Observations From John – 033011

Please remember that the gospel of John is pictured in Ezekiel 1 as the eagle in the face of the Living creature, and the flying eagle in the Revelation 4:7.  These show forth a symbolic picture of the deity of our Lord.  John’s writing of Jesus is clearly that Jesus as the Son of God is God.

In the thirteenth chapter of John’s gospel we have the event of the Lord’s Supper, and this is what I have observed;

“He riseth from supper, and laid aside His garments; and took a towel, and girded Himself.  After that He poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith He was girded.  Then cometh He to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto Him, ‘Lord, dost thou wash my feet?’  Jesus answered and said unto him, ‘What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.’  Peter saith unto Him, ‘Thou shalt never wash my feet.’  Jesus answered him, ‘If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with Me.’  Simon Peter saith unto Him, ‘Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.’  Jesus saith to him, ‘He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.'” John 13:4-10 (KJV)

There is much to see here, however there is one observation and truth I want you to see; and that is that God came down to heaven in the form of a man [Jesus Christ], and then stooped even further to wash His disciples feet.  To me that is a really big thing, and says a whole lot about us as the human race.

The beauty of it is in the Son stooping to serve, and wash the feet.

When was the last time I stooped to serve another in like fashion?  How about you?

-Tim A. Blankenship

 

Observations From John – 032711

There are many who are not Christian – not followers of Jesus Christ – who claim to believe that Jesus was a good man, a good teacher, a good example; but refuse to trust Him as God and Savior of the world; and of their eternal souls.

Jesus said,

‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He seeth the Father do: for what things soever He doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.  For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth Him all things that Himself doeth: and He will shew Him greater works than these, that ye may marvel.  For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom He will.  For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: that all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent Him.  Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”  John 5:19-24 (KJV)

Jesus as a man walked among us with only one purpose in life and that was to do whatever He saw the Father doing.  The Father, GOD, is doing the work of salvation in this world.  The “god of this age”, the devil, is going about to steal, kill and destroy.  The work of GOD  in this world now is through the work and ministry of those who have the Spirit of Jesus Christ in them – the Holy Spirit; and our desire is to do what we see the Father doing.

You will note in Jesus’s words that Jesus says, “That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent Him.”  The honor, faith, and glory that belongs to the Father [GOD], belongs to the Son of GOD.  To trust Jesus is to believe Him to be whom He claims to be; the Son of GOD.  This honors Him.  To claim to be be merely a good man, a good teacher, or a good example and deny and reject Him as Savior and GOD is to basically call Him a liar.

Can you call a liar, a good man, even a good teacher, or a good example?  Not where I come from.

Hear, today, the words of Jesus above, “I say unto you, He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”

Jesus also says in verses 45 – 47,

“Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust.  For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed Me: for he wrote of Me.  But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe My words?” John 5:45-47

Jesus is the way to salvation, heaven and GOD.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From John – 032611

We begin reading through the gospel of John in today’s reading.  Chapters 1 – 3.

John’s gospel is clearly showing forth the deity of Jesus Christ.  The Son of God comes in the flesh; in the likeness of sinful flesh, yet without sin.  It is clear from reading verses 1-5 of chapter one that the WORD is God, and God is the WORD.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  The same was in the beginning with God.  All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made.  In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.  And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.”  John 1:1-5 (KJV)

To remind you of the four evangelists who were inspired by God to write this “God-breathed” Scripture, Matthew appears to write of the King and His kingdom; Mark writes of His service; Luke writes of Jesus as the Son of Man – His humanity; and John shows Him as Deity – even as being the Creator of all that is – “All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made.”

“As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle.”  Ezekiel 1:10

and the apostle John writes in the Revelation of Jesus Christ…

“And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind.  And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.”  Revelation 4:6-7

Of course you will notice that Ezekiel calls one animal an “Ox” while John refers to that animal as a “Calf”.  These are from the Bovine created animal. The picture is still clear.  Jesus came to serve us and to give His life a ransom for all who will believe in Him.  Notice too that John writes of the “Flying eagle”; certainly declaring the All Present, All Knowing, All Powerful, and never changing character of GOD.

John also declares to us…

“And the WORD was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” 1:14

He is also declared by John the Baptist as being the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (1:29).

The only way to eternal life is through Jesus Christ, Son of the Living GOD.  John writes…

“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” 3:36

That is the Observations from John for today.

-Tim A. Blankenship

What will ye then that I shall do unto Him…?

“And straightway in the morning the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council, and bound Jesus, and carried Him away, and delivered Him to Pilate. 2 And Pilate asked Him, ‘Art thou the King of the Jews?’ And He answering said unto him, ‘Thou sayest it.’ 3 And the chief priests accused Him of many things: but He answered nothing. 4 And Pilate asked Him again, saying, ‘Answerest Thou nothing? behold how many things they witness against Thee.’ 5 But Jesus yet answered nothing; so that Pilate marvelled. 6 Now at that feast he released unto them one prisoner, whomsoever they desired. 7 And there was one named Barabbas, which lay bound with them that had made insurrection with him, who had committed murder in the insurrection. 8 And the multitude crying aloud began to desire him to do as he had ever done unto them. 9 But Pilate answered them, saying, ‘Will ye that I release unto you the King of the Jews?’ 10 For he knew that the chief priests had delivered Him for envy. 11 But the chief priests moved the people, that he should rather release Barabbas unto them. 12 And Pilate answered and said again unto them, ‘What will ye then that I shall do unto Him whom ye call the King of the Jews?’ 13 And they cried out again, ‘Crucify Him.’ 14 Then Pilate said unto them, ‘Why, what evil hath He done?’ And they cried out the more exceedingly, ‘Crucify Him.’
15 And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged Him, to be crucified. 16 And the soldiers led Him away into the hall, called Praetorium; and they call together the whole band.  17 And they clothed Him with purple, and platted a crown of thorns, and put it about His head, 18 And began to salute Him, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ 19 And they smote Him on the head with a reed, and did spit upon Him, and bowing their knees worshipped Him. 20 And when they had mocked Him, they took off the purple from Him, and put His own clothes on Him, and led Him out to crucify Him.”  Mark 15:1-20 (KJV)

Due to the  fact that Israel was not a free country, but was under Roman rule, they had lost their authority to put anyone to death.  Therefore, they must take Jesus to the Roman governor, who is Pilate.  The religious leaders had found Jesus guilty of blasphemy.  The charge was actually that He had said, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it again”.

God is on trial before humanity, but who is really the condemned here?  Who are the guilty ones?  Why is an innocent, guiltless, sinless, spotless, and blemishless man being sentenced to death?  To answer those questions – The one’s who are pronouncing death to Jesus.  That answers the first two questions.  To answer the final one – Because only the death of an innocent, guiltless, sinless, spotless, and blemishless man can atone for sin before holy God, and Jesus fit the bill.  It was guilty, sinful, spotted, blemished mankind that condemned Him, but it was for those who condemned Him that He died for the real condemned.

