Except In the Cross

“Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, you which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering yourself, lest you also be tempted.
Bear you one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.  For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.  But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.  For every man shall bear his own burden.  Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teaches in all good things.
Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap.  For he that sows to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that sows to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.  And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
You see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand.  As many as desire to make a fair show in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.  For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.  But God forbid that I should glory, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.  For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision avails any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.  And as many as walk according to this rule, peace on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.  From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.
Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.” Galatians 6:1-18

REFERENCES: 2 Timothy 4:22; 2 Corinthians 1:5; Romans 2:6; 6:6; 12:3; 15:27; Galatians 2:3; John 9:4; Matthew 24:13; Job 13:9

A Word Of Assurance…

There is many a time that preachers can become discouraged, down-hearted, and just plain ole depressed. All people have those moments, and the men God calls to proclaim His Word are definitely no different.
The prophets were given God’s message to proclaim to God’s people. Jeremiah the prophet of God is known as the “weeping prophet”; because his heart is so often broken, and his eyes come to tears because of the backsliding of the people. There are times he doubts, fears, and is troubled, and God always comes through with words to encourage him; though sometimes, those words may also be disturbing.
Take for example the following:
“Wherefore thus saith the LORD God of hosts, Because ye speak this word, behold, I will make my words in thy mouth fire, and this people wood, and it shall devour them.” Jeremiah 5:14 (KJV)
The man of God who proclaims the Word of God should do so with the burden of God’s Word on his heart; yet with joy knowing that God will complete His Word – it will be fulfilled. Many of the words of the prophets and the prophecies we have written in God’s Word comes across many times as being negative; however it is all proclaimed with a positive outcome in sight.
The prophet wept over the sins of his people, proclaimed the message of God’s Word with power and conviction; and at the expense of his life’s comforts and his life.
Look at God’s Word to Jeremiah; “Because ye speak this word…”. God is declaring Jeremiah faithful in preaching. “…Behold, I will make My words in thy mouth fire…”. Fire burns; it burns the fuel that is added to it; and where there is no fuel the fires dies out. Again, God commends Jeremiah for speaking “My words in your mouth…”. The ‘words’ being fire means that God will accomplish what the prophet has spoken. It is very discouraging to the preacher to know that he is preaching God’s Word, and feel that God is not moving in the messages. When the preacher/prophet sees God moving in the lives of people, and is hearing God promising him that He will accomplish His Word; that encourages and blesses the preacher.
One of the sad things about the message of the preacher is knowing that it will affect people differently. Some will leave with anger concerning the message, and in most cases God will still continue working to cut away, the burn away the dross, and deal with that sin or sins in that life. Others will hear the preacher preaching the Word of God, and believe, and begin practicing the Word which they have heard.
The words in the mouth of the prophet made fire… and God continues, “…and this people wood…”. Wood is fuel for the fire. This is a sad element of the prophet of God. That God through this preacher would devour this people in their sins. It brings no pleasure to God’s prophet; but pain. Yet, there is this fulfillment of knowing that God is accomplishing His purpose and glory through this painful message.
Be assured pastor and preacher of the Word of God; God will accomplish His word. Every word will be fulfilled; and God will be glorified. He is glorified in the message of the cross of Jesus Christ; His Word has been fulfilled in the death of Christ, His burial, and His bodily resurrection. Preach Jesus; His cross, burial, and bodily resurrection.
-Tim A. Blankenship

Questions of the Prophet

Habakkuk 1:1-4

“The burden which Habakkuk the prophet did see. O LORD, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save! Why dost thou shew me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance? for spoiling and violence are before me: and there are that raise up strife and contention. Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth: for the wicked doth compass about the righteous; therefore wrong judgment proceedeth.” Habakkuk 1:1-4 (KJV)

When we think of a burden we think of a load. When you are driving a automobile it has more get up and go when only you, and nothing else, is in it. If you load it down – a truck or car; it just does not have the same performance.

Now, is that the type of “burden” the prophet is writing of. Some translations call this an “oracle”, but it seems to me that there is something more here than mere words. If it is the mere speaking of words, it is an utterance of doom. So why have a problem with “Burden”. To answer the question – it is similar. It was not a physical load. It caused him to ask questions. It eventually caused him to “see God” as righteous in His dealings, and always just in His judgments.
Habakkuk has been accused of accusing God of three different things –

God is indifferent – like He does not even care;

God is inactive – He sees and does nothing about it;

God is inconsistent – He seems to judge wickedness in some cases, but not in the ones the prophet sees.

Are these things so? Is that what Habakkuk really means? These certainly are not true. When we look at these verses it is quite clear that the prophet is speaking to God/YHWH, has these burdens and questions, and really just wants to know what is going on. He does not understand. Like so many of us today, in 2007, we do not understand why it seems that the wicked prosper, and the righteous suffer. The prophet was not really going to like God’s answer either.

The prophet’s first question – “O LORD, how long shall I cry and Thou will not hear?” NOTE: The KJV has these as exclamations. It seems more reasonable to see them as questions. Remember, punctuation was added by others. It is not the inspired text.
The Baker’s Encyclopedia of The Bible – “The main purpose of Habakkuk’s prophecy is to explain what a godly person’s attitude should be toward the presence of evil in the world. It also addresses God’s justice in punishing moral evil.” (pg. 907).

Baker’s Encyclopedia of The Bible also sees two complaints from the prophet –

In verses 1-11 of chapter one including the questions the prophet asks, and how God could use a wicked and vile people such as the Chaldeans to judge His people;

Chapter 1 verses 12 through chapter 2 verse 5 – wondering how God – since He is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity can use these Chaldeans and why He does not judge these godless people.

The prophet’s second question – “…Even cry out unto Thee of violence, and Thou will not save?” Of course, these seem to be related in dealing with the same complaint of the above mentioned reference.

A third question – “Why dost Thou show me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance?”

The prophet seems to see no justice or judgment on the sin of God’s people. It seems to the prophet that the wicked trample all over the righteous and nothing is done –

There is no law – it is powerless;
There is no righteous judgment;
The wicked overpower the righteous;
The wrong people suffer.

It just seems to me in reading and studying these words of the prophet that nothing has changed with God’s people. We still fall into sin. There are still some who are burdened about sin, and asking the same questions. Somehow, we in the United States of America think that judgment cannot come from an outside source. Remember 9-11-01?

God’s judgment is still not without precedence in any age; even our own.