The Selfish Shepherd

“Woe to the idol shepherd that leaveth the flock! The sword shall be upon his arm, and upon his right eye: his arm shall be clean dried up, and his right eye shall be utterly darkened.” Zechariah 11:17 (KJB)

Some thoughts from John Wesley…

“The idol shepherd – To them that are but the images of shepherds. That leaveth – Casts off the care of the flock. The sword – Of the enemy, shall break his strength and be – fool his counsels. Dried up – They that have gifts which qualify them to do good, if they do it not, they will be taken away. They that should have been workmen, but were slothful, and would do nothing, will justly have their arm dried up. And they that should have been watchmen, but were drowsy, will justly have their eye blinded.”  JOHN WESLEY’S NOTES ON THE BIBLE for Zechariah 11:17

John Gills notes on Zechariah 11:17…

Woe to the idol shepherd,…. Or, “the shepherd of nothing” (w); that is, no true shepherd, that is good for nothing, for an idol is nothing in the world, 1Co_8:4 and who is an idol himself, sits in the temple of God, and is worshipped as if he was God. 2Th_2:4 and is an encourager and defender of idolatry:

that leaveth the flock; has no regard to its spiritual concerns; does not feed it, but fleece it, and leaves it to the cruelty and avarice of his creatures under him:

the sword shall be upon his arm; with which he should feed the flock:

and upon his right eye; with which he should watch over it:

his arm shall be clean dried up; his power shall be taken away from him; the antichristian states, which supported him, shall withdraw from him; the ten kings shall hate the whore, strip her naked, eat her flesh, and burn her with fire, Rev_17:16,

and his right eye shall be utterly darkened; not only given up to judicial blindness, which has been always his case; but his kingdom shall be full of darkness, Rev_16:10 his hidden things of darkness shall be exposed; all his crafty schemes will be confounded; and all his wit, cunning, and subtlety, will cease; and everything desirable to him will be taken away from him. His “arm” may denote his secular power, which shall be taken away from him: and his “right eye” his knowledge of the Scriptures, judgment in controversies, and infallibility pretended to by him, which wilt cease, even in the opinion of men. Ben Melech interprets it the eye of his heart or mind; and so Aben Ezra.”  JOHN GILL’S EXPOSITION OF THE BIBLE

The BRANCH and The Temple

“And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

‘Take of them of the captivity, of Heldai, of Tobijah, and of Jedaiah, which are come from Babylon, and come thou the same day, and go into the house of Josiah the son of Zephaniah; then take silver and gold, and make crowns, and set upon the head of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest; and speak unto him, saying, ‘Thus speaketh the LORD of Hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and He shall grow up out of His place, and He shall build the temple of the LORD: even He shall build the temple of the LORD; and He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon His throne; and He shall be a priest upon His throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.

And the crowns shall be to Helem, and to Tobijah, and to Jedaiah, and to Hen the son of Zephaniah, for a memorial in the temple of the LORD.  And they that are far off shall come and build in the temple of the LORD, and ye shall know that the LORD of Hosts hath sent me unto you. And this shall come to pass, if ye will diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God.’ ” Zechariah 6:9-15 (KJB)

STUDY HELPS: Zechariah 3:8; 6:1-8; Exodus 29:6; 2 Samuel 12:30; Psalm 21:2; Haggai 1:1; Isaiah 22:24; 57:19; 58:10-14; Hebrews 3:1

What a Way to Treat the Word of God

“Yet they were not afraid, nor rent their garments, neither the king, nor any of his servants that heard all these words.” Jeremiah 36:24 (KJB)

My thoughts as I read through Jeremiah 34 – 36 this morning is the title – “What a way to treat the word of God”.  It is the word of God.

It was from God, given to Jeremiah, to have read before king Jehoiakim.  To this present time the king had paid no heed to the word of the LORD.  God is merciful, and kind, and patient with His people.  He will not allow evil in His people to go unanswered.

How can a king who is leading God’s people be so spiteful, hateful, and just downright wicked toward God, His word, and His prophet? It seems like a frightening thing to me.

Yet, notice in the verses before and after the text above. The king cut the written words up into pieces, then threw them into the fire; not even willing to hear what God says. Some plead with the king not to do it; and he does not hear them.  “They were not afraid” neither did they “tear their garments” in remorse.

I am seeing things similar to this in many who call themselves “Christian” today.  Maybe not actually taking a Bible and cutting it up, throwing it in the fire; but just out and out rebellion, unbelief, and making statements such as “The Bible is antiquated and unnecessary for our day”. There are even a few religious “churches” who have no respect for the word of God. They allow what God condemns; even to ordaining leaders who commit abomination against God and His word.

When professing Christians are believing that there are other ways to God and Heaven, and that Jesus Christ is only one of many ways, they are shunning the word of God, and declaring the words of men just as valuable as the word of God.  That accusation is against the word of God, tears it to shreds, and throws it into the fires of the false prophets.

Jesus Christ Himself said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no one comes unto the Father, but by Me.” (John 14:6)  Through Jesus Christ alone is the salvation of those in Adam’s race. You can believe that, and trust Him, or you will perish.

Power Belongs to God

“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.” Romans 13:1-2  (KJB)

There are many people who honor the order of law, and endeavor to give honor to those who are giving their lives to defend, protect, and serve us.  People such as our local county Sheriff’s departments, city police, firemen, Emergency Medical Services, and the soldiers of our nation’s military should be admired, revered, given honor, and paid rightly.

When we honor these men and women we in one respect give honor to God.  God is the One who has ordained the “higher powers” – those who are in authority.

Sadly, as of lately, there seems to be a growing number of people who hate the law and order of our land.  Could it be because they are guilty of violating the law?  Therefore they cannot support our men and women who are defenders of the law.

We must be careful that we do not put our defenders on too high a pedestal though.  They too are of flesh and blood humanity.  They make mistakes. They are sinners too. Nonetheless, they are ministers of God (Romans 13:4), and if you are against them, you stand against God.  That is your damnation.

There is no man, however, who holds absolute power.  All power is God’s “For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God”, and He gives power to whom He will.

Jesus, as He stood before Pilate and when Pilate had said, “Don’t You know that I have the power to crucify You, or to release You?” said,

“Thou couldest have no power against Me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered Me unto thee hath the greater sin.” John 19:11

No one has power that has not been given him, except by God. If you think you are one with great power and authority, then be very careful, and give God thanks, and recognize from whence that power came.

If you are not respecting the “higher powers”, then you dishonor God Himself, and bring damnation on yourself.

As a Christian my hope and eternal life lies in Jesus Christ.  While I live in this world I am first of all subject to the Most High and Holy God who is All-Powerful. I also must subject myself to those who have authority over me, as they are servants of God to do what is right (Romans 13:4), and that also will give you a clean conscience (v. 5).

The Defense

“And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers: unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope’s sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews.” Acts 26:6-7 (KJB)

The apostle is now standing before the King of Israel.  I cannot help but think that as Paul stands there he could be thinking of one day standing before Jesus, the King of kings, and giving an account of his life.

Now as he stands before King Agrippa he is giving his own defense for the Jews accusations against him. Some of the same accusations brought against Jesus.  False charges are always charged by those who have no true rebuttal against the faithful.