Pilate knows Jesus to be innocent of the charge brought against Him, and that the charge has only been brought  due to “envy” (v. 10).  Due to the pressure from the people, though, Pilate offers a choice between a murderer [Barabbas], and Jesus.  Because of the conspiracy of the religious leaders the people and the priests choose Barabbas (v. 11).  When the people cried out for Barabbas Pilate asked, “What shall I do with Jesus, whom you call, ‘King of the Jews?”  Their answer to that was, “Crucify Him.”

What a horrible way for a man to die.  What an awfully horrible way for the God/Man to die who was not guilty of any sin or wrong doing.  Yet, it was determined in the foreknowledge of God, from the foundation of the world, that the Godly should die for the ungodly; the Righteous should die for the unrighteous; the Just should die for the unjust; that the Sinless should die for the sinful.  “But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom. 5:8).

“And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear: 18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, 21 Who by Him do believe in God, that raised Him up from the dead, and gave Him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.”  1 Peter 1:17-21

The hands of sinful men striking the sinless Son of God.  The thorns of a tree representing the wages of sin placed on Jesus’ head and mocking Him as king.  The words of men against the Living Word of God, condemning Him to die a cruel, cursing death.  It is a “Cursing death” because the Scriptures say, “(For he that is hanged is accursed of God;)” (Deut.21:23;  Gal. 3:13).

What will you do with Jesus?  Will you just account Him as a good man, a good teacher, a good example; or maybe a work of fiction?  Your indecision about Jesus has eternal consequences as well as the wrong decision.  No decision is your decision.  Choose Jesus as the God-Man who died for your sins, was buried carrying your sin away, and rose bodily from the grave and eternally lives.  Trust Him with your life, and you too can live with Him.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Luke – 032111

When I was a boy I spent many days and hours digging for treasure.  I had all kinds of holes dug in the ground around our house, in the pastures, the cedar glades, or wherever there was a place I thought that there could be treasure.  I did this probably when I was 8 – 10 years of age.

All the time I had a treasure I didn’t see, and that was my family, my parents and siblings, aunts and uncles, cousins.  Later on I received a treasure that I have to this day, and will have it through all eternity, and that treasure is the treasure of Jesus Christ in my heart, my life, my inner most being; eternal life with God and Him who died for me.  That is the greatest treasure.

Jesus said in Luke 12:34;

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

Now there is not a thing wrong with desiring treasure.  You will notice though that the verse does not say “Where your heart is, there will your treasure be also”, and that is what many of us probably think.  That is not what Jesus says though.

We already have a treasure.  Defining our treasure is a key to being at peace; recognizing our treasure.

I knew a couple several years ago who built a new house; they gave a great testimony of loving Jesus Christ, being great givers, and being church people.  For a while after building their house they  became somewhat frightened or nervous about leaving their home at night.  They were worried that someone might break into their house, and either steal some of their new things or vandalize the house.  In their hearts, at least for awhile their treasure was in that new house; and they were not at all at peace.

Where is your treasure?  If it is truly in Christ Jesus, then you will be at peace, and fear nothing.

“Where your treasure is there will your heart be also.”

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Luke – 032011

There are a lot of comments of Jesus’s coming as a babe in a manger, living as a man without sin, and that He came to be an example to us of how we should live.  Some say he came to perform many and mighty miracles.  He did do those things, but they were not why He came.

Looking at what Luke writes in chapter nine,

“And it came to pass, when the time was come that He should be received up, He stedfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem, and sent messengers before His face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for Him.  And they did not receive Him, because His face was as though He would go to Jerusalem.”  Luke 9:51-53 (KJV)

We can know why Jesus came by what He says in the gospel of John, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…”  He came because He loved us and was willing to go to Jerusalem, and die on a cruel, rugged, Roman cross for the sins of mankind, as the Lamb of God.

As we look at the above Scripture we see stated that, “When the time was come that He should be received up…”  He had a determination to go to Jerusalem.  From very early in His ministry He knew He must be about what He came to do, and that was His Father’s business (Luke 2:49).  Jerusalem and the cross was the Father’s business.

Would to God we would obey the Father’s will, and did His business as Jesus our Lord has done.  He now sits honored and glorified at the Father’s right hand.

Follow Jesus, believe Him and be delivered from sin, its condemnation and death; and live eternally in the presence of God.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Luke – 031911

The Observations today will be short but needful; maybe I should say, a needful reminder.

Prayer and communion with God is needful for today’s Christian.  Some may believe that prayer and communion with God is the same, but let me show you what I believe to be a difference.  I believe you can pray without communion with God; but maybe then, that would not be prayer.  However, I don’t believe you can have communion with God without prayer.  Communion is having an intimate relationship with the Father, through our Lord Jesus Christ.

There is a world of prayer going on that is not directed to the God who created all things; the Father of Jesus Christ; therefore are not in communion with God.

Meanwhile, back to the topic of prayer.  Jesus prayed.  He spent nights in prayer,

“And it came to pass in those days, that He went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.” Luke 6:12 (KJV)

Jesus had just healed a man whose hand was withered, and on the sabbath day.  There were scribes and Pharisees who were angry, even mad (v. 11), because of this “heinous” act of healing.  In the days following Jesus went to pray.  That doesn’t mean that He never prayed before this, but that He went away for a time to pray.

I want to confess to you that I do not pray as oft, in this way, that I should.  My praying is mostly when I am listening to God speak as I read His Word, and as I go about through each day.  There are times we need to spend great amounts of time in prayer with God.

Just as Jesus went to a mountain to pray.  To a specific place – a mountain – so too do you and I need to have a time and place to pray unto God who created all things.  I want to be specific about that.  God, YHWH [YaHWeH], or Jehovah is the God of creation, of heaven, of Jesus Christ.  He has a Son, and His name is Jesus.  Praying to anyone else is fruitless speaking to oneself.

Spend time with GOD in prayer.  With our world seeing the chaos, catastrophic events, mass death and destruction happening we need to pray as we have never prayed before.  We need to pray that many of the people who are survivors of these cataclysmic events will trust in the LORD with all their hearts, believe in Jesus Christ and receive eternal life in Him.  We need to pray for encouragement of those who are aiding these people; and the searchers who are looking for those still trapped beneath all the rubble.  Than cannot be an easy, or non troubling task.  Most of all we need to pray for the coming of Christ to put an end to the reign of Satan on earth.

Join me in prayer.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Luke – 031811

The gospel of Matthew deals with Jesus as King; the gospel of Mark shows Him as servant; in the gospel of Luke we see Him as a man, but more than a man, the God-Man; Son of God and Son of Man.

Someone once said,  “The Son of God became the Son of Man, that the sons of men might become the sons of God.”  O, the grace, mercy, love and power of God; how marvelous He truly is.

Looking at the genealogies of Matthew and then, of Luke we see a difference in the way they are reported.  Matthew begins with Jesus Christ Himself and ends with Joseph.  Luke begins the Joseph and goes backward to God Himself.  Joseph is declared by Luke to be “son of Heli” who is believed to be Joseph’s father in law, thus being Mary’s genealogy.

