What To Do When Evil Surrounds Us

“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.

But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; and that from a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 3:12-15 (KJB)

Christians who live godly lives will suffer persecution. Have you ever been laughed at because of the simplicity of your faith in  Christ, the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ to cleanse, to heal, to redeem, and get us into the presence of Holy God? Have you ever been threatened for your faith in Him? How about beaten and maybe left for dead?

Evil abounds in this world. Anyone who has eyes and ears knows there is evil in this  world; and it is in the hearts of the people who live on this planet.  As Christians we must guard our own hearts and minds through the word of God and prayer.

The Apostle tells us that “Evil men and seducers shall become worse and worse…” The evil ones are not only those who would do us physical harm; but also those who would do us spiritual harm by teaching lies, deceiving, and themselves being deceived.

So what do we do when evil surrounds us?

  1. Remember the things you have been taught from Scripture;
  2. Continue in those things applying them to your life, living for Jesus Christ and standing on His word;
  3. Always remember that those teachings you have learned in the word are the words of wisdom and for your salvation;
  4. There is absolutely no instruction to identify (to participate) with the world around us.

Always remember the gospel – the good news is – that Jesus Christ died for our sins, was buried and He rose again.

Being Content

“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” 1 Timothy 6:6-10 (KJB)

Covetousness is a sin, a grave sin which besets many men, women, and even children.  It is not absent from the one who is writing this post.  I find myself wanting things which I can live without; or I can find an excuse for getting just about any thing that I decide I want.

I know God’s word.  God and His word is very dear to my heart. He has given us the Ten Commandments,  and they clearly show us that we definitely need a Savior, and God has shown us pictures, types, and or shadows of our Savior throughout the Old Testament; and is fully  revealed, unveiled to us in the New Testament.

I heard a new  preacher come on the scene several years ago who, in the message he was preaching, said, “The lack of money is the root of all evil”.  That statement is clearly against the verse of God’s word above.  “Let God be true, and every man a liar” (Romans 3:4).

Covetousness is idolatry. Being Content is God’s prescription for His people. Covetousness is a transgression of God’s law.  The tenth commandment is “Thou shalt not covet…” (Exodus 20:17).

“Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry…” Colossians 3:5

The 1828 version of Webster’s Dictionary defines “Contentment” as…

CONTENTMENT, n.

  1. Content; a resting or satisfaction of mind without disquiet; acquiescence.

Contentment, without external honor, is humility.

Godliness with contentment is great gain. 1 Tim 6.

  1. Gratification.

At Paris the prince spent a day, to give his mind some contentment.”

I judge no one who is reading this. My intent is to help those who love the Lord Jesus Christ and the word to live with contentment in the life God  has given you. I am not talking about being content with a sinful lifestyle.  If you are living contrary to God and His word, I pray the Spirit of God will make you miserable until  you surrender your life to His life for you.

Contentment is great gain.  Be content with such things as you have.

  1. Start being thankful for God’s blessings in your life.
  2. Give of your blessings to others who are less fortunate than you.
  3. Also start by recognizing that it all belongs to God; and give back at least a tenth to your local church.
  4. Begin by recognizing you are not the owner of the things you possess, but rather a steward who is caring for the blessings God has given you.

Covetousness is the root of all evil.  Why do you suppose it is the last of the ten;  it is not because it is the least.

Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Hebrews 13:5

The things of this world and the desire for them only lead to all forms of evil. Every murder, every theft, every mass shooting is the result of coveting of something that someone wants.

Be content by coming to the One who loved you so much He sent His only Son to die for our sins.  He died on the cross, was buried, and He rose again conquering sin, death, hell, and the grave.  Turn from your sin to Jesus Christ Son of the Living God, God the Living Son.

Returning Repentance

With the revelation of the pretensious treachery of Judah God again extends mercy to the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Though they had departed from God and since the departure from the Southern Kingdom, had never really had much worship and care for God they were not pretentious in their behavior. You will not find one righteous king among the people of Israel. Jereboam, the first king of Israel, it is said of Him, “Jereboam did not turn from his evil way…” (1 Kings 13:33). And, that is of all the kings of Israel.

One clear thing that we can see from this invitation from God through the prophet Jeremiah is that God hates pretention, hypocrisy, and He extends mercy to all.

“Then the LORD said to me, ‘Backsliding Israel has shown herself more righteous than treacherous Judah. Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say: ‘Return, backsliding Israel,’ says the LORD; ‘I will not cause My anger to fall on you. For I am merciful,’ says the LORD; ‘I will not remain angry forever. Only acknowledge your iniquity, that you have transgressed against the LORD your God, and have scattered your charms to alien deities under every green tree, and have not obeyed My voice,’ says the LORD.” Jeremiah 3:11-13 (NKJV).

It is amazing to me the number of people who have told me, and some I have heard of from others who do not believe that the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament are the same. Right here is clear evidence of it. God is merciful, gracious, and loving in the New Testament. He has always longed for His backsliding people to return to Him.

