Jesus Speaks – Christmas Day One Hundred Ninety and Three

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

One of the meanings of the word “Blessed” is ‘happy’.  True happiness comes only from God, and doing His will; not our own.

Having a “Pure” heart and mind is also a work of God.  “Purity” comes from cleansing, pruning away the dead unfruitful parts of our lives.

What do I want for Christmas?

I want God to work in me, pruning away all that is unclean, unrighteous, and unholy; so that I can see God.  Yes I know the Lord as my Lord and Savior, but I want You Lord to do Your work in me, make me pure, and clean of heart, soul and mind.

“Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit He taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.” John 15:2-3

Being Happy

“Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the LORD.” Psalm 144:15 (KJV)

Just recently I seen a news item, I believe, was on NBC news doing a study on Happiness, and where to find it. I never watched the series, or the study, but what I heard showed me that there was one item missing. That item was the Person who gives us happiness.

That person is not a wife, or a husband. It is not having the favorite job. It is not a new car, or a new house. It is not even volunteerism where you spend some or much of your time volunteering for a charitable cause. Are you one who is still searching for Happiness?

Your search can end when you have the LORD as your God. He offers you peace through His Son Jesus Christ; and being at peace with God is tremendous happiness just by itself (Romans 5:1-2). When the LORD is your God you have no more condemnation from Him, His Word; and the condemnation of others just will not matter any more (Romans 8:1).

The verses previous to verse 15 tell us of family; sons and daughters who live for and glorify the LORD; that when you are happy in and through the LORD your cattle (livestock) prosper; you prosper. John the apostle wrote, “I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospereth” (3 John 2).

Just a word of caution. You can have happiness now, and that happiness is your prosperity. A note from the Believer’s Bible Commentary says,

“Actually these conditions will not be fully realized until the Lord returns, crushes all rebellion, and establishes His Millennial Reign.” Believer’s Bible Commentary

Until then, trust in the LORD, believe Him. Live for Him trusting His work in you, and He will bring it to pass. Be happy in the LORD.

Happy in Forgiveness

“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.” Psalm 32:1 (KJV)

Another Psalm of David with a “Blessed”.  The word means Happy.  However in a world where everyone wants happiness we must understand that the happiness men and women, boys and girls are wanting and for the most part having; is sadly lacking in merit and quality.

The happiness which the Psalmist is writing of is from God; it is not fleeting.

There are people today who say something like this, “God wants me to be happy” so they set about seeking happiness in anything that they believe will make them so.  A man who is unhappy with his wife knows a woman he works with, they talk, they share secrets, they encourage and comfort one another; he believes he can be happy with her.  That is not the Happiness which God gives.

Notice in the verse above the four other words which are given; two of which are essential for “Happiness”.  “Forgiven” and “Covered”.  “Transgression” is rebellion against God.  “Sin” is transgression.  The word “Forgiven” carries the meaning of being carried by another.  The word “Covered” has the meaning of concealing never to be revealed again.

There can only be true, God given happiness when our transgressions are forgiven and our sins are covered.  That has been given all who will believe and receive it through God’s gift of His Son Jesus Christ dying on the cross for our sins – our transgressions – being buried carrying our sins away, and His bodily resurrection from the dead.  Believe Him and receive His free gift of grace.  That is “Happiness” beyond human understanding.

Theirs 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.

Children of God

“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God” Matthew 5:9 (KJV).

Many use this Beatitude to lavish praises on those who work for world peace, or peace from a certain war going on at that given time. Let’s think again of ‘Attitude’ – ‘the position of something in relation to something else’.

John MacArthur writes concerning this verse in THE MACARTHUR NEW TESTAMENT COMMENTARY on Matthew Vol. I, pg. 211;

“The essential fact to comprehend is that the peace about which Jesus speaks is more than the absence of conflict and strife; it is the presence of righteousness”.

It seems that a very definite verse of Scripture could be Romans 5:1, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”.

Peace in the world would be a wonderful thing. Peace with God is an even greater thing. As long as men are at war with God; not believing Him or in Him; not believing His Word; not trusting in His truths; there will never be peace with God. No peace with God. No peace with men; and to complete a phrase I have seen; Know peace with God. Know peace with men.

“Men can stop fighting without righteousness, but they cannot live peaceably without righteousness” IBID.

Having peace with God makes one righteous. Some where, some time in days to come there will be peace on earth. That will be when Jesus Christ the King of all kings sets up His kingdom on earth.

How do we help people have peace with God? By taking the Word of truth to them. Preaching God’s love through the cross of Jesus Christ. Letting the Holy Spirit take the Word and convict of sin and convince them that Jesus is the Christ; the Son of God who died for our sins, was buried and He rose again, and ever lives to intercede for us.

Though it is the Spirit of God who uses us to lead a soul to peace with God we have this verse in Proverbs 11:30; “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise”. Those are the “Peacemakers” who shall be called ‘the children of God’. When your position with God is right; you will have peace with God, and you too will be a “Peacemaker”.

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.

They Shall Obtain Mercy

The Be-Attitudes continuing…

“Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy” Matthew 5:7 (KJV).

When you are in the right position with “Mercy” it is most likely because you have obtained mercy. (See Matthew 6:14-15; and Luke 7:41-42). We live in a very competitive world. Many believe it is okay to exact revenge on someone who has bettered you. You could call that “Get-Even-Ism”.