Paul has been told by the Lord that he would go to Rome (Acts 23:11).  Is he worried?  I really doubt it.  Is he fearful?  He is trusting the Lord for His defense, and deliverance and trip to Rome.

Agrippa was a man who was educated in the Jewish religion, and the  apostle used that to defend his own ministry and words.  If you will remember our Lord said that some of His disciples would stand before kings (Mark 13:9).  Of course in that reference it is dealing with the last days.  Just a thought here: the last days began with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus; possibly even the birth of Jesus.

Let us who are in Christ continue in the faithfulness of the word of God and the gospel of Christ Jesus.  Lord God Almighty keep us in Your powerful hands to always be faithful. Give us boldness through the filling of Your Spirit, that in and through all things we might walk with You.

Beware the Wolves

“For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.  Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.”  Acts 20:29-30  (KJB)

Paul, by the revelation of the Spirit of God, knew that when he was departed seducers, voracious, and evil men would come in and try to destroy the word and work of God. There are two types of voracious leadership named here.  I will let some sages from the past clarify who they are…

From John Gills Exposition of the Bible…

For I know this,…. By divine revelation:
that after my departing; either out of this world, or after his leaving them now, and proceeding on, his journey:
shall grievous wolves enter in among you; false teachers, comparable to wolves, for their craft and cunning, and for their greedy, covetous, and voracious dispositions; and who would be very grievous, troublesome, and even intolerable to them; these, he knew, would enter privily, at an unawares, into their churches, and set up themselves for preachers, without being called or sent:
not sparing the flock; fleecing it instead of feeding it, making merchandise of it, and like the Pharisees, under religious pretences, devour widows’ houses, and drain the purses of men; and having as little compassion upon their souls, poisoning them with their errors and heresies, subverting their faith, and bringing them into swift ruin and destruction, as much as would in them lie.

From Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary…

after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you — Two classes of coming enemies are here announced, the one more external to themselves, the other bred in the bosom of their own community; both were to be teachers, but the one, “grievous wolves,” not sparing, that is, making a prey of the flock; the other (Act_20:30), simply sectarian “perverters” of the truth, with the view of drawing a party after them. Perhaps the one pointed to that subtle poison of Oriental Gnosticism which we know to have very early infected the Asiatic churches; the other to such Judaizing tendencies as we know to have troubled nearly all the early churches. See the Epistles to the Ephesians, Colossians, and Timothy, also those to the seven churches of Asia (Revelation 2:1-3:22). But watchfulness against all that tends to injure and corrupt the Church is the duty of its pastors in every age.

O my friend draw near to Jesus Christ the Son of the Living God, God the Living Son.

Shall I Crucify Your King?

“And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, ‘Behold your King!’  But they cried out, ‘Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him.’ Pilate saith unto them, ‘Shall I crucify your King?’ The chief priests answered, ‘We have no king but Caesar.'” John 19:14-15  (KJB)

In this scene Jesus is being tried for accused sins and transgressions; not actual charges, but false charges brought about by those who hated God, His word, and His Son.

Jesus is the King of the Jews.  It was those who should have known the Scripture best which denied Him, were jealous of His successes, His power, and His followers.  One of the chief priest even said that “One must die for our nation” (John 11:49-51).

Here stood the Man, the God-Man whose character, power, miracles, grace, mercy, holiness, and justness was clearly displayed by His life.  He lived solely to do the business of His Father (Luke 2:49), from the early age of 12 years.  He healed the sick, caused the lame to walk, cleansed lepers, raised the dead.  Hey, He defied the elements by walking on water, speaking to storms and they ceased.  He cast out demons.

How could these religious “Leaders” be so blind?  Pilate asked them, “Shall I crucify your King?”.  Their sad, and hateful words say it all about their dark hearts… “We have no king but Caesar?”

When citizens of a nation which is enslaved by another nation chooses the king of the occupying nation over their own king; especially like these do they are denying God.  These Jewish leaders should have been looking for the coming of their Messiah; maybe they were, but were not expecting this Jesus; this suffering Servant of God; willing to die for the sins of the world.

For the Christian of 2019 are you aware of; are you alert to the words of your King?  Jesus is your King.  He has called us unto Himself, turning from sin to His righteousness, to live in holiness.  Are we saying the same thing those religious leaders of His day said when we choose to go our own way, do our own thing?  Are we not saying, “I have no king but Caesar/myself?”

The People in Expectation

“And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not; John answered, saying unto all, ‘I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: whose fan is in His hand, and He will throughly purge His floor, and will gather the wheat into His garner; but the chaff He will burn with fire unquenchable.’
And many other things in his exhortation preached he unto the people.”   Luke 3:15-18  (KJB)

In the days preceding the days of the appearance of the Christ there was a longing, a strong desire and passion for the coming of Messiah.  The prophet John the Baptist was to be the last of the Old Testament prophets.

A new Man was coming on the scene.  People and things were about to change.

I do not know about you, but I can almost see and hear these words the people said, and asked.  Maybe some were direct and asked, “John, are you the Messiah?”  There was much chatter.  There were probably many questions.

The prophet John, like the prophets before him were preachers, forth tellers of the word of God.  They said what God put in their hearts and minds to say, by the power of the Spirit of God.  They spoke without fear or favor of men.  Like those prophets he spoke of another mightier than himself.

The people were in expectation.  They were looking for hope, for deliverance, for salvation from the Roman conquerors, their accusers and abusers.  That is not unlike people of 2019.

Many of us are looking again for the reappearing of our Lord and Savior. He is the One whom John preached about.  He is the One whom John said,

“…One mightier than I comes, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire: whose fan is in His hand, and He will throughly purge His floor, and will gather the wheat into His garner; but the chaff He will burn with fire unquenchable.”

John spoke of Jesus, the Christ.  He was about to appear.  We as Christians today are to be proclaiming the coming of our Lord.  We are to watch and pray and preach; preach Jesus.  Preach the death of Jesus on the cross to redeem us from our sins.  Preach that He was buried and carried our sins away, leaving them in the depths of the earth never to be held captive by them again; and that He rose again from death and the grave; and that He is alive.

He is coming.  He said He would (John 14:1-3).

Nothing Kept Secret

“And He said unto them, ‘Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bed?, and not to be set on a candlestick?  For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was any thing kept secret, but that it should come abroad.  If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.’
And He said unto them, ‘Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given.  For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath.’” Mark 4:21-25  (KJB)

Since Jesus had just explained the parables mentioned before, now Jesus it telling them the importance of giving these words, telling them to others.  Jesus has revealed to them the light and power of the gospel. Now the apostles have the responsibility to share the gospel with others.

So as we who have believed; because the Spirit of God has opened our understanding, revealed to us the gospel of Christ; so also do we have the power and calling to let it shine and endeavor to give it to others.

Let us take note of the caveat’, “For he that has, to him shall be given: and he that has not, from him shall be taken even that which he has.”  If God gives me the ability to understand, and I share it, I am faithful in giving it away, then He will give me more understanding; but if I keep it all to myself, and do not share it, then He will take away even what I have.

Nothing was held back in giving understanding of the mystery of the gospel; its light, power, and glory; neither did they put it under a bushel to hide it.  Neither should the Christian of today.

