The Gate

“And He went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem. Then said one unto Him, ‘Lord, are there few that be saved?’ And He said unto them, ‘Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. When once the Master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and He shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are: then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in Thy presence, and Thou hast taught in our streets. But He shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from Me, all ye workers of iniquity. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. And they shall come from the east, and the west, and from the north, and the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God. And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last.’” Luke 13:22-30  (KJB)

The gate is narrow.  Jesus speaks of the narrow gate in another place as well (Matthew 7:13-14) which seems to imply with difficulty, due to blockages, hindrances, or obstacles in the way.

The needle’s eye passage of Scripture could apply here as well,

Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” Matthew 19:23-24

Though this passage is speaking directly of the rich who are encumbered with the dangers of wealth toward the spirit; it can also apply to the religious but lost crowd.  Letting, like the Pharisees, the knowledge of Scripture, theology, and pride keep them from knowing the Person of the great salvation that is available to all who will receive Him as a little child.

The end result of rejecting God’s plan of grace and salvation is not good.  Read again the words of Jesus.  Jesus is God’s plan of grace and salvation.

The Greatest

“Then there arose a reasoning among them, which of them should be greatest. And Jesus, perceiving the thought of their heart, took a child, and set him by Him, and said unto them, ‘Whosoever shall receive this child in My name receives Me: and whosoever shall receive Me receives Him that sent Me: for he that is least among you all, the same shall be great.’” Luke 9:46-48 (KJB)

Within the world in which we live there are many who seek to be seen, and known as “The Greatest”.  This notion even fell upon the disciples of Jesus; and in many cases; it still does.  Jesus was dealing with this in the above verses.

When I was a child there was a man in the sports world who liked to see himself as the greatest; he was the one who used the poetic phrase, “Float like a butterfly; sting like a bee”. He is no longer the greatest, neither was he ever the greatest.  He met death as well; and just as every human being will.

Who is the greatest? Jesus answers that question above.  Whoever receives a child in His name receives Him, and whoever receives Him receives Him (God the Father) who sent Him.  The least among us is the same who shall be great.

Let us think on that one for awhile, believe it, receive it, and do it.

Forgiving Most

“And Jesus answering said unto him, ‘Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee.’ And he saith, ‘Master, say on.’
‘There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?’
Simon answered and said, ‘I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most.’ And He said unto him, ‘Thou hast rightly judged.’”  Luke 7:40-43  (KJB)

To get a better look at the story I pray you have read Luke 7.

Simon, a Pharisee, a very religious Jewish leader in the Law, has invited Jesus into his home, and has shown him no hospitality as was the expected thing of the day – washing the feet of their guest, etc.

Comes in a woman off the street who breaks a very expensive alabaster box of fragrant anointing oil, and this cause a ruckus with Simon.

This woman knows who Jesus is.  Her very act puts her in the category of the “one forgiven most” that is concerning the parable Jesus speaks.  Simon has not demonstrated the respect to Jesus that would be given to any other guest, but this woman brings a perfume that would, by some accounts, be as costly as a years wages.

This woman demonstrates her faith, and shows she needs forgiveness.

Simon NO!  The woman Much forgiveness.

Let us demonstrate our need for forgiveness by loving Jesus with all our hearts, all our souls, all our minds, and all our strength.

He Preached With Authority

“And came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days. And they were astonished at His doctrine: for His word was with power.” Luke 4:31-32 (KJB)

Speaking of Jesus of course; He spoke amazing things.  His doctrine [teaching] was with power and authority which is probably a redundancy, but for strength and clarity it is repeated.

I pray that I will grow so in love with the Lord Jesus and His word and walk [live] in the fullness of His Spirit [the Holy Spirit] that I too will have that authority.  I do not desire it for myself, but for His name’s sake; and that others might come to know Him as their own personal Lord and Savior.  I pray this for every pastor, every man and woman of God, and every youth who has given their lives to Him.

Let us grow in the Spirit and power of Christ our Savior and Lord.  Amen.

Access to Heaven Gained

“And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?’ which is, being interpreted, ‘My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?’ And some of them that stood by, when they heard it, said, ‘Behold, he calleth Elias.’ And one ran and filled a spunge full of vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave Him to drink, saying, ‘Let alone; let us see whether Elias will come to take him down.’ And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost. And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom.
And when the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God.”  Mark 15:33-39 (KJB)

For three hours Jesus experienced the darkest time of His life as a Man.  He spent it separated from His Father. Up to this point when He spoke to the Father He always called Him “Father”; in this prayer, an exact quotation from Psalm 22, Jesus calls Him “My God”, asking why He has been forsaken.

Jesus had become sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21), and had just been judged for the sins of the world.

When Jesus cried and gave up His spirit to the Father we are told that “…the veil of the temple was torn from the top to the bottom”.  That tells us no man tore the veil which separated the Holy place in the temple from the Holy of Holies, the place where the ark of the covenant would be placed had it been present.  The tearing of the veil by God shows that through the death of Jesus all of Adam kind now has access to God and Heaven.

Access to God is only gained through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, God the Son.

The Treasure of Giving

“And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. And He called His disciples, and saith unto them, ‘Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: for all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, all her living.’” Mark 12:41-44  (KJB)

Jesus was watching people give into the container where the offering for the temple was received.  Many of the wealthier ones gave out of their abundance; this poor widow gave all that she had.

Who gave the most?  The poor widow did.

Several years ago a couple of billionaires of the U. S. of A. announced that they were going to give half of their wealth to aid the poor.  That was noble thing to do.  Both of their worth was around or over 50 billion dollars apiece. If they were giving half of that would they not still have 25 billion.  Such sacrifice.  Smile.

The widow gave all she had.  It is said, that our Lord said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” and so it is.  One of our greatest treasures is giving.  Giving from a willing heart.  Giving; not from what we do not have, but from what we have; with that willing heart.  That in itself is a treasure.

Our Lord Himself gave His best, His all to redeem us from our sins. He died on the cross.

The Case of the Hypocrite Fig Tree

“And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, He was hungry: and seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, He came, if haply He might find any thing thereon: and when He came to it, He found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet. And Jesus answered and said unto it, ‘No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever.’ And His disciples heard it.” Mark 11:12-14

“And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto Him, ‘Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away.’ And Jesus answering saith unto them, ‘Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive, and ye shall have. And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.’” Mark 11:20-2 (KJB)

Do you desire to accomplish great things for God?  Do you desire having power with God in prayer?  Do you desire to be able to move mountains, and cast them into the sea?  It could also be asked, “Do I desire to have power to deliver people from demon possession?”

Jesus was able to curse the fig tree, and the next day was a teaching moment for the disciples to learn; and for us too.  Why would Jesus curse the fig tree?  It was saying it had fruit when it did not.  It was a hypocrite fig tree. The leaves on the tree, even though it was not the season for figs; was declaring that it had figs.  It did not.  Thus Jesus cursed the tree, and it died.

Jesus’s words when they see the tree died away was “Have faith in God…”.  Jesus then proceeds to describe the power of faith in God for those who are forgiven, and forgiving.

Here is a thought for you.  The fruit of being forgiven is forgiving.  If you cannot forgive what someone has done to you; you have not experienced forgiveness.  Can we figure out the rest?

