Man of God – A Man of Prayer (2)

 “O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for Thine own sake, O my God: for Thy city and Thy people are called by Thy name.
And whiles I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy mountain of my God; yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation. And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision.” Daniel 9:19-23 (KJV)  Please read to the end of the chapter.

We continue Daniel’s Prayer with Daniel 9:19-27 –

In the fifth place we see that, DANIEL’S PRAYER WAS A FERVENT PRAYER. Daniel’s heart yearned for the day of deliverance. Even though he probably knew he would never see it – he would die in Babylon – still longed for that day when the people would return to Jerusalem, rebuild its walls, streets, temple and everything that goes with it all.

He fervently prayed – ie., with passion, commitment, and fire. Here are some things which accompany fervent prayer:

Humility – Change of garments – to garments of mourning ;; shaving off the hair on the head;

Crying – almost uncontrollable weeping;

Tearing of clothes – an outward sign of sorrow;

Fasting – committed to seeing God’s will done, even to the place of denying one’s self the physical needs one may have;

Sighing, groaning, even the sweating of blood.

Fervent prayer cares nothing for the negative opinions of others – the things listed above will seem fanatical to others who are less devoted, and unconcerned.

Daniel fasted. Reasons people in the Bible fasted; 1)Private problems; 2) Hannah for a child; 3) Public disasters; 4) The death of a king and his sons (1 Samuel 31); 5) Personal grief; 6) Grief for personal sin; 7) Pity for friends or others; 8) Searching for the will of God. It would do the Church of Jesus Christ wonders, if we would begin doing some fasting. We, today, are more familiar with feasting.

 The sixth thing we see is, that while DANIEL PRAYING, THE ANGEL GABRIEL CAME AND GAVE HIM UNDERSTANDING (vv. 20-23). Daniel prayed; confessing the sins of the people of Israel and his own sins, and lifting up supplications unto the Lord for their land. While he was praying the angel Gabriel appeared to him once again.

Gabriel said he had come to give Daniel “Skill and understanding”. I do not think it is too bold of a statement to say that it was because of Daniel’s devotion to God and His Word that God chose him for “Skill and understanding”. Daniel was fervent in prayer. He was consistent in his prayers. He was devoted to the Word of God. He was an obedient servant to God. He fasted. He wept. He mourned. I find it no surprise that God chose Daniel to give “Skill and understanding”.

Notice, the angel said, “At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to show thee..” Daniel’s prayers were heard from day one. His faith was strong in the Word of God.

The angel also tells him, “Thou are greatly beloved…” What a decree to come from the mouth of one of God’s angels.

 In the seventh thing we see the angel giving DANIEL THE PURPOSE OF THE SEVENTY WEEKS (v. 24). This is the thing Daniel read from Jeremiah concerning Israel. In the prophecy each seven day week represents seven years, thus the seventy weeks would represent a total of 490 years. What was the purpose of these years – one week of which or seven years, has not yet come to pass.

The purpose of the seventy weeks has a six fold purpose; 1) “To finish the transgression” ie., to bring an end to Israel’s transgression – their sin and rebellion against God in worshipping idols; 2) “To make an end of sins”; 3) “To make reconciliation for iniquity”, ie., that is to reconcile the nation to God; 4) To bring in everlasting righteousness; 5) To seal up the vision of the prophecy; and 6) To anoint the most Holy.

 In the eighth place we are told of THE RESTORATION OF JERUSALEM UNTO THE MESSIAH – WHO IS CHRIST JESUS (vv.25-26a). A decree would go forth for the restoration of Jerusalem from a Gentile king. There was such a decree that went forth from a king to Nehemiah to go and rebuild the walls of the city (Nehemiah 2).

The restoration of Jerusalem was done in 49 years. This period of time equals the ‘seven weeks’. There are 7 days in a week times 7 weeks equals 49 days. Each day equals 1 year. After the restoration of Jerusalem it would be 62 weeks until Messiah was ‘cut off’ this would equal 483 years. The Messiah, that is Jesus Chris, would be crucified on a cross in Jerusalem.

NOTICE – Seventy (70) weeks times 7 equals 490 weeks. This means that only 69 weeks have been fulfilled. The first 483 have been fulfilled exactly as God told Daniel. There has been approximately 2000 years since the completion of the 483 years. There remains 7 yet to be fulfilled. That seven years is known by at least two different titles; first, “The time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7); secondly, we know it better by “Tribulation period” – “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matthew 24:21). “Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds” (Rev. 2:22). It is also known as the “Day of the LORD” in many Old Testament passages.

 In the ninth place we see the SEVENTIETH WEEK; THE PRINCE TO COME; AND HIS COVENANT OF PEACE WITH ISRAEL (vv. 26b-27). The ‘prince that shall come’ is speaking of a deceiver. Some time following the disappearance of the saints of God, this man will come on the scene and make a peace covenant with Israel for seven years “One week”.

In the midst of the week – 3.5 years – this prince will break that covenant,a nd set himself up in the temple of God – “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God” 2 Thes. 2:3-4.

He will desolate the temple. Really just his presence in the temple will be worse than the pig which Antiochus Epiphanes placed on the altar. In his desolation he will call for the people of the world to worship him. That is when he begins running into problems. The last 3.5 years will be a time of judgment upon the earth such as no one has ever seen.

Not only will Israel be delivered during this time, but when Jesus comes to put an end to sin, they will look upon Him whom they have pierced (Rev. 1:7). In John 19:37 it says, “And again another scripture saith, ‘They shall look on Him whom they pierced”.

The seven years of ‘tribulation will end with Jesus coming in the clouds with His saints, conquering the rebellious nations of earth, ‘the inhabitants of earth’, cleansing the land; and reigning as King of kings and Lord of lords.

 The Blessed Hope of Titus 2:13.

COME QUICKLY LORD JESUS. MARANATHA.

The Mockery Of A King; And The Reaction Of The Faithful

“Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Then they brought these men before the king. Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up? Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands? Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” Daniel 3:13-18 (KJV)

THE KING’S MOCKERY OF GOD AND THE BOLD STAND OF THE FAITHFUL (vv. 13-18).

The decree has gone out, “Bow before this image, or burn”. Everyone has, with the exception of three Hebrew youth. The king hears that his decree has been shunned by three. He becomes angry. Did you ever think that the one who turned them in for their apparent insolence could have been one of those ‘wise men’ who could not reveal the dream, thus became jealous of these Hebrews. Nebuchadnezzar mocks the God of all creation.

Take a look now at the one’s who were bold people of faith. Their minds were made up (v. 16) – they would not bow – no compromise; no need for empty talk – they would not bow.

They knew God could deliver them, but even if not – they still would not bow. They had rather burn for God, and let the light of their burning shine throughout eternity, than bow to an idol. And, God still has the flame that could not harm them burning as an example today. Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me bless His holy name. Amen. Do Christians have that kind of faith today. We know there are some, especially, if we are familiar with The Voice of the Martyrs ministry located in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. They share stories each month in their Newsletter/magazine “THE VOICE OF THE MARTYRS” of our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world who are suffering for their faith. Facing persecution from their governments, if they refuse to give up preaching Christ or holding worship services. In the face of that kind of opposition they continue. God bless them. May we have that kind of faith.

The so called, “FAITH MOVEMENT” says God wants to bless you with material things, and if you are not it is due to sin in your life. What happens when things are gone? God will bless you with Good health, if you rid sin (negative thoughts and influences) from your life. What happens when health is gone? Are we only trusting God when we are blessed? That is the height of idolatry, not faith in the One true and living God. May God forgive those who teach such heresy.

When you are called on to stand for your faith will you bow under the butcher’s axe or before the idol of comfort and love for life?

Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah had determined before hand, that they would not worship this image. How could they make that pre-determined decision and stick with it. There is one thing for sure, and that is, that they had prayed, and were continuing to pray. I do not think the Scriptures need tell us that; it is just simply evident, by their previous examples.

How can Christians today stand in the face of such trial? Only by maintaining a continuing fellowship with God in prayer, in His Word, and by being faithful in everyday living.  In a land and/or culture where everything is viewed as good, and right, except the truth; those who know Jesus, trust Him, and live by it need to continue to believe, trust and live by the truth.  Even when the kings, tyrants, despots, and rulers make new laws against us.  We must stand on the laws of God, and His word.  Just because something is “Legal” does not mean it is right.

The three Hebrews would not bow – even though it meant being cast “alive” into a hot fiery furnace. There are many professing Christians today who will not give up their comfort to be faithful to Christ by living right or giving up ten percent of their income as a tithe of their income, because they “Can’t afford it”. They can afford to get a new car, new house, or go on vacation to a new place. They just simply do not love God, and in the day of their trial by fire; they will not be faithful, because they have not pre-determined, by faith, to stand.

Feeling Forgotten

“How long wilt Thou forget me, O LORD? For ever? How long wilt Thou hide Thy face from me?” Psalm 13:1 (KJV)

David was feeling much anxiety.  No one knows the particular reason for his anguish in this Psalm, but it is here.  It can apply to any circumstance of feeling forgotten, forsaken, and maybe a reflection of all the times he has felt this way.

Many may believe this is not the response the “Man after God’s own heart” ought to be experiencing; yet here we have it.  David was a man, a human being.

Have you ever experienced this anguish?  Have you ever felt that God has forgotten you, and it feels as though it will be for ever?  You are in good company.

When we hear the question “How long will You hide Your face from me?” we should be reminded of His presence, and glory.  We, like David should desire His presence, His glory – His face.  Of course we know that no one can see the face of God and live.  To look into the face of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is to look into the face of God.

He has not forgotten you.  He has not forgotten us.  He has not forgotten any who are His through the blood of His Son Jesus.  Take the time you are experiencing this anguish, and think of the power, the glory, and grace and mercy of GOD.  Be encouraged in Him today.

Looking At The Beatitudes

Matthew 5:1-12 continuing…

We will be looking at each of the Beatitudes individually through the next few posts.

LOOKING AT THE BE-ATTITUDES

Matthew 5:1-12

When we begin looking at the Sermon on the Mount we see how Jesus expects His dedicated followers to live. There are far too many professing Christians that are saying and believing, “We are not required to obey the law any longer”, thus we have a bunch of reprobate professors of Christianity. There could not be anything further from the truth.

Where the law only told us the way, but did not provide aid in the way; Jesus came fulfilling the law and because of His Spirit living within also enables us to live the law in our lives. The law which once was only written in cold hard stones, and could not reach stone cold hearts, is now written in hearts of flesh.

Anyone professing today that they live by the Sermon On The Mount had better read it before they make such a bold announcement. It is far more binding, and has much more it requires than does the Ten Commandments. We will look at some of those things when we get to those areas.

In this lesson of the ‘BE-ATTITUDES’, using a little play on words; we find the attitudes the individuals who are in the Kingdom of Christ Jesus the King, are to have.

There are nine “Blessed(s)” given. The meaning of the word “Blessed” is ‘happy’. That is a “Beatitude”. Each “Blessed” is a reference to more than happiness – it has most certainly to do with spiritual joy. Happiness (as often defined or thought of) is determined by circumstances; events which take place in one’s life which can either add great excitement and temporary happiness, or great distress and sorrow. If it is an event which brings temporary happiness and excitement, it is only fleeting. Spiritual joy is an attitude attainable only by faith in Jesus – having a close personal relationship with Him. The happiness of which these Bible Blessings speak of is an enduring happiness, an inner joy, which is everlasting, and cannot be taken away.