The Northern Kingdom got off in a backsliding agenda. their first king, Jereboam set up two idols for them to worship, and keep the people from returning to Jerusalem. He set up a golden calf in Dan, and at Bethel. None of the following kings had a heart for God and hated His prophets. They sacrificed their children in the fire. Worshipped many false gods, and were perverse in their behavior. Now God pleads with them to repent.

My, how God’s heart grieves for His people. He calls for repentance. Though it is not immediately seen God will accomplish His Word, and His people will return to Him. Hosea, the prophet had a wife who turned from him to pagan, idolatrous, prostitution, and worship of pleasure rather than the God of glory. Hosea pursues his wife, and this is the picture of God pursuing His nation of people to bring them back to Himself.

This was accomplished. The people who came back from the captivity of Babylon were a mixed people. People of the Northern and Southern Kingdoms returned together, and they have been one nation since that time. They were one nation in the time of Jesus. They will be one nation through all time.

When God calls for His people to repent He is calling for us to turn from going the wrong direction, ie., away from Him, and turn around and go with Him. No matter what we have done; no matter how evil and vile; no matter our guilt, or our associations; God’s call to return is still powerful and valid. If you have gotten out of His will; if you are still in your sins; if your life is in a real mess; and if your worship has grown cold; then His call to return to Him is for you. He asks only that you acknowledge your iniquity – that you had turned from Him to sin. He is merciful, will hear your cry, and will receive you back to a walk with Him.

We have all sinned. We all fall short of His glory, and yet He calls us to Himself. Repentance is Returning to God. Returning to God is Repentance.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

Your Own Sin and Wickedness Will Correct You

In our world today we hear parents saying things like, “I want the best for my children”, or “I will do whatever I can to protect them from harm”, while at the same time let them live in immorality. Parents putting their daughters on birth control pills, so they will not get pregnant is one good example of what I refer. Another is the new vaccine which supposedly protects young girls from getting a cancer which can only be contracted by sexual intercourse prematurely. That is another example.

One of the things I have noticed about God is that He does not prevent us from sinning, in most situations. He does let our sin cause us grief and sorrow.

Therefore do parents do their children good by trying to protect them from means that should teach them responsibility.? It is my belief that it is harmful to their eternal well being to try and protect them from the means that could be used to bring them to God, or to become right in fellowship with Him

Here is God’s Word from the prophet Jeremiah:

“Is Israel a servant? Is he a homeborn slave? Why is he plundered? The young lions roared at him, and growled; They made his land waste; His cities are burned, without inhabitant. Also the people of Noph and Tahpanhes have broken the crown of your head. Have you not brought this one yourself,in that you have forsaken the LORD your God when He led you in the way? And now why take the road to Egypt, to drink the waters of Sihor? Or why take the road to Assyria to drink the waters of the River? Your own wickedness will correct you, and your backslidings will rebuke you. Know therefore and see that it is an evil and bitter thing that you have forsaken the LORD your God, and the fear of Me is not in you,’ says the Lord GOD of hosts.”

God is not as concerned for our physical health or wealth as He is our holiness. He despises sin and wickedness. He despises even more His own people turning away from Him. When we look to other means for safety, such as the people in the prophet’s day were doing in “Take(ing) the road to Egypt…” and “…the road to Assyria” we have turned from the Lord our God.

God is greatly grieved when His own people turn from Him to serve other gods, which are not gods, but only stone, wood, metal, or flesh. Why would the people of God do such a thing? One of the things that was prevalent in Jeremiah’s day was they had grown comfortable, wealthy, fat, and satisfied with themselves. They had the attitude, “We can never fall. We are a God blessed nation. We have the temple of God, and He will never let anything happen to it”.

I look around our Nation today, and I see much of that same attitude. Even though there is the imminent threat of terrorists infusion, bombings, and destruction we still are not trusting our Lord. We have placed more confidence in our economy, our bank account, our government, but where is our faith in God?

Since the bombing of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 we have been under the merciful hand of God. Our Nation has not been attacked within our borders since that time. Is that because of our great government, our President, our wonderful Congress, and Senate? No way. It is due to the mercy and grace of God. However, that mercy and grace protecting us from terrorists attack will be removed. It has been the hand of God. He has been calling us back to Himself, and giving time for others to come to Him. That time may soon be over, then we will see the worst of terrorism.

Our own wickedness, our own backslidings will correct us. God gave a message to the two and one half tribes of Israel who were to settle on the East side of Jordan. After telling they they were to go and give aid to their brethren who were going to settle on the West side, He said through Moses,

“But if you do not do so, then take note, you have sinned against the LORD; and be sure your sin will find you out.Numbers 32:23 (NKJV)

If your life is filled with fear; you are not trusting the Lord. If you are trusting in things for security; you are not trusting the Lord. If you are looking to any thing other than to God; your own sins will correct you. If you are His He will make you holy, and He will do whatever it takes to make you so.