Blessings Under the Table

“And from thence He arose, and went into the borders of Tyre and Sidon, and entered into an house, and would have no man know it: but he could not be hid. For a certain woman, whose young daughter had an unclean spirit, heard of Him, and came and fell at His feet: the woman was a Greek, a Syrophenician by nation; and she besought Him that He would cast forth the devil out of her daughter.
But Jesus said unto her, ‘Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it unto the dogs.’ And she answered and said unto Him, ‘Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children’s crumbs.’ And He said unto her, ‘For this saying go thy way; the devil is gone out of thy daughter.’
And when she was come to her house, she found the devil gone out, and her daughter laid upon the bed.” Mark 7:24-30  (KJB)

For the commentary today I turn to Alexander MacLaren’s Expositions of Holy Scripture…

“CHILDREN AND LITTLE DOGS
Our Lord desired to withdraw from the excited crowds who were flocking after Him as a mere miracle-worker and from the hostile espionage of emissaries of the Pharisees, ‘which had come from Jerusalem.’ Therefore He sought seclusion in heathen territory. He, too, knew the need of quiet, and felt the longing to plunge into privacy, to escape for a time from the pressure of admirers and of foes, and to go where no man knew Him. How near to us that brings Him! And how the remembrance of it helps to explain His demeanour to the Syrophcenician woman, so unlike His usual tone! Naturally the presence of Jesus leaked out, and perhaps the very effort to avoid notice attracted it. Rumour would have carried His name across the border, and the tidings of His being among them would stir hope in some hearts that felt the need of His help. Of such was this woman, whom Mark describes first, generally, as a ‘Greek’ (that is, a Gentile), and then particularly as ‘a Syrophcenician by race’; that is, one of that branch of the Phoenician race who inhabited maritime Syria, in contradistinction from the other branch inhabiting North-eastern Africa, Carthage, and its neighbourhood. Her deep need made her bold and persistent, as we learn in detail from Matthew, who is in this narrative more graphic than Mark. He tells us that she attacked Jesus in the way, and followed Him, pouring out her loud petitions, to the annoyance of the disciples. They thought that they were carrying out His wish for privacy in suggesting that it would be best to ‘send her away’ with her prayer granted, and so stop her ‘crying after us,’ which might raise a crowd, and defeat the wish. We owe to Matthew the further facts of the woman’s recognition of Jesus as ‘the Son of David,’ and of the strange ignoring of her cries, and of His answer to the disciples’ suggestion, in which He limited His mission to Israel, and so explained to them His silence to her. Mark omits all these points, and focuses all the light on the two things-Christ’s strange and apparently harsh refusal, and the woman’s answer, which won her cause.
Certainly our Lord’s words are startlingly unlike Him, and as startlingly like the Jewish pride of race and contempt for Gentiles. But that the woman did not take them so is clear; and that was not due only to her faith, but to something in Him which gave her faith a foothold. We are surely not to suppose that she drew from His words an inference which He did not perceive in them, and that He was, as some commentators put it, ‘caught in His own words.’ Mark alone gives us the first clause of Christ’s answer to the woman’s petition: ‘Let the children first be filled.’ And that ‘first’ distinctly says that their prerogative is priority, not monopoly. If there is a ‘first,’ there will follow a second. The very image of the great house in which the children sit at the table, and the ‘little dogs’ are in the room, implies that children and dogs are part of one household; and Jesus meant by it just what the woman found in it,-the assurance that the meal-time for the dogs would come when the children had done. That is but a picturesque way of stating the method of divine revelation through the medium of the chosen people, and the objections to Christ’s words come at last to be objections to the ‘committing’ of the ‘oracles of God’ to the Jewish race; that is to say, objections to the only possible way by which a historical revelation could be given. It must have personal mediums, a place and a sequence. It must prepare fit vehicles for itself and gradually grow in clearness and contents. And all this is just to say that revelation for the world must be first the possession of a race. The fire must have a hearth on which it can be kindled and burn, till it is sufficient to bear being carried thence.
Universalism was the goal of the necessary restriction. Pharisaism sought to make the restriction permanent. Jesus really threw open the gates to all in this very saying, which at first sounds so harsh. ‘First’ implies second, children and little dogs are all parts of the one household. Christ’s personal ministry was confined to Israel for obvious and weighty reasons. He felt, as Matthew tells us, that He said in this incident that He was not sent but to the lost sheep of that nation. But His world-wide mission was as clear to Him as its temporary limit, and in His first discourse in the synagogue at Nazareth He proclaimed it to a scowling crowd. We cannot doubt that His sympathetic heart yearned over this poor woman, and His seemingly rough speech was meant partly to honour the law which ruled His mission even in the act of making an exception to it, and partly to test, and so to increase, her faith.
Her swift laying of her finger on the vulnerable point in the apparent refusal of her prayer may have been due to a woman’s quick wit, but it was much more due to a mother’s misery and to a suppliant’s faith. There must have been something in Christ’s look, or in the cadence of His voice, which helped to soften the surface harshness of His words, and emboldened her to confront Him with the plain implications of His own words. What a constellation of graces sparkles in her ready reply! There is humility in accepting the place He gives her; insight in seeing at once a new plea in what might have sent her away despairing; persistence in pleading; confidence that He can grant her request and that He would gladly do so. Our Lord’s treatment of her was amply justified by its effects. His words were like the hard steel that strikes the flint and brings out a shower of sparks. Faith makes obstacles into helps, and stones of stumbling into ‘stepping-stones to higher things.’ If we will take the place which He gives us, and hold fast our trust in Him even when He seems silent to us, and will so far penetrate His designs as to find the hidden purpose of good in apparent repulses, the honey secreted deep in the flower, we shall share in this woman’s blessing in the measure in which we share in her faith.
Jesus obviously delighted in being at liberty to stretch His commission so as to include her in its scope. Joyful recognition of the ingenuity of her pleading, and of her faith’s bringing her within the circle of the ‘children,’ are apparent in His word, ‘For this saying go thy way.’ He ever looks for the disposition in us which will let Him, in accordance with His great purpose, pour on us His full-flowing tide of blessing, and nothing gladdens Him more than that, by humble acceptance of our assigned place, and persistent pleading, and trust that will not be shaken, we should make it possible for Him to see in us recipients of His mercy and healing grace.” EXPOSITIONS OF HOLY SCRIPTURE Alexander MacLaren

Be Not Afraid, Only Believe

“While He yet spake, there came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house certain which said, ‘Thy daughter is dead: why troublest thou the Master any further?’ As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, ‘Be not afraid, only believe.’ And He suffered no man to follow Him, save Peter, and James, and John the brother of James. And He cometh to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and seeth the tumult, and them that wept and wailed greatly. And when He was come in, He saith unto them, ‘Why make ye this ado, and weep? The damsel is not dead, but sleepeth.’ And they laughed Him to scorn. But when He had put them all out, He taketh the father and the mother of the damsel, and them that were with Him, and entereth in where the damsel was lying. And He took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, ‘Talitha cumi;’ which is, being interpreted, ‘Damsel, I say unto thee, arise.’ And straightway the damsel arose, and walked; for she was of the age of twelve years. And they were astonished with a great astonishment. And He charged them straitly that no man should know it; and commanded that something should be given her to eat.”  Mark 5:35-43  (KJB)

In the previous verses of this chapter they include the woman with an issue of blood for twelve years, and she had no healing from the physicians who had taken all she had financially.  The child of only twelve, was dead, by the testimony of these who had came to find their ruler, and those present at the home of Jairus who had been waiting.

A woman, a child. One an adult; the other a child.  Both are affected by sin.  There is no living individual who does not have sin affecting their lives.  Adults die.  Children die.  Death is the wages of sin (Romans 6:23).