Matthews Gospel tells us that it was the disciples whom Jesus taught. After having multitudes following Him He probably felt a need to get away. If not only for His disciples sake. This is the first major teaching of Jesus in this Gospel. It covers chapters five through seven. It could be called PRINCIPLES FOR KINGDOM LIVING. This was the King’s way of setting up His kingdom, and preparing the hearts of His people for what was to come. It was a different kingdom, than what the religious rulers had heard and taught. For some reason they missed the part of the “Suffering Servant” (Isaiah 52-53), dying by the hand of God, and taking away our transgressions. We see by these that there is happiness, fulfillment, and joy in the kingdom of our Lord and Savior.

You Are of More Value

“But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of Man be come.  The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.  It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?  Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.  What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops.  And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.  Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.  But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.  Whosoever therefore shall confess Me before men, him will I confess also before My Father which is in heaven.  But whosoever shall deny Me before men, him will I also deny before My Father which is in heaven.”  ~Jesus (Matthew 10:23-33)

Quiet from the Fear of Evil

The following is from Morning and Evening a daily devotional by Charles H. Spurgeon.  I found this very encouraging and thought it might be for someone else as well.

Morning …

Proverbs 1:33
Whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.

Divine love is rendered conspicuous when it  shines in the midst of judgments. Fair is that lone star which smiles through the rifts of the thunder clouds; bright is the oasis which blooms in the wilderness of sand; so fair and so bright is love in the midst of wrath. When the Israelites provoked the Most High by their continued idolatry, He punished them by withholding both dew and rain, so that their land was visited by a sore famine; but while He did this, He took care that His own chosen ones should be secure. If all other brooks are dry, yet shall there be one reserved for Elijah; and when that fails, God shall still preserve for him a place of sustenance; nay, not only so, the Lord had not simply one “Elijah,” but He had a remnant according to the election of grace, who were hidden by fifties in a cave, and though the whole land was subject to famine, yet these fifties in the cave were fed, and fed from Ahab’s table too by His faithful, God-fearing steward, Obadiah. Let us from this draw the inference, that come what may, God’s people are safe. Let convulsions shake the solid earth, let the skies themselves be rent in twain, yet amid the wreck of worlds the believer shall be as secure as in the calmest hour of rest. If God cannot save His people under heaven, He will save them in heaven. If the world becomes too hot to hold them, then heaven shall be the place of their reception and their safety. Be ye then confident, when ye hear of wars, and rumours of wars. Let no agitation distress you, but be quiet from fear of evil. Whatsoever cometh upon the earth, you, beneath the broad wings of Jehovah, shall be secure. Stay yourself upon His promise; rest in His faithfulness, and bid defiance to the blackest future, for there is nothing in it direful for you. Your sole concern should be to show forth to the world the blessedness of hearkening to the voice of wisdom.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Daniel 1:1-7

I realize I have done a previous study on the prophet Daniel.  However, the following are study notes for a new series of sermons I am preaching at Carr Lane Baptist Church beginning January 03, 2010.  I will include hear a link to my previous study and to only the points on our church site.

GOD WILL TAKE CARE OF YOU

“Casting all your care upon Him; for He cares for you.”  1 Peter 5:7

A STUDY IN DANIEL

Purpose – To unveil and see the sovereign hand of God at work in the history of the nations of mankind, of men, and to know and trust God to be sovereign in directing our individual lives.

When Your World Crumbles Around You

Daniel 1:1-7

Purpose – To know and trust God to care for us even when nations, our own, and others are falling; God will take care of us, and meet our needs.

OUTLINE –
I.  THE FALL OF A NATION (v. 1).
II.  THE CAPTIVITY OF A KING, AND KINGDOM’S RELIGION (v. 2).
III.  THE CAPTORS ATTEMPT TO MOLD AND CONTROL MINDS (vv. 3-5).
IV.  THE SOVEREIGN HAND OF GOD IN FOREIGN AFFAIRS (vv. 6-7).

Isaiah the prophet had prophesied over one hundred years before of the impending doom coming on the nation of Israel.  They had grown rich, soft, comfortable, complacent, and apathetic.  “No harm will come to us.” they would say, “After all we are God’s nation, God’s people.  We have the temple of God”; and oh so foolish in their hearts turning from God.

There is security with the LORD so long as the LORD is honored, revered, trusted and obeyed by His people.  When God’s people forsake Him, He does not forsake His people, however, He will discipline, correct, and rebuke them to get them back under His care.

I.  PEOPLE FALL AWAY FROM GOD (v.1)
Jehoiakim king of Judah was the son of Josiah, who was the son of Amon, the son of Manasseh (2 Kings 21:18-26).  Johoiakim was born Eliakim, but the king of Egypt changed his name to Jehoiakim and appointed him king of Jerusalem (2 Kings 23:34).  This falling of the kingdom had begun a few years earlier when the prophet Isaiah was warning of the hard heartedness, and their straying from God.

The reason for the captivity that we are reading about in this text is because of the people’s forsaking God, His Word and His commandments (Ezekiel 20:13, 16; 23:38).

When God had spoken throught he prophet Jeremiah to call the people to go out to Nebuchadnezzar and surrender that was their last opportunity to remain in their land (Jeremiah 27:1-11).

II.  A KING IS TAKEN AND A KINGDOM’S RELIGION IS CAPTURED (v. 2).
This was the first invasion by Nebuchadnezzar.  He took the king from his throne, and to Babylon.  He also took some of the “articles of the house of God”.  It seems to have been a way to imply that the power of the gods of a nation are determined by the conquering nations taking these articles with them, and housing them with their religious articles.  This is seen earlier in the nation of Israel’s history when the Philistines took the Ark of the Covenant and put it in the house of Dagon (1 Samuel 4:11; 5:1-9)

One thing we as Christians must know and keep in mind; just because our place of worship may be destroyed, in shambles, and the place of the “Lord’s Supper” be stolen does not mean that God is destroyed or stolen.  He is larger than our pieces of religion which are used to remember Him.  When the world may take the sign of the cross and abuse it, misuse it, and/or mock it that does not deminish the power of the cross of Jesus Christ.  Several years ago a man, believing he was designing some sort of artistic piece placed a designer cross in a jar of urine, and photographed it.  That did not affect the power of the cross of Jesus one iota.  It was saccreligious.  It caused an outrage among many, and it seemed with some that it was almost the end of the cross of Christ.  Not so however.  The power of the cross of Christ Jesus cannot be captured, destroyed, or diminished.

Religions of men can be captured, destroyed, diminished, and cast out; but the cross of Christ will continue in its power to save and change lives until Jesus Christ returns.

III.  THE WORLD ATTEMPTS TO MOLD AND CONTROL MINDS (vv.3-5).
In the day of Babylon’s captivity of the Jews and others they would take the captives and change their names, and give them a new diet.  For the Jewish people it would mean eating swine, and other unclean foods for them.  In the eyes of many of the world this rich food would be a “blessing” over what they had been eating.
Ashpenaz, a eunuch for the king, was to pick out choice youth from the kingdoms, including Israel, and give them a new diet, and teach them new things.  Fill their heads with new thoughts, divert them from what they had been taught, and gain their loyalty.

Even in a free country such as the USA our public schools, many colleges, and universities, endeavor to redirect minds from the basics of what they have been taught by their parents, churches, and private schooling; directing them to more liberal thought and leadership styles.  They do these things by calling basic life truths, Bible truths, and moral truths into question, and ridiculing any and all who will stand on those basics.

This thought is seen in the science of the thought of “Global warming”.  When some scientist began questioning the authenticity of the theory and its truth these men and women were called all sorts of insulting names; “Unlearned, ignorant, fools” and not even given a chance to prove their points.  The world is attempting, even now, to control the minds, and beliefs of the people.

IV.  THE SOVEREIGN HAND OF GOD IN FOREIGN AFFAIRS (vv. 6-7).
A changing of the names of these Jewish youth.  We are told of only four.  Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; probably because they were four who stood for what they had been taught, never followed the path of evil in Babylon, and stood their ground.  We do not hear them called by these names until a later chapter.  They are called by their Hebrew names at least 5 times from chapter one through chapter two, and yet most people only know them by their Babylonian names?   God wants us to know them by their names Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.  Daniel is referred to as Daniel most of the way through the book; why do we not continue to know Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah by their true names?

Daniel means “God is my judge” … Belteshazzar means “the keeper of the treasure of Baal”;  Hananiah means “Jehovah is gracious”  …Shadrach means “command of the moon god”; Mishael means “Who is like Jehovah” … Meshech means “the goddess Shach”;  Azariah means “Jehovah is my helper” … Abednego means “the fire god”.

Part of the reason and answer to the question above is that we too have been conditioned by what we have been taught.  Let’s begin retraining our thinking to direct ourselves to the thoughts of godly thinking, and living; and trusting that kings and kingdoms are ordained by God; they rise and fall by His decree; and that no king, kingdom, man or woman can stand without the hand of God ordaining it. “The king’s heart is in thehand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: He turneth it whithersoever He will” Proverbs 21:1

APPLICATION-
i.  Let’s stand upon the Word of God; reading, studying, hearing, and applying it to every area of our lives (2 Timothy 3:15-17; 1 Timothy 4:2).
ii.  Putting our faith and trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ on Calvary’s cross, and guarding our hearts and minds from religion of men (Psalm 118:8).
iii.  Filling our minds with the things of God, holiness, righteousness, God’s glory, justice, peace, His love, mercy, goodness, bearing the fruits of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:16;  Ephesians 5:18; Galations 5:22-23).
iv.  Always keeping in mind the power of the sovereign hand of God over the affairs of men and nations will help us realize everyday, that, God is directing the events and circumstances of  our lives; that, He does not have a plan A and a plan B (Daniel 29, 37, 47).

-Tim A. Blankenshi

You may find my previous study posted on Fire and Hammer and the article on Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah and the other Daniel: The Educating Of The Youth.

Panorama Of The Fire

 “Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:8-9 (KJV).

A true “Panorama” is an ability to see clearly in every direction. The MIRRIAM/WEBSTER Dictionary – “2. a complete view in every direction”. This would fit with what we have by faith in Jesus our Savior. The One who takes us through the fiery trials of life.

Many of the people to whom Peter is writing have never seen Jesus; and that includes you and I. People were trusting the words of the apostles, and things were many times verified by the Holy Spirit with signs from God. Jesus spoke to Thomas, called the Doubter, “Thomas, because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” John 20:29 (KJV). That same promise is spoken here by Peter. It applies to all people who hear the message of God’s Word/Gospel and believe what He has said.

When you realize what Jesus has done, is doing and will do for us; how can we not love Him. He left the glories of Heaven, laid aside His own glory, became subject to humanity, went willingly to lay down His life on the cross: He endured the ridicule, the beatings, scourgings, the cruel judgments, and died for us. His love motivates love for Him in the hearts of those who can see. Though we cannot see Him we still hear His Word, believe it and trust Him to do His work in us. That faith brings with it that thing that is “Unspeakable” or “Inexpressible”.