That is not the way of mercy. That is not the way of God. In the Luke reference given it tells us, “There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?” (Luke 7:41-42). The answer given to this question was, “The one who was forgiven the most”. Mercy is what all of us have received, but very few practice it toward others.

To define Mercy, it has been defined this way. It is not receiving what we justly deserve – that is judgment. We have all received mercy from God, because He withholds the judgment in order that many might, at least have opportunity, to be saved.

The next time you are about to release a verbiage of criticism on someone over something that has offended you; take a look at yourself. Someone has been merciful to you in the past, and probably over this same thing that has set you off. The prophet Habakkuk prayed to the LORD, “…In wrath remember mercy” (Habakkuk 3:2 KJV). It is the merciful who will obtain mercy. His kingdom way is mercy. What is the position of your attitude concerning mercy?

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.

They Shall Inherit the Earth

The Be-Attitudes continuing…

“Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth” Matthew 5:5 (KJV).

Someone has defined ‘Meekness’ as “Strength/Power under control”. If there was ever a picture of meekness in men it came from Jesus Christ Himself. It is also said of Moses. ” (Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.)” Numbers 12:3 (KJV). Meekness can also be called ‘gentleness’. Meekness comes when we realize the greatness of God.

The meek are those who know and realize who they are in Christ, but do not seek to exploit their position, power or person above others. The meek are not quick to defend themselves, but will be quick in defending others, and standing for the righteousness, holiness, and justice of God.

The meek are those who will not complain about the rough spots in their lives, but are grateful, thankful, and trusting that they are in the care of God, and that all things are under His control. This attitude would be the position of the meek in relation to their world. The meek would see the positon of themselves as apposed to the thinking of the world.

The inheritance of the ‘Meek’ is the earth. This is mentioned in the Psalms; “For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace” Psalm 37:9-11 (KJV). Those who are always out for themselves; never defend the holy; never defend the helpless, but are always stepping on others to get their way – they will be “Cut off”; but the “Meek shall inherit the earth”. Notice that it says that of “…Those that wait upon the LORD..” as well.

Through Jesus Christ is there meekness, true meekness in the earth.

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.

Theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven

The Be-Attitudes continuing…“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (v. 3)

 

These are characteristics and attitudes we should possess as disciples or followers of Jesus Christ the King. The first one is being “Poor in spirit”. This is opposite of being haughty, arrogant, and proud. Especially when we are considering the things of God. There is no room for pride before the throne of God. The one who is “Poor in spirit” realizes they are bankrupt before the God of all creation. We could not stand in His presence, except that He provides us a way.

Arrogance and pride before men is one thing, but to be arrogant and prideful before God is an eternal matter which will cause you to be cast into everlasting fire. When one is humble before God that will show in our dealings before men as well.

The definition of “Attitude” – ‘the position of something in relation to something else’ MIRRIAM/WEBSTER DICTIONARY. In the case of these Beatitudes it seems this is the best of the definitions given. The position of your thinking in relation to God is of extreme importance. The way you think of yourself in position to God. If you do not see yourself as God does there will be no way you can walk along side of Him. When you do; you will inherit ‘the kingdom of heaven’.

The “Poor in spirit” are not poor toward God.  It has been said; and I believe wrongly so; “Good guys finish last.”  With God the “Poor in spirit” finish first.

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.

The Redeeming Love of God – Hosea 8:1-14

Reaping the Whirlwind

Hosea 8:1-14

When the people of God will not heed; and when His Word is not obeyed, and His promises not believed; judgment is imminent and unavoidable.

There can be much learned from watching the work of a farmer.  The Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments place farming as a picture of warning and hope.  Farming is the world’s oldest profession.  From this profession we learn the eternal law of sowing and reaping.

When a seed is planted in the ground you reap likewise.  A seed of corn brings a harvest of corn;  of wheat, wheat; of barley, barley and so on.  One kind of seed does not produce another kind of harvest.

What kind of seeds had Israel sown?  Seeds of sin and destruction.  The seed sown does not immediately bear fruit, but harvest eventually comes.  As the harvest comes with corn and wheat, so too does the harvest come with sin.  See Galations 6:7.

It has been said, “Some go and sow their wild oats (Debaucherous and wild living), then pray for crop failure.”

“Set the trumpet to thy mouth. He shall come as an eagle against the house of the LORD, because they have transgressed My covenant, and trespassed against My law.  Israel shall cry unto Me, ‘My God, we know thee.’  Israel hath cast off the thing that is good: the enemy shall pursue him.”  Hosea 8:1-3 (KJV)

Some of the people of Israel never looked at he possibility of fruits of sin, or sin’s harvest.  People in the 21st century do not realize that there is a harvest for rejecting God and His Word.
The prophet is told to warn the people. “The trumpet” is the rams horn, also called “Shophar”, and was used for calling assemblies or to warn of an approaching enemy, as in this case.

The warning is certain.  Judgment is certain.  The “Eagle” is the Assyrians swooping down upon them carrying them away captive in the clutches of its talons.  Why?  Because they did not listen to God and “Transgressed against My covenant, and trespassed against My law”.

Although Israel would cry out to God, “We know thee”, the enemy would still come.  The words they spoke and the life they lived were a contradiction.  Compare this verse with John 8:33-47 especially listen to Jesus as He says, “He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.”  That would certainly mean, “No matter how loudly you proclaim otherwise”  You find yourself in complete opposition to God.  Claiming to know God, or being in the right bloodline (physically) does not mean you know God.  The fruit you bear is evidence.  Living by the Word of God empowered by God’s Spirit.