There are some,  who would tell us that the reports of the two gospel accounts, being so different means they are opposed to one another, thus contradict.  There is another alternative to that.  God never contradicts, this is God’s Word.  It is correct, God is correct.  Matthew gives us the genealogy of Joseph, and Luke gives us the genealogy of Mary.

Who is John the Baptist?

“And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not;   John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: whose fan is in His hand, and He will throughly purge His floor, and will gather the wheat into His garner; but the chaff He will burn with fire unquenchable.  And many other things in his exhortation preached he unto the people.”  Luke 3:15-18 (KJV)

He was the promised son of elderly parents, Zacharias, and Elisabeth.  They had been unable to have children for all the years they had been married, and then, one day while Zacharias is ministering within the temple an angel comes to him and tells him that he and Elisabeth will have a son.  They are to name him John.  He is to be the messenger of the Messiah, preparing the way before Him.

The Baptist gives glory to the Christ of God, and takes none for himself.  He is a man who lived in the wilderness, dressed in camel’s hair, and ate honey and locusts (Matthew 3:4).  He preached the message of repentance, calling the people to be rid of sin in their hearts and lives, the Christ is coming.

Many were seeing the Baptist as though he might be that Christ.  He, however, tells them that he is not worthy to loose the latchet of His shoes.  That One is “mightier than I”.  He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.  John the Baptist points the people to the Messiah/Christ of Israel; who is the Savior of the world.

That One, the Messiah has come to die for the sins of the world.  He is set to come again, to rid the world of sin.  He will come.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Mark – 031711

The gospel of Mark is and interesting, inspirational, and instructional read.  I preached a sermon from Mark 15 many years ago in a revival meeting on the North side of the Missouri River, and in a Missouri Baptist church.  A lady in the church the following night brought me a copy of a poem she had written based upon the text I used from Mark, and gave it to me in a picture frame.  Now, to let you know, I was truly honored by her gift.  I still have both, and read the poem occasionally.

This account of the gospel of Jesus Christ is much shorter than the other three, though there are many scholars who believe that the other three were probably written using Mark as a source.  I don’t know about that, nor if it can even be proven yea or nay.  It makes little or no difference if we believe that they are all inspired by the Spirit of God and are the truth; which I do.

The final three chapters of Mark give us the message of the crucifixion; which every time I read the message of the cross tears begin to flow as I think of my blessed Lord and Savior dying for me.

In chapter 14 we read of the beginning of the “Lord’s Supper” or communion; and Jesus going to the garden of Gethsemane to pray.  Mark does something really special in Jesus’s prayer.  Jesus calls God “Abba, Father” (14:36), Abba being a much more personal term than “Father”.  It is Jesus’s word for “Daddy”.  Only a son or daughter can call their father “Daddy”.  None of the other gospels give such a personal accounting of the Son to the Father; though it is certainly implied.

When the soldiers came and took Jesus, after being betrayed by Judas, the other disciples fled for their lives; and “Peter followed Him afar off”  (14:54).  Jesus is tried before the hierarchy of religion, found guilty and sent to Pilate (15:1-2).  Pilate, after practically pleading for Jesus’s life, finally succumbs to the whims and wishes of the priest of Israel and the misled people’s desire for his crucifixion.  They cry out “Crucify Him”, and Pilate does.  Jew and Gentile alike are the culprits of the crucifixion of the innocent, spotless, without blemish Lamb of God.  He is blasphemed, He is cursed, He is brutalized; He is mocked; and no one comes to His aid.

There were events on that day which defy description.  Darkness, earthquakes which cannot be explained by mere human faculties.  The events described took place because there was a grievance between the holy and the holy.  One holy person, Jesus the Son of God, had taken on Him the unholiness of men; and received the wrath of God that was due to us.

Chapter 16 shows that death could not hold the Son of the Living God.  He was buried in a borrowed tomb which had been carved from rock.  When Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome brought sweet spices they found the stone rolled away from the tomb entrance.  As I write this I am realizing that there is no way for me to express the excitement of the moment they must have experienced the resurrection of Jesus the Christ.  The stone was rolled away, Jesus was gone, His body was gone, and “a young man” says to them,

“Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: He is risen; He is not here: behold the place where they laid Him.  But go your way, tell His disciples and Peter that He goeth before you into Galilee:  there shall ye see Him, as He said unto you.” (16:6)

It seems to me that the stone was not rolled away to let Jesus out of the tomb, but, rather to let witnesses in to see that He was risen.  He is alive.

Because He lives we too can have eternal life, believing in Him, surrendering our lives to Him and His word and will.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Mark – 031611

Today’s Reading is from Mark 11 – 13.

The religious leaders of Jesus ‘s day were having trouble with the idea of Messiah being more than a man; however, Jesus asks them a question concerning a writing of David, a king of Israel whom they all respected, and admired.

“And Jesus answered and said, while He taught in the temple, ‘How say the scribes that Christ is the Son of David?  For David himself said by the Holy Ghost, ‘The LORD said to my Lord, Sit Thou on My right hand, till I make Thine enemies Thy footstool.’  David therefore himself calleth Him Lord; and whence is He then his son?’ And the common people heard Him gladly.”  Mark 12:35-37 (KJV)

In this statement which is quoted from Psalm 110:1 declares Messiah to be David’s Lord.  The scribes are correct in calling Christ or Messiah the “Son of David”; however, since David is calling Him “Lord” then there is a great confession from David that the Christ is also the Son of God, the God-Man.

The following is a quote from the MacArthur Study Bible on verse 37;

12:37 David himself calls Him ‘Lord.’ Jesus interpreted Ps. 110:1 for the Pharisees.  David would not have called one of his descendants “Lord.”  Thus the Messiah is more than the “Son of David”– He is also the “Son of God.”  Jesus was proclaiming the Messiah’s deity, and thus His own (cf. Rom. 1:3; 2 Tim. 2:8; Matt. 22:45).

and from the ESV Study Bible;

Mark 12:35–37 While in the temple, Jesus publicly raises a question that he has already discussed in private with his disciples: who is the Messiah of God—is he essentially the son of David or the Lord of David? Jesus’ point is not to deny that the Messiah is a descendant of David (e.g., Ps. 2:1–12; 89:1–52; Isa. 9:1–7; Jer. 23:5–6; Ezek. 34:23–24). The issue is that, in this passage (i.e., Ps. 110:1–5), there is no mention of the Messiah being the son of David; rather, the Messiah is here the “Lord of David” (see note on Matt. 22:41–46). Jesus affirms the divine inspiration of the Psalm through the Holy Spirit. The Lord (Hb. Yahweh) grants to David’s Lord (Hb. ’Adonay) an exclusive place of honor at his right hand and helps David’s Lord overcome his enemies. Jesus anticipates being exalted to the right hand of God, and thus he far transcends any expectation of a merely political, Davidic messiah.

When anyone argues against the deity of Jesus Christ they argue against the very word of God; Old and New Testaments.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Mark – 031511

Reading today from Mark 8 – 10.

There is much mention of leaven throughout scripture.  It was forbidden in the house of a Hebrew on Passover; it is a symbol of delay, and God commanded them to make haste concerning their departure from Egypt.  Leaven also symbolizes the spread of pride and evil; it is puffed up with self and selfish ambition; with no time or room for God.