There is “Joy unspeakable”, inexpressible, beyond our imaginations, and “full of glory”. It must be His glory, because you and I have none to glow. He is full of glory. His glory was viewed even before His death and resurrection by Peter, James and John on what has been called the “Mount of Transfiguration” (Matthew 17:1-12). It is great to share in His joy and glory. That is what makes it joyous and glorious.

With the “Joy unspeakable” there is one of the most wondrous things about our salvation. That wondrous thing is that we will be there to see it take place, ie., our completed salvation. Let me assure you, that because, of the promises given us by Jesus and the words of the apostles we are just as assured of Heaven as if we were already there. However, it will not be complete until we are standing face to face, in the very presence of Jesus Christ Himself. There are some who believe that we cannot know that we are saved, and will have to wait until that day. I certainly find no assurance in that. Here is what John the apostle said, “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” 1 John 5:13 (KJV). Now, that sounds like assurance. Kept by the eternal power of God He sees His work through to completion. To suggest that God fails in what He begins is next door to blasphemy. Here is some more assurance, “Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” Philippians 1:6 (KJV). The “End of your faith” is when our sanctification is done here and we stand face to face with our Savior Jesus Christ. The salvation of our souls is guaranteed by faith in Jesus when we call on Him. The Holy Spirit is the seal of our redemption until we get there, and it is finished when we see Jesus.

Someone put it this way: “We have been saved from the PENALTY of sin; We are being saved from the POWER of sin; and we will be saved from the very PRESENCE OF SIN.”

Salvation is guaranteed by the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives; “That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” Ephesians 1:12-14 (KJV). When we are trusting in Jesus we can also trust that He sees the panoramic view of things, and is working all things for our good and His glory. Even in the fires of trials and tribulations.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Pray Until Something Happens

The following came by email sometime ago.  It may have been around for quite a while, but it is a good illustration of faithfulness to our Lord. There is no author given, so I will call her/him UNKNOWN.

PUSH

A man was sleeping one night in his cabin when suddenly his room filled with light, and God appeared. The Lord told the man he had work for him to do, and showed him a large rock in front of his cabin. The Lord explained that the man was to Push against the rock with all his might….
So, this the man did, day after day. For many years he toiled from sunup to sundown, his shoulders set squarely against the cold, massive surface of the unmoving rock, Pushing with all his might!
Each night the man returned to his cabin sore and worn out, feeling that his whole day had been spent in vain. Since the man was showing discouragement, the Adversary (Satan) decided to enter the picture by placing thoughts into the weary mind: (He will do it every time)!
“You have been Pushing against that rock for a long time and it hasn’t moved.” Thus, he gave the man the impression that the task was impossible and that he was a failure. These thoughts discouraged and disheartened the man.
Satan said, “Why kill yourself over this? Just put in your time, giving just the minimum effort; and that will be good enough.” That’s what the weary man planned to do, but decided to make it a matter of prayer and to take his troubled thoughts to The Lord.
“Lord,” he said, “I have labored long and hard in Your Service, putting all my strength to do that which you have asked. Yet, after all this time, I have not even budged that rock by half a millimeter. What is wrong? Why
am I failing?” The Lord responded compassionately, “My friend, when I asked you to serve Me and you accepted, I told you that your task was to Push against the rock with all of your strength, which you have done. Never once did I mention to you that I expected you to move it. Your task was to Push. And now you come to Me with your strength spent, thinking that you have failed. But, is that really so? Look at yourself. Your arms are strong and muscled, your back shiny and brown; your hands are callused from constant pressure, your legs have become massive and hard. Through opposition you have grown much, and your abilities now surpass that which you used to have. True, you haven’t moved the rock. But your calling was to be Obedient and to Push and to exercise your Faith and trust in My Wisdom. That you have done. Now I, my child, will move the rock.”
At times, when we hear a word from God, we tend to use our own intellect to decipher what He Wants, when actually what God wants is just Simple Obedience and Faith in Him. By all means, exercise The Faith that moves mountains, but know that it is still God Who Moves The Mountains.
When everything seems to go wrong….just P.U.S.H.
When the job gets you down…..just P.U.S.H.
When people don’t do as you think they should…..just P.U.S.H.
When your money is “gone” and the bills are due…..just P.U.S.H
When people just don’t understand you…..just P.U.S.H.
P = Pray U = Until S = Something H = Happens

Thanks UNKNOWN for this great illustration.  We don’t know the reason for certain things in our lives.  Only God knows.  He has not called us to understand, but to be faithful.

A Ruler’s Need

The King Meets the Need of a Ruler

“While he spake these things unto them, behold, there came a certain ruler, and worshipped him, saying, My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live. And Jesus arose, and followed him, and so did his disciples.” “And when Jesus came into the ruler’s house, and saw the minstrels and the people making a noise, He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn. But when the people were put forth, he went in, and took her by the hand, and the maid arose. And the fame hereof went abroad into all that land.” Matthew 9:18-19, 23-26 (KJV).

This man of the synagogue could very well represent anyone who is in a place of authority. This man’s name is Jairus. We know His name from reading the gospel according to Mark and Luke (Mark 5:22; Luke 8:41). Why Matthew does not name Jairus is not known, at least by me. Jairus being a religious ruler, when his daughter became very ill, suddenly did not care what his friends and associates thought about what he did.

This religious authority recognized a superior authority and worshipped Him. It is amazing what real needs do to people. A sense of desperate helplessness drove this man to a man his peers hated, despised, and counted as a blasphemer. Certainly this ruler recognized the truth of Jesus’s statement in verses twelve and thirteen. Now he needed a physician, at least for someone he loved and cherished, and that was his need too.

Jesus and His disciples followed Jairus home. They found the girl to be dead. Death offers no hope in the scene. The mourners are already mourning her death. Jesus, however, came into the world to deliver those who are “dead in trespasses and sin” (Ephesians 2:1), and giving physical life to this girl is evidence and proof positive that He had power over life and death; both physical and eternal. The dead cannot have faith until there is regeneration. Jesus says, “The maid is not dead, but sleepeth”.

At the statement of Jesus’s words of assurance the people present at the home of Jairus’s family laugh at Jesus. We are told,

“And they laughed Him to scorn” – “Scorners who laugh at what they do not understand, are not proper witnesses of the wonderful works of Christ.” From Matthew Henry Concise.

In the eyes of Jesus the young girl was only sleeping. Her body was dead, or sleeping as Jesus said it, but her soul and spirit were very much alive and alert. Death is but a sleep from which we can only be awakened by the power of Jesus. Those who make a mockery of Jesus are put out — run off. The girl arose from her “Sleep” at the touch of the voice of the Master – King Jesus.

At the voice of the King, our Master, we receive new life through Him.  He is the resurrection and the life.  That is our greatest need.

Go Forth

Go Forth

“And it came to pass in the six hundredth and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from off the earth: and Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and, behold, the face of the ground was dry. And in the second month, on the seven and twentieth day of the month, was the earth dried. And God spake unto Noah, saying, Go forth of the ark, thou, and thy wife, and thy sons, and thy sons’ wives with thee. Bring forth with thee every living thing that is with thee, of all flesh, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth; that they may breed abundantly in the earth, and be fruitful, and multiply upon the earth. And Noah went forth, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons’ wives with him: Every beast, every creeping thing, and every fowl, and whatsoever creepeth upon the earth, after their kinds, went forth out of the ark.” Genesis 8:13-19 (KJV)

This is the first time we are told that God spoke to Noah since He called he and his family into the ark, and closed the door, “and the LORD shut him in” (7:16). O, how reassuring and comforting it must have been to Noah to hear the voice of God again. How do we respond when we do not hear God? Times of God’s silence seem like darkness. If you have never experienced these times then, you will not understand of what I am writing. It just seems like you are alone. You hardly know where to turn, what to do, or know if you should do anything at all. It is especially difficult when you have grown use to knowing and enjoying His speaking to you. What did Noah do during that year of silence?

Here is what Noah did. He did what he had been given commandment to do. When you have heard God speak in the light, and He has given guidance, commandment, or commission, then, that is what you are to do in the dark. Someone has said, “Never doubt in the dark, what God has spoken in the light”. That is good.

Noah uses the faith God has given him, the wisdom, the patience to follow through with everything God has taught him. Then, when all is ready; God speaks again. Going through the flood in that ark was Noah’s assurance that God was going to bring them through. When you experience God’s silence remember His Ark of safety in the person of His Son Jesus Christ. You are sealed with the Holy Spirit of Promise. The presence, power and glory of God’s Spirit in you is God’s assurance He is going to bring you through.

“Go forth of the ark” was God’s word to Noah. It was God’s word for the living things and fowl, and cattle that were all on the ark. God’s Word to us is for the whole world. God’s Word is to go, fill the earth.

Again, Noah did all that God had commanded him to do. Though the words are not used he follows God directions. Noah, his wife, their three sons, and their wives all came off the ark; and all the animals, insects, and fowl came off as well. God’s command was “Go” in this text. It was not come. Noah had to get out of the “sanctuary” of the ark. As Christians we are to be in the world, but not of it. That means we are not to seek living in solitude away from the world; but to be in the world, and not of it. Showing the world by our lives and living faith what Jesus Christ death, burial and resurrection means to us, and how He has changed our lives.

The Open Window

The Open Window

“And it came to pass at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made: And he sent forth a raven, which went forth to and fro, until the waters were dried up from off the earth. Also he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground; But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him into the ark, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth: then he put forth his hand, and took her, and pulled her in unto him into the ark. And he stayed yet other seven days; and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark; And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf pluckt off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth. And he stayed yet other seven days; and sent forth the dove; which returned not again unto him any more.” Genesis 8:6-12 (KJV)

After the ark settles in the mountains of Ararat Noah waits forty more days. Endurance, security, and patience seem to be evidence of faith. Faith which is given by God holds on to God. Noah shows great wisdom in using the dove and the raven. These two birds are very different in character. The text does not mention it, so I will let you know this is only my assumption; but it almost seems that both ravens would have been released – the male and the female. The dove returns because she found no place for her feet. The raven, however, being an unclean bird is carnivorous, and would have found plenty of corpses to light upon, rest and feed. From that I assume that both ravens would have been released, because the raven does not return.

Noah waited seven more days, after taking the dove back into the ark, and sent the dove out again (v. 10). This time the dove returns with an olive leaf, which has been plucked from an olive tree. This means that the land is drying up, and that vegetation is coming back on the land. My how God has designed the regenerating power of His creation. The earth can renew herself after great devastation, but man cannot renew himself. We are totally dependent upon the LORD God for renewing, regeneration and eternal life.

When the dove returned with the leaf, Noah again waited seven more days. We hear much about the patience of Job, but Noah exhibits a tolerable amount of it himself. His wisdom and patience and faith are great. Would to God that we who call ourselves Christians practiced such faith during our storms and trials and tribulations; and, after they are finished. When Noah released the dove this final time it would not return. This was the sign to release the animals and to go forth from the ark Yet he would not depart until God said “Go…” (v. 16). This is a commission from Jesus to the Church, “Go, and make disciples…” We have no sanctuary but Christ Jesus. He abides in us, and we in Him. He is our security, our peace, our assurance, and it is from Him we have faith. He is our Open Window to the Father.

