New Bible Reading Adventure

I hope the title of this post sparked some interest.  Starting February 01 I will be starting a new Bible adventure in reading through God’s holy, inspired, infallible Word.  I, with God’s help and strength, will endeavor to read through all 1,189 chapters of the Old and New Testaments in ninety days.

If you would like to take up the challenge and join me let me know by leaving a comment, and telling me.  I will also endeavor during those days February 1 – April 30 to write a daily comment or comments concerning something of the chapters I have read.  My goal is to read 14 chapters per day for 90 days.  I am a slow reader, so I will plan on at least an hour to read it maybe more; and I do not want to alarm anyone, but I will be reading from the New Living Translation, rather than the King James Version.

Each year since surrendering to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Word of God I have set my goal of reading through the Word at least once per year.  There have been a couple of those years I failed to do that; but I was always at a loss for missing it.

Let’s stop ignorance of the Bible by starting with ourselves.  Will you join me?  Leave your comment and let me know.  You might be made a different person by April 30, 2012.

Let me leave this caveat’ with you.  All this will be according to the will of our Lord; because we are not promised February 1, 2012; little lone April 30, 2012.  I also know that if we  read 14 chapters a day it will be finished in about 85 days.  That does give us a little bit of room, if we get caught short on time or something on some days.

-Tim A. Blankenship

 

The Virtuous Woman

Does any man look for a “virtuous woman” in the world today?  I know some do, but by the world’s standard a woman of virtue is more shunned than shown honor.  What is virtue? First let me give you the text for today;

 “Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.”  Proverbs 31:10

By the meaning in the Hebrew word “khah’-yil” meaning,

“probably a force, whether of men, means or other resources; an army, wealth, virtue, valor, strength: – able, activity, (+) army, band of men (soldiers), company, (great) forces, goods, host, might, power, riches, strength, strong, substance, train, (+) valiant (-ly), valour, virtuous (-ly), war, worthy (-ily).”  Strong’s Concordance — eSword.

The word virtuous would mean a woman who is strong, resourceful, powerful, and Matthew Henry even says, “A virtuous woman is a woman of spirit”.

There are a lot of women I have noticed who have “spirit”, but they are of the wrong spirit.  The Biblical virtuous woman is a woman who loves God, and her strength is in Him, her resources are from Him, her power is of Him, she knows it and lives on the promises of God.  She is a woman who loves and cares for her family; her husband adores her, as do her children; and she is loved and respected by others.

A virtuous woman is more concerned with the health and safety and provisions of others; especially than for herself.  You can read about those qualities through the rest of Proverbs 31.

The same could be said of men of honor or men of valor.  The words honor and valor are the same as virtuous.

As children of God – Christians are to be virtuous people trusting in the grace and mercy of God; being gracious and merciful as God is full of grace and mercy.  Being light in darkness.  Just as the sunshine of day always overpowers darkness so too does the light of Christ overcome darkness of evil.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Powerful and Great

People love their heroes.  We call our soldiers heroes, and maybe they are well deserving of that title; however they are doing what they have been called and trained to do.  That is essentially risking and at times giving their lives.  I will admit that is heroic.  The same could be said of firefighters, policemen, and others.  We need them to be heroes.  They are, however, only men and women who love their country, their cities, and/or the people they serve, and will risk it all for us.

Heroes for many people have been fictional characters, and maybe Biblical characters.  As a kid growing up in Southwest Missouri I saw Roy Rogers as a hero, and maybe Wyatt Earp.  Later on Superman became my hero, until I realized he was not real, and even now, I still enjoy the story.  Our heroes can lose their zest for us; because they can fail, and fall from their perch. I think every father wants to be their son’s hero; even that hero can fall; the first time Dad cannot attend that sports event, due to something he cannot prevent.

We need more than a hero; we need the GOD who has created us and all things.  We need His grace, His mercy, His strength, and power.  We need Him.  Hear what the Psalmist said of Him,

“Great is our Lord, and of great power: His understanding is infinite.” Psalm 147:5 (KJV)

He is great, distinguished, awesome, glorious, and the pinnacle of greatness; meaning their is no one or nothing greater.  He is the master and Lord over everything He has made.  He made the universe and everything in it.  Our world, the earth, and everything upon it, within it and all around it.  One day every thing will be just as He desires it to be.

There are many things you and I do not understand about God, creation and even us as part of His creation.   To know Him, however, is to know that we have an eternal future with Him.

The understanding of God is never ending, as the Psalmist has written, “His understanding is infinite”.  It is without limits.

You can know the Creator by believing, trusting in His Son Jesus who is the one who holds it all together (Colossians 1:16-17), and by Him we have a way to God.  It is because of the cross of Christ Jesus that our sin debt has been paid, by His burial the guilt and condemnation of our sin has been put away, and by His resurrection we have been justified – made righteous by God’s own decree.

Believe on Him, and be justified today.

“Great is our Lord, and of great power: His understanding is infinite.”

-Tim A. Blankenship

When the Righteous Rule

The wisdom of Solomon in the Proverbs has formerly said,

“Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.”  Proverbs 14:14

and that is so evidently true in many cases of nations and people.  It is true of Israel, England, and the United States of America; and any other nation which has had righteous rule.  The writer of Proverbs also states;

“When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.”  Proverbs 29:2 (KJV)

Many professing Christians believe that this nation is about to come under the judgment of God because of unrighteous rule, and unrighteous laws, and unrighteous deeds.  However, that is just not the case; we have unrighteous rule, unrighteous laws, and unrighteous deeds, because the judgment of God is already on us.  It is not coming it is here.

We have been a nation [USA] which has lived comfortably, leisurely, and selfishly.  And, without much thought of how God’s hand was on us without pride, and greed having a upper hand in it.

The people of a nation led by righteous authority do rejoice; their is more freedoms with self control, generosity, caring, sharing, and loving.  Righteousness equals right judgments in situations of law, court judgments in cases of crime, and injustice.  Righteousness is doing that which is right according to what God says; not what man says is right.  Righteousness knows right from wrong; and yes there is right and wrong.

When the wicked rule there is unrighteousness, fear, injustice, greed, religious zeal without fear of God or consequences of unrighteous acts.

When there is wicked men who rule a nation; that does not mean that Christian men and women cannot be righteous in their conduct.  It is the time for men and women of God to shine the righteousness of Christ to a world in darkness; to our nation in darkness.  No politician can save this nation from ruin.  According to the unrighteous prophets of our day, things will  get better, economically; but morally, and legally things will worsen, and get darker.  It is time for the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ to shine.

Shine down YOUR righteousness O LORD.  Shine Jesus Shine.  One day we know YOU will come and rule;  then, that will truly be WHEN THE RIGHTEOUS RULE.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Note:  In my commentary above I have written, “According to the unrighteous prophets of our day, things will  get better, economically; but morally, and legally things will worsen…”  I was not meaning to say that the unrighteous prophets believed things would worsen morally, and legally; but that is my thoughts.

Praying and a Safe Church

The following is a quote from E. M. Bounds; from a chapter titled “Praying Men and Personal Purity”;

“Praying men keep the church safe from the materialism that is affecting all its plans and policies, and that is hardening its lifeblood.  By this I mean that the secret and poisonous insinuation circulates, that he church is not so dependent on purely spiritual forces as it used to be–that changed times and changed conditions have brought it out of its spiritual straits and dependencies and put it where other forces can bear it to its climax.”

Men, Pastors, Evangelists, Preachers we ought always to pray, and not faint (Luke 18:1).

-T.A.

Above His Name

The name of GOD is a name above every name.  The name Jesus is the name above every other name (Philippians 2:9-10).  Jesus is the Living Word of God; the Word become flesh (John 1:14) and dwelling among us.

Sometime ago I read a comment someone made on Facebook, about something they had said in writing.  They were sorry for the abusive, expletive use of a word or words they had used.  It is as though they wrote without thought.  I can somewhat understand a sudden outrage in speech, but not in writing.  Writing something down takes some thought; although I have read some things that did not take much thought; probably some of my own writing  would fit into that category 🙂 .

Anyhow, I only mention that to say, God has spoken His Word, and it is sure and steadfast, it is eternal, and He has said that it would not return unto Him void (Isaiah 55:11), so it will not.  He has also given us His written word, and by this Word we know Him, His name, His Son and His name, and the person of His Spirit.

