also king David; as he was walking upon the roof top of his palace he viewed an attractive woman bathing, and he coveted her. Someone put it like this – HE SAW HER, HE SENT FOR HER, HE SINNED WITH HER. Because of this action of covetousness, it is very clear that he broke all the others, and he murdered the husband of the woman (See 2 Samuel 11:1-5ff.). Another one is Ahab, the vineyard thief; Naboth had a vineyard which Ahab coveted, and with the designing aid of his deceiving queen clearly broke the ninth commandment with false witnesses, and murdered Naboth to get the thing he longed for.

WHY THIS IS A KEY COMMANDMENT. James tells us, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” James 2:10 (KJV). Get that, “Guilty of all”. Now that can be said of all the others too, but here, I hope you can see why it is important to realize that covetousness is a seed of evil, that breeds evil, and leads to the decay of the whole law in the hearts of people.

According to the book of Colossians it is Idolatry to covet. “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:” Col 3:5 (KJV). Even the book of Ephesians backs this up by saying, “For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.” Eph 5:5 (KJV). Note that Paul has written there, “Nor covetous man, who is an idolater…” O, the sad thing is there are many, many, too many people who live for the grasping and holding on of things, or people, or positions, or power; do I need to go on. I think you get the point.

If this commandment is broken, then there is absolutely no value left in any of the others, for the one who is coveting. If she/he can get what they want by falsely accusing another they will do it. If they can get it by fraud in the company they work for (stealing), they will, by all means possible. If he/she sees another person they desire, married or not, they will do what ever to get them. They will not stop at murder to get someone out of the way to obtain their goal. Certainly by these things there will be no way they are honoring their father or mother, and most sure have nothing to do with God who created them.

COVETOUSNESS LEADS TO ENVY, ANGER, MALICE, GOSSIP, ETC.. The goal of gossip is always to try and show one’s self better than the one who is being talked about.

LET’S SEE WHAT JESUS SAID, “Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” Luke 12:15 (KJV). Again Jesus says, ” Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” Matt 6:31-34 (KJV). Now if this is not a word for those who covet things and such, I am mistaken about the whole issue, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Matt 6:21 (KJV). If your heart is on the things of the world, that is your treasure. However, if your heart is on the Lord and His righteousness and glory, that is your treasure. If you are going to covet; covet the godly things, that will glorify the Savior.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

The Sign of the Covenant

The Sign of the Covenant

“And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations. This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised. And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you. And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed. He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.” Genesis 17:9-14 (KJV).

This covenant sign is much more painful than the covenant sign Believer’s have during this day of grace.

  • “A confirmation to Abraham and his seed of those promises which were God’s part of the covenant, assuring them that they should be fulfilled, that in due time Canaan would be theirs: and the continuance of this ordinance, after Canaan was theirs, intimates that these promises looked further to another Canaan, which they must still be in expectation of. See Heb. 4:8.’ ‘An obligation upon Abraham and his seed to that duty which was their part of the covenant; not only to the duty of accepting the covenant and consenting to it, and putting away the corruption of the flesh (which were immediately and primarily signified by circumcision), but, in general, to the observance of all God’s commands, as they should be at any time hereafter be intimated and made known to them; for circumcision made men debtors to do the whole law, Gal. 5:3. Those who will have God to be to them a God must consent and resolve to be to him a people.” From the MATTHEW HENRY COMMENTARY on the whole Bible.

Though baptism is a token of salvation it does not save. It is the testimony of one’s salvation. One must be bold in one’s faith and the correct place to start is by submitting to God’s ordinances. To be disobedient we disregard God’s call and bring in shame (Luke 9:26 – “For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels.” Luke 9:26 (KJV). Lest we should forget we are reminded several times there is more.

“Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” Mark 8:38 (KJV)

” It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.” 2 Timothy 2:11-13 (KJV).

With Abraham there was no doubt as to his identity. He was a man called of God. Yes, there were times he fell, but God picked him back up, cleaned him up, and calls him faithful. Failure for any of Abraham’s seed to be circumcised resulted in the broken covenant. The failure; of an individual who has recently confessed Jesus Christ as Savior; to be baptised as soon as possible is placing his/her confession in jeopardy of question, and most of all to the individual’s own heart and mind.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

The Almighty, the Majestic One

The Almighty, the Majestic One

There is a section of chapter 3 which we are about to finish, and that is verses 3-7, and this section describes the Majesty and Power of the Almighty God. In verse three we see His glory. In verse four His brightness, horns coming out of His hand with His power hidden. In verse five pestilence went before Him and fever followed at His feet. In verse six He stood and measured the earth, and His ways are everlasting. My, O, My what a wonderful, powerful, majestic God we know and serve.

“I saw the tents of Cushan in affliction; The curtains of the land of Midian trembled.” Habakkuk 3:7 (NKJV).

We know that as God worked in Egypt to bring the children of Israel out of that land of slavery and oppression, He struck fear into the hearts of the Egyptian people and their king. They were trembling by the time the Pharoah told them they could leave. They were paying them to leave, giving them gold, silver, precious jems, and rich clothing.

The message the prophet Habakkuk is getting to all his people is God has never failed to bring His people to His place. It may not be like we sometimes think, but He will get us through.