The people’s rejection of God is shown in verse three as God says, “Israel hath cast off … good.”  Forsaking the good to do evil the enemy shall come.

The enemy is likened to the eagle; which can also be a vulture.  This enemy would come silently, devouring the dying and helpless, snatching in its mighty talons anything that could be carried away.  This is the harvest of rejecting God.

“They have set up kings, but not by Me: they have made princes, and I knew it not: of their silver and their gold have they made them idols, that they may be cut off. Thy calf, O Samaria, hath cast thee off; Mine anger is kindled against them: how long will it be ere they attain to innocency? For from Israel was it also: the workman made it; therefore it is not God: but the calf of Samaria shall be broken in pieces. For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind: it hath no stalk: the bud shall yield no meal: if so be it yield, the strangers shall swallow it up.”  verses 4 – 7

There is also the harvest of self-will.  That is the harvest we bring on ourselves because we refuse to follow the way God is leading.

If you were to look back in 1 Samuel 8:4-22 you would be reminded of Israel’s [the undivided nation] insistence upon having a king, “That we also may be like all the nations.” (1 Samuel 8:20).  It was a thing that displeased God and Samuel (See verses 6-7 of 1 Samuel 8).  God gave them their request.  For another time God gave them their selfish request see Psalm 106:15.  Requests of self-will, and it brought great harm to the nation.  Sometimes God gives us the leaders we desire, and then too late find out that was not a good deal.

Individuals and nations often set up kings of their own like and making.  The king in one’s life or nation is a reflection of that nation’s or individual’s heart.  Yes, God is sovereign, completely in charge; He does give us what we ask for sometimes to correct us, and draw us to Himself.

Jeroboam as the first king of the divided Israel [Northern kingdom] disobeyed God and set up golden calfs – probably similar to the calf Aaron built at the request of the people while Moses was on the mount with God – and led the people into worship away from God.  The tragedy is, that no king of the Northern kingdom ever turned from this worship of  self-will in the calfs.  Jeroboam went so far as to call people as priests who were not of the Levites; “He [Jeroboam] made shrines on the high places, and made priests from every class of people, who were  not of the sons of Levi.”  (1 Kings 12:31 NKJV).

These were not God’s ways.  It was completely contrary to the LORD’s direction.  It was the worship of Self-will.

In the New Testament book of Galations 6:7 the Lord spoke through His servant Paul saying, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”  There is no exclusion in this verse for anyone.  This is the equivalent to verse seven of our text in Hosea.  What ever you sow is returned unto you many times over.

The next verse in the Galations text says, “For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” (Galations 6:8).  These are both with a harvest many times over the seed that has been sown.

To sow to the wind, they would reap the whirlwind [manifold].  The wind can be gentle and deceptive.  The whirlwind is nothing of the sort.  It destroys everything that gets in its way.  They [Israel] sowed the wind of idolatry, now they would reap the manifold harvest of the whirlwind of Assyria.

The worship of Baal and the fertility rites that go with it would prove to be fruitless as far as crops of grain and children.  The only harvest would be one of destruction – after all, is that not what they had sown?  The destruction is the harvest of the self-will.

“Israel is swallowed up: now shall they be among the Gentiles as a vessel wherein is no pleasure. For they are gone up to Assyria, a wild ass alone by himself: Ephraim hath hired lovers. Yea, though they have hired among the nations, now will I gather them, and they shall sorrow a little for the burden of the king of princes.”  verses 8 – 10

Embracing pagan allies and their practices also brings a harvest.  A bear hunter looking for a good fur coat for the Winter compromises with the bear who needs a meal.  The hunter gets his winter coat, and the bear gets his meal.  That is the destination of people who play with sin, and compromise with it.  That was the destination of the people of Israel as they gave up God for pagan allies and deities.

In obstinacy and rebellion they seek the aid of Assyria.  Instead of calling on the LORD to be dependent upon Him they go to another nation which is also under the sovereign hand of God.  This obstinacy is seen in the use of “A wild ass alone by  himself.”  Alliance with another nation for defense was another “Lover” added to their lists.

The very nations they had called on for defense would be the nation God would use to correct, rebuke, purge, and bring them back to Him.  How foolish it is to embrace others for defense instead of God, and reap a severe harvest of shame.

“Because Ephraim hath made many altars to sin, altars shall be unto him to sin. I have written to him the great things of My law, but they were counted as a strange thing.  They sacrifice flesh for the sacrifices of Mine offerings, and eat it; but the LORD accepteth them not; now will He remember their iniquity, and visit their sins: they shall return to Egypt.”  verses 11 – 13

Pet Rattlesnakes, pet Alligators,  are a dangerous thing.  How many times have I heard of someone having a “Pet snake” in the house only to end up being bitten, or their child being bitten then the adult or the child die as a result.  The same is true with “Pet Tigers” or “Pet Bear”, etc.  You may think you have them under control.  “Pet sins” are the same way.  You cannot control sin.  Sin enslaves us when we let it stick around.  That was the tragedy of Israel.

John Traylor writes in the study book, “‘Though I wrote for him ten thousand precepts of My law’ (v. 12 NASV) means that God made known His will in many different ways.  In spite of this, the people regarded God and His laws as strange and foreign.”  The law, to them was restricting and God was only trying to keep them from being “Happy”.  They had fallen victim to Satan’s lie to Adam and Eve.  “Yea, hath God said…” and “You shall not surely die…”  Believing that God was only hindering them, they want what they want, Now.