The Psalmist has written,

“I will worship toward Thy holy temple, and praise Thy name for Thy lovingkindness and for Thy truth: for Thou hast magnified Thy word above all Thy name.”  Psalm 138:2 (KJV)

I have probably written too much already.  Let me let the writer of the Treasury of David clarify it for you;

I will worship toward thy holy temple,” or the place of God’s dwelling, where the ark abode. He would worship God in God’s own way. The Lord had ordained a centre of unity, a place of sacrifice, a house of his indwelling; and David accepted the way of worship enjoined by revelation. Even so, the true-hearted believer of these days must not fall into the will-worship of superstition, or the wild worship of scepticism, but reverently worship as the Lord himself prescribes. The idol gods had their temples; but David averts his glance from them, and looks earnestly to the spot chosen of the Lord for his own sanctuary. We are not only to adore the true God, but to do so in his own appointed way: the Jew looked to the temple, we are to look to Jesus, the living temple of the Godhead. “And praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth.” Praise would be the main part of David’s worship; the name or character of God the great object of his song; and the special point of his praise the grace and truth which shone so conspicuously in that name. The person of Jesus is the temple of the Godhead, and therein we behold the glory of the Father, “full of grace and truth.” It is upon these two points that the name of Jehovah is at this time assailed – his grace and his truth. He is said to be too stern, too terrible, and therefore “modern thought” displaces the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and sets up an effeminate deity of its own making. As for us, we firmly believe that God is love, and that in the summing up of all things it will be seen that hell itself is not inconsistent with the beneficence of Jehovah, but is, indeed, a necessary part of his moral government now that sin has intruded into the universe. True believers hear the thunders of his justice, and yet they do not doubt his lovingkindness. Especially do we delight in God’s great love to his own elect, such as he showed to Israel as a race, and more especially to David and his seed when he entered into covenant with him. Concerning this there is abundant room for praise. But not only do men attack the lovingkindness of God, but the truth of God is at this time assailed on all sides; some doubt the truth of the inspired record as to its histories, others challenge the doctrines, many sneer at the prophecies; in fact, the infallible word of the Lord is at this time treated as if it were the writing of imposters, and only worthy to be carped at. The swine are trampling on the pearls at this time, and nothing restrains them; nevertheless, the pearls are pearls still, and shall yet shine about our Monarch’s brow. We sing the lovingkindness and truth of the God of the Old Testament, – “the God of the whole earth shall he be called.” David before the false gods first sang, then worshipped, and then proclaimed the grace and truth of Jehovah; let us do the same before the idols of the New Theology.
For thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.” The word of promise made to David was in his eyes more glorious than all else that he had seen of the Most High. Revelation excels creation in the clearness, definiteness, and fulness of its teaching. The name of the Lord in nature is not so easily read as in the Scriptures, which are a revelation in human language, specially adapted to the human mind, treating of human need, and of a Saviour who appeared in human nature to redeem humanity. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but the divine word will not pass away, and in this respect especially it has a pre-eminence over every other form of manifestation. Moreover, the Lord lays all the rest of his name under tribute to his word: his wisdom, power, love, and all his other attributes combine to carry out his word. It is his word which creates, sustains, quickens, enlightens, and comforts. As a word of command it is supreme; and in the person of the incarnate Word it is set above all the works of God’s hands. The sentence in the text is wonderfully full of meaning. We have collected a vast mass of literature upon it, but space will not allow us to put it all into our notes. Let us adore the Lord who has spoken to us by his word, and by his Son; and in the presence of unbelievers let us both praise his holy name and extol his holy word.

Believe the LORD.  Trust His Word and be saved.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Men and Wilberforce

The following is a quote from E. M. Bounds on Prayer;

“Men of Wilberforce’s character are needed today –praying men, who know how to give themselves to the greatest task demanding their time and their attention, men who can give their whole heart to the holy task of intercession, men who can pray through.”

Lord, may I be one of those men.

-T.A.

Friends and Enemies

It seems that we are all a bit fickle.  We love our friends; as long as they are kind and never say a harsh or critical word to us.  Yet that is not friendship.  I will not spend a lot of time or words with this, but really, a true friend should be someone who will tell you your weaknesses, when you have done something wrong.  A friend is someone who will sharpen your ax blade, so to speak; or at least aid you in doing so yourself.

Is it a friend who is always telling you the good things you do?  How bright you are?  How handsome or beautiful you are?   A friend will appreciate the good and great things about you, and tell  you so; however the friend will also pick you apart, and cut away, and may hurt you to help you.  There; I said it. Now let us see what the wise man of Proverbs says.

“Open rebuke is better than secret love.  Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.”  Proverbs 27:5-6

There will be those who call themselves friend, but never really help you shine.  They are really your enemy; never wanting you to improve; wanting you to remain in their league.  Their kisses are venom, poisonous and deadly.

Let’s hear what Matthew Henry has written of these two verses;

Note, 1. It is good for us to be reproved, and told of our faults, by our friends. If true love in the heart has but zeal and courage enough to show itself in dealing plainly with our friends, and reproving them for what they say and do amiss, this is really better, not only than secret hatred (as Lev. 19:17), but than secret love, that love to our neighbours which does not show itself in this good fruit, which compliments them in their sins, to the prejudice of their souls. Faithful are the reproofs of a friend, though for the present they are painful as wounds. It is a sign that our friends are faithful indeed if, in love to our souls, they will not suffer sin upon us, nor let us alone in it. The physician’s care is to cure the patient’s disease, not to please his palate. 2. It is dangerous to be caressed and flattered by an enemy, whose kisses are deceitful We can take no pleasure in them because we can put no confidence in them (Joab’s kiss and Judas’s were deceitful), and therefore we have need to stand upon our guard, that we be not deluded by them; they are to be deprecated. Some read it: The Lord deliver us from an enemy’s kisses, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue.
From the Matthew Henry Commentary – Libronix Library

Remember too, that a friend loves at all times (Proverbs 17:17).  Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God is your dearest friend.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Marks of Iniquity

Our sins can many times be very grievous to our minds and hearts.  Our iniquities are many; at least mine are.  It gives me great peace, strength and courage to read in the Psalms such verses at this,

“If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?  But there is forgiveness with Thee, that Thou mayest be feared.” Psalm 130:3-4 (KJV)

We are a wretched lot.  We carry our sin around as a weight, even after we have sought forgiveness, received forgiveness, and we never forget it.  It is baggage that burdens us down.  Who do we think we are?  When we have asked God’s forgiveness; and that is the One whom sin really and truly offends.  He is the only one who can forgive.

If God “marked” or counted our sins and iniquities; there is not a one who could stand before Him.  We would all be doomed, condemned, and done for.  When we sin, and we ask for His forgiveness in repentance; the sin, the iniquity is gone for ever.  There is only forgiveness because of the gift of Jesus Christ and His death on the cross, His burial and resurrection.  Jesus paid the price for our sin debt.

The following are the comments of Charles H. Spurgeon on verse 3,

“If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?” If Jah, the all-seeing, should in strict justice call every man to account for every want of conformity to righteousness, where would any one of us be? Truly, he does record all our transgressions; but as yet he does not act upon the record, but lays it aside till another day. If men were to be judged upon no system but that of works, who among us could answer for himself at the Lord’s bar, and hope to stand clear and accepted? This verse shows that the Psalmist was under a sense of sin, and felt it imperative upon him not only to cry as a suppliant but to confess as a sinner. Here he owns that he cannot stand before the great King in his own righteousness, and he is so struck with a sense of the holiness of God, and the rectitude of the law, that he is convinced that no man of mortal race can answer for himself before a Judge so perfect, concerning a law so divine. Well does he cry, “O Lord, who shall stand?” None can do so: there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Iniquities are matters which are not according to equity, what a multitude we have of these! Jehovah, who sees all, and is also our Adonai, or Lord, will assuredly bring us into judgment concerning those thoughts, and words, and works which are not in exact conformity to his law. Were it not for the Lord Jesus, could we hope to stand? Dare we meet him in the dread day of account on the footing of law and equity? What a mercy it is that we need not do so, for Psa_130:4 sets forth another way of acceptance to which we flee.

Once Jesus has forgiven our sin, the only marks of iniquity are in our own head.  The only one who desires to remember, and wants to condemn us is the accuser- the enemy of Christ and Christians.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Jerusalem and Prayer

The City of Jerusalem of the land of Israel is a hot topic.  It causes many people to get furious over it, because it seems to be; in their minds; there religions city.  Israel claims it, Catholicism claims it in the name of Christianity, and Islam claims it in the name of Mohammed.  Thus there is much struggle over the city.

Scripture calls it the “City of David”  (2 Samuel 5:7; 6:10;  1 Kings 2:10; and several other references in 1 Kings), and “City of God” (Psalm 46:4; 48:1, 8;  87:3).  David was the King of Israel, who had the heart of God.

David wrote,

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.”  Psalm 122:6 (KJV)

There are many events; some of them very catastrophic which happen in and around Jerusalem today.  Many arguing and fighting for a Palestinian State.  I do not see a Palestinian State mentioned in Scripture; the main purpose of the “Palestinian people”, by many of their own people is to destroy Israel.  So Jerusalem does need our prayer.