The Innocent One: Condemned and Spat Upon

“Then did they spit in His face, and buffeted Him; and others smote with the palms of their hands…” Matthew 26:67  (KJB)

As I read these words this morning it grieved my heart and soul.  It does so many times when I see men and women do the things they do to one another that are vile, wicked, and evil.

This act of spitting on another human being is an insult to us.  It is degrading.  It is a disgusting act of hatred clear and simple.  However,  we are speaking here of the One who is our Creator;  “All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made.” (John 1:3).

Notice that this is after His rigged trial, the “judges” sought for false witnesses, and could find none, and “convicted” Him purely out of envy (Matthew 27:18).  The religious leaders could not stand the fact that Jesus had authority with God that they did not have.  They were envious of His peace, His joy, His power, and His followers.

Upon the guilty “verdict” those who held Him turned on Him and began spitting in His face.  This did not deter Him from His work.  This did not turn Him to hate those who hated Him.

They “buffeted Him” which means; according to many; they struck him with their fists.  Really brave souls there, don’t you think?  Beating a man with his hands tied.

Some of them “smote” Him, meaning they slapped His face with an open hand.

Sadly, there are many in our world today who would still humiliate our Savior by spitting in His face, beat Him with their fist, and slap His beautiful face of love.

He went on to the cross willingly.  He willingly laid down His life that those who would be saved, could be saved.  He paid the price for our redemption.  He paid for your redemption.  There is no other redemption from sin except Jesus’s death on the cross.  He was also buried having taken all our sins upon Himself, carrying it all away. Then He rose from the dead proving that He is everything He said (Romans 1:3-4).

Because He lives we have eternal life.  Believe His word.  Believe Him.

The Disciple and The Lord

“The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.  It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more them of his household!
Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.”
Matthew 10:24-26 (KJB)

Jesus had been giving His disciples instruction, encouragement, and warnings of what they could expect as they went out to preach and teach the gospel of the kingdom.  There would be good things happen.  There would be disappointing events and acts that would be done; and evil words said of them.

Jesus Himself had been accused of casting out demons by the power of the prince of demons.  Could the disciples expect anything else?  Of course not.

Christian we are living in a world that is growing more and more hostile to Christ, the cross, and any who would live the life of the teachings of Jesus, to be like Him.

Let us not be discouraged by the situation.  Let us rejoice.  It is the work of God as He works in His people separating the true follower of Jesus Christ from those who only wear the name Christian.

From the Matthew Henry Commentary…

They must expect, in the midst of these sufferings, to be branded with the most odious and ignominious names and characters that could be. Persecutors would be ashamed in this world, if they did not first dress up those in bear-skins whom they thus bait, and represent them in such colours as may serve to justify such cruelties. The blackest of all the ill characters they give them is here stated; they call them Beelzebub, the name of the prince of the devils, Mat_10:25. They represent them as ringleaders of the interest of the kingdom of darkness, and since every one thinks he hates the devil, thus they endeavour to make them odious to all mankind. See, and be amazed to see, how this world is imposed upon: [1.] Satan’s sworn enemies are represented as his friends; the apostles, who pulled down the devil’s kingdom, were called devils. Thus men laid to their charge, not only things which they knew not, but things which they abhorred, and were directly contrary to, and the reverse of. [2.] Satan’s sworn servants would be thought to be his enemies, and they never more effectually do his work, than when they pretend to be fighting against him. Many times they who themselves are nearest akin to the devil, are most apt to father others upon him; and those that paint him on others’ clothes have him reigning in their own hearts. It is well there is a day coming, when (as it follows here, Mat_10:26) that which is hid will be brought to light. (On verse 25)

We who are in Christ Jesus are being called evil things.  Let us continue to stand on the old time gospel of Jesus Christ, take up the cross and follow Him; wherever that may lead us.

When You Reach the Bottom in Despair

“O LORD, rebuke me not in Thy wrath: neither chasten me in Thy hot displeasure.  For Thine arrows stick fast in me, and Thy hand presseth me sore.
No soundness in my flesh because of Thine anger; neither rest in my bones because of my sin.  For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me.  My wounds stink, are corrupt because of my foolishness.  I am troubled; I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long.  For my loins are filled with a loathsome disease: and there is no soundness in my flesh.  I am feeble and sore broken: I have roared by reason of the disquietness of my heart.
Lord, all my desire is before Thee; and my groaning is not hid from thee.  My heart panteth, my strength faileth me: as for the light of mine eyes, it also is gone from me.  My lovers and my friends stand aloof from my sore; and my kinsmen stand afar off.  They also that seek after my life lay snares, and they that seek my hurt speak mischievous things, and imagine deceits all the day long.  But I, as a deaf man, heard not; and as a dumb man that openeth not his mouth.  Thus I was as a man that heareth not, and in whose mouth are no reproofs.
For in Thee, O LORD, do I hope: Thou wilt hear, O Lord my God.  For I said, ‘Hear me, lest otherwise they should rejoice over me: when my foot slippeth, they magnify themselves against me.’  For I am ready to halt, and my sorrow is continually before me.  For I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin.  But mine enemies are lively, and they are strong: and they that hate me wrongfully are multiplied.  They also that render evil for good are mine adversaries; because I follow good.
Forsake me not, O LORD: O my God, be not far from me.  Make haste to help me, O Lord my salvation.”  Psalm 38:1-22 (KJB)

The following commentary is from F. B. Meyer’s Through the Bible Day by Day…

A long drawn-out sigh of pain. Some think it should be classed with Psa_32:1-11; Psa_51:1-19, as belonging to the time of David’s fall and repentance. It is filled with a sense of God’s judgments and the profound consciousness of sin. Perhaps David was suffering physically, or he may be describing his spiritual maladies in terms borrowed from that source. His friends stood apart and his enemies were near. But it was wise to refrain from man and to wait only on God. When we are buffeted and derided, the true attitude is our Lord’s. As the dumb sheep before her shearers, He opened not His mouth!
In Psa_38:15 the tone becomes calmer. The soul begins to recover its center of gravity in God. Notice the fourfold repetition of For, Psa_38:15-18. Faith marshals her arguments. Out of “stony griefs” she builds “Bethels.” Like Samson, she finds honey in the lion’s carcass. But God will not forsake. He never for a moment withdraws His close attention. The Refiner sits by the crucible, and will cool down the heat the moment it has done its work.

Jesus Christ is the only hope for all Adam kind.  We have sinned.  When we get to the place of despair over our sin, its pain and disease, its death, and destruction; its theft, and hatred; then we will call on the name of the Lord, and He will hear us.

Jesus came and died on the cross in our place; He was buried carrying away all our sin, death, condemnation, shame; and then He left those things in the grave, and arose to show His victories.  He lives today.  Call on Him and be saved. Be born again.

Elijah-How One Man Made a Difference-Part 5

Wally Fry continues the study on Elijah and prayer.