In my observations of scripture there is no time when leaven is used as a symbol or type of anything good.  For today’s observation we will look at the lesson Jesus gives concerning the leaven of the Pharisees and of Herod;

“Now the disciples had forgotten to take bread, neither had they in the ship with them more than one loaf.  And He charged them, saying, ‘Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod.’  And they reasoned among themselves, saying, ‘It is because we have no bread.’  And when Jesus knew it, He saith unto them, ‘Why reason ye, because ye have no bread? perceive ye not yet, neither understand? have ye your heart yet hardened?  Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember?  When I brake the five loaves among five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up?’ They say unto him, Twelve.  ‘And when the seven among four thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up?’ And they said, Seven.  And He said unto them, ‘How is it that ye do not understand?'”  Mark 8:14-21 (KJV)

These verses begin by telling the reader that the disciples had gotten into the boat with only one loaf of bread, and no more.  This gives us a clue as to the disciples thoughts on bread, and their misunderstanding.  Jesus says, “Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and the leaven of Herod.”  Now His disciples begin thinking that Jesus is concerned about the lack of bread.

Jesus reminds them of the miracles of the fish and the loaves in the feeding of 5,000 men, not counting women and children; and of the miracle of the loaves to 4,000 men, not counting women and children; and their worried about bread? They are not understanding.

Jesus is speaking of an arrogant, pride filled heart; a puffed up attitude of one’s self and leadership.  With an attitude similar to the Pharisees and of Herod there is nothing but destruction awaiting that type of person.  Have you ever noticed with the use of leaven that it never adds anything to taste, or even to its content.  Leaven/Yeast merely puffs up a loaf of bread, makes it appear to be more than what it is; when all it really is is simply air.

The thing the disciples needed to understand, and that many professing believers of our day need to understand is who Jesus really is.  It had not quite clicked in their hearts just yet.  They had witnessed the miracles of the loaves and fishes, the opening of the eyes of the blind; and the healing of the deaf ears; but yet they were not fully seeing who Jesus is, nor hearing all that He said.

In just a bit Peter makes his confession of who Jesus is, “Thou art the Christ.” and in Matthew (16:16) the words, “Son of the living God” are spoken.

Sin and pride; its leaven; blinds eyes, and closes hearts to the understanding of who Jesus is.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Mark – 031411

Reading today from Mark 5 – 7

I want us to consider the charges Jesus makes against the scribes and Pharisees concerning their hypocrisy, and “Making the word of God of none effect…”  Just how does one go about making the word of God of no effect?  First of all this means, giving; in this case; more authority and power to something less powerful, such as their traditions.

The following are the words of Jesus,

“He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.  Howbeit in vain do they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.  For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.  And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.   For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death: but ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free.  And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.”  Mark 7:6-13

Sometimes traditions are good, might even be great; however when we make tradition greater than Scripture we are in danger of being hypocrites, and of honoring God with lip service, but having no heart for Him.  The danger the scribes and Pharisees were in was due to one thing that Jesus mentions in verses 10 – 12.  Their tradition allowed them to take what would be used for honoring their father and mother; call it God’s, thus, making that sacred, and then they were unable to use that material thing for the honor of their parents.

The following are the study notes of the English Standard Version of the Bible for verses 10 – 13;

Mark 7:10–13 honor your father and your mother (cf. Ex. 20:12; 21:17; Deut. 5:16). No one questions the importance of this law in the Ten Commandments; disregarding it was punishable with death in ancient Israel. Part of honoring father and mother is to care for them, both financially and personally, in their old age. However, Jewish tradition allowed that funds originally dedicated to the care of parents could be declared Corban (Hebrew/Aramaic for legally “dedicated to God”; cf. Lev. 1:2; 2:1; etc.), meaning that the person would no longer be required to do anything for … father or mother. These funds could now be given to the temple, if so desired. Such human traditions thus allow room for the depravity of the human heart, directly opposing the Law of Moses which so often serves to protect the weak and helpless, in this case, parents in their feeble old age (making void the word of God). The “Corban” tradition is an example (along with many such things you do) of disregarding and rejecting the more important aspects of the Mosaic law.

As Christians of today let’s be careful to follow the guidance of the Word of God, and not our traditions over the Word.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Mark – 031311

The reading today is from the Gospel of Mark chapters 1 – 4.

The gospel of Matthew is related to the King and His kingdom.  The gospel of Mark is related to Jesus as a servant.  These characteristics are seen in the Old Testament in the book of the prophet Ezekiel (1:10), and also in the Revelation of Jesus Christ (4:7).  There are four faces mentioned; the face of a lion – the King;  the face of an calf/ox – servant or serving;  the face of a man – humanity;  the face of an eagle.  The Revelation even calls it a “flying eagle”.  I will deal with the significance of the others when we get to their respective gospels.  Right now we will deal with Mark.

Let me make something as plain and clear as I can.  There are not four different gospels.  There are four different points of view so that we may have a more clear, and lovely picture of our Lord.  Matthew, Mark, Luke and John though penned from different experiences are just as inspired by God as the other.  They do not contradict but explain, and enhance, and complement one another.

The experience of Mark begins differently than the other three accounts.  Matthew begins with a genealogy of our Lord and His Kingship.  Luke, in chapter 3 has the genealogy from Mary’s side of the family, thus showing his humanity.  John has no genealogy, but rather states quite clearly His deity with the first five verses, with verse 1 saying, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”.

Mark includes no genealogy, because servants  had no genealogy in that day; not publicly recorded.  Looking at the total life of Jesus we see a King, a servant, a man, and His Divinity.

Look with me at the beginning of the gospel;

“The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; as it is written in the prophets, ‘Behold, I send My messenger before Thy face, which shall prepare Thy way before Thee.  The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make His paths straight.'” Mark 1:1-3

Mark seems to make the service of Jesus to the Father a point in a greater way than the others do.  Many may frown on the idea of Jesus as a servant, but He said it Himself:

“Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them.  But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: and whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.  For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”  Mark 10:41-45

The work of Jesus while on earth was to fulfill the Father’s will, not His own.  He was a servant/minister to do the bidding of His Father.  He had come also to serve mankind by giving His life as a ransom for our sin, paying the sin debt which we owed.

Surely the best we have to offer Him is ourselves, believing what He has said, living for Him and His glory.  We need to do as the apostle Paul says, “…Present your bodies a living sacrifice…” (Romans 12:1-2).

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Matthew – 031211

Today’s Reading is from Matthew 26 – 28.

In looking at the life of Jesus Christ one cannot help but notice that the life of Jesus is completely submitted to the will of His Father.  He is about fulfilling God’s will for His life as a human being on earth.  Now, if we want a good example then, Jesus is the one to follow.  He is however, much more than an example to follow.  He is, in fact, the very only begotten Son of God (John 1:1-5, 14; 3:16).  Part of His submission to the Father as man is His heart and will to fulfill Scriptures and we see that in the following verses,

“Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took Him.  And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest’s, and smote off his ear.  Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.  Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He shall presently give Me more than twelve legions of angels?  But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?  In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take Me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on Me.  But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.”  Matthew 26:50-56

In this short passage we see the statement twice, “But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled…?” and then, “But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled”, and all this was at the time of His betrayal and arrest.