When the Psalmist writes this he is not asking us to pray for the peace of the “Church”, or Islam, but the peace of the City of David and of God.  It seems there has always been a struggle between the holy and the unholy, good and evil over this city.

Someone has said something like this, “As goes Jerusalem; so goes the world.”  When we pray for the peace of Jerusalem and her people Israel we pray for the peace of the world too.

Jerusalem is the place where our Lord Jesus walked and where He died on the cross and was burried and from which He rose again to life.  It is also the place to which one day, and I believe soon, will return and make things right in this world (Zechariah 14).  There will be peace in Jerusalem through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Ignorant Preachers

It is a shame that professing Christians are ignorant of God’s Word.  Sometimes it amazes me how ignorant some preachers are concerning the Word of God.  I do not mean to belittle or be derogatory with them, or toward them, but come on men; what do we preach?  Our ignorance of Scripture is a personal detriment; as well as great harm to those we lead.  There is no shame in ignorance, just in choosing to remain ignorant.  That is stupidity.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Ordered Steps

It is usually not an excepted thing to have  your “steps” ordered by someone else.  However, it is the preferred thing for those who are made the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:21).  If a man or woman joins the military their steps are ordered, or they suffer consequences for their dereliction of duty or insubordination.  If we are followers of God through His Son Jesus Christ we too are soldiers of the cross of Jesus.

The Psalmist writes much in Psalm 119.  It is in fact the longest Psalm of the 150 which are given us in the Psalms.  It is 176 verses, and practically every verse has something to do with the Word of God.  I think there are three of those 176 which have no reference to God’s Word.  Now those references uses words such as “Commandments”, “Law”, “Statutes”, “Judgments”, “Word”, “Precepts” and “Testimonies”, being sure to cover every work of the Word of the LORD.  If you will look closely at the Psalm it is a prayer.

I want us to look at one verse which is the request of the Psalmist,

“Order my steps in Thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.”  Psalm 119:133 (KJV)

It is a shame that professing Christians are ignorant of God’s Word.  Sometimes it amazes me how ignorant some preachers are concerning the Word of God.  I do not mean to belittle or be derogatory with them, or toward them, but come on men; what do we preach?  Our ignorance of Scripture is a personal detriment; as well as great harm to those we lead.  There is no shame in ignorance, just in choosing to remain ignorant.  That is stupidity.

The Psalmist; probably David; asks God to direct his steps.  Our steps; ordered by the LORD will lead us into holiness, righteousness and joy and peace.  The Psalmist also asks the LORD “…and let not any iniquity have dominion over me”.  Those who are in Christ Jesus are possessed by the Spirit of Christ – the Holy Spirit – and are directed by that Spirit every moment of every day.  We may not always listen and heed, but let us pray that our “Accounts will be short” with the LORD.  As with the whole of Psalm 119, let it be also with this verse; our prayer.

The following  is the commentary of Charles H. Spurgeon on this verse,

“Order my steps in thy word.” This is one of the Lord’s customary mercies to his chosen, – ‘“He keepeth the feet of his saints.” By his grace he enables us to put our feet step by step in the very place which his word ordains. This prayer seeks a very choice favour, namely, that every distinct act, every step, might be arranged and governed by the will of God. This does not stop short of perfect holiness, neither will the believer’s desires be satisfied with anything beneath that blessed consummation. “And let not any iniquity have dominion over me.” This is the negative side of the blessing. We ask to do all that is right, and to fall under the power of nothing that is wrong. God is our sovereign, and we would have every thought in subjection to his sway. Believers have no choice, darling sins to which they would be willing to bow. They pant for perfect liberty from the power of evil, and being conscious that they cannot obtain it of themselves, they cry unto God for it.

From The Treasury of David – e-Sword

Holiness, righteousness, peace and joy is only found by those who are in the faith of Jesus the Christ, Son of the Living God.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Delight In His Commandments

The people of God are a praising people.  I do not say that we should be a praising people, but that we are a praising people.  We are praising the LORD.  He is worthy of praise.  Why?  Because He is God.  He alone created all that is.  Everything in the Universe was made by Him.  There is not one thing which  did not come about, but that He spoke and it was.  He is the I AM – The all sufficient, Self-Existing, Self Sufficient One.  Without Him the Universe would fly apart, back into nothingness.

Hear the Psalmist in Psalm 112,

“Praise ye the LORD. Blessed is the man that feareth the LORD, that delighteth greatly in His commandments.”  Psalm 112:1 (KJV)

How can the redeemed of the LORD do anything else but praise the LORD who alone is worthy?   It would be a down, discouraged, darkened soul of a Christian who would not be praising the LORD, but rather going around complaining about their “lot” in life.  When you are praising God you cannot complain about anything.

The believer in Christ fears only the LORD, and is truly “Blessed”, happy, fulfilled, and a blessing to others.  The believer is also one who delights in the commandments of the LORD.  John the apostle says,

“For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous.” 1 John 5:3

O, for the child of God who is walking with the LORD, praising Him, delighting in Him and His commandments; it is pure joy.

The following paragraph are the words of Charles H. Spurgeon from the Treasury of David on Psalm 112:1;

“Praise ye the Lord.” This exhortation is never given too often; the Lord always deserves praise, we ought always to render it, we are frequently forgetful of it, and it is always well to be stirred up to it. The exhortation is addressed to all thoughtful persons who observe the way and manner of life of men that fear the Lord. If there be any virtue, if there be any praise, the Lord should have all the glory of it, for we are his workmanship. “Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord.” According to Psa_111:10, “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”; this man, therefore, has begun to be wise, and wisdom has brought him present happiness, and secured him eternal felicity. Jehovah is so great that he is to be feared and had in reverence of all them that are round about him, and he is at the same time so infinitely good that the fear is sweetened into filial love, and becomes a delightful emotion, by no means engendering bondage. There is a slavish fear which is accursed; but that godly fear which leads to delight in the service of God is infinitely blessed. Jehovah is to be praised both for inspiring men with godly fear and for the blessedness which they enjoy in consequence thereof. We ought to bless God for blessing any man, and especially for setting the seal of his approbation upon the godly. His favour towards the God-fearing displays his character and encourages gracious feelings in others, therefore let him be praised. “That delighteth greatly in his commandments.” The man not only studies the divine precepts and endeavours to observe them, but rejoices to do so: holiness is his happiness, devotion is his delight, truth is his treasure. He rejoices in the precepts of godliness, yea, and delights greatly in them. We have known hypocrites rejoice in the doctrines, but never in the commandments. Ungodly men may in some measure obey the commandments out of fear, but only a gracious man will observe them with delight. Cheerful obedience is the only acceptable obedience; he who obeys reluctantly is disobedient at heart, but he who takes pleasure in the command is truly loyal. If through divine grace we find ourselves described in these two sentences, let us give all the praise to God, for he hath wrought all our works in us, and the dispositions out of which they spring. Let self-righteous men praise themselves, but he who has been made righteous by grace renders all the praise to the Lord.

God is greatly blessed, honored and praised by the praises of His people.  Praise Him today and everyday by receiving His Son Jesus, believing and trusting Him for the day, and for your life; the rest of your life.

-Tim A. Blankenship

A Cautious Eye

In a day when there are people who think they are doing good by deceit and fraud; though they definitely would not see it as deceit and fraud; it is imperative that the people of God; those who are Christians be prudent in their lives.

The word means Cautious or discreet, cunning is even a good definition of prudent.

The wisdom of Solomon is found in Proverbs 22:3,

“A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.”  Proverbs 22:3 (KJV)

Of course this is mostly having to do with having an eye against that which is evil, and not just letting it creep up on you.  Be aware, be alert; and that is probably what Peter had in mind as he was inspired to write,

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.” 1 Peter 5:8

I will let a couple of the sages of the past give their comments on this verse:

See here, 1. The benefit of wisdom and consideration: A prudent man, by the help of his prudence, will foresee an evil, before it comes, and hide himself; he will be aware when he is entering into a temptation and will put on his armour and stand on his guard. When the clouds are gathering for a storm he takes the warning, and flies to the name of the Lord as his strong tower. Noah foresaw the deluge, Joseph the years of famine, and provided accordingly. 2. The mischief of rashness and inconsideration. The simple, who believe every word that flatters them, will believe none that warns them, and so they pass on and are punished. They venture upon sin, though they are told what will be in the end thereof; they throw themselves into trouble, notwithstanding the fair warning given them, and they repent their presumption when it is too late. See an instance of both these, Ex. 9:20, 21. Nothing is so fatal to precious souls as this, they will not take warning.