The reason I say this in the personal is that is true of the Christian today. It was/is true for the people of Israel. One day this Nation called Israel will see their Messiah, and they will call on His name. The name of the One whom they have pierced, and they will call Him their King and Lord.

The people of Cushan and Midian were nomadic people, meaning that they never stayed in one place very long. We know that because of the “tents” and the “curtains”. We see in other passages of Scripture that God made all the nations tremble before this Nation He had freed from Egypt. That is why Balak called for Balaam to curse this people but could not. He did eventually lead them to a place of bringing God’s curse on them themselves, by joining with the Moabites in sin and wicked practices (See Numbers 25 and 31:1-11).

God never allows His people to sin successfully; and He never allows those who hurt them to escape His judgment. They will tremble before Him.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

Reminder of His Love

Reminder of His Love

In the last article on this chapter of Jeremiah, the final verse of our text was the last part of verse 19 which tells us, “And the fear of Me is not in you,’ says the Lord GOD of hosts.” That is usually the reason for departure from God.

As we look into the following verses we see the Lord having them recall their deliverance from bondage, then playing turning against their deliverer.

For of old I have broken your yoke and burst your bonds; and you said, ‘I will not transgress,’ When on every high hill and under every green tree you lay down, playing the harlot. Yet I had planted you a noble vine, a seed of highest quality. How then have you turned before Me into the degenerate plant of an alien vine? For though you wash yourself with lye, and use much soap, yet your iniquity is marked before Me,’ says the Lord GOD” Jeremiah 2:20-22 (NKJV).

One of the things that we can see throughout God’s dealings with the chosen people is that He loves them. His grace is everlasting, and His mercy endures forever. That is a theme for His people throughout all of Scripture.

God had delivered His children from the bondage of Egypt, and burst the bonds which held them. He had done this in just a matter of days while working in Egypt through the plagues upon the land and the people. They witnessed the mighty power of God. Not just Israel, but Egypt witnessed this awe-inspiring events which turned the heart of Pharoah, at least for a time, to let God’s people go.

The people had promised God they would not transgress His law. They did. That is why the declaration is made, “When on every high hill and under every green tree you lay down playing the harlot”. The pagan, Gentile altars were on the high hills, and under the trees. God is charging the people with spiritual adultery. That is, the forsaking of the true Husband for an imposter. They had turned away from holy God for unholy pleasures. They had forgotten the attitude of Moses. The writer of Hebrews puts it this way –

“By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoah’s daughter, choosing rither to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward” Hebrews 11:24-26 (NKJV).

The prophet Isaiah in a previous time had spoken of Israel as a vineyard (Isaiah 5:1-7). He speaks of the Husbandman planting the vineyard, but all He received were wild grapes. God says through Jeremiah, “Yet I had planted you a noble vine, a seed of highest quality”, and now they have turned their backs on God and are worshipping stone, wood, flesh. They have in fact become an “alien vine”. That is not what God planted. That is the picture we see.

When they have made themselves unclean before God, they then, evidently feel guilty, try to wash themselves clean with the strongest cleanser they have available that day. They would go and worship the false gods, taking pleasures that should not have been their’s to have. After their violation of holiness with God they would then seek to make themselves clean before God, and without true repentance.

Thus God says, “Yet your iniquity is marked before Me”.

The lesson for the follower of Jesus Christ is that we have been delivered from sin. Our sins have been forgiven. The law of the Lord is written in our hearts. We are free to live righteously, holy, and undefiled lives through the power of the Spirit of Christ who lives in us. When we sin we have an advocate with the Father. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” 1 John 1:9. There is need for repentance and that is a turning from sin and to the Lord Jesus.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

His Power and Glory

His Power and Glory

Songs as this one are expressions of praise. Following words of question, and God’s answering them the prophet now sees that this whole thing is really about the power and the glory of God.

In verse three we see, “His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of His praise”. This song continues as we look at the following three verses.

“And His brightness was as the light; and He had horns coming out of His hand: and there was the hiding of His power. Before Him went the pestilence, and burning coals went forth at his feet. He stood, and measured the earth: He beheld, and drove asunder the nations; and the everlasting mountains were scattered, the perpetual hills did bow: His ways are everlasting.” Habakkuk 3:4-6 (KJV).

The “brightness… as the light” reveals much about this wonderful, graceful, loving God who has made, and sustains all things. Where there is evil there is darkness, and where there is darkness of the heart, there is evil. The brightness of the light of Christ will drive out darkness. Where the light of God is darkness is not.

Can you imagine singing this song. If only I knew the tune which the prophet had in mind. Yeah, yeah; I know they did it differently than we do, but I would still like to hear Habakkuk sing it. I am certain that this came from his heart. There is nothing like a song sung from the heart. That counts for more than a beautiful singing voice. Also, we often do not listen to the words, but, hear these words. Sunday; when you are singing those hymns, listen to the words. If you listen too closely you may decide you do not want to sing them any more.

“And He had horns coming out of His hand: and there was the hiding of His power.” Horns are a symbol of power in the Scriptures. Habakkuk is using a picturescue way of describing the power of God’s hand. He is powerful, and that does not describe it wonderfully enough. All-Powerful is a better term, and that term is expressed in the word Omnipotent. All power comes from His hand. The power of any president, king, dictator, or despot comes from God. It is He who gives us all the power we may or may not have. In His hand is where that power is hidden, and can only be seen as He reveals His open hand.