The adult can willingly reach out to Jesus and be healed.  The child cannot; at least this daughter could not;  she is dead.

Folks, we who are Christians were all dead in the trespasses of sin (Ephesians 2:1), and Jesus called us by name, and gave us new life in Him.  Like the little girl.  Jesus raises us to life.

In a Solitary Place; There He Prayed

“And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, He went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed. And Simon and they that were with him followed after Him. And when they had found Him, they said unto Him, ‘All men seek for Thee.’ And He said unto them, ‘Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also: for therefore came I forth.’ And He preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and cast out devils.” Mark 1:35-39  (KJB)

O, how Jesus longed to fulfill His Father’s will.  Jesus knew it involved much committed time with Him in prayer.  My how I fall so short on committed time to prayer.  I do try to stay in touch with God through my day, but I lack power with Him; at least it seems so with me.  Lord help me with my praying.  I need You in my life in power and glory.  I am weak, but you are Mighty.

The following is from the Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary on verse 35 of Mark 1…

And in the morning — that is, of the day after this remarkable sabbath; or, on the first day of the week. His choosing this day to inaugurate a new and glorious stage of His public work, should be noted by the reader.
rising up a great while before day — “while it was yet night,” or long before daybreak.
he went out — all unperceived from Peter’s house, where He slept.
and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed — or, “continued in prayer.” He was about to begin His first preaching and healing circuit; and as on similar solemn occasions (Luk_5:16; Luk_6:12; Luk_9:18, Luk_9:28, Luk_9:29; Mar_6:46), He spent some time in special prayer, doubtless with a view to it. What would one not give to have been, during the stillness of those grey morning hours, within hearing – not of His “strong crying and tears,” for He had scarce arrived at the stage for that – but of His calm, exalted anticipations of the work which lay immediately before Him, and the outpourings of His soul about it into the bosom of Him that sent Him! He had doubtless enjoyed some uninterrupted hours of such communings with His heavenly Father ere His friends from Capernaum arrived in search of Him. As for them, they doubtless expected, after such a day of miracles, that the next day would witness similar manifestations. When morning came, Peter, loath to break in upon the repose of his glorious Guest, would await His appearance beyond the usual hour; but at length, wondering at the stillness, and gently coming to see where the Lord lay, he finds it – like the sepulchre afterwards – empty! Speedily a party is made up to go in search of Him, Peter naturally leading the way.” JAMIESON, FAUSSET, AND BROWN COMMENTARY

Beware of the Hypocrite Authorities

“Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to His disciples, saying, ‘The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: all therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.
For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, and love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.
But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.’
” Matthew 23:1-12  (KJB)

The “Seat of Moses'” was the authority given to the teachers of the Law of Moses (Genesis through Deuteronomy).  These teachers had the responsibility to teach it.  They were responsible for being able to quote it without reading it.  They need to be applauded for the work of memory required to do that. However, they laid a load of condemnation on their people, and did little of nothing for their own holiness, and sanctification.

Most of the good works they did was for popularity with the people; to be seen of them. They sought the higher places to be seen of men.

Jesus tells His disciples, the multitude, and us, “Do what they teach according to the Law of Moses; but do not as the Pharisees do.”  Instead of exalting God; they exalted themselves.

As Christians, as followers of Jesus Christ we are to live to exalt the Lord Jesus Christ.  When we exalt Him we exalt the Father.

Believe Him

The Rejected Cornerstone

‘Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: and when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another.
Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, ‘They will reverence my son.’ But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.’ And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?

They say unto Him, ‘He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.’
Jesus saith unto them, ‘Did ye never read in the Scriptures, ‘The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?’ Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.’
And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard His parables, they perceived that He spake of them. But when they sought to lay hands on Him, they feared the multitude, because they took Him for a prophet.” Matthew 21:33-46  (KJB)

Jesus is that Cornerstone rejected by His own people.  It has been said that in the building with large stones that the cornerstone’s shape and size determines the shape and size of the building.

The religious establishment of Jesus’s day was Judaism but they rejected the Cornerstone, therefore it passed to the Gentiles, the Church; which is the Body of Christ; and He is still building that building.

Yes! Jesus Christ is that Cornerstone on which if you fall you will be broken; but if He falls on you will be ground to powder.

Believe Him.

After Being Forgiven Much; and We Do Not Forgive

“Then came Peter to Him, and said, ‘Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Till seven times?’ Jesus saith unto him, ‘I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, ‘Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.’ Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.
But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me that thou owest.’ And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.’ And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.
So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, ‘O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?’ And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.
So likewise shall My heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.’
” Matthew 18:21-35 (KJB)

Yes! A little bit of a lengthy parable.

As a man, and as all who will admit and confess to it we need forgiveness from our transgressions.  God has forgiven me more than I could ever repay.  How can I not forgive another who owes me very little?  Or owes me nothing?

Something we all need to think hard about if we ever want to be unforgiving toward another.

Out of the Heart

“And He called the multitude, and said unto them, ‘Hear, and understand: Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.’ Then came His disciples, and said unto Him, ‘Knowest Thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying?’ But He answered and said, ‘Every plant, which My heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.’ Then answered Peter and said unto Him, ‘Declare unto us this parable.’ And Jesus said, ‘Are ye also yet without understanding? Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: these are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.’” Matthew 15:10-20  (KJB)

Some thoughts from F. B. Meyer…

“It is good to study our Lord’s list of the sources of soul-pollution. Evil thoughts come first. We cannot prevent an evil suggestion being presented to our minds, but we can refuse to dwell on it. To resist the inclination to dwell on it strengthens us in the opposite direction; to yield to it is to commit the sin in our heart, which, in God’s sight, is equivalent to the outward act. Notice that railing, that is, unkind and uncharitable speech, is in this black-list.
The heart, rather than the body, is the source of sin. Out of the heart! The body is the dial-plate on which the soul registers its improvement or deterioration. Do not find fault with your members: look to your heart and keep it beyond keeping, for out of it are the issues of life. Ask God to create in you a clean heart. See that you distinguish between the first Adam and the second. Deny what you inherit of human weakness and sin, and affirm all that is of Christ’s imparting. The cross of Calvary and the uprising of the living Christ are facts of perpetual experience.” F. B. Meyer Through the Bible Day by Day on Mat. 15:10-20

What About the Place, the City, the Country Where I Live?

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

I have read this passage of Scripture, the words of Jesus here many times, and never has it caused me to ask the above question of today.  The work and presence of the Spirit of God has been at work in this land for centuries now.  Our country is not, neither has it ever been a land of perfection.  No man or woman is perfect.  We are all evil at heart.

We have witnessed the power of God in our Nation (United States of America), our States (my State of Missouri and the forty nine others), and in my home town of Jenkins.  I have seen the work of God in my own family and my life.  What about the place I live?

Will you ask that question with me?  Have you rejected power of God?  Have you rejected the work He has don in the place where you live?  There are places; cities and countries which will be and are condemned because they have rejected the work of Christ Jesus.

Let us not hear the “Woes” of Jesus upon our townships, towns, cities, States and countries.

May God forgive our sloth, slack, and attitudes of rejection of His power and works among us.