Matthew Henry Commentary.

and now John Gill,

A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself,…. A wise man, whose eyes are in his head, who looks about him and before him, and is cautious and careful of his conduct and behaviour; he foresees the evil of sin he is liable to be drawn into by such and such company, snares, and temptations; and therefore he keeps from them, and abstains from all appearance of evil, or what would lead him to it; and he foresees the evil of punishment, or the judgments of God that are coming on for sin; and he betakes himself to the Lord, to those hiding places and chambers of retreat and protection he has provided for his people, till the indignation be overpast; see Isa_26:20;

but the simple pass on, and are punished: foolish persons, devoid of the grace of God and the fear of him, go on careless and unconcerned in their sinful course of life, transgressing the law of God; they proceed from evil to evil, from lesser to greater sins; they go on in the broad road to destruction, and are punished with temporal judgments here, and with everlasting destruction hereafter.

John Gill’s e-Sword Commentary

Be watchful, but trusting the LORD through it all to protect and keep you.

-Tim A. Blankenship

 

The Turning Heart

What is going on in the world?  Or as one author has written, What in the World is Going On?

There are many people around the world living in fear of where world leaders are leading us; and maybe there should be some fear.  However, those who are in Christ can know that He is involved in the affairs of this world, and her leaders; and that ultimately His will is going to be done and evil will be judged and righteousness shall reign.

The writer of Proverbs has written,

“The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: He turneth it whithersoever He will.”  Proverbs 21:1 (KJV)

There are a lot of things about this that the human mind cannot comprehend, because we are finite beings – meaning our thinking is limited to what we see, hear, taste, touch and smell; and that is twisted due to our evil hearts.  To believe that there is God who is intervening in our business, directing our steps, even our thoughts is indeed “thought provoking”.

There is evidence in Scripture of God turning kings hearts, and even using their evil toward accomplishing His will.  I read this morning in my daily reading of the Pharoah in Egypt who hardened his heart against Moses and the Word of the LORD, and God was using that hard heart to direct His will in the land of Egypt (Exodus 5 – 7).  Also in my studies of Isaiah I have seen where over 100 years before he was even born the prophet Isaiah names; by the Omniscience of God; the name of the king of Persia who would give the people of Israel the freedom to return to Jerusalem, and rebuild the temple; and his name was Cyrus (Isaiah 44:28-45:4).

The heart of every President of the United States of America is in the hands of the Lord, and He will direct it in the direction He has planned for the U.S. of A. and for the world and the rest of the  leaders too; including the leader of Iran; however you spell his name.

As a young man on the family farm we had an irrigation system.  It was used in the hot, dry Summer to keep the grass growing and green so the cows would keep producing milk.  With the power of the propane powered engine we moved water from the Creek through the pump, through the lines and into the turbine powered irrigation machine which pulled itself across the pasture blasting out a stream of water about 1 and 1 half  to two inches, and covering an area about two hundred feet in diameter.  We were directing the flow of the water to accomplish what we wanted to do.

We see this done every day in our homes.  We have water lines which comes from an underground supply of water, is pumped into a tank and then directed to your home.  You control it with a faucet inside your home or business.

Is it not amazing that God even directs the heart of kings in such a fashion to accomplish His purposes and His will for His own glory?  Find rest and peace in Christ today; knowing that He will be exalted, evil will one day be dealt with, and that God’s will is being done; even when we cannot see it, touch it, taste it, smell it, or hear it.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Worship the LORD

With the weekend coming up, and Sunday only two days away worship should be a fitting topic for today.  Excitement, dancing, clapping of hands, jumping up and down, shouting words of worship are not necessarily worship.  Especially, in a Christian setting where Jesus Christ is to be worshipped. (By the way, I know I am spelling “worshipped” wrong compared to the new spelling.  I prefer the old way.  With two p’s).

I want us to look at Psalm 96 today.  It has much to say about worship.  Particularly verse 9,

“O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before Him, all the earth.”  Psalm 96:9 (KJV)

“Worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness” may have to do with garments the people of God wore as they attended the tabernacle, or the temple; however there is a much better understanding of that, which would be one’s life lived with love and adoration of the One we worship.

There is a reference in this Psalm to “gods of the nations” (vv. 4-5), and I believe that is for a reason.  In the worship of the “gods of the nations” it involved much debauchery, and lewd practices with suggestive dancing and moving bodies.  The worship of our LORD is “in the beauty of holiness”; with no sexually suggestive moves, or profane acts.

Now, please do not take me wrong.  I think a little hand clapping to the timing of the music is okay; as long as it is done with the heart of praise to the Creator who alone is worthy of our praise, honor, glory and worship.

Remember what Jesus told the woman at the well,

“Woman, believe Me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.  Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.  But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him.  God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.”  John 4:21-24 (KJV)

God is holy, and His people must worship Him in the BEAUTY OF HOLINESS; not after the fashion of those attending a Rock concert.  There is a “garment of praise” (Isaiah 61:3), and that garment must be holiness.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Vengeance and God

As I read the Psalms this morning; particularly Psalms 91 – 95; the 94th Psalm and verse 1 was of special interest.  Now let me say off the start that there is no one I can think of that I want harm or God’s vengeance or mine to come on.  I do not believe the Psalmist had any one individual in mind either.  However, there is evil in the world, and most of the time evil comes through people.

One of the greatest evils of our time in the United States of America is abortion; the murder of the unborn human child.  However, we do not want to continue evil by doing evil in taking the lives of those who are in the eyes of the Supreme Court of our country, and “law of the land”.  Vengeance is in our Lord’s hands.  It is not mine or ours.

“O LORD God, to whom vengeance belongeth; O God, to whom vengeance belongeth, shew Thyself.” Psalm 94:1 (KJV)

The act of retribution upon evil is God’s.  We as citizens of our nation have the power and authority to try and overthrow the ruling of the SC, and write new laws, but not to take life.

Reading the above verse makes me think of a couple of others,

“Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine; I will repay,’ saith the Lord.”  Romans 12:19, (Deuteronomy 32:35).

The other one being to finish up the sentence of the Psalmist, “Shew Thyself”,

“For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him.” 2 Chronicles 16:9a (KJV)

Vengeance is the Lord’s.  It is sweeter when we leave it in God’s hands; and the justice done is so much more redeeming when we leave it with Him.

For any evil, there is forgiveness when one comes to the cross of Jesus Christ.

-Tim A. Blankenship

O LORD, Hear Me

It is in the heart of every born again individual; that is every one who has been born of God through His Son Jesus Christ; to pray and longs for acknowledgment in that prayer.  We have assurance from God’s Word that when we pray He hears us.

In Psalm 86 we have the Psalmist singing a prayer; and I want us to look at verse 1 which reads,

“Bow down Thine ear, O LORD, hear me: for I am poor and needy.” Psalm 86:1

This is one of my favorite Psalms.  I have often read it and prayed these words as I read them.  I know that God will hear the heart that prays His Word.  The child of God is assured of having the ear of God, when we are humble before Him as the great and awesome, Creator and GOD that He is.

No wonder the writer of Hebrews said,

 “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”  Hebrews 4:16

Since we can come boldly to the throne of grace; God’s throne; then surely that is a promise of His hearing our prayers.  To come boldly.  Come without fear of refusal, rejection, or denial of you and your requests.  Come boldly into His presence, because of the work of Jesus Christ on the cross, His burial and resurrection has sealed it forever.

Jesus said,

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”  Matthew 7:7-8

If Jesus tells us to ask, then we can be assured that God will “Bow down” His “ear” and hear us when we pray.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Favorable Land

I believe that God has put His hand on the United States of America, and has raised her up for the glory of Himself in and through the nations of the world.  He has blessed the U. S. of A.  However, we are not that “favorable land”.  Do not think me a traitor; the land the Psalmist speaks of is the land of Jacob.  It is the land that has upon it the “City of David” – Jerusalem.  It is the land where are Lord and Savior was foretold of and where He was born, raised, grew, died on the cross, was buried and rose again.  It is the land to which He will one day return and rule the world from.

The Psalmist wrote so long ago of this land,

“LORD, Thou hast been favourable unto Thy land: Thou hast brought back the captivity of Jacob.”  Psalm 85:1 (KJV)

Of this Psalm it is said that it is “A Psalm for the sons of Korah”, and is mentioned in other Psalms as well.

There is some disagreement over the time and author of this song.  Some believe it was David writing of the captivity by the Philistines; and yet others think it is another singer writing of the Babylonian captivity.  I myself tend to go along with those who hold with the Davidic writing.

However, no matter the time of the writing of this wonderful song; it is a song for all ages, and all saints of God.  When a child of God has strayed from the presence of the Lord in their lives we can know that He is faithful to restore us.