When there is judgment upon the earth it is from His hand. At His hand the pestilence goes before Him. His feet treads out judgment making the way for holiness, righteousness, justice and peace.

It is only this All-Powerful One who can measure the earth. He has in fact already measured, and came up short of His glory. Nations have been driven asunder, and all nations will one day bow before Him. The mountains were scattered, and they are the “Everlasting mountains”. His ways are everlasting, and will out live the mountains.

We have come short of His glory (Romans 3:23). His ways are everlasting, and through faith in Jesus Christ we can rest in His everlasting ways. The judgment of sin has been fully paid for by the death of Jesus on the cross. The penalty for sin has been fully paid. All who reject Him stand opposed to His everlasting ways, and will still face His judgment. Repent of your sinful rejection of Jesus and turn to Him, and walk in His everlasting ways.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

An Everlasting Covenant

The Land of the Everlasting Covenant

“And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.” Genesis 17:6-8 (KJV)

This “Everlasting Covenant” is unconditional, and as such was made by God which only God can keep. According to the MATTHEW HENRY COMMENTARY, “The continuance of the covenant, [is] intimated in three things: 1. ‘It is established; not to be altared nor revoked…’, 2. ‘It is entailed; it is a covenant, not with Abraham only (then it would die with him), but with his seed after him, not only his seed after the flesh, but his spiritual seed.’ 3. ‘It is everlasting in the evangelical sense and meaning of it. The covenant of grace is everlasting…”

Abraham was to only cut away the flesh. Since God gave the covenant He also gave the desire and strength to ‘put away’ the selfish desires of the flesh. The effect of baptism is of a ‘clean conscience with God’ (1 Peter 3:21 – “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth aslo now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:”

The land of Canaan is not just Israel’s possession for the Biblical period, but also for an “Everlasting possession”. There is much fleshy attempts to persuade the present day Israel to surrender the portions of the land which God has declared to be theirs. Do not surrender that land to the USA, the United Nations, the Palestinians, or anyone. It really belongs to God who has given it to Israel. However, if they do give it up; it will be returned to them; and they shall know that He is the LORD.

This early promise to Abraham is still for Israel today. Though, no longer strangers in the land, God will not break His covenant with Abraham.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

Invitation From Jesus

The King’s Personal Invitation

“At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight. All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:25-30 (KJV)

After pronouncing “Woe” on three cities Jesus extends an invitation. One of the things that people will answer in most lands ruled by a monarchy is an invitation from the king. If one refuses to answer the kings invitation they are expressing pride, and dishonoring the king. In such a case the king would not look very favorably upon such a person or his household.

There are some prerequisites of the King’s invitation. First of all you must be humble as a child (vv. 25-26). King Jesus is thankful that the prideful are blind to the truth. These are full of pride (the scribes and Pharisees), because of their knowledge and personal works. God is not delighted with sacrifice at the expense of a broken and a contrite heart (Psalm 51:16-17). Children are humble and dependent. This shows us that God is sovereign and that the power of salvation is solely His. He hides His truth from the prideful, ie. prideful in their education, their works, thinking that they have achieved these things, and God owes them for their efforts and accomplishments. God reveals the truths to those who are humble, and know they receive what they receive by God’s mercy and grace. There is no place in Heaven for someone walking around on or in his/her own merit (Ephesians 2:8-10). Heaven is the place of God’s own glory. There is no room for any other. Child like faith is good in God’s sight. Imagine, they have fallen from His glory (Romans 3:23), yet proceed to take it for themselves. The devil was cast out of Heaven because of his prideful attempt (Isaiah 14:12-14).

The second prerequisite is to recognize the revelation is God’s to give (v. 27). God has given “all things” to His Son. It is at the Son’s discretion who will know Him. It is also at His discretion who will know the Father. One cannot know the Father without knowing the Son. Revelation of God is given through His Son Jesus. We see by this that a pride filled individual cannot just decide he wants to know God, and thus know Him. Many times God works through situations and circumstances to humble the prideful. To break their prideful, self-seeking, selfish lifestyles; to remind them that there is a Sovereign God to whom every soul must give an account. The initiative is God’s not man’s (John 6:44). If there is no conviction of sin, and its destruction there is no revelation. If there is no belief in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus there is no revelation. God pity the soul who receives revelation, yet is without repentance.

There is the need for faith (v. 28a). “…Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is , and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6 NKJV). Coming to Him believe that He is capable of receiving us. Faith is the gift of God, and without it, there is no pleasing God. Faith believes that which cannot be seen, touched, heard, smelled, or tasted – at least in the physical sense. Our coming to Christ must be with the faith of a child. For some that will be difficult, because of knowledge, education, and just out in out pride. Just as a child trust their parents for sustenance, protection, loving and caring; so to must the man, woman, boy or girl trust Christ Jesus for the greatest need of mankind. We must trust Him for deliverance from sin, death, and/or eternal separation from God. We trust Him for our sustenance, protection, salvation, and eternity. When you reach the place you realize you are too weak from carrying that load of guilt, and you cannot find comfort from the load of sin you have been bearing, and you have fallen beneath that load; Jesus’s invitation is “Come unto Me…, and I will give you rest.”. You can rest in Him alone for your eternal salvation, and in Him you will have eternal joy in the presence of God the Father.