The Power of God in Christ Jesus; Yet Unwanted

“And when He was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met Him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way. And, behold, they cried out, saying, ‘What have we to do with Thee, Jesus, Thou Son of God? Art Thou come hither to torment us before the time?’
And there was a good way off from them an herd of many swine feeding. So the devils besought Him, saying, ‘If Thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine.’ And He said unto them, ‘Go.’ And when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine: and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters.
And they that kept them fled, and went their ways into the city, and told every thing, and what was befallen to the possessed of the devils. And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw Him, they besought Him that He would depart out of their coasts.” Matthew 8:28-34 (KJB)

“The demon spirit seems still to tenant the lives of human beings. To what else can we attribute the paroxysms of passion, the awful cruelties and inhumanities of men? There is only one devil, but many demons; only one prince of the power of darkness, but many emissaries. Take heed, lest you open the door of your nature to the spirit of evil and he possess you. Watch and pray, and trust the keeping of your soul to the hands of Christ. He is stronger than the strong man.
Notice that the demon is set upon destruction. If he may not destroy the souls of men, he will destroy swine. This is the mark of evil. It is always destructive; whereas the Spirit of God is constructive and builds up from the ruins of Satan’s work a new heaven and a new earth, both in the soul and in the universe.
All the city besought Jesus to depart, because men count their gains more valuable than His presence. The same spirit rules in the commercial world of today. Let us beware. What shall it profit to gain the world, if we lose our souls?” From F. B. Meyer’s Through the Bible Day by Day on Mat. 8:28-34

Not the End; The Fulfillment

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

Remember this you who make an end of the Law and the Prophets.  These are the words of Jesus from the Sermon on the Mount

The Coming and Fulfillment of Righteousness

“But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, ‘O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: and think not to say within yourselves, ‘We have Abraham to our father’, for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but He that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: whose fan is in His hand, and He will throughly purge His floor, and gather His wheat into the garner; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.
Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad Him, saying, ‘I have need to be baptized of Thee, and comest Thou to me?’ And Jesus answering said unto him, “Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness. Then he suffered Him. And Jesus, when He was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon Him: and lo a Voice from heaven, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.'” Matthew 3:7-17  (KJB)

Integrity, Discretion, and Fear

Integrity, Discretion and Fear – Proverbs 19:1-29

Verses 1 – 10  Integrity is defined in the Mirriam/Webster Dictionary as… “SOUNDNESS: adherence to a code of values: utter sincerity,  honesty and candor: COMPLETENESS.”
This is once again a comparison between the poor man who has a completeness about him; being content with his life; family, friends, and God.  The wealthy can far too often not be content with their wealth, wanting more, feeling they have a lack.
As we look at verses 2 – 10 we can see the comparison even further.  Many who are wealthy depend on their wealth for friendships (vv. 4-6), getting good judgments from whomever it may count and luxury is not seemly for those who are without wisdom of God.  The wealthy are far too often servants to their wealth.

Verses 11 – 22  Discretion is defined as… “The quality of being discreet: PRUDENCE:  Individual choice or judgment: power of free decision or latitude of choice.” M/WD  The one who is discreet or having discretion will not prolong anger at the “transgressions” of others.  Discretion is having good sense.
“A person with good sense is level-headed and can defuse conflict (15:18).” Faithlife Study Bible Online.  The person with good sense will not be out to upset the king (v. 12), cause his/her parents grief and/or shame(v. 13), and will seek to find the right person to start a home (vv. 13-14).
The person with good sense will be a hard worker, keep the commandments of the LORD, show kindness to the poor, and be honest in his dealings (vv. 15-22).

Verses 23 – 29  The fear of the LORD…  We have dealt with this topic before (1:29; 2:5; 8:13; 9:10; 10:27; 14:26, 27; 15:16, 33; 16:6) and it is mentioned more as we journey to the end of Proverbs in 23rd verse; in 22:4 and 23:17.
The fear of the LORD is not a dreadful thing.  It is knowing that He is holding on to you; knowing He will not let go, even though we might.  Even though we might let go, because He does not He will pursue us until we are back in right relationship with Him.
Anyone having the fear of the LORD will be a hard worker (v. 24), be growing in knowledge and wisdom (v. 25), honor their father and mother (v. 26), be a godly witness, and trusts good judgment(vv. 27-29).

Please Note:  I just corrected a sentence I had made an error in.  In the section for verses 10-22  it was written, “The one who is discreet or having discretion will prolong anger at the “transgressions” of others.”  I did add the word “not” to read “…discretion will not prolong anger…”. (12/31/18)

Use Your Words Wisely

“The words of a man’s mouth are as deep waters, and the wellspring of wisdom as a flowing brook.” Proverbs 18:4
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” 18:21

Using Words Carefully – Proverbs 18:1-24

Verses 1-4 –  These verses carry over from verses 27 and 28 of chapter 17.  There is much in the Proverbs of speech, the tongue and words.  We are taught to choose and handle words carefully; and not deceitfully.  The fool is one who cares only for his own words; is in the process to thought while another is talking; and only to have something further to say.
On a first look verse 1 could seem to have a positive intent; however with the word “intermeddleth” it means that the individual contends with wisdom.
Verses two and three then show the intent of the heart of verse one.  On verse 4 see Proverbs 20:5

Verses 5 – 9 –  Speaking good of evil, and evil of good to overthrow the righteous is not good.  Backbiting,  and slander is the heart of the destruction of the fool’s mouth.
A lazy individual is akin to the great waster (v. 9).

Verses 10 – 11 –  Many a wealthy individual has all their hopes in their wealth, investments, and possessions.  An island of safety in the midst of words of warning and hope (v. 10).

Verses 12 – 21 –  You can see that the words of the foolish individual is more important to him/her than listening to others in verses 13, 17.  Verses 16 speaks of giving gifts – not bribes to buy off judges, law enforcement, etc.  Probably could be likened to a gift someone might bring to the King’s birth.
In verse 18 there seems to be some wisdom in “casting lots” for the ceasing of contentions.
There is reward or destruction in our use of words.  They can be the difference in life and/or death; destruction or building up.

Verses 22 -24 –  See Proverbs 12:4; 19:14.  Marriage is good if it be found in the way of God.  For a marriage to be good the man and a woman must choose and use words carefully.  Good communication is a key.
In verse 23 we have a contrast between the poor and the rich.  The poor is humble before others when asking something from them.  The rich have no need of anything so they speak roughly to others.  Again whether one is rich or poor really makes no difference when it comes to our choosing and use of words.
In verse 24 we have a sentence which is familiar, “And there is a friend who sticketh closer than a brother”.   Before that we learn that if one is to have friends, then, we must be a friend.
Friends choose and use words carefully.  The choosing and using words carefully has nothing to do with “Political Correctness”; but using words to build up.  A lot of times hard/truth words need to be used to bring out good quality in another.

Words of the Prophets – Jeremiah (5)

Your Own Wickedness

 

“Is Israel a servant? Is he a homeborn slave? Why is he spoiled? The young lions roared upon him, and yelled, and they made his land waste: his cities are burned without inhabitant. Also the children of Noph and Tahapanes have broken the crown of thy head. Hast thou not procured this unto thyself, in that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, when He led thee by the way? And now what hast thou to do in the way of Egypt, to drink the waters of Sihor? Or what hast thou to do in the way of Assyria, to drink the waters of the river?
‘Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, and that My fear is not in thee,’ saith the Lord GOD of hosts.” Jeremiah 2:14-19

Words of the Prophets – Isaiah (2)

All Nations Will Flow Unto It

“The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, ‘Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
And He shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the LORD.”  Isaiah 2:1-5  (KJB)

A Merry Life

Having a Merry Heart – Proverbs 17:21-28

21  He that begetteth a fool doeth it to his sorrow: and the father of a fool hath no joy.
25  A foolish son is a grief to his father, and bitterness to her that bare him.
28  Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding

Verses 21, 25, 28 –  To beget a fool seems to be a doing of the father in the context of this verse.  The NKJV refers to this son as a “Scoffer”; the Hebrew “kes-eel’

From (Strongs’ Concordance) H3688; properly fat, that is, (figuratively) stupid or silly: – fool (-ish).”  No joy for the father of the fool.