The Spirit of God Moves

The Spirit of God Moved

On the second month; which appears to be of that present year; Noah, his wife, their sons and their sons wives went into the ark, at God’s invitation, after all the animals had already been boarded. You can find this in chapter 7:11. We read in the 24th verse of chapter seven that the “Waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days”. The word “Prevail” according to the MERRIAM/WEBSTER DICTIONARY means, “To win mastery: TRIUMPH”, and “PREDOMINATE”. According to Strong’s it means pretty much the same – “Gaw-bar” is the pronunciation in Hebrew, and meaning “A primitive root; to be strong; by implication to prevail, act insolently: – exceed, confirm, be great, be mighty, prevail, put to more [strength], strengthen, be stronger, be valiant.” (From E-sword).

With the water prevailing upon the earth means that it has the rule. It seems that it is progressing upward in depth after the rain stopped, and continued up to 150 days. There is nothing stopping it. For those who advocate a local flood, I would ask, “Where is the dam? How is it holding when God says the waters prevailed upon the earth?” In the Hebrew reckoning of months there were 30 day, and 29 day months. Their year would have had only 354 days, and about every three years there would be an extra 29 day month. It is uncertain if Moses wrote this with the Hebrew calendar in mind. It would be most likely, but I am not dealing with the months. I only point this out due to the time of departure, and arrival at the destination of the ark. One hundred fifty days would equal to about 5 months that the waters prevailed upon the earth.

Assuming this 150 days included the forty days and forty nights of rainfall that means they have been in the ark a very long time. Noah and the family could have began to get very discouraged, and just plain ole cranky with one another. Who knows, they may have even began to think that they had been forsaken by God. We just do not know what was going on on that ark. Hear what God says.

“And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark: and God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters asswaged; The fountains also of the deep and the windows of heaven were stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained; And the waters returned from off the earth continually: and after the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters were abated. And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat. And the waters decreased continually until the tenth month: in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, were the tops of the mountains seen.” Genesis 8:1-5 (KJV)

It is with much comfort we are told, “God remembered Noah…”. Though it is not that he forgot him, this is a reminder of God’s covenant promise with Noah and all that went into the ark (Gen. 6:18-21). Noah was the intelligent one of God’s creation. He was the one who bears the image of God. He is the one to whom God for the salvation of the human race and the animal kingdom.

Noah is the one for whom the window was built for the beholding the heavens, and speaking with God the Creator. God remembering has more to do with Promise and with God’s faithfulness. He is the faithful God.

God also remembers every living thing on the ark. Those things which many of us would just as soon never had in the earth. There were serpents, creepy crawly things, flying insects, like, mosquitoes, flys, etc. According to something I read sometime ago; it used to be thought that the common housefly was made by spontaneous generation, but that has been proven wrong. In these things we must realize that God knows best. All of these things have their purpose in God’s ecology. He is the All Wise One.

We are also told that God remembered the cattle. Surely this text goes through all of this to assure us that God does not forget his promises. His covenants are part of who He is. His Word will not fail. The cattle; these livestock which we be closer to home; these are the source of their food, and the food of the world, and the means of clothing, using the skins.

God made a wind to pass over the earth, and it was because of that wind that the waters began to recede. They were no longer prevailing upon the face of the earth. The LORD God showed He was still in control. Noah certainly needed this assurance. His family needed this assurance. The wind came as it was made to do. It began to dry away the waters. The mountains began to show. The ark settled, and came to rest upon the peaks of Ararat.

The word “Wind” in verse one is the same word as “Spirit” in chapter one verse two. “And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters”. On the third day of creation the land came forth in a day. On this day with Noah and his family it took time. It was not until the seventh month on the seventeenth day of the month that the earth was dry. They would be on the ark until the second month and twenty seventh day when the earth dried, and God would command them off (More on this later).

There must have been such joy and rejoicing as the ark settled into a crevice in the rocks, and rested there. They must have felt that surely we can leave this boat soon. Encouragement, though, comes only in pieces. We should know that this prepares us with patience. When it seems as though the storm is never going to end. When it seems as though the waters of trial and tribulation rush all around you. When it seems the rocking and twisting of your salvation is never going to stop. You can rest assured it will. The storm will end the rush of the trial will cease. Your faith will be made stronger in your salvation. God will come through.

A Protector of Sheep

We are all friends of protectors.  I had never heard of the following breed of dog which protects sheep and saves sheep farmers money.  The story is from FACTS AND FALLACIES printed by Reader’s Digest.

IT IS LATE ONE NIGHT, and in the pasture the flock is restless.  Somewhere out in the darkness a coyote lurks, scenting his prey, creeping closer for the kill.  Suddenly the silence is shattered by wild barking.  A huge dog with a shaggy coat bounds in the direction of the predator, who turns and runs.  The sheep are safe from attack.

Their comical-looking savior is no ordinary sheepdog but a komondor.  The breed is being employed by sheep farmers in the United States to tackle the economic threat posed by coyotes: the loss of 10 percent of a flock every year.

Guarding the flock

Coyotes used to be controlled by a poison called Compound 1080.  But in 1972 the government banned the substance because it harmed other wildlife.  Since then the coyote population has increased significantly, and alternative methods of control have proved ineffective, expensive, and time-consuming — until the arrival of the komondor.  The dog’s fierce territorial instincts make it ideal for protecting sheep.

An ancient working breed, native to Hungary, the komondor has a long white corded coat, stands about two feet high, and weighs approximately 100 pounds. It is powerful and fast on its feet.  Because it is devoted to its master and intensely protective is is used to guard flocks rather than herd them.

Since the late 1970’s these qualities have proved invaluable to farmers.  Part of the komondor’s training is to introduce it to sheep while the dog is still young, so that it learns to treat the flock as its own.

Although expensive to purchase, komondors save farmers money in the long  run — and help to save the environment too.

From FACTS AND FALLACIES by Reader’s Digest, p. 66. 1988.

As Christians it is great to know that we have a Protector, and Keeper.  He has been with us since the beginning and He will let no harm come to us for eternity.  He is on gurard 24/7, and He loved us so much He died on a cross for our salvation. 

We were once like sheep headed for the slaughter, and He came and delivered us.  Praise the name of Jesus, the Shepherd of the flock.

Fast With Joy

Matthew 6:1-34 continuing…

“Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.” Matthew 6:16-18 (KJV).

This third characteristic of the kingdom heart and life should be when you are fasting FAST WITH JOY. It seems that the religious leaders very much wanted to be noticed for their fasting, and would have very somber and sad faces, so everyone would know when they were going without food. Let me say that there are several forms of fasting. One can fast from food to find God’s will in a certain need; one can fast for the purpose of seeking God for personal and national revival and renewing; but these must be done with the right heart and motive.

Fasting is right and good with the right motive. Jesus fasted. We have the most notable account of Jesus fasting in Matthew four where He fasted for forty days and nights (4:3). Members of the early church fasted – “As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them” Acts 13:2 (KJV).

Fasting is a means of disciplining the appetites of the body. It helps us keep our spiritual priorities straight. We focus more on God, His Word, and His will for our lives and living for Him, than on when the next meal is due. One of the most useful fast that I have found is when you are so involved in your study of God’s Word and prayer, that you do not even think of eating, the time passes, and you are into the Word so deeply, that it does not matter.

Fasting is more than depriving ourselves of food. It is time for the worshipping of God. A time for devotion to Him and giving all to Him.

True fasting is not for the purpose of drawing attention to one’s self, as did the hypocrites. To do so fits us into that category. Hypocrisy robs us of reality in Christian living. It substitutes reputation for character; it substitutes mere words for true prayer; it substitutes money for devotion of heart. Hypocrisy also robs us of spiritual rewards. Instead of God’s eternal approval we receive the temporary approval of men; We pray and receive no answers; We fast, but the inner man does not improve; We miss the blessing of God; and we lose God’s rewards when Jesus comes again. The first steps in overcoming hypocrisy: 1) Be honest with God in your secret life; 2) Fast seeking God with all your heart; 3) Pray from the heart; 4) Please God alone.

We will remain in hypocrisy if we tend to offer God pretty, lace and flower prayers, and fast to be seen and recognized by men. We will remain in hypocrisy if we pray only from a form or liturgical prayer that has been offered by someone else. We will remain in hypocrisy when we fast and pray to please others and do not care whether God is praised, honored and glorified or not. The purpose of fasting and prayer is to glorify the Lord, and then it matters not whether you get what you asked for yourself.

Friends of Israel

The nation of Israel is often denied their rights.  They have given up land in order to maintain peace in the Middle East.  They are a peaceful nation.  To the  Christian Palestinians let me say this.  Israel will own the land.  That is according to God’s promise.  Accept that and believe the whole counsel of the Word of the Lord.

Dr. Thomas Ice writing in Midnight Call Magazine, the November 2003 edition has an article titled “Christian Zionism”.  In his conclusion he writes this:

“In spite of our critics, who unjustly attempt to cast us in a bad light, dispensational premillennialism has always been the best friend the Jewish people have ever had within Christendom.  For many years, many in Israel have recognized this.  Amazing is that in the last few years, even the Orthodox community has come to realize that it has friends and supporters within the conservative Christian community.  At the same time that we support Zion, dispensational premillennialists have been the leaders of evangelizing the Jewish community during the present Church Age.  I believe that such support  of Zion by Christians will continue to be the case from now throughout all eternity. Maranatha!”

From p. 33, MIDNIGHT CALL, November 2003.

Israel is so often, too often maligned, and accused of being the aggressor, when the truth is she has often shown restraint, and even withheld in attacking when she has been attacked.  May the leaders of our country begin taking a stronger stand for Israel.  Are we truly standing with them, supporting them when we advise them, that, for the sake of peace give back the land?  Not in my estimation.  It is their land.  God gave it to them, and one day it will all be theirs again.  It will be more then, than what they have possessed since 1948.  God’s will will be done

And They Came

Genesis 7:1-24 continues…

“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.” Genesis 7:2-6 (KJV).

After the fall of man the earth was cursed. Not only with weeds in crops and concerning insects, but also in the animal kingdom. Before sin entered the world all the animals were eaters of “straw”, that would include, fruits, vegetables, grass, leaves, etc. (See chapter one, verses 29-30). Some were probably very ferocious animals. Knowing and recognizing this helps us see the faith Noah had in God. The clean beasts – cattle, sheep, goats, etc. – were to come into the ark two by two – male and female, in groups of seven. This was for the purpose of sacrifice, and quite possibly, the provision of meat following the flood. The unclean would come into the ark by twos male and female. It was God’s doing to bring these animals into the ark.

God sent out a call to His selected ones and they came. Can you imagine what the expressions and thoughts of the other people must have been as much of the animal kingdom came to the ark two by two, in an orderly fashion and entered the ark. That alone should have been enough testimony to believe Noah’s preaching. “Maybe that old kook was right, afterall” might have been some of the thoughts going through the minds of many, but nevertheless, it was no good. It would not make any changing impact on them.