These “prerequisites” are needs that come with the grace given and received. Another one is repentance (v. 28b). Repentance is a one hundred and eighty degree turn around. You were on the road to disaster, on a slippery hope to destruction, and you decided to turn around and go the other way. In the case of God and repentance, He is the One who opens the eyes of sinful individuals, causes them to see their plight if they continue the way they are going, and also shows them the cross of Jesus – His death, burial and resurrection. If you keep going straight ahead you lose eternally. If you turn around by faith you live eternally. People are on a quest for fulfillment, and think they can find it in material gain. Those who realize that material gain is not the answer, but refuse Jesus, sometimes get into mystic religions, and cults which deny Jesus and His deity, and exalt the self, and to their eternal detriment. All of those things which lead away from Jesus are going the same direction as the seeking of material gain. There is only rest for your soul as you yield to Jesus Christ. When He calls us to “Take My yoke upon you…” He is asking us to join in His work. His work is the work of the Father, and we cannot do it except through Him. Doing God’s work requires that we do it His way, and His way is by Jesus Christ. Genuine faith and repentance are necessary alliances of salvation/rest. Faith without repentace is dead. Repentance without faith is purposeless.

Finally, for one to be a disciple of Jesus Christ we must be submissive to His teaching and training. He gives us command to take His yoke (v. 29) to learn of Him, to serve with Him, and this is what is called discipleship. Every soul who is won to Christ needs teaching and training to grow and be more Christlike. We know that His commands are not grievous or burdensome: “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome” 1 John 5:3 (NKJV). The Pharisees, and lawyers had heaped a grievous burden of law on the people making traditions law. They were heavy with no fulfillment. With they yoke of Jesus He is alongside us. Another name for the Holy Spirit – as “Comforter” (John 14:16) – is “Parakletos” meaning alongside of, or intercessor, consoler. He is Jesus within us as our Teacher, Comforter, Encourager, and Guide (John 16:7, 13-14). Don’t let anyone deceive you the life ahead even with Christ as your Lord and Savior will not be easy. It is not a promise to an easy road ahead. He is promising that He will remain with you, even in you through all of life’s ups and downs. In Him you are accepted. You can lay all your sins, transgressions, and the guilt that goes with it at His feet, and He will never let you down. His love abides forever.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

Indifference Toward the King

Indifference Toward the King

“Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not: Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.” Matthew 11:20-24 (KJV)

It has been said, “God owes everyone a chance to repent and be saved”, or “God will eventually give everyone a chance to hear the gospel and be saved”. Not according to what I read in Scriptures. He does not owe anyone an iota of grace or mercy. He owes us nothing. To say it one more time in another way, God is indebted to no one. Period.

In His mercy He has given natural revelation of Himself. The creation declares the glory of God, and every one is held accountable for what they do with what they have been given.

In these verses we see indifference toward the King who has given life. Jesus had done wondrous works in these cities – Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum, and they rejected Him. There was indeed a contrast of Light. How much light did Tyre and Sidon have? As far as we know they were given little, if any light or revelation of God, except creation itself. They were destroyed. Sodom was a city which had the capacity for light through Lot. Lot seems to have gotten too involved in the “culture”. There is plenty of evidence that Lot had become so much like the pluralistic paganism around him he was seen as a man with no convictions toward God, righteousness, or holiness. Lot’s light was a weak light. These cities would have repented; according to Jesus; if they would have received light. In this we can see that God is not obligated to reveal Himself to anyone. Also, that judgment is imminent for all, even if they have received no other light.

Jesus may have ministered in the cities of Chorazin and Bethsaida after He had sent out the twelve, and He ministered alone (v. 1). Keep in mind that the works Jesus did are a testimony of who He is,

“If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.” John 10:37-38 (KJV)

“Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.” John 14:10-11 (KJV)

Indifference to Jesus, rejecting Jesus; especially after seeing His mighty deeds, and especially His death and resurrection will be judgment in the eternal judgment of God. The judgment will be in accordance to the light which has shined. The judgment which will be harshest will be upon those who have heard the message of Jesus and continued to ignore it, refuse it, or just remain indifferent to it. The cities of Chorazin and Bethsaida had the very Light walking in their midst, and Capernaum housed the Light, and yet, they were indifferent. It seems by Jesus’s teaching here there will be degrees of torment in the place of eternal judgment.

Since Tyre, Sidon, Chorazin, Sodom, Bethsaida, and Capernaum is mentioned in this text let’s look at the leaven of their existence. The evil of Tyre and Sidon was that it was one of the vilest in pagan religious practice, their licentious behavior, and Baal worship. The pagan worship involved sexually explicit dances, and ritual lude behaviors. We are well acquainted with Sodom’s behavior (Genesis 18:16-21; Ezekiel 16:48-50). The very name “Sodom” has been used to describe deviant behavior of the day – “Sodomy”. The city was so perverse in their behavior that when struck with blindness they persisted in doing evil (Genesis 19:4-11). The city was destroyed from off the face of the earth. Chorazin’s, Bethsaida’s and Capernaum’s evil? Jesus walked in their midst, did many “mighty works” and they did nothing. The mighty works of chapters eight and nine were done in Capernaum. The greatest evil of all is having the Light of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and rejecting it, not walking in it. The evils of lewd behavior can be repented of, and turned from, but there is no repentance of continual rejection, indifference to Jesus Christ.