22  A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.
24  Wisdom is before him that hath understanding; but the eyes of a fool are in the ends of the earth.
27  He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit.

Verses 22, 24, 27 –  There are three things mentioned in these verses (20-22) which are devastating to a “Merry heart”: 1) A crooked and deceitful life;  2) A foolish son; and 3) Discouragement.

Having a “Merry heart” requires that one have these: 1) A sound and guiltless heart and mind;  2) Children growing and walking in the grace of God; and 3) Encouragement by the Spirit, the Word and others.

23  A wicked man taketh a gift out of the bosom to pervert the ways of judgment.
26  Also to punish the just is not good, nor to strike princes for equity.

Verses 23, 26 –  These two verses speak of perversions of justice.  Bribery is a culprit of an evil giver and an evil judge.  It blinds what could have been righteous judgment.  Bribes take place in many forms.

One could be a friendship with strings attached.  Another could be a job which requires lying on forms of acquisition or payroll.  Still another could be… ______________________  I will let you fill in the blank.

It is a grave and evil thing when evil judges and evil people call evil good.  It is evil when good people are punished for what evil people have done.  On this think of the only good man who ever lived.  His name is Jesus.  He went to the cross, suffering at the hands of evil men; and in His death He took the penalty for sin, bearing the wrath of God the Father, and was buried; then three days later arose from a borrowed grave justifying forever all who will believe.

The Tongue of the Wise

The Peacemaker Has a Wise Tongue – Proverbs 17:14-20

The verses of these Proverbs warn us of the folly of strife, wickedness, evil, injustice, adversity, and the peril of those who follow that way of living.  I want us to look at the opposite side of these warnings.

Verse 14 –  A dam may start to break with just a pinhole in it, and if it is left untended it becomes a flood of water.  Think of the flooding of the biggest part of New Orleans a few years ago.  Most of the damage was caused by the breaking of the dikes that held back water from the city.  When they broke the breaks got larger until there was no stopping the flow. That is likened to someone loving strife.
The answer to that is when we see the beginning of strife it needs mended.  If it is passed that point then we should probably leave it alone and walk away.

Verse 15 –  As God’s children we should always honor justice, and condemn injustice whenever we see it.  There is a great tendency in this 21st century to vilify the righteous, and justify wickedness.  From this verse we see that that is an abomination to God.  (Isaiah 5:20).

Verse 16 –  Biblically wise people will pay any price for godly wisdom.  If it takes money we will pay it.  If it takes study of God’s Word, then we will study God’s Word; if it takes listening to others, then we will listen to others.  The price we will pay for wisdom is worth it.
For those who have no heart for wisdom he/she will spend their money, time and listening to other things.

Verse 17 –  John Gill says of the first part of this, “A friend loveth at all times,…. A true, hearty, faithful friend, loves in times of adversity as well as in times of prosperity: there are many that are friends to persons, while they are in affluent circumstances; but when there is a change in their condition, and they are stripped of all riches and substance; than their friends forsake them, and stand at a distance from them; as was the case of Job, Job_19:14; it is a very rare thing to find a friend that is a constant lover, such an one as here described;”  SEE Proverbs 18:24; 27:10;  Ruth 1:16;  Job 6:14.

I am thankful for the Friend who sticks closer than a brother.  His name is Jesus.

Verse 18 –  A true friend would not ask a friend to be “surety” on a debt; at least in my mind.  Why would a friend want to make a friend do a foolish thing.  The proverb author says this is only the act of “A man void of understanding”.
The Believer’s Bible Commentary states, “17:18  This verse modifies the previous one by showing that love should not be without discernment. It would be a case of bad judgment to agree to guarantee a friend’s debts in the event that he should default. Any man who needs a surety is a bad credit risk. Why be surety for a bad credit risk?”

Verses 19-20 –  This verse takes us back to verse 14.  Transgression is the treasure of one who loves strife.  The obedient and humble hate transgression as well as strife.
The froward heart is as the one who loves transgression, and finds no good.  The heart of a man or woman who loves God not only will find good, but also be the source of good to others; even those who do not seek it.

A Mother Bear and Her Cubs

Reproof, Rebellion, and Mother Bears – Proverbs 17:10-13

“A reproof entereth more into a wise man than an hundred stripes into a fool. An evil man seeketh only rebellion: therefore a cruel messenger shall be sent against him.
Let a bear robbed of her whelps meet a man, rather than a fool in his folly.
Whoso rewardeth evil for good, evil shall not depart from his house.”

Proverbs 17:10-13

Verse 10 –  “Reproof” means “Blame or censure for a fault” (MIRRIAM/WEBSTER DICTIONARY).  Good criticism is of benefit to those who have wisdom and understanding.
A man or woman is foolish who will not heed criticism; nor the sting of a good lashing.

Verse 11 –  Let us define evil.  “Evil”, again from the MIRRIAM/WEBSTER dictionary, “1. Wicked, 2. causing or threatening distress or harm: Pernicious”    In our text it would mean displeasing – Displeasing to God.  Contrary to the heart and will of God.
The heart of sin does seek rebellion against God.  The Wise writer says that this “wicked person will be met by the cruel messenger” probably sent by the king.

Verse 12 –  One of the most tragic events that I have heard of happening is a hiker and his spouse getting caught between a mother bear and her cubs.  In saving her life [the life of his spouse], the mother bear took his.  It is a dangerous thing.
The writer of Proverbs saw it as better to be met by a mother bear separated from her cubs as to be caught in company with a foolish individual.

Verse 13 –  (Psalm 35:12;  109:4-5; Proverbs 20:22;  Matthew 5:39).  King David rewarded evil to Uriah after the good and faithful service he had provided in the king’s military forces.  David paid dearly for that grave evil.
We can also see from David’s evil act what happened to his house after his death.  It could be that Solomon has these matters in his mind as he penned these words to the scroll.

Words of the Prophets – Genesis (3)

The Wickedness of Mankind

“And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.

And the LORD said, My Spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.
There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them” Genesis 6:1-7 (KJV).

Description of the Wicked

The transgression of the wicked saith within my heart, that there is no fear of God before his eyes. For he flattereth himself in his own eyes, until his iniquity be found to be hateful. The words of his mouth are iniquity and deceit: he hath left off to be wise, and to do good. He deviseth mischief upon his bed; he setteth himself in a way that is not good; he abhorreth not evil. Psalm 36:1-4 (KJB)

The Thirty six Psalm is titled as “Psalm of David servant of the LORD”.  You may, if you desire, follow the link above for a further study of verse one.

The description of the wicked is this;  keep in mind this is not my description, it is of no human origin.  Though David did pen it down it is divinely inspired;  That description of the wicked…

  1. …The wicked are flattered by themselves, and many times found by others to be hateful.
  2. …The wicked has a mouth with words of iniquity and deceit; their words are often vile, malicious, full of gossip, and lying.
  3. …The wicked has forsaken all wisdom, maybe even some common sense, and forsakes doing good.
  4. …The wicked plans, schemes, and devises wicked mischief while they lay in bed; “How can I better myself against those who appear to be better than me.”
  5. …The wicked set themselves on the opposite side of good; calling what is good “Evil”; and calling what is evil “Good”.
  6. …The wicked cares not for what is good, and does not hate what is evil, but lives in it themselves.