Though the name of the sword wielder is not given, we know from the testimony of the apostle John (John 18:10-11) that it is Peter who was overly protective of His Lord.  If we think Peter only meant to cut off that man’s ear, we would be gravely mistaken.  Peter was not a highly trained soldier in handling a sword; but his intent was to divide that man’s head.

The intent and purpose of Jesus was to fulfill Scripture and glorify His Father.  In that act He would also make a way for those who will believe to have fellowship with God the Father.  By way of the cross Scripture, all of Scripture would be fulfilled, the sin debt would be paid, God would be honored, and glorified; and there is a way of salvation from the condemnation of sin.

The event of the above Scriptures follow a time of great trial in our Lord’s life.  It was a time of the “press”.  In a place where the olives were pressed for the oil, the very fragrance of Heaven was being pressed in doing the will of Heaven.  Jesus was about doing the will of God.  His mind, His heart, His soul, and His strength was going to see that all Scripture would be fulfilled.

In the press, by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, we can be about fulfilling the will and word of God in our lives.  Be strong in faith, believe God, trust every word He has said; that He will fulfill every word that, even now, has yet to be fulfilled.  Believe it will be; and live accordingly.  No matter what trial or tribulation may come; economic failure, employment fails, health fails, earthquake or flood, or fire.  God’s Word – all of Scripture will be fulfilled in Christ Jesus.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Matthew – 031111

Reading today from Matthew 23 – 25.

After doing my reading this morning, I was wondering what I should post this morning for the Scripture reading over on our church blog, and our son James called and told me about a huge earthquake which had just happened in Japan.  Now, there are tsunami warnings out for all the West coast of the continental USA, Alaska, that they were vacating the Island’s of Hawaii, and Australia and other places.  It just reminds me of the reminders our Lord gives that He will return.

“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but My Father only.  But as the days of Noe 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 Noe 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 24:36-39 (KJV)

“You Christians have been saying that for years, and it hasn’t happened yet.”  You could even say, “It has been being said, for about two thousand years”, and I would even go further than that.  God has been telling us that since near the beginning, because through Enoch was written the words,

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

and Enoch lived before Noah (Genesis 5:24).

We need not ask “When is Jesus Christ Returning?”   We do need to ask, “Is my life ready for His return if He were to come today?”  Since we do not know the day or the time we need to be drawing near to God through His Son Jesus each and every day through His Word and prayer, committing our lives to holy living through the power of His Spirit who lives in those who have called on the name of Jesus Christ.

If you will look around you today you will see much chaos.  Economic upheaval, National and international catastrophe, Political upheaval in all shapes and sizes; democratic, republics, dictatorships, anarchy.  Yet I believe God still reigns.  He is on His throne, and prayer changes things and people for the glory of God.

We have all these chaotic things going on, yet some people pay no mind, no attention to these matters; they just keep on partying, marrying, giving in marriage; and making no change to the way they live.  It is time to direct our hearts to the LORD of hosts.  He has directed His eyes toward us.  He has sent us His Son Jesus to die for our sins; made a way for all who will believe to call on Him and be brought into fellowship with Him.

You may think, “I can’t change.  I have tried many times and failed”.  To that I say, “No you can’t change yourself.”  However, God can change you.  Admit to Him that you are a sinner, that you are powerless, and submit yourself to His grace, call on Him, believe and be saved.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Matthew – 031011

Our reading today is from Matthew 20 – 22.

The matter of “faith” is one of great discussion.  The subject has been abused, misused, misunderstood, and misinterpreted.  I pray that I do none of those things with this observation today.

Faith, in some circles, has been and is seen as some what like a “genie in a bottle”.  Some tell us, “If you have faith you can live without sin’, ‘drive the finest cars’, ‘never be sick’, and ‘have a large bank account.”  Now they may not say it quite like that, but I believe that is clearly a misuse and abuse of the following verses,

“Now in the morning as He returned into the city, He hungered.  And when He saw a fig tree in the way, He came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, ‘Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever.’ And presently the fig tree withered away.  And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, ‘How soon is the fig tree withered away!’ Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.  And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” Matthew 21:18-22

Now, to be honest with you, as I read these verses my thoughts are, “Man!  I would love to have faith like that.”  Then it occurs to me, “Just what is faith?”  Is faith the object of power or is our faith to be in something or Someone?  The answer is the latter.  My faith is to be in the Someone who is Jesus Christ.

I must also ask the question, “What is my motive for wanting this power?”  The answer comes back, “So I can use it for myself.”  What must this gift of grace and faith be “used”?  For the glory of our Lord, and no other.

It seems to me in this observation, that I already have this faith.  It is a gift from God.  It is not to be misused, abused; but rather to bring glory to the LORD of all creation.

Faith in Jesus Christ gives us the gifts that Jesus Christ Himself possesses.  We are “joint heirs” with Him (Romans 8:17).  Through Jesus Christ, and His authority we can move mountains.  Not only that we can move the world.  The only problem is we aren’t doing it.  We aren’t believing.

There is a story of two farmers who prayed for rain.  One was always going out to his tractor, going to the field, crying, pleading for rain; but nothing happened.  The other prayed for rain, and took an umbrella with him as he climbed on the tractor and went to the field to plow.  Now, which of them actually believed God would send rain.

Let me remind you.  Faith is not the matter of belief.  Jesus Christ is.  Faith in faith will get you nothing.  Faith in Christ Jesus “is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Matthew – 030911

Reading today from Matthew 17 – 19

Sometimes it is difficult deciding which of the verses Jesus spoke to write from.  I seek His direction, and it seems that it doesn’t matter; because it all from Him.

In chapter 18 Jesus says this about “…become as little children…” and that seems to confuse many.  Let’s take a look at that:

“Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”  18:3

Let’s think about little children.  They are cute, lovable, forgiving, and would start wars at the drop of a hat, if some other child takes their stuff.  Jesus certainly did not intend us to be immature in our lives.

Jesus was, of course, speaking of the little child’s heart that is loving, forgiving, trusting.  Trusting is the key here.  Especially when it comes to trusting Him.  For the most part small children are dependent.  They are dependent upon their parents for their food, shelter, clothing, health, and every other need or want that you can think of.  They are unable to go out and defend themselves against intruders, thieves, killers and muggers, in most cases.

As adult believers; followers of Jesus Christ we need to be dependent upon our Lord for our needs.  We also need to be trusting Him for everything from salvation to finances, shelter, healthcare.

Jesus goes on and says,

“But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in Me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”  18:6

Though Jesus is talking about those who would follow Him, trusting Him for and in all things; there is  a more than subtle word here to anyone who would abuse, misuse, mistreat, or harm a child in any way.  We hear in the news of people who abuse children, both sexual and beating, them till they die; and sometimes leaving them dead in their spirits.  Jesus says, “It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and drowned in the depth of the sea”.