He is faithful to bring us back to our first estate, fill us with Himself, His presence, His power, His glory.

We are in “captivity” when we have allowed our sin to separate us from the presence and the power of God.  Our prayer ought always to be sinned and strayed,  “Forgive our sin.  Restore us to our place with You LORD.  Bring back the captivity of Your people.”

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

-Tim A. Blankenship

Listen Up

It is imperative that God’s people listen to Him and His Word.  We will look at Psalm 78:1 today, however I will let some of the preachers of decades, even centuries past give their exposition of this verse:

 “Give ear, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth.”  Psalm 78:1 (KJV)

The first is Matthew Henry,

These verses, which contain the preface to this history, show that the psalm answers the title; it is indeed Maschil—a psalm to give instruction; if we receive not the instruction it gives, it is our own fault. Here,
I. The psalmist demands attention to what he wrote (v. 1): Give ear, O my people! to my law. Some make these the psalmist’s words. David, as a king, or Asaph, in his name, as his secretary of state, or scribe to the sweet singer of Israel, here calls upon the people, as his people committed to his charge, to give ear to his law. He calls his instructions his law or edict; such was their commanding force in themselves. Every good truth, received in the light and love of it, will have the power of a law upon the conscience; yet that was not all: David was a king, and he would interpose his royal power for the edification of his people. If God, by his grace, make great men good men, they will be capable of doing more good than others, because their word will be a law to all about them, who must therefore give ear and hearken; for to what purpose is divine revelation brought our ears if we will not incline our ears to it, both humble ourselves and engage ourselves to hear it and heed it? Or the psalmist, being a prophet, speaks as God’s mouth, and so calls them his people, and demands subjection to what was said as to a law. Let him that has an ear thus hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches, Rev. 2:7.

The second C. H. Spurgen from the Treasury of David,

“Give ear, O my people, to my law.” The inspired bard calls on his countrymen to give heed to his patriotic teaching. We naturally expect God’s chosen nation to be first in hearkening to his voice. When God gives his truth a tongue, and sends forth his messengers trained to declare his word with power, it is the least we can do to give them our ears and the earnest obedience of our hearts. Shall God speak, and his children refuse to hear? His teaching has the force of law, let us yield both ear and heart to it. “Incline your ears to the words of my mouth.” Give earnest attention, bow your stiff necks, lean forward to catch every syllable. We are at this day, as readers of the sacred records, bound to study them deeply, exploring their meaning, and labouring to practise their teaching. As the officer of an army commences his drill by calling for “Attention,” even so every trained soldier of Christ is called upon to give ear to his words. Men lend their ears to music, how much more then should they listen to the harmonies of the gospel; they sit enthralled in the presence of an orator, how much rather should they yield to the eloquence of heaven.

There is much in Scripture for calling the people of Christ to hear His Word and the Law.  It is necessary in days of darkness for God’s people to be enlightened, because we are people of the light, not of the darkness (1 Thessalonians 5:5).

-Tim A. Blankenship

Greed is Not Good

In my way of thinking “Greed” is the unethical gain of power and wealth.  Gain by unethical means is always evil.  Unethical could be defined as taking from those who cannot afford the loss.  Using words of malice to destroy another’s reputation, character, or taking life to gain their possessions or power.

The desire to earn for the purpose of caring for your family is a god-given desire; and even to better one’s own situation in life.  The object is being content with what you are doing and your present situation.  Content with God’s direction for your life is probably what is meant by being content.

The writer of Proverbs; probably Solomon says,

“He that is greedy of gain troubleth his own house; but he that hateth gifts shall live.”  Proverbs 15:27 (KJV)

This coming from a man who had more wealth than, Warren Buffet and Bill Gates combined, for the time he lived in.

It is implied by the latter part of the verse that this “greedy gain” has been gotten by the receipt of “gifts” or “bribes”.  A bribe is given to get an individual or possibly a company, or someone in power to “look the other way” when an evil deed is taking place, is about to take place or will take place.  A decision by a judge, law enforcement officer, or business associate, etc.  Sometimes even a friendship can cause one to be “bought”; or even a family relationship.

It should be the heart of the Righteous to hate “Gifts”; the giving or receiving of “bribes”.  Bribery will destroy the giver and the receiver ultimately.  It may line the pockets of the bank account temporarily; but it will also work as a cancer in the heart, and destroy that life and loved one’s lives.

The following is commentary from Matthew Henry of Proverbs 15:27,

Note, 1. Those that are covetous entail trouble upon their families: He that is greedy of gain, and therefore makes himself a slave to the world, rises up early, sits up late, and eats the bread of carefulness, in pursuit of it—he that hurries, and puts himself and all about him upon the stretch, in business, frets and vexes at every loss and disappointment, and quarrels with every body that stands in the way of his profit—he troubles his own house, is a burden and vexation to his children and servants. He that, in his greediness of gain, takes bribes, and uses unlawful ways of getting money, leaves a curse with what he gets to those that come after him, which sooner or later will bring trouble into the house, Hab. 2:9, 10. 2. Those that are generous as well as righteous entail a blessing upon their families: He that hates gifts, that shakes his hands from holding the bribes that are thrust into his hand to pervert justice and abhors all sinful indirect ways of getting money—that hates to be paltry and mercenary, and is willing, if there be occasion, to do good gratis—he shall live; he shall have the comfort of life, shall live in prosperity and reputation; his name and family shall live and continue.

FROM Matthew Henry Commentery; e-SWord edition

Even if someone has fallen for the lie and given in to the temptation of this greed, there is forgiveness and cleansing through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ; His death, burial and resurrection.  Be clean and go and sin no more in this evil.

-Tim A. Blankenship

To Have Strong Confidence

“In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge.  The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.”  Proverbs 14:26-27 (KJV)

Fear is a topic of great importance and influence in the Bible.  Fear is a good thing when it comes to certain things; as long as one is not overwhelmed by it.  Fear can be a nudge to safety.

In the case of the Proverbs today “In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence”.  The following is John Gills commentary on verse 26,

In the fear of the LORD is strong conficence,…. Such who fear the Lord may be confident that he has a love to them, a delight in them; that his eye is upon them, and his heart towards them; and will communicate every needful good to them, and protect and defend them: or the Lord himself that is feared, who is the object of fear, called the fear of Isaac, Gen_31:42; he is a strong tower, a place of defence to those that fear him and trust in him, Pro_18:10;

and His children shall have a strong refuge; the children of God, as those that fear him are; the Lord is a place of refuge to them, from the avenger of blood, from the vindictive justice of God; from the storm and tempest of divine wrath, and from the curses of a righteous law; as well as from the rage and persecutions of men. FROM e-Sword

and verse 27,

The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life,…. Where the true fear of God is, there is a real principle of grace, which is “a well of living water, springing up unto everlasting life”, Joh_4:14; eternal life is connected with it; it makes meet for it, and issues in it: or the Lord, who is the object of fear, he is the fountain of life: as of natural, so of spiritual and eternal life; spiritual life springs from him, is supported and maintained by him, the consequence of which is life everlasting;

to depart from the snares of death; sins, transgressions, as Aben Ezra interprets it; these are the works of men’s hands, in which they are snared; these are the cords in which they are holden, and so die without instruction; the wages of them are death, even death eternal: likewise there are the snares of the world and of the devil, temptations to sin, with which being ensnared, lead to death; now the fear of the Lord is a means of delivering from and of avoiding those snares, and so of escaping death.

When you are living your life trusting the LORD, loving Him, depending on Him, walking with Him; then, there is nothing to fear.  Those without the love and faith of God have everything to fear; and nothing to have confidence in except their own ways.

Trust in the LORD begins with trusting His way of salvation, and that is through the death, burial and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ.  Believe, and be saved.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Preserve My Life from Fear

This was the Psalmist prayer in Psalm 64.  There are times we all have people speak against us with hateful, malicious, envious words; and these words do harm to our thoughts and can affect our physical strength and stamina.  However, if we go around in fear of what people may say, may be saying, then we will continue in those losses.

“Hear my voice, O God, in my prayer: preserve my life from fear of the enemy.  Hide me from the secret counsel of the wicked; from the insurrection of the workers of iniquity: who whet their tongue like a sword, and bend their bows to shoot their arrows, even bitter words: that they may shoot in secret at the perfect: suddenly do they shoot at him, and fear not.”  Psalm 64:1-4 (KJV)

As I was reading Psalms 61 – 65 this morning these verses stuck with me more than others.  I like many other preachers have preached about the tongue.  The Bible speaks much about the human tongue and the evil within an uncontrolled one (James 3:1-12).

The enemy is ultimately Satan.  He has vitriolic words; especially against anything good and godly and righteous and just.