Israel continued to offer their burnt offerings, while in fact, they knew not God.  They were near the point of harvest for false and licentious worship.  Because of the sexual sin they would get diseases unknown to them before.

God would not forget their sin.  It would be remembered (v. 13).  The word “Remember” is used here in the same sense as that of Jeremiah 31:34 when God says, “I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”  In Hosea God says He will remember their sin and judge them for it.  They shall return to captivity, because of their licentious [sexual perversion] behavior they reap a manifold harvest.

“For Israel hath forgotten his Maker, and buildeth temples; and Judah hath multiplied fenced cities: but I will send a fire upon his cities, and it shall devour the palaces thereof.”  verse 14

Forgetting God has a manifold harvest.  Rejecting God and His Word, thumbing your nose at it leads to forgetting Him.

Everything they depended on in God’s stead would be destroyed.  The idols cast down, their walls, buildings and fortified cities wiped out.  What is the reaped harvest of forgetting God?  DESTRUCTION.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Happy Man

Happiness can be fleeting.  It is often measured by how well one’s life is going.  If one get’s a surprise check or an unexpected amount of cash in the mail, or slid under the door, or show up in the car, or win the lottery; then, one can be very happy.

Happiness defined by the MIRRIAM/WEBSTER Dictionary means,

“1: a state of well being and contentment; also : a pleasurable satisfaction 2: aptness”

There is a “Happiness” gained by being godly.  There has been much written on the Psalms and the First Psalm is no different.  The word in the Bible for Happiness is “Blessed”, though the word means so much more than the definition of happiness in the above mentioned dictionary.

The First Psalm begins,

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.”  Psalm 1:1 (KJV)

Jesus Christ begins the Sermon on the Mount and the Beatitudes with the word “Blessed”.  There are also seven “Blesseds” in the Revelation.  If you would like you may click on the link and read more about the Lord’s happiness that He gives.

The man is happiest when he is walking with the Lord in His Word, doing His will, going His way, and worshipping and praising only the great and mighty God who has made all things, and mankind in His own image.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”  Matthew 5:3 (KJV)

The individual is haughty and proud is not an individual who fits our Lord’s description of “Happiness”.  The “Blessedness” of the Lord is enduring.  The happiness of the world is fleeting, and dependent upon circumstances.  When you walk in the happiness of the Lord, you walk in the light of the Lord.

Have a blessed day.

-Tim A. Blankenship

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.

They Shall Obtain Mercy

The Be-Attitudes continuing…

“Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy” Matthew 5:7 (KJV).

When you are in the right position with “Mercy” it is most likely because you have obtained mercy. (See Matthew 6:14-15; and Luke 7:41-42). We live in a very competitive world. Many believe it is okay to exact revenge on someone who has bettered you. You could call that “Get-Even-Ism”.

That is not the way of mercy. That is not the way of God. In the Luke reference given it tells us, “There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?” (Luke 7:41-42). The answer given to this question was, “The one who was forgiven the most”. Mercy is what all of us have received, but very few practice it toward others.

To define Mercy, it has been defined this way. It is not receiving what we justly deserve – that is judgment. We have all received mercy from God, because He withholds the judgment in order that many might, at least have opportunity, to be saved.

The next time you are about to release a verbage of criticism on someone over something that has offended you; take a look at yourself. Someone has been merciful to you in the past, and probably over this same thing that has set you off. The prophet Habakkuk prayed to the LORD, “…In wrath remember mercy” (Habakkuk 3:2 KJV). It is the merciful who will obtain mercy. His kingdom way is mercy. What is the position of your attitude concerning mercy?

They Shall Inherit the Earth

 The Be-Attitudes continuing…

“Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth” Matthew 5:5 (KJV).

Someone has defined ‘Meekness’ as “Strength/Power under control”. If there was ever a picture of meekness in men it came from Jesus Christ Himself. It is also said of Moses. ” (Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.)” Numbers 12:3 (KJV). Meekness can also be called ‘gentleness’. Meekness comes when we realize the greatness of God.

The meek are those who know and realize who they are in Christ, but do not seek to exploit their position, power or person above others. The meek are not quick to defend themselves, but will be quick in defending others, and standing for the righteousness, holiness, and justice of God.

The meek are those who will not complain about the rough spots in their lives, but are grateful, thankful, and trusting that they are in the care of God, and that all things are under His control. This attitude would be the position of the meek in relation to their world. The meek would see the positon of themselves as apposed to the thinking of the world.

The inheritance of the ‘Meek’ is the earth. This is mentioned in the Psalms; “For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace” Psalm 37:9-11 (KJV). Those who are always out for themselves; never defend the holy; never defend the helpless, but are always stepping on others to get their way – they will be “Cut off”; but the “Meek shall inherit the earth”. Notice that it says that of “…Those that wait upon the LORD..” as well.

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.

Theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven

The Be-Attitudes continuing…“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (v. 3)

These are characteristics and attitudes we should possess as disciples or followers of Jesus Christ the King. The first one is being “Poor in spirit”. This is opposite of being haughty, arrogant, and proud. Especially when we are considering the things of God. There is no room for pride before the throne of God. The one who is “Poor in spirit” realizes they are bankrupt before the God of all creation. We could not stand in His presence, except that He provides us a way.

Arrogance and pride before men is one thing, but to be arrogant and prideful before God is an eternal matter which will cause you to be cast into everlasting fire. When one is humble before God that will show in our dealings before men as well.