Truth in Palmyra

Where were we? Oh yes, the young son of the widow woman Elijah has been living with has suddenly died. This was very unfortunate, and probably quite shocking to the two of them. It almost seems absurd to our minds that God would let something like this happen after supernaturally providing for them for such a long time? Why? Why? Why? Well, before we move in, I want to restate a great comment that was made about this previously, Ben over at Another Red Letter Day had the following to say:

Sometimes we ask why things happened, rather than looking at what God can do in our circumstances. Our Lord who makes all things work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purposes told the disciples they were asking the wrong question in John 9. I love how the Message Bible puts…

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Elijah-How One Man Made a Difference-Part 4

Truth in Palmyra

1 Kings 17:17,18

And it came to pass after these things, that the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, fell sick; and his sickness was so sore, that there was no breath left in him. And she said unto Elijah, What have I to do with thee, O thou man of God? art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son?

 This may very be a real “Say what?” moment. Things have been tough on both Elijah the Prophet and the widow woman he has been living with. Elijah has spent a year camped out by a brook, alone save for a providing bird. The woman had been living alone with her son, watching the land grow dry and her food run out. Then Elijah had come along and things may have seemed to be looking up.

The woman’s son…

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Elijah-How One Man Made a Difference-Part 3

Thank you Wally for sharing this with us. Good reading, great and powerful words and thoughts.

Truth in Palmyra

1 Kings 17:10-12

So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, the widow woman was there gathering of sticks: and he called to her, and said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink. And as she was going to fetch it, he called to her, and said, Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand. And she said, As the LORD thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die.

As we have covered, Elijah’s brook had dried up. The Lord had been taking care of…

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The Virtuous Man; The Virtuous Woman

“The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him.
What, my son? And what, the son of my womb? And what, the son of my vows?  Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings.
It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink: lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted. Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts.  Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.
Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction.  Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.”  Proverbs 31:1-9 (KJB)

Man of Virtue; Woman of Virtue – Proverbs 31:1-31

No one is for certain who Lemuel was. The name means “Belonging to God”, and could be another name for Solomon.
We often hear about the woman/wife of verses 10-31, but little about the virtuous king/man in verses 1-9.
According to Strongs Dictionary of the Hebrew language “Virtuous” means ‘a force’ or ‘valour’, ‘strength’. Probably referring to moral excellence and strength or power.
1. The king should be virtuous in his judgment/justice and other decisions. He is to stand for the weak and defenseless.
The word “strength” (v. 3) is the same as the word “virtuous” of v. 10 [chayil; khah’-yil]. Not controlled by unethical women, nor by power, neither by mind altering drink or drugs. Only a virtuous/strong man or king can make righteous judgments. (vv. 1-9)

“Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies.  The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.  She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.  She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar.  She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.  She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.  She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.  She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.  She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.  She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.  She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.”  Proverbs 31:10-22

2. The woman/wife of virtue. A force of moral integrity. Look at her value “far above rubies”. She has the “trust” of her husband; he knows she will not bankrupt their home and family – morally or financially (vv. 10-12).
She is a hard and diligent worker and wise shopper (vv. 13-15). She endeavors to increase her resources (vv. 16-19) She is thoughtful of others, and cares for her own (vv. 20-21).
The wife of virtue is an artist, designer, homebuilder, etc. (vv. 22-24).
“Strength” (v. 25) is a different [‘oz; oze] meaning “force, security, majesty, praise”. And honour are her clothing; her covering; her unashamed quality. This virtuous woman is honoredby her neighbors, her husband, her children.

“Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.  Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.  Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.”  Proverbs 31:29-31

The virtuous woman is more concerned with the way her life and family appears, than her personal beauty. A woman who has the adoration of her family, friends, and neighbors due to her strength in the Lord has much, very much, and is praised by others (vv. 26-31).

The Wisdom of Agur

“The words of Agur the son of Jakeh, even the prophecy: the man spake unto Ithiel, even unto Ithiel and Ucal, surely I am more brutish than any man, and have not the understanding of a man. I neither learned wisdom, nor have the knowledge of the holy.
Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? Who hath gathered the wind in His fists? Who hath bound the waters in a garment? Who hath established all the ends of the earth? What is His name, and what is His Son’s name, if thou canst tell?
Every word of God is pure: He is a shield unto them that put their trust in Him.  Add thou not unto His words, lest He reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.
Two things have I required of Thee; deny me them not before I die: remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: lest I be full, and deny Thee, and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.”  Proverbs 30:1-9 (KJB)

Agur’s Wisdom – Proverbs 30:1-33

“The words of Agur the son of Jakeh”. It is not known who Agur is. There is no other reference to this name in Scripture. Some have thought it to be reference to Solomon, as a nickname; but seems unlikely. There are some who believe that Agur was a court counselor to Solomon. Agur does begin the wisdom a bit differently than the other writings.

1. “The man declares, I am weary, O God; I am weary, O God, and worn out.” from ESV verse 1. It seems more likely that Agur is addressing pupils he might be teaching with the names of Ithiel and Ucal.
Agur seems also to be a man of humilty, note; “Surely I am more brutish [stupid] than any man, and have not the understanding of a man.” (v. 2-3).

2. Note the wisdom of his theology (v. 4). The obvious answers to these questions can only be “God”. Now look at his beliefs concerning Scripture (vv. 5-6); 1) It is pure; 2) God is a shield; 3) To add to the word of God makes one out a liar.

3. Agur asks for two things (vv. 7-9); 1) Give me neither poverty, nor riches; 2) Provide what I need to live.

4. The matter of slander is addressed in verse 10. See Psalms 15:3 & 101:5 “a malicious, false, and defamatory statement or report” Dictionary.com

5. There are four types of evil characters in verses 11 – 14; 1) Those who do not respect their parents; 2) Those who are immoral, but refuse to acknowledge it; 3) Those who are arrogant; and 4) Those who take advantage of the poor, and enslave them. “There is a generation…”

6. There are five things in fours which are lessons wisdom can teach us. Verses 15-17 tells us of thing which have unquenchable thirst or hunger, that cannot be satisfied. Verses 18-20 tells us of things that are mysterious and wonderful; with a warning in verse 20. Verses 21-23 four things that are out of place, and unnatural. Verses 24-28 gives tell us of four tiny creatures who are prepared for life and living. Verses 29-31 tells us four things which have honor, and are without shame.

7. Verses 32 – 33 deal with those who involve themselves in everything of others; have a comment about others situation, and find themselves with bloody noses; or worse.

Heart and Life Directions

Heart and Life Directions – Proverbs 21:1-8

It is a staple of life to know that God can take the heart of a king and turn it the direction He chooses.  Even when the king is evil, from an evil empire or kingdom God uses kings to fulfill His will and purposes.

Verses 1 – 4 –  Streams of water are often changed in their courses due to flood waters.  In the early 1800’s [1811-1812] the Mississippi River flowed backwards for a period of 10-24 hours filling, forming the Reelfoot lake.  Even streams as massive as the Mississippi can be changed by the hand of God; so too can a king’s heart.
Examples of king’s hearts being changed can be seen in Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, Ahaseurus, Darius, Cyrus (Exodus 12:31;  Daniel 4;  5;  6;  10;  Ezra 1, 4;  Esther 9-10).
The Lord looks on and knows the hearts of mankind. Even Jesus is said to have known what was on the hearts of some people who wanted to force Him to be king (John 2:23-25; 6:14-15).
The “High look” and the “Proud heart” go like peas in their pod.  The plowing of the wicked, leads to the sowing of sin.  “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:7)

Verses 5 – 8 –  There is contrast in v. 5 between the diligent and the hasty.  There is reward for diligence; while there is waste and want to the hasty.