The whole line of Seth, except for Enoch, is now dead. Noah, his wife; their sons, and their wives the only living reminders of the holy line of God. Noah’s father died five years before the call for Noah, his family and the animals to enter into the ark. Methuselah dying shortly before the flood comes. Noah is now six hundred years of age.

In verse five we see the works which Noah’s faith produced. “And Noah did according unto all the the LORD commanded him”. How is your faith today? “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone” James 2:17 (KJV).

Invitation To Life

Genesis 7:1-24 continues…

When we search through all of Scripture there are many invitations which God extends. Most of them use the word “Come” including verse one here in our text. The LORD says to Isaiah, “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters…” Isaiah 55:1. Jesus says to Peter, Andrew, and James and John, “Come ye after Me, and I will make you to become fishers of men” Mark 1;17 (KJV).

There is an ivitation in the Beginning book of God, and there is a final one in the final book of God, “And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come’. And let him that heareth say, ‘Come’. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” Revelation 22:17 (KJV).

“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.” Genesis 7:1 (KJV).

Methuselah, God’s last chance before judgment is come, is now dead. He could have died the day this invitation is given to Noah. For 969 years God has been merciful. The darkness of evil has increased upon the earth. For the last 120 years it has progressed at “breakneck” speed. For 100 of those years Noah has been preaching, warning people of God’s coming judgment and preparing the ark for himself and his family.

The ark which Noah built by God’s command is where God’s presence dwelt. The invitation itself gives us clear evidence that God is in the ark. “Come” is the word God uses. It is a call to move in the direction of the One who is speaking; even to move to the exact location of the speaker; who in this case is GOD. Where is God when He speaks the word, “Come”? He is in the ark. The invitation is “Come…into the ark”. He did not say, “Go into the ark”, but “Come” implying very strongly that He Himself was already inside.

We are told that, “Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” Noah had done nothing to deserve this grace. God did not look down on Noah and say, “This man has a good heart”, or “This man has great potential for My glory”; God simply saw him the same way He did all the others and chose to show him grace. He showed him grace, and called him “Righteous”. Before He called Noah “Righteous” the LORD would have Himself paid his sin debt. That is God’s privilege. That is God’s mercy. That is God’s grace. He will have compassion on whom He will have compassion.

Design: By GOD

Genesis 6:1-22 conclusion.

“Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch. And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits. A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it. And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die. But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons’ wives with thee. And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female. Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive. And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them. Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.” Genesis 6:14-22 (KJV).

Having chosen Noah by His grace, God gives him command to build an ark. This ‘ark’ is a tool of safety, deliverance, and salvation. It is also a type of our Lord Jesus Christ. The ark is a place of refuge from God’s judgment, because He has already received and paid the price for judgment for us.

The ark is to have rooms within which are probably designated for certain animals and items which will be on the ark. This could refer in type to John 14:1-3 indicating Jesus preparing “A place” for all who will believe and receive Him. There is room being prepared for all.

There is a wonderful picture of atonement deliberately given us by God in the word “Pitch”. “Pitch it within and without with pitch”. Pitch is used, which is a tar like substance to seal the wood to protect the ark from seepage and leaking. It is amazing that this word , in Hebrew, is the same word “Atonement” in Leviticus 17:11. The atonement is only beneficial for those who would enter and remain in the ark. Once inside, at God’s invitation there was/is no way out. The inhabitants were protected from the cataclysmic destruction which came upon man. Sealed within by the Atoning work of God, and His Spirit.

The dimensions of the ark are quite impressive. To believe a work of this magnitude took place should do away with any thoughts of the preflood ignorance of architectural designing; of course, God gave Noah the designs, but Noah built it.

If we measured this ark using the smallest measurment for the cubit which is around 18 inches, and usually measured from the elbow of a man to the tip of his fingers; the ark would be equal in length to one an one half football fields [450 feet], and its greatest measurement 600 feet long; Its breadth would be 75 feet or 100 feet wide; and its height would be 45 feet to 60 feet.

There are some unique features God patterns in the ark. There is a window apparently one cubit square and evidently placed in the ceiling/roof area. A window toward heaven for times of distress and fear that the man and his family might look to God for help and strength. There is a door placed in the side, that the provisions for the well being of the man, and that the man himself might go in and be safe from judgment. There were three stories inside the ark. Probably one story, and most likely the top floor, was for the man and his family; one story would be for the storage of food provisions; and the other for the animals. We could learn from this that the things of the world are less important than a relationship and fellowship with God. It is for man whom God provided a window to Heaven.

In verses 17 and 18 it is again declared what God is about to bring upon the earth. God makes covenant with Noah. Before the ark is ever completed Noah is assured of deliveance from the great flood. Before our salvation is completed by the reappearing of Jesus Christ we are assured of deliverance.

God always gives every evidence of providing for the needs of His people. Even the things which are for beauty. Animals of every kind provide not only a balance in the created order of things, but also a beauty, pleasure and even the sense of man’s dominion upon the earth. God could have just saved the man, but He knew the benefit of the animals to us. After all, He created it to be so.

Food was to be brought into the ark. This was for the provision of man and beast. There was no provision made for any on board to eat flesh. All would eat grains, fruits, vegetables, and provender. Only God could change the nature of all these animals, back to their prefall state, from which many had become flesh eaters since, but now they will eat “Straw”. There is only a supernatural explanation for this.

Only God in His grae could provide a man to continue the human race. Look at the man. He was brought out of the world of wickedness. he too was a sinner. He also was condemned, but God in His mercy and grace chooses one man to continue humanity. What did Noah have to offer God? Nothing! What did God do for Noah? Everything. Grace, mercy, faith, and because of faith is it said in verse 22, “According to all that God commanded him, so did he.” Would to God that could be said of me. Not for salvation, but because of salvation.

Give With Caution

Matthew 6:1-34 continuing…

Chapter six of the Sermon On The Mount deals with our true worship toward God. It involves our character. All practices of worship are to be focused upon the Heavenly Father and God of all creation.

Anything, short of God, which we seek for fulfillment, peace, joy, and/or justification, is idolatry and covetousness.

“Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.” Matthew 6:1-4 (KJV).

This may come across as sounding somewhat out of the norm, but we ought to GIVE WITH CAUTION. On one occasion as Jesus teaching in the temple and his disciples with him we are told,

“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 unto him 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, even all her living.” Mark 12:42-44 (KJV).

Now, the reason Jesus tells us to “Take heed” to our giving and charitable deeds is because the Pharisees, and the wealthy made special note of your “Much giving”, thus being awarded the praise of man. God finds no pleasure in our boastful acts.

It is far better to give and no one know the amount of giving or even that you give, and glorify God, because He will know and He will be the one to bless you; than it is to give with pride, openly that all may see how much you give, and receive all the accolades of men, and miss the blessing of God. For the religious hypocrite giving is a means of gaining favor with God and their fellow man. In fact God frowns on the motive of self-exaltation (Acts 5:1-11). The praise and rewards of man hinders the blessing of God.

Give without calling attention to your act –

“If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” James 1:26-27

When we give with the sole purpose of giving back to God, recognizing His blessings to us, without calling attention to ourselves we grow spiritually; God is glorified, and others are helped by the generosity which came from our hearts. I would much rather have a blessing from the Lord, as to have a temporal recognition from God. Usually those who lavish recognition because of their giving, or works are doing what they are doing with the wrong heart and motive

Becoming Like the Father

Matthew 5:21-48 conclusion…

“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Matthew 5:48 (KJV).

Perfection. That is quite the challenge. It is a challenge which I cannot meet. It is a challenge which only God in His grace can give. Let me give you the MIRRIAM/WEBSTER Dictionary definition of the word “Perfect” – “Being without fault or defect 2 :exact, precise 3 :complete…” and there is more. Like I said, “I fall far short of that. Now, if the word means “Complete” in this context, then, that might be a possibility considering that God is the One who completes us.

Here is Strong’s on the word “Perfect” –

G5046

τέλειος

teleios

tel’-i-os

From G5056; complete (in various applications of labor, growth, mental and moral character, etc.); neuter (as noun, with G3588) completeness: – of full age, man, perfect.” From E-sword.

Considering that the Greek means “Complete” what would this mean? Strongs has in the above “…Mental and moral character”. If we are to be perfect/complete in God that surely must have to do with the character of the individual which causes her/him to fall on their face before their Lord and Savior when sin has been committed, and seek forgiveness immediately following the realization of the sin. It has absolutely nothing to do with “Sinless perfection”. In truth; the closer we get to the One who is holy, the more clearly we see ourselves as being unholy. The man or woman who believes they have reached a state of sinlessness or “Sinless perfection” is farther away from God than they have ever been.

The Word tells us, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you”. When we sin we should seek God’s forgiveness as quickly as possible. “Keep your accounts short”, and that would be especially so with our Lord. That would be the life of “Perfection” or being complete. Of course, it should be the goal of the child to become like the Father; and He is perfect in every way.

We are only complete when we are in the Father through Jesus Christ His Son and walking in the Spirit, walking by faith, walking with God. I just wanted to stress the point. Walk with the Lord.

A Response of Courage

Matthew 5:21-48 continued…

“Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?” Matthew 5:38-47 (KJV).

Could you get from these verses this thought? “Absence of giving equals no love”. The correct and always right attitude for the follower of Jesus Christ is the attitude which Jesus had. We are quick to strike back. We are slow to love when we are struck. In our society this would seem like the attitude of naivety, or cowardice. It is actually the response of courage.

The Old Testament Law does tell us, “An eye for an eye…” (Exodus 21:24; Leviticus 24:20; Deuteronomy 19:21), and Jesus is not denying these laws but showing a better way of respecting one another. “I am no one’s doormat”. Have you ever heard anyone say that. Would you be a “Doormat” if it meant that person coming to faith in Jesus? Does that put another spin on it? Another view? It should. I am not trying to say I can do that, but that ought to be the heart of the Christian. Be willing to lose an eye without retaliation. Go the second mile without payment. Give to any who asks of us. Love those who may despise us.

What reward is there in loving someone who loves me? It is much more rewarding for ourselves and the other person who may despise us when we show them an unconditional love – the love that Jesus has shown us.

This SERMON ON THE MOUNT is really tough. Again, anyone who tells me that they are living by the SERMON ON THE MOUNT better have a very impressive testimony for Christ, and living by these words of Jesus very faithfully, or I will be sure to call him/her a liar; or they are at the least very deceived. Let’s endeavor by our faith in Jesus and the power of His Spirit within live by His words. We have already failed. Let’s trust Him and His grace.

Lamech, “Strength”

Genesis 5:1-32 continued…

“And Lamech lived an hundred eighty and two years, and begat a son: And he called his name Noah, saying, This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD hath cursed. And Lamech lived after he begat Noah five hundred ninety and five years, and begat sons and daughters:” Genesis 5:28-30 (KJV).

Notice, Adam at Lamech’s birth would now be 874 years of age; Seth is 744; Enos is 639; Cainan 549; Mahalaleel 479; Jared is 414; Enoch 259 – he would have been walking with the LORD at this time for 194 years; Notice that these men are all still living at the time of Lamech’s birth.