As a Christian I am to “Abhor evil” (Romans 12:9), and “to cleave to that which is good”.  That begins by trusting in the finished word of Jesus Christ on Calvary’s cross, His burial, and bodily resurrection.  GOD hated evil so much that He put His own Son to death on that cross to redeem evil, wicked mankind unto Himself.

Take Hold; Draw Out

Plead my cause, O LORD, with them that strive with me: fight against them that fight against me.
Take hold of shield and buckler, and stand up for mine help. Draw out also the spear, and stop the way against them that persecute me: say unto my soul, I am thy salvation. Psalm 35:1-3 (KJB)

The thought that David is giving (concerning the “shield and buckler” v. 2) is that the LORD is his protection and strength against all his enemies; his accusers.  The LORD is our protection against the onslaught of the enemy, and our accusers.

There is none who can accuse quite as strongly, maybe even honestly as the devil, that old serpent, Satan himself.  John the revelator calls him the “accuser of the brethren” (Revelation 12:10).  So when you are attacked, accused, ridiculed, or viciously beaten and bruised; yet, still living; God is your strength and your shield.

Let me make something plain from our text.  God, the LORD has no need of physical weapons such as a sword, a shield, or a buckler.  They are, however, great examples of God’s means for our protection and safe keeping.

When Stephen was stoned to death in the book of Acts chapter 7 verses 54 through 60 we find Jesus standing to welcome him to his new home with Him.  The Lord stands with us in our time of suffering and pain.  He is with you today.

If you have not trusted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior do that today.  He is your help, your shield, your strength. He is all those and more for all who trust in Him.

Boasting in the LORD

“I will bless the LORD at all times: His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together. Psalm 34:1-3 (KJB)

There is a whole lot of boasting going on.  I boast of one thing, and then another. So do you. I know of no one who has not made a boast of one thing or another.  Let me post a question;  Do you ever boast in the LORD?  Do you boast of His greatness, His power and authority?  Do you boast of His so great salvation?  Whoops!  That was three questions.

God is great to boast in.  Boast of a work He has accomplished in your life; and be sure to credit Him, not yourself.  When we boast in the LORD we take credit from our own achievements  and give them to the One to whom they belong.  That is where humility really begins.

The humble will always glorify the LORD with words and with a life that shows forth the power and glory of Jesus.

O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together.  Amen

It all begins in recognizing Jesus as your Lord and Savior; the Son of God and God the Son.

The Right Way; and the Way of Death

The Right Way; The Way of Death – Proverbs 16:25-33

Verses 25 – 26 –  There are many times men think what they do or are doing is the “right thing”; however the “right thing” in man’s vision can often be the wrong thing with God.  These ways are the ways that lead to death.  Proverbs 14:12; 24:20.  The “way” is a course of life, or mode of action; the “conversation” mentioned in the New Testament (2 Corinthians 1:12;  Galations 1:13;  Ephesians 2:3; 4:22;  Philippians 1:27; 3:20;  1 Timothy 4:12;  Hebrews 13:5, 7)

In most cases the laborers labor for their own benefit.  We hunger for things, particularly sustenance; these three main things, survival, security, and success.

Verses 27 – 30 –  These verses are connected to those who seek to do what they have deemed to be right.  Those who always keep trouble stirred, or “dug up”; seeking to cause strife among others.

16:27–30 These proverbs address people who cause problems. People who are worthless (v. 27), dishonest (vv. 28; 16:30), or violent (v. 29) negatively affect those around them. They bring evil by tempting and dividing those who associate with them.  From FAITHLIFE Study Bible online

We are warned about some of these things in the New Testament as well. The qualifications for the pastor includes “No striker”, and “Not a brawler” (1 Timothy 3:3); and we are warned of the “works of the flesh” in Galations 5:19-21.

Verses 31 – The gray haired individual is considered by some to be weak; however, the one who is in the way of righteousness, and his hair is a “crown of glory”.  Gray hair is often associated with age, and wisdom.  Proverbs 17:6; 20:29.  Also see Proverbs 3:1, 2.
“Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the LORD.”  Leviticus 19:32

We are told by history that the young men were to rise from their seated position when an older man passed within a distance of four cubits (From John Gills commentary of Lev. 19:32)

Verse 32 –  Mighty men can take a city by force; but a man, slow to anger, has conquered himself, and can lead a city in the way of righteousness.

He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty,…. Than a mighty warrior or conqueror; as Alexander who conquered his enemies, and even all the world, and yet in his wrath slew his best friends: a man that is slow to anger is esteemed by the Lord, respected by men, and is happy in himself; and is preferable to the strongest man that is not master of himself and of his passions;

and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city; one that has the command of his temper, that can govern himself, and not suffer his passions to exceed due bounds, is superior in strength to him that can storm a castle or take a fortified city; it is easier to do the one than the other; courage of mind joined with wisdom, and assisted by a proper number of persons, may do the one; but it requires the grace of God, and the assistance of his spirit, thoroughly to do the other. Cicero says (t), in all ages

“fewer men are found who conquer their own lusts than that overcome the armies of enemies.”
From John Gill e-Sword

Verse 33 –  “Casting lots” was the toss sometimes of multi colored stones, and the lay of the stones determined the outcome of the decision to be made.  It could be similar to a vote, the toss of a coin, or the roll of the dice.  We must realize that this be done with prayer and trust that the LORD will show His direction.  It is in no way associated with gambling, games of chance.

At any rate the ultimate decision will be God’s

Rejoicing with Music

Rejoice in the LORD, O ye righteous: for praise is comely for the upright. Praise the LORD with harp: sing unto Him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings. Sing unto Him a new song; play skilfully with a loud noise.” Psalm 33:1-3 (KJB)

Does music have any place in the house of God?  Does music have a place in the worship of the Most High and holy God in the Church?  I certainly believe it does.  They used music in the Old Testament in their worship, and when I say “Music” I am speaking of instruments; stringed instruments, horns, drums or cymbals.  I believe all of those are mentioned in the Psalms, and through out the Old Testament.

I know there are certain denominations that do not allow musical instruments into their places of worship.  That is okay if that is how they want to worship. I believe they are missing out on a tremendous blessing in their worship of God.

The Psalmist mentions the harp and Psaltery with ten strings. These could have been instruments David had made for the distinct purpose of singing songs unto God.

Now, let me be clear; I am not talking about just any kind of music playing; but music that calls your attention to God in worship, praise, and adoration to Him.  Let us also remember worship is not for us; you or me; it is to Him and for Him.

Singing words, the lyrics of a song are great, however, when an musical instrument or instruments are added to the worship it calls our attention to the Creator of all things.

There is nothing in the New Testament that does away with musical instruments, or forbids their use in our worship.  If Old Testament worship of God was good with these instruments why would the worship in the New Testament not be even better, considering it begins the days of grace.

Draw near to God through His Son Jesus.  Let the trumpets sound, the piano strings play, the guitar, mandolin, banjo, and the drums play out sounds of praise unto our Maker, our Creator.  He has redeemed us unto Himself – We are bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20; 7:23). May the strings be strummed, the horns blow, and the drums rumble out praises to Him who reigns supreme.  His name is Jesus.