“The getting of treasures by a lying tongue,…. By telling lies in trade; by bearing false witness in a court of judicature; or by preaching false doctrines in the church of God: is a vanity tossed to and fro of them that seek death: such treasures, though ever so great, are like any light thing, smoke or vapour, straw, stubble, chaff, or a feather, tossed about the wind; which is expressive of the instability uncertainty of riches ill gotten; they do not last long, but are taken away and carried off by one providence or another; and they are likewise harmful and pernicious; they issue in death: and those that seek after them, and obtain them in a bad way, are said to “seek death”: not intentionally, but eventually; this they certainly find, if grace prevent not; see Pro_8:36. Jarchi reads it, they are the “snares of death” to him; and so the Septuagint version.”  From John Gill Commentary

and the MacArthur Study Bible note

“21:5-7 These verses address the evils of ill-gotten gain.  They show three major defects in the way this gain is acquired: 1) hastily (v. 5; cf. 19:2;28:20);  2) deceitfully (v. 5 cf. 13:11); and 3) violently (v. 7; cf. 12:6).”

Verse 7 –  NKJV

“The violence of the wicked will destroy them, Because they refuse to do justice.”

ESV

“The violence of the wicked will sweep them away, because they refuse to do what is just.”

Verse 8 –  People without God, and walking in His paths live lives which are perverse, crooked, criminal, and guilt riden lives.  The path of those who walk with God, are pure through the purity of Christ Jesus and do right through Him.

Reminding the Brethren

“Now the Spirit speaks expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of demons; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; forbidding to marry, to abstain from meats, which God has created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.
If you put the brethren in remembrance of these things, you shall be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, which you have attained.  But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself unto godliness.  For bodily exercise profits little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.  This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation.
For therefore we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, specially of those that believe.  These things command and teach.  Let no man despise your youth; but you be an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.  Neglect not the gift that is in you, which was given you by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.  Meditate upon these things; give yourself wholly to them; that your profiting may appear to all.  Take heed unto yourself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this you shall both save yourself, and them that hear you.” 1 Timothy 4:1-16  (KJB)

REFERENCES: 2 Timothy 3:1-5, 14; Daniel 11:35; John 16:13; Matthew 7:15; Romans 14:14, 20; 1 Corinthians 4:11; 8:8; 10:25; Ephesians 4:19; 5:23; Psalm 26:6; Acts 6:6

You Are Not In Darkness

“But of the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I write unto you.  For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.  For when they shall say, ‘Peace and safety;’ then sudden destruction comes upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.  But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.  Therefore let us not sleep, as others; but let us watch and be sober.  For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.  For God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.  Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also you do.  And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labor among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves.
Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feeble minded, support the weak, be patient toward all.  See that none render evil for evil unto any, but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all.
Rejoice evermore.
Pray without ceasing.
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
Quench not the Spirit.
Despise not prophesyings.
Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
Abstain from all appearance of evil.
And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He that calls you, who also will do.
Brethren, pray for us.  Greet all the brethren with an holy kiss.
I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren.  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.” 1 Thessalonians 5:1-28

REFERENCES: Matthew 24:3, 43; Acts 1:7; Isaiah 13:6; 59:17; Hosea 13:13; Romans 9:22; 13:12; 14:8; 16:16; Luke 21:34; 1 Corinthians 1:9; 2:11; 16:18; Leviticus 19:18; 2 Corinthians 6:10; Ephesians 5:20; Colossians 4:3, 16

Our Lives are About God, Jesus Christ, Heaven

“Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an example.  (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, ‘The enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and glory in their shame, who mind earthly things.’)  For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself.” Philippians 3:17-21

REFERENCES: Galatians 1:7; Hosea 4:7; 2 Corinthians 11:12; 1 John 3:1-3

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

Instruction for Pastors

“For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood.
For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.  Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.  Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.  And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.  I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel.  Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me.  I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” Acts 20:27-35

The King Rejected

“When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha. And it was the preparation of the Passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, ‘Behold your King!’ But they cried out, ‘Away with Him, away with Him, crucify him.’ Pilate saith unto them, ‘Shall I crucify your King?’ The chief priests answered, ‘We have no king but Caesar.’ Then delivered he Him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led Him away.”  John 19:13-16  (KJB)

This is a very sad event.  It would seem that even Pilate recognized Jesus as the Sovereign that He was and is; yet he was more devoted to Caesar, and fear of the accusation of not being a friend of Caesar, than he was to freeing an innocent Man.  Pilate goes on and declares Jesus, “King of the Jews”, but condemns Him to crucifixions death.

As I read these verses I thought of and think of the following verses from the first chapter of John…

“He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. He came unto His own, and His own received him not.” John 1:10-11

Jesus Christ will one day, and possibly soon, rule as the King of all the earth.  O, in His precious Holy name, do not be found rejecting the King.

Growing by the Numbers

Matthew 13:31-33

Another parable put He forth unto them, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.’
Another parable spake He unto them; ‘The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.’” Matthew 13:31-33 (KJB)

These two parables if you will notice are placed between the parable of the wheat and the tares, and the explanation of the wheat and the tares. This was intentional so that we might see His intent of the two parables. He is warning us of the deception of the enemy. We all like to see growth in our churches. Hopefully we mean by growth – people being called to Christ through faith in the shed blood of Jesus’s death, His burial, and resurrection. Too many times churches have crowds, members, and numbers, but no salvations. “But Oh, we had a great crowd. There was excitement in the air.” something along this line said, and everybody is feeling great; but is Jesus truly praised, worshiped, and glorified?

I. The growth of the mustard seed in this parable would normally be to become the bush of an herb.

* + It, however, becomes like an “Oak tree”.
* + How is it that the power, popularity, and prestige of Christianity has increased in past years?

II. The devil likes nothing better than for the church and the kingdom to have an unholy, ungodly, supernatural growth.

* + We are accepting people into congregations that call themselves Christian, but they have had no personal experience with Jesus.
* + They are still in their sins, unforgiven, unredeemed.
* + They have not been regenerated by the power of the Spirit of God, they have not been justified, there is no sanctification, and until they have these things they certainly will not be glorified in the presence of Jesus.

III. The Psalmist wrote in the song, “Except the LORD build the house, they labor in vain who build it.” (Psalm 127:1).

* + Rather than relying on “fire under the altar” (1 Kings 18:23, 25) why can the church not depend on the fire of God?
* +We depend too much on the methods of the flesh.
* + May God forgive us, and may we get on our knees, rebuild our altars and seek the power and the face of God.

IV. Leaven, in every case in Scripture, Old and New Testaments, is seen as a symbol of evil.

* + There is not one instance where it is seen as a symbol of a good growth of puffiness.
* + Some have taken Leviticus 23:17, and taught that this is a picture of the leaven being good.
* + The woman represents false religion; she could even be represented by Jezebel who was the wife and queen of Ahab.

V. Jesus told His disciples, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.”

* + Jesus was referring to their legalism and false doctrine that had bound them in their sins and iniquities.
* + Paul the apostle warns of the dangers of letting iniquity/sin stay and permeate a congregation in 1 Corinthians 5:6-7

“Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us”.