The Psalm shows words as being like a sword, bows and arrows; referring to “bitter words”.  How many lives have been taken by the use of hateful, envious, bitter, malicious words?  Maybe not physical life by the words themselves; but ultimately leading to the death of a young person, or a spouse, or a parent, because of these words.

Let me write for you here what I wrote in my journal this morning concerning these verses –

It was 64:1-4 that invaded my attentions.  It concerns the mouth and words and the tongue as a sword and bow and arrows.  Words do harm us.  In fact we can murder with our words the character, reputation, confidences, and sometimes even faith of others by hurtful words.

Be careful today how you speak.  Do not be anyone’s enemy.  Be a friend.  We all need a friend.  Let me give you a “Thumperism”  – “If you cannot say something good about some one, then do not say anything at all.”  Good words.

Speak especially well of Jesus our Lord and Savior.  He alone is worthy of worship and praise.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Foolish Anger

I have said it here before that there are some who find fault with anger of any kind.  Anger, however, is a god given emotion.  I do believe that you can judge the character of a man or woman by what makes them angry.  Paul the apostle did say, “Be angry and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: neither give place to the devil” (Ephesians 4:26-27).  There is a place for anger.

The child of God should be angry by evil in the world, personal sin, and the destruction that sin, and its cohorts inflict on the world.  Anger because a business wants paid and will not bring you any propane until you pay your last bill is pointless anger, and is certainly not holy.  For a person to become angry for another whose power has been cut off in the cold and the power company will not leave the power on is possibly a good anger; as long as it  is controlled anger.  Controlled anger might mean going and paying up the bill for the one who owes it; if possible.  If not possible find a way to help.

I was reading Proverbs 12 this morning and the following verse caught my attention,

“A fool’s wrath is presently known: but a prudent man covereth shame.”  Proverbs 12:16 (KJV)

There are some who get angry about the smallest things, and will voice their anger in public, private, business, home, church, etc., and just let their foolishness be seen by all.  It is one of those occasions where you remember the saying, “It is better to be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”

It is kind of sad, but you can tell people who are angry.  Their countenance tells me they are angry.  Bitterness, anger not dealt with, envy, hatred, malice seem to all fit together.  Let me leave you with the commentary of Matthew Henry on Proverbs 12:16 :

Note, 1. Passion is folly: A fool is known by his anger (so some read it); not but that a wise man may be angry when there is just cause for it, but then he has his anger under check and direction, is lord of his anger, whereas a fool’s anger lords it over him. He that, when he is provoked, breaks out into indecent expressions, in words or behaviour, whose passion alters his countenance, makes him outrageous, and leads him to forget himself, Nabal certainly is his name and folly is with him. A fool’s indignation is known in the day; he proclaims it openly, whatever company he is in. Or it is known in the day he is provoked; he cannot defer showing his resentments. Those that are soon angry, that are quickly put into a flame by the least spark, have not that rule which they ought to have over their own spirits. 2. Meekness is wisdom: A prudent man covers shame. (1.) He covers the passion that is in his own breast; when his spirit is stirred, and his heart hot within him, he keeps his mouth as with a bridle, and suppresses his resentments, by smothering and stifling them. Anger is shame, and, though a wise man be not perfectly free from it, yet he is ashamed of it, rebukes it, and suffers not the evil spirit to speak. (2.) He covers the provocation that is given him, the indignity that is done him, winks at it, covers it as much as may be from himself, that he may not carry his resentments of it too far. It is a kindness to ourselves, and contributes to the repose of our own minds, to extenuate and excuse the injuries and affronts that we receive, instead of aggravating them and making the worst of them, as we are apt to do.

Remember the Proverbs advice and be prudent.  When you are angry; deal with it, and cover the shame.

-Tim A. Blankenship

A Time To Pray

Scripture tells us that Daniel prayed three times a day, even after the king had written an edict of death to anyone who was caught praying to anyone but the king (Daniel 6).  Paul the apostle tells Christians to “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).  The Psalmist sang,

“Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and He shall hear my voice.”  Psalm 55:17

For the soul who was under the dictates of the law, they had morning and evening sacrifices, and that was a good time to pray.  Daniel seems to have had a special one; so too the Psalmist.  They loved to speak with the LORD; and Daniel loved to do so even if it meant certain death.  Do we pray as we ought?  I ask that question knowing that is one of my weakest areas.  I love to hear God speak, and He does through His word; however, He loves for His children to speak with Him.

The following is Spurgeon’s comments of verse 17 –

“Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray.” Often, but none too often. Seasons of great need call for frequent seasons of devotion. The three periods chosen are most fitting; to begin, continue, and end the day with God is supreme wisdom. Where time has naturally set up a boundary, there let us set up an altar-stone. The Psalmist means that he will always pray; he will run a line of prayer right along the day and track the sun with his petitions. Day and night he saw his enemies busy (Psa 55:10), and therefore he would meet their activity by continuous prayer. “And cry aloud.” He would give a tongue to his complaint; he would be very earnest in his pleas with heaven. Some cry aloud who never say a word. It is the bell of the heart that rings loudest in heaven. Some read it, “I will muse and murmur;” deep heart-thoughts should be attended with inarticulate but vehement utterances of grief. Blessed be God, moaning is translatable in heaven. A father’s heart reads a child’s heart. “And he shall hear my voice.” He is confident that he will prevail; he makes no question that he would be heard, he speaks as if already he were answered. When our window is opened towards heaven, the windows of heaven are open to us. Have but a pleading heart and God will have a plenteous hand.  From the TREASURY OF DAVID

With the spiritual condition of the churches of the United States and Christianity Christians need to humble themselves before God and get back to our dependence upon God our Savior, Redeemer, Friend and Deliverer.  Let’s commit ourselves to more time with God.  God will hear our voices and cries when we are humble before Him, and repentant of our sins.

-Tim A. Blankenship

God Our Refuge

Today we are going to take a gander at Psalm 46:1.  Before I get to that however, I want to explain the title of the Psalm.

To the chief Musician for the sons of Korah, A Song upon Alamoth.

There are seven of the Psalms here together.  From Psalm 42 – Psalm 49; with the exception of 43, they all refer to the “sons of Korah”.  Korah is mentioned in a rebellion in Numbers 16 who with Dathan and Abiram rebelled against the leadership of Moses and God.  Because of this rebellion the men and the families of these men were engulfed by an opening of the earth, and slain.  According to Numbers 26:11 -“Not withstanding the children of Korah died not.”

Korah was of the tribe of Levi; thus he had duties as a caretaker of the tabernacle.  There is much to know and learn of Korah, and his sons.  They evidently were needing encouragement.  These Psalms were written for that purpose.

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1

A refuge is a place you go to hide, to be protected from a source of harm.  It is a place to go when you are afraid.  The Psalmist says that “God is our refuge”.

The  Psalmist goes on saying that He is also our strength.  When you do not have the power to continue call upon the LORD and He will give you strength.  When fear robs you of the will to continue; and if you experience fear it will rob you of strength;  go to the One who is our refuge and strength.

The  LORD is God; not faraway, but very near you.  He is our very present help in trouble.

In the Treasury of David Spurgeon has written –

“God is our refuge and strength.” Not our armies, or our fortresses. Israel’s boast is in Jehovah, the only living and true God. Others vaunt their impregnable castles, placed on inaccessible rocks and secured with gates of iron, but God is a far better refuge from distress than all these: and when the time comes to carry the war into the enemy’s territories, the Lord stands his people in better stead than all the valour of legions or the boasted strength of chariot and horse. Soldiers of the cross, remember this, and count yourselves safe, and make yourselves strong in God. Forget not the personal possessive word “our;” make sure each one of your portion in God, that you may say, “He is my refuge and strength.” Neither forget the fact that God is our refuge just now, in the immediate present, as truly as when David penned the word. God alone is our all in all. All other refuges are refuges of lies, all other strength is weakness, for power belongeth unto God: but as God is all-sufficient, our defence and might are equal to all emergencies. “A very present help in trouble,” or in distresses he has so been found, he has been tried and proved by his people. He never withdraws himself from his afflicted. He is their help, truly, effectually, constantly; he is present or near them, close at their side and ready for their succour, and this is emphasised by the word “very” in our version, he is more present than friend or relative can be, yea, more nearly present than even the trouble itself. To all this comfortable truth is added the consideration that his assistance comes at the needed time. He is not as the swallows that leave us in the winter; he is a friend in need and a friend indeed. When it is very dark with us, let brave spirits say, “Come, let us sing the Psa_46:1-11.”
“A fortress firm, and steadfast rock,
Is God in time of danger;
A shield and sword in every shock,
From foe well-known or’ stranger.”