As adults we should have respect for our children.  They can be contrary at times; however, I have seen a few adults who are contrary, evil, mean, and just downright ugly in demeanor and character.  We all can be at times.  We are still to treat one another with respect; and the children too.  When I use the word “respect”  I mean by that that we treat them as being a special human being in God’s eyes; and should be in our own as well.  We are to disciple children, teaching them and leading them toward God and His righteousness.

Determine to follow Jesus; trusting solely in Him, being dependent upon Him and no other.  Trust Him when everything seems to be falling apart; when your health is failing; when the checkbook is depleted; when you’re unemployed; when the house is being foreclosed on; the bank is coming for your car; when the hospital bills are running out your ears.  You can trust and know that He loves and cares for you.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Matthew – 030811

Matthew 14 – 16 is our reading for today.

The text we look at today is from the 16th chapter following Peter’s great confession that Jesus is the Christ, Son of the Living God.

Who do men say that Jesus is?  The disciple’s answers were that He was John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah or some other of the Old Testament prophets; giving answer to some comments people had made as to who He was.  The all important question asked by Jesus at this point was, “Whom say ye that I am?”  That is the clincher for the actual answer.  Peter’s answer, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God”, and that is the answer by all who will have eternal life.

Following this confession of Peter, however, it seems that the devil himself confuses Peter, and is rebuked for his speech;

“From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto His disciples, how that He must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.  Then Peter took Him, and began to rebuke Him, saying, ‘Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.’  But He turned, and said unto Peter, ‘Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.'” Matthew 16:21-23 (KJV)

From the time of the confession of Peter Jesus begins to teach them that His destiny is to go to Jerusalem and die.  This is what the disciples were hearing, and that is the reason for Peter’s words of denial in the above passage of Scripture.  Jesus didn’t leave the matter without hope; He did speak of His resurrection of being “raised the third day”, yet Peter’s response comes from the dark recesses of his being.

We must think about this for an instant.  Peter loved Jesus, and to hear him speak of His coming death was a shock to his ears and heart.  That, nevertheless, does not excuse his mind being opened for the devil’s use.  Peter has been called “The disciple with the foot shaped mouth”, slow to think, quick to speak.

Can you just see Peter taking Jesus aside and rebuking Him.  Peter, do you know what you are doing?  He is thinking from the way of men, not the way of God, God’s Word and God’s will.  Many a time I have heard said that Jesus is calling Peter “Satan” in His words.  Not so.  Jesus recognizes who the infiltrator is, though there is a two fold action here.

Jesus first directs His rebuke to Satan who has tempted Jesus before (Matthew 4:1-11); and then to Peter telling him that his heart is not on the things of God, but those of men.  It is my conviction that the devil never wanted Jesus to go to the cross and die; he tried to misdirect our Savior from His atoning work; thus the temptations of chapter 4; the temptations from the masses to be king, and so forth; and now through Peter the devil attempts it again.

We must give our hearts to God, His Word and His will for our lives.  We, like Peter, may not always be able to understand what is going on, in fact, we may never understand; we are called to trust, believe and be faithful in what God says.  Jesus was faithful unto death.  That is our calling as well.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Matthew – 030711

Reading today in Matthew 11 – 13

We have all heard the language people use on the street, many times in business, at work, at recreation and play.  We hear it from children, both special needs children and “normal” children; and that is most generally because the children hear it from their parents or legal guardians.

When I read the following Scriptures that tell me, “…out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” then there are an massive amounts of people; young and old; who have corrupted abundance in their hearts:

“O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.  A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.  But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.  For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.”  Matthew 12:34-37 (KJV)

Maybe the next time you let a vile, corrupted word fly from you tongue and lips you better check your heart.  It is corrupt if you let words fly that are vile, dirty, rude, hurtful, filthy, and/or ungodly.

These are the words of Jesus Christ; the purest of men; the God man who gave His life for our sins.

Consider that before you open you mouth to speak.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Matthew – 030611

Reading today from Matthew 8 – 10

One thing many of us already know is that fear is a very disabling thing to hit our lives.  It keeps us from life, and living.  It keeps us from God.

Today’s reading deals with fear.  In three different verses Jesus addresses fear.

First He speaks of fear to the disciples of the false accusations of many around them,

“Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.” 10:26

It is quite likely that as followers of Jesus Christ begin to be like Him, that there will be those who will call us some of the same things they called Him. Jesus tells us it will all be revealed; the truth will be known.  We can rest in that and be assured our Lord’s words are true and will come to pass.  No need to fear.

Secondly, there is no need for fear in the face of death;

“And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”  10:28

There are some who have written and preached that this is telling us to fear the devil.  Well that would go against the very thing which Jesus is saying.  The One who deserves fear or great reverence is the One who has created us.  Someone has said, “If we fear God; we need fear nothing else.”  To fear God comes from a love for Him.  Now someone is going to think of John’s words, “Perfect love casteth out fear” and that is true.  The fear of God does not debilitate one’s mind and thinking.  It sets thinking right.

Finally, we look at verse 31 where Jesus speaks of God’s care for the sparrows which are considered to be the least of the bird species;

“Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.”  10:31

Having a fear that needs are not going to be met, they are not being met, or that no one even cares are prevalent in the world today.  Someone does care.  That is God, His Son Jesus, and all who love Jesus.  All care and love you.  The first and greatest need of any individual is not clothing, food, shelter, or even your health.  The greatest need of humanity is a clean heart and life.  A life clean from sin and death.  That is only possible through faith in Jesus Christ and His death on the cross, His carrying our sins away in His burial, and His rising bodily again to life.

Do not fear, nor be afraid.  He cares for you.  Just as He watches over and cares for the sparrows He cares for you and your need today.

Do not let your fear debilitate you and keep you from  that which is right and good.  Believe in Jesus and live.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Day of the LORD is at Hand

The title comes from Isaiah 13:6.  Yes, I am doing some catch up work here.  On Sunday nights at Carr Lane Baptist I have been preaching through the Prophecy of Isaiah, however, I have not been prone to publish on the blog until now.  I pray you will be able to follow along and get them in order if you need to do so.

Chapter 13 begins a series of messages from the prophet to foreign nations  who have not heard the LORD God; and mistreated the people of God known as Israel or Judah, and continues through chapter 23.  From Babylon to Tyre, and includes God’s anger toward His people as well in chapter 22.

Chapter 13 and 14 deals with Babylon, which at this point in history was not considered a world power, yet it would become so, in about a hundred years.  How did Isaiah know this?  By the Word and wisdom of the LORD of hosts.

Babylon would be a proud and arrogant people; worshipping their own deities which were in signs in the stars, the stars, and idols made of human hands.

In many ways Babylon represents the world and its arrogance against God and His people.  The world, its inhabitants, its governments often have no friendly hand toward God’s people; be they Christian or Hebrew.  We see this quite often in many foreign lands today where Christians are persecuted for their faith.  Where we are not free to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ; and many brothers and sisters die for their faith.

We see it often in history concerning the Hebrew people.  One instance of great persecution against the Hebrew people is in the death camps of Hitler.  The numbers of murdered Hebrews during that time of holocaust in Germany.  It was a growing problem throughout the history of man.  No one of the surrounding nations wanted the Jewish people around.  They worshipped the one true God, and He is the only way to paradise or heaven.