VI. The kingdom of heaven grows in every individual who knows, who has a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

* + Yet, numerically, it can grow in pretense and hypocrisy.
* + False doctrine destroys unity, while those who teach false doctrine talk of uniformity – you give up the truth and we will have unity – and accuse those who stand for truth as the ones who cause disunity.

-by Tim A. Blankenship
For further study you can go here and here

A Mother Bear and Her Cubs

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

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

Proverbs 17:10-13

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

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

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

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

The Right Way; and the Way of Death

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

At any rate the ultimate decision will be God’s

The Treasure of Wisdom

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

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

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

Verse 20 – 24 —

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

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

-Tim A. Blankenship

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

Truth in Palmyra

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

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

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

View original post 2,504 more words

The Heart of the Righteous King

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

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

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

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

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

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

Verse 14 –  John Gill from e-Sword:

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

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

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

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

Words of the Prophets – Ezekiel

Responsibilities: The Watchman’s and The People’s

“Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,  Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say unto them, When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman:  If when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people; then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head.  He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul.  But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand.  So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at My mouth, and warn them from Me.  When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.” Ezekiel 33:1-9 (KJV)

Christian Disciplines

Kingdom Character/Disciplines

Matthew 6:1-18

THE CHRISTIAN WILL GIVE WITH CAUTION (vv. 1-4).

* Jesus’s first words in the first verse is “Take heed”, so there is caution needed in giving.
* Caution means giving without calling attention to your act.

THE CHRISTIAN WILL GIVE ATTENTION TO PRAYING WISELY (vv. 5-13).

* The hypocrites, to whom Jesus refers, probably spent no time praying in private, unless it was to build their praying vocabulary, and prowess in expressing the words they would pray in public.
* How the Kingdom Christian should pray –

+ When you pray Praise and Glorify the Father – Recognize Him for who He is; Holy, Righteous, Creator, Sustainer, Redeemer, Sovereign, LORD of hosts, etc…;
+ For His will in your life as though you were in Heaven;
+ When you pray be sure that it is His will that you request most earnestly;
+ Request from Him what you need for the day – not wants and desires – your needs for the day;
+ Asks for forgiveness of your sins and transgressions against God and those you may have committed against your fellow man;
+ Asks for the power of the Word of God in your life to be delivered from evil;
+ As you are ending the time with the Lord end with recognition of His sovereignty, power, His kingdom, recognizing that His Kingdom is forever.

THE CHRISTIAN WILL GIVE ATTENTION TO FORGIVING THOSE WHO ARE INDEBTED TO US (vv. 14-15).

* The Christian of all people should know how to forgive – We have been forgiven much.
* Lack of forgiveness can hinder our prayers, and rob us of peace.
* All Christians have been forgiven by God’s grace, through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

THE CHRISTIAN WILL GIVE ATTENTION TO FASTING WITH JOY (vv. 16-18).

* Just as in their praying, so also in their times of fasting they begged the attention of men.

* Fasting is right and good when it is done with the right motive.

+ To seek God’s will in times of uncertainty.

+ To seek God for personal renewing, revival, and church renewal and revival; National renewal and revival.

+ To seek God for strength for going through a difficult time.

* Fasting is a means of disciplining the appetites of the body.

* Overcoming hypocrisy in fasting -+ Be honest with God in your secret life;

+ Fast seeking God with all your heart;

+ Pray from your heart, not form;

+ Fast secretly;
+ Please God alone.

* The purpose of fasting and prayer is to glorify the Lord, and then it matters not whether you get what you asked for yourself.

For the Kingdom Christian Giving, Praying and Fasting is so that we might grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus our Lord and Savior. All world religions have these as religious disciplines for the gaining of their salvation, or earning favor with their deity; whoever that may be. These become the Character of the true Believer of Christ – the true Christian.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Faithfulness in Marriage to God

Faithfulness in Marriage – Proverbs 5:1-23

Verses 1 – 6 –  The path of adultery leads to death.  We can see by these wise words that there is a likeness in marriage of one man and one woman to the relationship between men and God.

“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and He is the Saviour of the body.  Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.  Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 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.  So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.  For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: for we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones.  For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.  This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.  Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.” Ephesians 5:22- 33

Verses 7 – 14 –  Give diligence to keep yourself from the strange woman.  I think it would be correct to say that any man who cannot be faithful to his wife; will probably not be faithful to God; in fact; is not faithful to God by the very act of adultery.  Not only is the man, or woman committing adultery against their spouse, but against God, because they are holding something dearer to their heart than the commandment of God.

“But our God is in the heavens: He hath done whatsoever He hath pleased. Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands.  They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not: they have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not: they have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat. They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them.”  Psalms 115:3-8

Verses 15 – 20 –  The wife, or husband is  to be the source of the man’s, or woman’s physical intimacy, refreshing, and intoxicating.  Likewise the Lord GOD is to be the source of the man’s and womans spiritual intimacy, refreshing, and intoxicating;

“And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit…” Ephesians 5:18

Verses 21 – 23 –  The LORD sees and knows the ways of man.

“For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him…”  2 Chronicles 16:9

Since the eyes of the LORD run to and fro througout the whole earth; it shoud be obvious that they will also see the wicked and know their hearts.
The best of human relationships can be found in the marriage of a man and woman who are happily serving the Lord together, in their lives individually, and in their faithfulness in marriage.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Road of Wisdom

The Road of Wisdom, and Her Blessings – Proverbs 3

Verses 1 – 12 –  In these verses we find that there are conditions for traveling the road of wisdom.

vv. 1-4; In these verses we find that we are expected to learn the “law of God”, keep His commandments; hang on to mercy and truth.  They are important enought to “write on the table of thine heart”.  The Psalmist says, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee.”

vv. 5-6;  Trust is a complete surrender to His way.  It is like the defeated warrior submitting to the conquering king, or general, and putting your life into their hands.  Submission, Commitment, Obedience to God.
When we choose our own way, we are unruly, uncommitted, and disobedient.

vv. 7-10;  The following is excerpts from the Matthew Henry Commentary; Matthew Henry was born October 18, 1662 and died June 22, 1714.  He was born, raised, and lived and preached in England.

“We have here before us three exhortations, each of them enforced with a good reason:—I. We must live in a humble and dutiful subjection to God and his government (v. 7): “Fear the Lord, as your sovereign Lord and Master; be ruled in every thing by your religion and subject to the divine will.’’
II. We must make a good use of our estates, and that is the way to increase them, v. 9, 10. Here is,
1. A precept which makes it our duty to serve God with our estates: Honour the Lord with thy substance. It is the end of our creation and redemption to honour God, to be to him for a name and a praise; we are no other way capable of serving him than in his honour….
2. A promise, which makes it our interest to serve God with our estates. It is the way to make a little much, and much more; it is the surest and safest method of thriving: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty.
III. We must conduct ourselves aright under our afflictions, v. 11, 12. This the apostle quotes (Heb. 12:5), and calls it an exhortation which speaks unto us as unto children, with the authority and affection of a father. We are here in a world of troubles.”  MHC on Proverbs.

For the Christian, is there; or should there be a difference between spiritual and material?

vv. 11-12;  As Christians we must submit to God’s discipline; His chastening (Hebrews 12:6-8).