The definition of “Attitude” – ‘the position of something in relation to something else’ MIRRIAM/WEBSTER DICTIONARY. In the case of these Beatitudes it seems this is the best of the definitions given. The position of your thinking in relation to God is of extreme importance. The way you think of yourself in position to God. If you do not see yourself as God does there will be no way you can walk along side of Him. When you do; you will inherit ‘the kingdom of heaven’.

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.

THE HAPPINESS OF THE REVELATION (7)

This is the final article in the series of THE HAPPINESS OF THE REVELATION. I pray it has been a blessing and encouragement for all to read the Revelation of Jesus Christ. Most of all I pray that Jesus has been exalted above all in your hearts. It is quite clear to me that the Revelation and all of Scritpure is about Jesus our Lord and Savior.

THE HAPPY CLEANSED

Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. Revelation 22:14 (KJV).

The one’s “Whose robes are washed” are the one’s who keep the commandments and are given way to the “Tree of life”, and are also free to enter “The gates into the city”.

We have come to the concluding Beatitude of the Revelation. In chapter 1:3 we see THE HAPPY READER; in 14:13 THE HAPPY DEAD; 16:15 THE HAPPY WATCHER; in chapter 19:6-10 the fourth Beatitude we see THE HAPPY FEASTERS; in the fifth and chapter 20:6 we see THE HAPPY VICTORS; and in chapter 22:7 we see THE HAPPY KEEPERS. What an encouragement to have these seven happy phrases throughout the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ. It is words of hope and peace for all who are in Christ Jesus. Words which say to us, “You have nothing to fear. Be Happy”. What a blessing.

To be clean is the desire of many – maybe by all – people. Pilate futilely washed his hands to be cleansed of the blood of Jesus. Many try to physically shower or bathe to remove the dirt and filth of evil deeds, but without success.
There are people who walk around carrying a heavy load of guilt. To be cleansed of guilt is an endeavor many find difficult. To have your heart and mind cleansed of all guilt would truly be a glorious event. Many would love to start their lives over with a clean slate. Their lives ruined by deeds done, and how they long for cleansing from their past wrongs.
We know by comparing scripture with scripture; by “comparing spiritual things with spiritual”, that no one is saved – no one finds cleansing – by keeping commandments. Those who are knowledgable in the Greek say this should read, “Blessed are they who have washed their robes”. I have no problem with that because only those who have washed their robes in the “Blood of the Lamb” can do His commandments.
This work was done on the cross. God put our sins upon His Son, and He puts His Son’s righteousness upon all who will receive it. There is no greater peace of mind than knowing we are clean in God’s sight, because of the blood of Jesus. No wonder John called them “Blessed” or “Happy”.

“Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” John 6:29 (KJV). THEY ARE WASHED AND DOING HIS COMMANDMENTS. John also wrote, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” John 14:15 (KJV).
When one comes to Jesus by faith in Him and His finished work of grace on the cross you experience the cleansing from all sin. It is not a cleansing just from one sin, the worst sin, the lesser sin; it is cleansing from “all sin” one has in their life. There is no sin, short of unbelief, that cannot be forgiven.
Anyone who comes to Jesus can receive forgiveness for sin and take part in loving Jesus with all your life. It is a wondrous thing to know that you are forgiven, and that part of that forgiveness means we can have a close personal relationship and fellowship with our God and Savior Jesus – not only in the life to come but right here and right now.
There is HAPPINESS for all who come to Him , throughout all eternity. Join the HAPPINESS crowd. It can be found only in Jesus Christ.

There is happiness because WHAT WAS ORIGINALLY LOST HAS BEEN RETURNED. The fruit of God’s tree brought life. In the garden of Eden there was a tree of life. The way to the tree of life was blocked by Cherubims and a flaming sword (Gen. 3:24), because of the sin of Adam and Eve, and they were drove from the garden. “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.” Gen 2:9 (KJV)
The other tree brought death. “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Gen 2:17 (KJV). This was a spiritual death which eventually led to physical death. Death is much more than the cessation of life, it is a separation. That day in the garden Adam and Eve became separated from their union with God. They would eventually be separted body, soul and spirit.
Because of sin and disobedience we lost access to the Tree of Life. “And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: 23 Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. 24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.” Gen 3:22-24 (KJV). This was, in reality, God in His grace and mercy in action. Can you imagine what it would be like to live forever with sin and disease, all the pains of aging, and not dying. That is not for me. God protected us from and endless life of pain and sorrow. God created us eternal beings; created to live forever.
Access to the Tree of Life has been restored through THE DEATH, BURIAL AND RESURRECTION OF JESUS. This was a gift purchased for us by the blood of Jesus shed on the cross. If you want cleansing; if you want access to the TREE OF LIFE you must trust Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Do you hear Him calling you. Trust Him. Be clean.
The TREE OF LIFE is restored to those who have been redeemed.

WE NOW HAVE ACCESS TO ENTER THE CITY OF GOD. No one can enter there except the righteous. Not the self-righteous who are depending on their own good works, goodness, saying, “Look at the good deeds I have done. God must let me in. I have been so successful in all the good deeds I have done.” What arrogance, pride, but no Heaven, no Jesus, only hell.
All evil is kept from the city and its inhabitants, and from the very presence of God. There is glory only in the presence of holy God. There is light in His presence. There is eternal life in His presence. Have this life and BE HAPPY.