“Howl ye; for the day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty.”  Isaiah 13:6 (KJV)

The warning is to Babylon and their destruction should they fail to heed God’s warning.

If you will notice the very things which they admire and worship are taken from them.  “The stars of heaven and the constellations will not give their light…” (v. 10), the sun darkened.  Now I don’t know how this was done; and it is most likely a prophetic word which has yet to take place and the prophecy is basically to the world itself for turning their back on the message of God, His Word and His servants and His people.  With the same judgment they have wreaked out so shall they receive like judgment.  Remember even Jesus said, “Judge not, that  you be not judged”  (Matthew 7:1) and God will carry out His judgment to the fullest extent, and will let sin run its course (SEE verses 15-16).  Babylon will fall by the power of the Medes (Daniel 5:30-31).

The kingdom of Babylon as it was known in that day has fallen, just as God has said.  It was a glorious nation of wealth, gold, jewels, many riches.  It was full of pride.  God says, “…Her days shall not be prolonged” (v. 22).

The days of pride and arrogance of the world will come to an end.  God’s glory will be seen by all, rejoiced in by all who love Him, His Word and His people. His kingdom will be prolonged for all eternity.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Matthew – 030511

Reading today from Matthew 5 – 7.

We can be a fickle people; those of us called human being.  When asked about God and the Bible or especially being Christian some have responded with “Well I observe the Ten Commandments” or “I try to live by the Sermon on the Mount”.  I haven’t done it yet, but I would venture to guess, that those who say they live by the Ten Commandments do go to tell you how many commandments there are; and more seriously could not tell you what they are.  Those who say the other, “I try to live by the Sermon on the Mount” are only kidding themselves.  It is a noble endeavor to be sure, but the requirements of the Sermon spoken by Jesus are more difficult than the Ten Commandments.

Hear what our Lord says,

“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.  For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.  For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.”  Matthew 5:17-20 (KJV)

There are many who believe and think that when Jesus came he did away with the law.  What did Jesus say above?  “I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.”

Let’s look at this idea of keeping/obeying the Sermon in comparison with the law.  First of all the Ten Commandments only deal with the outer experiences of life; for example, the seventh commandment says, “Thou shalt not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14) yet Jesus says in verses 27 and 28 of Matthew 5 that to look at a woman to lust after her is adultery.  Let’s look at another; the sixth commandment states, “Thou shalt not kill”  (Exodus 20:13).  Look at Matthew 5:22,

“But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.” v. 22

So, if you can live by the Sermon then you are doing quite well with yourself.  If you think you are you are only lying to yourself, and deceived of the devil.

Jesus did not do away with the law, He lived it, He fulfilled it by complete and faithful obedience to God the Father.

In our opening verses above Jesus says, “…Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.”  That would mean complete faithfulness to God and His commandments.  That would mean complete faithfulness to keeping the sermon on the mount.  Can I do that?  Can you do that?  The answer for us both is, NO!  We are condemned and dying unless we come to God by Someone else’s righteousness.

That righteousness that is given to us by God is from Jesus Christ.  When He died on the cross He gave those who believe Him His own righteousness, and took our own unrighteousness upon Himself.  The law and the prophets are fulfilled in Christ Jesus.  He lives in those who are His, enabling and empowering His own to live lives that honor and glorify GOD; when we trust Him by faith alone.

Matthew 5 – 7 for today’s reading.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Valley Of Vision

Since the thirteenth chapter Isaiah has been proclaiming messages called “burdens” in the KJV; they are particularly messages of warning and judgment coming on those nations mentioned.  Babylon, Egypt, Moab, Damascus to name a few.

The “burden” in this chapter is directed to Jerusalem or Israel as a whole.  While the other “burdens” were named against nations and peoples who were unfriendly and cruel to Israel this one is directed straight at the city and people of Jerusalem.

Why called “Valley of vision”?  It could be possibly because they have been a lofty city.  Geographically, Jerusalem is an upwards climb from most locations of Israel.  Most of the time when it is mentioned, it is always “Up to Jerusalem” from someone headed there.  When you are going to a valley the motion is always downward.  That is the state Jerusalem and Israel are in as we read this chapter.

Read verses 1 – 7,

“The burden of the valley of vision. What aileth thee now, that thou art wholly gone up to the housetops?  Thou that art full of stirs, a tumultuous city, a joyous city: thy slain men are not slain with the sword, nor dead in battle.  All thy rulers are fled together, they are bound by the archers: all that are found in thee are bound together, which have fled from far.   Therefore said I, Look away from me; I will weep bitterly, labour not to comfort me, because of the spoiling of the daughter of my people.  For it is a day of trouble, and of treading down, and of perplexity by the Lord GOD of hosts in the valley of vision, breaking down the walls, and of crying to the mountains.  And Elam bare the quiver with chariots of men and horsemen, and Kir uncovered the shield.  And it shall come to pass, that thy choicest valleys shall be full of chariots, and the horsemen shall set themselves in array at the gate.” Isaiah 22:1-7 (KJV)

It seems in reading these verses that they have been surrounded by enemy forces,  and with peril around them they are partying without any regard or though toward God their Creator and Sustainer.  When they should have been weeping, mourning and praying with repentance they were playing.  Sounds like another nation I know about, and live within.  God forgive us.

This sound of the valley of vision is similar to Ezekiel’s vision in Ezekiel 37, the words of Jeremiah 21:13 and Joel 3:12, 14.  Maybe this speaks of the depths to which the people have sank.  Something to consider any how.

There are two men who are named within Jerusalem; Shebna who is possibly a scribe and holding a seat of honor; then, there is Eliakim who is referred to as “My Servant” (v. 20).  Shebna loses his place of honor due to his disobedience to God and failure to do his duty; and the place is given to Eliakim because of his faithfulness.

We are told of Eliakim,

“And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will call My servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah: and I will clothe him with thy robe, and strengthen him with thy girdle, and I will commit thy government into his hand: and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah.  And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.”  vv. 20-22

Keys are symbols of authority.  If you possess a key, whether it is to your property or another’s it shows you have the right to enter or to the use of that property.  Any one forcing entry or use is an illegal user; with the exception of permission by the authority of one with the key.  Jesus used these words describing Himself,

“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith He that is holy, He that is true, He that hath the key of David, He that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;  I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept My word, and hast not denied My name.”  Revelation 3:7-8

Eliakim was to make decisions, and they would be sure and fast decisions, until the time of his fall.

Jesus’s kingdom and reign will never fall and never fail.  His kingdom is sure and stedfast.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Matthew 030411

Beginning today reading Matthew 1 – 4.

We have been reading the books of Moses, and now we turn to the first four Gospels of the New Testament.  In doing this we will keep a better focus on Whom the whole of the Bible is about.

Matthew is one of four of the gospel presentations and written by Matthew who was at the time of Jesus’s calling a tax collector (9:9).  He was doing his work, Jesus comes along and calls him to follow, and he leaves all and follows Jesus.