Lamech is the second of such names in chapters 4 and 5. The first mentioned is the seventh in the lineage of Cain. He is a murderer; a destroyer (4:17-24), and he defies God’s direction concerning marriage by taking two wives.

Lamech of Seth’s lineage is the son of Methuselah and the father of Noah. What a wonderful place/position to be born: between God’s judgment and His rest.

Lamech means “Destroyer/Strength”. Certainly in Lamech of Seth he is strength. It would be the strength of God. It is clear from the scriptural text concerning Lamech of Cain that he was a destroyer.

There is strength for all who will follow the direction of God and walk in His peace.

Jared, “Descent”

Genesis 5:1-32 continuing…

“And Jared lived an hundred sixty and two years, and he begat Enoch: And Jared lived after he begat Enoch eight hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Jared were nine hundred sixty and two years: and he died.” Genesis 5:18-20 (KJV).

I may be a little redundant giving you the ages of these men, but I find it fascinating that at this period of time they would live so long. Here the ages of these men are at the time of the birth of Jared – another easy name. Adam has now reached the age of 460 years, Seth 330 years, Enos 225 years, and Cainan 135 years of age. Quite the tribute to the endurance of mankind??? Not hardly. More a tribute to the mercy and grace of God Almighty; Creator of all living.

Knowing the age of Adam’s death we can see that he is approaching the halfway point of his life. The days increase and death sneaks up. We do not know when. Whether we live 930 years or a mere 80 years only God knows the day and hour of our physical demise.

In Jared there is hope of deliverance. A word from God. A hope. Something, that God Something; inspired Mahalaleel to name his son ‘Jared’. A descending of God to the level of man, “yet without sin” (“For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” Heb 4:15 (KJV) was a hope for every godly person even before the deluge.

Jared means “A descent” or “Came down”. That is exactly what God did on the day Jesus was conceived in the womb of the virgin Mary. God came down to be like us, “Yet without sin”.

Seth the “Appointed”

Genesis 5:6-8 continues…

“And Seth lived an hundred and five years, and begat Enos: And Seth lived after he begat Enos eight hundred and seven years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years: and he died.” Genesis 5:6-8 (KJV).

The third son of Adam and Eve according to the record of God’s Word. This would definitely be the lineage of the LORD God’s plan of redemption. In this genealogy we have one of the clearest proclamations of hope and salvation for mankind.

Seth. He was surely a son of promise following the murder of Abel by Cain, and Cain’s desertion to the absence of the presence of God. Seth’s name means “Appointed”. With the death of Abel and the godless Cain the hopes of Adam and Eve may have been darkened, however, God gives them an “Appointment” through their son Seth. He will be an appointment with hope, salvation, redemption, and the presence of God.

Seth is a substitute. A godly seed in the place of Abel. It should be noted that Seth has sons and daughters and they are also populating the earth. All through the Old Testament we see the hope given by the “Substitute”. We have previously saw the animals which died in Adam’s and Eve’s stead, and provided them a covering. Here we have Seth as a “Substitute” filling in for Abel. A wonderful living substitute.

Their’s Is the Kingdom

Matthew 5:1-12 conclusion…

“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake. Rejoice and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” Matthew 5:10-12 (KJV).

These two have the tendency and practicality of standing together, so I will include them together. What is your position in relation to persecution? If you are a normal, red blooded American, then you probably don’t like it, won’t tolerate it, and would despise wherever it came from. Nobody likes persecution, and most people would seek means of staying away from it. There are however, reasons to stand your ground, and face the trials of persecution. The best reason of all is for the person of Jesus Christ. When you are living by faith in Christ you will suffer persecution; “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” 2 Timothy 3:12 (KJV).

Anyone who has heard of “The Voice of the Martyrs” knows that there are many cases of persecution going on in the world today. There are many instances of Christians suffering because of their faith in Jesus Christ. Many of them have turned from Islam to face angry parents, employers, city leaders, and supposed defenders of peace and placed on trial, rejected by their families, fired from their jobs, and treated ruthlessly by the police. Let me be clear that it is not only Islam which persecutes those who turn to Christ. It is also Hindus, and various other religions of men. Stand firm in the faith; stand firm.

The “Blessed(s)” in these two statements are not just toward anyone who stands firm in what they believe. The object of their belief is of utmost importance. If one is to receive these “Blessed”, then it will be because of their stand for “Righteousness” and that only comes through faith in Jesus Christ. Righteousness – simply put; means being right with God. No one – man, woman, boy or girl; and no matter what the color of their skin – is right with God except through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

If you are being persecuted because of your faith in Jesus, then, be assured that there will be a day of reward in Heaven. You are in good company. They also persecuted the prophets. Jeremiah was thrown into a pit; he was beaten and mocked by his own people. It is said by tradition that it was Isaiah the prophet who is mentioned in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews as being “Sawn asunder”, and some say it was while he was stuffed into a hollowed out tree. When it comes to Jesus Christ; in Him alone you have reason to “Rejoice and be exceeding glad”, but also in knowing that you are in a great company of others who suffered for righteousness sake through Jesus.

After looking at these “Beatitudes” can you see that this is not a thing attainable by human desire? There is deffinitely fulfillment in the lives of those who live the life of the “Beatitudes”, but it is only possible by grace through faith in Jesus.

They Shall See God

The Be-Attitudes continuing…

“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God” Matthew 5:8 (KJV).

Purity is such a sweet word. When we think of purity we might think of fresh fallen snow; without any yellow spots, of course. We might even think of a new born baby boy or girl. When it comes to Christianity we should think especially of Jesus Christ, for He is the essence of purity. The word “Pure” according to the MIRRIAM/WEBSTER DICTIONARY ‘Unmixed with any other matter: free from taint’ also, ‘Free from moral fault: innocent’. There was/is nothing about Jesus that is tainted. He is fully God and fully man, and free of any mix, and free of any taint; His life is free of any moral fault; He is innocent. He was innocent as He was condemned by men to die. As an innocent man He died for guilty men, that we might be made pure through His own blood.

The only way any other person can be pure of heart, ie., ‘holy’ is by the very holiness of Christ Himself. No one can see God without a pure heart [holiness], “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14 KJV). None can appear before God without a pure [holy] heart – “Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who shall stand in His holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully” Psalm 24:3-4 (KJV).

There is a pure heart only by looking to Jesus. As you look to Jesus you see God.

…A Man from the LORD

Genesis 4:1-26 continuing…

“And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD. And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground” Genesis 4:1-2.

As we begin looking at the life of the man and the woman outside paradise, and outside the best of God, we find Adam and Eve filled with promise and hope. Remember they had had a perfect environment, only to reject God, and to be cast from it for the entire remainder of their natural lives.

We have in these first two verses the first evidence of their copulating and bringing children into their world. We do know that they produced more children. For one thing we will see later is that Cain marries a wife. She had to come from somewhere. That is going to turn some people away to think that a man married his sister, but that was at that time the only way to propagate the race of man. At that time their would have been no problem with marrying so close of kin as there is now. The Word of God later forbids a man marrying his sister, but until that law was given, it was allowed.

We do not need to be alarmed by this chapter and learning of the brother sister marriages and such. After all it was the LORD God who commanded Adam and Eve to multiply and fill the earth. That is what they were doing. There are some who believe that sexual intercourse was the “Original sin” which caused the fall of the man and woman. That is not so, because God had already given them commandment to multiply, and fill the earth. Sex is a God honored act of marriage between a husband and his wife, a wife and her husband. In the book of Hebrews we read, “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (Heb. 13:4 NKJV).

The phrase, “Adam knew Eve his wife” is refering to the intimate, pleasurable act of marriage. It is a means of pleasure between a man and his woman in marriage, and for the purpose of procreation.

In these two verses God fulfills a promise. In chapter three and verse 16 we read, “Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children…”. Though it seems a bit shadowed by the curse there is within it the promise of “children”. The promise of children was not only a promise of continuation of the human race, but also the promise of a Savior. What good, or what count would this life be without the hope of a Savior who would come and be our substitute for sin? Expecting pain in the childbearing, she still looked longingly for that time those children would be born.

The birthing of that first son, Cain, gives her encouragement, meaning, and purpose for living. While Adam tills the ground “From whence he was taken” by God’s hand, “So Eve the woman with divine help produced the man, Cain. She sees in creating Cain the realization of her divinely assigned role.” KENNETH A. MATTHEWS, N.A.C. Commentary Vol. 1a, page 265. The woman is God’s instrument of continuation. She is the one who endures nine months of pain, excess weight, and the agony of the birth. Yet, she is joyful all through this time, full of expectation and hope. God’s promise fulfilled in the woman’s bearing children (1 Timothy 2:15).

Eve brought forth another son. The first, Cain, and Eve could have expected him to be the deliverer, but she soon learns otherwise. The second son is Abel.

Cain is a tiller of the ground walking in his father’s footsteps. Abel is a shepherd. Remember, God has cursed the ground (3:17). To labor in the field is the efforts and works of the man. The sheep on the other hand, another form of farming or ranching, grow as they are blessed by God. This is in no way to denegrate farmers or agriculture. This way of living is one of the most honorable and rewarding of all forms of vocations or occupations. There is no other, whether it is the raising of cattle, or the sowing of seed, that requires more work, faith, patience, and endurance. Anyone who has ever planted a garden seed could tell you the truth of the curse of the ground. Weeds spring up and choke off, and/or hinder the growth of the seeds planted, unless there is a tending to that garden, and weeds are pulled, cut back and/or destroyed.

Naked and Afraid

Genesis 3:1-24 continuing…

“And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat” Genesis 3:9-13

The question God asks as He calls out to Adam is not because He needs information. He already knows where Adam is. He wants Adam to know where Adam is. Now there may be some reading that statement who will not realize what that means. Adam knew he was hiding from God among the trees of the garden. What had probably not ‘hit home’ with Adam yet, was where he was in his relationship with the LORD God. If God was asking him where he was, things were not good between them.

It is now confession time. “I heard Thy voice…, and I was afraid…, I was naked; and I hid myself”. This best part about Adam’s confession is that he heard God’s voice. It goes downhill from there. Sin is what makes us afraid of God. It was sin that made Adam and Eve naked and ashamed; hiding themselves. Whether we realize it or not we are all physically covered with figleaves, made from manmade materials, and materials grown from the ground; such as polyester, and cotton.

God questions Adam and Eve concerning the knowledge of their nakedness. Again, this is not for His information. God already knows these things. There is nothing new He can learn. Adam begins to accuse God for the giving him the woman Eve, “The woman whom Thou gavest to be with me…” Adam is not just blaming Eve; he is outrightly blaming God for giving him the woman. Blaming others for our mistakes is more than a human thing, it is a sin thing. They had never done this before. Eve, then, blames the serpent. Someone has said, “The poor serpent didn’t have a leg to stand on”. :>)

When we are in sin we will always try to blame others for our mistakes and errors. No one wants to take responsibility for their own. When Jesus comes into one’s life there is a driving desire to be right with God, and to be right with others. When we have Jesus as our Lord and Savior, and we are living right with Him we will take responsibility for our actions and sins. We will take them to the Lord in repentance, and we will receive the forgiveness only the Father can give.

