For Christ’s Sake

“It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.  I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knows;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.  And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knows;) how that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.  Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities.  For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he sees me or he heareth of me.  And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.  For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.  And He said unto me,
‘My grace is sufficient for you: for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’
Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”  2 Corinthians 12:1-10

REFERENCES: Acts 14:6; 2 Corinthians 5:17; 10:8; 11:30; Luke 23:43; Deuteronomy 3:23; Romans 5:3

Approved By Whom?

“‘For letters,’ say they, ‘Weighty and powerful; but bodily presence weak, and his speech contemptible.’  Let such an one think this, that, such as we are in word by letters when we are absent, such also in deed when we are present.
For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.  But we will not boast of things without measure, but according to the measure of the rule which God has distributed to us, a measure to reach even unto you.
For we stretch not ourselves beyond as though we reached not unto you: for we are come as far as to you also in the gospel of Christ: not boasting of things without measure, of other men’s labors; but having hope, when your faith is increased, that we shall be enlarged by you according to our rule abundantly, to preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, not to boast in another man’s line of things made ready to our hand.
But he that glories, let him glory in the Lord.  For not he that commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends.”  2 Corinthians 10:10-18

REFERENCES: 1 Corinthians 1:17; 3:5; 2 Corinthians2:1; 3:1; Isaiah 65:16; Proverbs 27:2; Luke 14:11; 18:14

Sorrow of Heart

We have all at one time or another, and maybe more times than not experienced SORROW OF HEART. What have we experience this for? Our financial condition? Our health? The health of a friend or relative? A family problem or situation, etc.? Have we ever really experienced SORROW OF HEART for the spiritual conditon of our nation, our family, or friends? Probably not as often as we should have.
Jeremiah experienced sorrow for his people. They had drifted away from God and in some things, just flat out rejected God, His Word, His prophets, and His law. They had decided that the Law of God was a reproach to them (See chapter 6). Have you ever heard anyone say something like this, “If it taste good, looks good, smells good, sounds good or feels good; its wrong”. That is really just a snide comment against God and His Word. God spells out clearly in His Word what is right and what is wrong, and these are based on His right and wrong. There are some things which are right or wrong in their time and place. For example; God has decreed that the “Marriage bed is undefiled” (Hebrews 13:4), so the right time for the marriage act is with one’s spouse following the wedding, and it is right and good. It is wrong, however, to assume the marriage bed without the benefit of marriage – one man and one woman; that too is clearly defined by Scriptures.
The only reason the word of God could be a “reproach” is because one wants to live their life free of any boundaries. You and yours and everyone around you will be the ones your actions will affect.
Hear the words of the prophet:

“For My people are foolish, they have not known Me. They are silly children, and they have no understanding. They are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge.” Jeremiah 4:22 (NKJV)

When people begin departing from the LORD after they have received the knowledge of Him, their path is always downward. They may have a great education, a great job, a marvelous house in which to live. They may have all that is necessary for living in this life, but without God, they are perishing.
The prophet is grieved by the condition of the people’s hearts. God is grieved by the condition of the people’s hearts and lives. God even says, “My people are foolish…” How can anyone who has ever truly known God depart from God, never return? They are educated but not in God. God goes on and says, “They are silly children…”. God sees those who believe and trust Him as His children, and we are; however, we are silly children when we choose to do our own thing, and get away from our Father.
The prophet Hosea said,

“Hear the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel: for the LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land.” Hosea 4:1 (KJV)

The prophet Hosea continues,

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.
Hosea 4:6 (KJV)

Is it any wonder that people turn away from the LORD when they do not care to read, study, and apply His Word to their lives? The writer of Proverbs wrote, “Where there is no vision the people perish” Proverbs 29:18, or as the NKJV records it, “Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but happy is he who keeps the law.” When the Word of God grows cold in your life, so will your love for God, righteousness, and holiness.

People who refuse God, His Word, and His revelation are “wise to do evil”, should we all not rather be wise to do that which is good and godly; and that is doing all that we do for the glory of the LORD. Personal attention, or popularity, or power, and/or prestige is out of the picture when all we are seeking is the glory of the LORD.

Being wise to do good will end a whole lot of mess in relationships. Families, churches, communities, countries, and the world will be a better place when the glory of the LORD is everyone’s goal.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Leaky gods or Living Water

The men who were supposed to be the spiritual leaders of Judah had forsaken the LORD. They did not even realize their spiritual condition. That is a horrible thing for the “man of God” not to even notice that God is not present. The false prophets were prophesying by Baal, a false god, of pleasure. He was the god that took the place of the LORD in the hearts of Jerusalem.

Are things any different in the day in which we live (2007)? In my mind there does not seem to be any difference; with the exception of clothing, and location

In the text we look at today we see the LORD is bringing charges against the children of Jacob (v. 4).

HEAR THE WORD OF THE LORD –

“Therefore I will yet bring charges against you,’ says the LORD, ‘And against your children’s children I will bring charges. For pass beyond the coasts of Cyprus and see, send to Kedar and consider diligently, and see if there has been such a thing. Has a nation changed its gods, which are not gods? But My people have changed their Glory for what does not profit. Be astonished, O heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid; Be very desolate,’ says the LORD. ‘For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters and hewn themselves cisterns — broken cisterns that can hold no water.” Jeremiah 2:9-13 (NKJV).

The charge brought against them is Forsaking Him. What does it take to forsake the Living God? The answer to that is: Just by diliberately turning to another source of encouragement, and strength one forsakes the Living God.

Notice this charge. What other nation has forsaken their gods? None. Earlier in the Nation’s life they wanted to be like other nations by wanting a king. Read First Samuel, and you will see their request for a king. How is it that now they could not be like these other nations, and trust only in their God. The God of gods, the King of kings, and Lord of lords.

When a follower of Christ Jesus follows someone or anything else they lose the Glory that was theirs in Christ. The Psalmist wrote –

“Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but to Your name give glory, because of Your mercy, because of Your truth. Why should the Gentiles say, ‘So where is their God?’ But our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases. Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. They have mouths, but they do not speak; Eyes they have, but they do not see; They have ears, but they do not hear; Noses they have, but they do not smell; They have hands, but they do not handle; Feet they have, but they do not walk; Nor do they mutter through their throat. Those who make them are like unto them.Psalm 115:1-8 (NKJV).

Why would someone want to drink water from a cistern, when you can have flowing fresh clean water? That is what had happened to the people of God. They had left the glory of the LORD to pattern their lives after that of death and darkness. Any time God’s people follow the world, the flesh and the devil we get out of His glory, ie., the Glory of God.

These cisterns God tells us of, are even leaky cisterns. They cannot even hold water. These cisterns would catch the water from what little rainfall they might receive, and dew falling from the roor of the mornings, then go out of the morning and find only a wet well, but no water to drink.

You become like what you worship. So beware.