In conclusion, there has been a way prepared for all who will come to Him. He has a prepared place for all who will come to Him. The only way to experience this cleansing is by faith in Jesus. This is cleansing from all evil and from the guilt of the past sins. Trust Him you are forgiven. You are clean in Him.
These things await THE HAPPY CLEANSED.

THE HAPPINESS OF THE REVELATION (6)

THE HAPPY KEEPERS

Revelation 22:7Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book. 22:7 (KJV).

Showing God’s favor toward those who count His Word as a treasure, and obey Him; and His disfavor toward those who reject its truths and disobey Him.
“Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed: but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded.” PROVERBS 13:13

The prophecy of this book of the Revelation is an unveiling of the glory of Jesus Christ. In reading the Revelation we can really only just catch a glimpse of His glory,but it should be enough to cause us to desire to draw closer to this marvelous, mighty, and Majestic Savior, Lord and King.
The Revelation of Jesus is not found only in this book. He is pictured, prophecies foretell His coming, and we see Him in His earthly ministry throughout all of scripture – in both the Old and New Testaments.
In four short words at the beginning of the text Jesus says, “Behold, I come quickly:” Can we take Jesus at His Word? We sure can. This word quickly does not necesarily have to do with time, but suddenness, or surprise. Jesus gave us these words that we might always be ready through the application of His Word.
The Word truly is a treasure to all who have the peace and joy in life that only Jesus can give.

These are THE HAPPY KEEPERS because…
…THEY PRACTICE THE TEACHINGS OF DECENCY AND MORALITY; “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: 4 That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; 5 Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God:” 1 Thess 4:3-5 (KJV). It is the same standard which Jesus followed, and it is not to be shunned by followers of Jesus today or in any generation. God’s words and commandments and teachings stand forever. Jesus said, “And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.” John 8:29 (KJV).
It Is The Standard Which Glorifies Him, and will throughout our whole lives. These standards are given to us for our protection, and benefit.

…THROUGH GOD’S WORD WE ARE TAUGHT TO DISCERN THE TRUE FROM THE FALSE. This is the responsibility of every believer. To abstain from all false teachers and their teachings. Listening to false teaching is about as bad as putting arsenic in water and thinking that is okay to drink. False teaching and doctrine can poison your thinking.
We are to hold on to the Word of God. “Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.” Titus 1:9 (KJV). If we are to live with the Word of God having an eternal impact in our lives we need to know the Word. When we know God’s Word the false teachers and teachings will be made known to us. “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.” Psalms 119:9 (KJV). A false teacher’s or preacher’s lifestyle will show what they are. “They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.” Titus 1:16 (KJV). His, and nowadays, her view of Jesus will show their true heart. “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: 3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.” 1 John 4:1-3 (KJV)
We Are Commanded To Rebuke False Teachers and Their Teachings. “These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.” Titus 2:15 (KJV). “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (KJV).

…WE ARE TAUGHT WHO THE LEADERS IN OUR CHURCHES SHOULD BE. Though the following scriptures here do not mention anything dealing with church leadership, it does tell us the rewards of following all of scripture; “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. 8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. 9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. 10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. 11 Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.” Psalms 19:7-11 (KJV). These from God’s Word do have to do with church leadership; “A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;” 1 Timothy 3:2 (KJV).
This is how the Word of God should be to the pastor, deacon, and any one who loves Jesus: “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts.” Jeremiah 15:16 (KJV). The leader must be able to instruct others in the Word of God, and lead them into a closer walk with the Lord Jesus.
When Leaders – pastors or deacons – Are Not As God Instructs It Is Rebellion And Disobedience. It will cause problems and division among the people. It could cause some to fall away from the faith they were about to come to.

…WE ARE GIVEN GOD’S PLAN FOR THE CHURCH IN THE WORD. “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. 44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common; 45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. 46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, 47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” Acts 2:42-47 (KJV).
We are to pray together and for one another. This brings us into the will of God. This will also unify us in His purposes for ourselves individually and for the church.
We are to fellowship. In fellowshipping together we discover one another’s needs. We also can encourage one another and how we need it as we go about our daily lives. It should be no bother to us to get together, pray, have a fellowship meal, talk about God, His Word, and how it helps us live life and get us through each day.
The word of God teaches us to be in unity. Unity does not mean UNIFORMITY. If there is uniformity that only means that someone is giving up something they believe in order to keep peace. Unity is realizing our differences of opinion, but seeing one cause and going on with it together.
It is also the call of God’s Word that each Christian bear fruit. There is the “Fruit of the Spirit of Galations 5:22-26 which is a part of every professing and possessing Christian.
It should be the practice of each local congregation to practice discernment when it comes to teachings that seem out of Christian character and witness, and warn those who might fall for something that seems to grab hold of emotion, and will not let go. We are to base our beliefs on what God teaches in His Word not on emotion of an experience.
The highest thing we can do as Christians and His Church is to glorify Jesus. That is what salvation is really all about. It is not about me. It is not about you. It is about Jesus. Worship Jesus. That is the highest work of the Church.

WHO ARE THE HAPPY KEEPERS? They practice the teachings of decency and morality taught in God’s Word. They, through God’s Word are taught to discern the true from the false. By the Word of God we are taught who the leaders of our churches should be. In God’s Word we are given God’s plan for the church.
Be THE HAPPY KEEPERS.

THE HAPPINESS OF THE REVELATION (5)

THE HAPPY VICTORS

Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. Revelation 20:6 (KJV).

Those who truly know Jesus Christ will have part in the “First resurrection”, and through Christ are “THE HAPPY VICTORS”.