Be strong in the LORD today and always.  He is very Present with those who have called upon His name.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Consider the Poor

In a wealthy society such as the United States we are guilty of not thinking much of the sick and poor.  When and if we consider them at all we do not think of them very long.  We tend to put them out of our minds.  As a child growing up living on a farm, and my Dad working at making a living on the farm and from the farm; I never  thought of us as being poor.  We probably never had what neighbors had; but we had more than others, so I never did think of it as being poor.

David was probably running for his life from Saul when he wrote this Psalm, and he was seeing himself as “Poor”, and knew there were folks who did not travel with him who did him good; treating him right, and donating to his welfare – his welfare as well as the people with him

Hear the words of David,

“Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble.”  Psalm 41:1

The word “Blessed” is a word meaning “Happiness”, but reaches further than just a happy thought or a laugh from a joke.  The word “Considereth” means to give attention to.  It is a good and great thing to give attention to those who are needy.  Whether it be materially poor, physically poor due to sickness or disease, God cares for the poor.  One’s who are so weak they cannot help themselves.

Jesus says in Matthew 5,

“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (v. 3)

The “Poor in spirit” are those who cannot help themselves to the kingdom of heaven.  We all need help there.  We need the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ to make the way, pay the price, and take us into the presence of the Father.

Consider the poor.

-Tim

Wisdom Cries

Not with tears, rather with words.  I fear there is not much godly wisdom in humanity in our time.  There is plenty of wisdom concerning economics, education, ecology, sex – moral and immoral, work ethic, but very little concerning God and His Word and way.

In chapters 8 and 9 of proverbs Wisdom is personified; that is speaks as though a person.  Only an individual with wisdom could write such words, and that was Solomon who is considered the wisest of men to ever have lived.  Of course the real person of Wisdom is the Son of God Jesus Christ.

“Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice?” Proverbs 8:1

Does the common person even know what wisdom is?  Do I know what wisdom is?  I believe I know a little about what it is.  I get my understanding of what wisdom is by reading God’s Word the Bible.  Proverbs 1:7 tells us –

‘The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

It seems to me that to have wisdom one must first have knowledge, and that knowledge begins with fearing GOD.  So if there  is no fear of God there is no knowledge; certainly not anything worth knowing anyway.  Have you noticed how much people know about trivial matters?  We have games called “Trivial Pursuit” and such whimsical things as that.  We have more knowledge about what the latest craze among celebrities is, than we do about what is good, right, holy and just.

After knowledge there is understanding what we know.  Then wisdom gives us the unction to do what we know.

I realized a few years back that I have learned more than I can remember; and I also realized – The more I know; the more I realize I don’t know.  I know that I am no scholar; also that I am a very dependent person upon God and even others at times.

What is wisdom?  It is putting to work the righteousness, justice, holiness of God in one’s own life.  That begins with knowing God’s Son – Wisdom in Person.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Way to Hell

Are we not always looking for the easy way to do things?  For many years we were in the “Industrial revolution” which brought us the steam engine, the gasoline engine, electricity, automobiles, power equipment for farming, gardening, and so forth.  Our ancestors worked hard, and they worked at fining an easier way of doing their work.

The word of wisdom from Solomon is found saying –

“Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.”  Proverbs 7:27

Whose ways?  The temptress, the harlot, the prostitute, the flatterer (Male or female).  It is easy to fall into this temptation, because it comes from a natural drive; given us by God.  Just because it is easy does not make it right.  That is why Wisdom is speaking and telling the naive young man and woman in some cases that this the the way to hell.

We live in a generation where we are being told by some school personnel, government leaders, some religious leaders, and neighbors, family members and friends, “Oh!  It is such a natural thing; and it feels so good what could possibly be wrong about it.”  You could add your own experience with the argument to what the “it” is.

The whole matter with the sin thing, and especially the sexual sin is that it tends to stick with you for your whole life.  You will never get over it or away from it.  You can only hope and pray that some where along the way you can find forgiveness and cleansing.

The way to Hell is already prepared.  You need do nothing.  That is your destination when you are living in sin and rebellion against God.

The way to God has been prepared as well.  It is not so easy.  The easy way is not always the best way or the right way.  There was a price paid to bring you to God and His glory, and that was the life of His Son Jesus Christ.  With Him there is forgiveness and cleansing.  Trust Jesus and miss the way to Hell.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Seven Things Which God Hates

Some want to think that God hates nothing.  However, if there is not hate, then what is love, and the apostle John says that “God is love”.  Since God is love there must of necessity be some things which He hates, and the Bible in Proverbs gives us seven of them; which seems to cover every gamut of evil in the world.

Hear the wisdom of the ages –

“These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto Him: a proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, an heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, a false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.”  Proverbs 6:16-19 (KJV)

I preached a seven part series of sermons in 2006 on this and you can find them by clicking on this sentence.

I do not believe I have ever seen a time in my life when there is such a pride and arrogance, especially among leaders.  Leaders in the business world, leaders in politics, leaders of Nations; and even leaders in churches who profess to know God and His Son Jesus.  With noses in the air they walk around defying God and His Word.

Lies, lies, and more lies are seen.   A person can tell a lie until it becomes the truth in their own mind.  The lying tongue has intent to deceive and defraud.  “Lie” – any statement or act designed to deceive another person, and or harm them, their reputation or possibly even bodily.

There are hands shedding innocent blood.  Mothers killing their own babies; before they are born and after they are born.  Sons killing fathers; fathers killing sons – sometimes neither are not so innocent blood.  Governments killing Christians for sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Husbands and wives killing the innocent spouse for insurance money or to get another spouse.

With the heart of imagination men have designs against God, His Word, His people, His land, and His future.  “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?” (Psalm 2:1).  I have news for the ones imagining to overthrow Israel, and set up a quote “Palestinian Nation”.  It will not succeed.  God’s covenant stands forever.  The United Nations will fail.  Iran, Egypt, Iraq, Turkey, Russia, Libya, the United States of America, etc. will all fail and fall; but our God and His Word will stand forever.

There are feet that are swift for destruction.  Evil feet are feet that move with haste without much thought as to its outcome and destruction of life to oneself or others.  Mostly for acquiring material gain.  Swift at running to mischief.  Looking for the next party; the next drunken brawl; the next adulterous affair.  Swift to move toward evil.

A false witness speaks lies in order, usually, to gain for ones self.  There is usually a malicious – intent to do harm – cause behind a false witness.  Jezebel lied about Naboth in order to gain his vineyard for king Ahab, and caused Naboth’s death (1 Kings 21).  Does that happen in courts and politics today?  Does that happen in families today?  Has that happened to you?  Have you been the one who committed the abomination?

Sowing seeds of discord is an act of  “terrorism” among families.  It does not do any good for churches neither.  If it is no good for these then, why would it be good for Local governments, State governments, or federal governments?  It is not.

If you will notice all of these are called an “Abomination unto Him”.

There is only forgiveness and eternal life through the One who died on the cross for our sins; was buried taking away our sin, guilt and condemnation; and rose bodily from the grave, and is one day soon returning to set things right in this world and the hearts of men.  His name is Jesus the Christ, Son of the Living God.

-Tim A. Blankenship

To Dwell at Ease

We people who are citizens of the world enjoy our comfort and ease; especially those of us who are citizens of the USA.  We hardly know anything but our own comfort and ease.  Even the poorest among us is far more wealthy than some of the people in what is known as “third world countries”.  Where did that term ever come from anyway? “Third world country”.

God has given a promise to a certain lot of people for an ease to life through the words of the Psalmist –

“What man is he that feareth the LORD? Him shall He teach in the way that he shall choose.  His soul shall dwell at ease; and his seed shall inherit the earth.”  Psalm 25:12-13

Fear is a part of human life.  What we fear, and sometimes who we fear will affect how we live.  There are people who fear the unseen, the unknown, the future.  Fear of these things are fruitless and can help no one except cause you pain and grief.

There is a fear that is worth while for all the human race, and that is to fear God, the LORD.  It has been said by godly men down through the ages; I do not think it can be credited to any one individual; that “If a man fears God he will not, nor needs not to fear anything else”.

The Psalm above shows us a bit of that thought.  The one who fears the LORD the LORD will teach him in the way he chooses.  When we fear God we will choose the right way, the right things, the godly things and God will bless them.

To dwell at ease does not mean there will be no problems; but that even in the midst of our problems we will be at ease knowing it is in the hands of our Lord.  The choices the righteous make, or the ones God makes in their lives will be a blessing even to their heirs.