They Shall Be Filled

The Be-Attitudes continuing…

“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled” Matthew 5:6 (KJV).

Remember the definition of “Attitude” is ‘the position of something in relation to something else’. In this case the subject is righteousness. Righteousness most easily defined is; ‘being right with God’. That would involve many things including worship, our deportment, both with God and with others.

The kingdom child is hungry for God and His ways. Righteousness is the way of God, and it is the way of the child of God to hunger for it. His/Her desire is for Jesus Christ and nothing else.

The individual who is righteous, because of grace through faith in Jesus Christ, will have a specific hunger and thirst. That hunger will be to devour the truth of God through His Word, and His Word affecting the direction our lives take for serving the Lord. It seems that it would be accurate to say that when Jesus was being tempted by the devil in the wilderness He had righteousness on His mind. He was physically hungry and thirsty, but when He was tested to turn stones to bread; he was more attuned to being right with His Father rather than disobedience.

The “Blessed” ones who hunger and thirst for/after righteousness, are those who labor in diligent, earnest hearing of the Word of God and prayer. They feed daily at the table of the BREAD OF LIFE. They drink deeply of the One who is the Water of Life.

O, that we as the people of God grew in that hunger; never completely filled; but satisfied with Jesus, wanting more of Him, and His righteousness. The thirst never completely quenched; with longing to drink from the well of the Water from Heaven. Drink from the ‘river of water’ that flows from out of the throne of God Himself (Revelation 22:1).

This hunger and thirst comes only into the hearts of those who have joyously received the free gift of God’s grace. Ones who have seen Jesus as the divine Son of God. The Ones who have seen Jesus dying for the sins of mankind upon the cruel cross so many years ago. The ones who have witnessed the resurrection power of Jesus per a changed life. You have been clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. You will never be filled without that hunger and thirst, and finding satisfaction through Him alone.

The Voice Walking

Genesis 3:1-24 continuing…

“And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden” Genesis 3:8.

Adam and Eve had just eaten what God had commanded them not to eat. They now have had their first experience with sin, and it will not be their last. They have met their sin master. Previous to this they have had sweet communion with the LORD God. Walks in the garden. Peace in the garden. Comfort in the garden. Now, there is fear, especially when they hear, ‘…The voice of the LORD God walking in the garden…’. Rather than going to Him as they most likely did previously, they now hide.

Who is this “Voice… walking in the garden”? It must be none other than the preincarnate Son of God; ie. Jesus the Christ. They know they have sinned. They also know the LORD God will not be pleased. They also know that they have shattered His glory in their lives. They even know the fig leaf coverings they have made are insufficient to approach holy God. So, they hide.

The initial response of a child who has disobeyed a parent and knows Mom and Dad will be angry with them is to hide. How tragic that is. Most parents would be understanding, forgiving, and the discipline would probably be less severe if the child would come running to the parent or parents saying I have disobeyed, please forgive me.

Oh, how tragic the events in the garden were on that eventful day. To hide from the ‘…Presence of the LORD God…’ is one of the saddest statements in the Bible. Can we not see that sin drives us from God and godliness. Sin causes us shame, guilt, despair, and ruin. Oh, that the sinning man, woman, boy or girl would not flee and hide from God, but, rather flee toward Him, because the Father has made a way through the Lord Jesus Christ. Rather than fleeing from God and hiding from Him; Make a bee line and FLEE TO THE CROSS.

They Shall Be Comforted

The Beatitudes continuing…

“Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.” Matthew 5:4 (KJV).

Remembering that the MIRRIAM/WEBSTER DICTIONARY definition for ‘attitude’ is ‘the position of something in relation to something else’ we can see this Beatitude as the attitude of sorrow for something that is not correct. Seeing ourselves in ‘the position of sin and against God’ should bring us to tears and sorrow. Seeing others in sin should cause us to mourn for them.

Because we sin, and when we realize our sinfulness, that should bring us to our knees. People of our day love laughter. They will pay really good money to go hear a comedian make them laugh. They will sit for hours watching situation comedies on television for the laughing. People will set around telling funny, though sometimes vulgar stories just for a laugh. Am I against laughter? Not at all. Are we supposed to spend all the time of our lives in mourning? I do not believe so. There is a time for everything, for everything a season (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8). As a matter of fact the Bible even mentions laughter. Isaac; the son of Abraham and Sarah was named laughter – that is the meaning of the name Isaac. The writer of Proverbs said, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones” Proverbs 17:22 (KJV).

For the most part; considering the condition of the hearts of people, and even professing Christians, we should be mourning the situation of our hearts and lives before God. Our lives and the lives of friends and loved ones. Laughter helps us feel better now, but still people are perishing, our lives grow colder, and more distant from God, and we laugh. While we mourn we pray for the perishing; we pray for our growth in grace; we pray for our friends and family. There is comfort for those who mourn.

There will be comfort when we see that lost loved one come to faith. There will be comfort when we can see our lives growing in grace. There will be comfort as we see family and friends blessed. There is an ultimate comfort for those who mourn. It will be when we are forever in the Kingdom of our King. O, such laughter and joy there will be. We can have it now as we see the lost redeemed; as we see brothers and sisters growing in Christ.

Looking At The Beatitudes

Matthew 5:1-12 continuing…

We will be looking at each of the Beatitudes individually through the next few posts.

LOOKING AT THE BE-ATTITUDES

Matthew 5:1-12

When we begin looking at the Sermon on the Mount we see how Jesus expects His dedicated followers to live. There are far too many professing Christians that are saying and believing, “We are not required to obey the law any longer”, thus we have a bunch of reprobate professors of Christianity. There could not be anything further from the truth.

Where the law only told us the way, but did not provide aid in the way; Jesus came fulfilling the law and because of His Spirit living within also enables us to live the law in our lives. The law which once was only written in cold hard stones, and could not reach stone cold hearts, is now written in hearts of flesh.

Anyone professing today that they live by the Sermon On The Mount had better read it before they make such a bold announcement. It is far more binding, and has much more it requires than does the Ten Commandments. We will look at some of those things when we get to those areas.

In this lesson of the ‘BE-ATTITUDES’, using a little play on words; we find the attitudes the individuals who are in the Kingdom of Christ Jesus the King, are to have.

There are nine “Blessed(s)” given. The meaning of the word “Blessed” is ‘happy’. That is a “Beatitude”. Each “Blessed” is a reference to more than happiness – it has most certainly to do with spiritual joy. Happiness (as often defined or thought of) is determined by circumstances; events which take place in one’s life which can either add great excitement and temporary happiness, or great distress and sorrow. If it is an event which brings temporary happiness and excitement, it is only fleeting. Spiritual joy is an attitude attainable only by faith in Jesus – having a close personal relationship with Him. The happiness of which these Bible Blessings speak of is an enduring happiness, an inner joy, which is everlasting, and cannot be taken away.

Matthews Gospel tells us that it was the disciples whom Jesus taught. After having multitudes following Him He probably felt a need to get away. If not only for His disciples sake. This is the first major teaching of Jesus in this Gospel. It covers chapters five through seven. It could be called PRINCIPLES FOR KINGDOM LIVING. This was the King’s way of setting up His kingdom, and preparing the hearts of His people for what was to come. It was a different kingdom, than what the religious rulers had heard and taught. For some reason they missed the part of the “Suffering Servant” (Isaiah 52-53), dying by the hand of God, and taking away our transgressions. We see by these that there is happiness, fulfillment, and joy in the kingdom of our Lord and Savior.

In the Gardens

“And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” Genesis 2:8-9 and verses10 – 15.

For the sake of commentary we must mention that there are four gardens mentioned in Scriptures which have a great importance for us. The first garden is Eden which we will see shortly in Genesis; the second is Gethsemane found in John 18:1, and was the garden where Jesus prayed on His last evening; then, there was a garden at Calvary according to John 19:41-42 – that is the place where Jesus was laid after His crucifixion; and finally, there is the garden of the Heavenly Paradise found in the Revelation of Jesus Christ 22:1-2 – it is not there called a garden, but the Tree of Life is there and it is bearing fruit; it is surely a new Garden of Eden.

Of the first and the last gardens the only way into these is by God’s placing them/us therein. God created Adam and placed him in Eden. He makes us a New Creation, and places us, by His grace, into His heavenly paradise. The cross of Christ has made all things new in those who trust and believe Him.

There were two trees in the midst of the garden; the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The first was for eternal life, the second brought death.

This garden [Eden], as is also the Heavenly Paradise, is watered by a river which flows through and out of these gardens. The river which flows out of Eden is said to disperse into four rivers. Not much can be known of all these rivers, except one still has its original name [Euphrates], and Hiddekel is thought to be the Tigris River.

This river which flowed through the garden was a source of life. The river of water flowing through, from the throne of God, the Heavenly Paradise, is a source of eternal joy, and life.

We learn here, that God is the Giver of life and eternal life. “He that believeth on Me as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water”, Jesus said, in John 7:38. Also see John 4:14. Jesus is the source of life, and those who drink from Him are the branches of water which go out to the rest of the world.

JUST AS THE LORD God PREPARED A PLACE FOR ADAM AND EVE HE HAS A PREPARED PLACE FOR ALL WHO TRUST HIM.

The Light’s Preaching, Teaching and Power

“And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them. And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and from beyond Jordan” Matthew 4:23-25 (KJV).

THE LIGHT OF JESUS SHINES AS EVIDENCE OF HIS PREACHING, TEACHING, AND POWER. These are the credentials of the Divine King – the Son of God. In His teaching He taught as one having a superior authority (7:29). He taught by speaking words and living by them. In His preaching; He announced the kingdom of heaven. In His healing; this was certainly divine verification of the truth of who He was and is. It continued through His earthly life as verification and until the end of the apostolic era.

The greatest healing Jesus came to do was in the giving of Light to the darkness of human hearts. Someone has said, “The heart of the human problem is the problem of the human heart”. The heart of all mankind is darkness until the light of Jesus shines in and the darkness flees, and then there is healing from sins condemnation, sicknesses and disease. The only real reason for sickness and disease and problems in the world is sin. Jesus came to pay the debt of sin. That debt is paid, and one day the King of all Kings will reign, and there will be no more sin, no more sickness, no more disease, and no more problems. Jesus is the LIGHT.

These multitudes followed Him because of the mighty deeds which He did. They would later deny Him. Some of them would even be the ones in the crowd crying, “Crucify Him; crucify Him”. Are you following Him because of what He can do, or just because of who He is? It does make a difference.

The Light of the Heart

Matthew 4:12-25 continuing…

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

THE LIGHT OF JESUS SHINES IN THE HEARTS OF THOSE WHO FOLLOW HIM. Jesus, walking on the shores of Galilee sees Peter and Andrew – brothers fishing. These are “Net” fishermen. They have no idea what fish are going to come up in their net, yet they toss the net into the water each time. Sometimes they have a catch large or small, and sometimes they come up empty. The net is no respecter of persons; maybe I should say fish; and neither is the Lord of all things. The fish does not go into the net without divine guidance. It is not by mere happen stance.