It is truly a blessed thing to know God’s promises; especially the promises concerning the future. By thse promises we learn of God’s sovereignty, thus we can know He is in complete control. Unlike the “Open Theists” who believe God does not know the future any more than you or I, we do have a sovereign who is in complete control, and does know how things were, how things are, and how things will be. He can even direct things to come out according to His plan.
We can rest assured, and be at ease knowing God in a personal way.
Our verse abovee speaks of a “First resurrection”. If there is a first it seems to me that there will also be a “second”. The “First resurrection” began with Jesus’s resurrection from the grave. His resurrection is still effective in changing people’s lives. Because of His resurrection He is coming to call His Church home – the rapture. Many who die during “the great tribulation” for Christ will be raised as part of the “First fruits” of Christ’s resurrection.
Any person in the “second resurrection” is guaranteed an eternal destiny as well. The fires and torments of hell. I do not know about you, but I care nothing for that kind of guarantee.
God has provided a way of escape. Listen to Him today. Hear his voice. Call on Him for salvation.

Who are THE HAPPY VICTORS? They…
TAKE PART IN THE FIRST RESURRECTION. “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.” 1 Cor 15:20-23 (KJV). The Scriptures also tell us, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:” 1 Thess 4:16 (KJV).
The Old Testament speaks of two resurrections as well, “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” Daniel 12:2 (KJV). Remember there is often a gap of time in some prophecies, which I believe to also be so in this case.
The “First Resurrection” is also called “The Resurrection of Life”. “And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; John 5:29a (KJV). We can take part in it in this time by calling on the name of Jesus for salvation. All who have received God’s gift of salvation will be “Fruits” of the “First Resurrection”.
It is the resurrection for those who are just. “And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.” Luke 14:14 (KJV). These have passed from death unto life. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” John 5:24 (KJV).

…They HAVE NO PART IN THE SECOND DEATH. “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” Revelation 21:8 (KJV).
This will be the plight of all those who reject God’s gift of salvation. The atheist who trust only in himself/herself will be cast alive into the “lake of fire”. The agnostic who heard, read, studied himself/herself to tears, but did not believe, and died ignorance will have no excuse. The “good man or woman” who believes in God, but shoves the cross of Christ back in His face, believing his own works are sufficient will wake up in a very sad condition at the Great White Throne of God’s judgment.
The “second death” means judgment of eternal, tormenting consequences. “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” Revelation 20:14-15 (KJV). The fires of hell. Memories of hearing the gospel of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Separation from God. “and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” John 5:29b (KJV).
The power of the “second death” is eternally binding. There is no escape from torment, once there. The way of escape must be made today, by being born again in Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior. “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.” Revelation 2:11 (KJV). “If you are born once you will die twice. If you are born twice you will die only once.

…They HAVE BEEN CHOSEN AS PRIESTS OF GOD AND OF CHRIST. “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: 10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” 1 Peter 2:9-10 (KJV). To show forth the praises of God. Showing God’s mercy and grace to all with whom we come in contact. While here on earth in the flesh and while around His throne and serving Him in His kingdom.

…They REIGN WITH CHRIST. Each individual is appointed a place of service during His kingdom on earth. During this reign on earth there will be one thousand years of peace. “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. 7 And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. 8 And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den. 9 They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” Isaiah 11:6-9 (KJV). Can you imagine seeing the lamb and wolf lying down and eating together (Isaiah 65:25).
Snakes/serpents frighten many of us in this day. I for one do not want to get too close to a Rattlesnake, or even a black ratsnake, but there will come a day of peace on earth when all the animals will go back to their pre-sin state (it is because of man’s sin that the animals are as they are), and one day a child will be able to play around or over a poisonous serpents den and there will be no need to fear or worry.

In conclusion, let me ask, to which destiny will you go? To the terrors and torments of hell? Will you receive God’s marvellous gift and enjoy eternity in the presence, power and pleasures of God? The choice is yours. You have only today to make that choice. You have no guarantee of “Tomorrow”. It never comes.
Those who have part in “The First Resurrection” are truly THE HAPPY VICTORS.

THE HAPPINESS OF THE REVELATION (4)

THE HAPPY FEASTERS

And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. 7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. 8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. 9 And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God. 10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. Rev 19:6-10 (KJV).

We Americans, and especially Baptist Americans like our food. We love a feast. We love to feast too much, in that many people are overweight, or think they are, and yet we continue to take much delight in feasting. It seems that everyone would want to follow God’s way to Heaven and enjoy the feast He is preparing for us. Millions of dollars are spent annually on diets and in fitness centers, while few think of becoming spiritually fit.
There is a feast awaiting the true followers of Jesus that will not cause us to grow weighty; which will not cause us to be lazy, but will be a feast with a table spread in the glories and wonder of our Lord and Savior. It will be a feast of celebration; a celebration of the joining together of the Bridegroom with His Bride.
Each one who has been called and chosen individually will be joined together as the Bride in unity with herself, and the Savior. Everyone who is a part of this joyous celebration will truly be “The Happy Feasters”.