From the Matthew Henry Commentary we read –

Him that feareth the Lord he will teach in the way that he shall choose, either in the way that God shall choose or that the good man shall choose. It comes all to one, for he that fears the Lord chooses the things that please him. If we choose the right way, he that directed our choice will direct our steps, and will lead us in it. If we choose wisely, God will give us grace to walk wisely.
2. That God will make them easy (v. 13): His soul shall dwell at ease, shall lodge in goodness, marg. Those that devote themselves to the fear of God, and give themselves to be taught of God, will be easy, if it be not their own fault. The soul that is sanctified by the grace of God, and, much more, that is comforted by the peace of God, dwells at ease. Even when the body is sick and lies in pain, yet the soul may dwell at ease in God, may return to him, and repose in him as its rest. Many things occur to make us uneasy, but there is enough in the covenant of grace to counterbalance them all and to make us easy.
3. That he will give to them and theirs as much of this world as is good for them: His seed shall inherit the earth. Next to our care concerning our souls is our care concerning our seed, and God has a blessing in store for the generation of the upright. Those that fear God shall inherit the earth, shall have a competency in it and the comfort of it, and their children shall fare the better for their prayers when they are gone.

There are many things in this world to fear.  You can find them, even without looking; but if you will trust the LORD you can face those fears, by knowing that all is in His hands.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Greatest Satisfaction

We are going to look at a verse today for Psalm 17.  It is a Psalm and a particular verse that has been special to me for several years; upon the revelation of it to me.  When the world and flesh of the world finds pleasure in things, material things, and things of others – dependence upon others for satisfaction – the greatest satisfaction for the Christian is in knowing Jesus.

“As for me, I will behold Thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with Thy likeness.”  Psalm 17:15 (KJV)

There is no way possible for the unrighteous to see the face of the Righteous.  That is made possible only by His grace, and His gift.  The gift is the cross of Christ.  When we behold His face it will be because that the righteous Lamb of God took our place, died the death of separation from God the Father, becoming sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21); and by God’s own declaration we are declared “Righteous”.  When that has happened then we can say with the Psalmist, “I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with Thy likeness”.

The following is a note from the Treasury of David by Charles H. Spurgeon and a sermon he preached-

“I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.” The saints in heaven have not yet awaked in God’s likeness. The bodies of the righteous still sleep, but they are to be satisfied on the resurrection morn, when they awake. When a Roman conqueror had been at war, and won great victories, he would return to Rome with his soldiers, enter privately into his house, and enjoy himself till the next day, when he would go out of the city to re-enter it publicly in triumph. Now, the saints, as it were, enter privately into heaven without their bodies; but on the last day, when their bodies wake up, they will enter into their triumphal chariots. Methinks I see that grand procession, when Jesus Christ first of all, with many crowns on his head, with his bright, glorious, immortal body, shall lead the way. Behind him come the saints, each of them clapping their hands, or pouring sweet melody from their golden harps; all entering in triumph. And when they come to heaven’s gates, and the doors are opened wide to let the King of glory in, how will the angels crowd at the windows and on the housetops, like the inhabitants in the Roman triumphs, to watch the pompous procession, and scatter heaven’s roses and lilies upon them, crying, “Hallelujah! hallelujah! hallelujah! the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth.” “I shall be satisfied” in that glorious day when all the angels of God shall come to see the triumphs of Jesus, and when his people shall be victorious with him. – Spurgeon’s Sermons.

John the apostle wrote,

“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not.  Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.  And every man that hath this hope in Him purifieth himself, even as He is pure.”  1 John 3:1-3

The Greatest Satisfaction for the Christian is in knowing Jesus.

-Tim A. Blankenship

What Has Happened to Godliness

When I read Psalm 12:1 this morning my first thought was that it sounds as though David was living in 2012.  That may be a bit cynical, but I do not think too much so.  I do know some people I consider to be godly and they are Christians.  I do not consider any one who know not Christ to be godly.

The Psalmist cries out for help from the LORD.

“Help, LORD; for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men.”  Psalm 12:1 (KJV)

It is a grievous thing to look at our Nation (the USA) and see so much degradation; such flaunting of unrighteous, ungodly behaviors, drunkenness, gluttonness feasting, and much gluttony without any thankfulness to the One who provided it.

David saw that the “godly man ceaseth”, that “the faithful fail”, and he asks GOD for “Help”; and so must the follower of Christ Jesus today.

The following is a quote from Matthew Henry’s commentary on Psalm 12:1-

“When there is a general decay of piety and honesty among men the times are then truly bad (v. 1): When the godly man ceases and the faithful fail. Observe how these two characters are here put together, the godly and the faithful. As there is no true policy, so there is no true piety, without honesty. Godly men are faithful men, fast men, so they have sometimes been called; their word is as confirming as their oath, as binding as their bond; they make conscience of being true both to God and man. They are here said to cease and fail, either by death or by desertion, or by both. Those that were godly and faithful were taken away, and those that were left had sadly degenerated and were not what they had been; so that there were few or no good people that were Israelites indeed to be met with. Perhaps he meant that there were no godly faithful men among Saul’s courtiers; if he meant there were few or none in Israel, we hope he was under the same mistake that Elijah was, who thought he only was left alone, when God had 7000 who kept their integrity (Rom. 11:3); or he meant that there were few in comparison; there was a general decay of religion and virtue (and the times are bad, very bad, when it is so), not a man to be found that executes judgment, Jer. 5:1.”

What is godliness?  To live as God would live; or at least work at doing so.  Will that save you for all time and eternity? NO!  Only faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His finished work can save you eternally.  When you are saved for eternally you will desire to be godly.  We are called to live godly even when ungodliness seems to rule the world.

-Tim A. Blankenship

A Plea of David

“O LORD, rebuke me not in thine anger, neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure.”  Psalm 6:1

There must have been something in David’s life that would cause him to make such a plea.  Yet, there are times we as Christians even make such a plea.  The Psalmist first words are directed to the Self-Existing One YaHWeH or JehovaH who relates to men who are redeemed by Him.

No one longs for the rebuke of the LORD, nor His anger; and God does get angry and is angry with sin and evil; because it is against everything He is.  None of us long to experience the “hot displeasure” of GOD.

His displeasure is directed toward any sin that may be in our lives.  He will do whatever it takes to rid us of our sin.

Let me give you a portion of what Charles H. Spurgeon writes of this Psalm, particularly verse 1 –

 “O Lord, rebuke me not in thine anger.” The Psalmist is very conscious that he deserves to be rebuked, and he feels, moreover, that the rebuke in some form or other must come upon him, if not for condemnation, yet for conviction and sanctification. “Corn is cleaned with wind, and the soul with chastenings.” It were folly to pray against the golden hand which enriches us by its blows. He does not ask that the rebuke may be totally withheld, for he might thus lose a blessing in disguise; but, “Lord, rebuke me not in thine anger.” If thou remindest me of my sin, it is good; but, oh, remind me not of it as one incensed against me, lest thy servant’s heart should sink in despair. Thus saith Jeremiah, “O Lord, correct me, but with judgment; not in thine anger, lest thou bring me to nothing.” I know that I must be chastened, and though I shrink from thy rod yet do I feel that it will be for my benefit; but, oh, my God, “chasten me not in thy hot displeasure,” lest the rod become a sword, and lest in smiting, thou shouldest also kill. So may we pray that the chastisements of our gracious God, if they may not be entirely removed, may at least be sweetened by the consciousness that they are “not in anger, but in his dear covenant love.”

May we all who are in Christ Jesus find peace in knowing that God finds pleasure in blessing those who will call on His name.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Increased Trouble

“LORD, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me.” Psalm 3:1 (KJV)

I want to begin in this New Year of 2012 doing something a little more consistent with Fire and Hammer.  To begin with I will endeavor to have a post from the Psalms or Proverbs daily; with commentary by Spurgeon, some other legend and least some; maybe most; by myself.  The above verse is my first for 2012.  May God bless you richly during this coming year, may He keep you in His powerful hands, and give you peace.

Of the verse above the Psalmist sees much trouble coming from what is probably the people around him.  His trouble has increased.  We do not need to wonder what trouble is do we?  We are each and everyone of us surrounded by trouble of some sort.

The world is experiencing trouble.  Individuals within the world is having troubles galore.  There are troubles from created nature; earthquakes, fires, floods, famine, hurricanes, tornadoes, and troubles from peoples own evil and mistakes; murders, rapes, slavery, robberies, pollutions, bankrupt economies, etc. and there are troubles with families; divorce, unemployment, estranged mothers and fathers, sickness, disease, wayward children and parents.

Yes!  There are troubles in our world.  You have troubles.  I have troubles.  None are immune from it.

We do, however, have the LORD to whom we can go and He will listen to our troubles; and they will seem small compared to knowing Him and His greatness.

There is help and hope for those who trust in the LORD.

-Tim A. Blankenship