Peter and Andrew are fishing, and Jesus came along, and though they evidently had never met Him before – at least as far as we know – and He says, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men”, and they drop their nets, and followed Him. It was an immediate action. In the King James it says, “Straightway”, and that can mean, “directly”, “soon”, “at once”, or “immediately”. At any rate they realized something special about Jesus and they followed Him. John’s Gospel gives a bit different account, and it is complementary; there is no harm done to either story (John 1:35-42).

With Peter and Andrew following along Jesus continues along the shores of Galilee seeking the men who would follow Him. The Sea of Galilee from which they make their living. The Sea which could represent the doomed, despairing, drowning, dying, realm of men in the world. Jesus comes to two more brothers James Zebedee, and John his brother. These had been fishing with their father Zebedee, but now were mending the nets. Maybe after a few times of catching the fish they would have tears, making holes in the net, thus, becoming less effective with each casting of the net. In all forms of labor; whether fishing, farming, policing, merchandising , etc. there will always be need for repairs. It can be a time of reflection, vision building, and growth; as well as improvement of the net. In this episode of Jesus’s life He now has four disciples – Peter, Andrew, James and John. He extended the invitation, “Come, follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men”.

That invitation, to this very day is still given to all who will hear His message. Jesus says, “Come, follow Me”.

On the Seventh and The Eighth Day

Genesis 2:1-25 continuing…

For some reason there are some who read chapter two of Genesis and see contradiction. I suppose that it because they want to find contradiction within God’s Word. However, there is none. When you come to Scripture with a hatred for God and anything He might say it will be a very biased look. There have been many cases of avowed athiest who have ventured into the journey of reading God’s Word to prove it is full of errors, contradictions, and that it is only the words of men to only find the truth of Jesus Christ and trusted Him as their Lord and Savior. One of those is Lee Strobell, and another is Josh McDowell. Both of these men are now devoted Christian men and great apologist for the Word of God.

What I find in this chapter of Genesis is a further explanation of the Creator’s creation. It is a greater clarification of the creation of man, and his place and ministry on the earth.

We also find here the first mention of the Seventh day, or Sabbath day as a day of rest; it is the day God rested from creating. According to the Deist God created all that is and then left it with us and does not intervene into the affairs of men. It seems to me that the rest of Scripture quickly puts this thought to silence. We will see, very quickly, in the text that God walked with Adam in the garden. That does not sound to me like He distanced Himself from His creation.

In veres 1 – 3 we find the FIRST SABBATH. This is actually a continuation of the creation events of chapter one. God had created everything that was necessary to sustain life on earth. In particular to sustain, benefit, beautify, and fulfill the lives of the creation which is made “In our [God’s] image,after our [God’s] likeness”.

After making all things for man’s physical well being He teaches us a wonderful lesson. A lesson of rest and also for us a lesson of worship. Was God exhausted from all the work He had done? Not hardly. Did He take a leave of absence and leave the world and His whole creation on its own? Again, not at all.

His rest shows a completion to all that He began; “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ…” Philippians 1:6. It gives us promise and hope that as His New Creation in Christ He will complete what He began.

If we are genuinely resting in Him we will have times of personal, individual fellowship with Him. We will also seek every opportunity to learn more of Him His power and glory, His Son, His Spirit, His Word, and His work in our own and other’s lives. We do this through God’s institution of the local church.

We cease from our own laboring to please God and our own way, and rest in His arms of grace. We realize all our efforts, works and “…righteousnesses are as filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6), and only His will suffice.

The Sabbath – a day of rest – is for our enjoying the benefits of a week long job and work well done, and especially for the worship of God Almighty, who made it all. That Sabbath rest is fulfilled in Christ Jesus, and He arose on the first day of the week, having finished the works of the Law. On the Eighth day, which is the First day of a brand new week we worship the One who rose again. The law was completed in Him.

And On the Sixth Day…

Genesis 1:14-31 concluded

“And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.” Gen. 1:24-25.

On the beginning of the sixth day God created the final part of His creation before He created His crowning achievement.. He made all the provisions, necessities for human life, and comfort before He created the one made after Himself. When we see ourselves as we were originally made we will have a higher view of God, and eventually of ourselves, and others.

When the false teachers of evolution tell us that we are nothing more than a glorified animal, if even given that much credit, we find that there is no purpose for life, living, and that there is really no need for law. It would really come down to the teaching of THE SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST. If we would take an honest look at our world and societies of the day we would find that people are becoming more and more unkind to one another. The evolutionits try and tell us that man is progressively getting better and better. If we are honest about it, though, we must conclude that there is little concern for human life. There is more concern for our life comforts, pleasures, conveniences, personal health and success, than there is for the unborn child. “The female of our species” can determine that this “thing” growing inside of her is nothing more than a mass which needs to be removed, comparing it to cancer. That is the result of being nothing more than another of the animal “species”, rather than having been created in the image and likeness of our Creator – God.

Often times, we as Christians, do not value the life of other created beings in the way that we should. I must say there have been times I was guilty of that. We should have a respect for all of life; even the life of the whale, dolphin, deer, elk, moose, cattle, horses, and all livestock, etc. However, that must be held within the perimeter of God’s Word. We have been told that, “Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things. But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.” Gen. 9:3-4 – of course we must realize this permission was given after the flood of Noah’s time. We are also told in the Proverbs, “The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man is precious” Proverbs 12:27. I may aggravate a lot of hunters when I say this, but I will write it anyway. If you are a “Trophy hunter” and you waste the meat, and hunt for only the purpose of having a trophy, then you are nothing but a killer; a taker of precious life. There is nothing wrong with hunting and bringing in the meat for food, but when it is only for a trophy you fit into the role of “The slothful man”.

God has given to the creature created in His image and likeness the ability to think, to rationally think things through, to be logical, to dream, to achieve, to create – from materials which exist, and to build. The ultimate thing which God has given us is freewill with which to worship and adore Him.

When God made these cattle, and creeping things, and beast of the earth after his kind…we are told that, “God saw that it was good” Can you imagine this animal kingdom at peace with one another? The lamb and the lion feeding together; the ox and the tiger laying under the shade in the heat of the day sun; the child playing over the serpents den. This is the way it was in the beginning. There was peace in the “Animal kingdom”. The lamb and the lion; the ox and the tiger were eating the produce of the ground; “And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.” (vv. 29-30).

Of man God says, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” (v. 28). Nowhere does this mean mistreatment of animals, and nowhere does this mean they have as much or more value than human life. Of man God also tells us, “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” (2:7).

In verses 29 – 31 we find what has been called the Edenic Covenant. A covenant is an agreement between two parties. Sometimes a covenant may have conditions on both parties, or it can have conditions for only one of the parties. In the case of the Edenic Covenant God placed conditions on Adam and Eve in order for them to stay in Eden. These conditions are, 1) To multiply and fill the earth; 2) To subdue the earth for human use and the glory of the Lord; 3) To rule/have dominion over the animal creation, for their keeping and well being; 4) To eat herbs and fruits brought forth by the trees and vegetation in the garden; 5) To till and care for – Keep (Guard) – the garden; 6) To abstain from eating the fruit from the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil”; and 7) With the understanding of the penalty of death for eating the fruit of the forbidden tree.

Though we were made in the image and likeness of God; this image and likeness was later marred by sin when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit in the garden of Eden. The bond between Adam and God was shattered by sin; by disobedience; and this image was restored by the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

It was not until the creation of the crown of His creation that God said, “It is very good”, and He said it of all that He created. Just think, if He could say that about the creation of the natural, what He will say when the New Creation is completed. The New Creation being every individual who has come to God through Jesus Christ’s shed blood, burial and resurrection. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a NEW CREATION: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” 2 Cor. 5:17. The evening and the morning were the sixth day.

On Day Five

Genesis 1:14-31 continuing…

“And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. 21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good. 22 And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth. 23 And the evening and the morning were the fifth day” Genesis 1:20-23 (KJV).

 

We come now to the creation of the Fins [life within the waters], and creating of the Feathers [life of the fowl] (vv. 20-23). “Let the waters bring forth abundantly…”. Jesus said to the woman at the well, “If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water” John 4:10. Jesus also said, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water” John 7:37-38. It was the fifth day that life was given in the waters of the earth. Remember who is doing the creating. The voice of God; the Living Word, and the Living Water.

In looking at these verses it almost would appear that the recent declarations by some evolutionists concerning fish and birds coming from the same form of life could have some merit. The only ‘merit’ I give them is that these were both created on the same day, and it does almost seem that you could make an argument for them coming from the water. I will not give them that, though. It does tell us that each was made “After his kind”. The fish was made for and after the fish. The bird [fowl] was made for and after the bird. It did not take hundreds, thousands, or millions of years to make these or any other part of creation. We are told this creating was all done in a period of six days. It is measured by the “rising and setting” of the sun, or one rotation of the earth. God tells the fish and creatures of the waters to fill the waters, and He tells the fowl to fill the earth. This was the fifth day.

Remember God’s order! 1. The heaven and the earth was created; 2. Light is created, ordered for the earth; 3. God puts a protecting sphere or canopy over the earth made of water; 4. Plants begin to grow, ‘After his kind’; 5. The light giving bodies are created becoming the permanent sources of light; 6. Aquatic and fowl life are created to reproduce “After his king’; 7. The land creatures are created – the cattle, horses, etc. – this also includes the creature created in ‘God’s image’. When there is such order how can anyone with a reasoning, thinking, mind of logic see anything but a Creator?

Light Where Jesus Dwells

Matthew 4:12-25 continues…

Jesus had received the message of John Baptist’s imprisonment, and He leaves Nazareth for Galilee. He makes His home base Capernaum, and He does this because He has a great heart for fulfilling the Scriptures. The Scriptures He is fulfilling by coming to Capernaum is Isaiah 9:1-2.

There is a point here that I will try not to forget when I get to another chapter of Matthew concerning His dwelling at Capernaum, which was pointed out to me in a magazine article I read, and is connected with John 6:16-21, and the relation with chapter 14 verses 22 – 33 of Matthew.

Capernaum is now Jesus’s home where His ministry headquarters are. The word “Dwelt” in verse 13 is “To house permanently”. This is an indication of Jesus’s intent. It does seem to have a special and significant prophetic meaning.

“Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee; And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” Matthew 4:12-17 (KJV).

THE LIGHT OF JESUS CERTAINLY SHINES WHERE HE DWELLS. Jesus was the dawning of the great light that was to shine, fulfilling the Scriptures of Isaiah 9:1-2: “Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations. The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined”.

John the Baptist was a messenger of the Light (John 1:6-9). When the King came it was in God’s plan and time for the prophet to be silenced. With John Baptist in prison that messenger was virtually silenced. John was actually the last of the Old Testament prophets. The prophets basic message was repentance, because that was what was needed, and until John the Baptist, there had been silence from prophecy for about 400 years.

When John is silenced by imprisonment and eventually his death, Jesus continues the message of repentance. The seventeenth verse gives us His beginning message, “Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”. Though since that first message of Jesus; He has died, was buried, has risen from death and the grave, and has ascended to His Father’s right hand; the message of repentance is especially needed in the world today. It is a time of immorality run amuck. That being due to the people of God forsaking God and going after the gain of the material world. Jesus is still the Light. The Light that shines in darkness, and shining in darkness reveals the sins of our hearts, and calls us to repentance.