These mentioned, are THE HAPPY FEASTERS because, THEY ARE PREPARED FOR THE FEAST INDIVIDUALLY. It is written, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” 2 Cor 5:10(KJV).
WE ARE BROUGHT INTO COMPLETE HARMONY WITH CHRIST AT HIS JUDGMENT SEAT. This seat is not the “Great White throne judgment” it is judgment only for those who are disciples of Christ. Those who were caught up with Him in the air. This is the place of rewards given or lost, because of the works we have done, “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. 14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” 1 Cor 3:11-15 (KJV).
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN BELIEVERS WILL BE SETTLED ONCE AND FOR ALL TIME. All the arguments and disagreements between believers while we were in our earthly bodies will fade into nothingness, and Jesus will be glorified. The answers to “Calvinism” and “Free will” will be answered. No more debate about it; all will see that God is Sovereign over all.
OUR POSITION OF SERVICE FOR CHRIST IN HIS KINGDOM WILL BE DETERMINED. There will be no disputes about who does what, or who has the most responsibility or least responsibility. There will be no gloating over one’s position. Each of us will fully realize how merciful and gracious God the Father and God the Son are and will just rejoice in the fact of our presence in His presence.

These are also THE HAPPY FEASTERS because, ALL BELIEVERS, AS THE BRIDE ARE IN UNITY WITH CHRIST. It is written, “For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.” 2 Cor 11:2 (KJV). Again Paul writes, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” Eph 5:25-27 (KJV).
THERE WILL BE NO QUARRELLING OR FIGHTING WITH JESUS. There will be a wondrous love and praise and worship, and admiration which shall never fade away. We will not be fussing with Him or one another about the food that is on the banquet table. Eat to your heart’s content, and do not worry about getting overweight. Enjoy the presence of Jesus, and the peace and comfort He gives.
Another thing as the bride in unity with Christ, THERE WILL BE TOTAL SUBMISSION WITH THE BRIDEGROOM. Jesus is the Bridegroom. He is always right and we will be under His tutelage and care.
It is also wonderful to know that, THERE WILL BE NOTHING TO SEPARATE US FROM JESUS ANY LONGER. He presents the bride [the Church] “to Himself a glorious Church…”. How did we become “Glorious”? The answer for that is simple. Because of His glorious grace, the washing of water by the Word, and the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

They are THE HAPPY FEASTERS, because THERE WILL BE PERFECT HARMONY. It is written in God’s Word, “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:” Eph 4:13 (KJV). Now part of this is done while we are in our fleshly bodies. It is done while we attend Bible studies, morning worship, evening worship, Wednesday night prayer meetings, any prayer service, and as we go about our daily lives being faithful to His call and direction in our lives.
To say it once again, but it is needed that we remember it; ALL ARE IN AGREEMENT WITH THE POSITION WE RECEIVE. The only head in Christ’s kingdom is Jesus Christ and the Father. We will receive our positions, most likely, according to how we served while on earth.
One great thing about this harmony will be that, we ALL WILL BE CLEAN AND WHITE cleansed by the blood of the Lamb – Jesus Christ. O, what a wonderful cleansing that will be. O, what a wonderful cleansing it already is. Glory to God.
In perfect harmony with Jesus and one another ALL WILL HAVE EQUAL KNOWLEDGE OF LIVING WITH HIM FOR ALL ETERNITY. All who are with Christ Jesus will know all there is for us to know. We will know the Father as we have never known Him before. We will know Jesus – the Son – in all His glory. We will know the power of the Holy Spirit and bask in His glory for the Son. The knowledge we will have then, would probably, overwhelm us in our present state. I am sometimes overwhelmed by the knowledge you can find on the internet, and some of that is certainly not worth knowing. O, the things of God, Jesus, and of Heaven and eternal glory are deffinitely worth knowing.

One final reason they will be THE HAPPY FEASTERS is because, WE ARE JOINED TOGETHER NEVER TO PART. “And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? 6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” Matt 19:5-6 (KJV). It was the plan of God that when a man and woman marries they were to be together , as husband and wife forever.
The husband, HAVING PUT BEHIND HIM ALL EARTHLY CONNECTIONS will enjoy his wife and love her over his mother and father. When we come to Christ Jesus we leave all things, family ties, and all to follow and serve Him. This does not mean we give up family ties, but they are of less importance to us. Jesus is our All in all. We are the bride and He is the Groom, and the love we have for Him will be more than any earthly tie can bring forth. Men, you do not need fear all this is as pure as Heaven, God and His Son are pure. It will be a holy relationship and fellowship in His presence.
In this relationship DIVORCE WILL BE COMPLETELY OUT OF THE PICTURE. There will be no separation in glory. All will be well in all His glory.
THE HAPPY FEASTERS will experience DEATH AND SORROW NO MORE. We will have put off the old flesh and by Christ Jesus all things will be new. No more death. No more sorrow. Those things will have to flee. There will only be eternity basking in the glory of God’s eternal love and grace.
For THE HAPPY FEASTERS, there will be no disappointments. DISAPPOINTMENT WILL NEVER BE EXPERIENCED IN GLORY. How could we be disappointed with Jesus? There will be no discouragement. How could we be discouraged when Jesus has conquered all things and they are “Under His feet”?

In conclusion, let me say, that, I find it fascinating and wonderful, that the Lord placed this “Beatitude” here in the Revelation. He has a time and reason for all that He does. We must rejoice in that and join Him in whatever He does; where that is possible.
We can have our feasts while here on earth, and greatly enjoy them, but there will never be a feast that compares to the MARRIAGE SUPPER OF THE LAMB. Will you be there?
By faith, call on the name of the Lord Jesus for salvation.
Preparation for that glorious feast begins today. If you have heard the message of salvation by the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit is calling you, now. Hear Him and obey. Do it today.