The hottest spot in Hell is reserved for the one who remains in rejection and indifference to Jesus; having had the greatest amount of light. You may believe, “It doesn’t matter what you believe, if you believe in something”, or “That is okay for you, but it’s not for me”, or “Jesus may have been a good man, but He can’t help me”. Indifference, indifference, indifference. Your punishment on the day of judgment will be according to opportunity. The judgment will still be Hell.

Why live in indifference and rejection? The way of salvation is through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, His death, burial and resurrection. There is a judgment day coming.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

Corrected By Your Own Sins

Your Own Sin and Wickedness Will Correct You

In our world today we hear parents saying things like, “I want the best for my children”, or “I will do whatever I can to protect them from harm”, while at the same time let them live in immorality. Parents putting their daughters on birth control pills, so they will not get pregnant is one good example of what I refer. Another is the new vaccine which supposedly protects young girls from getting a cancer which can only be contracted by sexual intercourse prematurely. That is another example.

One of the things I have noticed about God is that He does not prevent us from sinning, in most situations. He does let our sin cause us grief and sorrow.

Therefore do parents do their children good by trying to protect them from means that should teach them responsibility.? It is my belief that it is harmful to their eternal well being to try and protect them from the means that could be used to bring them to God, or to become right in fellowship with Him

Here is God’s Word from the prophet Jeremiah:

“Is Israel a servant? Is he a homeborn slave? Why is he plundered? The young lions roared at him, and growled; They made his land waste; His cities are burned, without inhabitant. Also the people of Noph and Tahpanhes have broken the crown of your head. Have you not brought this on yourself,in that you have forsaken the LORD your God when He led you in the way? And now why take the road to Egypt, to drink the waters of Sihor? Or why take the road to Assyria to drink the waters of the River? Your own wickedness will correct you, and your backslidings will rebuke you. Know therefore and see that it is an evil and bitter thing that you have forsaken the LORD your God, and the fear of Me is not in you,’ says the Lord GOD of hosts.” Jeremiah 2:14-19 (NKJV).

God is not as concerned for our physical health or wealth as He is our holiness. He despises sin and wickedness. He despises even more His own people turning away from Him. When we look to other means for safety, such as the people in the prophet’s day were doing in “Take(ing) the road to Egypt…” and “…the road to Assyria” we have turned from the Lord our God.

God is greatly grieved when His own people turn from Him to serve other gods, which are not gods, but only stone, wood, metal, or flesh. Why would the people of God do such a thing? One of the things that was prevalent in Jeremiah’s day was they had grown comfortable, wealthy, fat, and satisfied with themselves. They had the attitude, “We can never fall. We are a God blessed nation. We have the temple of God, and He will never let anything happen to it”.

I look around our Nation today, and I see much of that same attitude. Even though there is the imminent threat of terrorists infusion, bombings, and destruction we still are not trusting our Lord. We have placed more confidence in our economy, our bank account, our government, but where is our faith in God?

Since the bombing of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 we have been under the merciful hand of God. Our Nation has not been attacked within our borders since that time. Is that because of our great government, our President, our wonderful Congress, and Senate? No way. It is due to the mercy and grace of God. However, that mercy and grace protecting us from terrorists attack will be removed. It has been the hand of God. He has been calling us back to Himself, and giving time for others to come to Him. That time may soon be over, then we will see the worst of terrorism.

Our own wickedness, our own backslidings will correct us. God gave a message to the two and one half tribes of Israel who were to settle on the East side of Jordan. After telling they they were to go and give aid to their brethren who were going to settle on the West side, He said through Moses,

“But if you do not do so, then take note, you have sinned against the LORD; and be sure your sin will find you out. Numbers 32:23 (NKJV)

If your life is filled with fear; you are not trusting the Lord. If you are trusting in things for security; you are not trusting the Lord. If you are looking to any thing other than to God; your own sins will correct you. If you are His He will make you holy, and He will do whatever it takes to make you so.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

The Coming of God

The Coming of God

I guess you could say we are to the final verse of the song of Habakkuk. He writes a song with question, and ends it with praise.

The prophet tells us:

“God came from Teman, The Holy One from Mount Paran. Selah. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of His praise.” Habakkuk 3:3 (NKJV).

Have you ever had anyone ask you, “Where did God come from?” You have the answer in the verse above. “God came from Teman.” That is quite the statement. Someone once said that “Teman, means ‘nowhere’”. From what I have seen in Strong’s Concordance, and other places I have not found that, but we still find a great message in this statement.

As God led the children of Israel out of Egyptian bondage He also appears to them at Sinai and gives them the law of the Ten Commandments. In a place where they had felt deserted and abandoned. (You can see this in their many complaints, “We have no water”; “Why did you bring us out into this wilderness to die; we could have died with what we needed to live in Egypt.”). The people are given opportunity to hear God for themselves, and turn away, and request of Moses that he mediate for them (Exodus 20:18-21).