Verses 13 – 35 –  In these final 23 verses we will see the blessings of those who are willing to walk the “Road of Wisdom”.

vv. 13-18;  The wealth of wisdom.

“3. It is the happiness of paradise (v. 18): She is a tree of life. True grace is that to the soul which the tree of life would have been, from which our first parents were shut out for eating of the forbidden tree. It is a seed of immortality, a well of living waters, springing up to life eternal. It is an earnest of the New Jerusalem, in the midst of which is the tree of life, Rev. 22:2; 2:7. Those that feed and feast on this heavenly wisdom shall not only be cured by it of every fatal malady, but shall find an antidote against age and death; they shall eat and live for ever.”  MHC on Proverbs.

vv. 19-20;  In peace and harmony with God’s creation.

“This should make us in love with the wisdom and understanding which God gives, that the Lord by wisdom founded the earth, so that it cannot be removed, nor can ever fail of answering all the ends of its creation, to which it is admirably and unexceptionably fitted. By understanding he has likewise established the heavens and directed all the motions of them in the best manner. The heavenly bodies are vast, yet there is no flaw in them—numerous, yet no disorder in them—the motion rapid, yet no wear or tear; the depths of the sea are broken up, and thence come the waters beneath the firmament, and the clouds drop down the dews, the waters from above the firmament, and all this by the divine wisdom and knowledge; therefore happy is the man that finds wisdom, for he will thereby be thoroughly furnished for every good word and work.” MHC on Proverbs

vv. 21-26; God cares for His own.  Those who have the wisdom of God and rest in His provisions, faith, His word, His precepts, His laws; need not fear at all.  He will take care of you [us] who are in Him (1 Peter 5:7).

vv. 27–35; The Christian has positive and caring relationships with their neighbors.  The second commandment which Jesus gives, “Love your neighbor as you love yourself” (Matthew 22:37-40) could come into focus here.  Who is our neighbor?  Jesus answered that question with the story of the “Good Samaritan” (Luke 10:25-37).

Of verse 35 Matthew Henry has written,

“4. The end of sinners will be everlasting shame, the end of saints endless honour, v. 35.”

-Tim A. Blankenship

Allegiance, License, and Legalism

This is a shorter than usual outline for Sunday morning, but if you would like to read more you can go to Fire and Hammer, and read the whole article.

Allegiance, License, and Legalism

Matthew 5:17-20

I. We must put on a DEFINITE SPIRITUAL ALLEGIANCE to our Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus continues, then, by saying, “For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled” (NKJV).

II. Is there a license [Freedom] to sin???? There is no such license.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” Ephesians 2:8-10 (NKJV).

III. Do what they teach but do not follow their works – “All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say and do not” Matthew 23:3.

IV. The only license we have from God is the freedom to live for Him, glorify His name and prove to all that there is power in the blood, and that fulfills the law.

“He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God” Micah 6:8

-Tim A. Blankenship

Take Action

Taking Spiritual Action

Matthew 5:13-16

INTRODUCTORY OUTLINE –

I. These distinctive spiritual attitudes (vv. 1-12), will then lead us to “A DECISIVE SPIRITUAL ACTION”.
II. We just learned in the previous studies that we are to be HAPPY, ie. fulfilled in Christ Jesus.
III. Does our attitude determine our actions, or at least have an impact on our actions? I certainly believe so.

I. BEING THE SALT OF THE EARTH: JESUS SAID THAT WE ARE.

A. Salt as a seasoning adds taste and flavor to the foods we eat.

1. Christians being salt will add seasoning, taste, flavor to the evil world.
2. Just as there are some foods you don’t like there will be some seasonings the worldly will not like.

B. Salt can also be used as a preservative, such as used to be done before refrigeration, to keep pork or beef for eating later.

1. Christians are a preservative in the world we live in, where God’s judgment could fall and completely destroy a place it is the presence of those who love Jesus that prevents it.
2. Think, for example, of Lot in Sodom, and Abraham’s pleading for the city, asking mercy for down to 10 people to keep it.

C. Salt causes the action of thirst.

1. The Christian should live his/her life in such fashion as to cause the unredeemed to thirst for Jesus.
2. Living righteously, yet with the joy of the Lord will cause others to seek Him.

D. Salt causes a healing/cleansing action.

1. It stings in an open wound, and the lives and testimony of a Christian will cause conviction in the lives of the unredeemed.
2. They may not like you, or the way you live, but they will be convicted of their sin, and by the power of the Spirit of God, and God’s drawing them, they may be saved.

E. One final thing to consider about salt is that it melts ice.

1. The warm heart of the Christian who does not condemn the already condemned, with the love of Jesus is the salt of the EARTH in action.
2. The ‘Unsavory’ salt is good for nothing but to make roadways.

II. BEING THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD: JESUS SAID THAT WE ARE.

A. The action of light

1. Light dispels darkness.
2. Light casts shadows.

B. Light and darkness cannot co-exist; they cannot be together in the same place – light always overcomes darkness. Jesus is the light, “And in Him is no darkness at all” 1 John 1:5.

“The light shines in darkness, and the darkness overcomes it not” John 1:5

C. Light can be seen from miles and miles away, and you can still be in the dark

1. Its illumination is only good when you are within its reach.
2. When you get into the realm of the light, you will begin to see yourself as you really are.

D. When we are the light of Christ we will work the same way that Jesus works.

1. We will not cover the light in order to keep from being unthreatening to people.
2. We let the light shine brightly, and do not let sin have dominion over us.

a. When sin reigns the light will be hidden or taken away.

E. The light is the light it does not lower itself to bars, bunny mansions and/or rock shows.

APPLICATION –

I. AS THE SALT OF THE EARTH WE WILL INFLUENCE OTHERS BY BEING THE FLAVORING, PRESERVATIVE, HEALING OUR SOCIETY NEEDS.
II. AS THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD WE WILL SHINE THE LIGHT OF CHRIST UPON THE DARKNESS OF CONDEMNED LIVES.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Christian and Government

The Christian And Government

“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.  Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.  For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:  For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.  Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.  For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.” Romans 13:1-7 (KJV)

In this study of Romans Paul is continuing to apply the basics of the gospel to all of the Christian life. He is teaching us that human government is of divine origin, and that we are subjects of human government.

Some may think that there are some forms of government which we do not have to obey. If so that is in error. Paul lived under an oppressive form of government which was persecuting Christians, and part of that was due to some of the people who were of Israel; Paul’s own flesh and blood.

In this study I pray we can come to an understanding of what being “subject” to government actually means. What are the Christian’s duties to government? What are the Government’s duties to its subjects? Hopefully these questions will be answered by this study.

Since Paul begins with the Christian’s duties, that is where we begin:

Christian’s are subjects to the “higher powers” – in this case that is government. The government under which we live is our “higher power” and under God’s rule ultimately. As a Christian we are first subject to our God, and must obey Him, as does the government in which we live.

What forms of governments are in our world?

A. Democracy.
B. Republics.
C. Communism.
D. Theocracy.
E. Anarchy.

2. God’s Government is the Supreme Government over all governments, and they are subject unto Him.
3. Resisting the government is in itself resisting God, when that government is only performing its God-given duties.

Any time a Christian gets to the place of resisting a government it should be done with extreme caution, and only resist when the government is violating the law of God.