When we look at Matthew this gospel is related to the King of israel, and His Kingdom.  In chapter one is the geneaology of the King; in chapters 5 – 7 we have what could be called His Kingdom Manifesto; chapter 13 are parables – stories which all relate to His Kingdom on earth;  chapter eighteen deals with those who would enter His Kingdom having the heart of a child; and chapters 24 – 25 deal with when He sets up His Kingdom on the new earth.

For today let’s look at the following verses,

“And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.  And He saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.  And they straightway left their nets, and followed Him.  And going on from thence, He saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and He called them.  And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed Him.”  Matthew 4:18-22 (KJV)

Jesus has been to John the Baptist, been baptized by him; and the gospel of John at this point says that the Baptist saw Him coming and says, “Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).  John was no stranger to Jesus; after all they were cousins according in order of family births.  In the beginning of chapter 4 following His baptism Jesus has been “Led of the Spirit into the wilderness” to be tested by the devil.  Jesus passes the test with power and authority of the Spirit and the Word of God.

The Word of God was the means by which Jesus rebuked and rejected the lies of the devil.  The Word of God is important to Matthew as he writes this gospel account of Jesus.  In the first two chapters alone there are at least 17 Old Testament prophecies of  the Christ or Messiah, and Matthew relates them to Jesus alone.

Following His temptation in the wilderness Jesus sets out to fulfill His task.  His ultimate task as we look at the gospels will be set toward Jerusalem and the cross.  While walking by the sea of Galilee on this particular day Jesus sees Peter and Andrew fishing with nets, and calls them to follow Him.  They follow.  Now this was their way of living, it was Peter’s and Andrew’s business; they caught fish and sold them at the fish market.  It wasn’t a lucrative job, but it was an income.  Leaving these nets required an act of faith in the One they were going to follow.

Jesus’ s promise was to make them fishers of men.  To be a fisher of men is to call others to follow Jesus.

There were two others who were also called “Sons of thunder” (Mark 3:17) and their names were James and John.  These four would become close to Jesus, particularly Peter, James and John.

Jesus is still calling people; men, women, boys and girls to follow Him.  Have heard that call?  Follow Him, and begin a wonderful journey of life, living and eternal life with Him.

We will be in the New Testament through the gospel of John, then return to the Old Testament.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Deuteronomy – 030211

If you are following my Bible Reading plan today’s reading is Deuteronomy 29 – 31.  I pray you are learning and growing in our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Lord is giving Moses some final instructions before he dies.  Moses will not be allowed to cross into the Promised Land which He is giving to the people of Israel, due to his sin of striking the rock, rather than speaking to it (Numbers 20).

The verses I want us to observe from today are,

“For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off.  It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, ‘Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?’  Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, ‘Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?’  But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.”  Deuteronomy 30:11-14 (KJV)

The LORD has just given them promise that He will make them plenteous in the works of their hands, the “fruit of their body”, and fruit of the land, if they shall hear and do and keep His commandments (30:9-10).  Then, the LORD proceeds to tell Moses that the command is not hidden, nor far away.

So many people want to blame God for sin in the world.  Sin is due to the transgression of the human heart against God.  We are all born with that transgression.  To those who want to argue against that think of this:  Do we need to teach children to lie if they are going to lie?  NO!  Every child will practice the deceit of lying without being taught to do so.  They will even steal to get what they want.  The reason for that is because there is evil in every human heart.  Children must be taught to be truthful and honest, and it does not happen easily.  There are many adults who must learn these truths.  There is only one child who ever lived who was truthful and honest, faithful and true until His death; and that was Jesus Christ; because He was the Son of God, had the heart and blood of God; and God cannot lie.

Since the word, the commandments, are not hidden, neither are they far away the children of Israel are without excuse concerning any disobedience.  They have heard God speak.  They have heard His commandments.  Yet, we will see as they enter into the Land of Promise they still struggled with obedience.

Christians struggle with obedience today, due to the sinful flesh.  We hear God’s Word, but do not obey.  We see God’s work in our own hearts and lives yet fail Him.  It is sad to say, however, those who profess to know Jesus Christ, and can disobey/sin against Him without regret or remorse and repentance have never experienced the saving faith possible only through the blood of Christ.

For the Christian we have the Spirit of God; the Holy Spirit; living within us.  We are empowered to live the life of Christ within us (Read Romans 8:1-15).  He is our Comforter, Guide, Counselor, and Corrector and points us to our Lord and Savior.

James wrote,

“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.  For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: for he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.  But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.”  James 1:22-25

Let’s be sure to hear God’s Word, hide it in our hearts; that we might do it, and live a Biblical, Christian life.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Deuteronomy – 030111

Today’s Bible Reading is from Deuteronomy 26 – 28.

In Deuteronomy we find, as you remember, that Israel is nearing the day they will enter the Promised Land.  The Lord is giving them final instructions for their entrance into this new land.  There are laws, commandments, ordinances, statutes, judgments, etc. which they are to follow.

There is many a time I have heard someone; even professing Christians; say something like this, “If it looks good, taste good, feels good, then it is a sin.”  Now, that is being cynical or sarcastic to say the least; if not downright disrespectful to God and His clear teachings on sin.  If God calls something sin it is sin.  Every time God forbids something it is due to His care and caring for us.

The following are the verses that we will look at today,

“This day the LORD thy God hath commanded thee to do these statutes and judgments: thou shalt therefore keep and do them with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.  Thou hast avouched the LORD this day to be thy God, and to walk in His ways, and to keep His statutes, and His commandments, and His judgments, and to hearken unto His voice: and the LORD hath avouched thee this day to be His peculiar people, as He hath promised thee, and that thou shouldest keep all His commandments; and to make thee high above all nations which He hath made, in praise, and in name, and in honour; and that thou mayest be an holy people unto the LORD thy God, as He hath spoken.”  Deuteronomy 26:16-19 (KJV)

The best  place for the people of God to be is in close communion with our LORD.  When He sets boundaries, gives us commandments, judgments, statutes, ordinances, laws it is for our well being and protection.  It is never to deprive us of life or its pleasures.  He has made us to experience pleasures, however, they must always be within the parameters He has given.

One of the things we can learn today from the laws and commands the LORD gave to Israel is that they failed to keep and obey them.  We are no more perfect than they.  We have sinned.  God is full of grace and mercy.  There are several times through out the Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy that the children of Israel say, “All that the LORD has spoken we will do”.  Well they failed to do it.

We must realize, as a Christian, we are empowered by the Spirit of God within us to overcome sin, and disobedience to God; however, we still live in a body of flesh and bone that is still encumbered by the dead corpse of sin.

The reason we are to obey God and keep His commandments is because of His love for us; and our love for Him.  We praise Him, we honor Him when we love Him and keep His commandments.  If we labor to keep the laws to gain His favor, however, we will fail miserably.

In the New Testament we hear this,

“But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come He might shew the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”  Ephesians 2:4-10

Only through the grace of God in Christ Jesus can we be saved, delivered from the condemnation of sin and death, and given eternal life.

Read Deuteronomy 26 – 28

-Tim A. Blankenship