Not Charged

Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.” Psalm 32:1-2 (KJB)

What a blessed gift it is to receive.  We are all thrilled when we receive a gift from someone that is beyond our wildest expectations. We are awed.  We might even tear up, with tears of extreme joy.

The above verses are dealing with a thing which is eternal; and is totally beyond our wildest imaginations, or expectations; to be forgiven, and to be accounted as not guilty even though we are.

How can this be so?  The Creator of the universe, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, has laid on Him the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:6).  Jesus Christ the Son of God and God the Son took all of our iniquities, our sins, our transgressions of the law, and He bore the wrath of God that all our sins debt might be paid in full.

When we believe Him, and trust that His finished work is done God declares each believing individual “Not guilty”.  The debt is paid in full.

Call on the name of Jesus.  He will hear you, and you will be Redeemed.  You become a new person through Him (2 Corinthians 5:17).  Because of Jesus there will be no guile in your heart.  You will have new heart and new desires.

The Treasure of Wisdom

Wisdom’s Gold,  and a Honeycomb – Proverbs 16:16-24

Verse 16 –  The worth of wisdom and understanding compared to gold and/or silver.  What, if anything, is lost by having one without the other?  Prov. 3:13

Verse 17 – 19 —   Life is sometimes compared to a road.  Is that a good comparison?  Why?  How would you describe the “Highway of the upright?”  Think about what it means to stay on (“Keepeth his way”) that highway.
In what way does pride lead to destruction?  Is “Pride” some of the time, or all the time related to refusing to see and acknowledge there is a problem?  Jeremiah 49:16
The “Humble spirit” needs no spoils.  For verse 19 reference see Psalm 84:10.

Verse 20 – 24 —

“Prov. 16:20–24  These verses commend the speech characteristic of the wise of heart (vv. 21a, 23a): the wise consider their words carefully (vv. 20a, 23a) so that their words are both persuasive (vv. 21b, 23b) and good for body and soul (v. 24);  they exhibit faithfulness to God (v. 20b) and are considered discerning by others (v. 21a).  Such wisdom is a fountain of life, and foolish speech is empty of any such benefits (v. 22).”  Note from the ESV Study Bible

Pleasant and precious words are sweet and comes from hearts of wisdom of understanding (verses 16 and 24).

-Tim A. Blankenship

Worship: It’s Not For God, It’s For Us….SAY WHAT????

Truth in Palmyra

This is the very first post I ever published, other than the one where I first introduced the blog. Ah, memories. I am actually rerunning a lot of my older stuff. Many have not read much of it, I have been crazy busy with work and church/ministry stuff and am also getting all of my posts into Word so I have them always. Thanks for your patience and consideration. It’s a bit longish, Back then I thought the more words the merrier.
Crossing out Lies and writing Truth on a blackboard.

This is my first “official” blog post, and it’s about a topic/person I will probably write about often. It’s about my “favorite” pastor, Joel Osteen.

Mr. Osteen’s name will probably appear in this blog often since he often says things which make me want to say other things. Hardly a word comes from his mouth that doesn’t make me want to respond in some way. Having said that…

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The Heart of the Righteous King

The Heart of the Righteous King –  Proverbs 16:10-15

In the United States of America we have no Monarchy.  We live in a Republic which is governed of the people, by the people and for the people.  I do believe, however, that seeing our leaders as under the same rules as a king would be sufficient to show us how a ruler should govern the people.
This surely is reference to the King of kings, and all are to pattern themselves after Him.

Verse 10 –  The godly ruler is one who represents God to the people; and should speak the “Divine sentences” “Oracles” of God.  Solomon’s wisdom was known and respected (1 Kings 3:28).  See Proverbs 20:28; and 28:15-16.

Verse 11 –  Though a monarch or any ruler is not mentioned in the verse it is certainly a decree that leaders/rulers are to operate function in business with the proper scales and weights.  Proverbs 11:1.

Verse 12 –  It is a moral tragedy for leaders to place their leadership; whether it be king or President; over the throne and sovereign power of God.  The throne of David, and every king of Israel was established due to the righteousness of the king.  Proverbs 25:5; 29:14; Isaiah 16:5.

Verse 13 –  Righteous words and lips should be the desire of kings and all leadership who lead people.  Proverbs 14:35;  22:11.  We must remember that what is in the heart will be manisfested through the lips and the life (Matthew 15:10-20).

Verse 14 –  John Gill from e-Sword:

The wrath of a king is as messengers of death,…. Or, “angels of death”, as the Targum. As the wrath of Ahasuerus was to Haman; when it is either discovered in the countenance of a king, or expressed by his words, or signified by a messenger; it sometimes has been immediate death to a person, and often as terrible as if a messenger brought the sentence of death; yea, it is as if one messenger after another was sent on such an errand, and therefore the word is in the plural number. How terrible is the wrath of the King of kings; and even to kings themselves, who are represented as flying to rocks and mountains to hide them from it! Rev_6:15;

but a wise man will pacify it; by a proper acknowledgment of the offence committed; or by a prudent representation of his case, or the case of his friends; by soft answers and strong arguments, as Jonathan pacified the wrath of King Saul his father against David. He is a wise man that believes in Christ, and pleads his propitiatory sacrifice for the expiation of his sin, at the same time frankly acknowledging it.”

Verse 15 –  Just as the “wrath of the king” is as “Messengers of death” so is the “Light of the king’s countenance”… “Life”.

The “Latter rain” was the final rain fall before the harvest of the crops; and was the necessary rain for nourishing the harvest.  So the king’s favor would be like that rain.
“Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.” Proverbs 14:34

Words of the Prophets – Genesis

Called In – Shut In

“And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation. Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female. Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth. For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth.

And Noah did according unto all that the LORD commanded him. And Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth. And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons’ wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood. Of clean beasts, and of beasts that are not clean, and of fowls, and of every thing that creepeth upon the earth, There went in two and two unto Noah into the ark, the male and the female, as God had commanded Noah. And it came to pass after seven days, that the waters of the flood were upon the earth.

In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights.

In the selfsame day entered Noah, and Shem, and Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah’s wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, into the ark; They, and every beast after his kind, and all the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind, and every fowl after his kind, every bird of every sort. And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein is the breath of life. And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the LORD shut him in.” Genesis 7:1-16

The Heart of Man

The Heart of Man – Proverbs 16:1-9

Verses 1 – 2 –  “Preparations of the heart in man”  and “The answer of the tongue” are both “from the LORD”.   V. 2 – “Ways of man…”  but “The LORD weigheth the spirits”.
All the plans of men (James 4:13-15) are only successful through the directions of the LORD.  Good plans are from the LORD, and will be successful.  Jesus said, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” (Matthew 12:34).

There are many times we think we are doing good and clean things; but our hearts may yet be doing an evil deed.  God alone, and maybe, the individual knows the heart and motives.

Verse 3 –  “Commit”  “Works” “Thoughts” “Shall be established”.  Some words to think on in verse 3.
“Roll unto Jehovah thy works, And established are thy purposes,” YOUNG’S LITERAL TRANSLATION  (See 1 Peter 5:7)

Verses 4-6 –  “The LORD has made all things for Himself”, “The wicked”, “Proud in heart”, “Abomination to the LORD”; “By mercy and truth iniquity is purged”, and “By the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.”

On a certain day in time all that have refused God’s Christ will glorify God in their judgment.  Departing from evil because one sees it as offensive to the holiness and righteousness of GOD.  It [Evil] is seen, by one who fears the LORD; as being a sour and bitter thing.