Habakkuk the Embracer

WHO IS HABAKKUK?
The meaning of the name “Habakkuk” is derived from a Hebrew word which means “embrace” or “embracer”. It seems in my mind that this is a name which fits him to a tee. He may have been a Levite engaged in the temple choir, and had a great concern for the direction his people were taking, away from God.
Let me quote here from the Criswell Study Bible. “Realizing Israel’s iniquity and need for punishment, Habakkuk is perplexed with the moral dilemma of how a holy God could employ the more deplorably wicked Chaldeans to chastise His Children.” I can understand his dilemma. In looking at God’s holiness, though, I would have to say, that He is more concerned with His glory, than He is with how things may appear to us. To continue the quotation from Criswell – “God responds by asserting His sovereign prerogative as to the choice and the timing of His retribution. Though it may appear unreasonable, His way is best. Thus the prophet learns that to believe what God says and to heed His warning is to be numbered among the righteous who shall live by faith (2:4). Consequently, Habakkuk’s theme is faith triumphant over apparent difficulties.” Habakkuk was a prophet who had a heart for God’s people, and a heart for God. That is after all what a prophet. He speaks with God about the people, their sins and problems. He speaks with the people of God, His Word, His way, and the direction of their lives.The prophecy of Habakkuk was a “burden”, ‘a heavy load’, and that is due to the message contained here. The prophet prophesied near the beginning of the Babylonian exile. The people were going to face severe judgment. Habakkuk did understand that judgment was coming by God from an unholy source.
Are we, who are Christians, in the United States of America not also facing judgment from an unholy source?
Habakkuk was a prophet who cared, yet spoke the truth. Bless the Lord. May every pastor and preacher of God’s Word, and the gospel do the same.

Embracer of God’s Holiness

This study was previously posted on TABS, another of my blogs.
STUDY OF HABAKKUK
Habakkuk was a prophet who did not understand and the question he asked was very similar to the question many people ask today. Why does God let evil go unpunished? Why does He not rid the world of all evil?
My thoughts on a few verses –
Verses 1:1-4 – The prophet had a burden for God’s holiness. It was as though God was not hearing the prophet’s cries to vindicate His holiness. As I read these verses the wickedness of the time seems very similar to the wickedness of 2006 in the United States and the world.
Where are the men of God crying out for God to be vindicated? I will. Is it because we understand God’s rule over all, and we know how God will be vindicated in the end? If that were only true; we would still be crying out for God to move us.
“The law is slacked” (v. 4). Certainly sounds a lot like some verdicts judges are handing down to guilty men. Just recently a 50 year old man in Nebraska was convicted of sexually assaulting a child and the judge ruled that he was “too short to make it 10 years in prison” So she sentenced him to 10 years of probation.
Chapter 1:13 – It almost seems that the prophet has not yet come to realize the complete sovereignty of God. But, then, God’s sovereignty is no excuse for tolerance of evil.
He knows God’s purity and holiness, and is surprised that God can just let the sin and abuse of God’s people continue by the wicked.
Chapter 2:6, 14, 15 – It seems the prophet is really concerned that God be glorified. He sees God’s people as in need of judgment.
Some are increasing materialy at other’s expense (2:6). There seems to be an evergoing party where drunkenness is practiced and caused by the merchant of “drink” (2:15 & 16).
There are 5 “Woes” mentioned in this chapter. Verses 6, 9 12, 15, and 19:1. “Woe to him that increaseth that which is not his!” (v. 6).2. “Woe to him that coveteth an evil covetousness to his house…” (v. 9).3. “Woe to him that buildeth a town with blood…” (v. 12).4. “Woe unto him that giveth his neighbor drink…” (v. 15).5. “Woe unto him that sayeth to the wood, ‘Awake’…” (v. 19).
Gloriously, there are also 5 promises – 1:5; 2:3, 4, 14, and 20
1. “I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you.” (1:5).2. “For the vision is yet for an appointed time…, though it tarry wait for it; because it will surely come…”(2:3).3.”But the just shall live by his faith.”(2:4).
4. “For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.”(2:14).
5. “But the LORD is in His holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before Him.” (2:20). This has to do with the place of God, and being silent, reverent, before Him, “Be still and know that I am God…” (Ps. 46:10).
Chapter 3 – Habakkuk’s prayer for God’s glory.
In verse 2 He asks God “Revive Thy work in the midst of the years…” and “…In wrath remember mercy”. In his prayer, the prophet has three requests. The first and third already listed, but the second one is that God manifest Himself to His people, “In the midst of the years make known” I believe referring to the ‘Reviving of Thy work…” previously mentioned. God’s glory will be revealed.
Verses 17 – 19 – The prophet, in the prayer, declares his trust will be in the LORD, even when desolate (v. 17). He declares God as his “strength” and believes the LORD to be his encouragement (vv. 18-19).
The prayer is a Psalm/Song. Note the way this chapter begins and ends “…upon Shigionoth.” Some musical instrument? The final words, “To my chief singer on my stringed instruments.”There is much more study to do of Habakkuk. There is one thing I see that where he started with a question he ends with God.