God appeared to them in a land which they did not expect the presence of God. His presence was an awesome presence. Habakkuk gives us the word “Selah” in this verse. My understanding of this word is that what you have just read or sang in this situation is worthy of repeating. So read it again. If you have a tune, sing it again. To sing it again is to really reflect on its power and purpose – stop and think about it, even, without singing it or reading it.

If you imagine this appearing at Sinai was really spectacular; just think of what the appearing of Jesus Christ in His glory will be. If the people of Israel trembled in the Exodus account of God’s presence what will this time be like? When He appears at His glorious appearing, the whole earth will tremble, and the people with it.

The following is the commentary from the LIBERTY BIBLE COMMENTARY:

3a. In reflecting upon the majesty of God and what He will do in the future, the prophet turns his eyes to what God has done in the past. Just as He manifested His majesty in the past, He will also manifest His majesty in the future; for God dwells in the eternal present. The prophet is not simply recalling the great deeds of the past, but is using them as sounding boards in order to project what God will do in the future. Teman was located in the extreme south of Edom and was probably its capital. Opposite Teman was Paran. The two were separated by the Valley of Ghor. In the background of the prophet’s thinking is the memory of the events surrounding Israel’s exodus from Egypt and their sojourn in Sinai. Just as God came and manifested Himself to the Israel of that day, God will come and manisfest Himself to the Israel of the prophet’s day. Just as God delivered Israel from the hands of the Egyptians after they had suffered under their cruelty, He will deliver the Israel of his day from the Chaldeans after they have suffered under their cruelty. God will deliver His people and will judge their foes.” p. 1769.

One thing that we need to be reminded through the words of the song of the prophet Habakkuk is that God has not and will not forsake the people known as Israel. He will deliver them from their blindness, and give them the peace only their Messiah Jesus can give. Where does God come from? It doesn’t matter. What matters is that He is coming at a time He will not be expected, in a very spectacular and glorious way. 

-by Tim A. Blankenship

Precious Truth

PRECIOUS TRUTH

Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. Ex 20:16 (KJV)

To some today truth is fairly well meaningless. I wonder though, if someone had been seen at the scene of a crime, but were not guilty of the crime, how important the truthfulness of the witness would be to them at that junction of their life? I dare say it would become very important, if that witness could speak the truth and acquit the accused.

How important is the truthfulness of a witness? In some and in many cases it is the difference between life or death; or life in prison, and/or a life of freedom. Is the truth important to you, even if it applies to others? It is my belief that we should be as concerned, if not more concerned for the truth to prevail for the good of others, as well as ourselves. Truth matters in being a witness. It matters for the accused but innocent individual. It matters for the family of the innocent accused, or even the guilty. It matters for the home, the church, the local government, State government, National government. It matters for the sake of justice.

When looking at these 10 Commandments, and as we look in particular at the final six and our human relationships we should ask ourselves, “Would I want someone to commit any of these prohibitions against me?” “Would I want my children to dishonor me?” “Would I want someone killing me, or someone I love?” “Would I want another man sleeping with my wife?” “Would I want someone stealing from me?”, and coming to the present one, “Would I want someone being a false witness against me?”, and the final one; “Would I want someone desiring my things so much that they would do anything to get them?”. I will be daring and say that their is not a sane person living who would want any of these things happen to them.

Now back to the subject at hand. The law of God says, “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” What exactly does this involve. Is it for the individual who is witnessing in court? Yes! Is it for the individual who is witnessing to a neighbor? Yes! You are witnessing as you share a word of gossip. You are witnessing as you defame the character of someone you do not care for. Is this a good witness? No! This is as true in politics. When one candidate charges the other with things they have heard, but are not proven. When one charges the other with something they know is not true.

In his book “Love, Liberation and the Law” J. Vernon McGee has a three point outline on this ninth commandment –

I. THE ORIGINATION OF THE LIE.

II. THE IDENTIFICATION OF THE LIE.

III. THE DESTINATION OF THE LIE.

JUST WHERE DOES THE LIE BEGIN? According to Jesus Himself, the devil is the father of lies, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” John 8:44 (KJV). We see clearly from the One who is the author of all of creation where the lie originated.

Why would we want to be associated with the Lie? His end is destruction. His end is eternal flames. His end is eternal torment, and anyone who follows his path will go there with him.

JUST HOW WOULD YOU IDENTIFY THE LIE? McGee writes, “Did you know that there are more words for breaking this commandment than all the other commandments put together?….some of them – lying, mendacity, prevarication, slander, backbiting, defamation, detraction, belittling, censoriousness, gossip, depreciation, derogation, rumor, vilification, aspersion, forgery, mudslinging, falsehood, guile, hypocrisy, insinuation, innuendo, railing, whispering, talebearing, libel, fib, fable, equivocation, disparagement, fabrication, aberation, deceit, trump up, forswear.” (From LOVE, LIBERATION, & THE LAW by J. Vernon McGee pg. 150). That is a terribly long list of bad words, which are words in action to destroy another.

This law is just as viable and meaningful today as it was the day God gave it. It is good for the courtroom, the living room, the sunday school room, the board room, and over the backyard fence. Can this commandment be broken even when speaking the “Truth”? It was when Jesus was on trial. Words can be twisted making a truth into a lie. Doing this makes you a false witness against your neighbor.