Verse 7 –  See Revelation 3:9; Isaac and Abimelech, Genesis 26;  Jacob and Esau, Genesis 33.  “Without faith it is impossible to please Him.”  Hebrews 11:6

Verse 8 –  The attitude of the heart of man with “Little” of material things, righteous in the LORD; contrasted to “Great revenues” without righteousness.

Verse 9 –  “The word rendered “deviseth” implies, by its spectra, intensity of thought and care. Man meditates and prepares his plans with the utmost solicitude, hut it rests with God whether he shall carry them to completion or not, and whether, if they are to be accomplished, it be done with ease or with painful labour. (comp. Gen_24:12, etc.)” From the Pulpit Commentary note.

“Deviseth” can mean scheming, to fabricate, to weave.  It can also mean to carefully plan out “His way”.  The wise man knows that “The LORD directeth his steps”.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Words of the Prophets – Jeremiah (4)

The World By His Wisdom

Jeremiah 10 –

“Hear ye the word which the LORD speaketh unto you, O house of Israel:  Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.  For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe.  They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.  They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.  Forasmuch as there is none like unto thee, O LORD; Thou art great, and Thy name is great in might.  Who would not fear Thee, O King of nations? For to Thee doth it appertain: forasmuch as among all the wise men of the nations, and in all their kingdoms, there is none like unto Thee.  But they are altogether brutish and foolish: the stock is a doctrine of vanities.  Silver spread into plates is brought from Tarshish, and gold from Uphaz, the work of the workman, and of the hands of the founder: blue and purple is their clothing: they are all the work of cunning men.  But the LORD is the true God, He is the living God, and an everlasting king: at His wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide His indignation.  Thus shall ye say unto them, The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens.  He hath made the earth by His power, He hath established the world by His wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by His discretion.  When He uttereth His voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens, and He causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth; He maketh lightnings with rain, and bringeth forth the wind out of His treasures.  Every man is brutish in his knowledge: every founder is confounded by the graven image: for his molten image is falsehood, and there is no breath in them.  They are vanity, and the work of errors: in the time of their visitation they shall perish.  The portion of Jacob is not like them: for He is the former of all things; and Israel is the rod of His inheritance: The LORD of hosts is His name.

Gather up thy wares out of the land, O inhabitant of the fortress.  For thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will sling out the inhabitants of the land at this once, and will distress them, that they may find it so.  Woe is me for my hurt! My wound is grievous: but I said, Truly this is a grief, and I must bear it.  My tabernacle is spoiled, and all my cords are broken: my children are gone forth of me, and they are not: there is none to stretch forth my tent any more, and to set up my curtains.  For the pastors are become brutish, and have not sought the LORD: therefore they shall not prosper, and all their flocks shall be scattered.  Behold, the noise of the bruit is come, and a great commotion out of the north country, to make the cities of Judah desolate, and a den of dragons.  O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.  O LORD, correct me, but with judgment; not in Thine anger, lest Thou bring me to nothing.  Pour out Thy fury upon the heathen that know Thee not, and upon the families that call not on Thy name: for they have eaten up Jacob, and devoured him, and consumed him, and have made his habitation desolate.”  Jeremiah 10:1-25 (KJB)

The Eyes of the LORD

Proverbs 15:1-33

1. THE ALL-SEARCHING EYES OF THE LORD (vv. 1-7) focus 3).
He watches from a “lofty tower” or a very high place.

“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. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars.” 2 Chronicles 16:9

22 times in the Old Testament is the “Eyes of the LORD” written and only once in the New Testament in 1 Peter 3:12
How John describes the eyes of the LORD – “His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;” Revelation 1:14

2. THE SACRIFICE AND WAY THAT IS ABOMINATION TO THE LORD (vv. 8-10) focus 8-9).
Think of Cain’s sacrifice. Think of Saul’s sacrifice of disobedience (1 Samuel 15:22). God is not delighted by wicked sacrifice (Jeremiah 6:20).

3. THE INESCAPABLE PRESENCE OF THE LORD (vv. 10-24)focus v. 11).
Verse 11-

“If God knows the secrets of the world beyond the grave, much more does he know the secret thoughts of men on earth. The heart is the source of action. (see Mat_15:19, etc.)” Pulpit Commentary

4. THE DESTROYED HOUSE (v. 25).
The house of pride will be torn down, destroyed.
Psalm 52:1-5; 138:6; Isaiah 2:12; 1 Peter 5:5

“The proud, self-confident man, with his family and household and wealth, shall be rooted up. The heathen saw how retribution overtook the arrogant.” Pulpit Commentary

5. THE ABOMINATION AND THE PLEASANT WORDS (vv. 26-28)focus 26).
The righteous or good man or woman thinks before they speak. The tongue; a mighty force; will show the heart of an individual.

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

6. THE PRAYER THE LORD WILL HEAR (vv. 29-33)focus v. 29).
“A MAN”S NEARNESS TO GOD IS TO BE MEASURED BY HIS CHARACTER.” Pulpit Commentary. Long prayers are not a sign of one’s nearness to God, neither are big and impressive words.

God is impressed with the humble and contrite heart. See Psalm 51:17

Instruction and Authority from Proverbs 13

Instruction, Transgressions, and Authority – Proverbs 13:1-25

Verses 1 – 6 –  Once again we are dealing with the issues of the “mouth”.  Eating here seems to be speaking of much more than physical food; but rather of self-control with food and with the tongue.
Also speaking of control of one’s work habits; and speaking the truth.

Verses 7 – 8 –  When one makes themselves “rich” they are usually poor in many other ways.  Jesus said of the poor; “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3
Riches are counted, by God, to be much more than material gain or wealth.  When the wealthy pay “ransom” in fear for their lives; they are genuinely poor.

Verses 9 – 19 –  Verse 13 is the central part of these verses; and words to be heeded by all who will trust the Lord.

“Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed: but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded.”

The instruction of God’s Word gives wisdom, grace, knowledge, salvation, fellowship with God, Peace with God, and peace with Mankind.

Verses 20 – 21 –  How many times have parents guarded the people their children hang out with?  Good parents will keep watch.  “Evil communications corrupt good manners” 1 Corinthians 15:33  “Communications” in the KJV can be interpreted “companionship”
All Christians need to learn and know that there is much to be said about who you keep company with.  You can be known by who your friends and who your enemies are.

Verses 22 – 25 –  There is work and labor involved in caring for our future.  It begins by self discipline, and teaching our children.

“Prov. 13:24 Physical discipline is a common theme in Proverbs (see e.g., 10:13; 17:10; 22:15; 23:13–24; 29:15). It is viewed as an important part of the correction and training of a child, to teach him to avoid wrong behavior, to embrace what is right, and to build godly character. Equally important, physical discipline is an expression of love for a child, while the one who spares the rod hates his son. Taking into account all of the teaching of Proverbs, physical discipline of a child must never be severe and must always be exercised in love. Cf. Heb. 12:5–11.”  ESV Study Bible note.

The rod spoken of in verse 24 is one that speaks of “authority”.  The shepherd had a staff with a crook on the upper end; the king held a sceptre.  Both of these were signs of authority.
Our children need to learn to recognize authority.  When we have some who yell about corporal punishment as teaching children violence they are teaching children to disrespect authority.  Those who are in authority have the power to discipline.  God is the ultimate Authority.

-Tim A. Blankenship