We are still subject to the government, though resisting a policy, or an act of ungodliness on the part of our government. Subject when they come to arrest us; we go without resisting or protest.

The following is a Biblical example of being subject to the government:

“Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, unto all that are carried away captives, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem unto Babylon;  Build ye houses, and dwell in them; and plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them;  Take ye wives, and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons, and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; that ye may be increased there, and not diminished.  And seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the LORD for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace.” Jeremiah 29:4-7 (KJV).

In that illustration we see God’s command to Jeremiah for the people in captivity to go on with life, subjected to the government that they were living under, which would have been Chaldean, and was their enemy.

We are also to be faithful in supporting our defenders with our taxes.

The government’s responsibilities/duties to its people:

A. A defender of good, and a terror to what is evil.
B. A minister of God for good.
C. An avenger of what is evil.

2. There are times when governments of men become unjust, cruel, and unlawful toward God’s laws.

A. Around the time of the birth of Moses (Exodus 1-2).
B. Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were commanded to bow to an image of the king (Daniel 3).
C. Daniel, and others forbidden to pray to anyone but the king (Daniel 6)
D. Peter and John commanded not to speak in the name of Jesus (Acts 4:17-18).

3. When the government gets to perpetuating its own agenda instead of God’s agenda, and starts persecuting the people of God, then they have violated the Supreme Government. Yet, we are still subjected to them.

Governments are to be a hindrance to evil. With the exception of anarchy – no law or rule – crimes are restrained in any form of government. Those who obey laws have no fear of the policeman or the courts. There are times however, when men make laws that legalize perverse acts, and legitimize persecution of believers, and the killing of unborn babies. Believers should never disobey with a flippant attitude. “Civil disobedience” when needed would certainly call unjust laws to the attention of good government rulers, and if it is an unjust rule/law, cause them to reconsider, or at least think about overturning that rule/law.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Ready to Preach the Gospel

Romans 1:8 – 15

Praying for others is an expression of concern for them, and of trusting them to His care. It is first of all, for God’s guidance, providence, and personal spiritual growth. Secondly, that their witness [ good witness] may be seen and spoken of by all.

Prayer lets others know you are praying for them. We encourage others in the faith for the believer, and lets the lost know you are concerned for their eternal well being. It bonds the people with one another and to the one praying for them. In the Latter (above): it give strength for greater service.

In prayer we accept God’s grace toward all (v. 12). Our faith is mutual – no one is greater than the other. The faith that saves me is the faith that saves you – the faith from God.

In prayer we acquire a desire for spiritual fruit. Spiritual fruit characterize the Spirit-led believer. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” Galations 5:22-23. Righteous actions. ” For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity. Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account. ” Philippians 4:16-17. ” By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.” Hebrews 13:15. We desire to see people come to Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. These fruits will be seen, known and recognized by others.

We have a glorious message to proclaim (vv. 14-15). To the Greeks – these were considered the civilized and wise. To the barbarians – considered unwise because they could not speak the Greek language nor were they assimilated to Greek culture. The message of the gospel is for the “Wise” and for the “Unwise” – the culturally correct and incorrect – the rich and the poor. We ought always: by prayer, supplication, and the study of God’s Word, be ready to preach the gospel wherever God may call us.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Always, Up to Date

“For he clave to the LORD, and departed not from following Him, but kept His commandments, which the LORD commanded Moses.” 2 Kings 18:6 (KJB)

Old, outdated, and antiquated are words we might hear from some older people about the Bible.  We would probably hear it more from the mouths of the young, liberally “educated” college student.

The kings of Judah and Israel before Hezekiah were probably thinking they needed to be more “Up to date”, and trying to fit in with nations around them.  After all the Law of Moses, and the commandments were hundreds of years old.  They were written for the wilderness wanderers.  What does that word have to do with me today; or the people I lead?

Israel had fallen. They had been taken captive into Assyria.  It was because they had forsaken GOD, and His commandments (18:11-12).  So how does this coincide with people of 2018, and days and years to come?

My answer to that is this:  If it was good enough for Moses, Joshua, and Hezekiah; Hezekiah after hundreds of year; then it is good enough for me.  Let me get one thing straight though.  It is certain that not one of us can be saved by keeping of the Law of God.  The Law was given to show us our weaknesses.  It is solely by the grace of God that we can be in the presence of God, approaching His throne, and truly worshiping Him.

The word of God, the Law of God is as up to date as next weeks Newspaper, television News broadcast, and it is as up to date as next years Person of the Year publication of Time Magazine. The word of God is still like a two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12).

For Hezekiah, king of Judah loving GOD, and keeping His commandments was not a duty.  He loved GOD, he loved GOD’S word, and he lived accordingly.  Was Hezekiah perfect?  No!  He too was dependent upon the grace of GOD.

The full grace of GOD was displayed by the death of Jesus Christ on the cross hundreds of years later (over 600 years), and Jesus was buried, and He rose from the grave.  It may have been around 2000 plus years ago; but He is still the only One who can save.

Old, Outdated, Antiquated?  Maybe we are the ones who have been outdated…  Something to think about.

Speak the Truth

“And Micaiah said, As the LORD liveth, what the LORD saith unto me, that will I speak.” 1 Kings 22:14 (KJB)

The king of Judah, the southern kingdom; and the king of Israel, the northern kingdom were joining together to fight a common enemy who was Syria.  Jehoshaphat the southern king went to visit Ahab.  The characters and hearts of these two kings were completely opposed to the other.  Jehoshaphat was  a king who did what was right in the eyes of the LORD (22:42-43).  Ahab was so wicked he sold himself to do wickedness against the LORD (21:20, 25).

Micaiah, whose name means “Who is like the LORD?” is the same as that of Micah, the name of the prophet Micah of the Minor Prophets of the Bible.  I do not think they are one and the same.  Micaiah was a captive of king Ahab.  Ahab hated Micaiah, because he never spoke favorably to what Ahab desired.  He spoke what God said.

In this cooperative effort Jehoshaphat wants to hear what God says about going to battle against  Syria.  Four hundred prophets; and I would put a question mark around the word “Prophets” in that statement.  They only spoke what this king wanted to hear.  Jehoshaphat realizing that calls for a different prophet.  Micaiah is called, told to speak what the others have spoken, and he says the words of the verse above.

O how we need those who stand in pulpits today to speak the word of God, rather than the words of men.  We are told by Paul the apostle to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:14-15).  Ahab did not care for the truth.  Notice his words when Micaiah uses sarcasm to him what he wants to hear, “How many times shall I adjure thee that thou tell me nothing but that which is true in the name of the LORD?” (22:16)

The Christian pastor, preacher, deacon, Bible study teacher, bus driver, etc. needs the resolve, and to resolve to speak the word of God which is truth.  It is the only truth worth speaking.  Do not add to it.  Do not take away from it.

The Truth of God is powerful to change lives.  It is powerful to change your life.  Jesus Christ the Son of God, God the Son is the Living Truth (J0hn 14:6).  He is alive and well. He loves you so much that He went willingly to an old rugged cross, laid down His life, died, was buried, and He rose again declaring the victory over sin and death.  That is the Truth.

Resolve today to receive the truth, live the truth, and speak the truth in love for Christ.