JUST WHAT IS THE DESTINATION OF THE LIE? Just a few Scriptures will bear out for us the lies destination. “A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall not escape.” Prov 19:5 (KJV).

“A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall perish.” Prov 19:9 (KJV)

“Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off: him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer.” Psalms 101:5 (KJV)

Now look in the New Testament, “And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life” Rev 21:27 (KJV)

“For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.” Rev 22:15 (KJV)

“But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.” Matt 12:36 (KJV)

People who are given to lying, bearing false witness will end up in the same pit of destruction as their father. There will be no joy, no peace, no God. There will be torment, maybe even by your own lying tongue. There will be no water there to quench the thirst for lying or dryness.

Keeping the law will not save you. It is, however your schoolmaster, showing you your need of Jesus as Savior.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

Science, Christianity, and The Bible

Science, Christianity, and The Bible

There are some who are trying to tell us that science and the Bible cannot agree. That, Christianity and the Bible are in complete opposition to science. There really could be nothing further from that thought.

Just what is the meaning of “Science”? The word itself means knowledge. The Bible cannot be in opposition to “Knowledge” because that is what is within the pages of God’s Word – the Bible. There must be some thought put to having knowledge.

There is a so-called knowledge which endeavors to tell us that the earth, and the universe in which we reside; as well as the occupants of this world and universe are products of an accidental explosion, without any order, and all of this just happened to come forth out of the chaos. Is that real “Science”? Is that “Knowledge”? Real science would acknowledge that there is order in the universe. The order allows the true scientist to figure out the time of the morning “sunrise”, and the setting of the evening “sunset”.

Real science can give you the dimensions of an archaeological discovery of an ancient city wall, and tell you that it had a maker, and can sometimes even discover who that maker was. Real science can tell you that 1 + 1 = 2, and that if there was no order to this universe they would not be able to tell you anything of any real significance.

Could a tornado hit a scrap metal yard, and a car just happen to pop up out of the chaos? What would the chances of that be? I have heard the figures on that, but it is so astronomical, there wouldn’t be enough room for anything but zeros in this article. So there would be absolutely no chance of that happening. How about a house being built by that same tornado as it swept through a forest? Probably the same amount of zeros. Where is the science – the knowledge – in evolutionary thought. It seems to truly be without thought.

Let’s think about this thing called SCIENCE. True science recognizes that there is order to the universe. True science knows that 1 + 1 = 2, and 2+2=4. It also knows that it takes a builder to build a wall or a house; and true science will truly recognize that there was a builder, designer for something so much more grand, beautiful, and larger as this universe; and all that is in it. True science would recognize the grandeur of the human body; its design, its many vessels throughout, the muscles, the eyes, the ears. Not recognizing a designer is to deny sense, sensibililty and true science.

The true scientific mind will recognize the truth. Science will rely on the evidence, and all evidence for the universe and all that is in it is clearly to the clear thinking, and knowledgeable mind; there is a Creator. He designed it and everything within the universe. He designed the earth, and all life upon it; and He designed and made one special creation in His own image. That is man.

In my mind it is a bit unclear why some of those who are made in their Creator’s image want to say that their Creator does not exist. They try to throw out the Creator for the lie. They want to rule their own lives, and never have to answer to anyone, but themselves.

The Bible, Christianity and Science fit quite well together. As a Christian I recognize that there is order in the universe; and recognize that houses are designed by designers/architects, and built by builders. I know that, because I have helped build a few, and worked on remodeling others, and it does not happen by accident. To say anything else would just be clear foolishness.

The Bible tells us that “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7). That tells me that science, ie., true science must begin with God. If you begin anywhere else it is faulty science. Science will not give you knowledge of the Bible, but the Bible will give you knowledge of science. In this previous sentence it could really be worded like this: “Knowledge will not give you knowledge of the Bible, but the Bible will give you knowledge of knowledge.” Strange right? But nevertheless correct. Do not fall into the trap of interpreting the Bible with science; interpret science with the Bible.

If you are searching for truth in science, then you must begin with God. Remember, “In the beginning God…” (Genesis 1:1). Beginning anywhere else will lead to grave and dangerous error; and it could be at the expense of your God – given eternal soul.

I once met a man, an atheist, who was highly educated. I introduced myself, and told him what I was doing, making visits as the pastor of a small town church, and meeting some people; and I started to question him of what he believed about God. His answer somewhat surprised me. “Haven’t you realized that the geological evidence clearly proves that the earth has no creator”, not necessarily verbatim, but close. He proceeded to say he did not believe there was a god of anykind. My answer was, “You mean to tell me that you can believe that the house you live, the one you are standing in now, could’ve just popped up here by accident?” Do you know what his answer to that was? “That has nothing to do with it.” Then he proceeded to tell me of his education, his major in geology, and his degree in geology; as though that should be proof enough. It really did not do anything profound for me. He asked my degree of education, to which I responded, “NO college”. I do have enough sense to know that it takes a Designer to build something so vast and wide as this universe, and its living inhabitants. Christians do not despise education, nor science; true science.  All science must begin with God.  Anything else, science, religion, or education that begins with man, or earth, or anything worldly will fall short or truth.  That is SCIENCE; that is BIBLE; and that is what I believe as a CHRISTIAN.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

A New Name

New Names

“And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.” Genesis 17:2-5 (KJV)

“And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be. And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her.” Genesis 17:15-16 (KJV)

These verses belong together due to the name changes and the life changes of both Abraham and Sarah. We have been told that one day all who are in Christ will receive a new name (Revelation 2:17; 3:12).

Worship was not something that was unfamiliar with Abraham. Most of the places he settled in for any length of time had the altars he had built. The first one we have record of was when he first entered the land of Canaan. It was a place God came to him with promise (12:6-7). He built another altar between Bethel on the West and Hai (Ai of Joshua 7) on the East. Bethel is the “house of God”, and Ai is the flesh. The Spirit verses the flesh. We are, as Christians, constantly at battle against the flesh. We find ourselves in this world fighting, struggling, and sometimes feeling defeated, yet we are victors through our Lord Jesus Christ. When one comes to faith in God through His Son a new name is given. The worship of God for the believer is not unfamiliar. It is, in fact, an everyday occurance.

This is God’s promise to Abraham and Sarah that they are going to be the proud parents of a bustling baby boy. He will indeed be one to make them laugh. He is the son of promise. “In Isaac shall thy seed be called” (Genesis 21:12; Romans 9:7). Thus, God has renewed the covenant He made with Abraham from the beginning. God has made all things new through His Son Jesus Christ.

When an individual comes to Jesus Christ, trusting Him and Him alone as their personal Lord and Savior, they are given a new name.  It is written down in heaven, and no one knows it at the present but the Lord.  It will be given to those who believe when we see Him face to face.  A New name that gives the glory to the Lord Almighty.  Blessed be the Name of the Lord.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

The Prophecy of Noah

Noah, and the Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ

The covenant God made with Noah was also for the earth, and all of creation. At the end of the covenant God says, “This is the token of the covenant, which I have established between Me and all flesh that is upon the earth.” It was in fact a promise of redemption for all the earth.

We also have this passage of Scripture in the New Testament letter, written by Paul, named Romans. In the eighth chapter, Paul the apostle of Jesus Christ writes,

“For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of Him who hath subjected the same in hope. Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that he whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.” (vv.20-23)

Since the sin – the fall – of Adam and Eve the earth, and all creation has experienced death pangs. What so called scientists are using to measure the age of the earth, are mostly signs of an earth that has been under judgment for six to ten thousand years. Volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, high straight winds, the crumbling of the ice packs are all signs of an earth that is groaning in its death pangs. It is all due to the sin of mankind, and it will one day be redeemed by the coming of the Lord Jesus back to earth.

Before we continue with this let’s back up and look at the beginning of the historic life and journey of Noah. In Genesis five we find Noah in a genealogical line from Adam, and ends with Noah. Of Noah we find these words, “And Noah was five hundred years old: and Noah begat Shem, Ham and Japheth.” Noah’s name means rest. It was in the days of Noah that the Lord would pour out His wrath on a sinful and disobedient world. It was revealed to Enoch who is mentioned in verse 24, and his son Methuselah’s birth was most likely the means by which God got Enoch’s attention and devotion.

Since this is about God’s covenant with Noah we need to get back to the issue of the millennial reign of Jesus Christ. Is the Millennial reign of Christ mentioned in the covenant? Not in the clearest way, but maybe in type, and by the promise. It is not specifically named as a “Millennial reign” or “one thousand years” or “a thousand years”, but by example.

In the first place why would God choose to save humanity, and mankind? It was due to His promise to Adam and Eve, and according to His eternal plan to deliver mankind from death, and evil. This would take the birth of a man who would live solely for God, fulfill His Word and will for His life; and then, even obey God to the extent of providing a substitutionary death for the redemption of mankind and all of creation. God created all that is for His own glory, and the man was His crowning achievement.

In the beginning when God was creating; He began with the planets and stars. He made a space for man to dwell, before He made the man. Some might think, “God sure wasted a lot of space”. I cannot see it that way at all. God waste nothing. The open space is there for us to see, to enjoy and to stand in awe of the Creator who is Himself so vast and huge, that we could possibly know someone so amazing, and worthy of worship. When God placed all the planets in place, giving them the correct and desired order of orbit, rotations, and revolutions. Placing the earth within just the right distance from the sun to warm the earth for the life which would be created here. Plants were created after their kind. Animals were created after their kind, and last of all one made in the image and likeness of God was made from the dust of the earth. And God made him a living soul. An eternal being who was not meant to die, but live forever. “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Genesis 2:7). It was intended that man was to have dominion over the earth. The millennial reign of Jesus Christ will be the fulfillment of all of the promises.

Jesus said, ” But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” Matthew 24:37-39 (KJV). The Lord will not allow this earth to continue in wickedness, and rejection of Him. Right now sin is its own judgment. Jeremiah the prophet speaks of one’s personal wickedness correcting them; “Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee…” (Jeremiah 2:19). Jesus will come again when evil has reached its peak, its heyday, its worst, and chaos has ruled the day. Deliverance will come by Jesus Christ in His glorious appearing, with His saints, evil will be crushed, and His kingdom on earth will be established; with His reign from Jerusalem.

Come, Lord Jesus, Come soon.

by Tim A. Blankenship